23andMe V3 vs V4 Comparison

23andMe changed from their V3 to V4 kit back in November of 2013. At that time, they reduced the number of locations tested on their chip from over 900,000 by roughly one third to 577,382. This is not what would normally be considered an improvement. However, at that time, the FDA’s shutdown of their medical testing greatly overshadowed the new chip, so very little notice was taken in the community. Truthfully, many people didn’t expect them to survive, so the chip was a non-issue.

Frankly, I had hoped that with their medical testing revenue gone, that they would focus on what was left, genetic genealogy, but they didn’t. In fact, if anything, they turned their back on genetic genealogists with the new system redesign that was a result of the agreement with the FDA relative to what they can and cannot say and do, relative to reporting medical results.

Since it appears that 23andMe is going to survive, I wanted to see the difference between a 23andMe V3 kit and a V4 kit, both in terms of matching and ethnicity results. Plus, the new system experience is different than the old experience when I ordered more than 5 years ago, so I wanted to see what ordering today is like.

Ordering and Kit Registration

Ordering a second kit under the same account (mine) was just the beginning of the frustration. The system died when I was ordering, during the credit card portion, of course, and I had no idea if the order was placed or not. The order did go through, but my “order” stayed in the 23andMe shopping cart. However, my credit card was charged and the kit arrived.

Registering the kit was even more frustrating because I already had a user ID at 23andMe.

When you sign in to 23andMe, you must click Register Kit, then sign on, and not the reverse order, or your kit registration will be declined because you are already using your e-mail address at 23andMe. And no, there are no instructions for this…anyplace. And no, it’s not intuitive.

Terms of Service and Privacy Statements

I clicked through the Terms of Service and Privacy Statements so you can take a look, if you are so inclined. If you’re going to order, this is where the verbiage is contained that describes what 23andMe can do with your DNA in terms of sale to third parties and utilizing your DNA themselves to develop drugs and other products. Be sure you read each of these intertwined documents and understand what you are authorizing – even if you don’t “opt in” for research. There is a level of research that you cannot opt out of if you agree to the terms and conditions – and you can’t register your kit if you don’t agree to the terms and conditions.

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Please note number 2 under “Privacy Highlights” above.

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Note number 4 under “Consent to the Use of Sensitive information” and the paragraph below number 4.

Here’s a link to the 23andMe Privacy Statement and the Terms of Service.

Next you see the Research Consent document.

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Please note that every time you reply to one of their surveys, you are participating in research.  Please note that all of the people who have access to your information are not listed here, and you will have to refer to the Privacy Statement for complete information.

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Please note that they can further analyze any saliva in a stored sample.

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Please note that 23andMe reserves the right to develop products, and they have already filed for patents, the first of which was a for “designer baby” technology.  That was the day I withdrew my research consent.

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Please note that even if you do not give consent, your information may still be used for other purposes, described in the Privacy Statement.  Furthermore, you cannot opt out of your aggregated (and anonymized) data being utilized.

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What I didn’t see mentioned is that their processing is done by an outside company, LabCorp.

Lastly, the actual consent portion.

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Then you see this page, asking about sample storage:

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Last, you must click submit and you’re done with this part.

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Well, you may think you’re done with registration, but 23andMe wastes no opportunity to attempt to collect information about you which makes your DNA information more valuable to the purchasers.

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DNA Collection

Next, you have to spit in the vial, of course. A little vial doesn’t look like a lot of spit, until you’re trying to generate spit. Think of lemons. That helps.

I recently retested with both 23andMe and Ancestry, and while they both use a spit vial, the Ancestry vial is less messy because you don’t have to remove the top and screw on a lid.

The swab kits at Family Tree DNA are the best of all – no spitting needed.

Results

The results were available in about a month.

One of the reasons I order the V4 kit is because it seemed that almost everyone else had already transitioned to the New Experience, but I hadn’t. I wanted to see what the New Experience was all about. Wouldn’t you know it, not long after I ordered my V4 kit, my V3 kit finally transitioned to the “New Experience” and I discovered that the questions required for the New Experience transition are exactly the same as the V4 purchase. So in that sense, the experiences are now the same.

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Unfortunately, you have re-authorize your participation in DNA Relatives when you transition to the “New Experience,” meaning that for the highly coveted comparison of DNA between your kit with multiple others, if your matches haven’t transitioned, or haven’t bothered to sign on and reauthorize, including open sharing – the previous sharing authorization isn’t sufficient. That’s sad, because a lot of people have gotten so disgusted with 23andMe that they don’t sign on anymore. Furthermore, if someone has for any other reason become disinterested or ill or died, their DNA is no longer working for anyone…except for 23andMe who continues to utilize their abandoned kit.

V3 Versus V4

I wanted to specifically compare two things between the V3 and the V4 kits – matches and ethnicity.

I wanted to know if the reduced number of SNPs on the V4 chip result in a smaller number of matches and I wanted to know if the ethnicity percentages changed between V3 and V4. I also wondered if there was any change between the old V3 ethnicity and the V3 New Experience ethnicity percentages.

Lastly, I wondered if there is any advantage for someone who has already taken the V3 test to order a V4 test, other than curiosity.

V3 “New Experience” Ethnicity

The ethnicity percentages remained exactly the same in the V3 old version and the V3 new experience version, which is exactly what I expected. The new display is shown below.

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Where did the display on my chromosome go? Aha, it’s under Scientific Details – not what I would expect under that tab, but here it is.

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The bar above the browser shifts from Speculative to Conservative.

V4 Ethnicity

There is a very slight difference between the V3 and the V4 versions of ethnicity.

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It looks like some of the unassigned results in the V3 version have become Native on chromosome 2 in the V4 version – by two tenths of one percent.

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Ethnicity Summary

The European remained the same, as did the Middle Eastern and North African, but the unassigned went from .2% to .1% and the difference is reflected in the East Asian and Native American that shifted from .3% to .5%.

In essence, there is very little difference.

V3 Versus V4 Matching

I set both accounts, meaning the V3 “new experience” and the V4 new account with exactly the same sharing options, meaning opting in to DNA Relatives and authorizing open sharing.

The V3 “new experience” which is the old test has a total of 1700 matches. The V4 kit on the newer chip with fewer SNPs has only 1651 matches, or 49 fewer, or about 3% of the matches. My assumption was that most of those matches were the same people on both chips.

However, when I compare my own result from the V3 and the V4 chip, 23andMe tells me that I have only 400 matches in common. Uh-oh. That’s vastly different than 1700 versus 1651.

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I scrolled down through this list of 400 people and I noticed that only the individuals who are coded as purple, meaning they are “open sharing” are listed. All of the people that gave me permission to share in V3 before are omitted. So all of that work, asking for permission back and forth for all those years, is apparently for naught unless they sign in and re-authorize DNA Relatives and authorize open sharing. What they previously authorized is irrelevant? Somehow, that just doesn’t seem right. Surely that can’t be true? Let’s see if we can figure this out.

I downloaded my aggregate match data for both the V3 “new experience” and V4 kit, color coded them, and combined them in one spreadsheet. Then I sorted by “Display Name.” Green rows = V3 file and red = V4 file.

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I discovered some very interesting things.

  • The first thing I discovered is that 23andMe counts as a match anyone who matches you, whether or not you can see their chromosome data once their results are downloaded. See Jackson and Poole, above.
  • In the example above of my first 5 matches, you can see that for Jackson and Poole, their sharing choices for both V3 and V4 did not allow me to see their chromosome start or end locations, or number of SNPs. In other words, they were not sharing before and they aren’t sharing now. They are a grey (not sharing) or yellow (pending) dot on the V3 match list. On the V4 match list, anyone who has not authorized open sharing has a grey dot. For more discussion about the various dots and authorizations, see this article.
  • Halston is open sharing in both versions, indicated by a purple dot on the match list. I confirmed that he is open sharing in the new version. If you have reauthorized open sharing in either the New Experience, whether you were sharing or not before is irrelevant. Open sharing (or not) in the New Experience appears to override anything you did or didn’t authorize before.
  • Curtis is open sharing as well, but the end location and the number of SNPs is not the same between versions, although it is very close.
  • Davis is sharing in the old version (bluegreen dot on match list), but has not reauthorized in the V4 version, so I see that Davis does match me in both versions, above, but I can only see Davis’s chromosome information in V3 – the green rows, not in the V4 red row.  I can’t compare to other matches, called “Relatives in Common” in either version.  The information from the V3 test about “Relatives in Common” is shown below.

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This goes a long way in explaining why 23andMe says that I have 1700 (V3) and 1651 (V4) matches, but only 400 relatives in common. All of a sudden those 1700/1651 match numbers aren’t so terribly relevant or impressive anymore, because without the ability to see how I share, common surnames or a common ancestor in a tree, what is the point in even telling me that we match?

For anyone taking a V4 test, which is all that’s available now, those 400 people are the only ones I can see any chromosome information about at all.  So the other 1251 people, without any tree or chromosome information, are pretty much irrelevant.

There are three equally important parts of genetic genealogy:

  • That you match – at 23andMe, the list of DNA Relative matches (meaning the 1700/1651 matches)
  • How/where you match – at 23andMe, the chromosome information only available with open matching in V4 (meaning the 400 matches)
  • Genealogy information to go with the match – not available at 23andMe

In the V3 aggregated downloaded spreadsheet, there are a total of 1955 rows and in the V4 aggregated downloaded spreadsheet, there were a total of 1792 rows of matches. Many people match on more than one segment, which is why the discrepancy between the number of people who match and the rows of matches.

In the combined spreadsheet, there are a total of 170 rows that don’t appear in the other version. Of those 170, 153 are green, or are a V3 version match only and 17 are red, or the V4 version match only. I wouldn’t have expected any V4 only matches that are not also V3 matches. Unless 23andMe replaced some SNPs on the new chip, and didn’t just obsolete SNPs, I don’t know how one would explain these V4 only matches.

Of the 3747 total rows of matches, only 1421, or 42% actually have matching chromosome data listed. Of the 1421 total that have chromosome data, 1309 rows are listed in both the V3 and V4 versions.

1309 divided in two, for the green and red, would be about 654 in both red and green, which is getting close to the 400 common relatives that 23andMe reported. Several of those 654 rows do indeed have a second chromosome match row listed for the same person, so the 400 common relatives is certainly reasonable, working backwards, although it’s a LOT less than I expected from just looking at the total match numbers for V3 and V4 (1700/1651).

Last, it’s interesting to note for the close Denney relative shown below that not all of the start or end locations are the same, nor are the SNP counts. Furthermore, two locations aren’t listed at all in the other test. One segment on chromosome 9 of 8 cM from the red (V4) test is not listed in the V3 test results, and one segment on chromosome 13 of 16 cM in the green (V3) test is not listed in the V4 test results.

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While initially, the match number of either 1700 or 1651 seems enticing, things are not as they seemed on the surface.

  V3 Green V4 Red Other
Total Matches 1700 1651 49 total or 3% difference
Common Relatives 400 (23.5%) 400 (24%)
Rows in match Spreadsheet 1955 1792 163 difference
Color on Spreadsheet Green Red
Non-matching People to green or red 153 don’t match V4 17 don’t match V3 170 total
Anonymous 1166 total, or 31%
Rows with Chromosome data 654 match to red 654 match to green 1420 rows total, 112 that do not have a match between V3 and V4 spreadsheets

Why 1156 rows of matches, 31% to the total, found it necessary to list their name as “Anonymous” is beyond me.  The anonymous list runs on and on.

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Wouldn’t it just be easier to opt out of DNA Relatives? Perhaps in lieu of understanding that this is an option, they simply opted to list their name as anonymous. Unfortunately, they do still show as matches, inflating that match number but doing absolutely nothing else except adding an unnecessary level of frustration. All of the anonymous individuals are not sharing their chromosome data, which is to be expected, but also tells me that they figured out how not to share – so they could just as easily have opted out of DNA Relatives.

Why would 23andMe even show these people on my match list? Unfortunately, with the 2000 person cap, the anonymous people are all taking a match space, uselessly.  And 31% is not a trivial number of matches – in fact it’s a larger number, 512 of 1651 matches, than the number of matches, 400 of 1651, who have authorized open sharing.  That’s depressing.

Matching Summary

Before I had V4 match data to compare to V3 new experience data and realized that I only had 400 matches in common, meaning those who are have opted into DNA Relatives and are open sharing, despite having 1651 and 1700 “matches,” respectively, I really didn’t realize how abysmal the useful matching ratio at 23andMe really is.

Until I delved into what the various options really do and don’t mean, I didn’t realize that only 400 of my matches in the V4 version were sharing their DNA chromosome results with me and had authorized DNA Relatives.  That’s a very small percentage of the total.

As I did expect, for those matches found in one test and not the other, the V3 test is more productive than the V4 test, although the V4 test did have 17 matches that the V3 test did not. These 17 V4 only matches are hard to explain, because to the best of my knowledge, 23andMe did not replace any SNPs with other SNPs, although this is only logical answer that makes any sense for the V4 test matches that don’t have an equivalent V3 match – given that the V4 test is supposed to be a subset of V3. I suppose comparing the actual raw data file locations would answer that question, but I’m not motivated enough to do that. If someone else is, please add a comment to this article.

If my experience is representative of others, it would appear that people testing on the V3 chip will have more matches than the same person on the V4 chip, which makes sense because the number of testing locations is reduced on the V4 chip from about 950,000 on the V3 chip to about 577,000 on V4.

Three percent, or 49 total matches difference isn’t enough for me to worry about – especially not in light of the additional information that showed that my total useful matches weren’t 1700 or 1651, but in reality, 400 individuals in total, or about 25% of the total “matches.” If that 25% number holds on the 49 matches difference, that means that only about 12 of them would be even potentially useful.

The net-net of all of this is that there is absolutely no benefit to testing on the V4 chip if you have already tested on the V3 platform. There is no reason to order the V4 test.

The V3 test has more matches and included a much more robust health offering, so if you tested under V3, be glad that you tested when you did.

The End

With this article, and due to the reduced functionality for genealogists that I described in the “New 23andMe Experience – In a Word, Disappointing” article, I am officially finished dealing with 23andMe.  Only 400 matches who are fully sharing in the new version, with no genealogy information, just aren’t worth the associated headaches introduced by 23andMe – especially not when I have so many matches elsewhere who are interested in genealogy.

It didn’t have to be this way.  23andMe could have ported over the sharing authorizations for the V3 to the V3 New Experience and not required a new authorization set to participate in DNA Relatives with the people already previously authorized.  However, I suppose a new blanket authorization requirement for everyone covers the bases for 23andMe, but it leaves us genealogists out in the cold once again.  For me, that’s 325 people who were sharing in the old V3 version, but who have not authorized open sharing in the V3 New Experience, so I can’t see DNA Relatives in Common with those people now.  That’s almost as many people as who have authorized open sharing.

Both Family Tree DNA and Ancestry have significantly better products for the same or less money. Furthermore, 23andMe testers who are actually really interested in genealogy will have either uploaded their results to Family Tree DNA, retested at other vendors and/or uploaded their result to GedMatch. The rest of the people who tested at 23andMe aren’t interested in genealogy, think that their previous authorizations have them covered, or would probably be the 31% of my matches who list their name as anonymous.

If the 325 V3 matches who had previously authorized sharing were combined with the 400 open sharing matches, my total would be 725, which would be 44% of my matches.  Unfortunately, that’s not what 23andMe did.

Even though 23andMe clearly isn’t focused on genealogy, or genealogists, they apparently felt the financial heat of genealogists not placing orders after they raised their price to $199.

23andMe recently reverted to their $99 price for an “Ancestry Only” test, which omits the wellness and health factors. Ancestry.com’s DNA test is $99 and Family Tree DNA’s price for Family Finder is permanently reduced to $79 (or $39 to upload a 23andMe V3 file) and is paired with a lot fewer headaches, a much better user interface, trees and a focus on genealogy. I have more than enough matches at those two vendors, plus GedMatch, to keep me busy forever.

New 23andMe Experience – In a Word, Disappointing

Almost a year after the 23andMe “new experience” was promised “shortly” and then subsequently promised by 2015 year end, it’s finally here. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s September of 2016. I could have gestated a baby in less time. However, let’s take a look at the new experience process and features. I’m going to record each step in this new experience since I’ve finally transitioned.

Unfortunately, the new experience began with the 23andMe system either being very slow or not working at all, so I’ve pieced this together from several attempts over a couple of weeks. You’d think for as much as the new test costs, $199, twice that of their competitors and their own old test, they could at least have a reasonable system response time. If that happens as fast as the New Experience, it will be another year. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I saw this screen.

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22andMe, you should be embarrassed. Really!

The “New 23andMe”

I thought the day would never arrive, but I did finally receive this e-mail:

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Before we start reviewing the process and features, I want to mention that I did find an old to new feature converter, of sorts, provided by 23andMe. It’s not terribly useful, but it might be worth reviewing.

When you can get on and stay on the 23andMe system, you will see the following:

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The system did not default to “me,” but to another one of the kits I manage. The next screen was to select primary profile.

My birth date was required. This is bothersome to me. It was never required before, and frankly, it’s none of their business. I answered it truthfully, only because I was afraid it would be part of a security question someplace down the line.

The next screen is shown below asking about your DNA Relatives Preferences. Apparently your old preferences don’t port to the new experience, at least not in total.

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Here’s the infamous open sharing question that is supposed to replace all of the asking for permission to communicate and then asking for permission to share DNA segments. I say “supposed to,” because there is still a non-trivial amount of confusion surrounding options, as you’ll see shortly, but if you’re going to particulate in 23andMe for genealogy, do be sure to answer “yes.”

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Here is what 23andMe has to say about the new open sharing option.

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Next, you can review your profile and verify, add to or change your information.

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I personally think that displaying birth year is a potential security issue.

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Next, 23andMe prompts you to compete a Health Profile.

The Health Profile started with a question marital status, which is again, none of their business. You can tell that their focus has really shifted to gathering information about you at every opportunity.

I’m not interested in providing them with any additional information they can then sell, so I’m not answering these questions.

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You can opt instead to go to the home page, which is your new main account page, shown below.

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You can see your account status information and the information available to you. All of the old functions have been redesigned, renamed or obsoleted. Figuring out which is which, and where, is like a scavenger hunt combined with a snipe hunt.

Ok, now you’re ready to begin looking around the new 23andMe site. I have a feeling that their earliest testers were some of the last to be converted, so if you’re already doing all of this, apologies. However, maybe you’ll learn something from my experiences or maybe you have something to add from your own!

Ancestry aka Ethnicity

Let’s start with Ancestry and the 3 reports 23andMe is showing. As a genealogist, I’m interested in the genealogy aspect of the 23andMe reports.

These are what we generally refer to as the ethnicity reports.

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Let’s look first at Ancestry Composition

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Where did the ethnicity display mapped onto my chromosome go? Aha, it’s under Scientific Details – not what I would expect under that tab, but here it is.

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These colors are very difficult to distinguish from one another.

The bar above the browser shifts from Speculative to Conservative.

If you have a parent in the system, there used to be a “split view” where you could see your DNA “ancestry” as compared to that parent. That functionality is still there and is called “Inheritance View.”

I found the older “view” much easier to see and discern between the coloration. Here’s an example provided by 23andMe of the old versus the new.

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Matches

Ok, let’s see if I can find my matches on this new system. Hmm, looking under tools, I see DNA Relatives, so I’ll click there. This used to be the Family Inheritance Advanced functionality.

I get to watch a tutorial first.

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Looks like the new matching limit is 2000, a welcome increase. But why a match limit at all? Neither Family Tree DNA nor Ancestry have a match limit.

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And of course the chromosome browser comparison. Interesting, they tell you THAT it’s available, but they don’t show you where to find this functionality. You’ll see that this becomes important later on.

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Even though I’ve already opted into open sharing, I have to opt in again here and click on “View DNA Relatives.”

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One thing that really bothers me is that after I clicked on “View DNA Relatives” as opposed to “I do not want to participate,” I could not go back or otherwise change that selection. I tried the settings option, by clicking on the profile name, and it appears that there is no option to rescind this permission.

DNA Relatives

Here is the list of my DNA Relatives. If you’re comparing this to a previous list, all of the information is missing on this page that was visible before, like haplogroups, genealogy surnames, etc., which made it easy to see at a glance.

There is however, a color coded sharing “dot” but with no legend, so I have NO IDEA who is sharing and who isn’t – or exactly what that means. Furthermore, I’m not colorblind, but the dot is so small (and I have 27 inch monitors) that I can’t tell if the dots are blue, green or some blue and some green – or maybe they are bluegreen.

After the fact, I stumbled on to the legend in the “sort by” box, but after reviewing the results, the legend makes no sense when seeing the sharing options and my cousins.

Let’s take a look.

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So, the sharing legend is as follows:

  • Purple – open sharing
  • Blue/green – sharing
  • Yellow – Pending
  • Grey – not sharing

Let’s take a look at matches.

Blue Dot Match

According to the legend, a blue dot means sharing.

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In order to see additional information, I click on my matches’ profile. Let’s start with my cousin Cheryl who has a blue dot.  I was sharing with Cheryl before the transition.

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I can see my overlapping DNA with Cheryl, I can see her haplogroup and ethnicity, but at the bottom of the page, I cannot see any relatives in common because Cheryl has not participated in Open Sharing, according to the bottom of the screen shot below – although the blue/green dot indicates sharing, according to the legend. So does that mean we were sharing before (we were), but she has not clicked on open sharing since? And if so, what affect does that have? Which features and options are available under which kinds of old and new sharing combinations?  If Cheryl was sharing entirely with me before, which she was, why isn’t that sharing permission coming over into the new experience?  Why does she have to “reauthorize” sharing, if she has already given permission to share with me.  I’m confused, and let me say right here, that this question was never resolved.

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On the right hand side of the page is a place to type a message and send to my match.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, whatever your perspective, my closest matches are people I know well and was sharing with before.  This does make it much easier to do comparisons between the old and new experiences.

Let’s check another blue dot cousin.

Blue Dot Match 2

The next cousin’s information that I checked invited me to take a look at his tree. Now, that’s interesting because I didn’t think that 23andMe had trees anymore, so I clicked on this link.

Aha, I can see his tree, but the message above the tree says this:

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“As of May 1, 2015, the 23andMe Family Tree is view-only, and you are no longer able to edit or update your tree.  Your tree will remain available in this format in your account.  To edit or download your tree, import your tree data to MyHeritage.”

Of course, any tree with more than 250 people is not free at MyHeritage.

The match to this cousin says that he shows 103 surnames, but there is no matching surname feature to help me narrow down our matching surnames.

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There should be no difference between this cousin’s sharing status and the first cousin, because they are both blue, and we were sharing before the transition, but I can’t see his “Relatives in Common” either.

So far, this is very discouraging, because I can’t do or see what I could before with the same people who have previously authorized sharing.  I know, in one case, that the person is no longer actively involved in genealogy and that means that I’ve lost functionality because they can’t or won’t “reauthorize” sharing.  Why should they need to?

Let’s move on.

Grey Dot Match

My third cousin has a grey dot and he is not participating in open sharing, so I can’t see his ancestry report, which I’m presuming here are my chromosome matches with him, or the Relatives in Common. Ironically, he had a profile message that says, “Just interested in learning more about my heritage and family history…”

Clearly he doesn’t understand the sharing options either.

Yellow Dot Match

Let’s try a cousin with a yellow sharing dot, which means pending, although I’m not sure exactly what is pending, where, and with whom.

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Ok, this says that she is not sharing, in the top left corner, but that she has sent me a request to share Ancestry Reports. I’m open sharing, so why do I need to approve a request to share ancestry reports, and where do I do that?

23andMe does, however, show me our chromosome matches AND our relatives in common, even though we are supposedly “not sharing,” so I have no idea at all what else I would see if we were sharing.  In this case, what, exactly does “not sharing” mean and what else would I see by sharing?  Bizarre.

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I notice that she has send me a message. Messages show in the right hand margin.  That’s a nice feature, but still not as nice as the ability to e-mail someone directly.

Purple Dot Match

Last, let’s try a cousin with the purple open sharing dot.

Well, this is really confusing, because it says that they are not sharing, but again, I can see our chromosome matches. That looks like sharing to me!  I clearly don’t understand what “not sharing” means.  It’s pretty much clear as mud.

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I see a message at the bottom for me to request to share Ancestry Reports with her. However, I’m open sharing and since she has a purple dot, supposedly, so is she.

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23andMe has really made a mess of “sharing,” both in terms of implementation, it appears, and assuredly in terms of explanation.  There is not one category of “sharing,” including when both people are open sharing in the new system, or when both people have previously authorized sharing in the old system, where I can see every category in the new system.

Chromosome Browser 5 Person Comparison

I spent a lot of time hunting for the ability to compare the 5 people in the chromosome browser, although minute by minute, I was quickly reaching the “I don’t care” point.

Under the DNA Relatives Tutorial, it clearly says you CAN compare up to 5 relatives, and this page says you can too, but where and how? 23andMe omitted a rather critical piece of information, it seems.

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Please note that the above screen is displayed in Windows 10 using Internet Explorer, and if you scroll right, you can see more of the second column, but that’s all.

I finally found the Chromosome Browser that allows a comparison of up to 5 people, shown below. However, the function does not work correctly under Windows 10 with Internet Explorer. I switched to Edge and I could then see the compare option.  Believe it or not, it’s the same screen as above, but it doesn’t work correctly under Windows 10/Internet Explorer.

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Half Versus Fully Identical Segments

Another feature that appears to have gone missing in the “New Experience” is the ability to see half versus fully identical segments.

Half siblings will have NO fully identical segments, because while they both inherited DNA from their common parent, the other parent was different, so no segments that they have should match at the same address on both chromosomes, meaning the chromosome they received from their mother and the chromosome they received from their father.

On the other hand, full siblings will have a non-trivial amount of fully identical segments, and this comparison was the easiest way to unquestionably tell a half from a full sibling. The previous version showed you segments that were half identical and fully identical, color coded.  The new version does not and only reports half identical segments.

When comparing my V3 test to my V4 test, 23andMe indicates that I am a “twin” to myself, so all of my segments should be fully identical when compared to myself, but looking at the comparison, only the half identical segments are reported now.

tne-half

Here’s an example (below) at GedMatch of the half versus full functionality.  The screen shot below shows my Ancestry V1 kit compared to my FTDNA kit.  You can see by the legend that the green bar indicates a full match and the yellow bar indicates a half match.  On chromosomes 1 and 2, which is all that I’ve shown, you can see the tiny sliver of yellow segments where one kit or the other doesn’t read the same address, so at that location, there is a mismatch of some sort.  At every “normal” location, I match myself fully because I’m my own “identical twin” as far as the system is concerned, and I share both parents DNA fully when compared to myself, so a “full match.”

tne-gedmatch

Furthermore, at 23andMe can you view the DNA comparison results in a table, but you can’t download them yet to a spreadsheet, although 23andMe indicates that this functionality is coming. However, it used to work.

Downloading Aggregate Data

At the bottom of the DNA Relatives page, I found the Download Aggregate Data button. The “Save As” did not work correctly under Windows 10/Internet Explorer, but I was able to open the file, then save it.

Share and Compare

I get to watch another tutorial. The Share and Compare function seems to be primarily for people who have immediate family who have tested, such as parents, grandparents or siblings.

tne29

The sharing and comparing all seems to be health except for Ancestry which is ethnicity. At the bottom, you can scroll through your matches and click on one to compare, and you’ll see much the same information as in the DNA Relatives section. If they are sharing health information, you’ll see more, such as traits.

Let’s see what else 23andMe has to offer.

Tools

On the Tools toolbar, I selected “All Tools.” We haven’t checked out “Family Tree” yet, so let’s do that. I didn’t think 23andMe had tree functionality anymore. Maybe this is a welcome surprise!

tne30

The Family Tree link takes you directly to MyHeritage. So no surprise, at least not a good one. Too bad.

Previous Health Reports

Because I tested prior to the 23andMe run-in with the FDA, my previous health reports are archived in the “Reports Archive.” I must say that the new traits are, for the most part, simply cocktail party conversation as compared to what we received before, and for half the price of current testing.

V3 testers do not receive the “Carrier Status” report, and this is the only test that is offered today that is actually medical in nature.

I would strongly suggest that anyone who actually wants health information test at either Ancestry.com for $99 or Family Tree DNA for $79 and then upload their results file to Promethease for $5. You’ll get a lot more than the very abbreviated 23andMe V4 information that costs $199.

Notice 23andMe doesn’t call the current product(s) health reports, but “wellness reports.” I think this is borderline deceptive except perhaps for Carrier Status.

tne32

Interestingly enough, both the Carrier Status and Traits reports under V4 require you to take an ethnicity survey before they show you your results, as does the Traits report under V3.

However, ethnicity is one of the things they are supposed to be telling you – in fact that’s one of the primary reasons people take these tests. So why do you have to tell them?

tne33

Download your Raw Data

Do download your raw data. You can upload it to GedMatch, to Promethease or depending on when you tested (after V2 and before V4, in November 2013) you can upload the file to Family Tree DNA for $39 in lieu of the $79 Family Finder test. The raw data download option is now under “Tools” on the toolbar.

tne35

You have to click on “I Understand” that you might discover sensitive health information about yourself or a family member.

tne36

On the first page below where you see the title “Your Raw Data,” click on the blue download button.

tne37

I encourage you to download your data while you are on the system, because it can be much, MUCH more difficult later, as I documented in this article.

Summary – Thumbs Down!!!!

As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing at 23andMe anymore for genealogists, especially when compared to the other testing companies, Family Tree DNA and Ancestry, who have both improved their offerings over the past several months.

23andMe provides fewer tools than they did previously to help genealogists identify their ancestors. As the other companies are making strides going forward, 23andMe is moving backwards.

23andMe doesn’t even provide anything as basic and simple as showing common surnames or a tree, both provided by Family Tree DNA and Ancestry. The new 23andMe interface is miserable and confusing, at best – for example – “sharing” which obviously doesn’t really mean sharing.  The new system is certainly not intuitive or written with a focus on genealogy, and their system times out horribly, outright fails and doesn’t work correctly with Internet Explorer on Windows 10. Many of the previous features used by genealogists have been obsoleted in this new version. Other than that, it’s wonderful (tongue firmly in cheek.)

As far as I’m concerned, genealogy testing at 23andMe is nothing more than a lure for 23andMe to obtain your DNA and answers to personal questions that are none of their business in order to utilize both for their own financial purposes.

Genealogists pulled 23andMe through the knothole by recommending them for testing when the FDA stopped 23andMe’s health testing. However, 23andMe, instead of enhancing their product for the genealogy market, has removed functionality, such as trees, Countries of Ancestry and full versus half identical segment identification – in essence stabbing genealogists in the back.

Both Family Tree DNA with their many tools and Ancestry, even without a chromosome browser, are both better choices. If it’s ethnicity testing you’re looking for, which is 23andMe’s strong point for genealogy, utilize either of the other vendors plus the many ethnicity (admixture) options at GedMatch.

The only person I would recommend 23andMe to now would be an adoptee looking for a very close match who did not find what they were looking for by testing with Family Tree DNA or Ancestry. In other words, I would only recommend 23andMe as a distant third and only in a pinch. For the normal genealogist, the other two vendors’ data bases and tools have become so large and robust that there just isn’t any reason to test at 23andMe.

I will continue to periodically check the 23andMe site, not for genealogy, but because I believe my father had additional children and I still have hopes of finding them or their children. I wish that 23andMe had implemented an option for notification of “immediate or close family” matches, but then again, they would have to be focused on genealogy in order to do that.

I have written one more article comparing the 23andMe V3 versus the V4 test matching and ethnicity, which holds some real surprises, but aside from publishing that article and an occasional check for my father’s possible offspring, I’m done with 23andMe, completely, entirely, finit, kaput, forever. I didn’t even bother to integrate my match file again in my DNA Master Spreadsheet. Downloading data with no corresponding ability to contact the tester (aside from the 23andMe message system on a website not functioning property), with an extremely low response rate, no trees and not even matching surnames isn’t fun, it’s simply frustrating.

23andMe is now far more work than pleasure and I’m simply done with them. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve had 3 years now to get their act together since the FDA issue…and they haven’t. The “new experience” has gotten worse, not better. The only positive aspect of the new experience is the new limit of 2000 matches, compared to no limit at the other vendors, open sharing, although there is still confusion surrounding that, and the fact that multiple profiles are now managed separately – thankfully. The other vendors have never been this unnecessarily complex relative to open sharing or multiple accounts, so they don’t have a corresponding mess to unravel.

There is a great irony here, because with 23andMe being the first vendor in the autosomal marketspace that was commercially viable could have owned the show, but they’ve blown it, over and over again. And they just blew it one last time.

I give the 23andMe “new experience” a big thumbs down.

Radegonde Lambert (1621/1629-1686/1693), European, Not Native, 52 Ancestors #132

The first Acadians began arriving on the island of Nova Scotia in eastern maritime Canada in 1604, settling in 1605 near to what is today Annapolis Royal.

acadian-map

By Mikmaq – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1351882

Today, the original location of Port Royal is a national historic site known as the Habitation at Port-Royal. After it’s destruction in 1613, Port Royal was re-established about 6 miles away as Annapolis Royal (Fort Anne), shown below, but was still called Port Royal at that time.

This drawing shows Port Royal in 1753. Even half a century after Radegonde Lambert’s death, this village is still very small.

acadian-port-royal-1753

The first decade in “New France” was difficult, at best, with many false starts. Most of the men that settled in this region were interested in fishing and fur trading, not farming. Politically, the land in Canada was subject to the political winds in Europe, so the “ownership” of the region was not only disputed, but changed hands, being ruled by the French, the Scots and the British.

Ships came and went. Many settlers died. Those settlers that lived, male or mostly male, intermarried with the Micmac Indians.

Beginning in about 1610, some French women may have arrived with their husbands, but the dates are uncertain, as are the number of woman.

Because of this, most of the early births are presumed to be a result of a marriage, “legal,” meaning Catholic and blessed by the church, or not. I’m guessing that young men with no available European women, not to mention no priests for many years, didn’t much care about the sacraments nearly as much as they cared about female company.

Radegonde’s Birth

Radegonde Lambert was probably born between 1621 and 1629. It’s believed by some that she was born in Cap-du-Sable, according to the compiled records of professional genealogist, Karen Theroit Reader, assuming Radegonde is the daughter of Jean Lambert, which may not be a safe assumption at all. However, Jean Lambert is the only Lambert male in Acadia at that time, so if Radegonde was born in Acadia, it would have been to Jean.

Cap-du-Sable, meaning Sandy Cape, is an island off the far southern tip of Nova Scotia that was settled by Acadians who migrated from Port Royal in 1620. The men who lived on this island specialized in the fur trade.

Radegonde in the Records

The first actual peek we get of Radegonde Lambert is in the 1671 Census, in Port Royal. Thankfully, the women are listed by their birth surnames. Thank you, Acadians! Without this information, we would surely be lost.

You can see the original script of the entire 1671 census at this link.

acadians-1671-census

In case you can’t read the entry for Radegonde’s husband, Jean Blanchard, it says that he is a laborer, living in Port Royal, Acadia, age 60. His name is spelled Jehan and his wife is Radegonde Lambert, age 42. They have 6 children and 3 are married. They have 5 arpens of land under cultivation, 12 cattle and 9 sheep. An arpent of land is about .84 acres.

From this census, we see that Radegonde is born in 1629.

However, and in genealogy, it seems like there is always a “however,” in the 1686 census, Radegonde’s age is given as 65, which would put her birth year as 1621.

In the 1693 census, she no longer appears, so she died sometime between 1686 and 1693, between the ages of 57 and 72, depending on what year she was actually born and in which year she died.

Radegonde’s Mother

Many of researchers believe that Radegonde Lambert’s mother was Micmak (Mi’kmaq). Why?

Primarily because if she was the daughter of Jean Lambert, one of the earliest settlers, it was believed that his wife had to be Indian because there were no French women in Acadia at that time.

Stephen A. White, one of the premier Acadian researchers, tells us the following about Radegonde (information in parenthesis is my note):

Possible parents—JEAN LAMBERT and Un-identified MicMac Indian. The Indians honored de La Tour (a fur trader) and he married the daughter of one of their Chiefs. Because there were no French girls his men also settled with Indian women. Among the men who did this were Jean Lambert and a man called Lejeune. In subsequent years there were a good number of Metis living in this area with the names of Lambert and Lejeune. Jean Lambert, born in France about 1595, probably came to Acadia on the Jonas out of the port of Dieppe, Normandy. It left 25 February1610 and arrived in Port Royal at the end of May. They had a long stormy crossing. They ate all of their normal rations and some of the food meant for the colony. Jean Lambert remained in North America, for the rest of his life. This makes him the earliest permanent settler of our European ancestors. Jean Lambert’s sons remained with the Micmacs. His possible daughter Radegonde Lambert, probably born in 1628 or 1629 at Cap-de-Sable, married a French colonist, Jean Blanchard. REF: “Dictionnaire Genealogique Des Familles Acadiennes” by Stephen White. Vol. l p., “143”

Adding fuel to the fire for Radegonde to be Native, another genealogist, Alexandre Alemann, the ex-director of the Drouin Institut, assembled a list of those he believed to be Native – and Radegonde was on that list.

A second story about the origins of Radegonde Lambert claims that she was French, and came to Acadia with her husband, Jean Blanchard.

The following excerpt is from “The Origins of the Pioneers of Acadia” by Stephen A. White in relation to depositions taken in France after the deportment of the Acadians from Canada in 1755:

It is well known that there is very little original documentation that provides data regarding the places of origin of the earliest settlers of the French colony of Acadia. None of the colony’s parish registers for the seventeenth century survive, except one slim record book containing the sacramental entries for Beaubassin from 1679 to 1686. Additionally, there are but a couple of extant notarial records from the same period. And, unfortunately, the various Acadian censuses, beginning in 1671, make no mention of places of origin, unlike the detailed enumeration made in the small neighbouring colony of Plaisance in Newfoundland in 1698. (For more information about the early records of Acadia and Plaisance, see the bibliography of the present writer’s Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes, Première partie, 1636 à 1714 [hereinafter DGFA-1] [Moncton: Centre d’études acadiennes, 1999], Vol. I, pp. xvii-xxv, xxxix-xl, xlv-l.)

On the level of racial origins, there is a source that provides a considerable amount of information. This is the series of fifty-eight depositions of the heads of the Acadian families that were taken down on Belle-Île-en-Mer between February 15th and March 12th, 1767, pursuant to an order from the parliament of Brittany at Vannes. The deponents were required to provide under oath, in the presence of witnesses including other Acadians, the local parish priests, and the Abbé Jean-Louis LeLoutre, former Vicar General of the diocese of Québec and “director” of the Acadian families settled on Belle-Île, all the details they could regarding their own civil status and that of their immediate families, plus their direct-line genealogies back to their first ancestors who came from Europe, “with indication of the places and dates as much as they can remember.” The depositions were intended to take the place of the registers of the parishes in Acadia that had been lost “during the persecution by the British.” In practical terms, they would also furnish the French authorities a means of identifying those who, as refugees from said persecution, were entitled to the King’s bounty and protection.

Two sets of the depositions were made up in 1767. One set of copies was left on Belle-Île, and the other was sent to the district court at Auray. Both sets have been carefully preserved, the latter of the two being now housed in the departmental archives at Rennes.

LAMBERT, Radegonde, came from France with her husband Jean Blanchard, according to Jean LeBlanc, husband of her great-granddaughter Françoise Blanchard (Doc. inéd., Vol. III, p. 43). The deposition of Françoise’s nephews Joseph and Simon-Pierre Trahan is to the same effect (ibid., p. 123). Both depositions mistakenly give Guillaume as the ancestor’s given name. Jean LeBlanc’s makes an additional error regarding the name of Jean Blanchard’s wife, calling her Huguette Poirier. The censuses of 1671 and 1686 meanwhile clearly show that she was named Radegonde Lambert (see DGFA-1, pp. 143-144). The source of these errors is probably a simple confusion arising from the fact that Jean LeBlanc’s wife’s grandfather Martin Blanchard had a brother Guillaume who was married to a woman named Huguette, as this writer explained in an article published in 1984 (SHA, Vol. XV, pp. 116-117). This Huguette was not named Poirier, however, but Gougeon, although her mother, Jeanne Chebrat, had married a man named Jean Poirier before she wed Huguette’s father Antoine Gougeon, and all her male-line descendants in Acadia were Poiriers. Unfortunately, we do not know just what questions Jean LeBlanc asked in trying to establish the Blanchard lineage, but he might certainly have had the impression that Huguette was a Poirier from the fact that so many of her relatives were Poiriers, including her grandnephew Joseph, who was also on Belle-Île in 1767 (see Doc. inéd., Vol. III, pp. 13-15).

It’s not surprising that the husband and nephews of Radegonde Lambert’s great-granddaughter were confused, three generations by marriage (the husband) and 4 generations by birth (nephews) later.  Most people today who aren’t genealogists can’t tell you their grandmothers’ maiden names. Did they perhaps have at least part of that story correct? Did Radegonde come to Acadia with her husband instead of being born there to Jean Lambert and his wife, either Micmac or European?

The quick answer is that we don’t know the exact circumstances of when or how Radegonde arrived, and probably never will. But we do have a very important clue about where she was born.

Radegonde’s DNA

Several descendants of Radegonde Lambert through all females have had their mitochondrial DNA tested. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on.

In Radegonde’s case, her DNA, for several years, also proved as puzzling as the records regarding her birth and mother’s ethnicity. No one but Radegonde’s descendants seems to match her DNA. It’s like Radegonde wanted to play a joke on all of her descendants. And a fine job she did too!

Fortunately, that question has now been resolved, and Radegonde’s DNA, haplogroup X2b4, which is exceedingly rare – as in chicken’s teeth rare – is found only in Europeans, to date, and not in any Native people.

Haplogroup X2b4 was born sometime around 5,500 years ago, in Europe, and given that the Native people migrated to the Americas sometime between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago across the land bridge from Asia into what is now Alaska, it would be impossible for X2b4, born in Europe, to be found among the Micmac women in 1621-1629. There were no European women in Canada in the early 1600s, early enough to be considered Micmac and be bearing children with French men by 1621.

I wrote an article recently about the evidence supporting the fact that Radegonde was indeed European, based on her mitochondrial DNA.

However, the question of whether Jean Lambert is her father, or if she came to Acadia with her husband still remains.

Radegonde’s Children

Karen Theroit Reader provides Radegonde’s children, as shown below. In two census records, in both 1671 and 1678, Radegonde and her husband, Jean Blanchard, are living next door to their son, Guilliame Blanchard who was age 35 in 1686.

  • Madeleine Blanchard born about 1643, probably in Port Royal, died 1678-1684 and married Michel Richard. She had 10 children.
  • Anne Blanchard was born about 1645, probably in Port Royal, died after 1714 in Beaubassin and married first to Francois Guerin, having 5 children, then to Pierre l’aine Gaudet, having 9 children.
  • Martin Blanchard was born about 1647, probably in Port Royal and died after July 4, 1718 in Cobeguit. He married first to Marie Francoise Le Blanc having 3 children, then to Marguerite Guilbeau having 8 children.

The three children, above, would have been the three that were married by 1671. The three below would have been the children still at home.

  • Guillaume Blanchard, born about 1650, probably in Port Royal, died before October 18, 1717 and married Huguette Gougeon, having 12 children.
  • Bernard Blanchard born about 1653, probably in Port Royal and died after the 1671 census but before the 1686 census.
  • Marie Blanchard born about 1656, probably in Port Royal, died after 1701, married to Pierre le jeune Gaudet, having 10 children.

Sadly, at least one and probably two of Radegonde’s children died before her, but as adults. She probably stood in the Garrison Cemetery overlooking the bay and buried these adult children, just as she buried the babies that had probably died decades earlier.

The youngest child of Radegonde was born in 1656, according to the 1671 census, in which Radegonde was shown to be age 42. This certainly makes me wonder why Radegonde had no children in her last 15 years of fertility.

The most likely explanation is twofold. First, this suggests that perhaps she was born closer to the 1621 date, which would make her 50 in 1671. If that was the case, then that would only leave 7 or 8 years of infertility to explain, not 15.

Jean Blanchard was age 60 in 1671. It’s possible that Radegonde was actually 60 instead of 42, although that’s a stretch in terms of the census taker not realizing that her age was in error. There’s a pretty big difference between 42 and 60. After all, there were only 392 people in total in that census, in all locations, including children, so about 65 families. Clearly, the census taker knew Radegonde and was unlikely to make an 18 year error.

More likely Radegonde had several children that died, some of which were probably born after Marie.

If Radegonde’s first child actually was Madeleine, and her first child did not die, then Radegonde’s marriage date would have been roughly 1642 which would suggest her birth year was closer to the earlier 1621 as opposed to 1629.

If Radegonde lost any children before Madeleine’s birth, that would push her marriage year back further, and possibly her birth year as well.

Radegonde’s Burial

The early burials in Port Royal took place in Fort Anne where an Acadian and English garrison cemetery are located. You can visit both on St. George Street at the Fort Anne National Historic Site, today.

acadians-garrison-graveyard-port-royal

Garrison Graveyard location courtesy of FindAGrave.

Radegonde’s daughter-in-law, Huguete Gougeon Blanchard, wife of Guilliame Blanchard is shown at FindAGrave as being buried in this Garrison cemetery which was established in 1632. She died in 1717. Guilliame Blanchard is reportedly buried at Amherst, but this makes little sense since he and his wife died the same year and presumably lived together in the same place prior to death. Amherst is not close to Port Royal, located just south of Moncton on the connecting peninsula to the mainland. Therefore, it’s more likely that the family is buried in the Garrison Cemetery known then as the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cemetery.

acadians-saint-jean-baptiste-cemetery

Before the cemetery in Port Royal became the British garrison graveyard in 1710, it was the Saint-Jean-Baptiste parish cemetery and was used by the Acadian community of Port Royal and by the French Garrison.

acadians-cemeteries-at-port-royal

When the British took the fort in 1710, they destroyed all of the headstones, except for 2, which are still standing today. Unfortunately, neither is for Radegonde.

acadians-garrison-graveyard

I hope to visit Radegonde in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Parish Cemetery, aka the Garrison cemetery, someday soon. I know she is there, even though her grave is no longer marked, and was probably originally only marked with a wooden cross.

Acknowledgements:

I would like to thank cousin Paul LeBlanc for pointing me in the right direction with my Acadian research, for hosting the Acadian Rootsweb list, and for telling me that, “If you’re related to one Acadian, you’re related to all Acadians.”

Haplogroup X2b4 is European, Not Native American

For many years, there has been a quandary in the genealogy community relative to the genesis of mitochondrial haplogroup X2b4.

The source of this question was the mitochondrial DNA test results of several of Radegonde Lambert’s descendants.

Radegonde Lambert, an Acadian woman, was born about 1621, possibly in Cap-de-Sable, Acadia according to the compiled research of professional genealogist Karen Theriot Reader.  She is thought by some to be the daughter of Jean Lambert, born in France but one of the original Acadian settlers, and a female reported to be a Mi’kmaq (Micmac) Indian, but with no confirmed documentation, despite years of looking.  An alternate origin for Radegonde is that she came to Acadia with her French husband, Jean Blanchard.

The DNA results of Radegonde’s direct matrilineal descendants proved to be haplogroup X2b4, but unfortunately, for a very long time, the ONLY people who took the full sequence mitochondrial DNA and had that haplogroup were descendants of Radegonde or people who did not know where their most distant matrilineal ancestor was originally from. So, the answer was to wait on additional test results – in other words, for more people to test.

Recently, I had reason to look at the results of one of Radegonde’s descendants again, and discovered that enough time has elapsed that new results are in, and based on full sequence matches and other evidence, it appears that X2b4 is indeed European and not Native.

X2b4 Mutations

Haplogroup X2b4 is characterized by several distinctive mutations, as follows.

Haplogroup or Subgroup Required Mutations
X T6221C, C6371T, A13966G, T14470C, T16189C!, C16278T!
X2 T195C!, G1719A
X2b C8393T, G15927A
X2b4 G3705A

Of the above mutations, only two, the mutations at 16189 and at 16278 are found in the HVR1 region, and only the mutation at 195 is found in the HVR2 region. The balance of these mutations are found in the coding region, so a haplogroup cannot be predicted at a higher level that X or perhaps X2 without the full sequence test.

Radegonde’s Mutations

Radegonde’s descendants carry all of these haplogroup defining mutations, and more. In fact, Radegonde’s descendants also have extra mutations at locations 16145 and 16301. We know this because at least a dozen of Radegonde’s descendants match exactly at the full sequence level, with no mutations. In other words, in those descendants, Radegonde’s mitochondrial DNA has remained unchanged for just shy of 400 years – and because they all match exactly, we know what Radegonde’s mitochondrial DNA looked like.

Turning now to other full sequence matches, we find that one of the individuals who matches Radegonde’s descendant with 3 mutations difference is from East Anglia in England, and his ancestors have never lived outside of England. In other words, this isn’t a case of someone whose ancestors immigrated and they may have incorrect genealogy.

Two more full sequence matches live in Norway and their ancestors have never lived elsewhere.

One match’s ancestor, Ally Lyon was born and married in Glenisa, Scotland in 1760.

Another match was born and lives in Germany and her ancestors were born there as well.

In summary, for matches, other than Radegonde and people who don’t know where their match was from, we have ancestors proven to be born in:

  • East Anglia
  • Norway
  • Norway
  • Glenisa, Scotland
  • Germany

Of Radegonde’s descendant’s matches, 5 individuals who tested still live in the country or location where their ancestor was born and their family/ancestors have never lived elsewhere.

Furthermore, there are no Native American mitochondrial DNA matches for haplogroup X2b or X2b4 in either contemporary testers or ancient burials

Base Haplogroups

It’s certainly possible and feasible for Native people to have base haplogroup matches from locations other than America, meaning haplogroup X in this case, but not for full sequence haplogroup matches, like X2b4, which suggest a common ancestor in a much closer timeframe.

Looking at the history of the migration of the Native people, if haplogroup X2b4 was indeed Native, and matched people in Europe, that would mean that haplogroup X2b4 would have been born more than 12,000 years ago when it’s believed that the Native people crossed the land bridge from Asia to the Americas. In order for migration to both the Americas and Europe from a common location to occur, probably in the Altai region of Asia, that date would probably have to be pushed back further, probably more in the range of 15,000 to 25,000 years ago to a common ancestor for descendants to be found in both the New World and Europe. It just isn’t feasible that haplogroup X2b4 was born that long ago.

When Was Haplogroup X Born?

Dr. Doron Behar in the supplement to his publication, “A Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root” provides the creation dates for haplogroup X through X2b4 as follows:

Haplogroup Created Years Ago Statistical Variance
X 31,718.5 11,709.2
X2 19,233.8 2640.9
X2b 9675.9 2466.0
X2b4 5589.2 2597.2

Statistical variance, in this instance means plus or minus, so this chart would read that haplogroup X was born 31,718 years ago plus or minus 11,709 years, so most likely 31,718 years ago, but sometime between 20,639 and 42,979 years ago. Think of a bell shaped curve with 31,718 in the center, or the highest part of the peak.

X2, on the other hand, was born roughly 19,000 years ago. We do know that haplogroup X2a is indeed Native, as is X2g and possibly X2e. So some of haplogroup X2 went east, incurring mutations that would become Native American haplogroup X2a, X2g and possibly X2e while others went west, winding up in Europe and incurring mutations that would become haplogroup X2b and subclades.

The X2b4 Project

Moving now to the X2b4 haplogroup project at Family Tree DNA, in addition to the X2b4 matches mentioned above for Radegonde’s descendants, we find other occurrences of X2b4 in:

  • The Czech Republic
  • Devon in the UK
  • Birmingham in the UK

The three locations in France, shown on the map below, are individuals who descend from Radegonde Lambert and believe her most distant ancestor to be French, so that is what they entered in their “most distant ancestor” location.

Other locations on the map (below) not noted as X2b4 (above) are X2b, the parent haplogroup of X2b4.

x2b4

Taking a look at the map, below, from the larger haplogroup X project that includes all of haplogroup X and all subclades, we see that haplogroup X is found widely in Europe, including X, X2 and X2b, among other subclades.

mtdna-x-project

National Geographic, Genographic Project

As a National Geographic affiliated researcher, I am privileged to have research access to the Genogaphic Project data base of just under 900,000 international participants.  While the identity of the participants is not held in the data base, their ancestor information, as they have provided, is included.  For haplogroup X2b4, there were 62 results, indicating just how rare this haplogroup is worldwide.  Unfortunately, not everyone provided the place of birth for their earliest known maternal ancestor.

Of the 37 individuals who did provide a birth location for their earliest maternal ancestor, none were Native American and the following locations for places of birth for their earliest maternal ancestor were listed, other than the United States and Canada.  Many of the participants and their grandparents are still living in the regions where their ancestors were born:

  • Ireland
  • Czech
  • Serbia
  • Germany (6)
  • France (2)
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Russia
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • England (2)
  • Slovakia
  • Scotland (2)

Conclusion

As you can see, based on Radegonde’s descendants full sequence matches in multiple European locations, Dr. Behar’s paper dating the birth of haplogroup X2b4 to approximately 5500 years ago, the Genographic Project X2b4 locations and other X2b and X2b4 haplogroup project members’ matches in Europe, it’s impossible for X2b4 to be Native American.

Therefore, Radegonde Lambert did not have a Native mother. Her mother was very probably French, like the rest of the Acadian immigrants.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank:

  • nat-geo-logoNational Geographic Society Genographic Project and Dr. Miguel Vilar, Science Manager
  • My Haplogroup X2b4 project co-administrators, Marie Rundquist and Tom Glad
  • The haplogroup X project administrators, Carolyn Benson and Tom Glad
  • Radegonde Lambert’s descendants and others for testing, joining projects, and making their results public for all to share. Without public projects and results, discoveries like this would not be possible.
  • Family Tree DNA for providing the projects and support that enables us to further both scientific and genealogical research.

Elizabeth Ulrich Miller (c1755-1832), Listening for Samuel’s Voice, 52 Ancestors #131

Elizabeth Ulrich was born about 1755 to Stephen Ulrich and his wife, Elizabeth, surname unknown, probably in Frederick County, Maryland. Elizabeth lived about 77 years and died in 1832 in Montgomery County, Ohio, the widow of Daniel Miller.

Based on the birth years of her children recorded in the Bible her husband, Daniel Miller, would inherit from his father, it appears that Elizabeth Ulrich (Ullery, Ulrick and other spellings as well) married Daniel Miller in early 1774. Her first child recorded in the Bible was born in March of 1775, so a marriage in the spring of 1774, probably between March and June, would make sense.

Elizabeth would have likely been about 20 at that time. Dr. Daniel Wayne Olds, Ulrich researcher, in his document “Ulrich Line,” published in 2003, estimates Elizabeth’s birth to have been about 1757, although he doesn’t say how he arrived at that date. Daniel Miller was born in 1755, so it’s logical that she was close to his age. Another gauge for Elizabeth’s age was that her last child was born in 1796, according to the Bible, so if she was 42 at that time, her birth year would have been 1754.

Frederick County, Maryland

Elizabeth grew up on her father’s farm in Frederick County, Maryland. I visited the area in the fall of 2015 and this land is her father’s land or very near that land.

eliz-ulrich-farm

If this isn’t the Ulrich homestead, it probably looked a lot like this.

I can see Elizabeth in her apron, long dark skirts, black shoes or barefoot and prayer bonnet running through the fields in the shadows of the Allegheny Mountains which rose behind her father’s farm.

eliz-ulrich-field

These fields probably look no different today than they looked when Elizabeth frolicked here – except perhaps there are fewer trees.

eliz-ulrich-conococheague

The Conococheague Creek, shown above, snakes along the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, also behind her father’s farm. This riverine region would have been very familiar to Elizabeth as she grew to adulthood, in the literal shadow of the mountains she would one day cross.

The Valley of the Shadow

Elizabeth’s parents were of the Brethren faith, as were many of the other German families who settled in Frederick County on what was at that time the frontier. In fact, by the time Elizabeth was born, her parents, some of the very first settlers, had lived in Frederick County for several years, although exactly how long is uncertain.

While growing up in farm county as a Brethren daughter sounds idyllic, it wasn’t always, because danger seemed to be lurking behind every tree, literally. It helped as more settlers arrived, but even increased numbers wouldn’t keep them safe.

In 1756, after General Braddock’s defeat, the entire region was subject to Indian attack as the French and Indians, as a combined force, tried to push the settlers back towards the coastline. Twenty people were scalped in the Conococheague Valley, where Frederick County is located, and by August, the entire valley was vacant, except for two families, according to a report received by George Washington.

We don’t know where the Ulrich family went to take shelter. It must have been heartwrenching to leave the farmstead they had carved with sweat equity out of the wilderness, knowing full well what would happen to anything left behind. And pretty much everything had to be left behind. An evacuation is not a planned move.

It’s most likely that the Ulrich family returned to Pennsylvania to stay with family members or other Brethren families. If this is the case, Elizabeth may have been born in Pennsylvania, or wherever they took shelter, if she was born in or after August 1756.

The family remained wherever they went until at least November of 1758 when the French and Indian War officially ended, but probably stayed longer, until the region was once again stable. We know the Miller family, Elizabeth’s future in-laws, returned to Frederick County by 1761, but not earlier, and that the Indian attacks had diminished by 1762. Elizabeth would have returned as a toddler or young child.

If Elizabeth was born between 1754 and 1757, she would have been between 4 and 7 in 1761. As a child, she would likely have had a favorite doll to play with and helped on the farm with minor chores, such as taking something to someone or carrying a bucket of vegetables. Perhaps her doll helped too. Maybe Elizabeth was old enough to wash dishes and help her mother in the kitchen. Certainly, there was work for all from sunup to sundown, especially rebuilding a farm.

Elizabeth also had younger siblings by this time. Mary was born about 1760 and Hannah about 1762, so Elizabeth would have been able to be the big sister and help her mother.

But them came 1763. Elizabeth would have been between 6 and 9 when the family had to evacuate again. This time, Elizabeth would have remembered the panicked exodus. Her parents packed Elizabeth and their other children 6 children, ranging in age from 17 to an infant, into a wagon with whatever they could pack quickly. The Indians were attacking again, and again. The family had to leave, as did everyone else in Frederick County. Reports were that the devastation and panic were worse in 1763 than in 1756 and that lines of wagons headed east.

The Ulrich family may have gone to Conestoga, near present day White Oak in Lancaster County, PA.

ephrata-to-hagerstown

The only hint we have during this timeframe is that Stephen Ulrich, Elizabeth’s father, along with Nicholas Martin, another Brethren, is found attending the Great Council of the Brethren which took place in Conestoga in 1763. I surely wish they had a sign-in sheet with where they were currently living, originally from, and while I’m wishing…their wife’s maiden name. Some people dream of winning the lottery. I dream of things like this.

By 1765, the Brethren families were returning to Frederick County to rebuild their farms for a second time. Elizabeth would have been between 8 and 11 at this time, with yet another baby sister, Lydia, the youngest, born about 1764, probably while the family was sheltering elsewhere.

Elizabeth would spend the next decade doing what Brethren girls did at that time. She would have helped her mother, learned to cook and sew – in other words, “wife training.” She would have attended church on Sundays and as she matured into a young lady, she would have begun flirting with Daniel Miller, as much as Brethren girls were allowed to flirt. I believe I read someplace that teenaged children held hands though the board that separated the male from the female side of the church. Although, at that time, I don’t think any actual church buildings had yet been built in Frederick County. The Brethren met in homes and barns, so maybe flirting took place outside the “church” before her mother or father saw what was going on and quickly shuffled Elizabeth to safety inside and away from boys. Perhaps Stephen Ulrich and Philip Jacob Miller exchanged meaningful glances…knowing what was coming one day. Perhaps their mothers rolled their eyes a bit, remembering their own courtship, or maybe smiled behind their hands. Life was so much simpler then.

One day, Daniel Miller, with his boyish grin and full of optimism, would probably have spoken to his father, then gone to visit Stephen Ulrich to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage, which he clearly agreed to give. Perhaps Philip Jacob went with Daniel. Or perhaps, Daniel rode the horse alone. Was Elizabeth expecting him. Was her heart beating faster with every minute waiting for his arrival? Was she watching for that spec in the distance? Did she know?

Stephen Ulrich would have been concerned about whether or not Daniel had the necessary skills to support his daughter, and whether he was a good Brethren boy. The answer was clearly yes, in both cases – otherwise Stephen Ulrich would not have allowed his daughter to marry Daniel.

The Ulrich, Miller and Stutzman families reached back a long way, so they were already well known to each other. They may already have been intermarried. Members of these three families arrived in 1726 and 1727 from Germany together and they were found in a German village together before that. Their roots ran deep. They had been together in one form or another for more than 40 years, and possibly significantly longer. And that’s not just 40 years of living nearby, but 40 years of religious persecution, living on the frontier, going to church together, praying together, burying family members together and both evacuating and returning to rebuild their farms, twice, together. Nothing bonds families quite like that.

The Brethren marriage between Elizabeth and Daniel would have been solemnized by one of the Brethren clergy, probably an elder. No license would have been filed at the courthouse where they lived, as the Brethren didn’t believe in obtaining marriage licenses, a trait which makes Brethren genealogy all that much more difficult.

If there was no marriage license, how do we know that Daniel Miller married Elizabeth Ulrich? After Stephen Ulrich’s death, a settlement in 1785 lists his heirs, including Daniel Miller. Women, in that place and time, had no rights separate from their husband, so their husband would inherit their share of any estate “on their behalf” and sign any legal documents.

However, Elizabeth and Daniel didn’t just settle down and begin farming in Frederick County. Another adventure, or two, or three awaited them.

Across the Mountains to Bedford County

Those mountains that Elizabeth had grown up underneath were beckoning. Shortly after their marriage, Elizabeth and Daniel Miller packed up their wagon and set out for Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

eliz-ulrich-frederick-to-bedford

Today, Bedford County is only 61 miles from Daniel Miller’s father’s land just south of Maugansville, but the journey is through the mountains. Even today, that 61 miles takes an hour and a half, and rest assured, before the days of brakes on wagons, which didn’t happen until roughly 1790, traveling through and across the mountains was treacherous at best. The pioneers tied logs and trees to wagons to slow the speed of their descent. It must have been a harrowing experience, especially if traveling with small children who could not just get out and walk. Of course, the journey was also fraught with the constant threat of Indian attack and wild animals would have lurked in the woods as well.

At least four and possibly five of Elizabeth’s siblings went to Bedford County as well as her uncle, John Ulrich.

An October 1775 road petition in Bedford County lists Daniel Miller along with Daniel Oulery who owned the mill at Roaring Springs. Elizabeth’s brother, Daniel Ullery married Daniel Miller’s sister, Susannah who was born in 1759, so I suspect this Daniel Ullery was too old to be Elizabeth’s brother – and was much more likely her uncle.  Regardless of which Daniel owned the mill at Roaring Spring, the mill would have been very familiar to Elizabeth who probably visited often.  I took this picture of the mill pond.  The original mill stands no longer.

David Miller Roaring Springs

We don’t know exactly where Daniel Miller and Elizabeth Ulrich’s first child was born in March of 1775, but if that child was born in Frederick County, they moved to Bedford County in a wagon with that infant child between March and October of 1775. Elizabeth was probably incredibly relieved to arrive so that she could get out of that wagon in relative safety – well, such as that was.

Return to Frederick County

Unfortunately, Bedford County was becoming very unsafe at this point, as the Revolutionary War descended upon the colonies. In 1776, Daniel was no longer on the tax list nor a subsequence road petition submitted in April of 1776, and it was reported that many of the Bedford families removed to the east – in particular, to Frederick County. No sooner were they settled in Bedford County, than they had to reverse course, through those same treacherous mountain passes.

As it turns out, Daniel and Elizabeth left none too soon, because 1777 brought what was known as the Dunkard Massacre to Bedford County in which 20-30 Brethren lost their lives, unwilling to defend themselves against the Indians.  There was one Brethren who did defend himself, and the Ullery Mill, one Jacob Neff.  Neff, Daniel Ullery’s miller, killed two Indians and the result was that the Ullery mill was burned.  Neff was the exception and was later excommunicated from the Brethren faith, not so much for acting in the heat of passion, but later bragging about it.

It was reported, years later, by the Indians themselves, that the Brethren repeated over and over again, in German, “God’s will be done” as the Indians massacred the Brethren and their families.  I’d wager that Elizabeth was one praying machine. What else could she do?

Of course, for Elizabeth, returning to Frederick County would have been “going home” so perhaps she didn’t mind at all – aside from the danger inherent in the journey itself.

She was, after all, busy having a second child in November of 1776, which means she likely made that trip back to Frederick County while pregnant. Clearly she carried that child to term, even without shocks on that wagon, but she likely felt every bump in the road. Elizabeth probably welcomed the opportunity to be near her mother and sisters.

Conestoga wagon

This wagon is not the wagon used by Daniel and Elizabeth for their trip, but it is the conestoga wagon used by the Reverend Jacob Miller in 1788 during his migrations, including to Montgomery County, Ohio about 1800. Daniel knew Jacob well, although they don’t appear to have been related, as least not on the Miller side, as proven by Y DNA testing. The wagon used by Daniel and Elizabeth was probably much like this one.

There is a suspicious gap in the Bible birth records between November 1776 and March 1779 which suggests a baby was born and died.

Elizabeth had a third child in March of 1779 and then son David in July of 1781.

David Miller 1850 census

David Miller’s census record in 1850 indicates that he was born in Maryland, which tells us that Elizabeth and Daniel were still living in Frederick County as of July 1781 and hadn’t yet moved back to Bedford County.

In 1783, Daniel Miller is listed on the Frederick County tax list.

Elizabeth had another son, Samuel, in March of 1785, bringing the total of living children to five.

We don’t know exactly when Elizabeth and Daniel moved back to Bedford County, but the 1850 census tells us that their son, Samuel, born in 1785 was born in Pennsylvania.

eliz-ulrich-samuel-1850-census

However, Samuel was “deaf and dumb” and was living with his nephew, so we can’t really say if Pennsylvania is accurate. We know Samuel would have been born in either Pennsylvania or Maryland.

By 1786, we find Daniel Miller, along with David Ulerick, Stephen Ulerick, Daniel Ulerick and John Ulrick (single), along with Jacob Stutzman back in Bedford County, living in Woodbury Township. Samuel Ullery was granted land in Morrison’s Cove in 1785 and is noted as one of the first preachers in that region, living near New Enterprise on Yellow Creek where the Yellow Creek (now Hopewell Grace Brethren) congregation was formed, shown on the map below today.

eliz-ulrich-hopewell

Elizabeth and Daniel probably settled near what is today New Enterprise. The man that Daniel Miller rented land from was known to own land in this vicinity and we also know that Samuel Ullery lived there too.  Elizabeth’s brother Stephen was granted 380 acres of land on “Three Springs Branch of Yellow Creek.”

After Daniel and Elizabeth settled into Bedford County in 1786, their lives seemed to have been rather stable for several years. They lived in Bedford County longer than they lived anyplace else during their married life – 13 years.

Elizabeth had another son in December of 1787. The next child’s recorded birth is in 1794, which again suggests that probably three children died in succession; in 1789, 1791 and 1793. Depending on how quickly these children died after birth, there could have been more than three that perished. It appears that these German families only included children who lived in the family Bible. By “lived,” that could well mean beyond childhood, because there are no children’s deaths recorded.

Regardless of how many children died, it would have been a devastating time for Elizabeth.  I wonder if she came to dread each birth for fear of the child passing, especially after two or three deaths in a row.

The 1790 census shows us that Daniel and Elizabeth have 7 boys, but we only have Bible records for 6, so at least one child was living in 1790 that died shortly thereafter, possibly the youngest child who would have been born in either late 1789 or early 1790, before the census. We at least know that child was another boy, but that is the only record we have that that child existed at all.

In 1794, Elizabeth had yet another boy, but in 1796 her last child was finally a girl who was named Elizabeth. By this time, given that Elizabeth had borne at least 9 boys. I’d wager she was glad to have a girl.

By 1796, Elizabeth was a miller’s wife. Daniel is listed on the tax list with a sawmill, so people would have been coming and going every day except Sunday, the day of rest. The local sawmill was a bustling place.

This building, located at Yellow Creek and 3 Springs may have been Daniel Miller’s sawmill. If not, their mill probably looked much like this.

Daniel Miller intersection 3 Springs

In 1797 and 1798, Elizabeth and Daniel are still living in Bedford County, according to the tax lists, but in 1799 they would once again sell many of their belongings, pack up the family, and head for the next frontier.

Elizabeth would have visited the graves of her children one last time. She knew she would never see the family left behind in Frederick County again either. After leaving Bedford County, that door was forever shut.

Daniel rented or leased land in Bedford County. The best land in Bedford was already taken, and Daniel was a miller by trade, so he had to have land on a creek that would support a mill. Their best option to own land was to leave, so leave they did.

The Mighty Ohio

Daniel’s father, Philip Jacob Miller, roughly 70 years old, sold out back in Frederick County, traveled by wagon to Pittsburg, then floated down the Ohio River on a flatboat in 1796. After getting the lay of the land, Philip Jacob subsequently purchased land in Clermont and Warren Counties in Ohio, although he lived across the Ohio in Campbell County, Kentucky. Eventually, all of his children except for possibly one would join him and partake of their share of the 2000 acres. Yes, it was a newly opened frontier and land would need to be cleared, but Daniel was no stranger to work and was perfectly capable of clearing land. How many times had he done this before???

Furthermore, Daniel’s brother David had already left Bedford County and joined his father.

Elizabeth’s departure from Bedford County must have been a tearful goodbye. Elizabeth may or may not have known at that time that three of her siblings would migrate to Montgomery County, Ohio, and she would indeed see them again. In this case, at least for those three, goodbye wasn’t forever…but for others, it was – and those moving on and staying behind all clearly knew it.  The only form of communication that allowed them to keep in touch were letters…except Elizabeth couldn’t read or write.

In 1799, Elizabeth’s children would have been 24, 23, 20, 18, 14, 12, 10, 5 and 3. The older children would have helped with the younger, which would have been necessary to prevent falling overboard and drowning on the raft trip down the Ohio.

Daniel and Elizabeth would have arrived in 1799 right around the time Daniel’s father, Philip Jacob Miller, died. I surely hope they made it in time to say goodbye. Daniel probably hadn’t seen his father in more than a dozen years and most of their children had never met their grandfather. Wouldn’t that be a devastating greeting, to be informed that the family member you were traveling to join had just passed away?

Regardless, Elizabeth and Daniel weren’t turning around and going back to Pennsylvania. Neither did they wait for their inheritance. In May of 1801, Daniel purchased land in Clermont County, Ohio next to his brother David, about 50 miles north of the Ohio River via the old Indian trail, where the family helped to form the O’Bannion Church. Daniel became an elder in the Brethren church and Elizabeth, then about 45 years old, was an elder’s wife.

But Daniel and Elizabeth weren’t done moving yet.

Montgomery County, Ohio

Better land called to Daniel from Montgomery County. By 1804, we know that Daniel and Elizabeth were in Montgomery County based on tax lists. Once again, Daniel cleared the land and built a farm and a mill.

Daniel Miller farmscape

By 1804, Elizabeth’s older children were marrying and her youngest was age 10. Elizabeth has having that half-century birthday and she may have felt her age bouncing along in a conestoga wagon, once again. However, this time the move was only about 40 miles, would have taken less than a week, and there were no mountains involved!

eliz-ulrich-clermont-to-montgomery

Daniel would have been 60 years old and Elizabeth was about the same age. Most men of that age aren’t really interesting in homesteading, especially not having homesteaded at least 4 times as an adult. Elizabeth was probably interested in staying near her children and grandchildren. Elizabeth had to be getting weary of the constant cycle of move, settle, sell out, pack up, say goodbye and move again.

Daniel and Elizabeth bought land on Bear Creek just west of Miamisburg and would live in the same location more than a decade, until 1815 when Daniel would sell, at a handsome profit, once again.

Daniel Miller land Bear Creek

In 1812, while they were living in Miami Township, their son, Daniel (Jr.) died, according to the Bible. We know from the deed of sale in 1815 that a cemetery existed on Daniel Sr.’s land. Is this where Daniel Jr. was buried, or did Daniel Jr. remain in Clermont County? There was no estate in Montgomery County, only an entry in Daniel Sr.’s Bible. We will likely never know, as the 1800 and 1810 census for Ohio is missing. It would be unusual for a Brethren man, age 33, to be unmarried and without children. Perhaps Daniel was impaired as well, given that we know that son Samuel was. In subsequent generations, other Millers were impaired too, especially when Miller cousins had intermarried.

Randolph Township

In 1815, Daniel sold his land on Bear Creek in Miami Township in Montgomery County and bought land not far from his brother, David, in Randolph Township, in the north part of Montgomery County, about a mile from Happy Corner Brethren Church and about 14 miles from his land on Bear Creek.

eliz-ulrich-bear-creek-to-randolph

According to the deed of sale, Elizabeth made her mark, indicating that she could not write her name. This is the only known instance of Elizabeth signing anything other than her will.

I found the Randolph Township property today, and a house reportedly build in 1832 still stands. The ages of older homes are notoriously incorrect, so this home could have been standing when Elizabeth was living, or could have been built by later owners. It probably was not built in exactly 1832.

Daniel Miller Randolph house close

The location of this house, above, is shown in the exact location on this 1851 map, on what was Daniel’s land, shown below in purple.

Daniel Miller 1851 Randolph 40 acres

In 1820, Daniel apparently sold 100 of his 140 acres in Randolph Township to his son, Jacob, but never recorded the deed. This became a point of contention after Daniel’s death, but thankfully Daniel’s estate provided us with a great deal of information about his children.

In the 1820 census, Jacob and Daniel Miller were living side by side in Randolph Township. Daniel’s household consisted of him, age over 45, a male age 26-45 and a female, Elizabeth, also over age 45. Son Samuel, born in 1785, so age 35 in 1820, was listed as both “idiotic” and “deaf and dumb” in several documents. He would live with family members for the duration of his life and was assuredly the male living with Elizabeth and Daniel in 1820..

Daniel died in August 1822 and Elizabeth was appointed his executor along with his son-in-law, John Bucher (Bugher, Booher, Booker) The final estate settlement was made by David and John Miller in 1828 as administrators, so apparently at some point Elizabeth stepped aside.

August of 1822 was a brutal month for Elizabeth. In addition to her husband, Daniel, who reportedly died unexpectedly, her son Isaac died as well. While Daniel was 67, Isaac was a young man of 33. Was there an epidemic that killed both men?

In 1830, Elizabeth is not listed individually on the census, but Jacob has a female age 70-80 living with him, which would have been his mother who was about 75 by that time. Interestingly, there is no male in the age bracket to be brother Samuel. Samuel is also not living with his brother Stephen. Where was Samuel?

Elizabeth’s Son Samuel

Elizabeth’s son, Samuel was impaired or disabled, or what we would today called “differently abled.” But that description is contemporary, in an age where we can help people with disabilities.  Samuel wasn’t as fortunate.

Did Elizabeth know that Samuel had an issue immediately?  She had already given birth to 4 children that lived, and probably at least one that hadn’t. Was Samuel’s birth difficult? Did he not breathe right away? Or was Samuel fine at birth, his issues not becoming apparent until somewhat later?

Did the realization that something was different about Samuel creep over Elizabeth slowly, as he grew, but couldn’t hear her? Was it a slow “dawning” that something was very wrong? Did it begin when Samuel didn’t talk when he should have, at the age when her other children had begun to chatter? How much did Elizabeth know? How much was Elizabeth able to help Samuel? When did she realize that this was a child she would have with her forever? Did she worry about what would happen to Samuel after her death? Surely, she must have. As a parent, I worry about that with my fully capable children. Did she believe that Samuel’s issues were “God’s Will?”

The saving grace for Samuel was that he apparently had several good-hearted siblings, who had several children each. Samuel lived with various family members for the duration of his lifetime, beginning with his brother, Jacob, after his mother’s death.

We know two things about Samuel. He is referred to as “idiotic” which was the description generally given to people who were not able to function under their own recognizance, in particular, those who suffered from “Downs syndrome” or who would have been later called “retarded,” although neither of those terms are politically correct today. In 1832, in Montgomery County, Samuel was legally declared as such in court by a jury of 7, probably as a result of his mother’s death.

The second thing we know about Samuel is that he was mentioned on two census schedules and in a court document as being “deaf and dumb” meaning he couldn’t hear or speak. So now we have a chicken and egg situation, which came first the hearing/speech impairment or the cognitive impairment?

Being either deaf and dumb or cognitively impaired could have been caused due to oxygen deprivation during birth.

However, if Samuel was genetically deaf, and his issues did not result from birth trauma or Down’s Syndrome, Samuel would have not learned to speak, couldn’t have been educated and therefore couldn’t communicate or do anything “productive” to earn a living. How incredibly sad, because today the inability to hear is no longer a prescription for life-long dysfunction or misery. Samuel’s life would have been very different if he had been born in 1985 instead of 1785.

In 1785, when Samuel was born, his mother would have been 30 or even perhaps a couple years younger. It’s very unlikely that Samuel was afflicted with Down’s Syndrome, typically a genetic disease in which chromosome 21 is broken that plagues older mothers. Elizabeth went on to have 4 more children over the next 11 years that survived and were not impaired.

We don’t know if Samuel was considered “idiotic” because he was “deaf and dumb” and couldn’t be educated, or if he was “deaf and dumb” in addition to being developmentally disabled. I shudder to think that he was mentally competent, understanding but locked inside himself because he couldn’t hear, which meant he never learned to talk, which meant he couldn’t communicate.

The 1840 census doesn’t show Samuel living with Jacob, so something apparently happened after Elizabeth’s death. Perhaps what Elizabeth feared was coming to pass.

In 1850, we find Samuel noted as “deaf and dumb” living with Abraham Miller and wife Lydia in Montgomery County. Abraham was the son of Stephen Miller, Samuel’s brother who died in 1851.

In 1860, Samuel Miller was living with David Y. Miller in Elkhart County, Indiana, son of Samuel’s brother John Miller (who died in 1856) and wife Esther Miller. Samuel is once again listed as “deaf and dumb,” but he is not listed as “idiotic” in either 1850 or 1860.

Court notes variously show Samuel living with Jacob Y. Miller and John J. Miller, sons of his brother John, in addition to Abraham and David Y. Miller. I hope he didn’t feel unwelcome and like he was being passed around.

Samuel died on November 27, 1867 in Elkhart County, Indiana and is reported by the family to be buried in what is now the Hoke-Miller Cemetery, beside his brother, John. He would have been 82 years old, pretty succinctly removing the possibility that he suffered from Down’s Syndrome. Down’s patients seldom live long lives and Samuel certainly did that, living beyond the age of both of his parents..

Elizabeth’s Death

The Brethren were known to live very simply and austerely. Elizabeth’s husband Daniel had died in 1822, ten years before her death. His estate was rather large, but many of his things were farming related.

At Daniel’s estate sale, Elizabeth would have watched her household items being sold, although the only buyers were family members, which was very unusual. The family Bible was sold to son John. Elizabeth’s spinning wheel was sold as well. She had probably brought that with her from Pennsylvania. John Bugher (also spelled Bucher, Booher, etc., elsewhere) purchased the spinning wheel and a frying pan along with it for $2. John was married to Elizabeth’s only daughter, Elizabeth, so let’s hope that Elizabeth’s spinning wheel is still much cherished by a family member someplace today.

When Elizabeth Ulrich Miller died, she had very little. I think this may be the smallest estate I’ve ever seen. Most estates this small simply are never registered.

Elizabeth died sometime between the time she wrote her will on January 5, of 1832 and September of 1832 when the estate inventory was taken. The fact that she made a will suggests that she was ill or simply old and probably knew the inevitable was about to occur. However, Elizabeth’s will says that she was in good health.

Elizabeth’s will was recorded in the Montgomery County Will Book B, pages 339-341.

eliz-ulrich-will-1

eliz-ulrich-will-2

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eliz-ulrich-will-5

In the name of God Amen, I Elizabeth Miller of Montgomery County…being in perfect health of body and of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding considering the certainty of death and the uncertainly of the time hereof and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and thereby be the better prepared to leave this world when it shall please God to call me hence do therefore make and publish this my last will and testament.

I commit my soul into the lands of Almighty God and my body to the Earth to be decently buried…I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Miller all moneys and affects in any wise belonging to me to be sold and turned into money and to be applied to the use of his maintenance by loaning the principal and applying the interest. If the interest shall not be sufficient the principal shall and may be applied for his maintenance to the best advantage that my executor shall see proper and in case of the death of said executor my son John Miller shall be fully empowered to execute this my last will. Son Jacob to be executor. In witness whereof I Elizabeth Miller have to this my will consisting one half sheet of paper set my hand and seal this fifth day of January 1832.

Signed Elizabeth (her X mark) Miller

Witness J. A. Riley and Abraham Hess state that she was of sound mind and not coerced. Their statement was dated September 24, 1834.

After I originally published this article, Dale Langdon offered me a copy of Elizabeth’s original will, not the copy written into the will book.  Typically, the original copy is returned to the family, but in this case, it was not and it still resided in the Montgomery County archives in a packet, which Dale personally photographed and was kind enough to share.

elizabeths-will-page-1

elizabeths-will-part-1

elizabeths-will-part-2

This document in particularly important because it holds original signatures.  Of course, Elizabeth couldn’t sign her name, but she did put her mark, “+” on this page in January 1832 after someone, probably J. A. Riley, wrote her will for her, then read it back to her, in front of Abraham Hess.

Elizabeth’s will was not probated until the September term of court in 1834 and the court ordered an inventory be taken and her bills submitted. However, her estate inventory is very clearly marked as taken in 1832, not 1834.  I photographed the contents of the estate packet during my visit to the Montgomery County archives in 2004.

Her estate inventory says “Elizabeth Miller of Randolph Township,” so she was very likely living with her son, Jacob, and died there as well.

Elizabeth’s Burial

We have no documentation, but circumstances lead me to believe that Elizabeth is very likely buried in what is today the Happy Corner Cemetery, just down the road from where she and son, Jacob, lived.  In fact, you can see on the map below that the distance is certainly walkable.  The Happy Corner Brethren Church was located at the southwest corner of first crossroads intersection on west of the cemetery.  Perhaps Elizabeth walked to church.

eliz-ulrich-land-to-happy-corner-cem

The first marked burial in the Happy Corner cemetery, according to FindAGrave, is for one Daniel Stouder who died in 1830. Keep in mind the Brethren affinity for “plain” which likely did not include a headstone. So it’s very likely that several other early burials are here as well.

The second marked grave is for Elizabeth Metzger Miller, wife of Jacob Miller and daughter-in-law of our Elizabeth Ulrich Miller. Elizabeth Metzger Miller died in February of 1832, just a month after our Elizabeth Ulrich Miller made her will and a few months, at most, before she died.  It would appear that Jacob had his hands full. We don’t know what caused Elizabeth Metzger Miller’s death, but we do know she was born in May of 1771, so age 61 at her death. Elizabeth Ulrich Miller followed in short order, or may have died at about the same time. It’s not beyond the stretch of one’s imagination that whatever claimed the life of Elizabeth Metzger Miller also claimed the life of Elizabeth Ulrich Miller who we know died sometime between January and September of 1832. Jacob lost both his wife and mother within a short timeframe.

If there had been a family cemetery on the land owned by either Jacob or Elizabeth Ulrich Miller, Elizabeth Metzger Miller would have been buried there, not at the Happy Corner Church. Jacob was also buried at Happy Corner when he died in 1858, so the most likely place for Elizabeth Ulrich Miller to be buried was at Happy Corner as well, since Jacob probably made the arrangements.

Keep in mind that Elizabeth’s husband, Daniel, was buried someplace in the southwest portion of the County, or even perhaps just over the border in Preble County, a decade earlier. The family later moved Daniel’s grave to Sugar Hill Cemetery in Preble County, so it’s extremely unlikely that Elizabeth was buried with Daniel, or both graves would either have been moved together, or left together where Daniel was originally buried.

Somehow it just seems wrong after being married to Daniel for approximately 48 years that they were not buried together for eternity.

Elizabeth’s Estate

Elizabeth’s estate paperwork for executorship and administration of the estate was not filed by son Jacob until November 18, 1834, and the estate was not settled until 1849, 15 years later. There was also a chancery suit filed in 1849 (if I made a copy, I can’t find it), so there may well have been a lot of “foot dragging” going on by Jacob and later, Jacob and John, Elizabeth’s sons who were her administrators. The rest of the children may have objected to these delays. The final settlement in Elizabeth’s estate wasn’t made until November, 1849.

So no matter how pious, even the Brethren run out of patience and file lawsuits. In Jacob’s paperwork, he said that because she had so little, and he had custody of the “idiotic” brother Samuel, he kept what little she had to care for Samuel instead of having an estate sale. In her will, Elizabeth had specifically left everything to Samuel or for his use.

This explains why Elizabeth had a will at all. As a mother, she very clearly knew that Samuel could not take care of himself, and at age 47, he would never be able to do more. She wanted to do what little she could to assure his care.  Bless her heart, she certainly tried.

Regardless, an inventory of Elizabeth’s estate had to be filed with the court and it was, as shown below:

eliz-ulrich-estate-inventory

Item Description Value
1 1 kettle 1.50
2 1 skillet .03
3 One side saddle 4.50
4 1 box and spools and tape .50
5 3 bottles .25
6 Plates, coffeepot and canister and ? pan .62 1/2
7 2 cups and saucers ??? and pitcher .40
8 Coffee mill .50
9 Rocking chair .31
10 1 buraugh (bureau) 4.00
11 1 small bascuit (basket) .06
12 1 bedstead and bedding 5.00
13 1 sorrell mare of no value
Total 18.17

Elizabeth apparently only kept enough to furnish one room of the home she shared with son Jacob.

The only furniture she had was a rocking chair, and what grandmother is without one, a bureau, a bedstead and bedding. She didn’t even have a table. She didn’t appear to have a stove, so she must surely have been living with someone, although cooking may have still been done in the fireplace.  For some reason, she kept a skillet.  Perhaps it had sentimental value.  I have my mother’s iron skillet which I cherish, and use.

Elizabeth had her old horse, a mare of no value, so she must have loved that horse dearly. I hope someone was kind to it. That horse was probably a very old and dear friend to Elizabeth and she probably no longer rode her with the side saddle. Elizabeth probably walked out to the barn and fed her equine friend apples and sugar, petted her neck and talked to her lifelong confidante, who, of course kept all of her secrets. Maybe Elizabeth shared her loneliness for her husband and children who had moved away or died. Elizabeth was 75 or older when she passed away and had been a widow for 10 years. The horse was probably 25 or 30, having been with Elizabeth for one third of her life or half her adult life. That mare had probably been with her since shortly after her arrival in Ohio. And Elizabeth could have had the mare’s mother before her. Many horses traveled down the river on flatboats.

What I wouldn’t give for Elizabeth’s old sewing box with the spools and measuring tape. She may have had little, but I bet she sat in her rocking chair and sewed. She probably quilted, from scraps of old clothes, and the bedding probably included quilts, but not “too beautiful” as a good Brethren woman didn’t want to seem prideful or vain. She probably sat in that chair and rocked and pondered how to provide for Samuel – and how her other children would feel about the various options.

What was in the basket? Is that where she kept the bottles? Were they medicine bottles perhaps? Surely not whiskey bottles, although Daniel’s estate included a barrel of whiskey. The Brethren believed in moderation and temperance in everything, not just drinking, but they did imbibe in that timeframe. In later years, they embraced total abstinence in terms of alcohol.

Elizabeth had a fondness for coffee. She had a coffee mill, a coffee pot and two cups and saucers. At first I thought one cup for her and one for company, but then I realized, the woman didn’t have a table or a second chair, so perhaps there was one for her and one for her son Samuel, and that’s it. Did he share Elizabeth’s room and sit on the floor or bed, or had he already gone to live with one of his brother’s families to help work the farm, if that was possible?

An 1829 receipt and the 1830 census may hold a clue for us. There is a receipt registered in the Montgomery county deed books from Elizabeth to son Abraham for unspecified items in 1829. Elizabeth could indeed have sold him the majority of her household goods. Perhaps this was when she moved in with her son Jacob. She probably only kept what she absolutely needed personally or truly loved. I notice there are no personal items which are typically listed in estates of this era.

In the 1830 census, Jacob Miller, the son of Elizabeth Miller, who also lived in Randolph Township and had purchased 100 acres of his parents’ land in 1820 had a women, age 70-80, living with him. However, he did not have another male living there, so if the older woman indeed was Elizabeth, Samuel, the challenged son, was not living with them.

Elizabeth does not appear as a head of household in this census, so either she is living with one of her children or she was simply missed, an unlikely scenario since, if she were still living on the home farm, it was on a main road. More likely is that she was living with Jacob, and the kids were farming the home farm for her.

The final settlement for Elizabeth shows the amount of her inventory, $18.17 and money plus interest due to Elizabeth from Emanuel Flory? in the amount of $320, due to 1844. So was this money paid to the executor in 1844, but the estate not settled until 1849?  Is this why the chancery suit was filed? Why did Emanuel owe Elizabeth this money? Was this what Elizabeth meant by loaning out the money for interest in her will?  Is that what she had done with her dower right from Daniel’s estate, perhaps?

eliz-ulrich-final-settlement

Unfortunately, we don’t have any answers. It’s too bad that some of the money wasn’t used for a gravestone for her, although I’m sure Elizabeth would have preferred the money be used for Samuel – which is probably why we don’t know where she is buried today.

There is no entry in either Daniel or Elizabeth’s estate for a grave stone, although someone, maybe Elizabeth, had placed a simple stone on Daniel’s original grave.  Elizabeth’s life is only marked by the memory of her that we can distill and condense from frustratingly few details held in old and dusty records, not by anything earthly remaining today.

Elizabeth’s Children

Philip Jacob Miller Bible front

Elizabeth and Daniel’s children were recorded in the Bible that originally belonged to Philip Jacob Miller that would eventually belong to his son, Daniel Miller and then Daniel and Elizabeth’s son, John. You can read more about the Bible in Daniel’s and Philip Jacob Miller’s articles.

Philip Jacob Miller Bible Daniel children

Elizabeth and Daniel’s children are recorded above and as follows. probably by Daniel:

  • My son Stephen was born March 1 (or 7) 1775.
  • My son Jacob was born November 20, 1776.
  • My son Daniel was born March 30, 1779. He died June 25, 1812.
  • My son David was born July 30, 1781.
  • My son Samuel was born March 17, 1785.
  • My son Johannes was born December 15, 1787.
  • My son Isaac was born December 8, 1789.
  • My son Abraham was born March 16, 1794.
  • My daughter Elisabeth was born April 2, 1796.

Stephen Miller was born March 7, 1775 in Frederick County, MD and died January 13, 1851 in Jackson Twp., Montgomery County, Ohio. He is buried in the old Brower Cemetery in Preble County, Ohio. He married first to Anna Barbara Coleman who died in January 1813 in Clermont County, Ohio and secondly to Anna Lesh in October 1813 in Preble County, Ohio.

stephen-miller-stone

Jacob Miller was born November 20, 1776 in either Frederick or Washington County, Maryland which was formed in September 1776 from Frederick County. Jacob died October 20, 1858 and is buried in the Happy Corner Cemetery, just a mile or so down the road from where he lived. Jacob’s first wife was Elizabeth Metzger who died in February of 1832. Jacob’s second wife, 30 years his junior, was Catherine Zimmerman.

jacob-miller-stone

Daniel Miller (Jr.) was born on March 30, 1779, probably in Washington or Frederick County, Maryland and died on June 25, 1812. We know nothing about him other than this information from his father’s Bible, but he may well be buried in the now defunct and abandoned Troxel Cemetery which is/was located on the land Daniel Miller Sr. owned in 1812 on Bear Creek in Miami Township, Montgomery County, Ohio.

David Miller was born July 30, 1781 in either Washington or Frederick County, Maryland and died in Elkhart County, Indiana on December 1, 1851. David was first married to Catharina Schaeffer who died in Montgomery County in 1826, then a woman named Elizabeth, last name unknown, who died in Indiana 1838. David married last to Martha Drake who outlived him. David is buried in the Baintertown Cemetery in Elkhart County, Indiana on land that he originally owned.David Miller Baintertown stone

Samuel Miller was born on March 17, 1785, probably in Frederick or Washington County, Maryland, but possibly in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was both hearing and speech impaired but his family members took care of him for the duration of his life. He may also have been cognitively impaired. He died on November 27, 1867 in Elkhart County and while there is no headstone, he is reported to be buried in the Miller Cemetery near his brother John. Samuel was allowed to purchase a knife at his father’s estate sale in 1822. He probably cherished that knife for the rest of his life.

samuel-miller-cemetery

John Miller, listed as Johannes in the Bible he purchased from his father’s estate, was born December 15, 1787 in Bedford County, PA and died June 11, 1856 in Elkhart County, Indiana. His wife was Esther L. Miller, his first cousin, daughter of Daniel’s brother, David Miller.

john-miller-stone

John is Buried in the Miller Cemetery in Elkhart County, Indiana overlooking Yellow Creek where his house originally stood.

Isaac Miller was born December 8, 1789 in Bedford County, PA and died in August of 1822, the same month that his father died. Isaac was married in 1812 to his first cousin, Elizabeth Miller, daughter of Daniel’s brother, David Miller. It’s unclear where Isaac died, although it’s believed to be in either Darke or Montgomery County, Ohio. We don’t know where he is buried. There is no estate packet in Montgomery County.

Abraham Miller was born March 16, 1794 in Bedford County, PA and died on May 19, 1855 in Marshall County, Indiana. He is buried in the Blissville Cemetery. He married Elizabeth Lasure on March 21, 1827 in Montgomery County, Ohio and had moved to Marshall County, Indiana by 1850.

abraham-miller-stone

Elizabeth Miller, the only daughter in this family of boys, was born April 2, 1796 in Bedford County, PA and died on November 8, 1871 in Miami County, Ohio. She is buried in the Old Harris Creek Cemetery in Darke County. She married John Bucher/Boogher/Booher/Booker in Montgomery County on October 10, 1815.

Elizabeth’s death is reported in the December 1871 Gospel Visitor, page 382, as follows:

Died, Nov. 8th, 1871, in the Stillwater Congregation, at the residence of her son-in-law, Emanuel Hoover, Miami county, Ohio, formerly near Salem, Montgomery County, Ohio, after an illness of four months and sixteen days, ELIZABETH BOOCHER, our beloved sister and mother in Israel, aged 75 years, 7 months and 6 days. Her husband John Boocher, died near Salem, June 24th, 1861.

She has raised twelve children – one of them has gone before her. She had over one hundred grand-children, thirty-one great-grand-children, and many other friends to morn her loss. We hope our loss is her great gain.

Funeral services by the brethren, from Heb. 4. 9. “There remaineth a rest to the people of God.”

elizabeth-miller-stone

Elizabeth Ulrich’s DNA

Mitochondrial DNA is passed from a mother to all of her children, but only female children pass it on. When males have children, their wife’s mitochondrial DNA is inherited by their children.

This means that Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA was inherited directly from her mother, with no admixture from her father. In other words, the Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA is unchanged from that of her mother, and Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth, inherited her mother’s mitochondrial DNA intact as well.

What can we tell from her mitochondrial DNA?  We can tell where Elizabeth’s ancestors were from, her ancient clan, so to speak.  We may be able to connect her mitochondrial DNA with the DNA from other female Brethren wives – and by doing do, we may one day be able to identify Elizabeth’s mother.  In fact, that is probably the only way her mother’s parents will ever be identified.

Since Elizabeth Ulrich Miller had only one daughter, the only prayer we have today of discovering what her mitochondrial DNA has to tell us is through either the children of that daughter, or through the DNA of Elizabeth Ulrich’s sisters in the same way.

Hopefully, some of daughter Elizabeth’s daughters had daughters who had daughters to the current generation. In the current generation, males or females can test, because women give their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of children.

This list of Elizabeth Miller Booher’s children is from Frontier Families at http://www.frontierfamilies.net/family/Miller/C6/E10EM.htm, a compilation of records by Karleen and Tom Miller, along with Gale Honeyman of the Brethren Heritage Center, webpage by Eric Davis. I am only listing Elizabeth Miller Booher’s nine female children and descendants because their descendants would carry Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA. Elizabeth’s grandchildren are from various primary and secondary sources and I have not confirmed their accuracy.

Katharina Boogher born October 26, 1816 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died December 28, 1903 in Allen County, Ohio, married October 26, 1835 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Jacob Altstaetter, born February 21, 1811 in Hess-Darmstadt, Germany and died November 10, 1898 in Allen County, Ohio. They are buried in the Altstaetter Cemetery near Cairo, Ohio. Katherine had the following female child:

  • Elizabeth E. Allstaetter 1836-1905, married first Christopher Nass and had daughter Sarah who died at age 20. After Christopher’s death in 1863 she married Michael Roederer and had daughter Louisa Anna Roederer 1872-1956 who married Thomas Jefferson Watt.

Hannah Boogher born November 16, 1817 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died January 3, 1867 in Randolph County, Indiana, married first, August 2, 1838 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Stephen Smith, born April 15, 1808 and died May 30, 1860 in Randolph County, Indiana. Hannah married second on May 30, 1863 in Randolph County, Indiana to John Dull, born December 12, 1813 in Pennsylvania and died July 20, 1883 in Randolph County, Indiana. Hannah is buried Steubenville Cemetery and is reported to have had two daughters:

  • Elizabeth Smith
  • Sarah Smith

Elizabeth Boogher born October 10, 1820 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died September 6, 1872 in Union City, Indiana and married October 4, 1839 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Emanuel Martin, born Sept 1, 1804 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania and died November 26, 1889 in Darke County, Ohio. Emanuel and Elizabeth are buried in the Union City Cemetery in Union City, Indiana. Elizabeth had daughters:

  • Abigail Martin 1844-1922
  • Eliza Martin 1854-1880
  • Susannah Martin 1857-1881
  • Mary Ann Martin 1859-1948

Mary “Polly” Boogher born August 18, 1822 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died March 12, 1905 in Montgomery County, Ohio, married first on September 10, 1844 in Montgomery County, Ohio to John “Long John” H. Warner, born May 20, 1805 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania and died Sept 25, 1878 in Montgomery County, Ohio. She married second on April 6, 1884 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Samuel Arnold, born June 24, 1817 in Rockingham County, Virginia and died on November 18, 1887 in Brookville, Ohio. Mary had the following daughters:

  • Elizabeth Warner 1847-1924
  • Mary Warner 1849-1921
  • Sarah Warner 1855-1947

Susannah Boogher born January 4, 1824 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died April 6, 1900 near Bloomer, Ohio and married on January 18, 1846 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Jacob Warner, born February 24, 1826 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died on April 7, 1916 in Miami County, Ohio. They are buried in the Harris Creek Cemetery near Bradford, Ohio and had the following daughters:

  • Sarah Warner born 1850-1935
  • Elizabeth Warner born 1865-1953 (another source shows an 1857 birth)

Rachel Boogher born December 14, 1825 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died September 10, 1910 in Covington, Ohio and married on November 9, 1848 in Montgomery County, Ohio to Emanuel Hoover, born September 9, 1817 in Blair County, Pennsylvania and died on May 6, 1896 in Miami County, Ohio. Rachel and Emanuel are buried in the Harris Creek Cemetery near Bradford, Ohio. Rachel had the following daughters:

  • Lidia Hoover born in 1858
  • Sarah A. Hoover born in 1862-1910
  • Nancy Hoover born in 1868-1932, married Samuel Gilbert and had daughters Rosa Gilbert 1894-1979 who married Leo Small, Sylvia Lucille Gilbert 1911-1954 who married Robert Young and had one daughter, and Etta Gilbert.

Margaret Rebecca Boogher born September 18, 1829 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died March 18, 1914 in Fostoria, Ohio and married first on March 2, 1848 in Montgomery County, Ohio to George Schell, born March 15, 1809 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and died September 21, 1881 in Darke County, Ohio. She married second on January 22, 1885 in Darke County, Ohio to John Fields, born circa 1812 in Greene County, Ohio and died prior to 1900. Margaret is buried in the Fountain Cemetery in Fostoria. She had the following daughters:

  • Leah Schell 1849-1930
  • Sophia Schell 1850-1919
  • Amanda Schell 1852-1910
  • Abigail Schell 1855-1940
  • Martha Anne Schell 1858-1937
  • Mahala Ann Schell 1861-1888
  • Emmaline (Ernatine) Schell 1864-1930
  • Margaret Rachel Schell 1873-1965
  • Charlotte Lottie Schell 1874-1920

Abigail Boogher born January 10, 1832 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died January 16, 1874 near Bradford, Ohio and married on January 25, 1866 in Miami County, Ohio to Jacob F. Gauby, born December 7, 1837 in Berks County, Pennsylvania and died in 1905 in Darke County, Ohio. Abigail is buried in the Old Harris Creek Cemetery. Her only daughter died the same day she was born.

Sarah Boogher born June 24, 1836 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died May 14, 1896 in Hemet, California and married August 17, 1854 in Montgomery County, Ohio to George Washington Priser, born October 28, 1829 in Montgomery County, Ohio and died April 16, 1918 in LaVerne, California. Sarah is buried in the Oakdale Cemetery in Glendora, California and had the following daughters:

  • Elizabeth Jane Priser
  • Mary Idella Priser
  • Ida May Priser
  • Rose Alice Priser

DNA Testing Scholarship

If anyone descends from these daughters of Elizabeth Miller Booher, through all females to the current generation, which can be either male or female, I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first person to come forward with reasonable proof of descent.

I would love to be able to add to the story of Elizabeth Ulrich Miller with her own DNA.

If you descend from Elizabeth Ulrich Miller, even if you don’t descend through all females, and you’ve taken any of the autosomal DNA tests through either Family Tree DNA (Family Finder), 23andMe or Ancestry.com, give me a shout. Maybe our autosomal DNA matches! It would be great fun to see if we share the same bits of Elizabeth’s autosomal DNA.

Closing Thoughts About Elizabeth

As I think of Elizabeth’s life, my heart keeps going back to her relationship with her son, Samuel. He would have been born when Elizabeth was about 30, and she spent the duration of her life worrying about him.

He wasn’t a normal child. It would have taken a lot of special effort to keep him safe. She must have listened for his voice until she finally gave up that last shred of hope that she would ever hear it, at least not in this lifetime. He couldn’t talk because he couldn’t hear. But I’m sure his baby smiles were beautiful and she loved him all the more because he was special and needed extra care and love.

He couldn’t hear, so he wouldn’t know if he was in harm’s way. He couldn’t hear a wagon coming towards him. Elizabeth couldn’t yell at him to get out of the way, or yell for him to see where he was. If he got lost, there would have been no way to find him. He couldn’t talk to his mother and tell her that his stomach hurt, or anything else, for that matter. He could cry, I’m sure, as could Elizabeth – and I’d wager they both shed a lot of tears.

As her other children went to church, learned how to read the Bible and about the Brethren faith, and learned how to be adults by gaining skills like sewing and cooking for daughters and farming for sons – Samuel was forever childlike, even though he assuredly was of a normal adult size.

Elizabeth surely shed some tears as her other children married and left home. All mothers do, whether simply because of the symbolic passing of the torch, or because they are truly happy or sad to see them go.  No mother wants to see her child endure pain, and part of life is surely painful.  When children marry and leave the nest, the mother can no longer protect them.  That’s why it’s called “leaving the nest,” but it’s anything but easy for the mother, regardless of how “well” the child married.  Still, a mother doesn’t really want her children to stay forever – she wants to give them wings to soar on their own.

Elizabeth knew there would never be a marriage for Samuel, no happy celebration and no grandchildren. He would never have a life of his own, on his own, nor would he ever be able to care for himself.  There would be no soaring and no fledging flight.

What was concern for his immediate safely when he was young would have become an over-riding concern for his wellbeing as an adult after her own death. Elizabeth didn’t worry about him in the normal adult way that we all worry about our adult children. Elizabeth would have worried about him in the way one worries about a young child – except he wasn’t. He was 47 years old when his mother died. He would have looked like a man, but was a child in a man’s body.

After Daniel’s death in 1822, for the last decade of her life, Elizabeth’s concerns would have worsened.

What would Samuel’s future be? Who would care for him? Who would make sure he was safe? Who would be sure he was fed? Who would wipe his tears when she died? Who would try to explain or convey that to Samuel? Was there anyone to love Samuel, or would he simply exist as a burden for the rest of his life? It’s hard enough to leave a child, but to leave a child that can never grow up must be the ultimate torture.

There were no answers for Elizabeth. I’m sure the last thought as she passed from this world was for Samuel’s wellbeing. She had done what little she could for him, and I’m sure, absolutely positive, that she had left explicit instructions with every single one of her children as to how Samuel was to be treated.

Samuel outlived all but one of his siblings, the youngest, Elizabeth, his sister. It’s not surprising then that Samuel spent many years living with his nephews. The fact that he lived with the family of only male family members might suggest that his care necessitated a male presence.

While he did live with at least four different family members after Elizabeth’s death, he was always provided for and cared for by the family. Elizabeth must have rested easier seeing that from the other side.

I know that indeed, if “Heaven” is a place where we are healed of our afflictions when we arrive, the most joyful thing to Elizabeth’s ears would have been hearing Samuel’s voice and seeing that he heard and understood her, and the most joyful thing to Samuel’s ears would have been to hear his sweet mother’s voice. In his own voice, he could thank her for those 47 years, those 17,000 days, two thirds of her life, of constantly caring for him when he could not do so for himself.

It’s amazing the things we take for granted that neither Elizabeth nor Samuel ever could. I’m glad that both Elizabeth and Samuel can finally rest in peace, together.

9/11 at 15 Years

9-11-rubble

I don’t want to remember, but I can’t forget. Those arches and palisades that would be beautiful architectural pieces in a cathedral but are horrific in the rubble.

I didn’t want those images seared into my psyche forever, but there they are.

It has been 15 years, and there is certainly nothing to celebrate – except for the heroism that followed this horrific, inhuman attack on America.

Those two things, the most horrific scenes I have ever seen paired with the most incredible examples of humanity I have ever witnessed. I guess it takes a tragedy to make heroes – and this was a tragedy of immeasurable proportions, never experienced before, and thankfully, never again since.

9-11-firefighter

Before I go any further, let me say that not only does my son work in the line of public safety, but so do many of my family members, friends and former clients.  Many went to New York to help in the following days and weeks.

As I listened to this horrible event unfold on the radio, driving to a public speaking event at the Michigan Municipal League Conference, I couldn’t help but think of the police officers, firefighters and EMTs that would be responding and by virtue of their chosen profession, would also be in harm’s way. I said a silent prayer for them. In the end, 343 firefighters, 71 law enforcement officers and 55 military personnel would perish in addition to almost 3000 innocent people on planes and in buildings struck by the terrorists. And that’s just the immediate count, not counting those who died later, and continue to die, as a result of those attacks.

As I listened, I had no idea, absolutely no idea, of the magnitude of the devastation that would follow. When the towers collapsed, I was physically ill, because I knew what that meant. I prayed everyone who would die, died quickly. What a terrible prayer to pray.

I stopped at a gas station to fill up, take a break and see if they had a television, because I wasn’t sure I believed what was on the radio, although the descriptions were incredibly graphic and I could tell that the reporters were in shock themselves.  I guess I didn’t want to believe it was true. The clerk at the gas station didn’t even notice me walk in, because she was absolutely glued to a small television.  I joined her and we stood, motionless, in stunned silence.  It was true, and was getting worse minute by minute.

When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, I assumed it was some small privately owned plane that made a grave error.

When the second plane hit, I knew it was something much worse. I called my husband immediately, who works in an industry very concerned with security, and he was already “in motion,” so to speak. He wanted me to turn around and come home. I kind of thought he was nuts, and I didn’t. Later, as all of the gas sold out of stations, I wasn’t sure I could get home.

I know this makes no sense, but I wanted to know where my family was. I wanted to gather them to me, regardless of their age. I wanted us to be together, because as the nightmarish proportions of that day unfolded, I think we all came to realize that we had no idea where the next shoe would drop, that there were many shoes, and we were suddenly all vulnerable and at some level of risk, as were our loved ones.

I called my elderly mother.  She was sobbing and wanted to know where I was.  I told her to pack a bag, take the cat and all the cat food she could buy, fill her car with gas and go to my brother’s who lived an hour distant.  I didn’t want her to be alone, no matter what happened.  I was 6 hours and 2 tanks of gas away and I wasn’t sure she could get to me, given that we didn’t really know what was happening.  She would be safe with my brother.

The traffic on the interstate was horrendous on my drive to the conference. In fact, it was dead stopped. Apparently people had been so dumbstruck by the news that they stopped paying attention to their driving and had a series of accidents. I could certainly understand that. I drove cross-country, taking the back roads in the beautiful sunshine.  It seemed so wrong for such a terrible day to be so beautiful.  In fact, it all seemed impossible and surreal.

I gave my presentation at the conference, which was normally packed, but on that day, was very sparsely attended. I could tell that no one’s mind was on what I was saying at all. My mind wasn’t on what I was saying either. Finally, we all went out to the lobby and watched CNN together. And we cried. We shook our heads in disbelief as we watched those images over and over again, waiting for the next piece of horrific news. We hugged. Men and women alike. It was the most somber group of people I have ever been with, all funerals included. Each person there served a municipality, and we all knew that anyone could be next. Who would be next? What did we need to do? What could we do?

Air traffic ground to a halt. Never in the history of aviation have such drastic measures been taken. Our skies were eerily silent and fighter jets replaced normal commercial air traffic, especially for those living near borders and “high value targets.”

Never has America been so unprepared for an attack, with no warning, on our own soil. In Michigan, bridges and tunnels were closed due to concern over safety and the fact that some of our bridges lead to other countries. Some bridges are just exceedingly long, and none were prepared for the possibility of terrorism.

Terrorism. What a terrible word. A dark soulless word.

9/11 was the day that terrorism was introduced into our collective psyche in a way that no one alive on that day will ever, ever forget. Terrorism, unfortunately, at one level or another, has been a part of our lives ever since – not only in the US, but also in Europe and other parts of the world. It has spread like a deadly disease – the Zika virus of  radicals bent to destroy us.  They tried to break us, but they failed.

Terrorism also called us all to be patriots. And we answered in such numbers that there were no American flags to be purchased, anyplace.

9-11-newsweek

It galvanized us in our resolve to be Americans, to be brave, and not to be held hostage by terrorists, terrorism or fear. Yes, we live our lives today, still in a heightened state of vigilance, but we do live our lives. They inflicted a grave injury, but they did not and have not won.

Thinking Further Back

As we approach this black anniversary, I realized that there are few things that have had the level of impact on my life, aside from personal anniversaries like births, marriages and deaths, that 9/11 has had.

Another event that probably falls into that same category was the assassination of President Kennedy. That was the day that Americans collectively lost their innocence and 9/11 was the day we became enmeshed in a war that won’t end in our lifetimes. We can’t even see the enemy. They don’t wear red coats anymore.

Vietnam, not a day, but an era, was also very defining for my generation.

On a more positive note, defining moments in my lifetime include the election of a black President and the nomination of a woman by a major party for President. It doesn’t matter whether you like these particular politicians or not – the very fact that our country and society has progressed to the point where people who couldn’t even vote 100 years ago now can and do lead our country is incredibly iconic and liberating. We have gone from “Hell no” to “maybe” to a token “yes” to “absolutely” within two or three generations – mostly within my generation. When I was a child, girls could only be secretaries, waitresses, teachers or nurses. My, how things have changed.

Being a genealogist, I think regularly about the lives of my ancestors, and the 52 Ancestors stories that I’ve been writing allow me, really, force me, to think about their lives individually. I ask myself what things in their lives would have been defining events that shaped their lives, meaning culturally or historically, as opposed to those personal milestones and dates that we typically associate with genealogy.

Some of those milestones stand out as not only life-changers for the ancestors in question, but events that precipitated changes that reverberated down through the generations and changed future lives too. The biggest difference is that that news was carried by Paul Revere on horseback, a town crier or a pony express rider, not by CNN, the internet, cell phones, texts, messages, Facebook and e-mails.

There was no immediate notification across the country, so the news was slower to spread, and reaction took much longer. There was no mass shock. But then the problem couldn’t spread itself by airplane either. Of course, the news might have been much less accurate by the time it reached the most distant cabins and was generally “old” by the time it arrived.

As I write my ancestors’ stories, I try to look for these types of events in their lifetimes. Several come to mind and I’m sure there are many more that could be added to this list:

  • The French and Indian War
  • The 30 Years War
  • The Inquisition
  • The London Fire of 1666
  • Indian Raids on Various Frontiers
  • The Acadian “Grand Derangement” or Removal
  • The Revolutionary War
  • The Civil War
  • The War of 1812
  • The Enslavement of Native People
  • The Genocide of Native People
  • The Trail of Tears
  • The Emancipation of Slaves
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Holocaust
  • The Atomic Bomb
  • Women’s Right to Vote
  • The Introduction of Antibiotics
  • The Introduction of Electricity, Telephones, Radio and Television

I asked my mother, before she died, which things had the most profound personal impact on her life and she said that wiring their house with electricity and World War 2.  Those answers didn’t surprise me, except that I hadn’t realized that at one time, she had lived in a home without electricity.  Mother’s fiancé died in WW2 and that clearly changed the entire path of her life.

I ask myself, how did these types of events affect the lives of my ancestors? Did they change their lives by virtue of direct involvement, like fighting in a war, or did they change their lives by virtue of a cultural change, like electricity in homes?

Did they too live in a time of terror?  Did tragedy make heroes of them?

Who were the heroes? Who sacrificed? Whose lives were changed and how? Who died for the cause?

I wonder if they, like us, 15 years later were still living in a “state of heightened vigilance.” I know those types of event changed many forever.

Never Forget

The experience of 9/11, for those even remotely involved will never be forgotten, and for many, especially in New York and for the families of the victims, it doesn’t even fade.

For those of us more remotely involved, being supportive from a distance in whatever capacity we could, those images remain and will remain forever seared into our psyche. Only death will remove them.

We all grieve and mourn in our own way and time. This is the memorial quilt that I started but could never finish, because, well, I just couldn’t.

9-11-quilt

Perhaps it’s time to finish this now and title it, “They Didn’t Win.”  What do you think?

I wonder which images remained for our ancestors for the duration of their lives? How did they cope?  I wish they had told us, written something about their life and times.  While these memories remain vivid for us, anyone under the age of about 20 has no personal memory of this event.  If we don’t tell our stories, and record them for posterity, they will forever be lost.

Where were you on 9/11?  Which images remain for you?  What is your story?

The Stranger in my Genes – A DNA Test That Changed a Life

Bill Griffeth, anchor of CNBC’s Closing Bell, and now author of the book, “The Stranger in My Genes” had something startling to say in a recent interview:

“My father wasn’t my father….and I blame this man…Max Blankfeld.”

No, Max isn’t Bill’s father, but Max is the COO of Family Tree DNA, established in the year 2000, the company that ran Bill’s DNA test.

max-cnbc

You can watch this great interview here.

This is absolutely wonderful exposure for DNA testing, whether for heritage, ethnicity or genealogy and yes, to see if your Y DNA matches the line you think it will. Using DNA to confirm your family lineages is something every genealogist should do.

After the initial, shocking, finding, Bill wanted a second opinion, so he ordered a second test from the National Geographic Society’s Genographic project. The results confirmed that Bill’s original test was correct. It was only afterwards that Bill discovered the irony that Family Tree DNA is the partner to the National Geographic Society and the Family Tree DNA on-premises lab runs the tests for Genographic.

Bill’s story isn’t unique, by any stretch, but every person who makes an unexpected discovery in either traditional or genetic genealogy has a unique and interesting story to tell. Everyone’s story is different and begins a journey. Many people, after that initial discovery, use genetic genealogy to solve the mystery of their missing ancestor, whether it’s a parent or further back in time.

Here’s what Amazon has to say about “The Stranger in my Genes”:

stranger-in-my-genes

“Bill Griffeth, longtime genealogy buff, takes a DNA test that has an unexpected outcome: “If the results were correct, it meant that the family tree I had spent years documenting was not my own.” Bill undertakes a quest to solve the mystery of his origins, which shakes his sense of identity. As he takes us on his journey, we learn about choices made by his ancestors, parents, and others—and we see Bill measure and weigh his own difficult choices as he confronts the past.”

You know, I am going to have to read this book. I hope that everyone who reads this book DNA tests.

Personally, I find it amazing, as one who began their genetic journey in 2000 or 2001, that 15 years later, I can watch Max on CNBC. I’m so proud of what Max Blankfeld and Bennett Greenspan have done with Family Tree DNA, taking it from a startup company, forming a partnership with the National Geographic Society and ultimately, becoming the foundation of an entire industry.

I suppose it would be unprofessional to jump up and down, shouting “WooHoo” and “Way to go Max!”, but that’s what I wanted to do when I saw this interview!!!!  This segment is great exposure for genetic genealogy.