Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, part 3

On July 10th, 1788, Jonathan Godwin received two patents from the State of North Carolina for 46 and 47 acres each of land lying in Sampson County on the East side of the Little Cohera River and the East side of the Black Mingo River. 

When Jonathan Godwin died in 1791, his widow, Rachel, was allowed to keep his estate in her possession. No mention, however, was made of what was contained in his estate. In 1792 Richard Godwin took an inventory of Jonathan's estate which included only one tract of land containing 50 acres. You can view the contents of his estate in The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, part 1. No description of the land included in the inventory was provided. If Jonathan Godwin received two tracts of land, each approximately 50 acres from the State of North Carolina in 1788, but only one tract appeared in his estate records, then what happened to the other 50 acre tract of land he received from the State in 1788?  

At least one of those tracts of land was identified as being sold by Nathan, Rachel, and Dred Godwin to John Dormond in 1795 (See Part 2). This tract was on the East side of the Little Cohara River. What about the 2nd tract he received on the East side of the Black Mingo River? It is not possible to search the deed records by land description. However, since Nathan, Rachel and Dred Godwin sold the first parcel of land, I thought maybe they might have sold the 2nd one as well. I started my search by looking for Nathan, Rachel or Dred as the grantor in the Sampson County Deed Records (they are on microfilm at the North Carolina State Archives). Since the land was sold after Jonathan's death in 1791, I restricted my search to records after 1791. 

I found one other deed from Rachel Godwin but it was on the Beaverdam Swamp. This was land she had inherited or purchased from Thomas Bullard who was presumed to be her brother. I then moved on to Nathan. There were actually two Nathan Godwins living in Sampson County at this time and they were both buying and selling land quite often. I had to read through each deed in which Nathan was the grantor to find either 1) a description of 50 acres of land on the East side of the Black Mingo being sold or 2) land originally granted to Jonathan Godwin by patent bearing date of 1788. 

I finally found one deed from Nathan Godwin to Elizabeth Bagley which satisfied both of the above requirements. The deed was for 50 acres of land lying on the East side of Black Mingo which was originally granted to Jonathan Godwin by patent bearing date of 1788! (See deed images and transcript below. Click on the image to make it bigger). 


Deed Nathan Godwin to Elizabeth Bagley Sampson County NC 1801-1

Deed Nathan Godwin to Elizabeth Bagley Sampson County NC 1801-2

Sampson County, North Carolina
Nathan Godwin to Elizabeth Bagley

To all to whom these presents Shall come greeting know ye that I Nathan Godwin Junior of Sampson County and State aforesaid planter for and in consideration of the sum of Twelve pounds ten shillings L12.10 current money of the State to me in hand paid by Elizabeth Bagley of Sampson County and State aforesaid the receipt whereal I do hereby acknowledge that I have bargained and sold and by these presents do fully freely and absolutely give grant convey assign and set over to her the said Elizabeth Bagley forever One certain tract or parcell of land lying and being in the county of Sampson containing fifty acres of land more or less situated and lying on the East side of Black Mingo and on the North side of the Beaverdam swamp beginning at a post Oak on the side of mingo Swamp thence South 31 East 120 poles thence a pine thence South 59 West 63 poles to a pine thence North 31 West 120 poles to a Stake thence to the Beginning it being a tract of land granted to Jonathan Godwin by patent bearing date the 10th of July 1788. To have and to hold the same bargained lands and premises together with all buildings fencings houses water ___ and Improvements thereunto belonging unto it and Elizabeth Bagley her heirs, executors, Administrators and assigns forever and I disavow? Nathan Godwin Junior for himself his heirs, Executors, administrators and assigns forever the said bargained lands and premises unto the said Elizabeth Bagley her heirs Executors administrators and assigns against any person or persons whatsoever shall come and I the said Nathan Godwin myself my heirs Executors administrators and assigns will and shall warrant and forever defend the same bargained land and premises unto the said Elizabeth Bagley her heirs and assigns forever and by these presents. 

In witness whereof I the said 
Nathan Godwin have herunto set his hand and affixed his seal this the 26th day of January one thousand eight hundred and one 1801.

Signed sealed and Delivered in the presence of
Nathan Godwin
John Godwin
Micajah Godwin

Nathan Godwin Junior (seal)

State of North Carolina
Sampson County, Feburary court one thousand eight hundred and one then was the within deed from Nathan Godwin to Elizabeth Bagley was proved in open court by the oath of Micajah Godwin and ordered to be registered. 
H Holmes, Clk

State of North Carolina Sampson County then registered this third day of April Anna Domino one thousand Eight hundred and one 
O Holmes Regr


There are several important pieces of information included in this deed: 

1)  This land was located on the East Side of the Black Mingo and contains 50 acres. This is the exact description given of one of the tracts of land that Jonathan Godwin received from the State of North Carolina in 1788. 

2) This land was granted to Jonathan by patent bearing date July 1788, thus further confirming that this is the same tract of land Jonathan received from the State in 1788. 

3) Nathan Godwin is the sole grantor on this deed. However, Micajah, Nathan, and John Godwin were listed as witnesses. It is possible they were relatives of Nathan. 

4) Nathan is listed as "junior" in this deed. At first this threw me off because I was surmising that this Nathan Godwin was the son of Jonathan Godwin. However, many new researchers make the common mistake of believing that someone listed as "junior" is the the son of someone with the same name. This is not necessarily true. More likely, there was another man with the same name who was older, thus he was probably called "Senior" and this younger Nathan was therefore called "Junior." I mentioned earlier that there was another Nathan living in Sampson County at the same time. He was older; probably around Rachel and Jonathan's age. This Nathan was also called "Junior" in the 1795 deed he sold along with Rachel and Dred to John Dormond as discussed in Part 2 of this post series

Conclusion: 

In this series of blog posts, I discussed Jonathan Godwin's Estate which was inventoried by Richard Godwin in Sampson County, North Carolina in 1792 and the land grants which he received prior to his death and their subsequent distribution by his heirs. 

According to the land grants, Jonathan Godwin received two patents of 50 acres each from the State of North Carolina for lands lying on the East side of the Little Cohera River and on the East side of the Black Mingo River. 

When he died in 1791, his widow was allowed to keep his estate in her possession. In 1792, only 50 acres of land was inventoried in his estate. In 1795, Jonathan's widow Rachel, Nathan, and Dred Godwin sold 50 acres on the Little Cohera, land that was originally patented to Jonathan Godwin in 1788, to John Dormond. In 1801, Nathan Godwin sold the 2nd tract of land containing 50 acres lying on the East side of the Black Mingo River to Elizabeth Bagley. This land was also originally patented to Jonathan Godwin in 1788. Therefore, both tracts of land that were originally granted to Jonathan Godwin in 1788 were accounted for and sold by his heirs in 1795 and 1801 respectively. This was determined by using original deed and estate records found at the North Carolina State Archives. 

Because Jonathan's widow Rachel was allowed to keep his estate in her possession following his death in 1791, I can assume that the Rachel Godwin who sold the 50 acres of land on the East side of the Little Cohera in 1795 was his widow. I am also surmising that because Nathan and Dred Godwin were listed on the deed as well (actually Nathan was the grantor and Rachel and Dred were co-signers), that the three of them were co-owners of the land and therefore heirs of Jonathan. More specifically, I believe Nathan and Dred were both sons of Rachel and Jonathan Godwin. This belief is further supported by Nathan Godwin selling the 2nd tract of land originally granted to Jonathan Godwin in 1788 lying on the East side of the Black Mingo to Elizabeth Bagley in 1801. Although there is no deed (that I could find) in which Jonathan sold this land to Nathan, I believe Nathan inherited it from his father, Jonathan Godwin either shortly before or after he died in 1791. 

By using original estate and deed records, I am able to hypothesize that Nathan and Dred Godwin were sons of Jonathan and Rachel Godwin. 

Can this be proved? 

Possibly...maybe a DNA test can provide me with more information? What do you think? Have I provided a good enough case to convince you that my family structure is correct?  

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 1
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 2
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 3

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, part 2

On July 10th, 1788, Jonathan Godwin received two patents from the State of North Carolina for 46 and 47 acres each of land lying in Sampson County on the East side of the Little Cohera River and the East side of the Black Mingo River. 

When Jonathan Godwin died in 1791, his widow, Rachel, was allowed to keep his estate in her possession. No mention, however, was made of what was contained in his estate. In 1792 Richard Godwin took an inventory of Jonathan's estate which included only one tract of land containing 50 acres. You can view the contents of his estate in The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, part 1. No description of the land included in the inventory was provided. If Jonathan Godwin received two tracts of land, each approximately 50 acres from the State of North Carolina in 1788, but only one tract appeared in his estate records, then what happened to the other 50 acre tract of land he received from the State? 

It appears as if one tract of land that was granted to Jonathan Godwin by the State in 1788 was sold by Nathan Godwin in 1795 to John Dormand. Rachel and Dred Godwin were co-signers on the deed. Nathan and Dred Godwin were probably sons of Rachel and Jonathan Godwin and this tract of land was probably the 50 acres of land that was left in Rachel's possession after the death of her husband in 1791 and probably the same 50 acres of land that was mentioned in Jonathan's estate inventory. The tract of land described below was the one that was located on the East side of the Little Cohara (River) on the Mill Branch. (Click each image to make them bigger - Transcripts below)

Deed Rachel Nathan and Dred Godwin to John Dormand Sampson Co NC - 1

Deed Rachel Nathan and Dred Godwin to John Dormand Sampson Co NC - 2


State of North Carolina, Sampson County Deeds
Nathan Godwin and others to John Dormond, 14 Dec 1795

This Indenture made this 14th day of December one thousand seven hundred and Ninety Five Between Nathan Godwin Junior of Sampson County of the one part and John Dormond of the same County at the other part and State of North Carolina Witnesseth that the said Nathan Godwin for and in consideration of the sum of Seven pounds to him in hand paid By the said John Dormond at and before the unsealing and delivery of these presents the Receipt whereof I as hereby acknowledge myself to be fully satisfied contented and paid Hath given granted bargained and sold unto the said John Dormond his heirs and assigns forever. One parcell or tract of land containing by estimation forty six acres of land be the same more or less it lying in Sampson County on the East side of Little Cohara and on the Mill Branch. Beginning at a pine near the corner of a pond thence South 55 West 86 poles to a Red Oak thence South 35 East 86 poles to a pine thence North 55 East 86 poles to a Stake thence to the Beginning. It being a parcell of land granted to Jonathan Godwin by patent bearing date July one thousand seven hundred and Eighty Eight in the thirteenth year of our Independence to have and to hold the said piece or parcell of land aforesaid with all woods, waters, house, orchards, gardens, advantages, privileages, and appertanances thereto belonging to him the said John Dormond his heirs and assigns forever the said Nathan Godwin for himself his heirs and assigns doth promise and agree to and with the said John Dormond his heirs and assigns forever that the said Nathan Godwin hath in himself rightful power to give grant sell and deliver and convey the said piece of land unto the said John Dormond his heirs and assigns forever and the said Nathan Godwin and my heirs will forever warrant secure and defend the just right and title to the above said tract and parcell of land and priviliges unto the said John Dormond his heirs and assigns forever against all lawful claims of any person _____ and all ____ of my kind whatsoever. 

In witness whereof I the said Nathan Godwin doth hereby hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the day and year first and before written.

Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of: 
Benjamin Dormond
James Beaman

Nathan Godwin (seal)
Dred Godwin (his mark) (& seal)
Rachel Godwin (seal)

State of North Carolina
Sampson County November Term One thousand Seven hundred and Ninety six then was the within deed from Nathan Godwin and others to John Dormond was proved in open court and ordered to be registered
Hardy Holmes, clk

State of North Carolina
Sampson County Registered in the Registers office at the aforesaid county this the nineteenth day of January anna domino 1798
O. Holmes Regr


There are several important pieces of information included in this deed: 

1)  There are three signatures on the deed - Nathan, Dred, and Rachel Godwin; I believe this is significant and provides evidence that Dred and Nathan Godwin were sons of Rachel and Jonathan Godwin

2) This land was located on the East Side of the Little Cohara on the Mill Branch and contains 46 acres. This is the exact description given of one of the tracts of land that Jonathan Godwin received from the State in 1788. 

3) This land was granted to Jonathan by patent bearing date July 1788, thus further confirming that this is the same tract of land Jonathan received from the State in 1788. 

We still do not know what happened to the other tract of land that Jonathan received from the State in 1788. My next step is to look through the Sampson County deeds to see if it was bought of sold. Because Rachel was his widow and Nathan and Dred were presumed to be sons of Jonathan, I started by looking at deeds carried out by them. 

I will discuss this process in Part 3

Afterword: 

The Sampson County deeds are all online now at the Sampson County Register of Deeds. They can be downloaded for free! Check it out!

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 1
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 2
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 3

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, part 1

In this series of posts, I show how I used original estate and deed records to track the distribution of land originally patented by Jonathan Godwin in Sampson County, North Carolina in 1788; I also try to build a case to suggest that Nathan and Dred Godwin were the sons of Jonathan and Rachel Godwin.

In this post, I will look at the estate record of Jonathan Godwin of Sampson County, North Carolina who died intestate about 1791. (Intestate means he did not leave a will). He left behind a widow, Rachel Godwin, who is believed to be the sister of Thomas Bullard and daughter of Jeremiah Bullard. His estate record, however, was only a single page and did not mention either his widow Rachel, or any of his children. The only clues I was able to glean from this record were the following:

  1. Richard Godwin was the administrator of the estate 
  2. There was only 50 acres of land in the possession of the estate

Estate records are housed at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, North Carolina. They can be requested by call number in the form of a two digit county code (Sampson County's code is 87), followed by a "508" which is the 3-digit code for estate records, followed by the number of the box in which the folder is housed that contains the surname of interest. The box number is not  known when you request the file, but should be noted for future reference.

The estate file of Jonathan Godwin[1] contained only a single page with writing on both sides. One side stated that it was an inventory of his estate recorded in that court's term; The other side is an actual inventory taken by the administrator, Richard Godwin. Here are the scans of the front and back copies of the single page. (Click on the image to make it bigger). The transcript follows below:

Estate Records of Jonathan Godwin of Sampson County, NC - 1

Back side:

"Inventory of the Estate of John Godwin dec’d, May Term 1791"

Estate Records of Jonathan Godwin of Sampson County, NC - 2

Front side:

"Sampson County the 15th of Feb 1792

An inventory of the Estate of Jonathan Godwin Deceased
50 Acres of Land
3 Head of Horses
1 Heifer
12 Head of Sheep
48 Head of Hog
3 Beds and Furniture
4 Dishes, 5 Basons
6 Spoons and 4 Plates
3 Knives and 7 Forks
2 Pots and 1 Kettle
2 Spinning Wheels
2 Pairs of Cards

1 Chest 12 Bottles
2 Jugs 1 Hackle
2 Chairs 2 Ploughs
2 Axes 1 Iron wedge
3 Weeding Hoes 1 Grubbing Hoe
2 Augers 1 chissel and Gouge
1 Griddle and fire Tongs
1 Box Iron and Heater
1 Mares Saddle

Richard Godwin" (signed)

[End of Transcript]

There was actually another document included in this file at one time pertaining to Jonathan's widow. Supposedly, it got lost when it was sent off for microfilming [2] 

In an estate record of 15 February 1791Rachel Godwin, the “widow of Jonathan Godwin, deceased,” was allowed to keep the estate in her hands, "she entering into bond with good security for 250 pounds." Tenders Richard Godwin and Philip Tew were approved as sureties. This is a crucial piece of evidence tying both Jonathan and Rachel together as husband and wife.  

Jonathan actually owned two tracts of land, both 50 acres a piece, however only one of these tracts of land was included in his estate inventory. He may have given the other tract of land to one of his sons prior to his death.  Nathan Godwin, presumed to be a son of Jonathan and Rachel Godwin, sold a 50 acre tract of land to Elizabeth Bagley in 1801, it being a tract of land "granted to Jonathan Godwin by patent bearing the 10th day of July 1788." This could be the other 50 acre tract of land and will be discussed in Part 3 of this post series. 

The 50 acres tract of land that WAS included in his inventory above was sold by his widow Rachel Godwin, along with Nathan and Dred Godwin, in 1795 to John Dormond. This deed of sale will be discussed in Part 2 of this post series. I believe the Nathan and Dred Godwin who were included on this deed with Rachel Godwin were sons of Jonathan and Rachel Godwin. This land was a "parcel...granted to Jonathan Godwin by patent bearing date July 1788." Jonathan Godwin was only granted a total of two tracts of land and the descriptions match up, so I believe these two tracts of land to be those originally belonging to Jonathan, one of which was given to his son Nathan prior to his death and the other passed down to his widow Rachel and sold between Rachel and her sons Dred and Nathan to John Dormond after Jonathan's death. 

I had to use a combination of original deed and estate records in order to start piecing together this family. The family of Jonathan and Rachel Bullard Godwin is a very controversial one and my construction of their family is actually very different than what has been previously portrayed and accepted as fact by other researchers. However, I am confident that I have sufficient evidence and I have already written up several proof statements backing up my claims. Living in North Carolina where my Godwin family originated from has been very helpful; in addition, having such easy access to the North Carolina State Archives has also been a tremendous help in my research. 

Sources: 


[1] Estate Records of Jonathan Godwin, 1791, North Carolina State Archives, Sampson County, NC, Series of Original Loose Documents of Estate Records, 1784-1923; Call No. 087.508.23; Copied 20 January 2007;

[2] Bizzell, Oscar. Sampson County Court Minute Abstracts, 1784-1800, p. 117. This information was included in Bizzell’s Abstracts, however, the Raleigh archives does not have the actual documents from 1784 to 1794. The microfilmed court records start at 1794. Jerome Tew said these records were removed from Clinton for publishing, however, they were never returned, thus lost. Bizzell copied this abstracted information from an earlier typed abstract of the court minutes.

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 1
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 2
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 3

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Identifying descendants in Gedcoms to Compare your DNA to


In my last post I talked about looking for the parents of my ancestor, Mary Polly Allen. When I looked her up in Ancestry.com, many online trees had her parents as Colonel Charles Allen and Ann Venable from Virginia. However, when I looked through the online gedcoms that were uploaded for each of my grandfather's matches on FamilyTreeDNA who had Allen in their list of surnames (there were 40 of them), I did not find a single one of them mentioning this ancestral couple. Since I struck out finding Charles and Ann in this list of matches, I decided to cast a wider net, though not by using the same methodology.

Gedmatch.com is a 3rd party website that allows you to upload your DNA results and then compare them to results that were uploaded from the other two testing companies. Since my family and I tested with ftDNA, we are able to compare our results with people who tested with Ancestry.com and 23AndMe. I am also able to compare to other people who tested with ftDNA. Why would I want to do this? Because I might want to be looking at lower resolution matches that did not meet the minimum 7cM and 700 SNP threshold that is required by ftDNA to be considered a match.

Gedmatch.com offers several tools by which to find and compare matches; but it also offers some unique Gedcom utilities. One that I have just started using is the search feature. I can "Search All Gedcoms" for an ancestor and it will give me a list of all of the Gedmatch members who have submitted Gedcoms and their email addresses. I can then enter their email address into the Gedmatch User Information Lookup Utility (new) and it will tell me what their kit id is. Then I can run a one-to-one comparison between their kit and one of mine to see if there is a match.

In order to determine if Charles and Ann were my ancestors, I did a search of all Gedcoms for their names and it returned one match to a descendant of Charles Allen's sister Anne Allen. (The email was scrubbed for privacy).

Gedmatch Gedcom Charles Allen

I then entered the Gedcom owner's email address into the Gedmatch User Information Lookup Utility to get a list of their Gedmatch DNA kit ids to compare to:

Gedmatch User Lookup

(In this example, I entered my own email address and scrubbed some names for privacy).

Once I got a list of all of the Gedmatch Kit ids for Charles Allen's sister's descendant, I compared them one-to-one with my own family members who descend from Mary Polly Allen. Remember I am trying to determine if my ancestor, Mary Polly Allen (who married Abraham Huddleston), was the daughter of Charles Allen (who married Ann Venable) who was the brother of the Charles Allen mentioned in the Gedcom above. I can probably determine this if one of my family members is a match to one of this Gedcom owner's family members (he also managed multiple kits like me).

Gedmatch One-to-One Comparison between Allen Descendants


I entered the two Gedmatch IDs into the Kit No 1 and Kit No 2 boxes, and I entered a 1 into the Minimum segment cM size to be included in total. I like to add a 1 here so I can see the values for all chromosomes. Sometimes it's good to see if there is any matching DNA on a particular chromosome and you can do this by putting a 1 in this box.

I compared the oldest family members first: my grandfather and his father's aunt.

Gedmatch Comparison of Allen Descendants
My Grandfather vs Gedcom owner's Paternal Aunt

FamilyTreeDNA recommends to have a minimum of a 7.0 cM segment with 700 SNPs on that segment in order to be considered a match. The relationship between two people is determined by the total of these segments. In this comparison between my grandfather and his father's aunt, the largest segment is only 2.7cM (987 SNPs). This is nowhere close to being a match.

Gedmatch doesn't have such strict requirements. I believe they only require a 5.0 cM segment in order to be considered a match. When I compared my mother to the Gedcom owner's paternal aunt, there is the possibility of being a match:

Gedmatch Comparison of Allen Descendants-1
My Mother vs Gedcom owner's Paternal Aunt

On Chromosome 8, there is a 5.7 cM segment with 1,232 SNPs of shared DNA between my mother and the Gedcom owner's paternal aunt. There is also a total of 20.6 cM of shared DNA between them. Gedmatch has estimated that the MRCA or Most Recent Common Ancestor was 6.7 generations back. These are just estimates, so they are not exact. If you count my mother as generation no. 1, then James Allen, who is supposedly Charles Allen's father and the father of the Gedcom owner's ancestor, is the 10th generation ancestor from my mother. It is possible that this match with an estimated MRCA of 6.7 is from a different common ancestor all together.

10 generations is pretty far back. In fact, it is completely possible that this DNA test might not even pick up matches to an ancestor this far back! This test is only guaranteed to work back to 5 generations.

Conclusion:

These inconclusive DNA results between my family and that of James Allen's family (the Gedcom owner) leads me to believe that my Mary Polly Allen probably did NOT descend from Colonel Charles Allen who was married to Ann Venable. Even though there is a possible match between his paternal aunt and my mother, there are no other matches between any other his other family members and mine, leading me to conclude we are not descended from the same common ancestor.

However, it is possible that this ancestral couple - Colonel Charles Allen and Ann Venable - is too far back to be picked up by the autosomal test. But I really don't believe that is true. Mary Polly Allen is only my grandfather's 7th generation back (if you include my grandfather as generation no. 1). See chart below. I have found common ancestors with 8th and 9th cousins with several of my matches, so I know it's possible to do.

7 generation chart to Mary Polly Allen

But DNA is fickle. Actually, not really. But there are so many factors to consider and possibilities to ponder. My main goal of this post was to show how you can try to verify or eliminate your questionable ancestors by identifying descendants in Gedcoms to compare your DNA to.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mary Polly Allen - My one and only Allen Ancestor

I learned about my ancestor Mary Polly Allen late last year after corresponding with a descendant of Ridley J. Thomas who had left a "post-it note" on another researcher's Rootsweb family tree on Mary's husband Abraham Huddleston.[1] The post-in note mentioned a Thomas family bible that I was very interested in seeing.[2]

The bible stated that Abraham Huddleston was the father of Nancy Huddleston who had married my ancestor William Thomas and that Mary Polly Allen was Abraham's wife.

Mary Polly Allen Pedigree
Pedigree View of my Huddleston, Thomas, and Allen Ancestors
Nova Lee Peters was my great-grandmother

According to the Family bible, Abraham Huddleston was born 13 June 1773 in Bedford County, Virginia and died 1 Feb 1858 in Thomasville, Oregon County, Missouri. His wife, Mary Polly ALLEN was born 20 Mar 1777 in Virginia. It is not known exactly when she died; however, it must have been after 1850 because she was enumerated on the 1850 Oregon County, Missouri census with her husband Abraham and two grandchildren, Henry and Martha Huddleston.[3]

Mary Allen and Abraham Huddleston were married in Bedford County, Virginia on 2 Mar 1793. Abraham's brother Daniel Huddleston provided surety and Nathaniel Shrewsbury married them. The request was made by Ann Allen.[4]

When I plugged Mary Polly Allen's name into Ancestry.com's search box and added Abraham Huddleston as a spouse, 254 records were returned.[5] About two-thirds of these results did not have any names assigned to her parents and the other one-third had "Charles Allen" as her father and "Ann" as her mother.

Information on exactly who this Charles Allen was or where he came from was not located. Some of the trees had him identified as Colonel Charles Allen, the Revolutionary War Patriot from Virginia who married Ann Venable. Although there were several online SAR applications on Ancestry.com about Colonel Charles Allen who was married to Ann Venable, I could not find any information about who their children might have been.

Since the online trees are notorious for being incorrect and are often bordering on the absurd, I decided to turn to DNA to help me figure out who the parents of my Mary Polly ALLEN might be. I had noticed recently that many of the matches to my maternal grandfather have ALLEN listed in their surnames. Is ALLEN becoming the new SMITH or JONES? I don't think so. But I sure am curious as to where exactly it is coming from and whether or not it is connected to my one Allen ancestor (at least that I had identified so far).

I logged into my Grandfather's ftDNA account and pulled up his Family Finder matches. I typed in "Allen" into the Ancestral Surnames search box.

Ancestral Surnames Search Box Allen

I got 60 matches back. However, the search box also picked up surnames that contained "allen" including "Ballenger." I can mark these off my list. Off these 60 matches, about 40 of them have online gedcoms uploaded to their profiles.

Next, I wanted to see if any of these matches have Colonel Charles Allen and Ann Venable OR Charles Allen and wife Ann as ancestors in their online gedcoms. I click on the first gedcom, then type in "Allen" into the search box and click the "Search Names" button:

Gedcom Search Box - Allen

ftDNA will pull up all of the "Allens" it could find in the tree and give me a list that I can select from:

Gedcom Select Box - Allen

Since there are so many trees with Allen in their list of surnames, I simply looked for Charles in the list above and if I did not see his name, I closed the tree and moved on to the next one.

Unfortunately, most of what I found were females named Allen with no known parents, dates or places of birth. This did not increase my confidence that my Mary Polly Allen was the daughter of Charles and Ann Allen. In fact, if anything, what it did was made me question this relationship even more.

Next Steps....

1)  I want to look more closely at the Allens in each of these 40 gedcoms. Is there a particular Allen that shows up over and over again? If so, then maybe they are our common ancestors.

2)  Find and contact other descendants of Colonel Charles Allen and Ann Venable. Ask them if they have done DNA testing and compare our results using Gedmatch.com. If you are a descendant of this couple, or if you descend from Mary Polly ALLEN and Abraham Huddleston, please contact me.

3)  As soon as the Gedmatch.com site is back up and running (and fully functioning), I intend to search the online gedcoms there as well. I will search first for my known ancestors, Mary Polly Allen and Abraham Huddleston. Then I will compare any of this couples' descendants' DNA to that of my family. Then I will perform a search for Colonel Charles Allen and Mary Ann Venable and compare their descendants' DNA to mine as well.

Except,...there's just one little problem...I know how to search the Gedmatch.com gedcoms, but I don't know how to figure out who they belong to, how to contact the gedcom owners or find out their Gedmatch IDs so I can compare our DNA results.

Any ideas? If so, please email me or leave a comment below.

Sources: 

[1] Mary Jo Freeman, maryjo@mjgen.com, WorldOneConnect File, "Willard and Related Families," accessed 11 August 2013, Abraham Huddleston. Post it note left by Jim Gray citing a Thomas Family Bible. 
[2] Thomas Family Bible, last owned by Jackson Thomas, digital copies in the possession of Jim Gray, graytherapy@myway.com.
[3]  1850 U. S. Federal Census, Oregon Co., MO, p. 400A, Abraham Huddleston; digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 March 2014); citing NARA Microfilm publication M432, Roll 408. Mary Huddleston, 73 yo. 
[4] "Bedford County, Virginia Marriage Bonds Database," VAGenWeb, a USGenWeb Project, (http://www.vagenweb.org/bedford/bedf-m_h.htm : accessed 11 August 2013), Extracted from the appendix in Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol VI, Virginia. 
[5] Ancestry.com, Public Member Tree Search, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 March 2014); parameters included the following: First Name (Mary Polly), not exact; Last name (Allen), exact; birth (1777), not exact; in (Virginia, USA), exact; death (Missouri, USA) exact; Spouse name (Abraham) exact & (Huddleston) exact.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sneak Peek at the New Gedmatch.com Chromosome Triangulation Tool

For those of you who use Gedmatch.com to view, share, and analyze your DNA results, you might have noticed that the "Check for matches on a specific chromosome segment" utility was removed from the site. I used this feature most of all to find all my matches who matched me on a particular chromosome, but found lately that this utility was too slow to use.

Those of us who loved this tool will be in heaven as it has been replaced with a new tool called "Segment Triangulation." This new utility acts similarly to the previous utility with the added function of showing you matching segments BETWEEN the matches on every chromosome. 

Here is a sneak peek of what it looks like. 


Gedmatch - Chromosome Segment Triangulation Tool

More information on how to use this tool is to come. 

Have you check out the new Segment Triangulation Tool? If so, what did you think? 




Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Wrong Peters Family


In this post, I will discuss how James and Martha Peters were eliminated as potential parents of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Edward Peters via DNA Testing.

William E Peters and Stanley Lark
William E Peters and Stanley Lark
Pocahontas, Arkansas, c 1940

My 2nd Great-Grandfather, William Edward Peters:

William Edward Peters was the father of my great-grandmother Nova Peters. According to his obituary and death certificate, he was born 10 March 1874 in Thomasville, Oregon Co., Missouri and died 3 February 1948 in Pocahontas, Randolph Co., Arkansas. Unfortunately, his parents’ names were not listed on his death certificate or in his obituary, no family bible has been found containing information on him or his family, and there is no known information about any siblings he might have had. 

William Peters is my brick wall.

According to the Research Report I have written about my William Peters, I was looking for an 1880 census report that had a William Peters on it who was born about 1874 in Missouri when I came across a potential family. I found the 1880 Oregon County, Missouri Census report of Martha Peters with a 7 year old son named William Peters who was born in Missouri. James W and Ella were also enumerated with Martha and William. [1]

1880 Oregon Co., MO Census for Martha Peters
1880 Oregon Co., MO Census for Martha Peters


The Family of James and Martha Peters:

I couldn't find anything on Martha, James W., or Ella Peters between 1880 and 1900, nor could I find marriage or death records for Martha and a possible Peters husband in MO. I thought that since Martha was from TN and William's parents were from either  IL, TN or MO, [2] that maybe Martha and Unknown Peters married in TN prior to moving to MO and maybe they passed through IL on their way from TN to MO? I could not find the family of Martha Peters anywhere in Missouri in 1870. 

I did find a family with Martha Peters, born about 1844 in TN on the Anderson Co., TN 1870 Census with husband James Peters and son Elijah Peters. I reached out to the descendants of this family through message boards and learned that James and Martha only had 2 or 3 children, none of whom were the William, James or Ella who were listed on the 1880 MO census report with Martha.

I did not get discouraged though, and tried to find ways to make my William Peters fit in with this James and Martha family. James' father was named Tobias Peters and he also had a grandson named Tobias Peters. This was of interest to me because my great-grandmother's nickname was "Tobe," and no one knows where that nickname came from. I thought this was a plausible explanation.

Also, there is a huge mystery around the family of James and Martha Peters: The story goes that Martha and James left TN and moved to a farm in Arkansas. Then one day James up and disappeared leaving Martha to tend the farm and raise the kids alone. She finally sold the farm and she and her kids moved in with her parents in Sebastian Co., Arkansas. [3] Supposedly the new owners of the farm found a body on the premises which everyone agreed must have belonged to the missing James. However, according to letters written by James' children, several years later his children received a letter from him attached to a substantial amount of cash, indicating he was still alive at that time.

Putting aside the mystery surrounding James' disappearance, and looking at Martha Peters, his widow or spouse, I found that she was also missing. Although her descendants claim that she and her children moved in with her parents in Sebastian Co., AR, only her children were enumerated on the 1880 census report with her parents. This is why I wondered whether the Martha Peters I found on the 1880 Oregon Co., MO census report could have been the same Martha Peters. It seemed feasible to me that maybe she had remarried and had 3 additional children whom she was raising on her own while her parents looked after her older 2 children in Arkansas. The descendants of Martha and James that I corresponded with did not share my suspicions. One descendant did have a letter that mentioned Martha had remarried to a man named Williams, but there was no mention of any additional children.


DNA Doesn't Lie:

I finally put my suspicions aside about my William Peters being connected to the family of James and Martha Peters when I was contacted by another descendant of this family. She had read about my William on my blog and decided to write to me and introduce herself. 

She mentioned that she and her cousin had done the autosomal DNA testing and offered to compare our results to see if we were a match. Me, my mother, and Grandfather tested through ftDNA.
She tested with 23AndMe, so she had to upload her test results to Gedmatch.com for us to compare our DNA results since we tested with different companies. We also compared my family’s DNA results to her cousin, the granddaughter of Elijah Peters and great-granddaughter of James and Martha. Their grandmothers were double-cousins (mothers were sisters, fathers were brothers).

Although her cousin tested through ftDNA, she did not show up as a match to my family. I still did a comparision with Gedmatch.com just in case there was a small match that was not big enough to reach the threshold to be considered a match. [4]

In doing the Gedmatch.com comparison, we ran a one-to-one comparison between the first descendant's kit and mine, her kit and my mother, her kit and my grandfather. Then we did the same for her cousin's kit. We set the minimum cM value equal to 1. 


Here are the results: 


  1. Descendant vs Me - 0
  2. Descendant vs my Mother - 0
  3. Descendant vs my Grandfather - 0
  4. Descendant's cousin vs me - 4.3cM
  5. Descendant's cousin vs Mother - 4.9cM
  6. Descendant's cousin vs my Grandfather - 4.7cM
  7. X chromosome comparison between Descendant's cousin and my Grandfather - 0
  8. X chromosome comparison between Descendant and my Grandfather - 0


The amount of DNA that the descendant's cousin shares with my family is less than 5cM which is not enough to be significant and is probably just noise, therefore there is no connection between our two families. My family does not share any DNA in common with the descendant either, further supporting the conclusion that our two families are not connected. 

Conclusion: 

This is just one example of how DNA can either support or refute a hypothesis. In this case, our hypothesis was that my William Peters is connected to the family of James and Martha Peters. We compared the DNA results of my family  to those of James Peters’ family to determine if this was true. Since the DNA results did not match between descendants of both families, we determined that these two families are NOT connected. 


Next Steps: 

Our next steps would be:

  1. Continue looking for the Martha Peters family represented on the 1880 Oregon Co., MO census report. She was in the right place at the right time and is a good candidate to be the mother of my ancestor, William Edward Peters.
  2. Continue combing through the DNA results of me, my mother, and grandfather to look for matches with Peters in their list of surnames and connections to Oregon or Howell Counties, MO.
  3. Investigate the X matches of my grandfather, since William Peters has been identified as one of his X ancestors.
  4. Apply this exercise to other "suspicious" ancestors: It would be nice to find some descendants of Wilzey King’s family to test and compare to as well. This is another line that I am hypothetically connecting my line to, but am not quite sure of.

Sources:

[1] 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Oregon Co., MO, p. 330C, Martha Peters; digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2011); citing NARA Microfilm publication T9, Roll 707, FHL Film 1254707. Martha Peters, 35 yo (b. abt 1845), TN; William Peters, 7 yo (b. abt 1873), MO, both parents born in TN; James W Peters, 3 yo (b. abt 1877), MO, both parents born in TN; Ella Peters, 2 yo (b. abt 1878), MO, both parents born in TN.
[2] Sources providing information that William’s parents were born in IL, MO, or TN include the 1900-1930 census reports for William Peters and the death certificate of William Peters, 1948.
[3] 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Sebastian Co., AR, p.669C; Samuel Martin; digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2011); citing NARA Microfilm publication T9, Roll 57, FHL Film 1254057.  
[4] With FamilyTreeDNA, the threshold for consideration to be a match is a minimum of 7cM of shared DNA and 700 SNPs.