Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Immigration and Immigrants

Technically speaking, my great great grandfather was an illegal immigrant. He said he was born in the United States. He wasn't, his family moved to Philadelphia for almost 10 years when he was an infant before returning to England, but he, the eldest was born not in the United States but in jolly old England.

So technically, only my great grandmother was a legal citizen. Her mother and brother's didn't apply for citizenship, because based on her father's claim, they claimed they were already United States citizens through her father, but they weren't. A path to citizenship back then certainly seems easier than now, but was it?

Congress enacted a bill that required immigrants pass a literacy test in 1917, and in 1924 enacted further quotas on country of origin.  Did you know that? It's one of the tragedies of World War 2. Immigrants, many Jewish, were unable to immigrate because of these laws. Sadly, many of them died because of it.

Nearly a 130 years after my great grandmother was born in 1889, it doesn't seem all that important that her family came here illegally. And why should it? She married a man whose paternal ancestor's had been in the country 1-10 years after the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth. His maternal ancestors were immigrants, but when they immigrated in 1840, you didn't need to apply for citizenship.

Her brother and sons served in World Wars I and II. Some of her grandchildren served lifetime careers in the Navy. And no one ever wondered if any of them were illegal. I doubt, because they were English, that they even cared that they were immigrants. 

My maternal grandfather's families all resided in the Unites States long before the American Revolution, from German and British immigrants to native Choctaws. My father's family likewise has been in the United States since the 17th century. So when I look at my family history, it is for the most part, uniquely American, except for that one little branch.

Immigration has been a big topic now a days. Lots of opinions are expressed both in favor and against immigrants, legal and illegal. Yet, the truth is, for most of us, our families were all immigrants at some point. Now, yes, my grandfather's Choctaw ancestors are considered native, but the rest, they weren't always here, they came here to a country for economical, political or religious reasons.

It is the hallmark of what I believe our country stands for. Years ago, when I had my website, the home page had the following words. I wish more of us realized who we have been, and base who we are on that. 

America ... land of the free, home of the brave.

Genealogy has taught me more about the truth in those words
than any history class I ever attended. While to the novice
genealogist, or the casual browser these pages may seem
mostly lists of names, to the experienced and avid genealogist
they tell stories of how our country developed and was made
into the land we know today.

The lives of these individuals are the basis for the foundation of
our country, the dangerous and wild paths they emigrated
along stretched this country from sea to shining sea. Each
generation has it's own story to tell ...

From the first colonists who came over two hundred and fifty years ago to a strange land looking for religious freedom,

To the Scot Irish immigrants who blazed the trails of the
wilderness looking for land they could own that was cheap or

To the Native Americans who struggled to maintain their land
and their culture amist the white intruders,

And to the European immigrants of the latter 19th and early
20th century who were seeking out a better opportunity, we
learn not only their names and their families, but can trace the
growth of our nation.

Each has faced their sorrows and their triumphs, laughter and
tears, and with courage and determination shaped for
themselves, their families and their descendants a land we can
call home. As you browse through these pages, some stories
are told, others remain hidden to be found and treasured. Amid
these pages you will find murderers and statesmen, preachers
and outlaws, mothers and warriors. Looking back allows us to
see that while we view our own lives as ordinary, time and
history can give it a different perspective. So journey along
with me through these pioneers of our past, their lives are
what made this country the land of the free and the home of
the brave.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Bobo and Chambliss families- making a connection

For the last three years I have had matches in common for my father and other Hardy family members with the Bobo family (linking back to Tillman Bobo and his wife Beulah Yarborough), but I never could figure out the how. Dad in fact matches four siblings from this line, among several others.

This week a cousin of Dad's results showed up, and when I started looking at our in common matches, I found another surname Chambliss, and all of those Chambliss matches were in common with the Bobo. So how on earth do the two relate.

My current working theory is that Margaret Carlisle who married John Humphreys (an ancestor of Beulah Yarborough), is the daughter of Richard Carlisle and his wife, Mary Chambliss, a daughter of Henry Chambliss, and sibling to the John Chambliss Sr line that we are matching.

Of course there is an issue. All the Bobo researchers say she was born in Ireland and died there, despite the fact that her child was born in Virginia. And none of the Richard Carlisle researchers have a daughter Margaret, just other children her age.

So if that is the link it explains the connection between the two lines, but what about the Hardy connection? There are only two females, Rebecca the mother of Gardner Hardy or his wife Harriet. Rebecca lived in the same area as other Chambliss' so she makes the most sense as the first place to look, but it just as easily can be Harriet.

Though we can't triangulate (all the matches are on ancestry), we are showing multiple (at least 5) matches across descendants of different lines for Gardner Hardy, so the Chambliss lead is the most substantial one we have had come up.

Monday, May 21, 2018

DNA the advantages and pitfalls for Genealogy

I am a fan of DNA testing. I find it fascinating and interesting to find out the things we learn from it. However, as much as it adds to my genealogical research, it is not a replacement for it. That is the key bit of information for those who are still considering if they want to test or not. Testing your DNA can help you, but you will still spend hours researching trees.

So what are the advantages? What are the Pitfalls?

1. DNA matches can lead to discoveries on your dead end ancestors, but generally only within the first 5 generations, with the odds decreasing for every successive generation.

the pitfall, you have to be able to triangulate for these type of discoveries, which makes the ancestryDNA matches useless if you can't convince the matches to use gedmatch or the free ftdna transfer.

2. You may find relatives you never knew you had. Personally, I think this is an advantage, but I am not someone who was adopted and never knew it, like a recent second cousin tester just found out. Mostly for me it's been being able to help others who have a question, they are adopted, they don't know who their father is, that even with just ancestryDNA and solid genealogical research we have found the answers for.

the pitfall, you may find information you would rather not know, and to help someone else, it's still a long road of research.

3. If you triangulate, you can find some interesting information. That's the part I love, seeing how some family DNA has been passed down more than others. Seeing the amazing way in which we become who we are.

the pitfall, you can only triangulate with 23andme, ftdna and gedmatch And, it is sometimes hard to get responses from matches.

These are pitfalls only.

1. less than 5% - 10%  of your matches on average will have a tree, and if your lucky, about 25% of those you contact will answer your message.
2. Ancestry trees are riddled with errors. While I don't recommend using shared matches and trees as a way to identify a match alone in general, larger matches (above 75 cM) can be identified however, it means really doing the research on your own to verify the match and trees are compatible.
3. Matches that are below 30 cM can be helpful only with triangulation, and only if they can illuminate a larger match or have multiple matches that can point you in a direction.

Don't let the internet DNA scare tactics scare you

There are multiple articles and even news stories on how taking your DNA test is a bad idea. Not only do I not believe that, but I want to be blunt about it. The anti-DNA camp is using scare tactics that the general public will readily believe because they don't know better.

Just this week with the help of DNA and genealogy research I was able to identify the birth father's family for three different individuals. With the thousands of people who are trying to find answers, DNA is definitely useful, and scare tactics just may drive testers away that can be vital for those who are searching.

So what about DNA and what you can or cannot learn from it about another tester.

1. Someone who matches me can tell if I carry a specific gene for a disease. Mostly FALSE.
 DNA matches are only for 1/2 of the chromosome. So even if someone knew that for example 1377 CT a genetic SNP variant dealing with metabolism of folic acid was located on Chromosome 14, and they knew the exact location in correlation with the DNA match, they only know 1/2 of the result for the comparison, and only if they already looked at their raw data and knew what their result was and had identified if it was a paternal or maternal match.

Because without testing at least one parent, a tester with raw data who does research their snp's for genetic markers will not know which side they inherited the marker from unless both parents contributed the same marker. Since abnormal markers only need one variant to be positive for a marker, it is possible if they had tested at least one parent, identified the match to the parent with the variant, and then took the exhaustive step of computing the match on that chromosome was in that exact location that they could identify you had an abnormal SNP.

So let's get this straight. To even remotely identify that a genetic match carries an abnormal health gene you need to meet all of the following.
1. know the exact location of the SNP on the chromosome
2. Identify the genetic contributor from your sample (maternal or paternal) by testing a parent and comparing the raw data files for that location.
3. Successfully identify the match to a paternal or maternal match in the exact location.
4. the match has to be to the abnormal variant in that exact location, if it is normal it tells you nothing.

Yeah, I can just see that happens a lot. Most people who test don't even know the basics on autosomal DNA, much less the complex science behind genetics.

2. Test companies sell DNA to 3rd market researchers. TRUE, but...
they also remove any personal identifying information from the data, and require your consent when you test. What this means is that the genetic code, the G,T,A, or C is intact but your name isn't anywhere on it. So while it helps research genes, it does not identify you in anyway whatsoever.

3. Police can use your DNA to help find criminals TRUE, but..
Ancestry, 23andme, and FamilytreeDNA do not voluntarily contribute to police. If I am not mistaken, it specifically says they will only do so if they are given a subpoena or warrant for the information.

About the Gedmatch news story.

Gedmatch is voluntary, and it is free. What is so amazing about the recent news about the serial killer who was found based on DNA evidence using Gedmatch is the improbability of it working in the first place.

Read any message board or group dealing with DNA and genealogy and you will hear the same complaints. A significantly small percentage of tests have a gedcom or family tree attached. I think I have about 50 for gedmatch with over 3000 matches (I haven't looked in a while) for my father and my mother each. So roughly less than 5 % of users even have a tree, and my personal response rate for correspondence is around only 25 % across the board for 4 companies where I have DNA results. Add to that the folks who have tested with new chips have had difficulty because the data is incompatible with gedmatch, it is mind boggling that they took a DNA sample and gave it the right format to be of any use.

Personally, I don't mind if a serial killer is found because my DNA helped, but to each his own.

4. Your giving away your most private information. TRUE, but..
you retain ownership of your DNA and can remove it at any time. Other users (matches) cannot see your raw data, and even if they identify matches, they only know 1/2 of your DNA, they do not know all of it. AncestryDNA allows no comparisons, so if your worried about someone figuring something out that they shouldn't (which I hope I already proven is really, really time consuming and hard), you don't have to worry about it at all. Though to be honest, the biggest pitfall of ancestryDNA is that relying on matches and trees alone is  a disaster waiting to happen. Except for close matches, the capacity for errors and assumptions is really high leading to misinformation.

Comparing your DNA and seeing the results does give some information, but even among those who do test for health reasons, they may ask you if you carry a specific genetic marker, but most are not literate enough in DNA to even begin to do the exhaustive study I eluded to in my first point.

5. Insurers can use your DNA against you. TRUE, but..
they do not have access to your actual results. And if we are smart we will ensure legislation keeps that from happening. What they can ask is if you have taken a DNA test for genetic reasons and if you know you are a carrier for a specific problem. That is not all that different from preexisting conditions we are subject to now, except, for many markers, the increased likelihood of disease is only slightly increased. Which is why I am not necessarily a fan of the health DNA market in the first place. It is easy to scare people into believing they are at risk, and often when you read the actual research, the risk is not much higher. I believe before you test, you really need to understand the whole picture, and having a marker doesn't always mean you have the disease.

6. You may find out information you don't want to know TRUE
The biggest risk with DNA is you may find out your father isn't your father, or your were adopted, or one of your parents or grandparents had an affair and had a child. That is a big risk, and if you really don't want to know those answers, then you shouldn't test.

Personally I think the rewards of testing far outweigh the cons, and I hope that now you do too.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

New DNA evidence for Tallulah Johnson

I check my DNA results several times a week (hoping to find my mother's half brother still) and I have to admit, I rarely go beyond the first two pages of results. I do however look into the shared matches. I know AncestryDNA isn't triangulation, but with only 25% maybe having trees, and so few going to Gedmatch (and I fear far fewer will with the latest crime solved using Gedmatch), the in common matches can be illuminating. Not because I can prove the triangulation, but because we have several identified cousins closer than 4th for several of my lines now, so if I get enough of them in the in common matches, I am pretty sure that it is valid.

So, a 4th cousin match showed up. I noticed several of my Hardy cousins, all from my elusive ancestor Tallulah Johnson, and three had trees in common with that match, Green Brantley and Mary Solomon being their common ancestor. I checked my Aunt's DNA and she also is having matches with this pair, and none of the other Hardy's have a link to this couple (H.H. is related to descendants of a John Solomon who married into the Godbold family).

Green Brantley was a neighbor of my Johnson's, living in the same section (14) of township 6n range 11E in Conecuh County. There has always been the question how (we know we share DNA with the Johnson and Parker family) Tallulah was a Johnson, is it through her mother or her father. The one thing I know is my great grandmother said her mother in law was illegitimate. And given the facts I have found, I believe it, so how is the question.

I took a look and built a tree for Green Brantley's descendants. There is only one daughter, Lucinda, who disappears after 1860, but even then, I don't believe Tallulah is the daughter of William Johnson anymore. Because, after all these years, I am embarrassed to say, I never paid attention to his time in the Civil War and her birth. William W. Johnson enlisted in April of 1861 and was discharged in June of 1862 after being wounded. Tallulah is supposed to be born in June of 1862. It is not possible for her to be his daughter, he was not in Alabama in the late summer and early fall of 1861, he was with his unit, which was in Virginia, or headed that direction.

So then comes in the pesky curiosities we have with the census for Elizabeth Parker Johnson, In 1830, William B. Johnson has a daughter 10-15, and a daughter under 5, and in 1840, his eldest daughter is married, and he has a daughter 10-15 and a daughter 5-10. The daughter 5-10 should be Matilda Elizabeth, who married John Diamond after Mary died, though she is never in a census it seems. That leaves the daughter who was 10-15, which is the same age as Nancy P. Johnson Coker who is found in the 1850 census with three children. In 1860 Nancy is listed as a Coker, and she is either a Johnson or a Coker until her death. Though after 1870 her children are always listed as mulatto and black. Some researchers's think she is Nancy Pugh, but I don't. The information on the 1880 census doesn't match the other Pugh's birth states, but it does match the birth states of the rest of my Johnson's, and the P. can easily stand for Parker. So if Nancy is the "other" daughter, where is Matilda.

In 1860 the household has Elizabeth b 1834 with daughter Elizabeth age 2, and in 1870 it is Nancy b 1834 with daughter Elizabeth 12 and Tallulah age 7. I think that quite possibly, Nancy is Matilda, she doesn't marry John Diamond until 1871, and the fact she is a Johnson then a Diamond may explain my great grandmother's "Johnson Diamond bastard baby" statement.

Since the family never has another daughter, Tallulah's mother has to be the daughter born in 1825 time frame, or Matilda who was born in 1832 (now, the only source we have on Matilda being a Johnson comes from a grandson of John Diamond, but he would know).  That means to be a Brantley, Tallulah's father is one. But who? Literally all of the sons can be the culprit except for Hilliard Brantley.

I have no idea but I compiled some information on the the locations of the Brantley, Johnson (and sorry some of my other Conecuh families, since I went page by page) from 1820-1860 to see where they were located in relation to each other. Another project is from a known match to Pyburn/Chitty via triangulationB and thought to connect Mary Brown to Elias Brown family.

 Of note, the name Hilliard is one the Brantley's used, so I added Henry Hilliard's location, he may have been a minister or neighbor, but just in case I included him as well.

1820 Census Conecuh
Henry Hilliard p 5
James Chitty p 6
William Johnson p 6 one male one female and one daughter
Joel Brown p 3 3 males over 21 5 under 21
John Brantley p 3 4 males under 21
Daniel Brown p 2
John Etheridge p 2
Pressley and John Brown p 7
William Johnson p 7 parents, one son and 2 daughters
Samuel Parker p 7
Elias Brown p 11 (2 sons one daughter)
William Johnson p 21 one son
Washington Johnson p 21 2 sons three daughters
Wesley Young p 21 2 sons 2 daughters’=

1830 Census Conecuh
John R. Brantley p 3
Green Brantley p 13
Elihu Brown (female) and Joel Brown p 11
Pressley and Sterling Brown p 9
Allen Chitty p 9
John Etheridge p 9
Stephen, William and John Brown p 7
Mallick and Millard Brown p 19
John and Samuel Parker p 19
William B. Johnson p 21
Henry Hilliard p 23
Francis Brantley and John Brantley p 23
John Chitty p 25 (two adult males)
William Johnson p 25
Zachariah Brown p 27
Washington Johnson p 29
Wesley Young p 29
Stephen Brown p 39
John Brown p 5
William Brown p 7
Thomas A Brown p 15
Randall Brown p 17
Jane Brown p 23 (is this mary jane brown)
Samuel Parker p 23
Parshall and Elias Brown p 37

1840 Census
Butler County (Conecuh folks listed, Finklea, Dean and Coker)
James Chitty p 56
Conecuh County
John and Peter Parker p 6
Joseph V. Brantley p 8
Samuel and George Parker p 10
Leonard Nelson p 10
John Brantley p 17 (no male children)
Mallikiah and Millard Brown p 21
Allen Chitty p 31
James Brown p 33
William and Washington Johnson p 35
Isaac Brown p 35
Green Brantley p 35
Stephen and John Brown p 41
John Brown p 45
Joel W., Sterling  and Ruckus Brown p 47
John Chitty p 47
John Etheridge p 47
R. Brown and John Brown p 23
Thomas H and R. A. Brown p 27
Paschall, Elias and Jackson Brown p 35
Stephen Brown p 67

1850 Census
Conecuh (no post office listed, hard to read)
Mary Brown Chitty (47 SC) p 115 (Robert Brown age 24 b GA)
Stephen Brown (48 GA) wife Sarah Chitty p 115
Allen Chitty p 114
Joel Brown 77 SC p 112
Tabitha Brantley 75 SC p 109
Samuel Parker 43 GA p 106
Isaac Brown 35 Ga p 96
Willis Brown 48 GA p 88
John Brown 60 SC p 86
Wm Parker 47 SC p 80
Augustus? Brantley 21 Ala p 71
James C Brantley 18 ALA p 63
L.W. Brantley 43 SC p 63
Mary Parker 76 MD p 61
Multiple Parkers p 60 and 59
James Brown 49 SC p 55
Wash Johnson p 52
Hilliard Brantley p 47
Millard Brown 45 SC p 39
Mallick (Malachai?) Brown 47 SC p 39
Dick Brantley 50 mulatto GA p 35
Elizabeth and William Johnson p 32
Thomas Brown 42 sc p 31
Manly Brantley 15 AL p 30
John Chitty p 23
John Etheridge and Jane Chitty p 22
Green Brantley p 19 (Elizabeth age 18)
Harris Brantley p 12
Joseph V. Brantley 37 SC (has Elizabeth age 16) p 10 ** has Floyd’s as neighbors ***
Russell Brown 39 SC p 10

Monroe (no post office listed)
Oren Brantley p 19 (John Hawkins age 14 next door neighbor)
Paschall Brown 50 VA p 14
Elias Brown Sr 57 SC p 3
Rufus Brown 38 GA p 3

1860 Census
** Missing Lazarus Solomon Brantley** Hilliard in Texas
Belleview post office
Boykin Brantley is living with brother Lott page 82
Lott Brantley p 81
Ct Brantley page 94
Susan Brantley p 95
Nancy P. Johnson Coker p 74 (Family not listed as colored)
Nancy Bryant age 10 p 72
Parker’s p 68 Samuel and two John’s
More parkers p 67 and 66
Francis Brantley (sc) p. 64
Beady Brantley  Hines p 105
Samuel Brantley p 102
what will be Escambia county (nathansville po)
James Brantley p 60

Rural Hill post office
H. H. Brantley (Harris) p. 140
W.W. Johnson p. 140
Lucinda Bryant p 111
Samuel C. Johnson p 145
Mary Brown Chitty p 13
Margaret Chitty p 13
Lucinda Chitty Shell p 13
Elizabeth Chitty Hammond p 13
 Benjamin Jacob Pyburn p 13
Daniel Brown p 13
Jack Chitty p  8
Allen Chitty p 8
Smith Johnson p 3
Washington Johnson p 3
Richard Brantley (SC) p 43
Burnt Corn post office
Oren Brantley p 74
Walton Brantley p. 72
Mary Salter age 14 p. 67
Betsy Brantley Deese p 154
Elias Brown p 171

Civil War enlistments
William W. Johnson enlisted April 1861 and was discharged June 1862.
Oren Brantley enlisted Aug 1864
J.S. Brantley enlisted Aug 1862
Walton Brantley enlisted Mar 1862
Charnic T. Brantley enlisted May 1862
Lazarus Solomon Brantley enlisted May 1863
Hilliard Brantley in Texas in 1860
Harris H. Brantley enlisted April 1862
Lott Whitten Brantley enlisted March 1862
Boykin Brantley enlisted March 1862

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I have been busy

I have undertaken some new projects, one of which is keeping me pretty busy. I am renovating my house. So, I may not be as active in genealogy for a while, but if your wondering what I am up to, you can find it at my new blog. A Sow's ear.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Oops I did it again

I got a message on Ancestry DNA late last week from someone who was managing a DNA test for a match to my cousin whose kit I manage. It isn't that great of a match, only 69 cM, but he was wondering if I could help him find/confirm his rumored father.

Ugh, I wasn't so sure, but I took a look, and noticed a strong connection to one family branch, the Pyburn's and the Chitty's. Well, that leads me only to Benjamin Jacob Pyburn and Mary Jane Chitty, my cousin's great grandparents. So I knew that some of those branches weren't full as far down, so I worked on it yesterday and a little today.

And I found it. I found the connection, from looking at shared matches and the name in their tree, the same surname of the rumored father. But the tree was blank. Which meant I had to use what she had listed two great grandparents and go forward. So I did, and found not much, so I went to the newspaper sites. Zilch on, same with, but came up with a zinger, it confirmed the marriage of two surnames, Deer and Dever. I was looking for Dever.

So then I searched for the parents names, and I found Betty Dever, born Jordan, whose obit mentioned Buddy Jordan. I knew he was in my tree, he was one I worked on, but I didn't find anything on his sister Betty, until I found her obit, and viola, I now have a tree for this young man, somewhat incomplete on the unrelated lines, but pretty far back on the others.

On a side note, there are folks who doubt that Teresa Rubena Innerarity was a Pyburn, but her daughters are living with her half sister after her death. Also I noticed something on the mysterious Phoebe, it is a name carried pretty strongly in some of Jacob Pyburn and Diadema Stapleton's oldest daughters descendants. I think that she was influential in Jacob's life as was his Aunt Mary Pyburn Collins.

I also am pretty convinced, because the names are so similar to the other children's names, that James Miller the second husband of Nicy Pyburn Fleming was married to the unknown daughter of Jacob and Diadema, and that the widower and widow married afterwards, and had three children, only one of whom had children Julia Miller.