Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I Must Have a Genealogical Angel Part Two

Over the years I have spent countless hours helping others with their genealogy. I view it as my way of giving back. It's something that I am good at, and something I enjoy, and it seems the least I can do is help others.

In April I blogged about helping an adoptee (from my Hardy line) find her birth mother. About two weeks ago (July 18th)  I helped someone else. This adoptee contacted me about a high match to my father's sister. I looked at the matches in common and knew what family it came from but it was too vague. So I sent her a message back on Ancestry to email me a few screen shots of her highest matches.

I got the email, and I knew exactly which family she came from, and I was pretty sure which sibling of my great grandfather, but asked her to call. She gave me her information on what she knew and I asked her to share her results with me. She had said an agency had offered to help for a hefty sum, I asked her to give me a crack at it first.

When I looked at her matches, she had four second cousins, and several third cousins. Her highest second cousin matched at the level of a first cousin once removed or half first cousin. It had no tree, but I knew the last name because of the account manager. The second highest second cousin had a tree, with the B. family, that matched exactly to two or three other trees on the third cousin level.

As a side note, always check the match, several of hers had a drop down menu for the tree but it wasn't attached. Also, one had a private tree attached, but under the profile name they also had their tree so I was able to (the highest third cousin match) identify another surname A., who had married into the B.'s in the tree I had found under the second cousin.

In the third cousin level, I found another distinct family grouping, the N. family among four of her matches. The others either had no tree or were matches I already knew matched into the Barnes family. Her last two second cousin matches were from the Barnes family. The highest was a third cousin of mine, and the other was my father's first cousin. The next highest Barnes match was my Aunt, followed by several of my father's first cousins and a few second cousins and second cousins once removed.

From the information she told me, I pretty much knew, we were a paternal match. Because no one in our family was Catholic and from South Carolina (the only other non identifying information from the Catholic Charities was the ages and descriptions (height, hair color and eye color) of her parents.

So first I looked at my Barnes family. I was looking for a 29 year old great grandson of John Lunsford Barnes and Margaret Eleanor Baker. Because of the various great grandchildren who she matched at more distant level, I looked first at the closest sibling, the great grandfather of her highest second cousin match.

To be honest, I did look at all of the siblings, and only found 4 or 5 of the right age, but, I really really concentrated on James Marshall Lunsford Barnes (Lunnie), because his great grandson was her highest match. And the first night, I settled on one who I thought was the father, because he matched the description (from an arrest warrant website no less) and was the right age. But Lunnie had 19 grandchildren, so I wasn't positive. So I reached out to one of Dad's second cousins who is a friend on Facebook.

It took a few days for my cousin to get back to me, but I communicated with the adoptee via texts and emails and phone calls on my progress. And I worked on those trees, first the B. and then the N.. I wasn't really getting anywhere. I knew which of the B. couples were her great grandparents, but not which of the children was her grandparents. I actually discovered the N. part on day number 3.

I used Google and found an obituary that showed the R. H. was the first cousin of her birth mother, but again, I wasn't sure how. I knew from the genealogy I had built on the family that only four of the siblings were old enough to be her grandparent, and two of the obituaries I found appeared to rule out two of those four siblings, so I had two men left. One had died but I couldn't find an obituary.

I moved onto the N. tree and worked on all of the many siblings who could be her great grandparents. And there were a lot of them. I filled in the grandparent's generation. Nada. I couldn't find a single N. married to a B. And they lived in entirely different states. Newspapers for both areas didn't give me a single clue.

Day four I searched Facebook for members of the B. family, and I found a few. I messaged them, Tried to find phone numbers. and I didn't get very far. But day five, day five while looking through their friends I noticed something, a N. was on one of the profiles. Aha. I don't know why, but I searched ancestry for Norma N., and bingo, an obituary popped up that gave me a sister who was Mrs. XX B. Okay. So I had nailed it down.

In the meantime, I had talked to my cousin and the wife of the "grandfather" I felt was her grandfather. We had pretty much all decided she was the daughter of James Barnes who had died in 2015. I did the work and found his mother's name, (finally!) and worked on her tree. And then I looked at her fourth cousins. I found four trees with Purvis who went back to the same couple as James Barnes maternal grandmother's.

That pretty much sealed it for me. I called the adoptee and told her I had done it (in five days!). I knew who her maternal grandparents were, but not her mother's name, and I was pretty much positive her father was James Barnes who died in 2015. I also messaged a few other family members, including a sister of her birth mother.

I heard nothing back from the birth mother's family. And I thought, well, I just won't hear anything, but I did today. And today the adoptee got to talk to her Aunt.

Once again, I am so grateful that I was able to facilitate a reunion and assist an adoptee with finding her birth parents. The name the Aunt knew confirmed her father too. So there we have it. DNA solved another mystery, and I just helped with a bit of research. That and my genealogical Angels who always seem willing to give me a hand.


  1. It is so amazing how you are able to piece together the clues to find parentage. We are so lucky to have you helping all of us break down our brick walls and in helping to find family for those that may never know other wise. Thank you very much for your help and for your blog!

  2. Hi Jennifer---- I am a frequent visitor to your genealogy blog, which contains a wealth of information. I am current writing my doctoral dissertation, and a section of it deals with the Juzan/Brashear family that you've so extensively documented. I wonder if you could get in touch with me via email (jbearden82@gmail.com or jbearden@losmedanos.edu) so that I can ask you a research question that currently has me stumped? I apologize for posting this as a public comment---but I couldn't find your email address on the blog!

    Josh Bearden