Welcome!

Welcome!
I realized quickly, with the lack of records for my family, that I’d really have to “think outside the box”. I LOVE to interview people, and ask about "the older days" in Mecklenburg. I also study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try help preserve some of those memories people share with me. Feel free to sign my guestbook stating surnames you are looking for, who you're related to etc. Always a work in progress, a work that I truly love!

24 January 2016

How can DNA testing help with my family research? My testing

I'm still really new at DNA research. I'm trying to learn all I can about it. I read articles, take DNA classes at genealogy conferences, bought a book, etc. I wondered, how can I apply it, and use it as a source for my personal ancestry? The more I read, the more questions I have. (A good thing.) Really, I find it all a completely fascinating concept. I've messaged with several people on Ancestry.com, 23andme (including My Heritage) and gedmatch.com who have the highest matches to me. Sometime I send messages. Sometimes others see I'm a match and message me. I plan to take DNA tests at multiple places. Just doing a little at a time. A lot of my highest match results, we connect 150-250 years ago! (And my family had 6 generations in 100 years!) For some of my family that's pre-USA time period, still mostly unknown areas for me.  Thankfully, most the people I message with have our families documented well enough that we can see where we match up. Others newer to family history, don't know enough yet to make connections. But the match is still there to keep in mind until newer and better sources arise.

I've had two interesting emails about DNA matches this week that I wanted to share. One lady told me her ancestor was Jeremiah Jones, and that he was supposed to be part of my family in Mecklenburg, VA. She said she'd seen lots of trees reflect this, but no sources listed. They just referenced eachother's trees. She saw I had sources listed, but not her Jeremiah. So she asked me what I knew about it. We concluded that her Jones family was not part of my Jones family. I had court documents stating those relationships, and who all the heirs were. Unfortunately I hadn't heard of her Jeremiah, so I wasn't able to tell her which family to look at. I added my info to gedmatch.com earlier this month. I gave her my DNA match number, and she checked it against her mother and her aunt. No matches at all! So DNA was able to back up that our families did not match. I hope it will soon help her identify the correct family.

George & Arthur Stowe. Sarah, Lucy Long, Violetta Stowe
My second story I think is really amazing. It's about my elusive Sarah. She was Cherokee. (See picture to the right. Clicking on it will enlarge it.) In this picture my ancestry is George Stowe, (far left), his mother Lucy Long, and her mother Sarah Jamison or Jempson. (George Stowe, was married to Fannie Gray, my Mecklenburg, VA ancestor pictured in the heading of this blog.) We know Sarah was first married to David Dunn and had 3 children (Nancy, James and infant). The youngest child died as an infant a year before David died in the battle of Chancellorsville, VA not too far from where I live now. Sarah then was supposed to have married a Jimmy or Billy Long. Sarah and the unknown Mr. Long had Lucy and a baby named Emmett who died soon after birth. For decades we wondered "who was Lucy's father?" About two years ago, a Long researcher told me, "I think Lucy's father is James Randolph Long, who is also my ancestor." We compared notes for several weeks. James Long married Catherine Havener and they had 10 children together. One of James and Catherine's children named William Long (Billy), married Nancy Dunn. (The daughter from Sarah's first marriage.) Another of James and Catherine's children named Wallace Long, married Matilda Adeline Dunn, a sister to David Dunn. (Sarah's first husband). A bit confusing, but it shows a lot of connection between this Dunn and Long family. My Sarah was listed in Matilda Dunn Long's family Bible with David Dunn and their 3 children. We kept searching for some good proof, because we wanted to make sure the relationships were all in our tree correctly, and because the 1870 Census had confusing and conflicting information. James and Catherine Long also had a daughter named Barbara Long Rhyne. She married (Rhyne), but did not have any children. In her estate record, she listed all of her siblings and included Lucy. Nancy Dunn was a sister in law and half sibling to Barbara, but she had already died. James Dunn, (Nancy's brother and Lucy's half brother) was not listed as a sibling to Barbara. James went to Texas with several of his grown and married children from his marriage to Catherine. Sarah and Lucy stayed behind. James died soon after his arrival to Texas. 

We were feeling pretty confident in our little pieces of evidence all getting put together. Recently 5 of us who believed ourselves to be descendants of James R. Long, all did DNA tests with 3 different companies. Someone recommended we all put our DNA info into gedmatch.com and compare. We all did, and discovered this weekend we all matched! Descendants from 2 of James and Catherine's children, and 2 of us from Lucy (from 2 different marriages of Lucy) all matched. I thought this was really cool that we were able to back up what we had researched. Those of us who tested, did not have Dunn DNA ancestry, (only connections by marriages) so our matches would have been through the James Long family. I read a few emails today, about surname studies, including one set up for James Long. That's my project goal for this week.

I told my grandparents about this yesterday. They were really excited at the possibilities with DNA. They said they really want to get Y-DNA testing done for my grandfather. He's already done the regular Ancestry.com test. My grandfather is half Polish. His father Paul was born in Chicago. Paul's oldest sibling was born in Zywiec, Poland, just before the family immigrated to the United States. There are a number of people who have told me think they are related to our family. Same place, records in same church, same rare surname, ...I was born about 56 years after flu epidemic family separations, and 36 years after the invasion of Poland. I think the majority of the people who could have answered my questions about ancestry didn't survive the flu epidemic of 1918, or were separated in WWII, and we're still not able to reconnect. I think there's really great potential for my grandfather to find out more about his Polish (Sanetra and Wandzel) ancestry this way.

My conclusion? DNA can be an extremely useful tool, and used as a source to corroborate other records we find. There's lots to continuously learn about, and I look forward to future findings!

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