Genealogical Holiday

You often see posts for people traveling to their family home to do research and see loved ones and family. Visiting the Archives of the state or province where the family lines connected and settled. You even see posts where people follow the (whichever) “Great Wagon Road” their pioneers used to get to the place where lines connected and family settled.

My Genealogical Holiday

I was asked to speak at a family reunion in Cherryville, North Carolina by my Mom’s Neill Family. Not because I am a Neill researcher, but because 3 Neills had done DNA tests and I had results and observations to share.

It was supposed to be one day for a short bit of Genealogy and I was done.

Blaming my Flight

On the flight south a fella politely turned his head from his row mates and and sneezed on me. Within two days (mom said it isn’t possible it was the sneeze) I was laid out with a very nasty bit of nastiness – a cold turned into bronchitis variety of sick. The first two days were spent with family and friends, but on the third day I flat out couldn’t do a thing. All plans canceled – except the presentation.

What to do when your Mom is in charge and you are home Sick?

My mom is in charge of my schedule this trip anyway. One day I knew about in advance. The “Going Through Doodle’s Photographs Day” (Doodle = my grandmother who passed in 2005 on the brink of a century). I had gone through them with her many years ago and had asked her to go through them and mark who the people were so when we went through them later we would know. She did. She reorganized them into their own envelopes with each person in the photo noted on the back. Wow and thank you Doodle.

Who needs a Brick and Mortar Archive?

We also went through her keepsakes: letters from her grandkids, EVERY single newspaper article about us and Dad and Mother and Mom. An old Scrapbook about…we couldn’t really figure it out…clippings from the Laurens Advertiser on keeping house and home. Bible verses and stories. Her children’s storybooks (so delicate we barley touched them). My dad’s early artwork. It was, for me a wonderful day of sitting with my parents, with my dad, and reintroducing Doodle and my dad to me through Doodle’s archive.

The Presentation

Bolstered with piles of pills, cough syrup and herbal remedies we set out for the drive up I-85 into North Carolina for the reunion and the presentation. Nothing better than a potluck in the Carolinas – Friend Okra, Mac and Cheese, Home cured Ham Biscuits, Squash Casserole, Green Beans cooked southern style and Banana Pudding. The tastes of my childhood.  The Presentation went very well, made more so by one of the organizers who took all the kids into the church kitchen for Ice Cream while I spoke (Thanks Sam). There were great questions afterwards and a couple of people asked me if I might help them with brick walls. I was able to spend time with the DNA testers as well, to thank them for testing and to give them specific information about their results. One set of results were a bit hard to deliver as they introduced one fella to his real last name according to the DNA. He didn’t tell me, but he told my mom I had it wrong. That’s ok. It’s DNA and unless he got a friend to do the swab?

More HomeSpun Archives

The plan was that I was going to spend the night at my Aunt Chris’s and meet with the testers so there would be time to discuss things. But with me so very under the weather I didn’t stay. Chris had a bag of stuff for me to take back to South Carolina. The First Volume of the Shoe Cobbler’s Kin, By Lorena Shell Eaker. Family Memories and Stories, a collections of emails and essays about the family including recipes. The last one is an incredible collection of Family notes for each of James Andrew and Mary Jane Eaker Neils descendants which was aptly entitled, Genealogy. This collection of Binders and book were too heavy for me to carry. Now I have two days to try and absorb them. Wow.

Downtime and Chief Inspector Gamache

Since I am sick I asked my mom to make me some soup. In my mind I was thinking of her old cure, Campbells Tomato Soup. Instead I arrived at the kitchen table to Lobster Bisque. YUM. When I curl up with a blanket (which means I can’t work – incapable of holding a laptop and curling up in a blanket at the same time) I pull out my current Louise Penny book and read. Being able to escape to Quebec with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Sûreté du Québec while I am sick in South Carolina is more than wonderful.

The delivered archives are calling to me here, wrapped in the blanket, medicines and herbal cures to my left and my Mom and Dad working around the house, around me (Mom is cooking dinner for My Aunt, my Brother, my Niece, my cousin and his family tonight – I hope I can smell the lemon zest I hear her working on in the kitchen).

 

Serendipitous Synchronicity – Michael Stills

Serendipitous Synchronicity. Well Serendipity is something I beleive in. When I saw the Title of Michaels post to the WikiTree Members Group Facebook page, I had to share it with y’all, so here it is:

Shaking Brick Walls

SO in the month of my 54th birthday, DNA has decided to shake my biggest brick walls. But only to tease me.

Watt? What?

My Mom, also born this month, has the surname of Culp, but my 2nd Great Grandfather in her line got his surname from his mother Nancy Jane Culp. We do not know his father. But tantalizing info suggests a James Watt. This month I found a DNA connection that has one of my two suspected James Watt in her tree and this Watt family intertangles with the Culp family. But Also, DNA withholds a confirming connection, 3rd Cousin, one removed.

Ricker, Make it so…

My Dad, during the month of Father’s day, is not a true Stills. My 2nd Great Grandfather, in his direct line, was raised by William Henry Stills and Nancy Jane Tarlton. Y-DNA testing with a Stills cousin, confirms that my Dad is not a Stills, which we knew. My grandmother says that my 2GG Smith A Stills parents were killed in a wagon accident but did not say who his parents were. Lots of circumstantial evidence suggests he is a Ricker. While I am still searching for a Ricker to test with, auDNA says that my tested Stills cousin is a Second cousin, and that Nancy Tarlton is possibly the mother, but alas DNA once again with holds confirmation as there are just too many Ricker, Lamb, Stills, Tarlton intermingling’s and dalliances that need sorting.

Should I sort this all out, I will have changed the surname of both my parents and found my remaining 2nd Great Grandparents.

Identity Crisis or not?

So, am I Michael Ricker son of Maynard Ricker and Martha Watt?

Good Bye June 2017, you raised my hopes with DNA and excited my heart only to leave me yearning for better chromosomes.

Michael Lee Stills (Ricker)

It’s always incredible to me to see someone, anyone, making great strides in their Genealogy. Genealogy is now a dynamic, sometimes fast moving enterprise. Certainly not the Genealogy Hobby of our Grandparents.

Use Triangulation Michael you don’t HAVE to have that third cousin connections to confirm this.

Thanks Michael!

 

OGS Conference 2017 – My Experience

The OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society) Conference 2017 happened over this last weekend here in Ottawa. I can’t tell you how nice it was to have the conference in my home city (not my hometown, there’s a difference). Of course there is a story to tell…

Social Media Team, #OGSConf2017

It all started a couple, three, four…it all started when I volunteered for the OGS Conference 2017 Social Media Team. I know some of you might be absolutely tired of me adding #OGSConf2017 to all my tweets and posts but I felt I needed to get the hastag out there in general. So, long before the thing actually started I was tweetin’ away (excuse me).

Once things started rollin’ and attendees started registering, the social media team were in action. We posted and tweeted every event, standing at the back discreetly taking photo’s and sharing the presentations, workhops and events. From excursions on thursday through to Ancestry Day, we did our appointed tasks quite well! What a great team to work with.
OGS 2017 Social Media Team Logo

CBC Radio One “All In A Day” with Alan Neal 

Thursday Night I tweeded a picture of Krsty Gray (@TheKirstyGray) having a pre-intereview interview with the CBC. Little did I know Kirsty was on the phone telling them they wanted to interview a local Genealogist, “Talk to Mags Gaulden”. Thank you very much Kirsty!

I did the interview Friday morning and it aired Friday afternoon. Over the weekend, because I was walking around with my Grandma’s Genes Kit on all weekend, I got stopped by more than a few people to say they heard the interview and had a question. Thanks Kirsty.

I had recieved a request for a bid proposal for a project (can’t tell you what yet) earlier in the week, which I had been thinking over. Hadn’t even responded to them. On Tuesday this week – post conference – I got a call from the company asking for the bid. They had heard the interview and they really want me to get the bid notes together for them. Thanks Kirsty (curtsying or is it kirstsying).

Me In My kit

Someone asked if I was going to have a venders table for the Conference. “No, I am a walking billboard”. Basically my kit is a shirt with Grandma’s Genes Logo emblazened upon the pocket, my Bag with a Grandma’s Genes Bumper Sticker across the front, my business cards on a lanyard, a Grandma’s Genes Sticker on my Conference credentials and Grandma’s Genes on every bit of electronics I brought (this is for security as well).

Grandma's Genes Conference Kit

Of Course WikiTree Was At The Conference As Well

WikiTree didn’t have a Venders table either. They had a walking billboard as well. Moi. I bounced around the conference in Orange too.

WikiTree LiveCasts

Saturday we did the WikiTree LiveCast Live From the conference. I had spread the word and posted a Casting Call for the LiveCast and boy did I get responses! Yes, real, live WikiTreer’s here in Ottawa answered the call. Thanks to Blaine Bettinger (my dinner date for Saturday night too), Kirsty Gray, Annette Cormier and Leanne Cooper for sitting in along with Romaine Honey, Librarian with the Ottawa Public Library and Emma McBeth for moderating from the West Coast. Thank you also to all the orange shirted people who randomly appear on camera through-out the LiveCast.

I also presented “DNA and the Global Family Tree” in a fast trax presentation on Sunday which Grandma’s Genes LiveCasted as well.

At one point, I changed my shirt in the elevator (I should have have a telephone booth). Blaine said I should sew the two shirts together. He is awfully clever.

Networking

There was a lot of that giong on as well.

Living DNA and I discussed some of their recent changes which might facilitate some integration with WikiTree. Early days yet, so patience is the key here.

Kirsty Gray and I decided to do a LiveCast about going to conferences, What to take? What to do? How to get into trouble? Stayed tuned for this one for sure!

Blaine Bettinger and I discussed WikiTree’s DNA Project and genetic genealogy and family and food and his books being contraband at the border, what? What is in those books!?!? Just words and hard work!

I got to Volunteer for the Program Committee for next years Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2018. The real work of the Committee starts the same week I will be traveling to speak at a Family Reunion in North Carolina, he he. 

BlueBerry Pie

Why yes there was blueberry Pie. The Social Media Team plus a few extra’s spent Sunday Dinner together (when a group goes through something together they don’t want to be separated) and were treated to Blueberry pie of course courtesy of Grandma’s Genes. Thanks Bowman’s!

Can’t wait til next year.

Blaine Bettinger and the Shared cM Project Update

Blaine Bettinger
Blaine Bettinger

From Blaine Bettinger, The Shared cM Project and a shout out for more crowd-souring DNA Statistics – May 26 at 10:20am

You might be familiar with the Shared cM Project, which produced this chart. The Project relies on submissions from genealogists just like you! I will soon be working on an annual update to the Shared cM Project, and I would greatly appreciate tons of new submissions!

I am accepting all submissions, and I am especially looking for relationships more distant than 2C (as well as all half relationships). Because I have limited time, I can ONLY accept submissions through the submission Portal:https://goo.gl/PxATDG.

THANK YOU to everyone! (If you’d like to share this post, copy & paste rather than clicking “share” so it can reach more people).

Blaine

P.S. – I can’t do look-ups, but if you submitted before and now only submit data from testing you’ve done since June 2016, you should be safe.

Sutton Hoo Who?

Sutton Hoo is the site of an East Anglian, AD 600 burial. When discovered this burial revealed large quantities of lavish grave goods belonging to a person of high status. But other than the assumption the person is most likely male, and given the large mustache in the design of the helmet, there is little evidence about who this person really was – no DNA.

East Anglian Chief or King?

Based on the grave goods and the size of the ship, could this burial have been for an East Anglian Chief or King and could someone be related to him?

This question came up in the WikiTree G2G Forum today, Sutton Hoo Connections. The poster ran down a quick pedigree…”descent from King Alfred of England. By a little digging round, I found that he descends from AEthelwulf of Wessex, Ecgbert III of Wessex, his mother, an unnamed Anglian princess and daughter of AEthelbert II of Kent, son of Wihtred of Kent, son of Egbert I of Kent, son of Sexburga of East-Anglia (princess), daughter of Anna, King of East Anglia , who was son of Eni of East Anglia, brother of Redwald, King of East Anglia, who was almost certainly the gentleman buried at Sutton Hoo!!!!!!”

I answered honestly albeit a bit tongue in cheek, “I can supposedly go back to Harold. The fella who lost to William and lay the land open for the Normans. I am waiting for John Smeeckle (one of our great WikiTree Researchers) to find the break in my lines and disprove it.

My suggestion? Get male line descendants to do YDNA tests and try to get information on any DNA work/studies being done on the Pre-Norman Royal Chiefs/Kings. Be a real bummer to do all the DNA testing only to find that the burial belonged to a Woman, a Chieftess or Queen (we can ignore the big mustache on the helmet).”

The Female Break

My suggestion to do male line DNA tests is an honest suggestion. There is, however, a slight problem with the pedigree given, “his mother, an unnamed Anglian princess and daughter of AEthelbert II of Kent…” If there is a female in this line of descent no amount of Y-DNA testing will confirm a connection. If this pedigree is correct we can’t do a Y-DNA line directly back to Redwald.

Are there Anglo Saxon Chief/Chieftess DNA studies going on right now?

Yes. According to Dr Stephan Schiffels, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire and the Max Plank Institute in Germany, “38% of the ancestors of the English were Anglo-Saxons. This information was derived “By sequencing the DNA from ten skeletons from the late Iron Age and the Anglo-Saxon period, we obtained the first complete ancient genomes from Great Britain…”PhysOrg 

Other information on this:
BBC – English DNA ‘one-third’ Anglo-Saxon

The Charlotte Observer – Sutton Hoo? Home of buried ancient treasure, “

Q. But no DNA?

A. No. That’s a problem at Sutton Hoo.”

There is also a great forum discussion on Eupedia. This discussion breaks out some of the finer points of the DNA (it is a forum, read with a mind to that).

Finding DNA at Sutton Hoo would have been the nail in the …er ship? But no DNA at this time.

Anglo Saxon DNA Study

Of course someone over at FTDNA has an Anglo Saxon DNA Study on the go!

“The project was created to find a common ancestor among  those who have surnames of an Anglo Saxon origin or those who live or have ancestry in the lands once occupied by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians andFranks.” and “will accept only those people that have tested with a SNP  associated with Germanic origins.”

Interesting.

I still say grab a few of your Male cousins and jump in to the Gene pool on this one.

Lydia Gaulden Shout Out – Come on Social Media, Connect Me!

This is a Lydia Gaulden Shout out. When I discovered Raven Symoné’s mothers surname is Gaulden my curiosity was piqued.

Who is Raven Symoné?

The adorable kid on Cosby, “American actress, singer, songwriter, television personality, and producer”, WikiPedia the former outspoken co-host of the View.

My interest is not so much in Raven, it’s her Gaulden’s I want to know about!

Could we have a Gaulden Cannection?

A part of my Sumter, South Carolina Gaulden Family headed west. Martha Gaulden married Francis Richardson and migrated to Mississippi . They lived in Woodville, MS which is close enough to New Orleans that my ggg Dempsey Gaulden spent time there.

“Dempsey Gaulden was born in Sumter County, South Carolina in about 1767. He may have migrated with his brother William or sister Martha (Patsy) to Mississippi about five years after the revolutionary war.[1]As a young man Dempsey raced horses in New Orleans.

According to Laura Gaulden Bailey he married ‘(wife’s name unknown) and left at least two sons: John Sidney and _________, father of Sam Gaulden of Windsor County, Mississppi. This information is furnished by John Sidney Gaulden.’ If she got this information first hand from John Sidney Gaulden and he was indeed a son of Dempsey this adds two new , and older sons, for Dempsey than I have in any information about him.” WikiTree

Dempsey sows his wild oats and is back in SC in 1830 working on my part of his family with no sign of Sidney, etc.

Raven Symoné has origins in the south, possibly Louisiana, so I hear. Though it doesn’t matter where, since she is a Gaulden, I want to know how, and who and where in the gene pool we connect. I would like to learn about her family lines and hopefully find some common genetic cousins to connect the story.

I am looking for someone, somewhere, somehow to put me in contact with Raven’s momma Lydia Gaulden Pearman, so I can cure my curiosity.

Come On Social Media Connect your Grandma! Let’s go Viral! 

Share, Share, Share, Spread, Spread, Spread. Please and Thank you!

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!

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.