The Good of DNA and genealogy.

The good of DNA and genealogy. DNA and Genealogy set me up for a very interesting , humbling and fulfilling weekend in Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton Ontario and Union Station Platform 9 3/4

As a fan of Hamilton, Ontario, where I have had the pleasure of speaking, twice, in a month, or so I am happy to say, I now know how to get there. I’ll be back in Hamilton in June at the Ontario Ancestors (OGS) 2020 Conference. I am very much looking forward to it and I have solved a HUGE transportation issue.

Taking the train to Toronto, one must change at Union Station to the Go Transit Bus system. It’s a bit awkward in union station, but I have nailed it. Go to the York Concourse, and take the elevator, very near the entrance from the great hall, up to level 3, to the GO Train platform. Take a left out of the elevator then walk to the very end of the platform.

Push yourself and your luggage cart through the wall, taking care to not hurt your owl. Wait…

At the end of the platform you can take the stairs or go around the corner to the left and take the elevator down to the bus platform. Got it? Good, so far, so now your travel to Hamilton from Union Station Toronto will be less stressful (no there are no trains to Hamilton).

BUT…there’s more! Once you get into Hamilton you can take your bus all the way down to the Bus Station, about a half km walk, to the hotel across from the convention centre entrance (The Sheraton Hamilton Central). Or you can get off on Main St. in front of the cool Hamilton sign, near King St. West, walk across the street, down and around the corner to the entrance of the convention centre/hotel. Google Maps, Pshaw.

Leaving is so hard to do! Not really. The bus stop to get back to Toronto’s Union Station is right outside the entrance to the Honest Lawyer (it’s a bar/adult arcade not a real honest lawyer) across from the entrance to the convention centre and next to the hotel. Or if you are into health in June, in Canada, then walk yourself back the half km to the bus station.

Thank you, and shout out, to the Hamilton Public Library for throwing such a great Genealogy Fair. What a great turnout! What a great space! What friendly volunteers/event staff. Loved being so well cared for, throughout!

Ontario Ancestors! Thank you for sponsoring my contribution to the day. I can’t imagine having more fun at work than I do, you made my weekend.

My lecture? The audience was full, attentive, and engaged. We had fun learning about DNA!

Here are some Photo’s.

Big Thing #1

The two biggest things that happened during the day? As soon as I arrived, I was helped with my booth/table setup by my neighbors, the Hamilton Branch of the UEL, thanks Martha and Pat. No, that isn’t a big thing, to you. Martha is the big thing (sorry Pat). I didn’t remember her name on the first go. She and Pat immediately created nametags for themselves. Upon reading Martha’s name? I really shouldn’t give her privacy away, but suffice it to say that her nametag included one of my surnames. One that I have not researched (I don’t have time to work on my own family!!!) Now I have started a name/place study to figure out how we are connected. Bad Martha!

Big Thing #2


The other big thing? This is a really big thing. It’s about how the power of DNA can give us a sense of self, of identity.

A Lady who has attended my lectures in the past came by my booth before lunch. She was with a “friend” and they started confusing the heck out of me trying to get me to help them with the last nudge their research needed to tell them who their Earliest Known Shared Ancestor is.

I finally had to get them to spoon feed me the names dates and places so I could start drawing out a chart I create for all of my clients (for me). It is based on the Maguire Method of looking at diagraming shared matches. The chart let’s me see how close family members are related and their level of relatedness. I referenced Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM tool at DNA Painter, to help with the cousin/familial relationships and added those relationships to my McGuire Method chart.

After getting all the data down in a rough sketch we all three (more me than them) could easily visualize the familial connections and immediately we saw something was wrong in the family story. These were first cousins, these two ladies, but the amount of shared cM’s pointed to something dark and sinister about the birth of one of the lady’s Mothers.

This mother had been adopted. The other lady, who was a part of the first lady’s birth family, had accessed a family journal entry from a cousin, which stated that an aunt had gone away to Michigan and became pregnant while she was there. Once she was home and nine months later? A baby girl was born. The baby girl was shuffled off to live with an Aunt out west and all was good and a happy ending for the baby was guaranteed.

But the numbers were off. We talked of endogamy and could endogamy have anything to do with how things were lining up? It certainly looked like it, especially after looking at the high number of high cM matches that turned up in the match list.

The ladies, cousins, were throwing out three different father names from my sketch. How could this fella be, or this fella? It was all wrong and nothing really pointed to any of the men. Then, I ran David Pike’s ‘Runs of Homozygosity (ROH)’ utility at GEDmatch (click on “Are Your Parents Related” in the right hand column of your GEDmatch home page) on the adoptee’s kit at GEDmatch.

“Since you inherit half of your DNA from each of your parents, it stands to reason that large blocks of SNPs where both alleles are the same would be an indication that your parents each inherited that block from the same ancestor. These are called ‘Runs of Homozygosity’ (ROH). There are other utilities available that look for ROH for other purposes, but this analysis is specifically aimed at determining how closely related your parents might be.” – David Pike’s ‘Runs of Homozygosity (ROH)’ utility GEDmatch.

Running the analysis took a second, which seemed like and hour…

David’s utility pointed us to the right man. Still a member of the family, but not a possible 1st cousin to the mother. The ladies were a bit worried that, that would be the case. It was still not a nice story for them, though. It appears that they share a common grandfather. That this man had had an affair with his wife’s sister, a baby was born, though not shipped off to the far away sister, but put up for adoption close by. It certainly isn’t the happy ending from the journal. But a happy ending none the less. Two cousins discovered together, who they were; one morning at their local library’s genealogy fair.

Oh, the power of DNA and the tools our community has put together for us to use, free of charge to make these kinds of discoveries. This is the kind of story I like to see about DNA databases and the genealogy community.

 

Working WikiTree as a Pro Genealogist

For years I have been an ardent WikiTreer (a person who is a member of WikiTree). But many people don’t realize how I use WikiTree in my work as a Professional Genealogist, which I do, almost every single day.

Time Tracking

This is the comment that usually causes eyebrows to raise, their pupils to dilate and their genea-senses to prick. Time tracking is what we do while we work for every single client. For me it’s a way to show the client the bang for their buck.

Every single change I make to WikiTree is shown in my contributions feed. Every single change I make to a WikiTree profile is shown in the changes tab for the profile. Every single minute of time I take to input data and sources (correct typo’s and be OCD about the presentation of the work on the profile – the ultimate genealogy report) is shown. So any one of my clients can look at their family profiles on wikiTree and see what work I am doing and the time I have spent on that work – the entering it into WikiTree part and the research part.

Research Notes

While I work I post information about current theories or research angles to the profile. I discuss why I am looking in a certain direction and can post images on why I have a certain theory.

For example:

An adoptee has her birth record. It list the names of her parents. Great, job done! But in reviewing all of the information surrounding the birth and in looking for information on those names, there don’t appear to be people who ever lived with those names in those places. 

In the city directories for the year of her birth, where she was born, I found a page with the supposed surname. The surname was in the column furthest to the right. Scanning across the other two columns on the same page, on the same line, are the rest of the fathers names – names for other people, for other families. If you take the first name from this column for Robert Smelzter, the middle name in the second column Michael Smith and in the last column (none with either of the Robert or Michael) but the surname listed in the birth record? It is very apparent that the fathers name was made-up from someone opening that city directory and creating it from the names in the three columns (the actual names were very unique which made this easy to spot). 

This theory, with images, is posted on the profile page for the adoptee (having found the father and knowing his real name is not the one on the birth record, bears out the way in which the names were chosen for the birth record).

Free Space Pages

I could have posted my research into the way the fathers name was created and posted all of this to a free space page. Creating a free space page for long and thoughtful research, like The Origins of The Hunt 14, is a great way to make a profile less wordy, less cluttered. Free Space Pages also provide an easy way to convert your research into great blog posts too! Here is information on creating a Free Space Page on WikiTree.

Real Time Conversations and Collaboration

My clients can join WikiTree or not. If they do they create their own account, and I work the tree back for them from what ever point they chose. If they don’t join WikiTree, I work the tree back from what ever point they chose. Sounds like it’s the same and it is. As long as I am not working with living individuals my clients can see all of my work in real time, as it happens.

As I work, if something comes up wonky and I need the client to clarify things, I don’t spend time with lengthy email chains trying to explain the wonky. I point them to the wonky, they see the wonky, and a real time conversation takes place. Oh! The time I have saved with this ability, this real time client collaboration.

Community Collaboration

There are great WikiTreers who are very specialized in their genealogy knowledge. These WikiTreers answer questions in the Genealogist to Genealogist forum and also work in projects to create resources and information on sources and resources for research specific to an area, a time, a name or an event. Like the Templeton Name Study or any of the other projects on WikiTree. Projects are chock full of resources and information and volunteers ready to help.

And the community involvement runs deeper with being able to ask a question about a source or reference or place or…in G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist Forum).

Database Capabilities

Well, that is what WikiTree is in reality. A humongous Global Family Tree that is a workable database. The possibilities are endless. From identifying names or groups in geographic locations or cemeteries or businesses or by mt  full sequence haplogroups…

You can create your own database categories to suit your research needs. I have. One example is mapping the migration of Templeton’s from Ireland and Scotland to Pennsylvania and South Carolina, to points west by haplogroups. If you contact me to tell me you are a Templeton in Arkansas, with haplogroup R-M222, I can tell you which of the six Templeton families you originated from, off the top of my head. As a researcher you can find that data on the Templeton Name Study Free Space Page.

Report Writing

As I work each and every profile, every free space page, I create a series of mini-reports which can be included in any written report to a client. I have all of my sources, all the biographical information, images and information posted in a clear concise manner for each individual. I can in insert them into a larger report as is, or provide those as singular reports to clients. It’s an “as I work I create the final report” as a I go way of working.  It’s a way to be on top of my reports with little effort. Because if you don’t do that, coming back to write a report after the fact makes the report and arduous task.

And More

These are only a few of the ways to use WikiTree as a Professional Genealogist. There are so many more, like setting up a profile so when you send out queries to people about a person they can find ALL of the information they need to connect them to your client – like this Surname List with a link to all of the individuals EKA’s for each surname. The Compact Pedigree Chart or A DNA Page showing all of a persons DNA information – mtDNA inheritance Ancestor Trail, and X and Y and…How about a once click button on an Ancestors profile to show you the relationship between the profile manager and the ancestor or between a DNA tester and the ancestors or…

There is so much that WikiTree can do to help a pro Genealogist be smart about how they work.

WikiTree Source-A-Thon

I will be one of many WikiTreer’s losing sleep the first weekend of October during the WikiTree Source-A-Thon.

Instead of writing a new blog post to tout that I will be appearing on source-a-thons hangouts (I will), or that I am offering a one hour consult as one of the prizes (I am), I am posting the press release for you from WikiTree! Enjoy…WikiTree Source-A-Thon

WikiTree Announces Fourth Source-a-Thon
Wiki genealogists celebrate Family History Month by verifying oral family histories with sources

September 4, 2019: Registration opened today for WikiTree’s fourth annual “Source-a-Thon,” a 72-hour genealogical sourcing marathon. The event is scheduled for the first weekend in Family History Month (October), starting on the morning of Friday, October 4, and ending on the morning of Monday, October 7.

Family trees often start as oral histories.

Events are retold as they are remembered by those who experienced them. These memories are incorporated into family trees and handed down through the generations. The genealogists who collaborate on WikiTree seek to preserve these family histories forever as part of a single family tree that everyone can access for free.

Unfortunately, oral histories and handed-down trees sometimes include mistakes. Conflicts arise when the trees are put together into a single family tree. The only objective way to resolve these conflicts is to refer to original source documents, such as birth, marriage, and death records.

Family History Month Marathon

To celebrate Family History Month, WikiTree members from all over the world will be working together around the clock for three days on profiles that don’t currently have any source citations. 

This is the fourth annual marathon event. Of the 2018 Source-a-Thon, participant Neil Perry wrote, “I have to say, I really enjoyed it, and the fact that over 72,000 new sources were added to the tree is amazing! … everyone’s a winner.”

Prizes

To support this event, individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are donating prizes to be awarded at random. Over $3,500 in prizes have been donated so far, including DNA tests and full memberships from MyHeritage and Ancestry, as well as valuable prizes from Fold3, Newspapers.com, Legacy Tree Genealogists, Family ChartMasters, RootsTech, Grandma’s Genes, and more. Prizes are still being added. If you would like to donate a prize, contact eowyn@nullwikitree.com.

To be eligible for the random prize drawings, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.” Registration is now open. See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Source-a-Thon for further details.

WikiTree, The Free Family Tree

WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See https://www.WikiTree.com.

 

FGS 2019 Conference Takeaways

I spent the last 6 days in sweltering, melting, sauna like, Washington DC in the comfort of the luxurious Omni Shorham at the FGS Conference 2019. Here are my takeaways…

The Venue

The Luxurious Omni Shoreham, was spectacular in architeture, hospitality and location at Woodley park. The proximity to Woodley Park was a must have since the hotels restaurants and bars (under new management?) seemed woefully unprepared for this flock of genealogists.

Since I spent the majority of my time in the exhibit hall talking about mitoYDNA, WikiTree, DNAGedcom and Genetic.Family, I can only speak first hand about how well the exhibit hall worked. Second hand I can say that everyone I talked to who attended sessions mentioned they learned a great deal and were being spurred on by the sessions to dig deeper and work smarter on thier genealogy.

The Exhibit Hall itself presented challenges for the organizers, yet those challenges did not translate to anything but a great experience for our booth. Our biggest challenge was very poor lighting which was over come by the generosity of the exhibitors close to us – Thank you Mary Kay from Our Fun Tree and Angie and Louise from The National Institute For Genealogical Studies.

mitoYDNA booth
Rob and Mags attempting to illuminate the booth.

Randy Whited worked tirelessly to make sure the exhibitors had what they needed and was in the hall, I think, for the entire conference. Thank You to Randy for being very present.

The volunteers and conference organizers were also very presnt. Thank you to the FGS board, Pat Richley-Erickson, Steve Fulton, Jen Baldwin and the rest for  your hard work to make things work for all attendees.

Support for mitoYDNA.org

Rob at the Booth
Rob talking Genetic.Family to booth visitors.

Rob Warthen and DNAGedcom hosted mitoYDNA at the DNAGedcom booth and at the conference. Which is a pretty big deal. Really a big deal to have that kind of support for a brand new, non-profit (run totally on contributions and support from the genealogy community) organization. Thank You!

mitoYDNA took the opportunity afforded us to introduce the Genealogy Community to this new, free, accessible YDNA and mtDNA database. It was our first public appearance since swinging open our doors for uploads, matching and analysis.

Mags and Rob
Rob and Mags being shown how to get integration with Family Search rolling.

We had great conversations about privacy and our philosphy of making this database availabe to everyone while still being able to provide privacy to our users as well. We talked about how Y and mtDNA can be used to smash brickwalls. We talked about how acedemic researchers can use the data to show how we are all connected.

We geeked out with people who came to us with ideas for tools and analysis for the database. I am talking serious Geeking going on at all hours.

FGS Conference 2019 was a great first public appearance for mitoYDNA and the support and good words we got from so many was incredible!

WikiTree In The House (or I am home where ever I am)

The very first person I saw upon arriving at the conference was WikiTreer Star Kline! We both screamed each other’s names when we saw each other and hugged it out – it was our first time seeing each other in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world of WikiTree). What a great welcome!

WikiTreers stopped to say hello everywhere. Even in the ladies room! Some made multiple trips by the booth to ask questions or just to be “WikiTree” at the conference.

mitoYDNA presentation
Mags talking mitoYDNA at the FTDNA booth venue.

FTDNA graciously asked me to do a booth session/talk and WikiTreer’s came out in force to see my WikiTree infused presentation on mitoYDNA.

As I was getting into my uber to leave for home, WikiTreer Glenn York came over to see me off (and to tell me we are double cousins!). WikiTree is always home where ever I go!

Some Statistics

Here are some interesting numbers from FGS 2019:

mitoYDNA had 25 to 30 new site visitors each day of the conference.

We added approximately 240+/- kits to the mitoYDNA Database.

I talked to every single society who were exhibitors at the conference and to quite a few who were not official exhibitors, which was the goal of mitoYDNA being at the conference. Societies who have promised to mention the mitoYDNA is open and avialable? 100+/-

There is no hard number for the number of WikiTreer’s who are re-engergied about working our great big ole shared tree at Wikitree, nor are there numbers on new WikiTreers, but there certainly are (I know this because I had people coming by to ask me questions about their first profile work).

People who were sent to the FTDNA booth for Y and mtDNA upgrades? 10 – 12 (million, he he).

People who were sent to YSEQ for Y and mtDNA tests? No numbers on that but a few at least.

South Carolina Peeps in attendance? I think half the conference were my fellow Carolinians! Loved getting to meet new friends and to see old friends from “down home” – especially the contingent from SCGS who were like light for this Carolinian-Canadian moth. Can’t wait to see you again next July for the 2020 SCGS 48th Annual Summer Workshop, July 10-11.

Granma’s Genes Hugs given away? Way too many to count!

 

mitoYDNA, THE new Y-DNA and mtDNA Database

mitoYDNA, THE new Y-DNA and mtDNA Database is here. What is mitoYDNA? How can it help the genealogy community? And many more questions, answered.

What is a Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA database and why do we need it?

Y-DNA – is the DNA for males that follows the patrilineal line back, father to son, for a very long time – thousands of years.

mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – is the DNA that follows the matrilineal line back, mother to her children, which is passed on by only her female children to their children, for a very long time – thousands of years.

For years anyone who tested their Y-DNA and mtDNA could post their results to the databases YSearch and MitoSearch to do comparisons, matching and analysis. If you had a Y-DNA or a mtDNA test you could compare and match with people from various DNA testing companies. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) caused FTDNA to make the decision to close these two databases – time and money to get each and every person in the former databases up to the new privacy standards was too expensive and time consuming to attempt.

How and why did mitoYDNA get started?

I spoke with FTDNA in 2017 about YSearch and mitoSearch and its future since there were lots of rumors floating around regarding it’s possible closure. I was told that indeed the sites would be closing.

As someone who uses DNA daily in my own business, and having used YSearch and MitoSearch for my own family mysteries – especially using mitochondrial DNA to solve an adoption mystery (or tale of adoption) in my own family – I knew firsthand how important having a free and accessible Y-DNA and mtDNA database was to my research. I know how important a third-party Y and mtDNA database is to DNA researchers in the genealogical community.

Over the course of 2017, a team came together to build and create mitoYDNA.org.

Our Mission

mitoYDNA.org is a website for uploading Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA to create a YDNA and mitochondrial DNA database. The site also offers DNA matching, analysis and tools to help our users/volunteers further their genealogical research. mitoYDNA is:

  • Crowdsourced – www.mitoYDNA.org is volunteer driven.
  • Free – www.mitoYDNA.org’s use will be at no cost to the users/volunteers, though donations are encouraged to defer hardware, facility and administrative costs.
  • Accessible – www.mitoYDNA.org will be accessible to all.

501(c)3 non-profit company

mitoYDNA Ltd., the 501(c)3 non-profit company behind the design, implementation, and ongoing upgrade and maintenance of mitoYDNA.org, is a group of collaborative genetic genealogists who believe genealogists can have access to a YDNA and mtDNA database which includes Y and mtDNA testing from all available companies today and those of the future. mitoYDNA Ltd. is based on the principles genealogical collaboration and continues to work to keep mitoYDNA:

  • Straightforward
  • Current
  • Expanding

mitoYDNA Home Page

Registration

Using the menu bar for navigation, click on Register.

mitoYDNA reg

Fill in all of the fields (password help is listed below the password fields) and be sure to read the TOS/Privacy Statement and click the checkbox at the bottom of the page to verify you have read them – they are very important.

Once you have registered “Kits” and “Tools” will be added to the navigation menu at the top of the page.

Create 

Click Kits on the Menu Bar and it will take you to the Kits You Manage Page. From there click on the create button to create a kit. When you create a kit, you will download your results in a CSV file for YDNA, from your testing company to your computer then upload it to mitoYDNA. For mtDNA you will download a chrome extension (for Google Chrome) which will download your mtDNA results from your testing company to your computer then you can upload it to mitoYDNA. For more on how to download your Y-DNA and mtDNA and upload to mitoYDNA please visit our FAQ/Help page.

What Files does mitoYDNA take?

The Y-DNA files are the Short Tandem Repeat (STR) marker values (alelles) and represent your Haplotype (the set of DNA alelle values; not to be confused with Haplogroup) . mitoYDNA does not process Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) data! 

Data Processed

The chart below shows the current status of data processing capability for each company at mitoYDNA.   Click on the Company name to get instructions on how to get the files you need to upload to mitoYDNA (if currently processed).   Abbreviations: 

  • CSV – Comma Separated Values
  • Ch. Ext. – Chrome Extension

Company – Help File

mtDNA Y-DNA
 FASTA CSV HVR1/2 CSV Ch.Ext. Manual  CSV  Manual
FamilyTreeDNA      
Ancestry      
YSEQ        
Sorenson            
Genebase            
Oxford            
NatGeo            

WikiTree Integration

mitoYDNA ID’s appear in WikiTree and can be used to view comparisons on mitoYDNA.

WikiTree Integration

Instructions for Y-DNA and WikiTree
Instructions for mtDNA and WikiTree

Full Launch

We rolled-out all the tools, matching and comparisons we have planned for phase I of mitoYDNA.org and are ending a very successful beta testing run.

Since we are crowdsourced, we are getting suggestions and input from our facebook users group about the future of mitoYDNA.

Have fun, join the conversation and let us know if you need help, either in the Facebook Users Group, or via info at mitoYDNA.org.

I Pledge

Over the past while, I have had many who have been involved in some of the very public posts, which have flown through the genetic genealogy community, contact me to air frustrations. I have been having discussions with so many and I want to continue those discussions with anyone who wants to share their views on specific ideas on how we as a community work to lift and build our fledgling profession and community. I am not interested in rehashing old problems. I am interested only in moving forward.

I want to community build and I have an idea I am working on which I hope, and I think, will help with this. If you have input on positive ways to move forward please feel free to post here.  This is not a secret. It has grown organically out of the desire told to me by so many, who have shared their hurt, their pain, and their frustration, from all parts and every viewpoint (and those yet discover). There are a lot of “I’s” up to this point but this is about “we”.

It is very simple. As a community, we need to make a pledge to each other that we will, in the very simplest of ways, and this is something I will repeat from one of those discussions I had over the weekend, “pledge to behave in a professional manner and to treat my colleagues in a civil and respectful way.”

Let’s move on and forward. Let’s build together. Let’s be positive. Let’s be professional. Hobbyist, Amateur and professional alike, let’s build up our genetic genealogy community.

I am not asking you to make a pledge here, in the next bit there will be a space for all of us to pledge. We will work to help others in our community to “stop, drop, and roll” when things start to get heated and to give ourselves the time we need to carry on conversations, even about controversial subjects, in a professional manner.

I will tell you now, I pledge.

The Genealogy Show – Takeaways

I always have a list of takeaways when I attend Genealogy Shows/Conferences and THE Genealogy Show 2019 is no different.

Disclaimer – I am on the board for THEGenShow and have a slightly rosie view on how things went down. No Canadian GG’s lost appendages (arms, fingers, pounds) from attending this event.

The Gen Show Crew
Stolen from Kirsty Grays FB Post.

THE Take Away? THE Peoples Show

From the very beginning, in the very informal conversations for THE Genealogy Show, in its acorn stage, the show director, Kirsty Gray, used the words “a peoples show”.  How do you make a recipe for The Peoples Show?

The Team

You start by building a team who are known to each other but in most cases, don’t “know” each other. Throw them together for a year and let them bounce international, accessible, open, teaching and researching ideas off of each other. Then, with a light, guiding hand, morph those ideas into the Show Directors vision and you come out with a show that is for “every genealogist”.

Plenty of Seating
Spacious Floor Plan
Accessible Speakers
Great Stands
Large, enclosed Wizard Consults Stand
Engaging and Friendly Volunteers (some of which were the Accessible Speakers)
Engaging and interactive Tags Station
A Coffee/Tea Stand in the Hall
….mix, stir with…
Thousands of wonderful attendees

TGS Volunteers Mags Gaulden and Dear Myrtle
Mags Gaulden and Dear Myrtle working the door – Stolen from the TGS FB Page

Takeaway – THE People

As a personal note, it was my first time for more than a stopover in England. I got to try some local brew, foods I have only heard of my whole life, attempt to be competent in British currency, meet more than a few incredible brits, experience british weather and enlarge my ever-growing circle close friends – thousands of you.

Then there was this amazing wall of ORANGE…My WikiTree family was out in full force as well.Just…Amazing!

 

Roots Tech 2019 and Flying With a Cello

Roots Tech 2019 was an absolute blast this year. It had a whole different vibe with fewer complaints about lines and how to find things and well, just about anything I heard complaints about from last year was fixed. The Roots Tech folk must have done some good listening to their visitors from last year. Good job all the way around!

Frenetic Pace

At the start of my adventure I was amped-up for an incredibly busy long weekend in Salt Lake City. The Expo Hall was open on Wednesday night from 6-8 and I flew in at 5. Swooosh to the hotel to change into some WikiTree Orange and off to endure the carpet covered concrete floors of the Salt Palace – wait, I just complained. Apologies to Roots Tech because there is absolutely nothing they can do about the floors in the Salt Palace. Of course we could have purchased an upgrade in the floor covering of our booth (this is a discussion between we WikiTree Volunteers EVERY year at Roots Tech).

WikiTreer’s at the booth!!

The Booth was really an intensive “how to connect” to our great big ole shared tree with people this year. We had life-sized cardboard cut-outs of King Henry VIII and Elvis pelvis himselvis. People were all GaGa over both

WikiTree Team Member Sarah Rojas, the King and a Dino.

of them! I got to do a demo-stage presentation on WikiTree and connections. W etook the cut-outs over for the stage but kept Elvis turned so he couldn’t be seen until a big reveal. We had connection issues – note to self, order a macro HDMI connector – The Big Reveal of Elvis caused a few screams from the crowd. Of course, the MC for the Demo Stage had to say, “Elvis has left the building”.Love doing the Demo Stage presentations for WikiTree at Roots Tech.

Networking

We all networked, which makes Roots Tech a frenetic place for Professional Genealogists. Different breakfasts, lunches, coffee hours, cocktail hours and dinners were planned every single day. Every single minute was a meeting of some kind, whether it be with a booth visitor or with another Professional Genealogist or Freind.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and closeup
Roberta Estes and me showing off my new Helix necklace. Thanks Roberta!

WikiTree’s total membership grew by 343 since Wednesday. WikiTree Volunteers who never see each other or have never met got a chance to collaborate at the WikiTree booth. It was great fun AND exhausting. I heard that some of our Volunteers stayed up chatting to the wee hours of the morning. Me? My roommate and I were both east coasters and were asleep by the wee hours of the evening – every evening!

Grandma’s Genes

I spent a lot of time not promoting Grandma’s Genes, but just being Grandma’s Genes because that is who I am. Many of you came by the booth or stopped me in my wanderings to get selfie’s or a quick question or a wee chat or a hug. I also got some inspiration for a couple of future Grandma’s Genes Blogs. Thanks very much to everyone who suggested blogs or reminded me that I wanted to write about something. Loved seeing you!

mitoYDNA

I spent a lot of time not promoting mitoYDNA. But we did have a presence at Roots Tech. DNAGedcom and Genetic Family graciously let us have cards and information at their booth. Rob, Gale, Peter, Jamie and I suggested mitoYDNA to people who had questions about our work to provide a crowdsourced, free and accessible mitochondrial and YDNA database. Gale was a great promoter all weekend and had an opportunity to mentioned mitoYDNA in his lectures. Gale created a bit of a buzz as well as being a walking billboard.

If you missed the announcement, we have added two superstars to our team: Jonny Perl (DNA Painter) and Kevin Borland (Borland Genetics).

Keven Borland, Gale French, Rob Warthen, Mags Gaulden and Jonny Perl

It’s exciting to see interest in mitoYDNA increase. We are just as excited as you are to move on to matching and beta testing. If you are interested in keeping up with mitoYDNA check out our mitoYDNA Facebook Users Group.

Doing DNA Right!

Flying with a Cello

On one of the flights home we had a delay in our flight by 30 minutes because of weather and another delay in forty minutes for a Cello. Yes a Cello. What?! You’ve never flown with your Cello?

Well, you can’t put your Cello into the baggage hold of an aircraft. You must purchase a seat for your Cello. You can’t just buckle your cello to the seat, the airline must cargo net your cello to your seat. The cargo netting is installed by removing all surrounding passengers, then an airline baggage specialist crawls all over all the area seats to get the cargo net applied correctly. Fascinating.

I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t want to get mobbed for being insensitive. Not sure I would have gotten away with the, “but I need this for my blog” excuse.

Roots Tech London

Apparently, I will be hoping the pond again in October of this year to be at Roots Tech London! How about that! Can’t wait.

Another Myth: John Dillard’s Service Record with Pickens

John M. Dillard, January 24, 1993

It has been published that John Dillard of Rabun County served with General Andrew Pickens in his expeditions against the Cherokee Indians. This has unfortunately been repeated in other accounts about John Dillard. Ritchie, in a sketch of General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina, tells us that Pickens was one of the heroes of Grant’s victory over the Cherokee Indians in the French and Indian War when Pickens was just 22 years of age. He further verifies that in 1785 after the Revolutionary War Pickens forced the Cherokee Indians in a single treaty to give up all of their claims in South Carolina and northeast Georgia out of which Rabun County was created. The latter was not the result of fighting, but Pickens’ skills as an Indian treaty negotiator. It is stated that one of Pickens’ Cherokee Indian battles was fought and won in the Little Tennessee River Valley in what is now Rabun County. All of that, however, was before Rabun County was formed and before the Dillards were ever there.

The basis of the conclusion that John Dillard served against the Cherokees with Pickens is unknown. At that time and place when the Indian expeditions occurred, Pickens was residing in South Carolina, and John Dillard was residing in far away Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The conclusion that John Dillard served under General Andrew Pickens in the American Revolution seems based on still another conclusion that John Dillard and James Dillard of Laurens District, South Carolina, served together in the American Revolution in companies of which the well known James Dillard was a captain. It is reasoned that since James Dillard served with Pickens during the Revolutionary War (which he did in fact), so did John Dillard. The latter could also be the basis for the conclusion that John Dillard served with Pickens against the Cherokees, in that Pickens’ expeditions against the Cherokees grew out of, and were timed with, his service in the Revolution. These conclusions need further investigation.

Dillard researchers have in recent years have thought that the captain with whom John Dillard served was his probable first cousin, Thomas Dillard, of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, where John Dillard’s Revolutionary military service, according to his pension application, took place. A complete account on the Revolutionary military record of Thomas Dillard is set forth in the old and respected History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia by Maud Carter Clement at pages 163 and 164 and elsewhere. A review of John Dillard’s military record in the Revolution as alleged by him in his pension application compared to Thomas Dillard’s military record as set forth in Maud Carter Clement, id., leaves little doubt that it was Thomas Dillard and not James Dillard with whom John Dillard served in that the two records verify each other.

James Dillard of South Carolina, a son of George Dillard of Culpepper County, Virginia, and also a probable first cousin to John Dillard of Rabun County, had left Virginia and settled in South Carolina prior to the beginning of the Revolutionary War. As pointed out by Marjorie Lee Holland in her Sims P. and Melissa Hendricks Dillard: Their Ancestors and Descendants, James Dillard was in Laurens District South Carolina where he married Mary Ramage Dillard, later Revolutionary heroine, on December 4, 1774. His brothers, Major, Samuel and William (killed in the South Carolina Revolutionary battle of Eutaw Springs in which Andrew Pickens also fought) were also there about the time of the Revolution.

James Dillard’s documented military service in the American Revolution, including the Battle of Kings Mountain, occurred in and from South Carolina. Pickens’ Revolutionary War military activities extended in and from South Carolina in the general period from 1775 through 1782, with Pickens’ last “fighting” expedition against the Cherokee Indians occurring in 1782. According to research of Dr. Howard V. Jones and others, John Dillard was in Pittsylvania County, Virginia until about 1782, a resident of Washington County, N.C. (Tennessee) until about 1789 when he settled in Buncombe County, North Carolina where he remained until about 1823 before making his final home in Rabun County, Georgia.

Andrew Pickens, while frequently serving as a treaty negotiator on behalf of the United States with the Cherokees, Creeks and other Indian nations after the Revolution, was never engaged in military activities of any kind after 1782. He died at his home at Tomassee, South Carolina in 1817 (this is in present Oconee County, South Carolina adjoining Rabun County, Georgia), two years prior to the organization of Rabun County in 1819 and its later settlement by John and James Dillard in the 1820’s.

General Andrew Pickens did engage in fighting the British under General Greene in central North Carolina in 1781. John Dillard’s pension application sketches his Revolutionary service under General Greene across into North Carolina not far from John Dillard’s home in Pittsylvania County where he was based in that county’s militia. We do not know, however, that John Dillard and General Pickens were ever there together.

The times, places and circumstances do not add up, and it seems inescapable that John Dillard never served with General Andrew Pickens in fighting the Cherokee Indians nor in the fighting the British in the American Revolution. Perhaps it is time to get the record corrected.

This site contains information which has been compiled from many sources. Some of the information is my own, however, other researchers have submitted information to me for posting. Information within this site is contextually posted – if you copy this information please verify the context, source, and permissions prior to republishing at any location.

John Dillard, Backwoods Man

John Dillard, Backwoods Man. 1993 as revised. John M. Dillard.

It was Sunday, June 29, 1941 on the grounds of the Head of the Tennessee Baptist Church at Dillard, Georgia. The writer was then nine years of age. White haired Dr. Andrew J. Ritchie intoned the history of Lt. John Dillard, a Revolutionary soldier and first settler of the town, while Beavert R. Dillard, his great-grandson, strained to hear and nodded his ruddy face in agreement. This was an “all day and county-wide devotional and patriotic gathering” to unveil a marker furnished for the grave of John Dillard. The printed page publicizing the event, directed by Ritchie, described the day as “devoted to the principles of religion and to a revival of Americanism as exemplified in the life and service of our forefathers”. Speakers included Judge T.S. Candler of the Superior Court and Dr. F.C. McConnell, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Anderson, South Carolina.

Both the Baptist and the Methodist Churches let out regular services and combined with the reunion in the Baptist church for an 11:30 A.M. service of preaching and singing. Church services were also held again in the afternoon. Patriotic, familiar hymns were sung including “Faith of Our Fathers” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Approximately 200 or more descendants of John Dillard were in attendance. Out of this world good food in large quantities was prepared as a labor of love by the women of the Valley area of the county. Those present were not only Dillards, but members of practically every major family in the Valley area of Rabun County including the Gibsons, Nevilles, Dickersons, Ritchies, Martins and Grists who were related by blood or marriage to the Dillard family.

Fellowship, fun, and food was enjoyed by all. No one appeared to be burdened with knowing too many facts about John Dillard, the Revolutionary soldier, who was the center of the occasion. Ritchie, after hurried and brief writing to the then War Department and National Archives, concluded that this John Dillard was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1760, served in the American Revolution with Captain James Dillard, of Laurens County, South Carolina, while residing in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and entered Rabun County when it was created about 1819 accompanied by his wife Ruth Terry Dillard and his three children, James Dillard, Mary Rebecca Dillard Dickerson and Elizabeth Dillard Dryman. All of that was later recorded by Ritchie in the now classic, Sketches of Rabun County History. It was considered the cast-in-stone family history of the Dillards from Rabun County, and is still the authoritative source of Rabun County history and genealogy.

Fifty years passed and no family reunion of this same group of Dillards took place. The idea of having a fiftieth anniversary of the 1941 reunion was conceived of by Louise Dillard Coldren, a descendant of John Dillard, in 1991 while helping this writer track down some sources of family history in Rabun County. Plans were made. That day was again commemorated on Sunday, June 9, 1991 at Dillard City Hall next door to the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia, a few hundred yards from the grave of the Revolutionary soldier. Even though John Dillard was born and raised an Anglican, the Baptist pastor at Dillard, Georgia led the opening services with a religious and patriotic theme following the pattern of the 1941 reunion.

Several Dillard family researchers over the past fifty years have discovered facts which undermine some of the conclusions about John Dillard once held by the Rabun County family traditionalists.

The date of birth on John Dillard’s tombstone erected by the government which shows 1760 may be wrong. It should have read 1755. John’s Revolutionary pension application filed with the Federal Government when he was a 79 year old resident of Rabun County interlineated over 1755 making it uncertain as to whether 1755 or 1760 was correct. John Dillard could have been uncertain himself. He deposed to the Rabun County Inferior Court that he once had the date of his birth in a Bible, but it was “worn out” and illegible. Other facts make the date 1755 more probable.

John Dillard was about 68 years of age when he came into Rabun County before 1823, some three or four years after the county was created in 1819. His son, James, took title in his name alone to four lots of land totaling 1,000 acres in the present Town of Dillard through purchase from third party state land lottery holders. James was then in his thirties, had married Sally Barnard and had given birth to some of his children in Buncombe County, North Carolina from which both James and John came.

What many of Dillard traditionalists did not know in 1941 is that John Dillard in order to pioneer the opening of Rabun County had to give up his rural home of 34 years in the Flat Creek section of Buncombe County, which is located some ten miles north of the present Asheville, North Carolina. His home consisted of some 460 acres of farm land at Flat Creek west of the present town of Barnardsville. John had obtained a state land grant to his first property in Buncombe County in 1789 when it was then a part of Burke County, was Buncombe County ranger and was present on the first day of court at the organization of that county in 1791. He was a commissioner appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly for the laying out of Asheville as the county seat of Buncombe County in 1792 in a dispute which arose between two factions each of which wanted the county seat located on opposite sides of the Swannanoa River. Starting up a new county was not a new experience for John Dillard.


His wife, Ruth, may not have been a Terry, but possibly a daughter of Thomas Vaughn of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, who along with a John and his possible mother, Elizabeth, witnessed the Will of John’s uncle, Colonel Thomas Dillard, Sr. in that county about 1774. Terry was a name which crept into the family history through Obediah Terry Dickerson, a son-in-law who married Mary Dillard, and whose mother (but not Mary’s mother), was in fact a Terry.


The most shocking repudiation of the Rabun County Dillard tradition about John Dillard is that there were several children other than James, Mary and Elizabeth. These were not only not heard of until recent years, but positively denied as kinfolk by some of the Rabun County traditionalists who always insisted there were only three children. In addition to James, there were older sons Thomas Dillard, born in 1776, John Dillard, Jr., born in 1780, and William Dillard, born in 1782, all of whom unquestionably owned land adjoining their father’s home place at Flat Creek in Buncombe County, North Carolina in the early 1800’s, and took off to other parts of the country. An older daughter, Sarah Dillard, born in 1778 who married Baxter Davis, Jr., migrated from Buncombe County and died in Kentucky. Another daughter, Sophia Dillard, born about 1794, became the second wife of Gabriel Elkins while a resident of Buncombe County and ended up in Texas. That left the younger children, James, born in 1792 who married Sarah Barnard, Mary Rebecca, born in 1790 who married Obediah Terry Dickerson, and Elizabeth, born in 1784 who married Henry Dryman, Jr., all of whom came into Rabun County before 1823. There are possibilities of other daughters whose names are not known. Census records show a real crowd of people, whoever they were, in John’s household over a decade.


Some speculate there was another wife who died prior to John’s marriage to Ruth. Others speculate that there was a big family feud. Still others say it was just bad communications. Whatever the explanation may be, John Dillard, Jr. with his young family sold out in Buncombe County in 1812, left his father, and went to Knox County, Kentucky. John, Jr. later migrated back to Monroe County, Tennessee and finally settled near present Calhoun, Georgia where he died prior to 1847 and where there now reside a large number of his descendants. They, like other Dillard branches, are now spread over the entire United States.


William Dillard with his family (including his wife, a daughter of William Gregory, a friend almost like family going back with John Dillard into Pittsylvania County, Virginia) left Buncombe County in the same year to later become a resident of Greene County, Missouri where after the Civil War he cast his influence on the side of the Republican Party and died in 1877 at 95 years of age. Some of his sons were Presbyterian ministers. His descendants later scattered across the entire West and were the settlers of the Town of Dillard, Oregon.

The oldest son, Thomas Dillard, was the first to leave and went to northeastern Arkansas near Independence sometime around 1810 where his descendants to this day reside and did not until recent years discover their Buncombe County origins.

Some of the descendants of Thomas Dillard, John Dillard, Jr. and William Dillard attended the 1991 and 1992 reunions and were welcomed by their Rabun County cousins, all of whom enjoyed the fellowship and family spirit present on those occasions.

John Dillard represented in his Revolutionary Pension application that he was born in Culpeper County, Virginia. Just who were his parents and other ancestors were largely unknown by his Rabun County descendants of the past fifty years. Meanwhile, several able Dillard researchers spread across the country were at work over many of those years trying to piece together fragments of Dillard family history. These included Dorothy Dillard Hughes, Howard V. Jones, Lucile Robinson Johnson, Miriam Dillard Klar and others. This unreferenced overview is for the greatest part based upon the work product of these Dillard researchers to whom the Dillard family is indebted.

Deed records exist that Edward, Thomas, Sr. and George Dillard owned contiguous properties on Gourdvine Creek in Orange and its progeny county, Culpeper County, Virginia between 1737 and 1758. Another probable brother in the area was John Dillard. This was in northeastern Virginia not very far from Washington, D. C. Some of them also appeared in court records and in records of the Anglican Church (Church of England) in which they were active. The deduction has been made based upon circumstantial evidence these four Dillards were probably brothers. A further deduction has been made based upon the same type of proof that the probable parents of John Dillard of Rabun County were this same Edward Dillard and his documented wife, Elizabeth Dillard, later one of the witnesses to the will of Thomas Dillard, Sr. in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Two of these brothers, Edward Dillard, the believed father of John Dillard of Rabun County, and the prominent Thomas Dillard, Sr., after 1758 moved south into Halifax County and its progeny county, Pittsylvania County, Virginia where they are recorded in public and church records, including land records. This is an area northwest of present Danville in the midlands of southeastern Virginia. Very little is known of Edward Dillard. Information about his probable brother Thomas Dillard, Sr., is abundant. The properties of Edward and Thomas, Sr. in Halifax and Pittsylvania Counties adjoined each other. John of Rabun County took over his father’s land which had been acquired under a Virginia land patent. George Dillard and John Dillard, probable brothers, remained in Culpeper County in northeastern Virginia where lived for the rest of their lives.

This brings up the question of from where did George, Edward, John and Thomas, Sr. come upon their arrival in Orange, later Culpeper County. This is where the road is rough for the Dillard researcher. There is no answer to date but King and Queen County, Virginia is the most plausible theory. One or more of them are detected for a brief period of time in Essex County connected with the family of the wife of Thomas Dillard, Sr.

George Dillard, generally regarded as the first Dillard in this country, it is known was transported from England to coastal New Kent County, Virginia on May 22, 1650 where land records indicate he later owned property on the York River peninsular not far from present Williamsburg, Virginia. That area later became a part of King and Queen County, Virginia. English property tax records, known as the “quit rent rolls”, in 1704 show ownership of property in King and Queen County by Nicholas, Edward, George and Thomas Dillard.

It can surmise that the Edward, George and Thomas Dillard in the 1704 quit rent rolls are the same Edward, George and Thomas who later appeared in Orange, Culpeper, Halifax and Pittsylvania counties. However, their probable ages do not make this a reasonable conclusion. If not, it can be more reasonably speculated that they were the grandsons of George Dillard, the Pioneer. That raises another question of who was their father. Some have suggested that records indicate this father was another Edward. This is the subject matter of much uncertainty. No one knows the answer. No known records which have not already been thorough scrutinized seem to exist to search for additional facts.

The reason for this unhappy state of Dillard history is the destruction of the courthouse records by fire in both New Kent and King and Queen counties covering a century of time. This left a dark hole with no light in piecing together the Dillard family tree between two ends, one end being the entry of George Dillard, the Pioneer, and the other end the succeeding generations of Dillards who had migrated at a much later time into northeastern Virginia from their original coastal homes.

The typical Virginia migration pattern of early Virginia settlers and their descendants was to leave the coastal counties, migrate northeast and then south. George, Edward, John and Thomas Dillard, or their father, whoever he may have been, probably followed this pattern. Reasonable proof of family connections exist only after Dillards migrated from coastal Virginia areas inland as pointed out by William G. Hammell in his publication on the family history of a branch of Dillards who remained in the King and Queen County area.

A story linking many Dillards, including John Dillard of Rabun County, to wealthy planter James Stephen Dillard of King of Queen County which first appeared in a Montgomery, Alabama newspaper article at the turn of the century, repeated and handed down for many decades, seems mostly fictional. Historians at Colonial Williamsburg know nothing of his existence. Other than being an entertaining, grand story and an easy answer to who one’s ancestors are, it proves only the old saying quoted by a Dillard researcher “crooked as a geneologist“. There was a James but probably never a James Stephen Dillard. For the most part most Dillard ancestors, just like most Dillards of today, were just plain people.

From where did George, the pioneer, originate? England we know. However, that is about it. The records behind George’s arrival are even more murky and scant. Wilshire County, England appears most frequently in many tales passed on with no verification. These include that the Dillard family was originally French and came to England as Protestant refugees. Recent research by Miriam Dillard Klar indicates that few Dillards resided in England, but that many more Dillards reside in France. The Dillard story is not all tied together neat and tidy.

With better public records at a later time in an inland area, we know that it was while he was a resident of Pittsylvania County that John Dillard of Rabun County was sworn into the Virginia Militia in 1776 and served in the Revolutionary War. Most of his military service was under Thomas Dillard, Jr., his believed first cousin, who was captain over the county militia, to whom he had been “bound out” as an orphan following what is believed to have been the probable death of his father, Edward, who had earlier been excused from payment of quit rents by the vestry of Antrium Parish Church.

Ritchie’s conclusion that John Dillard served under Captain James Dillard, husband of Revolutionary heroine Mary Ramage Dillard, was in error. James had before this time migrated to Laurens District, South Carolina and participated in separate military events, including the Battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens. Ritchie picked the wrong name because the given name of “Captain Dillard” in John’s Revolutionary pension application was not specified. Research was more difficult when Dr. Ritchie wrote his book than now.

John Dillard was in the Battle of Gwinn’s Island in 1776 on the Chesapeake Bay where a bombardment from the British Fleet took place. John with many other “backwoods men” (as described in the affidavit before the Rabun County Inferior Court on his pension application) became sick and were taken back home to Pittsylvania County in baggage wagons. In 1778, he again served under Captain Thomas Dillard, Jr. and marched to Boone’s Fort on the Kentucky River and later to the Ohio River where he built a stockade and two log cabins on an island in the river and where he was again sent back home with a group of sick men, including his captain, Thomas Dillard, Jr.

In 1780, John Dillard was a part of the Pittsylvania County Militia which joined General Greene on the Dan River in Halifax County against British Lord Cornwallis where he served as a Lieutenant under Colonel Issac Clemmons and Colonel Perkins and where he was dismissed without a written discharge in 1780. This was the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

Following the close of the Revolutionary War in 1782, John Dillard along with his one-time guardian, Thomas Dillard, Jr. and William Gregory, (later alleged to be a Methodist minister who had also been “bound out” to Thomas Dillard, Jr.) left Pittsylvania, Virginia and migrated to Greasy Cove in Washington County, North Carolina, near what is now Erwin, Tennessee. Some of the family of the wife of Thomas Dillard, Jr. were already there. This territory was at that time the “wild west” frontier of the southeastern American colonies. In 1787, John Dillard was sworn in as an Ensign in the County Militia of Washington County, North Carolina during the internal political upheaval and Indian fighting in which that county was a part of the State of Franklin which had seceded from the State of North Carolina under its Governor, John Sevier. That territory is now part of the state of Tennessee just across the line from a then much larger Burke County, now Buncombe County, North Carolina.

Both John and James Dillard were already hardy “backwoods” pioneers who had done extensive moving in unchartered lands in new counties before they ever reached Rabun County. Once they bought out the lottery holders of the 1,000 acres of land in Rabun County, there is a family story that they had to buy it again from the Cherokee Indians who gave up the land on a trade for a muzzle loadinrifle, a jug of apple brandy, a coon skinned cap and three dollars. James Dillard was later a Justice of the Peace and State Legislator from Rabun County in which he died in 1861.

James Dillard’s three sons, John Barnett Dillard, William F. Dillard, (who was killed at Petersburg in the Civil War) and Albert G. Dillard along with his daughter, Mary Rebecca Dillard Dickerson, raised succeeding generations in Rabun County, Georgia. His daughter, Elizabeth Dillard Dryman, raised a large family in adjoining Macon County, North Carolina. A large number of their descendants are still there and nearby.

A successful 1992 Dillard Reunion was held at Dillard, Georgia, with well over 100 persons at the dinner meeting. Dillard history sessions have been held each year for three years. Many Dillards from lines outside the Rabun County Dillard line attended. Interest was expressed in learning about Dillards all over the United States.

Many things have changed in the intervening years from the June 29, 1941 Dillard Family Reunion. The pioneering spirit of a 68 year old man and his son who were willing to give up their established home of many years in Buncombe County to start a new life in unchartered land in new Rabun County, then recently ceded by the Cherokee Nation, and the same spirit of their ancestors in this country back to 1650, is the tradition which belongs to the Dillard family which will never change. It is worth documenting and preserving for future generations.

This post contains information which has been compiled from many sources. Some of the information may have been contributed by other researchers. Information within this site is contextually posted – if you copy this information please verify the context, source, and permissions prior to republishing at any location.