Sunday, May 1, 2022

Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

DNA. It is rather incredible to utilize the very essence of God's creation of Mankind as a "research tool." Wow!

For those of my readers who have been following my columns, you should by now be familiar with the ongoing effort to break down five of my most peavish, annoying, frustrating, difficult, and trying brick walls. Three of these mysteries have defeated my best efforts for decades: James Sylvester Anderson (paternal 2nd Great-Grandfather), William "P. R." Joslin/Joslyn (maternal 3rd Great-Grandfather), and my paternal Great-Grandfather Earl Allen Carroll's father whose very name has confounded my efforts to verify. Purportedly, his name was Keene Anderson, he was born either in New York or Ireland and he simply does not appear on any document anywhere that I can find.

Earl Allen Carroll was born in Greenfield, Dade County, Missouri, 25th of April 1863. The county seat is Greenfield. During the Civil War, the courthouse in Greenfield was burned to the ground October 6, 1863. All vital documents became ash. Thus, his birth certificate bearing the names of both parents no longer exists. No Census record for Dade County or nearby counties reflect the name of Earl Allen Carroll or possible relatives. Of course, it would be another seven years before the 1870 US Federal Census would be enumerated.

The remaining two brick walls' de- construction efforts are for the benefit of my children and great-grandchildren. My son's wife, Roxanne Marie LeTourneau, never knew her father. She was granted, by custom and law, the surname of her mother's husband at birth, although he had abandoned her mother five years before Roxanne's birth. She and her sister were both advised they "would never know" the names of their two different fathers. Both Roxanne and her only sibling, Debra, are now deceased having gone to their graves too soon and being deprived of that most basic piece of information. Their children have expressed interest in learning of their grandfather's identity. It has been my personal goal to locate the Bio-grandfather for my son's progeny.

My first husband, father of my two children, was an adoptee. Sadly, he was placed in the Miami-Dade Orphanage upon birth, clearly the product of an illicit affair. We have been successful in identifying his Bio father through the miracles of DNA. However, my efforts to identify the birth mother are ongoing. My solitary research focus for the past several months has been to fill out the family Profile with the name of Johnny's Bio-mom.

To that end, I have worked feverishly to peruse the DNA test results for my daughter and for my son's son to isolate the results that derive from my side of the chromosome inheritance from those DNA Matches that are shared by my daughter and her nephew. I now have a working theory as to the identity of the Mystery Mom.

In order to verify or dismiss her identity, I have tentatively added her to the working tree for my daughter. Her profile is clearly marked SPECULATIVE, ADDED FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES to prevent other researchers from including her in their own trees. (Unfortunate that so many who have built their trees on Ancestry have elected to blindly copy into their tree every little factotum they find! Some poor family researcher down the line will be introduced to the Genealogist's migraine!!)

For many months now my research has centered around locating DNA Matches that somehow link to Mystery Mom's line. Those individuals whose DNA proves to be 1) a DNA match shared by my daughter, her nephew, and her half-siblings; 2) tie directly to Mystery Mom's ancestors or siblings, and 3) have a clear paper trail to known and proven direct line ancestors. Thus, we shall have both the DNA and documented traditional familial links.

It was my fervent hope to have absolute proof of Mystery Mom's identity by this e-zine release; however, I am not yet able to provide the name. I am still working to build new "Mystery Mom family groups" by adding the DNA Matches into the tree, along with going over every hint and adding each as it has been verified.

So, dear readers, the Quest continues. Hopefully, by next publication I will be able to "own" Mystery Mom for our tree.

Until then, please continue to explore your own Genealogy via the wonders if the Internet.

Good hunting!

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