When I retired from the military in 1972 and had not been in touch with my kinfolks in years, my oldest daughter, Donna Kay, and I started our own genealogy search.
We first bought the Vanover Family Book that had a lot of information we were looking for.
Harold Bryant from Burdine is another World War II veteran who knew very little about his ancestors. We talked on the phone and wrote each other letters.
When I told him about the book, he said his ancestors were Vanovers and asked me to see if I could find them. I found more of his people than I did my own, and also that we were close cousins.
When I told him my grandmother and greatgrandmother were Flemings from Clintwood, Va., Harold said his Fleming ancestors were also from Clintwood.
I had joined the Fleming’s newsletter when I retired and had written a couple of stories for them. It has a lot of information about them.
After going over my papers I found we have the same Fleming ancestors going all the way back to 1772, when Robert Fleming came to Washington County, Md., from Ireland.
Harold and I have the same great-grandparents in William Fleming and Elizabeth Mullins, and the same great-great-grandparents in Robert Fleming and Elizabeth Stambaugh.
All Flemings are kin, as are all Vanovers who came from Flanders, Holland, in 1684.
My first visit to Holland, I spent time looking in the phone books for Vanovers, not knowing that they changed the spelling of our name when they came to New York in 1684.
Harold Bryant and I are very proud to have served our country.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.