Family history.

Thomas Terpen Thomas //

//The only known photo of Thomas Terpin Thomas//

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to sign up for the 23andMe program. The site’s pretty interesting. What is it? Well, you spit into a tube (ewww, but that’s how it works), send in some info and you learn about your health and family history. It’s all based on what they find in your DNA, etc. It’s been quite a journey and so interesting. It takes a few weeks to get your info, but it’s worth it in the end. I’m so excited about all I’ve learned! I even found a 2nd cousin I never knew about. Kinda cool.

I’ve always been interested in my family’s history. All this research brought me back to a story I’ve heard my grandma tell me over and over. It’s about one of my earliest known relatives:

“I’d like to introduce you to Thomas Terpin Thomas. A veeeery distant relative. He was known as “The Great Hunter”. In March of 1851 he loaded up two wagons to move his wife and 9 children from Missouri to Oregon. It was an eventful trip filled with attacks, lack of food, and one of T.T.’s babies was dragged aways by a mountain lion. LUCKily the baby was saved and only had scratches from the incident. They eventually made it to the Oregon Territory by August 1851. T.T. Thomas received some land under the Donation Land Claim Act and worked the land for 5 years…. and eventually owned this land. In 1858 T.T. Thomas ran for office in the OR House of Representatives. He won and served office through Oregon’s statehood in 1859.”

T.T. brought my family to Oregon and we are still here. Some of us moved up to Washington, but a lot of us are still in good ‘ol Oregon. I really can’t wait to get other member’s of my family on 23andMe (I mean, this place is the largest DNA-based service worldwide). Next up: my brother. He’ll have more info from my dad’s side of the family. I’m thinking that would be a great Christmas present (sort of for both of us, ha).

Ok, have you tried out this service?

– Chelsey

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  • Dani Lee McGowan on said:

    I was just Googling, great, great, great, great grandpa Thomas Terpen/Turpin Thomas to see what might be new. It was you.

    Who is your mom? We may have done genealogy together on the Thomas family as far back as 197)+ I'm so glad to see you are interested. Also, your visits to Maupin sound like they are for your husband's side of the family, but if you are a Thomas, your roots in the are go over to Tygh Valley. But, your mom might have already told you that.

    Another lady who lived in Maupin until her death just a few years ago was from a different child of TT Thomas. My cousin, Kerry Barr Conner introduced us while I was living in Oregon and doing research. I received the photo of TT Thomas that you have posted.through two different descendants of TT and his wife Nancy Curl Thomas. Would love to hear from you.

  • Susanne on said:

    I found your picture of Terpen Thomas while doing some of my own family history, or rather that of my husband's family. I recently got hooked on it, especially when I found out that he is descended from original Oregon Pioneers, and TT is one of them. He is my husband's GGGG grandfather. My mother has done the DNA research on my family, but we have yet to do my husband's. So I guess that makes you a distant relative too 🙂

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      Really? That's crazy! Did you ever find out which of the Terpen kid's your hubby came from?

  • deanna_fike on said:

    my brother did this for his 30th birthday. turns out we have some nigerian roots, which we were unaware of. our closest celebrity relatives are jimmy buffet and chris rock, which actually explains a lot about my family.

    • The Paper Mama on said:

      Ha! That's pretty awesome. So far, no celebrities in my family. 😉

  • Christina Steward on said:

    Wow, this sounds so interesting. Heading over to visit their site now. Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura on said:

    I have always been so interested in doing this!!! I think maybe I should take the plunge!

  • Kate on said:

    I am so intrigued about mailing my spit! Oh, yeah. I'm into genealogy too….

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