29 - Resolving the "McComisky Mystery" in the Haston Family
A common piece of erroneous family lore has circulated among Daniel Haston family members for many years–the assumption that Daniel’s son, David, was named “David McComisky Haston.” You don’t have to look at many Haston family trees on Ancestry.com or other genealogy internet sites to see this assertion. That incorrect notion was probably fueled by the now-debunked theory that our Hastons were Scots-Irish. And some Haston folks have even incorrectly theorized that Daniel Haston must have married a McComisky woman at some point prior to the birth of his first son David.
But it is true that the McComisky name DOES appear in the early Haston family. David and Margaret/Peggy Roddy Haston named their fourth child (second son, born 1808) “Daniel Haston.” But the most interesting part of his name is the middle name: “McComisky” (or McComiskey, McCumskey, McCumskay, etc.). How and why did this McComisky surname enter the Daniel Haston family? In reading piles of correspondence between earlier Haston researchers, I have found that this was one of the most perplexing questions they sought (unsuccessfully) to answer.
“I am especially intrigued by the name of the fourth child of the first David.
I’ve wondered why he happened to be named Daniel McComisky [Haston].”[i]
“Every time we get to a research center…we include the name McComisky
in our search. So far, we have not found the name ….”[ii]
“…did you ever hear your dad say anything about how Daniel McComisky
[Haston] got his name? I am wondering about the McComisky ….”[iii]
[i] Source: Personal letter to Mr. and Mrs. Dave R. Haston of Sparta, Tennessee from Sybaline Haston Edwards of Bridge City, Tennessee, June 2, 1973.
[ii] Personal letter from Mrs. Dave R. Haston to Sybaline Haston Edwards, June 14, 1973.
[iii] Personal letter from Mr. and Mrs. Dave R. Haston of Sparta, Tennessee to Maude ____, September 17, 1973.
The Clue that Unlocked the Mystery
Early in August 2000, Sherry Mirkovic discovered a Baltimore County, Maryland will that was created by Daniel McComisky who lived in Maryland in the late 1700s. And this McComisky man had grandchildren in the Carolinas, which would have included Tennessee in September 1789, the time the will was created. Subsequent online searches located a genealogy forum post by Beth Layman that documented a connection between this Daniel McComisky and a Philip Roddy family. Philip Roddy lived in Randolph County, North Carolinas in the 1770s through the very early 1790s, then lived in East Tennessee in the 1790s and early 1800s. That information led to Beth Layman’s book, Richard Green Waterhouse (1775-1827): Tennessee Pioneer, which added more details regarding this Knox County, Tennessee Roddy family and its connection to the Daniel McComesky family of Baltimore County, Maryland. As it turned out, Philip Roddy married a daughter of Daniel McComisky–her name was Mary McComiskey Roddy.
We also learned that the Philip Roddy family was living near our Daniel Haston in Knox County, TN shortly before and after the turn of the 19th century–about 1795-1803. And we learned that David Haston’s wife, Margaret (Peggy) Roddy was almost certainly the daughter of Philip and Mary McComisky Roddy.
Daniel’s grandson was named Daniel McComisky Haston. The middle name came from his grandmother’s family, Mary McComisky (Roddy), daughter of Baltimore County, Maryland’s Daniel McComisky. And Daniel Haston’s son, David Haston, was NOT named “David McComisky Haston!” So, please correct your genealogy records if you have copied this erroneous assumption.