Monday, April 6, 2015

Am I My Mother's Daughter?

Taking DNA tests to aid in genealogical research is a trip, literally. Learning the dozens of countries your ancestors come from is interesting and sometimes enlightening, but if you are hoping to solve some mysteries or knock down some brickwalls, its the cousin matches that can be the most enlightening.
Image result for dna tests for ethnicity

Now, not every cousin match is going to be helpful. Some choose to keep their family tree private, taking the test for ethnicity only and no interest in discovering lineage. Some just have not done enough research for you to be able to find a connection. If they have only 8 people in their tree, you are probably not going to be able to see how you are related, unless you are siblings. On, they will make the connections for you if you have the same people in your tree. Its these that are the most helpful.

The one fact that became oddly clear when I first garnered my test was that I was without any doubt, my father's child. Every cousin that had a tracked link, that formed a tree showing the connection on, was from my fathers side of the family.

Ancestry has even formed DNA "groups" of people. With many others, I'm in the "Taylor Burris" Group, the "Job and Vashti Calloway" Group and the "James Ludwell Carpenter" Group. I've discovered that certain ancestors, like Revolutionary War Soldier, Solomon Burris, father of Taylor and Tillman Helms, have spawned a large number of descendants from far and wide.

I do not check the DNA site that often, but do occasionally, when Ancestry reminds me to, to see if any new cousins were about.

And as all my tracked connections were on my fathers' side, I was beginning to doubt that I was actually my mother's daughter. Well, not really, I look just like her, but the one brickwall I've been hoping to breakdown has not been made any easier with DNA. So, I have been wondering if somewhere there is a break in my mother's family tree. Not in recent generations, but further back. Not that the research is incorrect, but perhaps an ancestor, genetically, was not who they were supposed to be, or not who they were on paper. An unknown adoption, perhaps, or the result of a secret affair.

6th Great-Grandfather
6th Great-Grandmother

I checked out some new cousins today however, with some pleasant surprises. I found connections from my mother's side of the tree.

One cousin connects back to the Harris line. I did not know that Mary Harris Winfield, mother of Peter Winfield who was the one to arrive in this area from Virginia, was the sister of West Harris. I have seen the name West Harris in old records, not knowing he was a several great-uncle of mine. But they had the same father, Edward Harris, born and died in the same places in the same years and DNA says we are a match.
The Edward Harris Family by Marie Harris Key

Another new cousin with only 94 people in her tree, ends up being my third cousin once removed, on my mother's side of the family. Her ancestor, George Samuel Turner, was a brother to my second great-grandfather, William A. Turner, both sons of George Washington Turner and wife, Elizabeth Wincy Morton Turner. My mother's paternal grandmother was Penny Wayne Turner Davis, and this is my Turner line. So, I at least know I am without doubt a Turner.

William A. Turner

I found a new cousin through the Lemmonds line, and this was the first match I had through that line, which is my paternal grandmothers line, but again, on my Dads side, and another dna match through my Means and Work lines, which are in that Lemmonds line.  This cousins Isabella Caroline Means was a sister to my Harriett C Means who married a Lemmonds, their father being John Works Means, son of William Melvin Means and Isabella Work.

4th Great-Grandfather
4th Great-Grandmother
Several of these cousins, whose roots are evidently primarily in Stanly County, or the surrounding counties, no matter their current location, share more than one line with me. A part of the Stanly County soup. Such was one new cousin who shared a Cagle line on my mothers side and a Hathcock line on my fathers side.

5th Great-Grandfather
5th Great-Grandmother

I have now come across 3 or 4 cousins who connect to me through the Aldridge line, so I am definately an Aldridge. This is also my mothers line as my Paternal Grandfathers paternal grandmother was an Aldridge.

I  also connect to several people who have Whitley in their lines. Now, it could just be that Rebecca Cagle who married George Whitley and Rebecca Louise Cagle who married Caleb Aldridge were closely related. Maybe they were first cousins both named for an earlier common ancector named Rebecca. Or it could be this was the breaking point. My second great-grandmother was known to have two children whose father was a Whitley prior to her marriage to my Second Great-Grandfather. Maybe my Great-Grandfather, who was born two years after the marriage, was actually a Whitley. After all, I'm not finding any links in my dna to his surname. This is an assumption, but completely a possibility.

For the first time, I also found a match through the Searcy line, which is also on my mother's side and through the Aldridge/Murray line, which could verify the fact that I have Jesse Murray, a third Great-Grandfather's, ancestry correct as the son of Jane Pearce Murray, whose grandmother was Mary Searcy.

I've had two connections through the Starnes line now, which is my father's side, and several who also descend from the Rev. Samuel Parsons Morton aka "Crying Sammy", a very moving and reknowned circuit preacher who happens to be my 4th Great-Grandfather.

The History of Anson County by Mary Louise Medley, 'Crying Sammy P Morton

Going down through all the new cousins, I find several more in the German ancestors of my father, Specks, Klines, Starnes. I would really like to find a connection to someone who descends from a Byram or Fincher.

But again, wow were those Burris's prolific.

Image result for solomon burris, stanly county

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