Herbert Hoover, 31st President

Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover (in office 4 Mar 1929 – 4 Mar 1933) was a descendant of my 8th great-grandparents, Anthony Bunting and Ellen Barker (both d. 1700). Specifically, he is my 7th cousin, 2x removed. While this is certainly a distant relation – Wolfram Alpha calculates the “blood relationship” here as just 0.00038147% – I will mention it because: a) Martha Bunting was interested in this topic and researched it while Hoover was still President, and (b) his connection to our common ancestors, Anthony & Ellen Bunting, has been well established (see below).

Martha Bunting was in touch with several genealogists in England. One was C. Gilbert Bunting, a young lawyer at the time, whose hobby and passion was researching Bunting family history. They corresponded for about ten years, starting in 1932. In June of 1933, C. Gilbert Bunting published a short article in a British journal (The Genealogists’ Magazine) titled “Ex-President Hoover’s English Descent.” It is clear from one of Gilbert’s letters to Martha (dated 5 Feb 1933) that she was a main source of his information about Hoover’s lineage. He also credits her in the article.

Here are two relevant paragraphs from C. Gilbert Bunting’s article:

Due doubtless to this religious persecution, three of his four sons left England, Samuel in 1678, and John and Job shortly after, and all settled in Crosswicks, New Jersey. The other son, William, who died on the 15th November 1719 and was buried at Buntingfield, is also the ancestor of numerous families of his name in America, for his son Samuel, born 9th November 1692, sailed from England in the ship “Neptune” in 1722 and settled in Darby, Pa. He married Sarah Fearne, grand-daughter of John Blunston, a member of the first Assembly (which met in 1682) of the Province of Pennsylvania.

Of the three earlier settlers (II) Job Bunting of Crosswicks, New Jersey, baptised 10th June 1660, married 27th June 1689 Rachel Baker at Middletown, U.S.A. (History of Bucks Co. by Davis, Vol. III, p. 184). (III) Samuel Bunting their eldest child was born 25th August 1692 in Bucks Co., Pa., where his father had gone to reside before his marriage. He married in 1715 Priscilla Burgess and one of their family (IV) Phoebe Bunting born 2nd March 1726 in Bucks Co., Pa., married Francis Wasly of Bucks Co., Yeoman. Their son (V) Francis Wasly of Falls Township, and later of Muncy Co. Northumberland, Yeoman, born in 1751, married in 1783 Hannah Scott. They had eleven children and the fifth (VI) Henry Wasly was born 19th July 1793. His parents later removed to York County, Canada, and Henry Wasly there married Ann Tool on the 22nd November 1813. Both were members of the Yonge Street Meeting of Friends. They then settled in Norwich Ontario, Canada. A daughter (VII) Mary born at Norwich on 1st September 1818 married there on 4th January 1842 Theodore Minthorn and retained her membership of the Society after marriage with a Non-Friend. The family removed to the State of Iowa, U.S.A., with their seven children, among whom was their daughter (VIII) Huldah Randall Minthorn, born 4th May 1848 at Norwich, Ontario, who married Jesse Clark Hoover at West Branch, Iowa, on the 12th March, 1870. He was the son of Eli Hoover and Mary his wife (formerly Davis). Their son (IX) Herbert Clark Hoover was born at West Branch, Iowa, on the 10th August, 1874. His wife Lou Henry, whom he married 10th February 1899 was of Monterey, California, and is of English descent.

Here is a PDF of the entire 3-page article (1.4 MB).

— Bunting, C. Gilbert. “Ex-President Hoover’s English Descent.” The Genealogist’s Magazine, vol. 6, no. 6 (June, 1933): 241-243.

For our line of descent, starting with Anthony Bunting and Ellen Barker in the 1600s, see: Bunting Line of Descent.

Genealogical Proof Standard

Proof is a fundamental concept in genealogy. In order to merit confidence, each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as “proved.”  — From the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

You may already know about the Genealogical Proof Standard. Here is a list of its five main requirements, as presented by Crista Cowan[1] (genealogist at Ancestry):

  • Reasonably exhaustive search
  • Complete and accurate citation of sources
  • Analysis and correlation of the collected information
  • Resolution of conflicting evidence
  • Soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion

I try to use primary sources whenever possible. But even original documents, ones that seem to be patently correct, can end up being dead wrong.

Over ten years ago I found this interesting photograph in the archives of the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College:


Of course I assumed this photo showed my grandmother’s unmarried sister, Edith Bunting, 1890-1960. (Now that I know better, I’ll admit that the family resemblance seems weak.)

Then the other day I was searching for documents related to Morgan Bunting[2]. He was another Bunting family genealogist, and a well-known architect in Philadelphia. His wife (who was also his second cousin, née Bunting) was Anna Miller Bunting.

Back in 1921, husband and wife could share the same U.S. passport when traveling together. Here are the photos from their joint passport:

Anna Miller Bunting and Morgan Bunting. Passport photos, 1921.

The woman in the photograph is Anna Miller Bunting — Edith’s and my grandmother’s third cousin, once removed (i.e., a distant relative). The photo in the Swarthmore Library’s collection was the same image provided for the passport, so now we have proof that this was Anna, and not Edith.

  1. [1]  Here is a link to Crista Cowan’s 7-part video series on the Genealogical Proof Standard. These are YouTube videos, with a combined time of approximately 3.5 hours. Amazon sells the definitive book on this topic: Genealogical Proof Standard (4th ed., 2014, 72 pages), by Christine Rose.
  2. [2]  Eventually my website will have a page for Morgan Bunting. Meanwhile, here is a brief bio, from a website called Philadelphia Architects and Buildings.

Tetramitus rostratus Bunting

Martha Bunting did extensive work with an amoeboflagellate called Tetramitus rostratus Perty. Her major paper on its life-cycle, published in 1926, brought her (briefly) to national attention, as articles about this work appeared in several newspapers around the country, including the New York Times. The title of her paper was: “Studies of the Life-Cycle of Tetramitus rostratus Perty.” It was 59 pages long, including 14 text figures and 5 plates (44 figures).* Her work appeared to show that tiny organisms can sometimes age backwards, returning to an earlier stage of development.

At some point after this (I’m not sure when or how), a strain of Tetramitus rostratus was named after Martha Bunting. You can still purchase a batch of this today, for your own experiments, from the ATCC Standards Development Organization: Tetramitus rostratus Bunting.

  1. * Journal of morphology and physiology. Vol. 42, no. 1, June 1926, pages 23-81.