Thursday, September 1, 2022

Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

Research does not always result in clear, incontrovertible facts. Not all desired goals are achieved. This past month has been "that sort of month."

This month's column is merely an accounting of your author's efforts since our last report.

* * * * *

New Ethnicity Estimates by Ancestry:

One rather exciting periodic occurrence for those of us who have submitted our DNA for ancestral testing is the report from Ancestry updating our ethnicity estimates. As Ancestry is quick to advise, your DNA does not change but their methods of analysis and available mass data does. As more and more people around the world submit DNA, the resulting data provides Ancestry with a more refined "community" DNA profile for each particular region of the world community.

This month Ancestry provided updated ethnicity estimates for its DNA testers. My latest estimate is shown below:

This result is a rather drastic change from my very first Ethnicity Estimate after submitting my DNA.

My original Ethnicity Estimate:

On Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Melinda Cohenour wrote:

On Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Melinda Cohenour wrote:

20%___Great Britain.                 
14%___Europe West.                 
11%___Trace Regions:         
4%____Iberian Peninsula.     
3%____Europe East.                   
1%____Finland/Northwest Russia. 
>1%___European Jewish.               

Quite a change over six years!

Quite a change over six years!

* * * * *

In other news, work has been progressing on the ongoing effort to finally identify my first husband's bio mom. He was the father of my two children and, therefore, the grandfather to all the grands and great-grands down the line. For their sakes, I feel it incumbent upon me to identify that grandmother.

It has been reported previously that my first husband, Johnny Raymond Bradshaw, was abandoned at birth. We have identified the bio father through both DNA matches and conventional genealogic documentation. Thank goodness the widow of his biological uncle is living and, even better, has had her son' s DNA tested. The DNA matches with my daughter and her brother's son confirms that relationship. Further, half siblings to my daughter have also tested their DNA through Ancestry and their test results provide an additional means of confirmation.

The tricky part lies in the necessity to identify the bio mom without a direct DNA test match to her or her acknowledged children. A woman has been singled out through the process of triangulating numerous DNA matches for my daughter. My grandson, Adam, who is my son John's boy, has also tested. I am able to separate paternal line DNA matches for Melissa, my daughter, and for Adam by checking their Shared Matches to find the known half siblings are included.

The woman mentioned above who appears to be the primary candidate for his bio mom, descends from a line with the surname Cox. Numerous DNA matches for Melissa, Adam, and the known half siblings include the Cox family line. This woman was married at the time Johnny, my first husband, was born. Her husband was a railroad man which leads one to believe he was gone for periods of time. Also, her Geographic locale is correct for the possibility of having had an affair with the now known bio father. Further, this woman ended her marriage with the Railroad Man a mere 5 years after Johnny's birth. So, like a murder mystery, Means (loneliness and unhappy marriage), Motive (for abandonment of the infant Johnny to the MIAMI-DADE Orphanage would be her desire to hide her illicit affair). and Opportunity (she lived in Miami at the right time to have crossed paths with John Lee "Jack Gill, the bio dad.)

It does complicate matters a bit to have the surname Cox so prominently in one's mind at all times, however. For example, this month I was finally able to identify by name a close (2nd-3rd Cousin suggested) DNA match who submitted his DNA with only initials. He also managed two tests using those initials, one for his sister and one for his mother. A little more scrutiny of the tree he had linked to his own test and to that of his mother and his sister made it possible for me to identify him specifically. He has had quite an illustrious career, being the recipient of a world-renowned honor for his outstanding work in computers, coding, and refining the internet. Having made that leap of identification for him, he and his sister and parents have been added to Melissa's tree.

Now to explain the complication. In my haste to tie up the ends, when I found the mother to have a Cox line, I immediately began researching all the Cox family members in his line of descent. After an exhaustive two or three days trying to find a shared Cox family ancestor, another look at the tree tied to the test showed I was following the wrong line. Yes all those people named Cox belong in the tree, but the relevant surname is actually Walters. Up until now there have been no Walters in the Bradshaw tree.

Oh well, a little prance down the Primrose path never really hurt any family researcher, right?

As your author continues on her Quest to confirm bio mom's identity, I wish all my readers good hunting as they pursue their own armchair genealogy.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


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