Visits with Grandma

Had a busy couple of weeks which have included many visits with your Grandma! Besides the hugs and profound elder knowledge, you also got your very own serving of hot blueberry pie, straight from the oven. You missed the pie? The pie was there, I promise.

WikiTree LiveCasts

Grandma’s Genes had a great WikiTree LiveCast on Saturday covering Getting Started with DNA on WikiTree. We had our biggest live audience so far for this livecast and the recorded version views are growing.

This weeks WikiTree LiveCast  will be with Doug Lockwood who leads the One Name Studies Project. One Name Studies are something I use a good bit to help me break down brickwalls. If you have some time, drop by and learn about One Name Studies and the One Name Study Project on WikiTree. The LiveCast will be at 3:00 PM EDT on this coming Saturday. Here is the link: WikiTree LiveCast, Doug Lockwood and the One Name Study Project

Forensic Genealogy and Adoption – Tracking Down Your Living Limbs.

The Ottawa Public Library let your grandma into the Carlingwood Branch to present “Forensic Genealogy and Adoption, Tracking Down Your Living Limbs.” Once the massive crowd (millions I tell ya) settled into their seats they were introduced to the concepts and strategies behind Forensic Genealogy and how those strategies can help with adoption searches.

Since I tend towards the Genetic side of things we delved deeply into my Cousin Betty Jean’s adoption search and the use of Genetic Genealogy. After all Betty Jean’s Genes helped us find one of her birth parents so far (and possibly the other – soon…the test is in processing).

It Takes Time

This was one of the biggest points of the presentation – It takes time. I know. You and everyone else in the world has watched these shows where one instance they are sitting at a table with a Genealogist in Philadelphia and the next they magically appear in Paris talking to their newly found 3rd cousin. It’s TV folks and slow just don’t sell the sponsors DNA test kits.

Be Prepared

Adoption searches can be a roller coaster emotionally. Bolster your support group with more than just friends and family. Get involved in a local support group and even get some professional help.

Be Respectful

This was another big point and a big talking point for questions during the presentation. As someone who is researching to find the birth family of an adoptee or the adoptee for a birth family, you do not have the right to willy nilly spread someone else’s story all over the internet. If you know your surname? Post the surname, but don’t go about saying that Jane Smith had a baby in 1955. Especially if it hasn’t been proven in the least yet. Be respectful and only tell the parts of the story that you have permission to tell.

Telling the tale with caution

Whatever avenue you use to put yourself “out there”, whether it be a Facebook page about your adoption, an adopted and a birth family tree on WikiTree, an instagram feed of photographs of yourself and likenesses between you and people you have proven to be your kin, do so with caution.

I myself, personally, don’t know anyone who has been the target of Genealogical Identity theft, but be vigilant with your own personal information.

I am very much so “out there”. Being “out there” is a part of my business model, so I hope I am ahead of the game and in charge of my own narrative. You? You have to decide how much or how little you want to make public. Take care of yourself.

Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, covers some of the privacy issues in a posting online in her December of 2016 Blog, The opt-in default

Your Grandma is working away making afghans for all of you. You know, the ones with the big holes that never really keep you warm? The ones you throw over the back of the sofa just when your Grandma comes to visit? They will arrive with blueberry pie stains all over them too. It is, after all, hard to crochet and eat blueberry pie at the same time.

Hunt-14 of Bedford County Virginia Researcher, My Prom Date

A fellow Hunt-14 researcher contacted me because of a conversation he was having with someone who wants to connect to our Hunt line. The discussion was based on DNA matches to a fella who could be related to the Hunt family brickwall, Dr. Thomas Hunt of Bedford County Virginia, father of the children known as the Hunt 14. This probability has never been fleshed out before using DNA, but…

All this is very interesting (VERY VERY INTERESTING) as I calmly go on to the reason for today’s post…

He is Doug Hunt and we do share our Hunt line back to Dr. Thomas. Like researchers before him, Edgar Hunt, Jean Hunt, Allen Hunt, Jimmy Hunt, Jr., Doug wants to get the many disjointed pieces to the Hunt 14 progenitors life right. He wants to get it right and get it “out there” for all researchers to access. He and I are working on that and I am as giddy as a school girl just asked to prom by the cutest boy in school.

What made you want to do this, go to Richmond for the LVA and Durham for Duke University and do the research?

Basically, I’ve been fascinated with the idea that for so many years our family has run into a dead end finding the origins of the 14 beyond a few bits and pieces about Thomas Hunt. At first, I started by looking up various Hunt families (like the famous Westchester, NY one at Hunts Point) to try to find a link, but often there are too many Thomases and too few facts! I also started to compile facts on what was already known, but I kept finding incomplete or inconsistent information…like did he live in Bedford or Franklin? Was he a Doctor? How do we know? Was he in prison, when and where? Why do people keep saying he is “Thomas Elwood Hunt IV” (probably wrong)…I figured the best way to solve the origin question was I had to find everything that it is possible to know about Thomas Hunt and that hopefully that would lead to a link or discovery. Also, doing that would help me sort through the various rumors (which had turned into several disorganized text files at the time).So I started systematically citing all sources, pulling original documents, and transcribing / interpreting the records. It turned out that by doing so I was able to discover more an more leads into other possible research. Not only did I gain a clearer picture on the life story of Thomas and his family in Bedford / Franklin, but also I began to discover the historical context of some of the events too.I have not yet made the significant breakthrough I was hoping for…to find some clues to his origin…but I still have more research to do, and I feel the information I have gathered will help as a reference in the search, not just for me but for all researchers.

Your Dad and you went together?

Yes we did, back in January. The reason we went was actually the John Hook papers. I had discovered several documents linking the two of them, suggesting a close business or personal relationship. The key findings were (1) in Hook v Hancock 1808 Augusta County, there is mentioned a letter written by Thomas to John Hook (relating to a debt) that was marked “exhibit D”…but when I searched through all the documents (90 pages) there was A, B, C, …. then E, F!!!! It was rather frustrating that the document was missing. I figured it would be really cool to find a letter written by Thomas, but then (2) shortly afterwards I discovered that John Hook and his company had kept a ton of letters and documents (7000+ pages) and they were available at Duke University. I figured there was a high probability of finding a letter to or from Thomas considering their other shared records. So I booked a flight (cheapest time of year, January) and invited my father to come along (he had actually started all this research a few years ago, discovering we were related to Esli and taking a trip to Mississippi). We also made a plan to visit the LVA since it contained a vast repository of county / state records on microfilm.

Unfortunately I didn’t find a letter like i was hoping, but the worst part was I didn’t plan enough time there. My dad and I probably went through 20 or so boxes in an 8 hour period, but I had reserved 46 of them, so we might have missed something. I am hoping to go back someday.

We did, however find other things that were unexpected. I was able to document the land rolls from John Hook’s estate, which showed his land obtained from Hunt. Also my dad found several signed documents from Benjamin Hunt (as witness), and records from him at the “Hailsford” store. I believe (based on handwriting) that Benjamin was actually a clerk at the store (would make sense considering he was a teenager at the time) and later worked for John Hook…though I wouldn’t say with 100% certainty that it was Benjamin of the 14 (probably but not 100%). We also found that Jesse, Uriah, Joel, Thomas, and Benjamin were all customers of Hook at one point or another, and the sequence of indexes indicated that Thomas, Uriah, Joel and Jesse were earlier customers, probably before 1790, then Thomas and Benjamin 1790 to 1795ish…then later only Stephen Hunt appears. It seems to fit with the ages of the 14 and the suggestion that Stephen did not come to Bedford until later.

By the way, my next goal is to pinpoint exactly on the map where Thomas’ land was. I have the surveys, but i need to request the full survey microfilm from the LVA to try to puzzle piece the exact location…

Who is the family Historian, you or your dad?

At first my Dad, but I have taken over more and more as I get older (I’m 32 now). I got my interest from my Grandma from her stories about the family and her as a kid. Also, my Dad has a cousin, Marsha, who basically knows everything about our more recent genealogy.

I love stories, and i feel that ancestry is made whole by them (dates and names only give so much). I also feel like a story can come from simple facts, that can be expanded to more by researching the historical context…

What is your Day job?

I am an engineer…hence the desire to systematically organize things!

Thank you Doug for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you for wanting to get this all organized and accessible. Your Grandma is mailing you a Blueberry pie today…

Genealogical Careers -Your Grandma is Molding the Minds of Our Future

I have already ruined my own children, why not find a new set of youngins’ to ruin?! Your Grandma is Molding the Minds of Our Future. I’ll be participating in a Panel at the University of Ottawa on Monday…

“Breakfast with Public Historians, Building a History Business”, Panel Discussion, University of Ottawa

Mags will join a Panel Discussion, “Breakfast with Public Historians, Building a History Business”, focusing on marketing and branding consultancy. Applications of History Outside of the University Setting.

This is a private event for a University of Ottawa, 3rd year class, studying “public history,” applications of history outside of the university setting. The students will hear from a panel of three people who are working in the Public History field, with lots of opportunity for questions and discussion.

It’s not an open event, but it will be a great opportunity to discuss with these students, Ideas about starting and growing a history related business, like Grandma’s Genes.

What Can You Do With That Degree?

When you talk to University Students about their Majors, about their future plans, you often hear something about getting a higher degree and teaching in a University setting. You can do that, but there is so much more to consider.

Become a Forensic Genealogist

Research the living, looking for legal proof of descent to be used in the legal process of disseminating an estate.

Become a Genetic Genealogist

Add a Genetics to your course load and combine a History degree with Science and start helping individuals discover their identity through DNA testing.

Forensic Genealogist – Treasure Hunter

Find lost items, do the research and return them to the heirs of the original owners – people write books about this! A Habit of Dying, by DJ Wiseman

Public Speaking

Get some experience, become an expert and turn your passion into a Genealogical Speaking Career. Travel the world and discuss what you know with people who want to learn. Check into the Genealogical Speakers Guild.

Anthropologist/Sociologist

Turn your degree into studying society and groups as they relate to Genealogy. Fan Study or Cluster Genealogy is the study of places and people in a given area as it relates to family history.

Become a social Media Maven

Thomas MacEntee with High Definition Genealogy is the epitome of this. He uses all forms of monetizing stuff for proclaiming Genealogy happenings and makes more than enough to support himself. Blog, Write, Tweet, Instagram, Pinterest, Post to Facebook, Share!

Start a Consulting Business to Research Government Land Use Proposals

In regards to land, be the person who researches the titles and previous uses of a property in Government acquisitions.

Ministry of Transportation or NCC Rights of Way Agent

Roads and bridges are always being constructed or changed. Become a Right of Way agent and work with landowners on negotiating the sales/use of property. The NCC (National Capitol Commission)? Yes the NCC has right of way agents who negotiate/buy use of land for the Bike Paths we all enjoy and use daily.

Make your Future your Own (Did I really just type these words?)

Be Imaginative and creative. Bust out of the molds set by so many others. How can someone use your particular skill or knowledge? What can you offer that no one else does? Take an existing idea and twist it into something new: make it your own. Become an expert in the field and take your knowledge on the road, doing workshops and seminars.

Genealogy isn’t the old people profession everyone thinks it is. It’s a lot more about finding ones identity than it is about finding your grandparents names. It’s about pushing your ancestral lines back as far as they can go.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

LiveCasts, RootsTech2017, and Client Work, Oh My!

It has been a crazy fun start to this year. Gearing up for RootsTech 2017 while doing Client work, including wrapping-up and finalizing a research report (did I include that bit I found 6 months ago?) and producing LiveCasts. It’s been more than crazy.

Grocery Shopping with a Descendant

My 21 year old descendant called last night wanting to know if I might run him over to a grocery store. The store is walking distance from his apartment, but he wanted to do a big shopping trip and wanted to have help with his trek, via Grandma’s Genes Fleet Vehicle #1, Bernadette the van.

Earlier this week I saw a cartoon with a diagram of how women shop – a continuous line down every Isle – and the way Men shop – one straight line to a point in the store and out again. I haven’t been grocery shopping with my 21 year old in years, so I had visions of the “in, get the item, and get out” version of Man Shopping on my mind.

Not even close.

First off he didn’t want to separate. We, together, made four trips through the produce section. One trip through the sandwich meat section and when we got to the main section of Isles? It was a free-for-all of bouncing back and forth through the isles in a MOST UN-organized way. I felt as if I was moving in slow motion to find my few items while this 21 year old man spun wheelies around me in a frenzy.

Did he find what he was looking for?

He did. Was it efficient? No. Did it get the job done? Yes. Did I get dizzy? Not exactly, but I had fun.

Client Wrap-up

In working to complete a Genetic Genealogy Research Project for a Client, I found myself doing what I always do, Looking back through and reviewing every bit of research I had done. Not terribly in-depth, but enough to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Working meticulously, I went down the list, checking my report against the research, making sure I had said what needed to be said, checking citations and acknowledgements and rewriting sections of the Genetic Genealogy Research Project. I had started the report the day the client hired me and worked it as I worked the research.

The Rabbit Hole

While working on the “Suggestions For Further Research Section” I got lost. I started looking into the things I would look into if more research was requested by the client. How is Rochester, New York connected to the Client’s family? When did the Underground Railroad Begin? Was it prior to the 1840’s? It would need to be prior to the 1840’s for the clients ancestor to have traveled it. How did Slaves get to Port Hope, Ontario Prior to 1826? Could the family have a connection to Loyalist Slaves? Is there such a thing as a Loyalist Slave?

Funny how real life is mirrored in real life.

Today I realize what happened. I had jumped the rails and become my 21 year old son in the grocery store, popping wheelies with the cart…I stopped and pulled myself up and out of that rabbit hole/21 year old man grocery shopping trip.

LiveCasts and RootsTech 2017

Your Grandma has been producing and hosting (with a little help from fellow WikiTreer Julie Ricketts) LiveCasts for WikiTree. The LiveCasts are every Saturday afternoon at 3PM EST. During the LiveCast we are chatting with WikiTreers about projects and WikiTreeing and generally having fun. We also have a Chat going with questions popping up from people who are watching live. The finished Video’s are posted to Grandma’s Genes You Tube Channel

This week we have Aleš Trtnik dropping by to chat about WikiTree DataBase Errors and the Data Doctors Project.  Visit the schedule of upcoming WIkiTree LiveCasts for more.

RootsTech 2017

Then there is the impending trip to RootsTech 2017. This is  the largest Genealogical conference in the world. Everyone is there who can get there including all the heavy hitters in the Genealogical industry. The conference has a a slant towards the technical with an innovators summit and competition for the best and brightest new ideas.

This will be my third year at RootsTech. If you are there look for me. I will be one of the ones wearing orange and hanging out around the WikiTree booth.

RootsTech LiveCast – DNA

Yes Grandma’s Genes is combining the two! Our LiveCast featuring Kitty Smith and Peter Roberts and all things DNA will be live from RootsTech 2017. If you are at the Salt Palace, we will be live at 1:00 PM (3PM EST). We are hoping to be able to do the LiveCast at the WikiTree Booth, but if connectivity is an issue we might be somewhere else. If you swing by the Booth someone can direct you to where we are.

Free Hugs for anyone who finds me!

Cornbread Genealogy

I am a child of the US South. I grew up eating cornbread in all it’s forms, but I have never thought about Cornbread as a tool in Genealogy (Anthropology, Sociology). Cornbread Genealogy.

Last night the spousal unit and I had dinner here in Ottawa (the 5th coldest national capital in the world – and the snowiest this year) at a warm, comfort food place called the Foolish Chicken. it’s is a good place to have good chicken. It’s not particularly “southern”, no collards or sweet potato soufflé, but they do serve cornbread with most everything on the menu. Being a self proclaimed cornbread connoisseur I have enjoyed the Cornbread at the foolish chicken often.

Last Night’s Cornbread?

It was fabulous. Creamy, fluffy, slightly sweet with whole corn and green chili’s inside to give it an extra burst of moistness and flavor. Being a connoisseur of cornbread, I can tell you that this bit of cornbread was among the best I had ever tasted.

Cornbread Genealogy

At some point in the last week I read an article about cornbread, Why does sugar in cornbread divide races in the South?
Culinary historians have debated this one for years: Did the descendants of slave cooks who were exposed to British baking styles come to value cornbread that was lighter and softer? Did the children of farm-based white Southerners get used to unsweetened cornbread that tasted more emphatically like corn? Whatever caused it, the line is drawn.

‘You have to have sugar in your tea and your cornbread,’ says La’Wan Adams, the owner of La’Wan’s. ‘People will ask, ‘Is it like Jiffy? Is it like cake?’

If you are white, you likely fall into the camp of Lupie Duran, the retired owner of Lupie’s.

‘To me, sweet cornbread is like Jiffy mix. And that’s not the Southern kind. No sugar. It’s not my thing.'”

Read more here…

It’s an interesting idea.

Where I grew-up, and in my family, we always had slightly sweet cornbread homedmade and via Jiffy Mix. My Mom owns her own business and sometimes having a quick fix for something to go along with her ALWAJiffy Cornbread MixYS well prepared dinners (no tv dinners for us) was a good thing. We also occasionally had cornbread made by Cammie, our nanny, housekeeper, cook and second/third mama. It was always cooked in an iron skillet and served hot from the oven. Comfort food in the extreme.

Cornbread Variations – From WikiPedia

Baked cornbreadIn the United States…Southern cornbread has traditionally been made with little or no sugar and smaller amounts of flour (or no flour), with northern cornbread being sweeter and more cake-like.

Corn pone
– “Corn pone…is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough (which is usually egg-less and milk-less) and cooked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire (such as a frontiersman would use), using butter, margarine, shortening, or cooking oil. Corn pones have been a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine, and have been discussed by many American writers, including Mark Twain…

In the Appalachian Mountains, cornbread baked in a round iron skillet, or in a cake pan of any shape, is still referred to as a “pone” of cornbread…

The term “corn pone” is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to one who possesses certain rural, unsophisticated peculiarities (“he’s a corn pone”), or as an adjective to describe particular rural, folksy or “hick” characteristics (e.g., “corn pone” humor).”

Hot water cornbread
– “Cooked on a rangetop, one frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self-rising cornmeal (cornmeal with soda or some other chemical leavener added) into a skillet of hot oil, and allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread….

Johnnycakes – Pouring a batter similar to that of skillet-fried cornbread, but slightly thinner, into hot grease atop a griddle or a skillet produces a pancake-like bread called a johnnycake. This type of cornbread is prevalent in New England, particularly in Rhode Island, and also in the American Midwest and the American South…

Hushpuppies
A thicker buttermilk-based batter that is deep-fried rather than pan-fried, forms the hushpuppy, a common accompaniment to fried fish and other seafood in the South. Hushpuppy recipes vary from state to state, some including onion seasoning, chopped onions, beer, or jalapeños….WikiPedia

Mouth Watering yet?

Aside from Ms. Purvis’s racial line of thought, we should be able to scour family cookbooks for clues about where the recipe authors lived. My family surely shows that the type of cornbread you eat isn’t really an indicator of your race. But it is certainly an indication of geography.

In one of the Recipe books inherited from my grandmother, you can see where she underlined things. Looking closely at it she was underling notes from people who connected to our family in one way or another. She even scribbled brief notes in the margins explaining who they were. This particular cookbook also had old family stories along with the recipes. I can’t wait til I find another seemingly unimportant book to find it is stock full of family history.

How long is my DNA sample viable for further testing?

At the BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) meeting on Saturday this grandma showed up with DNA test kits for anyone to take home and with answers to common DNA test specific questions. One of the many questions asked has prompted me to post about it. “How long is my DNA sample viable for further testing at FTDNA (Family Tree DNA)?”

The Short Answer

Until they run out of sample to use. “…we will not need to request additional samples. This is only necessary if we have exhausted the samples that you have already provided. If additional samples are needed, we will send a new collection kit to the primary address on the account.The Test Process, FTDNA

The Long Answer

The question was from a Gentleman who had submitted his original DNA sample about ten years ago to FTDNA and it was about upgrading his results to the newest version of the DNA test.

The 10 Year Old DNA Sample

This original sample would have been for a YDNA or mtDNA test. The original test was made with the existing test apparatus at the time, YDNA and mtDNA testing performed by FTDNA does not use chips or chip sets. Bead chips (BeadArray Microarray technology) are used for autosomal and X chromosome testing by AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA’s Family Finder.

The original sample can be used to do an auDNa test as well, using the latest and greatest chip set on FTDNA.

As stated above, you could use the original ten year old sample until there was nothing left of the sample to test. When you run out, FTDNA will send you a new test kit to submit a new sample.

Other Testing Companies

This question as it relates to AncestryDNA, was covered by Roberta Estes in May 2016 in her blog, DNA Explained, Ancestry Modifies Their Autosomal DNA Chip. Ancestry does no store your sample after the sample has been used once. She states, “If you retest today, you’ll have to handle both tests separately in your account.  There is currently no way to merge tests, so you’ll have an old one and a new one.  There is no “best of both worlds.”  There is no way to preserve stars or notes or anything you may have done to one account and transfer to a different account.  About the only thing you could do is, in time, to compare to see if you continue to have the same matches on both chips as more people test on the new chip.  and 23andme do not store your sample so to get your test redone using the latest chip set for them you would have to submit a new sample for testing.”

23andme does not keep your sample for further testing.

My Heritage? My Heritage is a repackaging of FamilyTree DNA’s Family Finder test, so this auDNA test sample would be kept on file at FamilyTree DNA, though I don’t know how many hoops you’d have to jump through to get an upgrade via FamilyTree DNA using a sample sent in from My Heritage. This is from an industry insider – still no reply from My Heritage.

Not complaining about the wait. I have also been trying to call FTNDA on and off today to ask another client related kit question and can’t get through. I am sure it’s all the crazy advertising that was done over the holidays slamming all testing company’s phone lines. If you need me, I will be perpetually on hold with the knowledge that more and more people are getting out and testing!

Thanks to Peter Roberts, my good friend and hero (his other title is Associate Professor and Archivist at Georgia State University it really should be something closer to Genetic Genealogy Geek) for input on this blog post.

For more information and an explanation of Chips in Genetics see DNA Chip – Genetic Testing of the Future, Lisa Althoff, 1999.

Grandma’s Genes Year End Review – Networking

Grandma’s Genes is winding down 2016 with a mind towards the things that most influenced our work. Aside from the blueberry pies, presentations, research, Swab-A-Thons, field trips, conferences, phone calls, blog posts etc., there is one major take-away.

Networking.

Networks connect us all. We drive to our jobs on a network of roads. We communicate with each other over a network of airwaves or wires or through the vast web of the internet. We have a network of support – friends, family and the baker down the street. Even our neighbor next door is a thread in the Network of our Lives.

How we connect to our networks is just the facility of that connection. What matters is the content.
WikiTree

If I hadn’t joined WikiTree in December 2013, the mother load of genealogy networking and collaboration, and turned this many, many year passion into a mystery solving venture that pays for my blueberry pies? I would still be just answering family queries and would never have learned the joy of genealogical collaboration. Collaboration on such a stratospheric level. I posted once about how WikiTree has given me an education beyond my university degree in WikiTree’s G2G Forum. That was a year ago – I must be working toward my WikiTree doctorate now.

23andMe

As such, I have been able to solve a 90 year old mystery, fairly quickly (8 months to find her father), because I was able to use a Network to make a connection. 23 and me connected me with Jane and her family who in turn helped connect Betty Jean to half of her birth family.

Facebook

A woman posted in Gauldings page on Face Book about a common Ancestor. She found an obituary stating our common ancestor was a Captain in the revolution under Francis Marion. In all the research anyone has ever done on this man, he was not a soldier in the revolution. He served as a Petit Juror. He also might have been providing supplies to the troops – no one knows for sure. She used Facebook to find me and my very underwhelming answer to her question, “was John Gaulding a Captain under Francis Marion?” “No…”

A man who believed a long held family story that his gggrandfather was adopted into a family of African Canadian’s has been able to find interest in the real story. This story told mainly by his DNA and supported by the network of other distant cousins who had heard and believed or not believed the story. These distant cousins are all testing their DNA now and finding that they too have a connection to a very rich African ancestry. These distant cousins have also created their own network, on Facebook, so that others who are not in the know can find the truth and their heritage through them.

Mother Nature

If mother natures network of weather hadn’t dumped 20 + cm of snow on Ottawa in a matter of a few short hours last year, the idea that became Grandma’s Genes would not have formed into what it is today. Marc, my fellow shoveler on that day, has moved on to work in his day-job field full time. During the year, though, he helped an adoptee find his fathers family. Marc helped so many with Indigenous roots find the right identity for themselves and possibly take the true meaning of being connected to an indigenous ancestor with them into their new found knowledge of self. Marc also made long sought connections within his own genealogy through research and networking with others who have connections to his indigenous lines – to his Quaker lines – to his southern lines.

Moving Forward Through Networking

For me? I found a path which has been made stronger, straighter and more focused than I would have ever thought imaginable. Only with the help of my network of family, friends, partners, genealogists, geneticists, clients and all those ancestors long passed, has Grandma’s Genes grown into what it is today. What it will become tomorrow.

Thank you, every – single – point on our network – one of you.

 

Betty Jean’s Adoption Search – “I’ve got a secret”

Betty Jean’s Adoption search is moving right along. It’s an interesting thing, this kind of search because someone has to have a secret. A secret that they told no one, ever, if you are the father. If you are the mother? It’s a secret you probably had to tell someone at some point. I can imagine the fear of the disapproval and anger that might be foisted upon on unwed mother or father of the 1920’s deep south.

Betty X’s Abandonement

Betty Jean was left somewhere in or near Asheville, North Carolina. When her foster parents picked-her up, it was from, according to them, a Catholic hospital. When the Sister gave Betty Jean to them, she described Betty Jean’s mother as having blue eyes and black hair. Whoever left her, father, mother, grandparent, uncle, or aunt, didn’t leave any information with the Sister(s). All of her adoption files were empty. Blank. Nothing in them, period.

The Living Cousin

We found a living cousin, Jane and I, using Traditional Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy and a bit of Forensic Genealogy – from Dick Eastman’s Blog: “The word ‘forensic’ means ‘relating to the use of science or technology in the investigation and establishment of facts or evidence.” In this case, forensic would mean to use science or technology in addition to traditional records. In short, Forensic Genealogy is the use of something OTHER THAN standard records to add to your family history’.”

We had hoped that she might be Betty Jean’s real, live sister but she wasn’t. She was a real, live first cousin instead. A first cousin who had gotten me in touch with her real, live first cousin, Ike. As soon as her test came back as a cousin and not a sister I called Ike immediately. He was the possible clue to Betty Jean’s Adoption. I told him the test for his cousin was just that, a DNA test result showing her to be the first cousin of Betty Jean as well.

The Next DNA Test

Ike was more than happy, almost excited, to find the answer to this mystery. I ordered his test from FTDNA and we waited again for five or so weeks. Weeks of waiting to solve this 90 year adoption mystery. To reveal this secret.

The Secret Revealed? Well, Partially

We checked for the results nearly daily when four weeks had past. We checked so much that we knew the results were in before FTDNA had a chance to send the notification. At this early stage the results weren’t complete but still filtering through FTDNA’s system. Nail biting and grinding of teeth ensued. Finally they were complete and…

Glenn Cashion is Betty Jean’s Father

Glenn Cashion. He lived in Asheville in 1926/7 and his son Ike matches Betty Jean as a half sibling. Betty Jean looks like her father in so many ways it’s almost uncanny. Would they have recognized each other if they had met on the street? Would Glenn have acknowledged his resemblance in a strangers face?

Glenn Cashion PhotoHow did it happen? How did Betty Jean come about? We have no idea. It was a secret he kept to his death.

When Glenn married and started a family of his own, he named his first Child Betty. Betty Glenn Cashion was named for his grandmother, Emily Elizabeth “Betty” Asbury. Looking at this while we were searching, I always though it interesting that Glenn had named his first daughter Betty, when he might have been our Betty Jean’s father as well. I thought that this was a clue to the fact that he might be Betty X’s father. Instinct vs. fact is sometimes very interesting.

Glenn is…

“My Dad is a winner. He was the gem of the family. Glenn was giving and worked hard for Shriner’s charities, helped family with money when they needed it, even when they didn’t ask. He took care of family – he was a nice man.” – Ike Cashion

Ike didn’t say this to make the secret of Betty Jean right. It was not said in defense of whatever actions his father took in 1926/7, it was said just as a matter of fact. Glenn Cashion was a good guy.

Onward to work and research deeper and to find Betty Jean’s Mother…

Jane's Desk
Genealogical Researcher Jane’s desk.

Save

Save

Betty Jean’s Adoption Search – Connecting the Cousin Dots

Betty Jean’s birth family is slowly revealing itself through her DNA cousins. All I have to do now, with Jane’s help, is connect the numbers and the names and the cousins to each other and to Betty. I have to connect the Cousin Dots to end Betty Jean’s adoption search.

Pat, Betty Jean’s Adopted First Cousin Once Removed

We knew Pat’s (Betty Jean’s first cousin once removed) birth father. We also knew from the DNA numbers that Pat and Betty Jean most probably shared a MCRA (Most Common Recent Ancestor) at 2.7 generations from the estimates on GEDmatch.

This is a list of Betty Jean’s top matches, Betty Jean’s DNA Cousins:
Pat @ 342.8cM with a MCRA 2.7 generations from Betty Jean – Surname connection toBrotherton
B. @ 213.8cM – Surname connection to Howard
C. @ 147.6cM – Surname connection to Brotherton
J. @ 213.8cM – Surname connection to Brotherton
T. @ 111.3cM – Surname connection to Brotherton
J.  @ 93.7cM – Surname connection to Brotherton
T. @ 87.3cM – Surname connection to Brotherton
S. @ 85.5cM – Somehow connected to Howard/Brotherton
D. @ 77.2cM – Surname connection to Howard
C. @ 65.1cM – Surname connection to Howard
J. @ 65cM – Unknown Connection
S. @ 63.5cM – Surname connection to McConnell (Howard)
T. @ 57.9cM – Surname connection to Brotherton

Pat’s father was Phillip Alexander Brotherton, b. May 23, 1923 in Catawba County, North Carolina. Phillip Alexander’s Father was Seba Ivey Brotherton, b. August 11, 1880 who was married to Annie Cashion Brotherton.

The Connection

I had already worked through the Howard’s and Brotherton’s and had added Annie Cashion to her Brotherton husband on WikiTree, but I/we didn’t have a DNA match to the last name Cashion. Jane immediately contacted a Cashion cousin and friend and got her to test. Another Bingo moment…

J. @ 274.6cM with a MCRA 2.9 generations from Betty Jean – Surname connection to Cashion

I worked J.’s connection back to Annie Cashion and worked Annie’s family, filling in WikiTree and my huge DNA/Pedigree Chart down to J. The Common Connection? The Family of James Henry Cashion and Frances Little

Annie Cashion Brotherton’s brother, Charles Cleveland Cashion, b. 1884, from Catawba Springs, NC., was J.’s grandfather.

G. @32.7cM with a MCRA 4.4 generations from Betty Jean – Surname connection to Little & McConnell

Seems this family might be VERY connected to Betty Jean and the clue to her adoption.

The James Henry and Frances Little Cashion Family

James and Frances had 9 children. All these children in one way or another had connections back to the Howard’s or Brotherton’s. AND their mother, Frances Little had connections back to the Howard’s through her sister, Obedience who married a Barkley who’s mother married a Howard and… there were many, many overlapping connections.

William, b. abt. 1867 m. Julia Signora Brotherton
Junius, b. abt 1868 m. Carrie Salone McCall
Samuel, b. abt. 1871 m. Mary Lee Kelly
Nannie, b. abt. 1875 m. Sidney Allen Brotherton
Minnie, b. abt 1877 m. Jesse H. White
Annie, b. abt 1881 m. Seba Ivey Brotherton
Nora, b. abt 1882 m. Johnson Howard
Charles Cleveland, b. abt 1884 m. Lula Howard m. Lettie Maretta Little m. Julia Pippen
James Hua, b. abt 1885 m.

And who is it in this family who looks like they might have a few more connections than the others? Charles Cleveland Cashion, J.’s Grandfather and Pat’s Great Uncle.

Back to the Adoption in Asheville, North Carolina

We know that Betty Jean’s adoption took place Asheville, NC in 1928. We have been working on the assumption that she was born in Asheville or surroundings in 1927. Who in Charles Cleveland Cashion’s family might have been in Asheville NC in 1926 or 1927?

Charles Cleveland Cashion’s Children who were old enough to have had children in 1927:
James Harold, b. 1904
William Ray, b. 1905
Glenn Cashion, b. 1907
Annie Margie, b. 1909

Charles Cleveland Cashion’s Children who were in Asheville NC in 1926 or 1927?
James Harold, b. 1904
William Ray, b. 1905
Glenn Cashion, b. 1907

James Harold, the oldest was a delivery man. He was in Asheville, but not living there. Harold and Glenn are listed in City directories as living in Chatanooga, TN in 1927. William Ray and Glenn are listed as living in Asheville, NC in 1927 as well.

More DNA tests

The first descendant of these three brothers we found, who met our criteria (living) for further testing, was a daughter of William Ray. I called and talked with her and told her Betty Jean’s story and that I wanted her to take a DNA test. The conversations about the test and what it would entail was spread over two or three phone calls. She agreed and was very interested to find the answer to this adoption mystery. She also told me about a first cousin, one of Glenn’s children, that we might want to contact – Ike.

I ordered her test and had it shipped to her. The DNA company let me know it had been shipped and I waited. And waited some more. While I waited I contacted her cousin, Ike. He too was interested in doing a test, solving the adoption mystery. Since his cousins test was already ready to be sent in, I told him we would wait until we got the first test back to see if we needed to test him.

Nearly as soon as I hung-up with Ike I found out I had travel to William Ray’s daughter’s corner of the world. Once there I called her to ask if I could swing by to say hello. It’s always fun to put a face, a person to the work. Her answer? She was glad I called because she hadn’t done the test yet and had some concerns. OH NO!

DNA Tests and Privacy Concerns

When she had received the DNA test kit and looked through the paperwork she saw a slip of paper where she needed to sign a release allowing her DNA to be shared. I explained to her that sharing was a huge part of DNA testing because if she didn’t share her results then I wouldn’t be able to find matches in her results – the most important one being Betty Jean. I then explained to her how we could make her test information anonymous. She looked incredibly relieved, signed the papers and did her swab. I mailed the kit off the next day. I also took a couple pictures of her for later use if her DNA came back as a close match to Betty Jean.

The Results

The test came back 5 weeks later and…she was a very good match to Betty Jean. A solid first cousin. Even before the results had finished loading I was on the phone to Ike.

Betty Jean’s Adoption Search – All In The Family

Betty Jean’s adoption search is all in the family. She ended her Adoption search years ago with her family, her husband, by her side. There was nothing to find. Then many, many years later a cousin (me) asked if she could start the process all over again. The physical search itself is all about looking in the nooks an crannies of the Howard/Brotherton family for people living in, or being in, Asheville, NC in 1926/7. The Howard’s and Brotherton’s are the family who hold the clues that will lead to an end to Betty Jean’s adoption search – 90 years after her birth.

Her 1st Cousin Once Removed, The Other Adoptee, Pat

To tell Betty Jean’s story we have to tell a bit about Pat’s story. Pat is a generation or so younger than Betty Jean. She is, like Betty Jean, adopted and looking for her birth family. Pat got a DNA test done in the hopes of the DNA being the key to he mystery. It was/is.

Jane, the Genealogist/Adoption Researcher who is a member of the Howard and Brotherton family, was also her key. But there was another key to Pat’s search, something every adoptee wished they had.

The Letter

The letter comes from a time before the agency would offer to find birth parents. She paid them a fee to go through the microfiche records to see what non-identifying information existed. It was a weird experience for her to read that letter because of the similarities in some of the her family hobbies.

LetterSubsequent communications from the adoption agency to Pat also gave more information on the birth mother and birth father. Like occupations, religion, height and ultimately what the cause of death was for her birth father – cancer.

The Howard/Brotherton Connection

Why these two families? Because of the number of people who have done DNA testing with strong connections to these two family lines who also match Pat.

Armed with the clues in the Agency’s non-identifying communications, Jane hit the pavement running. Tracking down anyone in the Howard or Brotherton families who were in the professions listed for Pat’s birth parents. She also scoured the geographic locations.

Bingo?

Eventually Jane found Charlotte, NC as the common geographic denominator in the equation. She located a few Brotherton’s who matched the profession of Pat’s birth father. Then worked to determine if one of them could have crossed paths with Pat’s birth mothers profession. She interviewed people who new Pat’s possible birth fathers and anyone else who could give the answer to the questions Jane asked.

I became involved at this point and started hashing out the family connections using the DNA numbers – cM’s (measurement in DNA) of matches and generations to MCRA (most common recent ancestor) estimates, one to one comparisons, one to many comparisons, GEDcom + DNA searches, in common with, not in common with, overlapping segments, triangulation, working the patterns slowly appearing in WikiTree DNA Sanbox, all to whittle down the possible candidates. Whittle is the appropriate word because it wasn’t a BINGO moment, it was slow and deliberate process of elimination. Just like slowly morphing a piece of wood into a shape.

Janes’ work, and my bit of back-up, found the shape that is Pat’s birth father. A Brotherton.

Health and focus

For me Pat’s birth father was circled on my big DNA/Pedigree Chart (the chart I created to help me understand Jane and Pat’s and, soon to be Betty Jean’s, crazy confusing family tree). Somewhere in that tangled mess of limbs lay Betty Jean’s birth something.

At about the same time, just as Pat’s father was confirmed, Betty Jean contacted me with some worries about her health. Doctors visits and traveling for appointments were in her very near future. Betty Jean was nearly 90, and I didn’t know how serious her health issues might be, so we, Jane and I, turned the majority of our focus toward the work to find Betty Jean’s birth family.