Tidbits on this page were originally published online between January and December 2004
As with most Runyon/Runyan lines, we presume Isaac descended from Vincent Rongnion of Poitiers, France, and New Jersey. But we don’t know for certain.
This descendant of Isaac used genetic technological advancements to analyze the Y chromosome that is passed on virtually unchanged from father to son throughout the ages. Through Y chromosome analysis, we can isolate markers on certain DNA chromosomes. When compared to other Runyons, we can identify persons who share a common ancestor. This information doesn’t tell us who that ancestor is. It just tells us that he existed within a certain time frame.
Since there are no other Runyons or Runyans who have participated in this genetic analysis, it is not possible to compare this DNA with others who have descended from Isaac or from Vincent. What is surprising is that four men with the surname Hatcher matched this DNA profile in 24 of 25 markers. Another man named Brank also matched 24 of 25 but he had an ancestor named Hatcher who was abandoned by his father and whose mother died and was raised by his grandfather named Brank.
What does this mean to this line of Runyon? It means that he and the Hatchers probably share a common ancestor. But there is only a 50% probability that the common ancestor lived no longer than 18 generations ago (about 450 years), a 90% probability that he lived no longer than 41 generations ago (about 1,000 years), and a 95% probability that he lived no longer than 52 generations ago (about 1,300 years).
In other words, that common ancestor could have lived 900 years before Vincent Rongnion was born--even before the Norman Conquest.
This descendant of Isaac Runyon is now extending his DNA Y Chromosome analysis to 37 markers. That will help future genealogical research narrow the time frame of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA). But it doesn’t really mean much unless there are other Runyon DNA samples from both Vincent and Isaac descendants to reference such genetic information against.
Therefore, what is needed is for more Runyon descendants who know their lineage comes down from Vincent or Isaac to get their DNA tested. Many surname projects are being conducted around the world to share genetic information among families, but the Runyon/Runyan line is not yet among them.
If you are interested in participating, visit www.ftdna.com or a similar DNA site. You can search for different surnames who are conducting fascinating studies that show common heritage and diverging bloodlines. Some of the surnames have their own web sites. These include the Hatcher, Phipps, Blanchard, and Perkins families.
Several labs perform the test, but many surname projects are going to Family Tree DNA for their analysis because of their support of the surname projects. The Y Chromosome test has to come from a male, but females can participate by sponsoring a closely related male. We'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.
A. J. Runyon abides near A. Hagerman
D. Runyon “ “ E. Runyon
E. J. Runyon “ “ E. Runyon
J. J. Runyon “ “ E. Runyon
D. Runyon “ “ R. D. Runyon
W. Runyon “ “ A. S. Runyon
A. S.. Runyon “ “ E. Runyon
J. B. Runyon “ “ E. Runyon
(Source: History of Piscataway Township 1666-1976. Walter C. Meuly. Somerville Press. Somerville, NJ. 1976. inside cover.)
(Source: Biographical and Genealogical Notes from the Volumes of the New Jersey Archives. William Nelson. New Jersey Historical Society. Newark, NJ. 1916.)
Runnion, Jacob; M; 1st Reg Cav Vols
Runnion, James; D; 1st Reg Cav Vols
Runyan, George; G; 5th Reg Inf Vols
Runyan, James; G; 1st Reg Inf Vols.
(Source: Traces. Quarterly Publication of the South Central Kentucky Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. Vol. 13, Issue 4. Winter 1935. Glasgow, KY. p. 108.)
(Source: Horrible Engine Explosion on Armstrong Creek. Historical Notes on Fayette County, West Virginia. Shirley Donnelly. Privately Printed. 1959. p. 167.)
Capner bought the Mine Farm in Flemington, NJ, and became well known for raising a breed of sheep developed in England by the father of animal husbandry, Robert Bakewell. The sheep, known as Bakewell sheep or Leicester sheep, were smuggled into America from England by a man named Beans. We also note from this tidbit that Austin Gray Runyon was the first person to have been buried in the Flemington Presbyterian Cemetery in the town of the same name.
(Source: Traditions of Our Ancestors. D. H. Moreau. Hunterdon Republican. 1869-1870. p. 67.)
Whereas I have received information of a Mutuall Intent and Agreement betweene Vincent Rongnion of Poitiers in France and Anne Boutcher, the daughter of John Boutcher of Hartford in England to Solemnise Marriage together, for which they have requested my Lycence, And here appearing no Lawful impediment for the obstruction thereof—are to Require you or Eyther of you to Joyne the said Vincent Rongnion and Anne Boutcher in Matrimony and then to pronounce Man and Wife and to make record thereof according to the Laws in that behalfe promised for the doing Whereof this shall be to you or Eyther of you a Sufficient Warrant given by my hand and seal of the province the 31st day of June, 1668 and in the sixth year of the Reigne of our Sovr’n Lord Charles the Second of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith.
The “you” or “Eyther of you” addressed in the document appear to be the justices of the peace or ministers within New Jersey. The couple was married by Jas. Bollen on 17 July 1668.
So we know that Vincent was from Poitiers and that his surname sounded like Rongnion, although there is no name spelled exactly like that in the Poitiers region.
“My father has always said that HIS father claimed Irish ancestry. The only other family I know named Runyan makes the same claim.
”I studied in Galway, Ireland during the summers of 2001 and 2002. There, in the most famous bookstore in Galway, I found a very thick book listing all Irish surnames the editors had ever encountered in Irish records. In it I found the surnames Runnion, Runion, Runnian, and Runian, located primarily in Leitrim (traditionally Ireland's poorest county) and another county I can't recall. The entry said that the name derived from names O'Roonion and O'Roonian, later shortened by dropping the O'. The editors went on to say that the more common name to derive from those was Rooney, and that eventually Runnion and Runnian, etc. completely disappeared.
”A site I have found online (www.rooneys-minnesota.com) claims that Rooney's oldest Gaelic origin is O'Ruandaidh, and that later Rooney was synonymous …with Rowney in County Down and Roohan and Runian in County Donegal.
”Your website says that while most genealogists THINK that Runyan and Runyon (and Runnion, Runnian, etc.) derived from the French Huguenot name Roignon, your genealogist couldn't find undeniable records confirming that (an admission I found admirably cautious). Of course, many French Huguenots fled to Ireland; but that was--as I'm sure you know--long after O'Ruandaigh would have evolved into O'Roonian or Runian.
”Also, when I was in Galway, a professor at the university who is fluent in Irish (Irish Gaelic) told me that -ion and -ian are common endings of Gaelic words and names. So, perhaps an Irish origin of the name Runyan (etc.) warrants closer inspection.”
Thanks for the thoughts, Laura.
The description also states that Rognon is the name of a hamlet or town in Doubs. Another web site states that the hamlet of Rognon has 45 residents, is named after an illustrious family of the same name and was founded in 1166. It is part of the ancient estate of Montmartin. Betançourt, which is the major population center in Doubs, is 500 kms from Poitiers—more than 300 miles—as the crow flies.
Perhaps someone already has researched the history of the French church’s establishment in Ireland to find the origin of its members. If so, please let us know.
First Witch: A sailor’s wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munched, and munched, and munched:--‘Give me,’ quoth I:
‘Anoint thee, witch!’ the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband’s to Aleppo gone, master o’ the Tiger:
But in a sieve I’ll thither sail,
And, like a rat, without a tail,
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.
The word itself is not as distinguished as its appearance in a Shakespeare play would imply. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “ronyon” as a “mangy and scabby beast.” The origin of the word, according to the same dictionary, is probably the Middle French word rogne, which means scab. Middle French was the tongue used in France during the 14th to 16th centuries.
“It had kitchen and cellar on the first floor, the fireplace was very large, we could put in a back log eight feet long. The joists were large enough for girders in a barn. There was a long flight of steps on the outside to reach the second story, which made it look very odd. The second floor had three rooms, one large one, and two bedrooms. The garret was one long room and was used to store grain in, and it was no light task to carry it up those two long stairways. The roof was quite steep or would be for our day. The house is very old. The first summer we lived there, 1837, a gentleman from the west visited us, who said he was born there just fifty years before, and it was old house then.”
Another tract of land in that vicinity in 1794 was referred to as “Runyan’s plantation where his son, Evan, lives.”
(Source: History of the Land Titles in the Vicinity of Quakertown, New Jersey. Mary C. Vail. Flemington, N.J. H.E. Deats. 1915. pps. 8, 9, 11, 18.)
Mary Hagerman and Isaac Runyon then sold this other tract to Jacob Stimmelli with one stipulation: “excepting the five Perches of land parted in for a graveyard where Adrian Hagerman lies buried, standing and being on the premises with the Egress and Regress to and from the said graveyard for them, the said Mary Hagerman, Geertje Runyon, Isaac Runyon, and their heirs.”
By the 1800s, Isaac, Charity and their children had left Maryland and lived in Montgomery County, Virginia. By then, Mary may have died and also may have been buried in that Maryland cemetery. Does that cemetery still exist? Jacob Stimmelli, the owner, wrote in his will that this plantation was to be sold one year after the decease of the testator by his son. The son failed to sell after one year, so the other heirs sold the land to John Whitehill on 21 June 1810. The deed has no mention of the cemetery.
(Source: Land Record WR-2 and Land Record WR37, Frederick County, Maryland.)
Born 25 October 1822 at Somerville, NJ, Runyon graduated from Yale College in 1842 and became a lawyer in 1846. He became city attorney of Newark in 1853, and a city councilman in 1857. In 1873, he ran as Democratic candidate for governor of New Jersey, but lost. He later was appointed ambassador to Germany where he represented American interests in Berlin, frequently meeting with Emperor William II. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Berlin on Jan. 27, 1896, and his body was brought back to the United States where he was buried in New Jersey.
The press had a love-hate relationship with Runyon, honoring him for his service to his country but deriding him for continuing to dress in military uniform while ambassador to Germany. The Washington Post in particular never forgave Runyon for succeeding the highly popular former minister to Germany, William Walter Phelps.
(Source: The Washington Post. 16 October, 1883. p. 1; 21 July 1893, p. 4; 27 January 1896, p. 1.)
(Source: The Washington Post. 7 September 1892. p. 6.)
This case actually involved Miss Runyon’s friend who reportedly had no information about Miss Runyon's death as they had not seen each other for quite some time. Yet Miss Runyon reportedly occupied her thoughts.
On the evening of the day of her death, her friend picked up several sheets of music. On the last one was a song with the name Miss Runyon written on the first page. The newspaper reported that the next day at breakfast, her friend learned for the first time that Miss Runyon was dead. The headline of the article added a little sensationalism to the story. It was titled: “Presentiments of Evil.”
(Source: The Washington Post, 2 April 1883, p. 2.)
(Source: A History of the County of Somerset. R. W. Dunning, Editor. Vol. VI. Published for the Institute of Historical Research by Oxford University Press. 1992. p. 139, 146.)
(Source: A History of Rockingham County, Virginia. John W. Wayland. Dayton. Ruebush-Elkins Co. pp. 244-245.)
(Source: The Page News. Weekly newspaper in Luray, VA. Edition of 15 August 1902. p.3C2.)
(Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Compiled and published by John M. Gresham Company. Chicago. 1896. p.60.)
(Source: Somerset County Historical Quarterly. Vol.2, No. 2,.April 1913. p. 317-318.)
Krisch goes on to write that the rosters of the American soldiers who fought in the battle are not complete. But since veterans only received $8 a month when they returned, they organized into groups in some states to use the force of numbers to appeal for an increase on their pensions. R. L. Runyon was listed as a member of the veterans’ group from Kentucky.
Also interesting to genealogy researchers is that the person enrolling would sometimes give his place of residence in the registration papers. Listed in this manner is Dean Runyon of Co. B, a resident of Danville, KY. Lucille Kirsch adds: “The Texas Archives has diaries, stories, and applications for pensions from the veterans and widows of the veterans of the Mexican War.”
(Source: San Antonio Light. Clipping of the column, “Twigs and Trees” titled “Buena Vista—A Sad Story for US. Lucille Stewart Krisch. (no page number on clipping)
He goes on to say “In Passaic Valley Genealogy, an excellent book for those of Ky, who may have early New Jersey connections, there is much mention of those “gone to Ky. and etc. “ There are also numerous statements in the genealogical accounts given in the book, Early Germans of New Jersey, though the book is not completely accurate.
Source: Kentucky Ancestors.“Concerning The Ancestry Of Thomas Milton Tinney.” Thomas Milton Tinney. Genealogical Quarterly of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 5, No. 1. July 1969. p. 29.)
Besides a huge loss of lives, the sinking of the B. M. Runyan also lost important records about the Civil War. William Long Tolman, M.D., who had been a surgeon with the Tenth Missouri Cavalry Volunteers that participated in Vicksburg, lost all his personal effects and medical records when the B. M. Runyan went down. And then there is another mystery. We don’t know who the namesake of the B. M. Runyan actually was. Perhaps someone reading this has some information.
“I found no trace of Vincent Roignon (Rougnon, etc.) your ancestor. Why? First of all, some sources have been partially destroyed (for instance, Champagné-Saint-Hilaire). We know that a Roignon lived at Champagné in 1663 and was a notary, and that a Vincent Rognon, a tax prosecutor, lived in 1659. He was certainly the father of Jacques Rognon. You know that they had relationships with families which came from Périgord. Did they come too from this area? I don’t know, but I didn’t find in the area of Champagné other members of this family (except for Vincent Rognon and his children plus a Marguerite Rognon)."
Ms. Augris also researched the abjuration act lists of Protestants who were forced to give up their religion in the late 1500s. Although this was almost 40 years before Vincent is believed to have been born, she thought it would indicate (1) a father or other ancestor who abjured or (2) a reason the Rongnon family might have left France.
“I didn’t find a Roignon,” she said. “If some members of this family remained Protestant, it could explain why I didn’t find information concerning them. Most of the Protestant registers have disappeared.” She concluded that she could not find proof that Vincent left France because he was Huguenot. So the research continues.
Richard Runyan, a Civil War veteran, filed for a “Declaration for Original Invalid Pension” on 06 December 1881 at the age of 51. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a light complexion, sandy hair and blue eyes. At the time, he was living in the township of Princeton, Mercer County, NJ. In his declaration, he was reported to have enrolled on 10 October 1861 in the Seventh Regiment of New Jersey commanded by Col. Joseph W. Revere. Runyan was honorably discharged 08 August 1862 at Harrison Landing. During his service, his regiment saw the following engagements
• Siege of Yorktown, Va, April and May, '62;
• Williamsburg, Va., May 5, '62;
• Fair Oaks, Va., June 1 and 2, '62;
• Seven Pines, Va., June 25, '62;
• Savage Station, Va., June 29, '62;
• Glendale, Va., June 30, '62;
• Malvern Hill, Va., July 1, '62;
• Malvern, Hill, Va., August 5, '62;
Sometime during Richard’s eight months of service, he dislocated his left shoulder, which led to his infirmity. After leaving the military, he became a lawyer. His birthplace was Pinepack, Morris County, NJ, but his parents’ names are stated as “not known” on his application. He died 23 December 1887 and his last place of residence was Princeton
A brother, Henry Runyan, in a deposition stated that Richard had married his first wife, Mary E. Laird, at Princeton. She died 25 May 1864. Richard later married Mary Adams on 20 October 1868 and she applied for a pension after his death.
Richard has been given credit for writing the book, Eight Days with the Confederates, and Capture of Their Archives, Flags by Company G, Ninth New Jersey Volunteers.
Runyon/Runyan researcher Ira Runyon has a copy of the book and he reports that the author is not Richard, but another brother, Capt. Morris C. Runyan.
By the way, Henry Runyan was also an author and genealogist. He wrote History of the Runyan Family that was published in Princeton in August 1891. The small book originally sold for 50 cents. There is a copy at the New York City Public Library.
(Sources: New Jersey State Library, N.J. Civil War Record: Page 300. and
Copies of applications, depositions and death certificate on file in the National Archives.)
My living friends, as you pass by,
On my tombstone cast your eye,
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.
(Source: The Baumgardner Family. W. Beatty. Urbana, OH. The Gaumer Publishing Company. 1944. p. 42.)
(Sources: Old Shakertown and the Shakers. Daniel Mac-Hir Hutton. Jane Bird Hutton (revisions). Harrodsburg, KY. Bluegrass Roots, Fall 1987.)
“There is also a well-known bar with two locations in Minneapolis, owned and operated by a Runyon family. One location of Runyons is in the business district at 107 Washington Ave. N in Minneapolis. The other Runyons location is near the Marriott Towneplace Suites. It has quotes on its wall by famous people. An example is one from author P.J. O’Rourke: ‘It’s better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than spend tonight like there’s no money.’”