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Home: Surnames: Losey Family Genealogy Forum

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General History of the Losey name & need info on John R. Losey of Portsmouth, OH
Posted by: Mike Losey (ID *****2305) Date: July 05, 2005 at 05:29:54
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Do you know anything about the history of the Losey name? Most do not.

And any chance that you can trace your ancestors back to Proctorville or Portsmouth, Ohio. That is where I can track my original Losey's when, in the early 1800's, they "floated down" the Ohio River on a raft of logs, I understand.

Anyway here is a little background on the name in case you are interested and/or can add to it.

You can rest assured, if your name is Losey, we are undoubtedly related -- -- somewhere.

I don't know how much you know about the name and when our ancestors first came to this nation. But almost all "Losey's" come from the same original family that came to what was then "New Amsterdam" (now New York City) in the early 1650's.

The original Losey’s came from what is now Zealand to New Amsterdam (NY) in 1651 so they were indeed one of the first settlers in America. In fact, at that time, there were only about 700 people living in what is now NYC.

The original settlers were Jan Corneliszen De Zeeuw and Janneken Pieters. De Zeeuw means in Dutch, “from Zealand” I understand, and Jan Corneliszen is Jan, son of Cornelis.

Their children, or grandchildren, and for reasons unrelated to marriage, unless adopted, had surnames of Loyse (not misspelled). One branch and the prevailing one adopted the spelling of Losey. Why we don’t know except the trend to adopt more English traditional surnames.

Many in our family, in an attempt to illustrate how to pronounce the name “Losey” say “like down by the sea.” Such as “low-sea”. (Which I might add is also the name of my boat.) This has been passed down our side of the family for years and the “down by the sea” might have been a reference to coming from Zealand. In other words, these people who came from down by the sea, thus a crude attempt to spell as Loyse or Losey. It might also be a derivative of the Dutch spelling of “son” which is Liszen.

From my side going back this is what I can tell you.

My great great grandfather was John R. Losey. He was born July 29, 1850 in Portsmouth, OH. He died April 30, 1921 in Otis Colorado. His father might have been “John" --- but could have been Abraham or John Abraham or Joseph or William.

What I have (a bible) goes on to say that John R. Losey married a Sarah Amm (sic - must be Ann) Baker in 1873. It lists his DOB as 1850 and died in 1921 and that Sarah was born in 1856 and died in 1896 or 1898, which has a question mark. Again, by this marriage he had the following children: (Note he also remarried and had more children later).

1. Chauncey Bertram Losey (1875 - 1949) and married a Lettie Eggleston in 1900. She was born in 1881.

2. Harvey Losey (1883 - 1915) No other info

3. Thomas W. Losey (1878 -?) Married Pearl Bailey in 1901. Noted she died in 1903.

4. Rebecca May Losey (1888 - 1890 and died as a child)

5. Myrtle Losey (1896 - ) Married Charles Littleton in 1925. (She is the one we visited in Otis, CO.)

6. Clarence Losey (1886 - 1923) He married Elsie Walden, date unknown on this record. This was my grandfather and my grandmother. I knew my grandmother well and she was a lovely and wonderful woman of modest education and background from Kentucky. She married a Michael Schalk after my grandfather Clarence was killed --- we think by riding a freight train but I cannot find a death certificate either in Ohio or Indiana, where I suspect he might have been killed. He is buried in Cincinnati, OH, actually Cleves, a town West of Cincinnati. I visited the undertaker with my father before he died and we could not find the name of his father until I discovered they had indexed all the names later, by volunteers, and thought possibly they had transcribed the name as Posey and not Losey. Sure enough, they had. I have not had a chance to check any Posey death certificates.

There is also a note about John R. and his second marriage to Alma Frances Rhodes in 1902. It says she was born 1872 and died 1944. Also, I have just established a link with a relative (cousin) from this second marriage of John R. Losey. (See below) Thus the new exploration.

Then there is more about Chauncey who had two children Hazel Losey born 1906 and married Harry Myers in 1925 and had two children, a Violetta Myers and Inez Myers. The second child of Chauncey was a William B. LOSEY that lived only from 1902 to 1903.

My father's name was Clyde, born Cincinnati, Ohio, April 30,1907 and died in October 1987. He married Hilda Ploom (actually Weber) and my mother was born in 1909. She died also in 1987, only three days prior to my father. I was born in Cincinnati, OH 11/10/1938 and my sister Patricia Losey, single, was born April 1, 1942.

I married Ann J. Liparoto, born 11/13/39, in August 27, 1960 and we have three children. For this public record I have not provided information on our children. (Identify theft is a terrible issue.)

I have been researching the name for about 25 or 30 years. Other people have done a lot of work on the Losey name. I am stumped because it appears my original ancestors moved from the New York area into New Jersey and then westward possibly out to what became Pittsburgh. But you must remember that our original ancestors were in this country --- not yet known as United States --- 100 years before the American Revolution. So by the time of the American Revolution plus 25 or 30 years later -- -- in the early 1800s -- -- -- much of western Pennsylvania and even Ohio was little but wilderness.

And, again, I believe my ancestors "floated down the Ohio River on a raft "and ended up in and around Proctorville and Portsmouth Ohio -- -- at least that's what is called today.

And if it's true that they did that, we must realize that there were few churches, courthouses and records. Therefore I have somewhat of a lost generation starting someplace in the early 1800s and until through the Civil War.

I am trying to find out more on the John R. Losey who was born in Portsmouth and died in and is buried in Otis, Colorado. Again, that was my great-grandfather. And only recently, I discovered that he remarried and another line of Losey's, or their descendants, still lives in Colorado. For instance my newfound cousin is Eleanor Dodson Hillyer. She has also posted on this board.

Plus there's so much more. You realize that there was a Jessie Losey who was a cook for General Washington during the Revolutionary War? Also, a Losey helped build the "wall" to separate the Dutch (not the Indians) from the English at the tip of Manhattan, which today we call Wall Street?

And few are aware that Captain Robert Losey (and a graduate of West Point) was the first American service man killed in World War II.

The information I found on the web suggests Losey was the military attaché at the American Embassy in Oslo He died April 21, 1940 during a Nazi bombing raid on Dombes in central Norway. Along with a number of Norwegians, he took refuge in a railroad tunnel during the attack, but his interest in observing the bombing led him to stand too close to the entrance where he was hit by a bomb fragment and killed instantly.

Dombes is strategically located between Oslo and Trondheim, with important junctions of roads and railroads leading in every direction. Because of its strategic importance, a battalion of Norwegian troops was stationed there to prevent sabotage and repel Nazi air attacks. King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav and several members of the government passed through Dombes by train on their way south barely five hours before the German bombers attacked the railroad. Captain Losey was originally ordered to go to Finland, but while he was en route he was reassigned as a military attaché in Oslo. He went to Dombes to help Ambassador Florence J. Harriman evacuate American women and children. Harriman was the first woman to serve as an ambassador of the United States.

The military attaché’s death was a delicate political issue because Germany did not want to give America an excuse to join the war. There were reports that both Hitler and Goering sent flowers to a memorial service for Losey held in Sweden.

A memorial park to honor Robert Losey has been built in Dombes.

Those who may help me in search are encouraged to contact me at:

Michael R. Losey,

3801 Washington Woods Drive
Alexandria, VA 22309
Direct line: 703-799-2247
Home phone: 703-781-3648
Web page:

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