Third Cousins

A few years ago when I was just starting to do some genealogy research, Eleanor told me about a relative of ours, Judith Chapman, who starred on The Young and the Restless and Magnum P.I., but Eleanor wasn’t sure how we were related. In fact Judith Chapman has been on a lot of soaps and guested on dozens of primetime TV shows since the 1970s. Fortunately the Cashin tree isn’t that complicated, mostly only going back to John Cashin, who emigrated from Ireland. In fact, all eight of Eleanor and Dad’s great grandparents emigrated from Ireland and settled in Augusta. We also know the names of a couple of their parents, but not much else that I’m aware of. So John Cashin is our great, great grandfather and anyone else who shares him as a great, great grandfather is our third cousin. Unless they also share John’s son, John J. Cashin, in which case they are second cousins, unless they share Papa, in which case they are first cousins. We know all of our first cousins. And we know a few second cousins, including the Bill Cashins and Stuart Cashins. We even know some third cousins, the Harry Cashins. I’m sure the Augusta Cashins know even more, but that’s as far as I actually sort of know anyone. Actually there may be fourth cousins because John Cashin seems to have had two brothers in Augusta, named Lawrence and Patrick, but that’s too much to keep up with right now.

Actress Judith Chapman

Actress Judith Chapman


So Judith Chapman isn’t her real name. She was born Judith Shepard in Greenville, South Carolina in 1951. This is on Wikipedia. But I found an article where she says she got Chapman from her grandmother’s maiden name. Now John Cashin had nine children before he died at the age of 49. His oldest daughter, Ellen, married a man named Chapman. So this should be easy! George and Ellen Chapman had 7 kids between 1884 and 1900 when George died at the age of 46. However, Georgia’s online marriage and birth records are not very good and I couldn’t trace some of those kids any further and the ones I could trace weren’t getting me to Judith. Working back from Judith I knew her father was an Air Force general named Leland Shepard, Jr. Pretty lucky for me that he is a Junior because his father must be Leland Shepard, Sr. and I found him living in Florida at the turn of the century in the 1900s. But I still could never link up my Chapmans with the Shepards. Eventually I gave up, but I would go back to it every now and then. Women are particularly hard to trace because they change their names when they get married. In the 1930s to 1950s The Georgia Bulletin did a great job of documenting a lot of our family’s marriages and deaths (helps that the editor was in the family), but that was too late to be much help and unfortunately Chapman and Shepard are a lot more common names than Cashin, plus I needed to be looking in South Carolina and Florida.

Yesterday I went back to the article with Judith Chapman and noticed that she said she got her name from her paternal grandmother. That means Leland Senior’s wife. I have her in the 1930 census as Georgia C. Shepard, born in 1901.

1930 census showing Leland and Georgia Shepard in Jacksonville

1930 census showing Leland and Georgia Shepard in Jacksonville

So she was probably Georgia Chapman before she was married as Judith said. That may not work out just right for a connection to us because George Chapman died in 1900. But it could work out if Ellen was pregnant when he died. She wasn’t born for the 1900 census and unfortunately the 1910 census only shows a George Chapman, the widowed Ellen’s (written Helen) son born in 1901. So maybe I am missing their youngest daughter.

1910 census showing "Helen" Chapman and youngest son, George.

1910 census showing “Helen” Chapman and youngest son, George in Augusta

I do a search for Georgia Chapman born in 1901 and find a census record from 1920 in Jacksonville where she is described as the sister-in-law of Fred Williams. I don’t have a Fred Williams in the tree, but his wife is named Belle, born in Georgia, in the same year as George and Ellen’s daughter, Belle Chapman, for whom I don’t have a husband in the family tree. I can’t be positive that Belle and Georgia are sisters since Georgia could be related to Fred from a brother or sister of his, but you do see a lot of sisters living together like this.

1920 census showing Georgia Chapman in Jacksonville with her brother-in-law

1920 census showing Georgia Chapman in Jacksonville with her brother-in-law

Now I have another name, in fact a few names, to check out since Fred and Belle have a couple of children. Williams is a pretty common name, so when I search for Fred Williams, born in Tennessee, there are a lot of false matches. But by doing a search for Freds married to Belles, I find him in Augusta in 1910!

1910 census showing Fred and Belle Williams in Augusta

1910 census showing Fred and Belle Williams in Augusta

So now it is looking pretty good that Fred met Belle in Augusta and got married in 1905. Then sometime between 1910 and 1920 they moved to Florida and Belle’s sister, Georgia, was staying with them in 1920 (probably having moved after her mother died in 1918 leaving her with no parents at age 17), where maybe she met Leland Shepard. I can’t find marriage or birth records to support any of it, just census records, but it seems like a strong match except I never had any record of Georgia being with the Chapmans. I went back to look at the family tree from an early FOPAB newsletter and saw that the Chapmans did have a daughter named Georgia and not a son named George. So the 1910 census was wrong and son “George” must have actually been daughter “Georgia”. Anyway, Georgia Chapman seems to be the missing link and the information was there in front of me the whole time, just a little clouded. Judith Chapman’s great, great grandfather is John Cashin from Ireland, so that makes us third cousins. And it’s kind of a double because Judith’s sister, Patty Shephard, was a movie star in Spain (her father was stationed there and she never left), so she’s also a third cousin.

Patty Shepard

Judith’s sister, Patty Shepard

Here’s a chart showing the third cousins family tree, but it leaves out a lot of people not written about here. Click on it for a full size image that is easier to read.

judithchapmantree

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *