What is in a name? The power of a name and its value has long been immortalized in prose, poetry, and religious ceremony. Everyone recognizes himself or herself by name. How does a name influence a person's character? My name Poindexter was originally the Latinised version, Poingdestre. The Poindestre family has a traceable recorded history on The Isle of Jersey, Channel Islands that dates back as early as 1250 A.D. The name appears in some older records, such as pipe roll records of Normandy in the 1100's but researchers are unable to trace lineage connections to Poingdestres living before 1310.
Today there are Poingdestres around the world, in Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and in America. But there are few Poindexters outside the US where Poingdestre Latinised version is used. In much the same way, immirants from the Channel Islands to the United States are often said to have chosen an anglicised form of the surname on reaching America, whereas is many cases it can be shown that a revised spelling was arbitrarily chosen.
The Poingdestres are but one family with all family members past and present to be blood related except for those who have taken the name. There are no other families in Europe and the United States that can boast the same. DNA testing has proven our lineage to be true and conclusive. We are truely one family with the longest recorded history of a non-noble ancestry.
The history of the Poindexters in America is the history of America. Unmentioned here are the great multitudes of everyday family members, the farmers and mechanics, doctors and storekeepers, blacksmiths and others, whose quiet lives helped form the weave for the cloth that is this great nation.
Virtually every path the country took, the footstep of a Poindexter made an impression. In every war fought, every frontier challenged, a Poindexter was in the midst. When the country grew into the wilderness, Poindexters led the way with ax and plow. When the growing pains of the great experiment in democracy caused national convulsions, Poindexters were there, too, as soldiers, statesmen, or the strong arm of support on the home front.
The few whose names found a lasting place in history perhaps shone with a brighter light. The heaven of their endeavors would seem very cold indeed without the steady, sturdy flicker of their many kinsmen before and after. The men mentioned here are our guideposts along the path of family progress, with the greater story yet untold. We are a remarkable group, sprung of a single seed, bred from the stock of one small island, and yet we have spread across a continent and an incredibly wide array of human endeavor.
This does not elevate us above any other people or clan. The accomplishments of our forebears do not place laurels upon our brows. Rather the example set by those who went before should inspire us in our own efforts, that we might bring honor, great or small, to the family name. In another view, we are a mirror; a focused lens on the progress of a greater family, the United States of America. For good or evil, we are its image through almost three hundred and fifty years of history. My hope is that we will image an even stronger and more fruitful future, and then once again lend ourselves to make it so.
* This was written by: Gloria Poindexter Atwater
I have been researching my family for quite some time and I'm looking for human-interest stories involving the Poindexters. If you are affiliated with the Poindexter Family and you have a story to share that can be validated, please contact me. All stories are welcome from any Poindexter lineage.
Some Historical Information:
Jean Poingdestre 1609-1691
George Poingdestre/Poindexter 1627-1690
Governor George Littleton Poindexter 1779-1853
James Preston Poindexter 1819- 1907
Wars Against England
Colonel John A. Poindexter 1825-1869
James E. Poindexter 1839-1911
Congressman Meredith Poindexter Gentry 1809-1866
Governor Joseph Boyd Poindexter 1869-1951
Ambassador/Senator Miles Poindexter 1868-1946
Admiral John Marlan Poindexter, USN, Retired
Astronaut Alan G. Poindexter, USN
Captain John B. Poindexter, USA,