How Much Do You Know About Your Family History? – November 22, 2019

This post covers both DNA and genealogy/family history. It started out as a post only about genealogy and family history. Amazing at how that happens sometimes.

One of my primary reasons for getting into genealogy when I was young was Mom’s mentioning I had a sister, technically half-sister, I never knew about 52 Ancestors Week 11 The Sister I Never Knew – Dorothy Lorraine Strange. Mom was not a genealogist by any stretch of the imagination. I remember visiting my maternal grandfather’s grave a couple of times, but that was before Mom mentioned Lorraine. I thought the woman buried next to him was my grandmother, but it was his first wife. We never visited Grandmother Cora’s grave who is buried about 8 miles away in Cora’s parents’ plot. I didn’t even know Mom’s parents’ names.

Mom told me about the siblings and half-siblings she knew about – Vera, Helen, Cyril, and Eleanor. She didn’t know about Owen, a half-brother, from her father’s first marriage. She also didn’t say which of them were siblings were full and which were half. Cyril and Eleanor were full siblings with Vera (grandfather’s first marriage) and Helen (grandmother’s first marriage) were half-siblings. Interestingly, she was closer to Vera and Helen than Eleanor or Cyril. With the exception of Owen who died in 1908, I met all of my aunts and my uncle at some point in our travels or their travels to our area.

In 2014, I did a road trip with friends and was able to visit Owen’s grave. As Grandfather Charles, his wife Minnie, and Vera moved away from southeast Kansas sometime later, Uncle Owen had not been visited in probably 100 years.

I created an Ancestry account and allowed my daughter access to my tree on it which shows the research I inherited from someone who gave up on genealogy many years ago. She can edit the information as I gave her editor privileges, including for living people.

Will she take up the banner before or after I am gone? I don’t know, but she will have access to my tree if she chooses to do so. My niece, Tania, has an Ancestry tree that includes Dwight’s information as he was her father. In addition, she and her sister, Tabatha, have taken AncestryDNA tests and are my closest DNA matches on Ancestry. I don’t know if my sister will take a DNA test, but I hope she will.

When Tania first showed up as a DNA match on Ancestry, it only had her initials and no picture, but indicated close family. When I sent her a message, she responded back and her photo and name showed up. Tania later tested at 23andMe, making her my closest match there. Previously, my closest match with any of the DNA companies was a first cousin, William Johnson, who is Eleanor’s son.

In addition, I have another first cousin, Michelle – Cyril’s daughter, three first cousins, once removed (siblings, their father was my maternal grandmother’s brother) that have tested on one or more of the DNA companies.

It’s been a fun, but often frustrating search. On my Dad’s side, his mother has an unknown father. She has a name of the man who paid the Bastardy Bond –, but he denied being the father of the unborn child. He later married a cousin of my great-grandmother so DNA testing of their descendants may or may not rule him out.

I always warn people before DNA testing, expect surprises. So far, the biggest surprise I had is Jewish ethnicity, including a Y-DNA haplogroup that verifies the trace amounts of Jewish autosomal DNA.  A couple of relatives verified a relationship that had been called into question by one mother since the mother and father were both deceased and couldn’t DNA test.


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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