Mother’s Day is Hard – 52 Ancestors #331

Mom at age 18.

Ok, I’m just going to admit it. Mother’s Day is hard for me. Really hard.

Wish I could just sleep all day and wake up on Monday after it’s all over hard.

And to be clear, my difficulty with this day has absolutely NOTHING to do with my children. Thankfully, they remember me and always do something nice.

My son and family gave me Dahlias for my garden, always a favorite, last weekend and I’ll see my daughter and her husband on Sunday.

I do really look forward to seeing my family, but underneath the smile I wear that day, the tears are brimming at the surface.

And when no one is looking, they spill over.

My family will never know, because I won’t tell them or say anything, to anyone. I try desperately to hide this, to conceal my tears until I am alone. I’m good at this, having perfected it for years now. I really don’t want anyone to ask, “What’s wrong?,” because, truthfully, I’d sound like an idiot saying “Mother’s Day.” And then, they would just feel bad too, and I certainly don’t want that, especially since they are going out of their way to make me happy on mother’s special day.

But that’s just it. It’s my mother’s special day too, and she isn’t where I can reach her.

Recently, however, more than one person has confided in me how difficult Mother’s Day is for them. And I suddenly realized – I’m not alone.

I have such conflicted, polar opposite, bittersweet feelings about Mother’s Day and I’ve felt like that was “wrong.” That I was somehow being ungrateful for my wonderful kids and my incredible mother.

In reality, it’s something else entirely.

If you’re one of my kindred spirits, you’ll understand immediately, and if you’re not, perhaps this will help you understand that beneath the smiles of mothers on Mother’s Day resides a grieving daughter.

Grief is always, always, intertwined with love.

Tied Up with Other Things

For me, Mother’s Day is tied up with other things too.

My Mom had a stroke in mid-April the year she died. I won’t go into detail, but the two weeks it took her to pass over were utter living hell.

I was called at work that morning – the call everyone dreads. I left immediately but was facing a significant drive.

When I arrived a few hours later, Mom had slipped into a coma. I had quickly packed a suitcase before leaving. I knew, from what my sister-in-law had told me that the situation was critical and I’d be staying.

When I arrived in Indiana, the trees were just beginning to bud and bloom.

Mom finally passed away on the last day of April, and we buried her a few days later.

The cherry trees, dogwoods, redbuds, and other flowering trees fully unfolded and bloomed in their full glory. They were stunningly beautiful those two weeks I stayed in Mom’s apartment, visiting the hospital every waking hour, holding her hand, talking to her, and waiting for her transition.

At least there was some beauty there during that extremely difficult time. I needed that nourishment for my soul. Thank God for my daughter who took time off work to come and be with me, at least for part of the time.

The day Mom passed away was cold, dark, stormy, and grey. It felt good to let the cold rain soak through my clothes into my skin, seep into my shoes and run across my face, mingling with my tears that wouldn’t stop. Part grief, part relief that it was finally over.

Rain, the crystalline tears of angels, watering the earth. Sustenance, bringing about life and beauty, even in the midst of death.

To everything, there is a season.

The day we buried Mom was a beautiful spring day. She was finally, finally at rest.

I remember waking up the morning of her funeral and realizing as I made my way out of sleep-fog what day it was. What a horrible sense of dread. I just needed to get through it – to somehow just place one foot in front of the other and survive that day. 

Coming home after the service, a few hundred miles further north, the trees were just beginning to bloom there.

It was kind of like Mom followed along because she knew I’d need beauty and as much comfort as I could find in the following days.

Stunning blossoming trees will forever be equated, in my mind, with Mom’s final springtime journey to meet our ancestors.

On Mother’s Day, that year, I rented a U-Haul, finished cleaning out Mom’s apartment,  closed the door for the last time, and brought my share of her things home.

Worst Mother’s Day ever.

At home, my daughter helped unload the truck. Had to be a miserable day for her too. At least we had each other, but we don’t talk about it.

It wasn’t until I lost my own mother that I understood my mother.

Looking Back

Mom lost her mother, suddenly, when she was 37, and then her father when she was 39. She had already been divorced, not by her own choosing, her fiancé killed in WWII, and then my father…well that’s another story entirely.

Let’s just say Mom’s life had been filled with heartache and tragedy. There she was, alone, without either parent, or a husband, raising me as a single Mom in a time when women just didn’t do such things, all before her 40th birthday. Her birthday, which happened between Christmas and New Year’s must have been miserable that year.

The deck was stacked against her in every conceivable way possible.

By all reckoning, Mom should not have “made it,” but she did. Not because of other people, for the most part, but in spite of everything.

That’s the woman who raised me. A tower of inspiration – but I just knew her as Mom. I never saw that until I was older and wiser. And maybe, just maybe, I began to see her in myself.

The Grieving Daughter

I never realized or understood that my mother was a grieving daughter.

How could I have missed this, you might wonder. Well, I wonder that too. Just like me, she never let on. Never told me how much those “days,” like Mother’s Day, her mother’s birthday, and her mother’s death day bothered her.

She kept it to herself…until one fateful day.

I could still just kick myself.

I don’t remember when this happened exactly, but Mom was in her 70s. As many other people do, I gauge when things occur by which house they happened in, or who was around at the time.

But first, before I tell you what happened, let’s step a bit further back in time for perspective, into the late 1980s and early 1900s.

Genealogy Adventures

Original bar in the former Kirsch house in the 1980s.

Mom, my daughter, and I spent many years traveling about during our genealogy adventures.

Mom wasn’t a genealogist, but she loved to go along and bask in the essence of the places where her ancestors lived. We talked about what our ancestors did in those locations, their lives, livelihood, and challenges.

Of course, it was the genealogy research and information that were the foundation of those stories, plus a few oral history tidbits passed down along the way.

Sometimes the information we unearthed was much juicier than the “official” stories.

Mom always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. “Everyone is human,” she would say. Like when we discovered that her grandfather had neglected to get divorced from his first wife until after he married her grandmother, or that her great-grandfather had a none-too-complimentary story in his past too.

Kirsch House building about 2005.

Mom and I scouted out our ancestor’s homes and gravestones.

Mom visiting her great-grandparents, Jacob Kirsch and Barbara Drechsel in Riverview Cemetery, Aurora, Indiana.

We found their churches, and often baptismal and other dusty church records in leather-bound creaky books as well.

Mom in front of the Presbyterian Church in Rushville, Indiana.

We visited them all, on multi-generational trips that included my daughter, then in grade school. She didn’t enjoy those trips nearly as much as Mom and me, but she was always a good sport. I’d wager she feels differently about those trips now that she’s an adult and her grandmother has passed on.

Mom reflected in the window at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Aurora, Indiana.

Pictured here, reflected in the church window, Mom always wanted to go inside and pray where her ancestors worshiped. She knew that most of the important events in their lives took place in the church. Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and funerals. Churches represented family and community.

Even today, I can see Mom sitting in the front pew in the silent, vacant Lutheran church in Aurora, Indiana, alone, head bowed, with the light streaming in through the stained-glass windows, splashed across her shoulders.

I didn’t cry at the time, but I surely do remembering it today.

Yes, Mother’s Day is hard.

I miss her.

Later Years

In Mom’s later years, after Dad died, she no longer went along on genealogy adventures. Truthfully, my life changed dramatically about that same time, and I no longer traveled either. I’m certainly glad we made those trips when we had the opportunity.

After Dad’s death, Mom’s focus was on her missionary work within the church, and her Avon route which was her way of visiting people, many shut-ins, and ministering to the needs of people who didn’t realize that’s what she was doing. Truth be told, that WAS her quietly-delivered mission.

Those “customers” thought she was coming to bring them an Avon book and see if they needed any Avon products. No one ever thought to ask why she returned again and again, like clockwork every other week, even when the answer was consistently no. Mom knew that most of those people could afford little.

Sometimes they would order something small. There’s no way Mom ever made any money driving to obtain the order and deliver the order on a 69-cent tube of Avon-brand chapstick. Not to mention she always gave those customers the “sale” price and a hefty discount. I saw her books after her death. Mom never made any money on Avon – period. In fact, she lost money every year. But making money wasn’t at all her purpose.

Mom always carried the same tan canvas bag, for years. The sides and handles were cracked and worn from the thousands of times she carried that bag with an Avon book and whatever she was delivering from her car into that particular house that day.

In reality, while she was the “Avon Lady,” Mom was bringing far more, including companionship and or perhaps the weekly tape recording of the church sermon for those who couldn’t attend. When the little country church didn’t have a recorder, she bought one, and tapes too. Then she bought tape players to leave with the people she visited so they could listen to those recorded sermons. All of that was from “the church” of course. I’m not sure anyone but me ever knew. The only reason I knew is because I had to teach her how to duplicate the tapes – one recorder and tape for each household. 😊

That canvas bag might also hold a dish she had cooked, sometimes frozen lunches for the week, groceries, medicine, clothes or whatever she thought they needed or could use. Mom always seemed to have “extra” of everything that she needed to get rid of, or at least that was her story to them.

She was checking on her “customers” without them having to feel awkward, asking if they needed anything picked up “on the way,” and notifying their family if something seemed “off.” She called each customer at least once every week, on the week she didn’t visit – and sometimes more often.

She knew about their families, illnesses, medical conditions, woes, and their joys too. She knew everyone’s child’s name, grandchildren, and every pet on the place, past, and present. She grieved with them when someone died and celebrated happy events. She was constantly attending funerals, weddings, and baby showers, often giving people rides

She was literally on the road or calling people every single day, in all weather, regardless of what else was happening.

Mom was responsible for saving more than one life.

And I can’t even guess how many animals she saved over the years.

Mom no longer had time to “waste” on genealogy. That would be left to me at some future date.

I realize now that Mom knew this was her “last chapter,” and she chose to write it as a legacy of service – until she literally physically could not continue anymore, at age 83.

Mom’s Avon career, after retiring as a bookkeeper, lasted a quarter-century and longer than any of us thought possible. Through a broken back, broken ribs, and pelvis broken in 3 places – in three separate accidents. The last time, she tripped over a picnic table and fell at an Avon picnic. Her biggest concern wasn’t her own health, but what her customers would do without her, and who would look after them. We didn’t think she would recover – but she did AND was back on the road in just a few weeks. Everyone, including the physicians, was dumbstruck.

She was nearly unstoppable and exceeded everyone’s expectations.

One of Mom’s customers took this picture of her final delivery at their house on her last day as an “Avon Lady,” less than a year before she crossed over. They gave it to me at her funeral.

Mom’s “retirement party,” while a celebration to many, was a bittersweet day indeed for her. She was oh-so-grateful, but she was also incredibly sad.

I was the one who sat with her in the car as she cried. She wiped her tears, freshened her Avon makeup (of course), put on Avon lipstick, stiffened her now-stooped back, and told me, “Alright, let’s go inside.”

No one ever knew how much she dreaded the next chapter.

Her Avon customers, family, and church friends honored her with a reception, a dinner, and incredibly thoughtful gifts.

Mom knew her life was changing, and she didn’t much care for the direction. She was also moving an hour away, close to my brother and his wife, as she was becoming increasingly frail and needed assistance. Her memory was also failing. We discovered later that she was having small strokes.

I had hoped Mom would come and live with me, but she was independent to the end and wanted to stay within driving distance of her home church and the people she had come to love so much.

Thankfully, I went home more often in those last few years and helped her as much as I could. At least, as much as she’d let me. Lord have Mercy, that tiny snip of a woman was stubborn!

It was during this time that I came to realize what had been happening her whole life.

The Obituary

When I drove home for the weekend, I often took my latest genealogy documents and finds along to share with her. We had long ago sifted through everything she had.

It was also during this time that she tested her DNA and I was able to share those results with her as well. Of course, compared to what we know today, those results back then seem quite primitive – but nonetheless, she was enthralled. In fact, Mom told me in her last few months that I should “do that,” meaning make DNA understandable and meaningful to people.

At the time, I dismissed her advice as a “mother thing.” Mothers have to say nice things about their kids, right?

During one of those trips, I took a folder I found at home holding several things that I think my great-aunt, my grandmother’s last living sibling, had sent me a few years earlier when she realized I was interested in genealogy.

Among those items, as Mom and I sorted them, was a newspaper clipping of her mother’s obituary.

I still remember that exchange so clearly, sitting at her kitchen table.

“Mom, look, there’s a picture of your parents in the choir on the church float.” I wondered if she had ever seen that before.

“And look here,” I continued, “it’s your Mom’s obituary.”

I had never seen my grandmother’s obituary before and had kind of assumed that because they lived in a tiny town, there wasn’t one. I never thought to ask, because surely, Mom would have saved a copy if there was one to be had. She certainly saved any variety of other things interleafed in the pages of the family Bible.

Mom was sitting across from me at the table and looked up.

I saw the tears well up in her eyes, before she even glanced at the papers I had spread across the table.

Then she reached for the yellowed obituary.

Like a dolt, I blurted out, “I’m so sorry, Mom. I didn’t realize that would upset you. I’m sure you’ve seen this before and I would have thought you would have been OK with this now.”

How could I have been so tone-deaf?

I didn’t mean it the way it came out, but exit my mouth it did.

What she said to me was a gift though and helps me so much today.

“Honey, you never get over your mother’s death. It’s never OK.”

She knew that one day, I would learn that first hand. So did I.

It’s Never OK

I didn’t expect her to “get over” her mother’s death, but she surely had seen that obituary before, right? And it couldn’t have taken her by surprise. It didn’t occur to me in that moment that maybe there was a reason WHY I had never seen that obituary. Why she didn’t have a copy.

I was truly mystified at her immediate reaction, going from pleasantly chatting and looking at photos to tears in about 3 seconds flat.

I asked, “I realize that Mom, but doesn’t it get easier with time?”

“No,” she said, “it doesn’t. Sometimes, in fact, it gets harder.”

My heart ached for her.

“Like when, Mom?”

“Like her birthday, and Christmas when no one is looking, especially late on Christmas Eve evening after everyone else goes to bed, and her death day. And on Mother’s Day.”

I had never really thought much about those, although I was certainly grieving my Dad’s death. It was fresher though, and her mother had passed away 40ish years before. It never occurred to me that it was still so raw for her.

But then again, I had never lost my mother. I had no point of reference.

Then I suddenly realized, all those years I had been making a big deal about Mother’s Day, she was silently grieving. She smiled at me as I gave her gifts, brought flowers, and did nice things, but wept when I wasn’t looking.

She was my mother, but she was also always the daughter whose mother was gone.

Mom, being held by her mother.

She stilled missed and grieved for her mother.

I hope my presence made Mother’s Day at least somewhat easier for her – although I did have to send flowers a few years when I couldn’t visit in person. Now I desperately wish I had. I know my brother and his family didn’t.

The church always had a Mother’s Day luncheon, but she came home to an empty house after Dad was gone if I wasn’t there.

Somehow though, her grief at her mother’s absence was disconnected from me – and from anything that I could have done. She simply grieved her mother at that same level – forever.

Grief is the price we pay for love. Love with no place left to go. No mother to go and see on Mother’s Day.

The greater the grief, the deeper the love.

After Mom’s Death

When my stepfather died in 1994, the man I loved as Dad, I planted a memorial tree for him – something that would go on living.

When I later moved to a new place, I planted a weeping pine tree for Dad there too. I also transplanted some of his ferns I had dug from the old farm place to plant in my new garden.

I love Dad’s ferns. They are happy here and have done quite well – peeking out already this spring.

Now, I’m digging those ferns for my kids so they’ll have some too. Pass the love on, and the ferns too.

I fully intended to plant a tree for Mom, but that simply didn’t happen, at least not intentionally. But something else did.

And it’s perfect.

The Little Tree That Could

Planting my perennial garden and the landscaping in my new home took a long time – in part because I did it myself to spread the cost and work across multiple years. Mom passed away while that was in progress.

A friend of mine worked at a plant store/nursery. They threw plants out that were dying and they couldn’t sell. They didn’t care if she took them home, so she sometimes salvaged something for me. Most of those did die, but some did not, and let’s just say I had a huge canvas to paint. I might have been a little over-exuberant in terms of the landscaping. 😊

One day, I came home to find this truly pathetic little tree leaning against the side of a too-big pot with only a little dirt sitting in my driveway. It was about 2 feet tall and consisted of about 2 branches and a few scraggly leaves. A Charlie Brown tree if there ever was one.

At the nursery, the tree’s original pot had fallen over, the dirt knocked away from the roots, and the roots dried out. In the garden community, this is known as “bare-rooting” and generally, once the plant’s bare roots are dry, the plant dies. Especially a tree.

So, this little tree was thrown on the trash heap, nearly dead. It was hopeless so no point in wasting time trying to save something that would die anyway. Even if it lived, it couldn’t be sold because it would be deformed and ugly. Trash heap.

Except, my friend noticed that a few leaves on a couple of branches were still alive and green a few days later, so she put the little tree into a pot, watered it with some fish water from the coy pond, and brought it over to me.

We agreed that it probably wouldn’t make it, and if it did, it was likely not to be very attractive, so I planted it on the perimeter of the property. If it died there, no problem. It was in the wildlife greenbelt area anyway.

I don’t remember exactly when this occurred, but it was about the time Mom passed away, maybe even that year. I did not, at that time, associate it with her passing.

Time Passes

That little tree survived. The next year, it had maybe two or three branches with a couple of blooms. I had forgotten about it, truthfully, and had no idea what kind of tree it was. It turned out to be some kind of crabapple, maybe.

The following year, it grew a little more.

The tree struggled and survived, reconstituted itself, then became beautiful, I couldn’t help but think of Mother each spring as it joyfully sprang to life – exactly when I was feeling blue.

A few years later, it was, amazingly, 3 or 4 feet tall and began to fill out. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for rescued anything, and this little tree was no exception. It had survived despite the odds.

Now, I would be crushed if my little tree died.

It blooms every spring when I need it most, as I pass the anniversary of my mother’s death and head into Mother’s Day.

Every year, the tree is a little larger and more beautiful.

Today

This is the 15th Mother’s Day that Mom’s been gone.

As I took my walk around the yard today, the little forlorn, forgotten, abandoned tree on the trash pile has blossomed stunningly. Don’t you think? Just like Mom did.

Other “landscape quality” trees in my yard have come and gone, but not this one. It’s a survivor, having grown substantially taller than me. It’s maybe 20 feet tall now, about half at tall as the pine growing behind it.

The little tree that could, and did, in spite of everything.

Mom’s legacy. This tree reminds me of her. In fact, it has come to represent her triumphs.

Mom’s tree.

Full Circle

Earlier today, I picked up two care quilts from my friend, Pam, who quilts the care quilts that I make.

Mom accompanies me on this journey.

She is with me in the late nights while I make the quilts. They are delivered for quilting in her now-repurposed Avon bag. Of course, Mom’s bag stays with Pam while she quilts the quilts. Then, Pam returns them to me in Mom’s bag, ready to be finished and sent to the intended recipient.

It’s a small thing, but Mom is with me and her legacy lives on in every care quilt.

Today, I took Mom’s bag and one of those care quilts with a somewhat helix-shaped fabric outside for a walk around the yard, to visit her tree. As Mother’s Day approaches and I move through my personal challenge of mid-April to mid-May, I seek beauty, solace, and peace outside.

God is in the garden and Mom is in the tree, the quilt, and the bag. Actually, Mom is in me too.

It just seemed appropriate, with Mom’s tree and Mom’s bag and the quilts that Mom’s legacy has inspired in multiple ways to take this picture to honor Mom on Mother’s Day.

The Message

I’ve really been struggling this spring, approaching Mother’s Day. A number of things have converged to make the situation more difficult than normal, including this past pandemic year and 7 Covid deaths in my family. That’s not counting my husband’s best friend, other friends and acquaintances, and their families. Yea, it’s been a rough year.

As I was trying to decide whether or not to actually publish this article, I found something remarkable. My husband had just removed an old TV to be recycled from an area that we haven’t used as a family room in more than 15 years.

As I walked back inside, I noticed something bright and yellow laying on the floor. I bent over to pick it up.

I have absolutely no idea where this came from. We never, ever had Christmas in that room or even in this house with Mom. Also, there is no tape on this tag, nor is it bent. It’s pristine and was never used.

Regardless, this little gift tag became unearthed from wherever it was and fell to the floor where I couldn’t help but find it. A message from Mom – in her own shaky handwriting.

I need more Kleenex.

Gratitude

I’m very grateful for so many things in addition to this Angel gift tag. Ironically, this little tag is a HUGE gift itself.

I’m incredibly grateful for Mom’s fortitude and her perseverance.

My God, that woman was strong.

I wrote about Mom this year on the day she passed over and posted it on my Facebook feed, although there are only a handful of people left who knew her. Maybe I was actually talking to myself, or her.

Mom has been gone 15 years today. How is that even possible?

Thinking about Mom, I realize that she instilled what I consider to be her good qualities in me, by example. I’m not sure, at all, that others or society considered them to be her good qualities.

She quietly swam upstream, trying at the same time not to get swamped or drown. She danced as a career, bought and owned her own home, raised a child as a single Mom, and in a quiet way, told society with their biased, restrictive norms about what women could and should do/not do to go to hell. Except, she wouldn’t have said Hell because it wasn’t ladylike.

She knew she really couldn’t rock the boat too much or she wouldn’t survive. Hence, her constant, and ironic, comment to me. “If you would just behave…”, which still makes me laugh.

No mom, I don’t, and won’t, and neither did you. Pushing the envelope is never comfortable.

Thanks, Mom, for your strength and bravery. Your example of quiet defiance. “And yet, she persisted.” I see you when I hear those words. Because you did, steadily, maybe in the hope that if you were quiet about it, you’d get less pushback. But you never stopped.

Guess what, Mom, you succeeded.

I miss you so much. You would be proud of the progress we have made. And we’re not done. Your legacy lives on.

It’s odd to be grateful to have loved so much as to grieve forever.

Love never dies. Neither does grief.

So, Mother’s Day is hard.

But in a very strange way, I wouldn’t want it not to be.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and thank you, for everything.

Using Mitochondrial Haplogroups at 23andMe to Pick the Lock

I’ve been writing recently about using haplogroups for genealogy, and specifically, your mitochondrial DNA haplogroup. You can check out recent articles here and here.

While FamilyTreeDNA tests the entire mitochondria and provides you with the most detailed and granular haplogroup, plus matches to other testers, 23andMe provides mid-range level haplogroup information to all testers.

I’ve been asked how testers can:

  1. Locate that information on their account
  2. What it means
  3. How to use it for genealogy

Let’s take those questions one by one. It’s actually amazing what can be done – the information you can piece together, and how you can utilize one piece of information to leverage more.

Finding Your Haplogroup Information

At 23andMe, sign in, then click on Ancestry.

Then click on Ancestry Overview.

You’ll need to scroll down until you see the haplogroup section.

If you’re a female, you don’t have a paternal haplogroup. That’s misleading, at best and I wrote about that here. If you click to view your report, you’ll simply be encouraged to purchase a DNA test for your father.

Click on the maternal haplogroup panel to view the information about your mitochondrial haplogroup.

You’ll see basic information about the haplogroup level 23andMe provides. For me, that’s J1c2.

Next, you’ll view the migration path for haplogroup J out of Africa. Haplogroup J is the great-granddaughter haplogroup of L3, an African haplogroup. Mutations occurred in L3 that gave birth to haplogroup N. More mutations gave birth to R, which gave birth to J, and so forth.

You’ll notice that haplogroup J1c2 is fairly common among 23andMe customers. This means that in my list of 1793 matches in DNA Relatives, I could expect roughly 9 to carry this base haplogroup.

There’s more interesting information.

Yes, King Richard is my long-ago cousin, of sorts. Our common mitochondrial ancestor lived in Europe, but not long after haplogroup J1c migrated from the Middle East.

One of my favorite parts of the 23andMe information is a bit geeky, I must admit.

Scroll back to the top and select Scientific Details.

Scroll down, and you’ll be able to see the haplogroup tree formation of all your ancestral haplogroups since Mitochondrial Eve who is haplogroup L. You can see L3 who migrated out of Africa, and then N and R. You can also see their “sister clades,” in blue. In other words, L3 gave birth to L3a through M, which are all sisters to N. N gave birth to R, and so forth.

On the free Public Mitochondrial Tree, provided by FamilyTreeDNA, you can see the haplogroups displayed in a different configuration, along with the countries where the most distant known ancestors of FamilyTreeDNA testers who carry that haplogroup are found. Note that only people who have taken the full sequence test are shown on this tree. You can still check out your partial haplogroup from 23andMe, but it will be compared to people who don’t have a subgroup assigned today on this public tree.

If you were to take the full sequence test at FamilyTreeDNA, you might well have a more refined haplogroup, including a subgroup. Most people do, but not everyone.

Here’s the second half of the 23andMe haplogroup tree leading from haplogroup R to J1c2, my partial haplogroup at 23andMe.

Here’s the public tree showing the J1c2 haplogroup, and my most refined haplogroup, J1c2f from my full sequence test at FamilyTreeDNA.

If you’re interested in reading more in the scientific literature about your haplogroup, at the bottom of the 23andMe Scientific Details page, you’ll see a list of references. Guaranteed to cure insomnia.😊

You’re welcome!

Using Your Haplogroup at 23andMe for Genealogy

Enjoying this information is great, but how do you actually USE this information at 23andMe for genealogy? As you already know, 23andMe does not support trees, so many times genealogists need to message our matches to determine at least some portion of their genealogy. But not always. Let’s look at different options.

While a base haplogroup is certainly interesting and CAN be used for some things, it cannot be used, at 23andMe for matching directly because only a few haplogroup-defining locations are tested.

We can use basic haplogroup information in multiple ways for genealogy, even if your matches don’t reply to messages.

23andMe no longer allows testers to filter or sort their matches by haplogroup unless you test (or retest) on the V5 platform AND subscribe yearly for $29. You can read about what you receive with the subscription, here. You can purchase a V5 test, here.

To get around the haplogroup filtering restriction, you can download your matches, which includes your matches’ haplogroups, in one place. I provided instructions for how to download your matches, here.

While 23andMe doesn’t test to a level that facilitates matching on mitochondrial alone, even just a partial haplogroup can be useful for genealogy.

You can identify the haplogroup of specific ancestors.

You can identify people who might match on a specific line based on their haplogroup. and you can use that information as a key or lever to unlock additional information. You can also eliminate connections to your matches on your matrilineal line. 

Let’s start there.

Matrilineal Line Elimination

For every match, you can view their haplogroup by clicking on their name, then scrolling down to view haplogroup information.

As you can see, Stacy does not carry the same base haplogroup as me, so our connection is NOT on our direct matrilineal line. We can eliminate that possibility. Our match could still be on our mother’s side though, just not our mother’s mother’s mother’s direct line.

If Stacy’s haplogroup was J1c2, like mine, then our connection MIGHT be through the matrilineal line. In other words, we can’t rule it out, but it requires more information to confirm that link.

Identifying My Ancestor’s Haplogroups

I’ve made it a priority to identify the mitochondrial haplogroups of as many ancestors as possible. This becomes very useful, not only for what the haplogroup itself can tell me, but to identify other matches from that line too.

click to enlarge images

Here’s my pedigree chart of my 8 great-grandparents. The colored hearts indicate whose mitochondrial DNA each person inherited. Of course, the mothers of the men in the top row would be shown in the next generation.

As you can see, I have identified the mitochondrial DNA of 6 of my 8 great-grandparents. How did I do that?

  • Testing myself
  • Searching at FamilyTreeDNA for candidates to test or who have already tested
  • Searching at Ancestry for candidates to test, particularly using ThruLines which I wrote about, here.
  • Searching at MyHeritage for candidates to test, particularly using Theories of Family Relativity which I wrote about, here
  • Searching for people from a specific line at 23andMe, although that’s challenging because 23andMee does not support traditional trees
  • Searching for people who might be descended appropriately using the 23andMe estimated “genetic tree.” Of course, then I need to send a message and cross my fingers for a reply.
  • Searching for people at WikiTree by visiting the profile of my ancestors whose mitochondrial DNA I’m searching for in the hope of discovering either someone who has already taken the mitochondrial DNA test, or who descends appropriately and would be a candidate to test

In my pedigree chart, above, the mitochondrial DNA of John Ferverda and his mother, Eva Miller, T2b, is a partial haplogroup because I discovered the descendant through 23andMe.

I was fairly certain of that match’s identity, but I need two things:

  • Confirmation of their genealogical connection to Eva Miller Ferverda
  • Someone to take the full sequence test at FamilyTreeDNA that will provide additional information

I confirmed this haplogroup by identifying a second person descended from Eva through all females to the current generation who carries the same haplogroup

Now that I’ve confirmed one person at 23andMe who descends from Eva Miller Ferverda matrilineally, and I know their mitochondrial DNA haplogroup, I can use this information to help identify other matches – even if no one responds to my messages.

This is where downloading your spreadsheet becomes essential.

Download Your Matches

Next, we’re going to work with a combination of your downloaded matches on a spreadsheet along with your matches at 23andMe on the website.

I provided step-by-step instructions for downloading your matches, here.

On the spreadsheet, you’ll see your matches and various columns for information about each match, including (but not limited to):

  • Name
  • Segment information
  • Link to tester’s profile page (so you don’t need to search for them)
  • Maternal or paternal side, but only if your parents have tested
  • Maternal haplogroup (mitochondrial DNA for everyone)
  • Paternal haplogroup (Y DNA if you’re a male)
  • Family Surnames
  • Family Locations
  • Country locations of 4 grandparents
  • Notes (that you’ve entered)
  • Link to a family tree if tester has provided that information. I wrote about how to link your tree in this article. The tree-linking instructions are still valid although 23andMe no longer partners with FamilySearch. You can link an Ancestry or MyHeritage tree.

I want to look for other people who match me and who also have haplogroup T2b, meaning they might descend from Eva Miller Ferverda, her mother, Margaret Elizabeth Lentz, or her mother, Johanne Fredericka Ruhle in the US.

To be clear, the mitochondrial DNA reaches back further in time in Germany, but since 23andMe limits matches to either your highest 1500 or 2000 matches (it’s unclear which,) minus the people who don’t opt-in to Relative Sharing, I likely wouldn’t find anyone from the German lines in the 23andMe database as matches. If you subscribe to the V5+$29 per year version of the test, you are allowed “three times as many matches” before people roll off your match list.

On the download spreadsheet, sort on the maternal column.

I have several people who match me and are members of haplogroup T2b.

Upon closer evaluation, I discovered that at least one other person does descend from Eva Miller, which confirmed that Eva’s haplogroup is indeed T2b, plus probably an unknown subclade.

I also discovered two more people who I think are good candidates to be descended from Eva Miller using the following hints:

  • Same haplogroup, T2b
  • Shared matches with other known descendants of Eva Miller, Margaret Lentz or Frederica Ruhle.
  • Triangulation with some of those known descendants

Now, I can look at each one of those matches individually to see if they triangulate with anyone else I recognize.

Do be aware that just because these people have the mitochondrial haplogroup you are seeking doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re related through that line. However, as I worked through these matches WITH the same haplogroup, I did find several that are good candidates for a common ancestor on the matrilineal line based on matches we share in common.

Let’s hope they reply, or they have tested at a different vendor that supports trees and I can recognize their name in that database.

Assign a Side

At 23andMe, one of the first important steps is to attempt to assign a parental side to each match, if possible.

If I can assign a match to a “side” of my tree based on shared matches, then I can narrow the possible haplogroups that might be of interest. In this case, I can ignore any T2b matches assigned to my father’s side.

The way to assign matches to sides, assuming you don’t have parents to test, is to look for triangulation or a group of matches with known, hopefully somewhat close, relatives.

I wrote about Triangulation Action at 23andMe, here.

For example, my top 4 matches at 23andMe are 2 people from my father’s side, and 2 people from my mother’s side, first or second cousins, so I know how we are related.

Using these matches, our “Relatives in Common,” and triangulation, I can assign many of my matches to one side or the other. “Yes” in the DNA Overlap column means me, Stacy and that person triangulate on at least one segment.

Do be careful though, because it’s certainly possible to match someone, and triangulate on one segment, but match them from your other parent’s side on a different segment.

At the very bottom of every match page (just keep scrolling) is a Notes field. Enter something. I believe, unless this has changed, that if you have entered a note, the match will NOT roll off your list, even if you’ve reached your match limit. I include as much as I do know plus a date, even if it’s “don’t know which side.” At least I know I’ve evaluated the match.

However, equally as important, when you download your spreadsheet, you’ll be able to see your own notes, so it’s easy to refer to that spreadsheet when looking at other relatives in common on your screen.

I have two monitors which makes life immensely easier.

Working the Inverse

Above, we used the haplogroup to find other matches. You can work the inverse, of course, using matches to find haplogroups.

Now that you’ve downloaded your spreadsheet, you can search in ways you can’t easily at 23andMe.

On your spreadsheet, skim locations for hints and search for the surnames associated with the ancestral line you are seeking.

Don’t stop there. Many people at 23andMe either don’t enter any information, but some enter a generation or two. Sometimes 4 surnames, one for each grandparent. If you’ve brought your lines to current genealogically, search for the surnames of the people of the lines you seek. Eva’s grandchildren who would carry her mitochondrial haplogroup would include the surnames of Robison, Gordon, and several others. I found two by referencing my descendants chart in my computer genealogy program to quickly find surnames of people descended through all females.

The link to each match’s profile page is in the spreadsheet. Click on that link to see who you match in common, and who they and you triangulate with.

Because each of the people at 23andMe does have at least a partial mitochondrial DNA haplogroup, you may be able through surname searching, or perhaps even viewing matches in common, to reveal haplogroups of your ancestors.

If you’ve already identified someone from that ancestral line, and you’re seeking that ancestor’s mitochondrial DNA, highlight the people who triangulate with the known descendant on your spreadsheet. Generation by generation, search for the surnames of that ancestor’s female grandchildren. I found one line just one generation downstream which allowed me to identify the ancestor’s haplogroup. In other words, the birth surname of my ancestor was missing, and that of her husband, but the surname of one of her granddaughters was there.

That person did indeed match and triangulate with other known descendants.

Sorting by haplogroup, at that point, showed two additional people I was able to assign to Eva’s haplogroup line and confirm through what few tidbits of genealogy the testers did provide.

I started with not knowing Eva’s haplogroup, and now I not only know she is haplogroup T2b, I’ve identified and confirmed a total of 6 people in this lineage who also have haplogroup T2b – although several descend from her mother and grandmother. I’ve also confirmed several others through this process who don’t have haplogroup T2b, but who triangulated with me and those who do. How cool is this?

I’ll be checking at FamilyTreeDNA to see if any of Eva’s T2b descendants have tested or transferred there. If I’m lucky, they’ll have already taken the mitochondrial DNA test. If not, I’ll be offering a mitochondrial DNA full sequence testing scholarship to the first one of those matches to accept.

Is this process necessarily easy?

No, but the tools certainly exist to get it done.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely.

It’s one more way to put meat on the bones of those ancestors, one tiny piece of information at a time.

I’ll be reaching out to see if perhaps any of my newly identified cousins has genealogical information, or maybe photos or stories that I don’t.

Tips and Tools

For tips and tools to work with your mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, read the article Where Did My Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Come From?

Please visit the Mitochondrial DNA Resource page for more information.

You can also use Genetic Affairs AutoCluster tool to assist in forming groups of related people based on your shared matches at 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA.

What Can You Find?

What can you find at 23andMe?

Your ancestor’s haplogroups, perhaps?

Or maybe you can use known ancestral haplogroups as the key to unlocking your common ancestor with other matches.

I found an adoptee while writing this article with common triangulated matches plus haplogroup T2b, and was able to provide information about our common ancestors, including names. Their joy was palpable.

Whoever thought something like a partial haplogroup could be the gateway to so much.

23andMe tests are on sale right now for Mother’s Day, here.

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Books

Genealogy Research

Want Ancestor-Specific Ethnicity? Test Mitochondrial DNA

Recently, someone’s mitochondrial DNA test revealed that their ancestor was from Africa, but that person had no African heritage showing in their autosomal results or revealed in their genealogy.

They wondered how this was possible and which test was “wrong.” The answer is that neither test is wrong.

Mitochondrial DNA is important EXACTLY for this reason. It does not divide with inheritance, while autosomal DNA does and eventually disappears entirely.

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from our direct matrilineal line – our mother – her mother – on up the tree directly through all mothers.

If you need a refresher, the article, 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy shows how different types of DNA are inherited from our ancestors.

Mitochondrial DNA and Ethnicity

Let’s look specifically at mitochondrial DNA ethnicity as compared to autosomal ethnicity.

In the chart above, an African ancestor (or ancestor of any ethnicity) who was the only ancestor of that ethnicity in your heritage is shown at the top – your five times great-grandmother. Using a 25-year generation, their autosomal DNA would have been admixed with partners of a different ethnicity 7 times between them and you.

Of course, that means the autosomal DNA of that ancestor would have been divided in (roughly) half 7 times.

Percent of Inherited Autosomal DNA

In the Percent of Inherited Autosomal DNA column, we look at it from your perspective. In other words, of the 100% of your ethnicity, stepping back each generation we can see how much of that particular ancestor you would carry. You carry 50% of your mother, 25% of your grandmother, and so forth.

You inherited approximately 0.78% of your GGGGG-Grandmother’s autosomal DNA, less than 1%.

If she was 100% African, then that 0.78% would be the only African autosomal DNA of hers that you carry, on average. You could carry a little less or a little more. We know that you don’t actually inherit exactly half of each of your ancestors’ DNA from your parents, nor they from their parents, so we can only use averages in that calculation.

Ancestral Percent Autosomal Ethnicity

In the Ancestral Percent Autosomal Ethnicity column, we look at it from the ancestor’s perspective.

Of your GGGGG-Grandmother’s 100% African ethnicity, how much would each subsequent generation be expected to inherit of that ethnicity, on average?

You would inherit 0.78% of that ancestor’s DNA. Given that GGGGG-Grandma was 100% African in this example, you would carry 0.78% African ethnicity.

Percent Mitochondrial DNA Inherited

Now, look at the Percent of Mitochondrial DNA Inherited column. Your African GGGGG-Grandmother’s mitochondrial DNA was 100% African in her generation, 7 generations ago, and still is 100% African in you, today.

That’s the beauty of mitochondrial DNA. It’s a forever record – never divided and never washes away.

How else would you EVER figure out her African roots today without records? Even if you did inherit a small amount of autosomal African DNA, and the vendor reported less than 1%, how would you determine which ancestor that African DNA came from, or when?

Not to mention trying to figure out if less than 1% or any small amount of reported ethnicity is a legitimate finding or “noise.”

What about if you, like my friend, carried no African autosomal DNA from that ancestor? There would be nothing to report in your autosomal ethnicity results – but your mitochondrial DNA would still tell the story of your African ancestor. Even after that trace is long gone in autosomal DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA is MUCH more reliable for each specific line in determining the “ethnicity” or biogeographical ancestry of each ancestor. I wrote about how to use your mitochondrial DNA haplogroup, here.

Discovering Your Forever Record

Everyone can test for their own mitochondrial DNA, and you can test other family members for their matrilineal lines as well. For example, your father or his siblings carry the mitochondrial DNA of his mother. You get the idea.

I record the mitochondrial haplogroup of each of my lines in my genealogy records and on their WikiTree profile card so others can share – now and in the future.

Genealogy research of female ancestors is less difficult with at least “one” record that reaches back where surnames and autosomal DNA don’t and can’t.

What will your mitochondrial “forever history” reveal?

Mitochondrial DNA tests are on sale this week for Mother’s Day – click here to upgrade or purchase.

_____________________________________________________________

Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Books

Genealogy Research

Who was Patrick aka P. L. aka Alonzo aka Lon Lore? – 52 Ancestors #330

Seriously, I don’t know.

This man is a mystery.

Why can’t I let this go?

This man is like a ghost slipping in and out of the periphery of the Lore family story, popping up here and there shouting “Boo” and then running off again, laughing.

HE WILL NOT LET ME REST!!!

Awww, the curse of the obsessed genealogist.

I don’t even know P. L. Lore’s name, and everyone, but everyone in this family had nicknames. I think P. L. is the same man as Lon, who might be the same man as Alonzo, except neither the initials P. nor L. are A. for Alonzo. Not to mention, in one place, the name of Patrick is given. I’m flummoxed.

Why can’t I have a normal family????

How Did This Happen?

Originally, some 15 or 20 years ago, I noticed P. L. Lore’s name in the same general place and time with my Lore family in Warren Co., PA. He’s not the only mystery person there, and I didn’t think too much about it because there WAS at least one other unrelated, as proven by Y DNA, Lore (Loree, Lour) family who lived there at about the same time.

But then, everything changed.

Perusing old newspapers, I found this in Rushville, Indiana, while researching my great-grandfather, Curt Lore:

  • October 2, 1903

What?

Curt’s brother was P. L. Lore?

And Curt had a motorcycle?

And he strapped his brother’s bicycle to his motorcycle and rode home 99 miles?

And they lived to tell the tale?

Lord have mercy.

Well, truthfully, a 1903 motorcycle looked an awful lot like a bicycle with a motor, so it’s probably not as dangerous as it sounds. Just no pedaling.

But still…

No, just no. 1000 times no.

There’s no room in this story for a mystery brother.

I mean, where was this brother on the census?

Oh, yea, this is my family – the people who had absolutely NO compunction about census accuracy.

Let’s set the stage and see what we can find.

You’re not going to believe this.

Antoine Lore and Rachel Levina Hill

If P. L. Lore was the brother of Curtis Benjamin Lore, known as Curt, then at least one, maybe both, of P. L. Lore’s parents had to be Antoine Lore, also known as Anthony Lore in the US, or Rachel Levina Hill.

If P. L. Lore was only a half-sibling, he would likely have been a brother through Anthony, given the same surname, but that’s not a given either. Anthony died sometime in or after 1862 and if Rachel had another child after Anthony’s death, without remarrying, the child would carry the Lore surname. That’s unlikely for a number of reasons – but then – so is this entire scenario.

The last census where we find the family together is 1860, before Anthony died sometime between 1862 and 1868. Rachel was ill, according to the family oral history, and died not long after along with Curt’s younger sister. The children, with one exception, were cast to the winds after their father’s death, “to raise themselves,” according to Curt. The family was terribly poor, a fact we see reflected in the 1870 census where Rachel is living with another family, with only one of her children, and has not one dime to her name.

I wrote about Curtis Benjamin Lore, here, here, here and here.

Anthony Lore seemed to have actually tried to not leave any records. That could be because he was actually a river pirate, drowning on the Allegheny River – as family lore stated. Or maybe he was just a poor farmer. Poor people left few records.

We do know something about the Lore family, thanks to the two census records which I’ll get to in a minute.

The only tidbit of information we have about the man who just might be P. L. Lore, and the only reason I knew about him at all, was a story told by Eloise, Curt’s youngest daughter who was born in 1903 and lived into her 90s. I knew her but didn’t ask nearly enough questions.

Eloise provided the following information, orally:

Curtis Benjamin Lore was born in 1860 or 1861 in Pennsylvania to Benjamin Lore whose wife’s name might have been Elvira or Elvina. Benjamin was a river pirate who drowned when Curtis was about 10 or 12, so about 1870 to 1872. Curtis also had a younger sister and a brother, “Uncle Lawn.” Curtis had come to Indiana in the 1880s as a well-driller and met Nora Kirsch while drilling for gas wells near Aurora, Indiana.

The spelling of “Lawn” is mine, because that’s exactly what it sounded like when she said it.

Ok, let’s take this apart, item by item.

Statement Accuracy/Comment
Curtis Benjamin Lore was born in 1860 or 1861 in Pennsylvania… This is the information from his death certificate, but according to the census, he was born in 1856, in Pennsylvania. That move to Indiana took half a decade off his age.
…to Benjamin Lore whose wife’s name might have been Elvira or Elvina. Curt’s father was Antoine in Canada but was Anthony in the US. Curt’s mother was Rachel Levina Hill according to her 1815 birth record in Addison County, Vermont. She married Anthony in 1831 in Starksboro, VT.
Benjamin was a river pirate who drowned when Curtis was about 10 or 12, so about 1870 to 1872. Anthony died sometime after his 1862 application for citizenship and before 1868 when he could have become a citizen. If Curt were 10 or 12 when his father died, that would have been in 1866-1868, which fits Eloise’s story perfectly.
Curtis also had a younger sister and a brother, “Uncle Lawn.” The census confirms the sister.
Curtis had come to Indiana in the 1880s as a well-driller and met Nora Kirsch while drilling for gas wells near Aurora, Indiana. True!

Let’s Look at the Evidence

“Lawn,” more likely “Lon” as found in later records, if he was older than Curt, would be reflected on the 1860 census with the rest of the family.

I initially expected to find Curt on the 1870 census, but not on the 1860 census, believing Curt was born in 1861. However, finding Curt on the 1860 census is how I discovered his actual birth year. You can’t be in the 1860 census if you aren’t yet born.

click any image to enlarge

The first census where we find Anthony Lore is 1850. He and Rachel had been married for 19 years by this time, and based on the ages and places of birth of their children, had only recently moved from New York to Warren County, PA. We don’t know where they lived in New York, although the descendants of their son Francis say he was born in Chautauqua County, near either Chautauqua or Jamestown, NY.

That’s only about 30-35 miles from where they settled in Warren County, so that would make sense.

This is so frustrating though. How can someone just disappear for almost 20 years? Anthony managed to avoid the 1840 census taker. They lived in a very remote, rugged region of Warren County, and his son, Francis, was literally the first white settler in Iron River, Wisconsin – so I’d presume wherever Anthony was living in 1840 was in essence “off the grid.” Not to mention, if he really was a river pirate, he probably didn’t want to attract attention.

The family is still in Warren County in 1860.

There’s Curtis on the census in 1860, bigger than life, age 4. You’ll notice there is no P. L. Lore or P. anything. Neither is there an L name. However, there is a Tunis which is likely short for something, probably Antoine. Tunis is never found again and likely died.

We know that Anthony is alive in 1862 when he applied for citizenship, but never returns in 1868 when he would be eligible. Apparently, Anthony died between 1862 and 1868. Obviously, before the 1870 census.

The Civil War happened in the middle of the 1860s, of course. Some of the Lore boys would have been old enough to serve and at least two, Franklin, and Francis did. That war was a great disruptor. It’s possible that Anthony’s death was related to the war.

In 1870, Curtis Lore, age 14, is living with the Morrison family – confirming his birth year of 1856. According to what Curt told his daughters, he “hired out” and supported himself from the age of 10 or 12, which would suggest this father died about 1866-1868. In1870, Curt was working as a farmhand.

We find Rachel and the youngest daughter, age 1 in 1860, living with the Farnham family in 1870.

Where are the other children?

  • William Henry would have been 31, so certainly married by this time, or on his own. I don’t find him on the census, but I found his wife and children living with her parents.
  • One Franklin Lore is found, age 27, in Forest County, PA.
  • I can’t find Francis, who was sometimes known as Frank, but he was living as we find him later. Why the devil did Anthony and Rachel name two sons Francis and Franklin? Seriously? Were these boys twins?
  • Nathaniel had died before 1860.
  • Mariah was married to Stephan Farnham, the son of the family Rachel was living with.
  • Tunis is not found in 1870 or after.
  • Mary and Minerva have two separate line entries of the same age in 1850 but neither one is entered in 1860. I don’t know where they are. I do know that Minerva did marry Harry Ward. Is it possible that they were twins and Mary died?

I created a table to track the various family members. Note that there is room for at least 6 children who likely perished before the census could record their existence.

1850 Census 1860 Census 1870 Census 1880 Census Comment
Anthony Lore b 1805 40 laborer b Canada 45 farmer b Canada D 1862-1868
Rachel b 1815 married 1831 39 b VT 45 b VT R.L. 54 b VT living with Elisha Farnham age 50 D 1870-1880
Missing 3 children gap
William (Henry) b May 3, 1838/9 12 b NY 21 b NY Not found but wife and children living with her parents D 1914, m first wife Eliza Davis abt 1865
Missing child gap

 

Franklin b 17 b NY, 1862 Civil War Erie Co 27 b NY, Forest Co., PA May be a sheriff in 1896 D 1936 buried in Petrolia (Civil War vet card)
Francis J. b Dec. 5 1843/4 (f) 5 b NY (m) 15 b NY 1862 Civil War Erie Co In Butler Co., PA in 1881, Wisc before 1883 D 1913 Bayfield, Wisc m 1879 Coundersport, PA to Loretta Hannah Butler
Nathaniel 5 b NY
Mariah b June 27, 1846 4 b NY 14 b NY Age 24, married to Stephen, child age 3 M in 1862 Elisha Stephen Farnham, 1892
Missing child gap
Tunis (m) 10? b PA Not found Not found Not found
Mary 2 b NY Not found Not Found Not Found Is this the same person below or did she die?
Minerva b July 22, 1848 2 b NY Not found Not found 31, married to Harry, child age 10 born in MI M Henry Ward bef 1870 D 1921
Francis Brewer 60 b France No known relationship
Adin (A. D.) b Oct. 20, 1852 8 b PA missing 28, married with 2 year old M Sophia Morley D 1913 Erie Co.
Simon (Solomon) b May 4, 1854 6 b PA Not found Not found M Candace Cummings abt 1882 D 1914 Erie Co.
Curtis b April 17, 1856 4 b PA Age 14, with Morrison family Married with children Married 1876 to Mary Bills
Missing child gap

 

Marilla 1 b PA Margt 12 b PA Not found She was reported to have died
Potential Children
P. L. Lore Not found
Alonzo Lore b 1861 Not found 19, Crawford Co., laborer with Wells family, parents born Canada

If there was a P. L. Lore, or an Alonzo Lore that were brothers to Curt lore, they would have either been one of the missing children, likely between Curt and Marilla, or born after the 1860 census. Rachel would have been 45 in 1860, so it’s possible that she had another child, or even two.

If so, where were they in 1870 and why were they not with Rachel. They would have been age 10 or under.

Curt’s obit in 1909 isn’t much help. It says 4 living brothers and one sister. I can confirm 5 living brothers, plus P. L. or Lon or whatever his name is, if he was still living. None of Curt’s siblings had traditional obituaries that provided names of relatives.

For some time, I thought that perhaps A. D. Lore, or Adin, was Alonzo or Lon by another name. However, A. D. is accounted for in 1900, living with his wife and two children, plus an adopted child in Crawford County, NY where he lived until his death in 1914. So he’s not a candidate.

Let’s Check DNA

The first thing I tried to do was take a shortcut.

I’ve added both P. L. Lore and Alonzo Lore as children of Anthony Lore and Rachel Levina Hill in my Ancestry Tree, hoping to form a Thruline with someone.

No dice.

However, I do have 27 matches with descendants of Solomon, Adin (A. D.), Mary Minerva who married Henry Ward, Maria who married Stephen Farnham, Francis Lore who moved to Wisconsin and William Henry Lore who had 4 families.

But no matches with anyone who descends from P. L., Lon or Alonzo☹

I need to introduce you to one more person.

Who is Mary Frost?

I was hoping against hope that one of Mary Frost’s children would turn up on my ThruLines.

Mary Frost married a Lore man.

The Warren Mail newspaper on Sept. 16, 1884 shows:

In Glade, September 6, 1884, at the residence of the bride’s parents, by Rev. Samuel Rowland, Mr. L. L. Lore to Miss Mary V. Frost.

Is this actually P. L. Lore? Typos are easy and P and L are close on the keyboard.

Let’s fast forward to 1909 and I’ll show you why I think this is P. L. Lore.

Mary Clark died in 1909 and had a will dated in 1904. She had 2 children, one of which was a Henry Lore, the other was a daughter, Pearl Lore Haser. Mary’s probate is as follows in Warren Co.:

June 26, 1909, in the estate of Mary L. Clark, deceased, on the petition of Fred Clark of Warren Co., Warren Boro, that she died on May 8, 1909, at 10:25 AM testate, that at the time of her death she was a resident of Warren Co. and that her last will bears the date January 30, 1904, and by which deceased nominated and appointed the petitioner executor thereof, that she left her surviving a husband, the said petitioner and children as follows:

            Pearl Lore Haser, wife of Harry Haser of Warren Co., Pa.

            Harry Lore aged 15 years of Warren Co. (so born 1894)

the only heirs of said decedent and petitioner asks to have the said will probated.

  1. Pay just debts and funeral expenses
  2. Give to husband…all my estate, real, personal and mixed of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situate.
  3. Husband Fred Clark executor.

Signed in front of Mrs. Flora Davis and R.C. Davis

In 1912 we find the following in the orphan court records:

Estate of Mary L. Clark decd – June 24, 1912 at orphans court petition of R. H. Winger, guardian of Harry R. Lore, a minor child of Mary L. Clark, setting forth:

  1. That on June 7, 1909 your petitioner was appointed guardian of said minor
  2. That your petitioner has in his hands funds of said Minor to the amount $220.21 and that the said minor has no other property of any kind. That since the appointment of your petitioner as guardian as aforesaid the minor has lived with his Aunt Mrs. Ella House in the Borough of Warren and has been employed by the Hamond Iron Company and has supported himself.
  3. That during the last winter the said minor was sick for some time and unable to work, that after he recovered and commenced work again, on January 24, 1912 while sliding down hill, he met with an accident in which one of his legs was broken; that he was at once taken to the Warren Emergency Hospital where he remained until April 11, 1912.
  4. That while he was sick during the last winter and since he came from the Hospital on April 11, 1912, he boarded with his aunt the said Ella House for a period in all of fifteen weeks and that the said minor has not funds with which to pay for said board except said funds in the hand of the said guardian and that Ella House charges $4 per week for said board.
  5. Your petitioner therefore prays that this court authorize and direct him to pay to the said Mrs. Ella House from said funds the sum of $60 for said board.

June 12, 1912, court so ordered.

The 1910 census shows Ella M. House born in 1873. We initially find Ella in the 1880 census with her parents and her sister, Mary L. Frost in Warren Co. as well.

  • James L. Frost, 32, a laborer born NY
  • Margaret 25 born Pa, father Pa, Mother NJ
  • Mary L 9 born Pa, father NY and mother PA (born 1871)
  • Ella M. 6 (born 1874) born PA, father NY and mother PA. (matches up with 1920)
  • Cora 4
  • Flora 2

Mary Frost married L. L. Lore – so now we’ve come full circle.

And, P. L. Lore has something to do with Fred Clark.

P. L. Lore and Alonzo Lore Timeline

I’m resorting to my tried and true timeline method to see if I can sort through the P. L. Lore mystery, or at least organize the evidence. I’m adding Alonzo to the timeline as well.

  • 1880 – Alonzo Lore in the Crawford County census, age 19, so born in 1861. The only other Alonzo Lore I can find is in the NJ Lore family. He’s not the right age and otherwise accounted for.
  • 1884 – Warren Mail newspaper on Sept. 16, 1884 – In Glade, Sept 6, 1884, at the residence of the bride’s parents, by Rev. Samuel Rowland, Mr. L. L. Lore to Miss Mary V. Frost.
  • February 1886 – Pearl born to Mary Frost and her Lore husband.
  • 1887 – Mary Lore is sued by C. Lauffensberger
  • April 4, 1887 – A dead baby was found in the river by fishermen. L. Lore speared “something” which turned out to be the body of the child that was about 6 months old. He brought it to the surface and testified in court about what occurred.

Is this actually P. L. Lore? If not, who is L. Lore?

  • September 1893 – Henry R. Lore born to Mary Frost and her Lore husband according to the 1900 census and Mary’s 1909 will and later probate where his age is given.
  • Warren County, Newspaper – Dec. 26, 1894 – P. O. Lore of Erie spent Christmas in Warren, the guest of J. L. Frost, East Warren

That O. looks like a typo. J. L. Frost is Mary’s father.

  • 1894 – The Erie City Directory shows P. L. Lore as a carpenter.
  • January 7, 1895 – Maria Schatzle leased land to R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore for oil drilling.
  • March 1896 – P. L. Lore is sued by Maria Schatzle to force him to perform on a lease contract for oil/gas drilling.
  • May 1896 – Maria Schatzle files a lawsuit against R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore.
  • November 4, 1896 – P. L. Lore and wife, Mary, sell 1/10th interest to H. J. Muse
  • November 26, 1896 – P. L. Lore sells half of his share to Mary Lore
  • 1896 – Mrs. P. L. Lore whose name is Mary is sued by W. J. Muse for debt.
  • 1897 – P. L. Lore is sued twice for debt by Fred Clark, whose wife in 1909 is Mary Frost who has two Lore children, Harry and Pearl.

Yes, I know you’re scratching your head. So was I. Just hang on.

P. L. Lore Oil Drilling Lawsuit

  • January 1895 – Maria Schatzle leased land to R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore. She is noted as “of Warren Co.” and both of the leasees were “of Erie Co.”  The verbiage is shown below in Maria’s lawsuit.

In May 1896, Maria Schatzle files a lawsuit in Warren Co. against R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore saying:

  1. That upon Jan. 7 1895 your orator entered into a contract with the defendants in writing, a copy attached hereto annexing and marked Exhibit A wherein she leased to them certain lands for oil mining purposes and wherein she became a partner with them in said mining operations; that she has performed her part of the contract but that they have altogether neglected to carry on the operations as intended, to her great damage, and are playing “Dogs in the manger.” (Dogs in the manger means a person who has no need of or ability to use a possession that would be of use or value to others, but who prevents others from having or using it.)
  2. Your orator is informed and believes that the defendants started to drill a 3.5 inch hole, inadequate in size for the development of oil, upon the property described in Exhibit A. The usual depth of oil wells in the vicinity being 1433 feet. After one year and about 3 months they have only drilled to the depth of 4 to 6 hundred feet, though often requested to complete the same.
  3. Defendants by color of that lease, Exhibit A, are holding the plaintiff’s land in restraint of business and to her great injury.
  4. Your orator duly notified defendants to surrender the land referred to in exhibit A and they have refused and neglected to do so. See Exhibit B served on date it bears and upon both defendants.

Your orator prays:

  1. For an injunction to compel defendants to proceed forthwith to perform the duties on their part to be kept and performed or to surrender claim to the property and for cancellation of leave Exhibit A.
  2. That a decree for an account be made between the parties.
  3. For an injunction to discover whether or not any such conspiracy as described in section 5 exists or existed and if so the name of the party or parties thereto.
  4. Further relief.

Sworn March 25th, 1896

Exhibit A

This agreement made the 7th day of January 1895 between Maria Schatzle of Glade Township, Warren Co. PA, and P. L. Lore and R. P. Dodsworth, both of Erie, PA of the second part.

Witnesseth that the said party of the first part in consideration of the sum of $1 (one dollar) paid by said second parties the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged as well as the stipulations, and agreements hereinafter contained, does hereby grant bargain demise and lease unto the said party of the second part their heirs, assigns and for the purpose of operating for and obtaining there from oil, gas and other minerals and of saving and transporting the same, the following described piece of land, situate in the township of Glad, County of Warren, State of Pa, bounded as follows to wit:

On the North by lands of Henry Conam, east by lands of Mr. Frost, south by lands of Levett W. Clark and on the west by lands of Dr. R.B. Steward containing 20 acres.

Said second party, their heirs and assigns, shall have full free and exclusive possession of said premises for all the purposes of this lease including the erection of all necessary or convenient buildings and structures, with the exclusive right to lay pipes for the transportation of oil and gas and to erect and keep tanks for the storage thereof, together with the rights of way and of water courses and the right to lay, use and maintain water pipes and to utilize the water on said premises and adjoining lands of the first party for operations under this lease.  Second party to have the right to subdivide and sublease the premises or any part thereof.

Second party shall not unnecessarily interfere with the use of the said premises for agricultural purposes by first party and at the expiration or surrender of this lease shall have the right to remove all structures and property by second party placed hereon.

This lease is for the term of 20 years with the right of renewal and if at the end of that time oil or gas is still produced from said premises in paying quantities. Second party is to render to first party one-eighth of all the oil produced from said premises and one-eighth of the net proceeds of all gas obtained and sold therefrom.

The said parties of the second part shall have the right at any time, at their option, to surrender this lease to said first party and upon such surrender shall be released from any obligations thereunder.

It is hereby mutually understood and agreed by and between the parties to this agreement that the said Maria Schatzle of the first part shall be entitled to an undivided one fourth of the working interest in the first well drilled on the premises herein before leased. In consideration of which interest the said party of the first part agrees to pay to the said parties of the second part the sum of $100 when the first well shall be cased and a further sum of $100 when the first well shall be completed.

Signed and witnessed January 8, 1895

On November 4, 1896, P. L. Lore and wife, Mary, sell 1/10th interest to H. J. Muse as follows:

Whereas P. L. Lore by an instrument in writing under his hand and seal bearing date the 4th day of November 1896 and duly acknowledged by him before Samuel G. Allen, notary public, granted and assigned for a valuable consideration to him paid unto William Erhard, Fred Clark and George Erhard an undivided 1/10th of a certain leasehold estate situate in Glade Township Warren Co, PA of land owned by Maria Schatsle or Maria Schatzle bounded north by land of Henry Cobham, east by land of Lavett W. Clark, south by land of Levett W. Clark and west by land of the late R.B. Stewart, containing 20 acres more or less and the same leasehold which said Maria Schatzle or Schatsle granted unto R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore by an instrument in writing dated January 7, 1895 duly recorded in the office for recording of deeds in Warren Co, PA in deed book 76 page 540 and 541 in which instrument the said lands are inaccurately bounded on the east by land of Mr. Frost and whereas said interests of William Erhard and George Erhard have become vested in H. J. Muse by purchase and a sale upon writs of execution upon judgment against them. And whereas the interest of Fred Clark has become vested in said H. J. Muse by purchase and assignment in writing and whereas P. L. Lore by an instrument in writing dates November 26, 1896 recorded in the aforesaid office in deed book __ vol __ page ___ granted his share unto Mary Lore said interest at the date thereof being known and understood by said grantee to be the undivided one half of said leasehold less the 1/10th of said leasehold which had theretofore been conveyed by said P.L. Lore to William Erhard, George Erhard and Fred Clark subject to the interest of the grantor of such leasehold in the working interest in the first well to be drilled upon said premises as specified in said original grant, now, therefore we the said P. L. Lore and Mary Lore, his wife, do grant and confirm unto said H. J. Muse, his heirs and assigns the undivided 1/10th of said leasehold subject to the interest of Maria Schatsle in the working interest in the first well to be drilled and completed upon said premises being the 1/4 thereof and in all benefits of the said base creating it.  Recorded August 28, 1897.

Then we find the deed where P. L. Lore sells his share to his wife, Mary, as follows:

Know all men by these presents that a P. L. Lore of Warren, Warren Co, PA for valuable consideration to me in hand paid by Mary Lore at and before the unsealing and delivery hereof the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged and have granted bargained, sold, transferred, assigned and set over unto the said Mary Lore all my right title and interest in and to all that indenture of lease from Maria Schatsle to myself and R. P. Dodsworth bearing date of January 7, 1895 which lease I am now operating and together with my right and title in and to all the personal property located thereon thereto attached or in anywise appertaining…to have and to hold the said interests unto the said Mary Lore and unto her heirs and assigns forever.  Signed Nov 26, 1896, and recorded May 7, 1897.

However, that last deed says Mary Lore, but NEVER says she is his wife. Clearly, based on the preceding deed, Mary Lore is P. L. Lore’s wife. It’s still a very odd combination of deeds.

Ok, I think that the link with the Frost land, the Clark land, and Fred Clark pretty well cinches that P. L. Lore’s wife is Mary Frost who eventually marries Fred Clark.

I suspected that Mary was P. L. Lore’s widow, but there’s a twist, of course…

Alonzo Lore

We find a Mary Lore divorcing Alonzo Lore in Warren Co. in the following court record:

  • February 3, 1898, Book 59-49 Mary Lore libellant vs Alonzo Lore respondent. Subpoena files and returned unable to find respondent.
  • February 8, 1898 – Alonzo lore is served in Warren Borough.
  • April 9, 1898 – Libellant bill of particulars filed. Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore (I hunted for this in the courthouse in Warren County which they could not find due to remodeling. They were to mail when remodel was done, but they didn’t.)
  • April 11, 1898 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore – Case heard and respondent not appearing.
  • April 12, 1898 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore – Respondent files answer.
  • April 13, 1898 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore – Divorce granted.
  • 1901 and 1903 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore fees finally paid.

Who the heck is Alonzo Lore?

P. L. Lore Gets in Trouble

As fate would have it, P. L. Lore is in court on EXACTLY the same day, in the same courthouse as Alonzo Lore when Alonzo was being served with divorce papers. What are the chances? Are P. L. Lore and Alonzo Lore the same man?

Alonzo’s wife, Mary, filed for divorce in February 1898, filed a bill of particulars on April 9th and the divorce was final four days later. That’s the fastest divorce I’ve ever heard of.

  • April 9, 1898 – P. L. Lore was arrested April 8th, charged with larceny and brought before Squire Meacham. He gave bail in the sum of $50 for his appearance at the June term of court.

  • June 9, 1898 – P. A. Lore is on trial for larceny as we go to press this (Thursday) morning.
  • June 16, 1898 – In the larceny case of Patrick Lore finished Thursday, defendant was found not guilty and the prosecutor ordered to pay the costs.

Wow, that must have been some trial. It took a week.

Patrick Lore. We have a name, except there is no other Patrick Lore in the county, ever. Is this the right name?

This is getting even more confusing.

What else can we discover about Mary Frost? Maybe there’s something there.

Mary Frost Lore Clark

Mary Frost Lore Clark is buried in Oakland Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Fred Clark is buried in the same cemetery, having died in 1941, but he has a stone. His only child is noted as one daughter named Mary born September 23, 1897 and died on September 23, 1898. If this is his child, then either he was married before Mary Frost (Lore) or this was their first and only child and was born before she divorced P. L. Lore.

Note that P. L. Lore signed over half of his rights to that mining contract to Mary on Nov 26, 1896, and it was recorded May 7, 1897. If this is the same Mary, she would have been five months pregnant with Fred Clark’s child when that deed was signed.

The 1900 census shows Mary and Fred Clark in Brokenstraw, Warren Co., PA. She was born August 1871, is age 28 and has been married for 2 years which suggests before April 1898, which is the exact month Mary Lore divorced Alonzo Lore and P. L. Lore was prosecuted for larceny, but acquitted.

According to the census, Mary Frost Lore Clark had given birth to 5 children, with only 2 living. One death was probably Mary Clark in 1898, and the other two babies would have been born to Mary and P. L. Lore between Pearl and Harry.

Daughter Pearl born in February of 1886 is living with them as is Harry, born in Sept of 1893.

Whoo boy!

I’m guessing there was a LOT, and I mean a LOT of drama surrounding the Clark/Frost/Lore families in Warren County between 1895 and 1898. It’s amazing nobody shot someone else.

A records search of all Lore names that begin with P gives us 4 males with P names, Philip, Peter, Paul, and then one with Payne as a middle name.

The closest and only P. L. match is Phineas L. Lore. This Phineas was born in 1872, which is too late. Phineas is well documented in the NJ group. Clearly, P. L. Lore is not Phineas, so that door is closed.

I have not found any P. Lore in the 1880 – 1910 census in Warren or Erie Co., PA, or anyplace close. Maybe there are additional records in Erie Co. where it was stated that P. L. Lore lived. 

Quandry

For the past two decades, I figured P. L. Lore wasn’t our line – but I couldn’t forget about him entirely. Between no P. L. or Alonzo Lore in the 1860 census as a child of Anthony and Rachel, along with Rachel being age 45 in 1860 – P. L. simply didn’t seem to fit. Nor was there a P. L. Lore in the records of “Uncle Stanley” who lived locally in Warren County in the early 1900s, a grandson of Solomon, and recorded a great deal of family history that would not have otherwise been available. He correctly documented Curt Lore’s two marriages, long before we, in Indiana, descended from the second marriage, knew anything about the first one.

But then, those pesky newspaper articles referring to Lon and then P. L. Lore as Curt Lore’s brother surfaced, along with Eloise’s stories of Uncle Lon who she thought was named Alonzo.

They can’t all be true.

Can they?

Did P. L. Lore become Lon Lore in Indiana?

One way or another, it looks like P. L. Lore’s wife, Mary Frost, had enough of him. He signed half of his share of that oil and gas well over to her. They sold one-tenth of their interest to Mr. Muse who sold it to Fred Clark. She married Fred Clark in what appears to be short order after Mary divorced Alonzo Lore. Mary Lore appears to have had a child with Fred Clark the year before she officially divorced P. L. Lore – if indeed P. L. is the same person as Alonzo and Mary is one and the same.

Otherwise, if P. L. and Alonzo aren’t the same man, we know that Mary Lore DID divorce P. L. Lore, but we don’t know when. They were living in Warren County at that time so that’s where they would have divorced. Mary is married to P. L. Lore in November 1896 when they sign a deed together and he signs property over to her, and Mary had been married to Fred Clark for two years by the 1900 census taken in April of that year. That pushes their marriage to April of 1898, which is when Mary Lore divorced Alonzo. That’s after the baby, Mary Clark, was born, but before she died.

Did P. L. Lore leave and head for Indiana to join his brother’s well drilling operation where no one knew about his somewhat checkered past? Curt Lore had a past himself. He left one wife and family and married a second wife before divorcing the first.

Those Lore boys were pretty wild. Their eldest brother, William Henry Lore had four families, and it’s unclear whether or not they all knew about each other. Or, put another way, his descendants were certainly surprised to make that discovery. We still don’t know what happened to one wife who disappeared, and there are questions about two of his daughters who may have been institutionalized…but I digress.

Did P. L., Patrick or Alonzo Lore simply leave and become “Lon?”

  • Rushville Newspaper – September 8, 1903 – list of unclaimed letters in the post office includes P. L. Lore.
  • Greensburg Standard newspaper – October 2, 1903

  • Rushville – August 22, 1905 – Lon Lore left today on a business trip to Cincinnati.
  • Rushville – November 8, 1905 – P. L. Lore of Cincinnati among those who came home to vote.

Apparently, P. L. Lore had moved to Cincinnati. Perhaps he is looking after business interests for his brother.

  • November 6, 1906 – Curt and Lon Lore who have been working on the Indianapolis and Louisville traction line, near Scottsburg, returned home to vote today.

Curt and Lon must have returned to Scottsburg and were probably living there, at least temporarily. On January 7, 1907, the newspaper reported that Curt Lore “who has been employed with the…interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.” No mention of Lon, and Curt was ill with both Typhoid and TB, although the newspaper doesn’t mention that until January 22nd.

Connect the Dots

  • I think we’ve connected the dots and it’s safe to say that P. L. Lore in Rushville, Indiana, with Curt Lore, identified as his brother in the Greensburg newspaper is indeed Lon Lore.
  • It would be an incredible coincidence if the L. L. Lore (probably a typo) who married Mary Frost in 1884, and the P. L. Lore who came home from Erie to visit Mary’s father at Christmas in 1894 wasn’t the same man.
  • It would be remarkable if this P. L. and Mary Lore who were involved in the land transactions and lawsuits involving both the Frost and Clark boundary lines, and Fred Clark isn’t the same P. L. Lore who after being sued signed half the rights to the oil and gas well to his wife Mary a two years later.
  • It would be even more remarkable if this wasn’t the same couple who sole one-tenth of their interest in the oil well to Muse who sold it to Fred Clark.
  • It would be pretty unbelievable if that Mary Lore isn’t the Mary Lore who married Fred Clark about 1898 and had two Lore children living with them in the 1900 census.
  • The biggest hurdle to overcome is the name P. L. Lore in every other Warren County record (excluding typos) and Alonzo Lore in the 1898 divorce proceedings. However, L might stand for something that sounded like Alonzo. These records may have been reindexed or recopied, too. Alonzo’s wife, Mary, was finally able to serve him with divorce papers on the exact same day in the same courthouse as P. L. Lore, whose wife’s name was Mary, was tried for larceny. That would be some coincidence, but those two men might not be the same.
  • And for P. L. Lore’s former wife to just happen to marry Fred Clark after signing property rights to him – that’s no coincidence.

So yes, if I was P. L. Lore aka Alonzo Lore, striking out for the oilfields in Indiana where my brother owned a drilling company might just sound like a wonderful idea.

I do wonder what happened to Lon, by whatever name, and his two children. I found absolutely nothing about his children.

Oil drilling was a dangerous occupation, and I suspect those roughnecks were pretty lax about safety measures, at least by today’s standards.

The last we hear about Lon was in 1906 when he was apparently living in Rushville and working with Curt in Scottsburg on the train line between Indianapolis and Louisville. That’s about the time that Curt Lore got sick, very sick, with both Typhoid and Tuberculosis.

According to Eloise, Lon stormed out after he sat on a pin that her sisters, Edith and Curtis, “always devils,” put in the horsehair sofa especially for him and “he never came back.” Perhaps the girls didn’t like him.

It’s truly sad that Lon left when he did, because just a couple months later, Curt and his family desperately needed help. Not only then, but for the next three years as Curt slowly became weaker and died.

Maybe his departure when Curt got sick wasn’t a coincidence either.

I wonder if Lon knew how sick his brother became, or that Curt died. Did he leave because he knew Curt had TB? Maybe because Curt couldn’t manage the drilling and construction projects anymore? It seems that Lon could have helped him a great deal.

I’d hate to think that Lon actually left because Curt wasn’t useful to him anymore. He worked for and with Curt for at least three years. Staying to help wouldn’t have hurt him – unless, of course, maybe he became ill too. After all, those two men had been living together.

Maybe Lon died before Curt. According to Eloise, Uncle Lon simply disappeared and they never heard from him again.

What happened?

Finding P. L. Lore?

I was bemoaning P. L. Lore to my friend, Maree, who often sends me tips and hints.

Sometimes she wades through the weeds I’ve already waded through, sometimes different weeds, and occasionally, she hits the jackpot – or at least a hint that leads to a pot of gold. She’s more patient and thorough than I am and I’m ever so grateful.

In this case, Maree turned up something VERY interesting!

She may, in fact, have found our P. L. Lore.

Maree found a death certificate for a man named P. L. Lore in Florida in 1917, a decade after he disappeared from Indiana.

Florida doesn’t seem very likely, but then again, we really have NO idea where Lon went. I wasn’t very hopeful because I’ve been on so many wild goose chases with this family.

One thing is for sure, I should have learned long ago to expect the unexpected.

At first glance, when I looked at this record, I focused on the cause of death, the date, his age which is kind of close, and pertinent information like his parents.

When finding all of his vital information entirely missing, I thought “how odd,” and looked further.

His death occurred at the Florida Hospital for the Insane and he was buried in the hospital cemetery. He’s listed as married, but no wife’s name is given.

Fifty is a round number for an age, and I’d wager that it was someone’s best guess.

He died of chronic kidney disease, interstitial nephritis, but had never been seen by the doctor until the day he died. That’s very strange.

Interstitial nephritis can be associated with tuberculosis or syphilis – and can also cause mental changes, psychosis, confusion, or in the terms of 1917 – insanity.

P. L. was married, but his wife or family did not come to retrieve his body. Perhaps they simply couldn’t, or perhaps there was more to that story.

Is this him?

I was desperate to find out more.

Believe it or not, Patrick, Patrick L., and P. L. Lore aren’t actually common names, so I started digging again.

In the 1913 and 1914 City Directory for Jacksonville, Florida, I found an entry for Patrick L. Lore, a well driller.

A well driller. What are the chances of another Patrick L. Lore being a well-driller, given that this is such an unusual name?

There’s the name Patrick again too, just like that newspaper article from Pennsylvania all those years before.

In 1915, 1916 and 1917, he’s listed at 19 Lackawanna Av, wife’s name Ella.

In 1918, Ella is listed as the widow of Patrick L. Lore, so we’ve probably found the correct person that died in 1917.

One fly in the ointment might be that Jacksonville is some 200 miles away from Chattahoochee, but the only insane asylum in Florida at that time was in Chattahoochee.

These puzzle pieces seem to make sense. Beyond this reconstruction, I don’t know that we can ever connect the rest of the dots. I can’t even find all the dots.

However, I did find one more.

After compiling this information, I went back once again and searched the Warren County, PA, census for 1870. P. L. or Lon would have been about 9 years old at that time, if my theory is correct.

This time, I searched for any “Patrick” with no surname. I didn’t see anything that looked terribly interesting, but I read every single record anyway. Then I found him.

Maria Lore had married Stephen Farnham. They had a three year old child. Living with them was Pat Lannagan. Pat Lannagan, age 9, so born in 1861?

Census taker: Who’s that, over there?

Maria: Why that’s Pat Lannagan, my little brother. He’s 9.

Census taker: Writes “Pat Lannagan,” says goodday, and moves on to the next house.

Lannagan could actually be Lonnigan. Either way, certainly, “Lon” could be the logical nickname of either. Not to mention, nicknames don’t have to be logical – especially not in my family.

I think we’ve confirmed the identification of and found the final resting place of Curt’s brother, P. L. Lore, by whatever name.

I believe that Patrick, P. L., Patrick L, Pat Lannigan, Alonzo and Lon were one and the same person. I still don’t entirely understand Alonzo, unless Lannigan was actually Alonzo misstated or misspelled, or vice versa.

In the 1870 census, Pat Lannagan was living with Maria, his sister, but we found Alfonzo in the 1880 census working as a laborer. In 1884, L. L. Lore married Mary Frost – and you know the rest of the story. This all adds up, finally.

This adventure was anything but easy.

We’ll likely never discover the rest of P. L. Lore’s story – although you know, given what few pieces we have – it’s bound to be one humdinger. I keep hoping for a DNA match that can perhaps fill in some of those blanks.

I’ve (finally) laid “Uncle Lon” to rest by creating a memorial for him at FindAGrave.

_____________________________________________________________

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Where Did My Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Come From?

Mother’s Day is approaching, so I’m writing articles about mitochondrial DNA inspired by the most common questions in the Mitochondrial DNA for Genealogy Facebook group. I’ll be adding these articles to the Mitochondrial DNA Resource page, here.

FamilyTreeDNA has already started their Mother’s Day sale where both the mitochondrial DNA test and Family Finder are both on sale. Take a look.

I can’t believe how much the prices have dropped over the years – as the technology has improved. I took the full sequence mitochondrial DNA test when it was first offered and I think it was something like $800, as was the first autosomal test I ordered lo those many years ago.

Today, these tests are $139 and $59, respectively, and are critical tools for everyone’s genealogy.

Where Did My Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Come From?

This is one of the most common questions about mitochondrial DNA. Everyone wants to know something about their haplogroup.

The answer is multi-faceted and depends on the question you’re actually trying to answer.

There are really two flavors of this question:

  • Where did my ancestors come from in a genealogical timeframe?
  • Where did my ancestors come from before I can find them in genealogical records?

Clearly, the timeframes involved vary to some extent, because when records end varies for each ancestral line. Generally speaking, genealogy records don’t extend back beyond 500 years or so. Whenever your genealogy records end, that’s where your haplogroup and match information becomes critically important to your research.

Fortunately, we have tools to answer both types of questions which actually form a continuum.

Some answers rely on having taken a mitochondrial DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA and some don’t.

  • We’ll discuss finding haplogroup information for people who have taken a (preferably full sequence) mitochondrial DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA.
  • We’ll discuss how people who have obtained their haplogroups through autosomal testing at other vendors can find information.
  • We’ll talk about finding haplogroup information when other family members have tested who carry the mitochondrial DNA of ancestors that you do not.

Tools exist for each of these situations.

Genealogical Timeframe

If you’re trying to answer the question of where other people who carry your haplogroup are found in the world, that question can be further subdivided:

  • Where are the earliest known matrilineal ancestors of my mitochondrial DNA matches located?
  • Where are other mitochondrial DNA testers who carry my haplogroup, even if I don’t match them, found in the world?

Let’s start at FamilyTreeDNA and then move to public resources.

FamilyTreeDNA

Mitochondrial DNA Tests

FamilyTreeDNA provides a great deal of information for people who have taken a mitochondrial DNA test. We’ll step through each tab on a tester’s personal page that’s relevant to haplogroups.

To find the location of your matches’ most distant ancestors, you need to have taken the mitochondrial DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA in order to obtain results and matches. I know this might seem like an obvious statement, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize that there are separate tests for Y and mitochondrial DNA.

Your most detailed, and therefore most accurate and specific results will result from taking the Full Sequence test, called the mtFull test and sometimes abbreviated as FMS (full mitochondrial sequence.)

Taking a full sequence test means you’ve tested all three different regions of the mitochondria, HVR1, HVR2, and the Coding Region. Don’t worry about those details. Today, the Full Sequence test is the only test you can order, but people who tested earlier could order a partial test. Those people can easily upgrade today.

click on images to enlarge

You can see, in the upper right-hand corner of the mitochondrial section of my personal page, above, that I’ve taken both tests. The “Plus” test is the HVR1 and HVR2 portion of the test.

If you haven’t taken any mitochondrial DNA test, then the mitochondrial section doesn’t show on your personal page.

If your Plus and Full buttons are both greyed out, that means you took the HVR1 level test only, and you can click on either button to upgrade.

If your “Full” button is greyed out, that means you haven’t tested at that level and you can click on the Full button to upgrade.

Entering Ancestor Information is Important

Genealogy is a collaborative sport and entering information about our ancestors is important – both for our own genealogy and for other testers too.

Your matches may or may not enter their ancestor’s information in all three locations where it can be useful:

  • Earliest Known Ancestor (found under the dropdown beneath your name in the upper right-hand corner of your personal page, then “Account Settings,” then “Genealogy,” then “Earliest Known Ancestors”)
  • Matches Map (found on your Y or mtDNA personal page tab or “Update Location” on Earliest Known Ancestors tab)
  • Uploading or creating a tree (found under myTree at the very top of your personal page)

Please enter your information by following the notes above, or you can follow the step-by-step instructions, here. You’ll be glad you did.

Your Haplogroup

You’ll find your haplogroup name under the Badges section of your personal page as well as at the top of the mtDNA section.

click all images to enlarge

The mtDNA section at FamilyTreeDNA has five tabs that each provides different pieces of the puzzle of where your ancestors, and therefore your haplogroups, came from.

Checking all of these tabs in the mtDNA section of your results is critical to gather every piece of evidence provided by your matches and the scientists as well. Let’s take a look at each one and what they reveal about your haplogroup.

Let’s start with your matches.

Matches

On the matches page, you’ll only be matched with people who carry the same haplogroup – or at least the same base haplogroup.

The haplogroup level of your matches depends on the level of test they have taken. In other words, if your match has only taken the HVR1 level test, and they only have a base haplogroup of J, then you’ll only see them, and their haplogroup J, on your HVR1 match page. If they have tested at a higher level and you match them at the HVR1 level, you’ll see the most specific haplogroup possible as determined by the level they tested.

The (default) match page shows your matches at the highest-level test you have tested. In my case, that’s the “HVR1, HVR2, Coding Region” because I’ve taken the full sequence test which tests the entire mitochondria.

At the full sequence level match page, I’ll only see people who match me on the same extended haplogroup. In my case, that’s J1c2f.

Viewing your matches’ Earliest Known Ancestor shows where their ancestors were located, which provides clues as to where your common haplogroup was found in the world at that time. Based on those results, the geographic distribution, what you know about your own ancestors, and how far back in time, your matches’ information may be an important clue about your own ancestry.

Generally, the closer your matches, meaning the fewer mutations difference, the closer in time you share a common ancestor. I say “generally,” because mutations don’t happen on a time schedule and can happen in any generation.

The number of mutations is shown in the column “Genetic Distance.” Genetic Distance is the number of mutations difference between you and your match. So a 3 in the GD column means 3 mutations difference. A GD of 0 is an exact match. At the HVR1 and HVR2 levels, no genetic distance is provided because only exact matches are shown at those levels.

The little blue pedigree icons on the Matches page indicate people who have created or uploaded trees. You’ll definitely want to take a look at those. Sometimes you’ll discover that your matches have added more generations in their tree than is shown in the Earliest Known Ancestor field.

Is Taking the Full Sequence Test Important?

Why is taking the full sequence test important? Looking at my HVR1 matches, below, provides the perfect example.

This shows my first four HVR1-only matches. In other words, these people match me on a small subset of my mitochondrial DNA. About 1000 locations of the total 16,569 are tested in the HVR1 region. You can see that utilizing the HVR1 region, only, the people I match exactly in that region have different extended, or full haplogroups, assigned when taking the full sequence test.

Crystal and Katherine have both taken the full sequence test as indicated by FMS (full mitochondrial sequence,) and they are both haplogroup J1c2f, but Peter is haplogroup J1c2g – a different haplogroup.

Peter is shown as an exact match to me at the HVR1 level, but he has a different full haplogroup, so he won’t be shown as a match at the HVR1/HVR2/Coding Region (full sequence) level.

Crystal and Katherine will match me at the full sequence level if we have three or fewer mutations difference in total.

Susan has only tested to the HVR1 level, so she can only be assigned to haplogroup J from those 1000 locations. That tells us that (at least) one of mutations that defines haplogroup J resides in the HVR1 region.

At the HVR1 matching level, I’ll be matched with everyone I match exactly so long as they are in haplogroup J, the common denominator haplogroup of everyone at that level.

If Susan were to test at the full sequence level, she would obtain a full haplogroup and I might continue to match her at the full sequence level if she is haplogroup J1c2f and matches me with three or fewer mutations difference. At the full sequence level, I’ll only match people who match my haplogroup exactly and match at a genetic distance of 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Now, let’s look at the Ancestral Origins tab.

Ancestral Origins

The Ancestral Origins tab is organized by Country within match level. In the example above, I’ve shown exact matches or GD=0.

The match total on the Ancestral Origins tab shows the number of people whose ancestors were from various locations – as entered by the testers.

The most common places for my full sequence exact matches are in Norway and Sweden. That’s interesting because my ancestor was found in Germany in the 1600s.

There is also a comments column, to the right, not shown here, which may hold additional information of interest such as “Ashkenazi” or “Sicily” or “Canary Islands.”

The Country Total column is interesting too because it tells you how many people are in the database who have indicated that location as ancestral. The Match Percentage column is pretty much irrelevant unless your haplogroup is extremely rare.

Matches Map

The matches map falls into the “picture is worth 1000 words category.”

This is the map of the earliest known matrilineal ancestor locations of my full sequence matches.

My ancestor is the white pin in Germany. Red=exact match, orange=1 mutation difference, yellow=2 mutations difference. I have no GD=3 matches showing.

By clicking on any pin, you can see additional information about the ancestor of the tester.

You can also select an option on the map to view lower testing levels, such as my HVR1 matches shown below.

While some people are tempted to ignore the HVR1 or HVR2 Matches Maps, I don’t.

If the question you’re trying to answer is where your haplogroup came from, viewing the map of where people are located who may match you more distantly in time is useful. While we know for sure that some of these people have different full haplogroups, we also know that they are all members of haplogroup J plus some subclade. Therefore, these matches shared a common haplogroup J ancestor.

J subgroups are clearly European but some are found in Anatolia, the path out of Africa to Europe, although that could be a function of back-migration.

When looking at match maps, keep two things in mind:

  • The information is provided by testers. It’s possible for them to misunderstand what is meant by providing the information for their earliest known “direct maternal ancestor.” I can’t tell you how many male names I’ve seen here. Clearly, the tester misunderstood the purpose and what was being asked – because men don’t pass mitochondrial DNA to their offspring. Check the pins for surnames that seem to fit the pin location, and that pins have been accurately placed.
  • Testing bias. In other words, lots of people have tested in the US as compared to Europe, and probably more people in the UK than say, Turkey. Testing is still illegal in France.

Haplogroup Origins

While the Ancestral Origins tab is organized by the locations of your matches ancestors, the Haplogroup Origins tab is focused on your haplogroup by match level only.

In many cases, the numbers will match your Ancestral Origins exactly, but for other test levels, the numbers will be different.

For example, at the HVR1/HVR2 level, I can easily see at a glance the locations where my haplogroup is found, and the number of my matches in those various locations.

This page is reflective of where the haplogroup itself is found, according to your matches.

There may be other people with the same haplogroup that you don’t match and won’t be reflected on this page.  We’ll see them either in projects or on the Public Mitochondrial Tree in following sections.

Migration Map

The migration map tab shows the path between Mitochondrial Eve who lived in African about 145,000 years ago and your haplogroup today. For haplogroups J, Eve’s descendant left African and traveled through the Middle East and on into Southwest Asia before turning left and migrating throughout Europe.

Clearly, the vast majority of this migration occurred before genealogy, but not all, or you wouldn’t be here today.

Thousands of my ancestors brought my mitochondrial DNA from Africa through Anatolia, through Europe, to Scandinavia, and back to Germany – then on to the US where it continued being passed on for five more generations before reaching me.

Additional Features – Other Tools

On your personal page, scroll down below your Mitochondrial DNA results area and you’ll see Public Haplotrees under the Other Tools tab.

This tree is available to FamilyTreeDNA customers as well as the public.

Public Mitochondrial DNA Haplotree

The public mitochondrial haplotree provided by FamilyTreeDNA includes location information and is available to everyone, customer or not, for free. Please note that only full sequence results were used to construct this tree, so partial results, meaning haplogroups of people who tested at the HVR1/2 levels only, are not included because the haplogroup cannot be refined at that level.

If you’ve received a haplogroup from a different test at another vendor, you can use this public tool to obtain location information. FamilyTreeDNA has the single largest repository of mitochondrial tests in the world, having tested customers for 21 years, and they have made this tree with location information available for everyone.

If you are a customer, you can sign in and access this tree from your account, above.

If you access the haplotree in this manner, be sure to select the mtDNA tree, not the Y DNA tree which is the default.

Or you can simply access the mtDNA the same way as the public, below.

Go to the main FamilyTreeDNA page by clicking here.

On the main page, scroll to the very bottom – yes, just keep scrolling.

At the very bottom, in the footer, you’ll see “Community.” (Hint, if you don’t see Community at the very bottom of this page, you’re probably signed in to your account.)

Click on “mtDNA Haplotree.”

Next, you’ll see the beginning, or root, of the mitochondrial DNA tree, with the RSRS at the top of the page. The tree structure and haplogroups are defined at Phylotree Build 17, here. All of the main daughter haplogroups, such as “J,” are displayed beneath or you can select them across the top.

Enter the haplogroup name in the “Branch Name” field in the upper right. For me, that’s J1c2f.

I don’t match all of the J1c2f people in the database, because there more total country designations shown here (82) than I have full sequence matches with locations provided (50 from my Ancestral Origins page.)

If you click on the three dots at right, you’ll see a Country Report which provides details for this haplogroup and downstream haplogroups, if there are any. I wrote about that, in detail, here.

There are no “J1c2f plus a daughter” haplogroups defined today, so there is nothing listed downstream.

However, that’s not always the case. There may be a downstream clade that you’re not a member of, meaning you don’t carry that haplogroup-defining mutation.

Or, you may have tested someplace that provides you with a partial haplogroup, so you don’t know if you have a subclade or not. You can still glean useful information from partial haplogroups.

Partial Haplogroups From Autosomal Tests

There’s nothing “wrong” with partial haplogroups. It’s nice to know at least some history about your matrilineal ancestry. What you don’t receive, of course, aside from matching, is more recent, genealogical, information.

Both 23andMe and LivingDNA provide autosomal customers with partial mitochondrial haplogroups. Both of these vendors tend to be accurate as far as they go, as opposed to other vendors, who shall remain unnamed, that are often inaccurate.

Autosomal tests don’t specifically test the mitochondrial DNA directly like a full sequence mitochondrial DNA test does, but they do use “probes” that scan specific haplogroup defining locations. Of course, each of the autosomal chips has a finite number of locations and every location that is used for either mitochondrial or Y DNA haplogroups is a space the vendors can’t use for autosomal locations.

Therefore, customers receive partial haplogroups.

In my case, I’ve received J1c at LivingDNA and J1c2 at 23andMe.

Both vendors provide basic information about your haplogroup, along with migration maps. Wikipedia also provides basic haplogroup information. Google is your friend – “mitochondrial haplogroup J Wikipedia.”

DNA Projects

Most haplogroups have a DNA project at FamilyTreeDNA. Note that these projects are administered by volunteers, so your mileage will vary in terms of participant grouping, along with whether or not results or maps are displayed. You can just google for “mitochondrial haplogroup J DNA project at FamilyTreeDNA” and you’ll find the project or perhaps multiple projects to select from. Some haplogroups have a main “J” project and perhaps a subproject, like “J1c,” for example.

You can join the project, either from this page if you’ve tested at FamilyTreeDNA, or from your personal page via the “myProjects” tab at the top of your personal page.

If you’re looking for public haplogroup information, click on “DNA Results.”

If the Haplogroup J DNA testers have joined this project, authorized displaying their results in projects, and provided ancestor information, you will be able to see that on the “Results” page. Projects are often grouped by haplogroup subgroup. Please note that the default page display size is 25, so scroll to the bottom to see how many pages are in the project. Multiply that number times 25 (182 pages total X 25 = 4550) and change the page display size to that number (4550, in this case.)

One of the most useful tools for haplogroup discovery is the project map which offers the same subgroups as the project groupings.

You can select “All” on the dropdown to display the locations of the earliest known ancestors of everyone in this haplogroup project, or you can select a subclade. This map is displaying haplogroup J1c2 as an example of my partial haplogroup.

The Public Mitochondrial Tree and Partial Haplogroups

To find more comprehensive information for partial haplogroups, I can use the free mitochondrial tree at FamilyTreeDNA. While projects only reflect information for people who have joined those particular projects, the tree provides more comprehensive information.

Anyone with a partial haplogroup can still learn a great deal. Like with any haplogroup, you can view where tester’s ancestors lived in the world.

In this case, it doesn’t matter whether I’m looking at partial haplogroups J1c or J1c2, there are many subgroups that I could potentially belong to.

In fact, haplogroup J1c has subclades through J1c17, so there are pages and pages of haplogroup subclade candidates.

Does a Full Haplogroup Really Matter?

How much difference can there be? Is J1c or J1c2 good enough? Good questions.

It depends – on what you want to know.

  • For general interest, perhaps.
  • For genealogy, no.

Genealogists need the most granular results possible to obtain the most information possible. You don’t know what you don’t know. But how much might that be, aside from full sequence matches?

There’s a significant difference in the country details of haplogroup J1c, J1c2 and J1c2f. I created a chart of the top 10 locations, and how many people’s ancestors are found there for J1c, J1c2, and J1c2f.

Wow, that’s a big difference.

How accurately do J1c and J1c2 results reflect the locations in my full J1c2f haplogroup? I color-coded the results and removed the locations from J1c and J1c2 that are not reflected in J1c2f.

As it turns out, the 5 most frequent locations in J1c and the top 3 locations in J1c2 aren’t even in the top 10 of J1c2f. Obtaining a full haplogroup is important.

Current and Past Populations

It’s worth noting that where a current population is found is not always indicative of where an ancestral population was found.

Of course, with genealogy, we can look back a few generations by seeing where the ancestors of our close and distant matches were found.

My earliest known ancestor is found in a marriage record in 1647 in Wirbenz, Germany when she was 26 years old. However, the majority of my exact mitochondrial DNA matches are not found in Germany, or even in Europe, but in Scandinavia. I’m sure there’s a story there to be told, possibly related to the Thirty Years’ War which began in 1618 and devastated Germany. The early German records where she lived were destroyed.

Even in the abbreviated genealogical timeframe where records and surnames exist, as compared to the history of mankind and womankind, we can see examples of population migration and shift with weather, warfare, and opportunity.

We can’t peer further back in time, at least not without ancient DNA, except by a combination of general history, haplogroup inference, and noting where branching from our mother clade occurred.

We know that people move. Sometimes populations were small and the entire population moved to a new location.

Sometimes, the entire population didn’t move, the but descendants of the migrating group survived to take DNA tests, while the population remaining in the original location has no present-day descendants.

Sometimes descendants of both groups survived.

Of course, throughout history, mutations continued to occur in all lines, forming new genetic branches – haplogroups.

Thank goodness they did, because mutations, or lack thereof, are incredibly important clues to genealogy as well as being our breadcrumbs back into the mists of distant time. Those haplogroup-defining mutations are the umbilical cord that allows us to connect with those distant ancestors.

These tools, especially used together, are the best way to answer the question, “Where did my Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Come From?”

Where did your haplogroup come from?

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Curtis Lore: White Plague Times Two – 52 Ancestors #329

According to the Rushville, Indiana newspaper, Curt Lore, my great-grandfather, had been sick for at least a year before he died in November of 1909. According to his death certificate, he had been ill for three years.

Curt had escaped death so many times in the past.

But not this time. After previously surviving Typhoid combined with Tuberculosis, the White Plague, named for the signature pallor of those afflicted, Curt’s condition worsened, and the Grim Reaper spirited him away at 7:20 on Thanksgiving evening.

Oh, the horrible irony. Thanksgiving.

Maybe Curt was thankful to be out of his never-ending and increasing misery.

This painting, created in 1886, shows two people suffering from tuberculosis and their living conditions.

We don’t think much about TB today.

In the 1800s, TB, also known as consumption, killed about one-fourth of the population of Europe. Between 1880 and 1910 – it killed one-third of the people between 15 and 34, and half of those between 20 and 24. For some unknown reason, it seemed to be more lethal to younger people, but maybe younger people were more likely to be risk-takers and socialized more.

It’s believed that 70-90% of the urban population of Europe and the US were infected, and about 80% of those who developed active cases died. TB was surely something to fear and nothing to mess with.

Under the very best of circumstances – living in an English sanitarium that resembled a resort for the wealthy with lots of fresh air, food, and amenities – more than half of the people who contracted TB were dead within 5 years. And most people did not live in the best of conditions. They made do with whatever their family could provide to alleviate their symptoms and care for them. If they happened to be the breadwinner, the family as a whole suffered immensely.

Before treatments became available, one-third of infected people died within two years and another third within five. The hallmark of Tuberculosis is slow, miserable disease progression marked by fever, chills, weight loss, no appetite, night sweats, fatigue, headache, intensive coughing accompanied by bleeding in the lungs and difficulty breathing. In the end, the actual cause of death is often multiple organ failure.

Tuberculosis sanitariums opened in the US in the late 1800s with 115 offering more than 8000 beds by 1904. I’m actually surprised that Curt didn’t go to “recover” in one, although maybe the family couldn’t afford that approach. I didn’t know Curt in person, of course, but based on what I do know about him, he was an orphaned roughneck oil-field cowboy made good. I would think he would have resisted anything that even hinted of vulnerability or weakness, probably literally until his last breath.

It was believed that open-air shelters, regardless of the temperature, and rest in a horizontal position improved health, and that was likely the treatment Curt received at home.

He did actually improve time and time again, going back to work, until eventually his body was simply too overwhelmed and worn down.

Medical treatments, if you can call them that, were beginning about then and were akin to torture. Based on their descriptions, which I’ll spare you, I’d wager that the treatments themselves killed as many patients as the disease. Curt probably missed that by just a couple of years – which was a merciful blessing.

TB is contagious and caused by a bacterium. It’s transmitted in close living conditions and made worse by unsanitary practices such as spitting on the streets, a then-common practice, and sharing personal items such as drinking vessels.

Families, of course, were the most endangered, especially spouses who slept together. Coughing and sneezing spread the disease. People often became ill slowly and symptoms generally didn’t appear until months or years after exposure.

Only antibiotics could potentially have saved Curt, and they wouldn’t be available until the mid/late 1940s. Vaccines followed in the 1950s and 1960s, half a century too late.

Some people developed latent TB. They initially became infected, but their body fought it off and the disease became dormant, either forever or until their immune system became weakened because of some other reason or old age. Of course, back then, those people would have been thought to have been “cured” by whatever “tonic” they had been taking.

Snake Oil

Tonics, also known as patent medicines or more aptly as snake oil were everyplace, preying on the frightened, ill and unwary.

Know what’s in Dr. King’s New Discovery for Consumption? Morphine and chloroform. Didn’t cure you, but at least you stopped coughing and fell asleep.

Of course, these testimonials published as stories in the local papers made people subject to every snake oil salesman within sniffing distance.

Ingredients in Shiloh’s Consumption Care? Chloroform, heroin, and cynanide. Now there’s a curative solution.

Add in a Reverend and a druggist hyping the product, and why WOULDN’T you believe in these cures – one right after another.

What’s in Warner’s? You don’t need to know. Trust me. Just pay up and take it so Mr. Warner can become even wealthier.

These are just a few of many Consumption ads that ran in just one day’s newspaper in Aurora, Indiana in 1888. Small-town America was full of sitting ducks for patent medicine. People desperate to be cured would try anything.

Know what was in Piso’s Cure? Cannabis.

You might not be cured, but you were happy and got your appetite back.

I can’t help but wonder if the sicker people got, the more of these elixirs they took, possibly together. Maybe these toxic cocktails mercifully hastened the inevitable.

Treatments

Tuberculosis patients in the early 1900s when Curt was ill were often lined up in beds on porches, in all weather, to sleep.

Patients slept outside or in open-air tents. Tuberculosis, the leading cause of death in the 1880s, put Colorado on the map with its “huts” lining the mountainsides.

Some even slept along the walkway outside St. Thomas Hospital, along the River Thames in London, with the houses of parliament in the background.

If the disease itself didn’t do you in, or the morphine, heroin, cyanide and chloroform didn’t kill you, you would die of hypothermia.

Latent TB

I have to wonder if Curt actually had latent TB and his bout with Typhoid in early 1907 caused it to awaken. The timing was right and we know he was dreadfully ill and not expected to live.

During Curt’s final illness and after his death, Nora would have been terribly worried about her own health and that of her four daughters and son-in-law. Her sisters had come to visit as well.

Would other family members become ill? Would they unknowingly pass it on to others?

This sounds all too familiar today.

John Ferverda

John Ferverda, Nora and Curt’s son-in-law would develop Tuberculosis in the late 1950s. John had married Edith Lore in 1908, almost exactly a year before Curt died. John helped Nora care for Curt and remained close to his mother-in-law for the rest of her life.

All those years later when John was diagnosed, the family was told that his lungs were scarred – leading the doctors to believe he had actually had TB before at some time.

John was admitted to the Irene Byrum Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Fort Wayne for treatment. He lived there as an inpatient for a year or two – not only for his own health but to protect others.

I remember vising this HUGE facility as a small child. We walked across a seemingly endless parking lot into a cavernous reception area or hall, and my grandfather,  Pawpaw, was wheeled out in a wheelchair to see us. He was too weak to walk, and any movement at all made him cough and spit blood into a handkerchief.

I desperately wanted to climb on Pawpaw’s lap, but I wasn’t allowed to touch him or even see him up close. I was able to visit with him from a few feet away and I still remember the joy on his face as we played distant games like peek-a-boo and a modified version of hide-and-seek.

I couldn’t WAIT until Pawpaw came home – except I was never allowed to touch him again. Nor was I allowed at his funeral.

This is my only picture with my grandfather – obviously before he was diagnosed. He died about 4 years later. Tuberculosis stole so much.

Anyone who was exposed to TB when my grandfather was ill had to be x-rayed regularly and take tuberculosis tine tests. Those weren’t so much painful as they were frightening, waiting for results.

And heaven forbid that you coughed.

I still remember my grandfather coughing horribly and struggling to breathe. It sounded like he was gurgling and it was obvious he was in pain.

Mother and I had to get chest x-rays every six months for years after his passing.

Did my grandfather’s affliction begin in Rushville, all those years before, helping Nora care for Curt?

It’s certainly possible, but we’ll never know.

Let’s join the Lore family after Curt’s passing and see how they’re doing.

Late 1909

Nora was probably quite torn. I’m sure she had to be glad, on some level, that Curt’s terrible suffering was over. He died on November 25th, Thanksgiving evening, and she buried him a few days later on what was probably a cold grey fall day.

Nora had to figure out how to support three children. What was she to do?

She was probably completely exhausted after all of those months of caregiving, broke, and in shock.

Christmas would descend upon the family shortly. Did Nora decorate a Christmas tree in an attempt at normalcy for the girls?

In years past, Nora would have gone home to the Kirsch House in Aurora for the holidays, and I’m guessing she did that year too.

Nora’s sisters and parents were suffering too. The last couple of years had been absolutely brutal.

  • In addition to Nora’s years-long ordeal and Curt’s eventual death, Nora’s sister Carrie’s husband was institutionalized with syphilis. Worse yet, he had given it to Carrie. He would die in July of 1910.
  • Nora’s other sister, Lou’s husband had committed suicide on Halloween in 1908 at the Kirsch House.
  • A few months earlier, Nora’s grandfather had died.
  • Nora’s aunt’s daughter, Nettie Giegoldt, died in Aurora in September of 1908 at 26 years of age – of Phthisis Pulmonalis – yet another name for Tuberculosis. According to her death certificate, she succumbed after two years which means she would have become ill in late 1906.

Is there any possibility that there was a connection between Nettie and Curt who both developed symptoms at about the same time?

According to the newspaper, the family had gathered in Aurora for Christmas in 1906.

I don’t know if Nora went home to Aurora in 1909 to simply grieve among her already-suffering family, or if the sisters and family took strength from each other.

But any red-blooded widow with three dependent children whose mother was living would have gone home to mother – at least for a while.

Mother is always mother, and there is always comfort there. If for no other reason than you can cry, and she can take care of whatever needs to be taken care of, at least for a respite. You don’t have to be strong every minute of every day.

Christmas that year must have been brutal at the Kirsch House. I hope they had a lot of wine, that’s all I can say.

Nora was no longer “interesting” fodder for the newspaper’s socialite column, so we know much less about her life during this period. One thing is for sure, THAT life was over.

Nora probably didn’t stay in Aurora long after the holiday. As tempting as it would have been to simply remain in Aurora for an extended visit, or maybe forever, she had business to attend to in Rushville.

Nora needed to find a different place to live. She had to pack and move. She needed to find some kind of employment. At least two of her four children needed to attend school.

Daughter Curtis would have been 18 and I suspect, but don’t know, that she dropped out of school to help care for her father when he was so gravely ill.

I’m sure Nora’s parents made sure those girls had at least some semblance of Christmas in 1909, even if Nora couldn’t. After all, Eloise was only just 6 and Mildred 10. Santa would still have been visiting and leaving gifts for the girls. Hopefully, they were able to forget about everything else, at least for a little bit.

Good German food, eaten together at the family table would have been salve on everyone’s injured soul.

Nora and the girls probably came home on the train between Christmas and New Year to set about putting their life in some semblance of order. She probably set the girls to packing their things. Maybe she positioned moving as a great adventure!

I’d bet Nora welcomed a change of scenery and a new beginning.

What would that new, vastly different, normal look like?

Another Change

The Rushville newspapers continue to reveal threads in the tapestry of life of the Lore family.

  • January 3, 1910 – John Ferveda who was recently transferred to cashier at the local office has been given the agency at Silver Lake in the northern part of the state and will leave here in the next few weeks.

John received a promotion. That’s the good news and the bad news, both.

This move had to be extremely difficult for Nora and Edith both. To have her oldest child move away so soon after Curt’s death, although I’m sure it wasn’t’ entirely unexpected. If there’s one thing Nora learned, it was to roll with the punches.

It would be a terrible irony that John Ferverda would eventually die of tuberculosis too, half a century later. Bookends of their marriage.

  • January 10, 1910 – Mr. and Mrs. John Ferverda went to Silver Lake, today where they will reside permanently. Mr. Ferveda will be the Big Four agent there.

A week later, Edith had departed too, waving goodbye to her mother at the depot. I don’t know, but I’d bet Edith and John had been living with Nora since their wedding.

Silver Lake

John and Edith settled into the small farming community of Silver Lake in northern Indiana, complete with the train depot, a small Methodist church, one school, and an all-purpose hardware/drug store.

The depot in Silver Lake, where John spent the next several years as station agent was located beside Edith and John’s home. I remember this building as a child, visiting my grandparents. Today the depot, along with the train tracks are gone.

Silver Lake was a “one-horse” crossroads town, a block or two in each direction. They lived about where the buggy is in the distance on Main street, on the left-hand side.

The view today from the exact same location.

Edith and John purchased a home beside the depot and never moved.

“Driving” down Main Street, I still recognize a few homes, including theirs which looks much different today.

After the fast-moving social life followed by the difficulties in Rushville, perhaps Silver Lake was a quiet respite for Edith, and for Nora when she visited too.

Rushville and Silver Lake were about 110 miles apart. I don’t believe either family had a car yet, so they would have taken the train to visit from time to time. If I remember correctly, Mom said that the station agent’s family rode for free.

New Beginnings

Back in Rushville, Nora was coping and making the necessary changes as Edith settled into Silver Lake.

  • March 9, 1910 – For sale one street sprinkling outfit, consisting of wagon, tank, gas engine, pump, etc., formerly owned by Curtis Lore. T. Arbuckle, agent

This is heart-wrenching – clearly Curt’s estate. Perhaps the only thing he had left. I wonder what happened to his horses. I’d guess they were sold during his illness to pay bills. Horses were probably easier to sell than a sprinkling outfit.

The Rush County records are listed at Family Search, but none are online yet, so I requested Curt’s estate records by writing an old-fashioned letter. I checked with the Rush County clerk’s office and they indicated that there was no will, probate or estate for Curt when he died, although the sale of the sprinkling outfit by an agent suggests otherwise.

  • April 15, 1910 – Mrs. John Ferveda of Silver Lake is the guest of her mother Mrs. Curt Lore and family in west First Street.

Nora had moved to First Street by April.

The 1910 census taken a few days later shows Nora living at 324 W. First Street and working as an “agent” in the “dress goods” industry. I wonder what that means, exactly. Nora reported that she had not been out of work. Daughter Curtis, 19, is shown as a dressmaker in a store.

I’m relieved to know that Nora is employed and that Curtis is helping out as well. I never knew exactly what happened to Nora during this time.

  • May 17 – 25, 1910 – Lost a child’s red hat Sunday afternoon. Finder please return to Mrs. C. B. Lore 324 W. First Street.

I bet the red hat belonged to Eloise. Was this a special hat or were they just that poor?

  • July 3, 1910 – Joseph Wymond, husband of Nora’s sister, Carrie, died. There are two official reports, one being a death certificate from the sanitarium in Lafayette and one being a coroner’s report in Dearborn County. The coroner’s report says he died of a gunshot wound, supposedly self-inflicted, and his death certificate says he died in Lafayette at the Wabash Valley Sanitorium after a residency of 8 months, of Bright’s Disease. Bright’s Disease was a kidney disorder common among syphilis patients. Bright’s Disease was Carrie’s eventual official cause of death too, in 1926.

Both of those things cannot be true.

Nora told of how Joseph’s family managed to swindle Carrie out of Joseph’s rather substantial estate. Joseph Smithfield Wymond’s father owned the Wymond Cooperage Company that spanned two full blocks in Aurora.

Heartache on top of heartbreak. Clearly, when Carried married him in 1902, he either didn’t have the disease, or he didn’t know it. I don’t know if Wymond had been cheating on top of giving his wife the disease that would eventually kill her, but the family thought so.

This entire situation was spoken of in hushed tones in the family, even decades later. Having “marital relations,” even with your husband, was considered “dirty” in Victorian times. Carrie’s situation, when it was discussed, held tones of outrage, pity and grief. Suffice it to say the Lore family and their descendants despised the man.

Carrie certainly needed the money from his estate after his death. It’s not like she could work, at least not in Aurora. Who would hire her for anything knowing of the disease she carried – not to mention her own deteriorating health.

And yes, EVERYONE in Aurora knew that always-cheerful Carrie had contracted that dread disease from her husband who was a well-known son-of-a-rich-man riverboat gambler and man-about-town. Mom referred to him as “a slick Dandy,” an epithet spit between clenched teeth. I didn’t know what that meant, exactly, for the longest time, but I could tell by her tone alone that it was bad, very, very bad.

Just a few months after Curt’s death, we find him mentioned in the Rushville paper again.

  • August 10, 1910 – List of Old Settlers who have died in the past 90 years – Curtis Lore, 50.
  • Goshen Democrat, August 10, 1910 –  Mrs. W. R. Coverston will entertain at bridge tonight for her guest, Mrs. C. B. Lore of Rushville.

Nora’s best friend’s husband who also worked for the railroad had been transferred too. I’d wager that Nora visited her daughter and her best friend on the same trip given that they were only living about 50 miles apart in northern Indiana.

The first anniversary of Curt’s death came and went. Of course, the newspaper doesn’t’ report when people visit the cemetery. But they did, apparently, print letters to Santa.

  • December 21, 1910 – Dear Santa, I want a set of furs, an English doll cart, an Indian suit, a sled, big doll, a raincape, new dress, set of dishes, a Christmas tree, a picture book. I am seven years old. Your friend, Eloise Lore

At least she didn’t ask for her Daddy back.

Eloise had just turned 7.

1911

  • March 7, 1911 – Mrs. John Ferveda of Silver Lake is the guest of Mrs. Curt Lore.

Edith came home to visit her mother often.

  • March 31, 1911 – Mrs. C. B. Lore was a visitor in Indianapolis today.

I’m really glad to see that Nora is getting out and about.

Why might she be visiting Indianapolis? Nora’s uncle, John Kirsch, lived in Indianapolis and didn’t pass away until 1927, so she might have visited him. After the 1910 census and by 1915, Nora’s sisters Carrie and Lula, both widows, were living in Indianapolis. Indy gave them a chance to live without the stigma of “what happened.”

Or, maybe Nora had friends there or simply needed to get away.

  • April 4, 1911 – Mrs. Curt Lore will entertain a small company of friends at her home on West Second street this evening, honoring Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen who formerly resided here.

The West Second address may be a goof from years of habit.

Curt has been gone for 17 months and it looks like Nora is finally doing something with friends.

  • April 18, 1908 – Easter Sunday in Rushville – Reading – “Daisies in the Meadow” by Mildred Lore at the First Presbyterian Church.
  • May 5, 1911 – Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained the Five Hundred club this afternoon at her home in West First Street.
  • May 8, 1911 – C. D. Torr of Indianapolis was the guest of Miss Curtis Lore yesterday.
  • May 10, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore visited in Indianapolis today.
  • May 15, 1911 – Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained the 500 Club at her home this afternoon on West First Street.

Nora seems to be trying to get back to normal, visiting and playing cards, and the younger girls are doing normal things for children in Rushville. Curtis is, of course, the daughter named for Curt.

  • June 3, 1911 – The following Children’s Day Program will be given at the First Presbyterian church tomorrow night by the members of the Sunday School. Recitation by Eloise Lore – “Naughty May”
  • June 8, 1911 – Mrs. John Ferveda of Silver Lake is the guest of her mother, Mrs. Curt Lore. (This newspaper NEVER spells Ferverda correctly.)
  • July 13, 1911 – Mrs. Nora Lore has gone to Silver Lake, Indiana for an extended visit wither daughter, Mrs. John Ferverda.
  • August 16, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore played Lohengrin’s wedding march as the bridal party came down the stairs.

I can’t help but harken back to Nora’s own descent down the steps at the Kirsch House, into the parlor when she married Curt in 1888. I wonder if Curtis realizes she is providing the music for the reenactment of that scene between her parents.

  • August 23, 1911 – Mrs. Nora Lore of West First Street is entertaining with a house party this week. Her house guests are Mrs. Perry Wymond, Mrs. May Fisk, Miss Ida Kirsch of Aurora and Mrs. Will. R. Coverston of Goshen.

I suspect Perry is actually Carrie because the other women are Nora’s sisters and Mrs. Will Coverston is Nora’s best friend. I believe May is actually Nora’s sister, Margaret Louise, “Lou.” This “house party” looks just wonderful and I hope that Nora enjoyed this gathering as much as I suspect she did. This warms my heart. These three sisters have been widowed and the fourth, Ida, won’t marry until 1921.

I think a “house party” aka an adult slumber party is exactly what the doctor ordered for these ladies. It seems they might have visited at this particular time in order to attend the local fair.

These 1911 articles indicate that Nora’s widowed sisters are still living in Aurora, likely working for their parents at the Kirsch House.

  • August 23, 1911 – (regarding the fair) Notable among the local exhibitors in the handiwork department were…Miss Curtis Lore.

Curtis is now 20. Among other activities, she embroidered and crazy quilted. Curtis embroidered her name in the block of a crazy quilt that Nora kept until her death in 1949.

This crazy quilt eventually went to Curtis’s sister, Eloise, then to Mom when Eloise passed away, and now, it’s mine.

  • August 23, 1911 – Mrs. Nora Lore is entertaining Mrs. Perry Wymond, Mrs. May Fisk and Miss Ida Kirsch of Aurora and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen. (In 1930, Will Coverston was 64, wife Ethel and lived in Elkhart. Ethel would have been 35 in 1911.)
  • August 26, 1911 – Regarding the fair and money winners – Premium award in the following departments… Women’s Department – Miss Curtis Lore, 21 first, 28 second place awards.

Curtis obviously had an amazing number of entries that took prizes. It looks like the payment was $1 for first. It’s ironic that the newspaper article is about how the fair was the best ever, but it’s going broke because there are so many high premiums to be paid. That’s the equivalent of about $28 for each first-place entry, for a total of $588 in today’s money.

I’m quite impressed at all those awards. I surely wish they had told us what Curtis entered in which categories. I wonder if those 49 items she entered were related to her dressmaking? What better advertisement?

I’m cheering for Curtis!!! I’m glad she had such a successful year at the fair.

This photo from the summer of 1911 at Winona Lake provides another clue as to what the Lore women did that summer, including Nora’s sisters from Aurora.

I don’t know who the child at left is, but Curtis Lore is the young woman standing at left, holding her skirt. By the way, these are swimsuits of the day. Maybe swim dresses would be a better description.

“Aunt Cad” is Nora’s sister, Carrie Kirsch Wymond.

The woman sitting in the water is unknown, although I wonder if she is John Ferverda;s sister.

The woman with the straw hat behind Aunt Lula is unknown too.

Aunt Lula is Nora’s sister, Margaret Louise “Lou” Kirsch Fiske.

Edith is standing in a black swimdress.

Mildred is playing in the water, but Eloise isn’t pictured.

I’m guessing Nora took the picture and Edith (later) wrote the names on the photo.

Everyone is laughing and smiling and joyful. This looks like a lovely retreat, and I’d wager there was picnicking together on the shore as well while the kids splashed in the water nearby.

  • September 22, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore who has been ill for several days was much better today.

Uh oh.

I just hold my breath now every time there’s a newspaper report that someone is sick – especially a young person – and in September. It’s not flu season.

  • October 5, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore who has been ill for some time is greatly improved.

Whew! What a relief. I was afraid this was the beginning of that same emotional roller-coaster ride, starting all over again. But why had Curtis been ill for some time? Is there something else wrong?

  • October 7, 1911 – The following program was rendered at the Havens school on Friday afternoon in honor of the birthday anniversary of James Whitcomb Riley. Recitation of “The Raggedy Man” by Eloise Lore.

The Visit

  • November 22, 1911 – Mrs. George Aultman and Mrs. Nora Lore went to Rockville today for a 2 days stay.

Ella Aultman was Nora’s neighbor, just a few doors away. While on the surface, this looks like a “fun jaunt,” it was anything but. The State Tuberculosis Sanitorium was located at Rockville

Curtis had contracted tuberculosis from her father and had been admitted. Now we know what was going on.

Curtis, who had improved briefly in October was clearly worse in November. We don’t know when Curtis was admitted to Rockville, but was sometime between October 5th when she was improved and November 22nd when her mother went to visit.

Nora must have been heartsick. And terrified! First her great-niece Nettie died after being ill for two years, then Curt, and now Curtis is ill with the same scourge.

Courtesy Indiana Historical Society

Of course, I knew about this already, but it’s heartbreaking to see this begin all over again as I read the old newspapers. I can’t help but wonder how Nora kept the fear from entirely consuming her.

This scenario was all too common. The newspapers and death records a hundred years ago are full of articles about families where several people became ill and often died from diseases that we have cures for today.

I wonder what, if anything, Nora told young Eloise and Mildred about what was happening to Curtis.

  • November 29, 1911 – Thanksgiving Program at Havens Building – The Recitation – The Bill of Fare by Eloise Lore

This Thanksgiving must have been particularly difficult for Nora. It was the second anniversary of Curt’s death and Curtis was in a sanitarium.

No mention of what they did at Christmas in the newspaper this year. There’s also no Santa Claus letter from Eloise who had just turned 8, either.

Would Nora have gone to Aurora, or perhaps to visit Curtis, or both?

1912

  • January 11, 1912 – Benefit exchange on behalf of Miss Curtis Lore to be held Saturday, January 13 by the young women of the First Presbyterian Church. We will have good things to sell if you want to buy. If you do not want to buy, give your money anyway as a free-will offering.

These articles are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Not only is Curtis clearly gravely ill, but Nora is obviously struggling, perhaps even to put food on the table. The young people at church, Curtis’s friends, are stepping up and trying to help. Bless them.

Edith is married and living in Silver Lake. At least she’s safe there, but Curtis was her best friend.

Is Curtis still in the Sanitarium, or is she at home? Is she improving? I hope.

How Nora put one foot in front of the other every day, I have no idea.

The community very clearly gathered around this family.

  • January 22 & 26, 1912 – The Greensburg News ran this article.

The Rushville paper carried several similar articles.

Ironic that it’s in this article that we discover exactly when they moved from Greenburg to Rushville, which means that Curtis was actually born in Greensburg on March 8,  1891. In addition, the Aurora, Indiana newspaper on January 9, 1890, carried a notice that Miss Carrie Kirsch visited her sister, Mrs. Curt Lore in Greensburg the previous week. On January 23rd, Jacob Kirsch, Nora’s father had visited as well.

Attempting to find additional information, I tried a new resource and discovered Curtis Lore’s actual birth announcement in the Greensburg newspaper.

  • January 27, 1912 – The benefit for Miss. Curtis Lore last night at the Portola attracted large crowds at all the performances. The program was well received and was one of the best given here for some time. Tonight a change of pictures will be made with the exception of “The Awakening of John Bond.” By request this feature film dealing with a fight on tuberculosis will be shown again tonight. Charles VanCamp will repeat his feature song, “Buckwheat Cakes.”
  • January 30, 1912 – The second benefit for Miss. Curtis Lore will be given Friday night. The management announces that any of the tickets out for the show given last week will be accepted as this second benefit. It is planned to make the program as attractive as last Friday and special music and pictures will be included in the program. The Jackson school orchestra has consented to play and Charles VanCamp will put on another character song.
  • January 31, 1912 – Friday night the second of the benefit shows for Miss Curtis Lore will be given. The VanOsdol orchestra will render a program and other special music will be given, besides three reels of pictures.

You have to give these young people credit – they are doing their best. A fundraiser and two benefits. I’m impressed!

We still don’t know if Curtis is at home or at the Sanitarium.

  • February 1, 1912

  • February 2, 1912 – The second benefit to be given tonight at the Portola by the Emanon club for Miss Curtis Lore, promises to be attended by even larger crowds than last Friday.

Either these shows are great or people’s hearts are large – or maybe both!

  • February 5, 1912 – The benefit show by the Emanon club for Miss Curtis Lore netted $60. The young women are well pleased with the result.

At 10 cents each, 600 people contributed. In 1910, there were 355 households in Rushville, which means every household, on average, contributed 17 cents. And that’s just the second benefit. We don’t know how much the fundraiser raised, or the first benefit produced.

They tried, Lord knows, these young people tried. The funds from that second benefit, equivalent to about $1700 today, probably made a huge difference to Nora and made Carrie feel very cherished and loved.

  • February 7, 1912 – Curtis Lore, age 21 years daughter of Mrs. C. B. Lore of West First Street died late this afternoon after suffering with tuberculosis for several weeks. She took treatment at the State Sanitorium near Rockville for some time but did not improve. She is survived by her mother and 3 sisters.

Curtis’s decline and death was much more rapid than her father, Curt’s, had been.

  • February 8, 1912 – Last Sad Rites Will be Performed Tomorrow Afternoon – Funeral services of Miss Curtis Lore …First Presbyterian Church of which deceased was a member.

Curtis had died at home. At least she was with her mother.

But Nora. Oh Good God – poor Nora.

  • February 9, 1912 – The funeral services of Miss Curtis Lore were held this afternoon at the late residence in West First Street, conducted by the Rev. J. B. Meacham. Burial took place in East Hill cemetery.

Given that Curt’s funeral and Curtis’s both were held at home, that must have been the custom of the day. I’d wager the entire town came to pay their respects.

  • February 10, 1912 – Mrs. W. R. Coverston of Wabash attended the funeral of Miss Curtis Lore here yesterday.

Nora would have desperately needed her friend’s presence.

I’m sure Nora’s sisters and parents would have been present too, although, strangely, that’s not mentioned in the newspaper.

20 years, 10 months, and 29 short days.

Two years and not quite three months after Curt died. This means that Nora has been living for almost 5 years with a family member ill with TB, unless Curtis wasn’t ill the entire time.

This must have seemed like déjà vu – and I’m sure Nora was terrified for her other children.

Judging from Curtis’s death certificate and the date this doctor began treating her, Curtis probably came home from the sanitarium at Christmas time, after about 5 weeks of treatment, knowing she would not improve. Poor Nora. Poor Curtis. This family experienced so much grief and loss.

Until I saw her death certificate, I didn’t know that Curtis even had a middle name or initial. I bet the L stood for Louise, her aunt, who probably sponsored Curtis at her baptism, but I’m just guessing.

Curtis’s death certificate says she had been ill for 6 months and that would track back to August 1911, when she was winning all those awards at the fair and probably about the time she was at Winona Lake with family members too.

I’m so glad she won those ribbons and had that last wonderful summertime lake visit with her sisters and aunts. It would be her last.

Nora’s Great Regret

Eloise told Mom that Nora felt just awful and never forgave herself for the circumstances under which Curtis lived in her final weeks – and died.

When Curtis first became ill, she wanted to go out west with her boyfriend’s family, “for her health.” The western climate, “clean, cold mountain air,” was believed to be the best for TB patients. Nora did not allow Curtis to move. She wanted her child with her. Any mother would.

After Curtis died, Nora always wondered if she had allowed her to go, if she would have lived. Guilt is an evil, unrelenting lifelong companion.

But that’s not all.

Recall that it was believed that sleeping outside on a porch, in fresh air, no matter the temperature, would improve Tuberculosis symptoms and restore health. In fact, the colder, the better.

Curtis pretty much lived on the porch that winter and was understandably miserable. Nora brought her food, but she was too sick to eat. It was winter in Indiana. Horribly cold. Nora stayed with Curtis on the porch. Desperate to help her daughter, Nora would have done anything to save her, but Curtis died anyway.

Love was not enough.

Nora was fully aware of her child’s misery and never forgave herself, even though she was lovingly providing the standard accepted and medically recommended treatment. If she had not, and Curtis died, then Nora would have been considered negligent. There was no “winning” for either Nora or Curtis.

It was only many years later that Nora, along with everyone else, came to realize that living and sleeping in the cold did nothing curative for TB. So Curtis suffered for nothing. Nora came to wonder if the cold had hastened Curtis’s death and wondered if she might have lived had she NOT been exposed to the cold.

When Eloise told me about Curtis sleeping and living on the porch, in the winter, I was shocked. Eloise herself, still a child, had been traumatized by all of the surrounding events. I could tell that even telling me, decades later, bothered her immensely. Her eyes took on a very far-away, pained gaze as she talked.

Sleeping and living outside was the prescription of the day and Nora, at that time, believed it was Curtis’s only hope. I’m sure that Nora would have gladly traded her own life for Curtis’s if that were possible, but that’s not a choice we get to make.

It’s somehow ironic that it may have been that porch that saved the rest of the family from infection. Miraculously, neither Nora, Mildred, or Eloise contracted TB from either Curt or Curtis.

If Curtis had been sick fifty years later, she would have taken a long regimen of antibiotics and probably lived – or at least stood a fighting chance.

I’m not sure when this photo of Curtis was taken, but she doesn’t look quite adult here.  Fortunately, the family had this picture of better times where Curtis looks beautiful and happy.

And, of course, this adorable baby picture. There’s no doubt this is Curtis. Those ears!

Edith, my grandmother, told my mother that not only was Curtis named for her father, Curtis Benjamin Lore, but she absolutely adored him. That feeling was mutual. Ironic that he walked away from his first family, children included, but clung so tightly to his second.

East Hill Cemetery

For the second time in 27 months, Nora would pass beneath this archway at the entrance of East Hill Cemetery, accompanying the casket of a loved one.

The casket would have been loaded from their home onto a wagon pulled by a team of horses. The wheels would have creaked as the procession moved slowly through town, the horses’ hoofs echoing and carriages following.

I’m sure Nora had visited many times since Curt’s death. Perhaps she came to talk with Curt as she grew ever more concerned that Curtis would be joining him.

On a cold, bleak, winter day, Curtis was buried beside her father. Her suffering finally over.

Nora would be buried beside them both, 37 years later.

Three identical stones in a row.

The Next Chapter

Nora didn’t have much time to grieve. Grieving was a luxury she could no longer afford.

Nora had to pick herself up, dust herself off, again, as best she could, for the sake of her young daughters, and put together some semblance of a life.

A month later, Nora had a new job and opened the door to the next chapter of her life.

What lay on the other side of that door?

Something rather startling that absolutely no one expected.

Join me soon for “Nora’s Surprise.”

_____________________________________________________________

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DNA Day: Forty Years On and We’re Still Shaking The Tree!

Genealogists are always excited when DNA Day in April arrives because it means two things:

  • Celebrating DNA
  • Sales

This year we have a 40th anniversary to celebrate along with some great sales.

Those of you who know me already understand how excited I am about the powerful combination of genetics and genealogy. Yes, I’m a science/genealogy nerd and I’m also one of the scientists working on the Million Mito Project – the next generation of mitochondrial DNA.

We’re pushing that envelope and you’ll be the beneficiary.

So please forgive me if my excitement spills over for a bit here. Let’s celebrate together!

The Beginning – Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial graphic courtesy Dr. Paul Maier Copyright 2021 all rights reserved

Mitochondrial DNA, the DNA all humans inherit from their mother in a direct matrilineal line was first sequenced in 1981 at Cambridge University using the DNA of an anonymous volunteer. We know today that the volunteer whose DNA was used for that reference sample carried mutation values that eventually placed them in haplogroup H2a2a1. Of course, haplogroup H2a2a1 didn’t exist back then and has slowly evolved over the years as we learn more and updates to the tree occur.

That volunteer’s sequence of mutations was organized to form basic haplogroups, a genetic breadcrumb history that provides links both backward in time to our distant ancestors and forwards in time to us today. Comparing our mitochondrial DNA to other testers is genealogically relevant and can help break through brick walls. But that next chapter, genealogy, wouldn’t begin until the year 2000 when both Oxford Ancestors and FamilyTreeDNA introduced direct-to-consumer testing.

For 31 years after that initial discovery, everyone would be compared to the Cambridge Reference Sequence, the CRS.

Scientists didn’t know at the time, of course, but using the DNA of a person whose haplogroup was formed about 3500 years ago would make it challenging to correctly place people whose haplogroup was formed sometime between Mitochondrial Eve, our founding mother, and the haplogroup H reference sequence.

Think of it as trying to measure someone’s height when measuring from their shoulders up. You can do it, but you need to compensate for not measuring from the floor to the top of their head in one step.

Mitochondrial Eve lived about 150,000 years ago in Africa and was the founder of haplogroup L who eventually gave birth to all of the rest of the haplogroups in the world through haplogroups M and N who migrated out of Africa.

Courtesy FamilyTreeDNA

In 2012, a second comparison methodology, the Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence (RSRS) was published in the landmark paper, A “Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root, written by Behar et al.

The RSRS version of the tree defined branches beginning at the base with Mitochondrial Eve, the first woman who lived in African and has survivors today, and provided estimated dates of when individual haplogroups were formed in a supplement to the paper. In other words, the RSRS measured height, or the genetic distance from Eve to us, from the floor up.

Today, there is still no universally accepted standardization in reporting, in part because the earlier papers are still relevant and utilize the older CRS methodology. Different academic papers reference the CRS or the RSRS, and FamilyTreeDNA, the only company that tests the full sequence and provides matching for genealogy, reports both versions for customers.

click to enlarge graphics

I find the RSRS more relevant for genealogy, because it’s much easier to see and identify our extra and missing mutations which are the seeds of future haplogroups.

While the original scientific mitochondrial DNA paper from 1981 is behind a paywall, here, I found another article, Mitochondrial DNA published in the magazine, The Science Teacher, that’s free, here.

With Build 17 of the mitochondrial tree, published in 2016, more than 5,400 haplogroups were defined using 24,275 samples. You can view the defining mutations by haplogroup, here, or on Phylotree, here.

Many more samples are available now, and the tree is in desperate need of an update, but that update needs to be a scientific reevaluation, not just adding to the tips of the branches.

In February of 2020, the Million Mito Project was launched which will use more than a quarter-million samples, with a goal of a million, to rewrite the Tree of Womankind. Samples are included from:

  • FamilyTreeDNA
  • Genographic Project participants who opted in to scientific research
  • Academic samples

You can watch a short video about the Million Mito Project produced by yours truly, here. I’ll have more information on this topic, soon.

I put together a Mitochondrial DNA resource page, here, with everything you’ve ever wanted to know and then some😊

Individuals can particulate in the Million Mito Project (MMP) by taking the mitochondrial DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA. Academic institutions can participate by uploading research samples to GenBank and contacting a member of the research team.

1981 Was Just the First Baby Step

Of course, the sequencing of mitochondrial DNA 40 years ago was just the beginning of our genetic journey. The first 20 years was spent building the foundation for consumer testing. This second 20 years has been the express-train ride of a lifetime.

Today, we’re shaking that tree harder than ever! Man alive, has it ever produced too – ancestors, surprises, confirmation of paper trails, new cousins and so much more. We’ve learned, and are continuing to learn about the genetic journey of our ancestors that was entirely unavailable to us before genealogists embraced DNA testing.

Every year we celebrate DNA Day by testing our DNA and by reviewing our matches to see what they reveal about our own personal journey and those of our ancestors. New matches arrive all the time. The key is to:

  • Take each kind of DNA test.
  • Test relatives. Their matches are critical to our shared ancestral genealogy.
  • Find relatives to represent Y and mitochondrial DNA of ancestors whose Y and mitochondrial DNA we don’t’ carry.
  • Check back often to see what new matches have appeared, and what hints and secrets they might hold. If the key to that brick wall has arrived, and you don’t check, you’ll never know!

Take that test! Upgrade if that’s an option for either Y or mitochondrial DNA for yourself, and test your autosomal DNA or transfer to all of the four major companies. Fish in all the ponds. You don’t know where that fish you need is living.

Step-by-step upload-download instructions are here for every vendor.

Don’t forget about testing your relatives that share all of the same ancestors that you do – aunts, uncles, grandparents. They will have matches that you don’t.

DNA Day Sales

Not all vendors are offering DNA Day sales, at least not yet, but FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage have great sale prices, shown below.

FamilyTreeDNA

Of course, FamilyTreeDNA sells three types of DNA tests for genealogy, Y DNA (direct paternal surname line for males only, mitochondrial DNA (direct matrilineal line for both sexes), and the Family Finder autosomal test (all lines for everyone), so they have more products to discount.

Please note that the autosomal transfer advanced tool unlock is only $9 right now. The unlock provides access to your myOrigins results (ethnicity) and AncientOrigins along with the chromosome browser if you uploaded your DNA from another vendor. The unlock seldom goes on sale and $9 is a great price. How many tests have you transferred and not yet unlocked?

If you’ve taken an earlier Y or mitochondrial DNA test at a lower level, you can upgrade – and upgrades are on sale too.

Have you been waiting to order that Big Y upgrade? Now’s the time!

You can click right here to order, upgrade or unlock a transfer.

MyHeritage

MyHeritage’s autosomal DNA test is on sale until the 25th for $59 with free shipping if you purchase 2 or more tests.

MyHeritage recently added another new feature for their DNA customers – Shared Ethnicities and Genetic Groups.

When you click to compare your information with a match, you can scroll down to see common ethnicities and Genetic Groups that you share with that person.

You can see that I share a small amount of indigenous American DNA with this person.

Is this important? I don’t know. It might be and it’s up to me as a genealogist to run with this ball and see what I can uncover.

Shared Genetic Groups may make finding common origins with your DNA matches even easier. The person with whom I share that indigenous ancestry also has ancestors from Appalachia. Hmmm, now I need to see who else I match in common with this person. I’m pretty sure, just based on this, that they match on my father’s side.

You can click here to check out your common ethnicities or genetic groups at My Heritage, or to order tests for family members whose results will help you unravel your matches.

Don’t forget, if you’ve already tested elsewhere, you can click here to easily upload to MyHeritage for free matching and just pay the $29 unlock for their advanced tools including the chromosome browser, ethnicities, Genetic Groups, clustering and triangulation.

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I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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A Triangulation Checklist Born From the Question; “Why NOT Use Close Relatives for Triangulation?”

One of my readers asked why we don’t use close relatives for triangulation.

This is a great question because not using close relatives for triangulation seems counter-intuitive.

I used to ask my kids and eventually my students and customers if they wanted the quick short answer or the longer educational answer.

The short answer is “because close relatives are too close to reliably form the third leg of the triangle.” Since you share so much DNA with close relatives, someone matching you who is identical by chance can also match them for exactly the same reason.

If you trust me and you’re good with that answer, wonderful. But I hope you’ll keep reading because there’s so much to consider, not to mention a few gotchas. I’ll share my methodology, techniques, and workarounds.

We’ll also discuss absolutely wonderful ways to utilize close relatives in the genetic genealogical process – just not for triangulation.

At the end of this article, I’ve provided a working triangulation checklist for you to use when evaluating your matches.

Let’s go!

The Step-by-Step Educational Answer😊

Some people see “evidence” they believe conflicts with the concept that you should not use close relatives for triangulation. I understand that, because I’ve gone down that rathole too, so I’m providing the “educational answer” that explains exactly WHY you should not use close relatives for triangulation – and what you should do.

Of course, we need to answer the question, “Who actually are close relatives?”

I’ll explain the best ways to best utilize close relatives in genetic genealogy, and why some matches are deceptive.

You’ll need to understand the underpinnings of DNA inheritance and also of how the different vendors handle DNA matching behind the scenes.

The purpose of autosomal DNA triangulation is to confirm that a segment is passed down from a particular ancestor to you and a specific set of your matches.

Triangulation, of course, implies 3, so at least three people must all match each other on a reasonably sized portion of the same DNA segment for triangulation to occur.

Matching just one person only provides you with one path to that common ancestor. It’s possible that you match that person due to a different ancestor that you aren’t aware of, or due to chance recombination of DNA.

It’s possible that your or your match inherited part of that DNA from your maternal side and part from your paternal side, meaning that you are matching that other person’s DNA by chance.

I wrote about identical by descent (IBD), which is an accurate genealogically meaningful match, and identical by chance (IBC) which is a false match, in the article Concepts – Identical by…Descent, State, Population and Chance.

I really want you to understand why close relatives really shouldn’t be used for triangulation, and HOW close relative matches should be used, so we’re going to discuss all of the factors that affect and influence this topic – both the obvious and little-understood.

  • Legitimate Matches
  • Inheritance and Triangulation
  • Parental Cross-Matching
  • Parental Phasing
  • Automatic Phasing at FamilyTreeDNA
  • Parental Phasing Caveats
  • Pedigree Collapse
  • Endogamy
  • How Many Identical-by-Chance Matches Will I Have?
  • DNA Doesn’t Skip Generations (Seriously, It Doesn’t)
  • Your Parents Have DNA That You Don’t (And How to Use It)
  • No DNA Match Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Related
  • Imputation
  • Ancestry Issues and Workarounds
  • Testing Close Relatives is VERY Useful – Just Not for Triangulation
  • Triangulated Matches
  • Building Triangulation Evidence – Ingredients and a Recipe
  • Aunts/Uncles
  • Siblings
  • How False Positives Work and How to Avoid Them
  • Distant Cousins Are Best for Triangulation & Here’s Why
  • Where Are We? A Triangulation Checklist for You!
  • The Bottom Line

Don’t worry, these sections are logical and concise. I considered making this into multiple articles, but I really want it in one place for you. I’ve created lots of graphics with examples to help out.

Let’s start by dispelling a myth.

DNA Doesn’t Skip Generations!

Recently, someone emailed to let me know that they had “stopped listening to me” in a presentation when I said that if a match did not also match one of your parents, it was a false match. That person informed me that they had worked on their tree for three years at Ancestry and they have “proof” of DNA skipping generations.

Nope, sorry. That really doesn’t happen, but there are circumstances when a person who doesn’t understand either how DNA works, or how the vendor they are using presents DNA results could misunderstand or misinterpret the results.

You can watch my presentation, RootsTech session, DNA Triangulation: What, Why and How, for free here. I’m thrilled that this session is now being used in courses at two different universities.

DNA really doesn’t skip generations. You CANNOT inherit DNA that your parents didn’t have.

Full stop.

Your children cannot inherit DNA from you that you don’t carry. If you don’t have that DNA, your children and their descendants can’t have it either, at least not from you. They of course do inherit DNA from their other parent.

I think historically, the “skipping generations” commentary was connected to traits. For example, Susie has dimples (or whatever) and so did her maternal grandmother, but her mother did not, so Susie’s dimples were said to have “skipped a generation.” Of course, we don’t know anything about Susie’s other grandparents, if Susie’s parents share ancestors, recessive/dominant genes or even how many genetic locations are involved with the inheritance of “dimples,” but I digress.

DNA skipping generations is a fallacy.

You cannot legitimately match someone that your parent does not, at least not through that parent’s side of the tree.

But here’s the caveat. You can’t match someone one of your parents doesn’t with the rare exception of:

  • Relatively recent pedigree collapse that occurs when you have the same ancestors on both sides of your tree, meaning your parents are related, AND
  • The process of recombination just happened to split and recombine a segment of DNA in segments too small for your match to match your parents individually, but large enough when recombined to match you.

We’ll talk about that more in a minute.

However, the person working with Ancestry trees can’t make this determination because Ancestry doesn’t provide segment information. Ancestry also handles DNA differently than other vendors, which we’ll also discuss shortly.

We’ll review all of this, but let’s start at the beginning and explain how to determine if our matches are legitimate, or not.

Legitimate Matches

Legitimate matches occur when the DNA of your ancestor is passed from that ancestor to their descendants, and eventually to you and a match in an unbroken pathway.

Unbroken means that every ancestor between you and that ancestor carried and then passed on the segment of the ancestor’s DNA that you carry today. The same is true for your match who carries the same segment of DNA from your common ancestor.

False positive matches occur when the DNA of a male and female combine randomly to look like a legitimate match to someone else.

Thankfully, there are ways to tell the difference.

Inheritance and Triangulation

Remember, you inherit two copies of each of your chromosomes 1-22, one copy from your mother and one from your father. You inherit half of the DNA that each parent carries, but it’s mixed together in you so the labs can’t readily tell which nucleotide, A, C, T, or G you received from which parent. I’m showing your maternal and paternal DNA in the graphic below, stacked neatly together in a column – but in reality, it could be AC in one position and CA in the next.

For matching all that matters is the nucleotide that matches your match is present in one of those two locations. In this case, A for your mother’s side and C for your father’s side. If you’re interested, you can read more about that in the article, Hit a Genealogy Home Run Using Your Double-Sided Two-Faced Chromosomes While Avoiding Imposters.

You can see in this example that you inherited all As from your Mom and all Cs from your Dad.

  • A legitimate maternal match would match you on all As on this particular example segment.
  • A legitimate paternal match would match you on all Cs on this particular segment.
  • A false positive match will match you on some random combination of As and Cs that make it look like they match you legitimately, but they don’t.
  • A false positive match will NOT match either your mother or your father.

To be very clear, technically a false positive match DOES match your DNA – but they don’t match your DNA because you share a common ancestor with your match. They match you because random recombination on their side causes you to match each other by chance.

In other words, if part of your DNA came from your Mom’s side and part from your Dad’s but it randomly fell in the correct positional order, you’d still match someone whose DNA was from only their mother or father’s side. That’s exactly the situation shown above and below.

Looking at our example again, it’s evident that your identical by chance (IBC) match’s A locations (1, 3, 5, 7 & 9) will match your Mom. C locations (2, 4, 6 8, & 10) will match your Dad, but the nonmatching segments interleaved in-between that match alternating parents will prevent your match from matching either of your parents. In other words, out of 10 contiguous locations in our example, your IBC match has 5 As alternated with 5 Cs, so they won’t match either of your parents who have 10 As or 10 Cs in a row.

This recombination effect can work in either direction. Either or both matching people’s DNA could be randomly mixed causing them to match each other, but not their parents.

Regardless of whose DNA is zigzagging back and forth between maternal and paternal, the match is not genealogical and does not confirm a common ancestor.

This is exactly why triangulation works and is crucial.

If you legitimately match a third person, shown below, on your maternal side, they will match you, your first legitimate maternal match, and your Mom because they carry all As. But they WON’T match the person who is matching you because they are identical by chance, shown in grey below.

The only person your identical by chance match matches in this group is you because they match you because of the chance recombination of parental DNA.

That third person WILL also match all other legitimate maternal matches on this segment.

In the graphic above, we see that while the grey identical by chance person matches you because of the random combination of As from your mother and Cs from your father, your legitimate maternal matches won’t match your identical by chance match.

This is the first step in identifying false matches.

Parental Cross-Matching

Removing the identical by chance match, and adding in the parents of your legitimate maternal match, we see that your maternal match, above, matches you because you both have all As inherited from one parent, not from a combination of both parents.

We know that because we can see the DNA of both parents of both matches in this example.

The ideal situation occurs when two people match and they have both had their parents tested. We need to see if each person matches the other person’s parents.

We can see that you do NOT match your match’s father and your match does NOT match your father.

You do match your match’s mother and your match does match your mother. I refer to this as Parental Cross-matching.

Your legitimate maternal matches will also match each other and your mother if she is available for testing.

All the people in yellow match each other, while the two parents in gray do not match any of your matches. An entire group of legitimate maternal matches on this segment, no matter how many, will all match each other.

If another person matches you and the other yellow people, you’ll still need to see if you match their parents, because if not, that means they are matching you on all As because their two parents DNA combined just happened, by chance, to contribute an A in all of those positions.

In this last example, your new match, in green, matches you, your legitimate match and both of your mothers, BUT, none of the four yellow people match either of the new match’s parents. You can see that the new green match inherited their As from the DNA of their mother and father both, randomly zigzagging back and forth.

The four yellow matches phase parentally as we just proved with cross matching to parents. The new match at first glance appears to be a legitimate match because they match all of the yellow people – but they aren’t because the yellow people don’t match the green person’s parents.

To tell the difference between legitimate matches and identical by chance matches, you need two things, in order.

  • Parental matching known as parental phasing along with parental cross-matching, if possible, AND
  • Legitimate identical by descent (IBD) triangulated matches

If you have the ability to perform parental matching, called phasing, that’s the easiest first step in eliminating identical by chance matches. However, few match pairs will have parents for everyone. You can use triangulation without parental phasing if parents aren’t available.

Let’s talk about both, including when and how close relatives can and cannot be used.

Parental Phasing

The technique of confirming your match to be legitimate by your match also matching one of your parents is called parental phasing.

If we have the parents of both people in a match pair available for matching, we can easily tell if the match does NOT match either parent. That’s Parental Cross Matching. If either match does NOT match one of the other person’s parents, the match is identical by chance, also known as a false positive.

See how easy that was!

If you, for example, is the only person in your match pair to have parents available, then you can parentally phase the match on your side if your match matches your parents. However, because your match’s parents are unavailable, your match to them cannon tbe verified as legitimate on their side. So you are not phased to their parents.

If you only have one of your parents available for matching, and your match does not match that parent, you CANNOT presume that because your match does NOT match that parent, the match is a legitimate match for the other, missing, parent.

There are four possible match conditions:

  • Maternal match
  • Paternal match
  • Matches neither parent which means the match is identical by chance meaning a false positive
  • Matches both parents in the case of pedigree collapse or endogamy

If two matching people do match one parent of both matches (parental cross-matching), then the match is legitimate. In other words, if we match, I need to match one of your parents and you need to match one of mine.

It’s important to compare your matches’ DNA to generationally older direct family members such as parents or grandparents, if that’s possible. If your grandparents are available, it’s possible to phase your matches back another generation.

Automatic Phasing at FamilyTreeDNA

FamilyTreeDNA automatically phases your matches to your parents if you test that parent, create or upload a GEDCOM file, and link your test and theirs to your tree in the proper places.

FamilyTreeDNA‘s Family Matching assigns or “buckets” your matches maternally and paternally. Matches are assigned as maternal or paternal matches if one or both parents have tested.

Additionally, FamilyTreeDNA uses triangulated matches from other linked relatives within your tree even if your parents have not tested. If you don’t have your parents, the more people you identify and link to your tree in the proper place, the more people will be assigned to maternal and paternal buckets. FamilyTreeDNA is the only vendor that does this. I wrote about this process in the article, Triangulation in Action at Family Tree DNA.

Parental Phasing Caveats

There are very rare instances where parental phasing may be technically accurate, but not genealogically relevant. By this, I mean that a parent may actually match one of your matches due to endogamy or a population level match, even if it’s considered a false positive because it’s not relevant in a genealogical timeframe.

Conversely, a parent may not match when the segment is actually legitimate, but it’s quite rare and only when pedigree collapse has occurred in a very specific set of circumstances where both parents share a common ancestor.

Let’s take a look at that.

Pedigree Collapse

It’s not terribly uncommon in the not-too-distant past to find first cousins marrying each other, especially in rather closely-knit religious communities. I encounter this in Brethren, Mennonite and Amish families often where the community was small and out-marrying was frowned upon and highly discouraged. These families and sometimes entire church congregations migrated cross-country together for generations.

When pedigree collapse is present, meaning the mother and father share a common ancestor not far in the past, it is possible to inherit half of one segment from Mom and the other half from Dad where those halves originated with the same ancestral couple.

For example, let’s say the matching segment between you and your match is 12 cM in length, shown below. You inherited the blue segment from your Dad and the neighboring peach segment from Mom – shown just below the segment numbers. You received 6 cM from both parents.

Another person’s DNA does match you, shown in the bottom row, but they are not shown on the DNA match list of either of your parents. That’s because the DNA segments of the parents just happened to recombine in 6 cM pieces, respectively, which is below the 7 cM matching threshold of the vendor in this example.

If the person matched you at 12 cM where you inherited 8 cM from one parent and 4 from the other, that person would show on one parent’s match list, but not the other. They would not be on the parent’s match list who contributed only 4 cM simply because the DNA divided and recombined in that manner. They would match you on a longer segment than they match your parent at 8 cM which you might notice as “odd.”

Let’s look at another example.

click to enlarge image

If the matching segment is 20 cM, the person will match you and both of your parents on different pieces of the same segment, given that both segments are above 7 cM. In this case, your match who matches you at 20 cM will match each of your parents at 10 cM.

You would be able to tell that the end location of Dad’s segment is the same as the start location of Mom’s segment.

This is NOT common and is NOT the “go to” answer when you think someone “should” match your parent and does not. It may be worth considering in known pedigree collapse situations.

You can see why someone observing this phenomenon could “presume” that DNA skipped a generation because the person matches you on segments where they don’t match your parent. But DNA didn’t skip anything at all. This circumstance was caused by a combination of pedigree collapse, random division of DNA, then random recombination in the same location where that same DNA segment was divided earlier. Clearly, this sequence of events is not something that happens often.

If you’ve uploaded your DNA to GEDmatch, you can select the “Are your parents related?” function which scans your DNA file for runs of homozygosity (ROH) where your DNA is exactly the same in both parental locations for a significant distance. This suggests that because you inherited the exact same sequence from both parents, that your parents share an ancestor.

If your parents didn’t inherit the same segment of DNA from both parents, or the segment is too short, then they won’t show as “being related,” even if they do share a common ancestor.

Now, let’s look at the opposite situation. Parental phasing and ROH sometimes do occur when common ancestors are far back in time and the match is not genealogically relevant.

Endogamy

I often see non-genealogical matching occur when dealing with endogamy. Endogamy occurs when an entire population has been isolated genetically for a long time. In this circumstance, a substantial part of the population shares common DNA segments because there were few original population founders. Much of the present-day population carries that same DNA. Many people within that population would match on that segment. Think about the Jewish community and indigenous Americans.

Consider our original example, but this time where much of the endogamous population carries all As in these positions because one of the original founders carried that nucleotide sequence. Many people would match lots of other people regardless of whether they are a close relative or share a distant ancestor.

People with endogamous lines do share relatives, but that matching DNA segment originated in ancestors much further back in time. When dealing with endogamy, I use parental phasing as a first step, if possible, then focus on larger matches, generally 20 cM or greater. Smaller matches either aren’t relevant or you often can’t tell if/how they are.

At FamilyTreeDNA, people with endogamy will find many people bucketed on the “Both” tab meaning they triangulate with people linked on both sides of the tester’s tree.

An example of a Jewish person’s bucketed matches based on triangulation with relatives linked in their tree is shown above.

Your siblings, their children, and your children will be related on both your mother’s and father’s sides, but other people typically won’t be unless you have experienced either pedigree collapse where you are related both maternally and paternally through the same ancestors or you descend from an endogamous population.

How Many Identical-by-Chance Matches Will I Have?

If you have both parents available to test, and you’re not dealing with either pedigree collapse or endogamy, you’ll likely find that about 15-20% of your matches don’t match your parents on the same segment and are identical by chance.

With endogamy, you’ll have MANY more matches on your endogamous lines and you’ll have some irrelevant matches, often referred to as “false positive” matches even though they technically aren’t, even using parental phasing.

Your Parents Have DNA That You Don’t

Sometimes people are confused when reviewing their matches and their parent’s match to the same person, especially when they match someone and their parent matches them on a different or an additional segment.

If you match someone on a specific segment and your parents do not, that’s a false positive FOR THAT SEGMENT. Every segment has its own individual history and should be evaluated individually. You can match someone on two segments, one from each parent. Or three segments, one from each parent and one that’s identical by chance. Don’t assume.

Often, your match will match both you and your parent on the same segment – which is a legitimate parentally phased match.

But what if your match matches your parent on a different segment where they don’t match you? That’s a false positive match for you.

Keep in mind that it is possible for one of your matches to match your parent on a separate or an additional segment that IS legitimate. You simply didn’t inherit that particular segment from your parent.

That’s NOT the same situation as someone matching you that does NOT match one of your parents on the same segment – which is an identical by chance or false match.

Your parent having a match that does not match you is the reverse situation.

I have several situations where I match someone on one segment, and they match my parent on the same segment. Additionally, that person matches my parent on another segment that I did NOT inherit from that parent. That’s perfectly normal.

Remember, you only inherit half of your parent’s DNA, so you literally did NOT inherit the other half of their DNA. Your mother, for example, should have twice as many matches as you on her side because roughly half of her matches won’t match you.

That’s exactly why testing your parents and close family members is so critical. Their matches are as valid and relevant to your genealogy as your own. The same is true for other relatives, such as aunts and uncles with whom you share ALL of the same ancestors.

You need to work with your family member’s matches that you don’t share.

No DNA Match Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Related

Some people think that not matching someone on a DNA test is equivalent to saying they aren’t related. Not sharing DNA doesn’t mean you’re not related.

People are often disappointed when they don’t match someone they think they should and interpret that to mean that the testing company is telling them they “aren’t related.” They are upset and take issue with this characterization. But that’s not what it means.

Let’s analyze this a bit further.

First, not sharing DNA with a second cousin once removed (2C1R) or more distant does NOT mean you’re NOT related to that person. It simply means you don’t share any measurable DNA ABOVE THE VENDOR THRESHOLD.

All known second cousins match, but about 10% of third cousins don’t match, and so forth on up the line with each generation further back in time having fewer cousins that match each other.

If you have tested close relatives, check to see if that cousin matches your relatives.

Second, it’s possible to match through the “other” or unexpected parent. I certainly didn’t think this would be the case in my family, because my father is from Appalachia and my mother’s family is primarily from the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, and New England. But I was wrong.

All it took was one German son that settled in Appalachia, and voila, a match through my mother that I surely thought should have been through my father’s side. I have my mother’s DNA and sure enough, my match that I thought should be on my father’s side matches Mom on the same segment where they match me, along with several triangulated matches. Further research confirmed why.

I’ve also encountered situations where I legitimately match someone on both my mother’s and father’s side, on different segments.

Third, imputation can be important for people who don’t match and think they should. Imputation can also cause matching segment length to be overreported.

Ok, so what’s imputation and why do I care?

Imputation

Every DNA vendor today has to use some type of imputation.

Let me explain, in general, what imputation is and why vendors use it.

Over the years, DNA processing vendors who sell DNA chips to testing companies have changed their DNA chips pretty substantially. While genealogical autosomal tests test about 700,000 DNA locations, plus or minus, those locations have changed over time. Today, some of these chips only have 100,000 or so chip locations in common with chips either currently or previously utilized by other vendors.

The vendors who do NOT accept uploads, such as 23andMe or Ancestry, have to develop methods to make their newest customers on their DNA processing vendor’s latest chip compatible with their first customer who was tested on their oldest chip – and all iterations in-between.

Vendors who do accept transfers/uploads from other vendors have to equalize any number of vendors’ chips when their customers upload those files.

Imputation is the scientific way to achieve this cross-platform functionality and has been widely used in the industry since 2017.

Imputation, in essence, fills in the blanks between tested locations with the “most likely” DNA found in the human population based on what’s surrounding the blank location.

Think of the word C_T. There are a limited number of letters and words that are candidates for C_T. If you use the word in a sentence, your odds of accuracy increase dramatically. Think of a genetic string of nucleotides as a sentence.

Imputation can be incorrect and can cause both false positive and false negative matches.

For the most part, imputation does not affect close family matches as much as more distant matches. In other words, imputation is NOT going to cause close family members not to match.

Imputation may cause more distant family members not to match, or to have a false positive match when imputation is incorrect.

Imputation is actually MUCH less problematic than I initially expected.

The most likely effect of imputation is to cause a match to be just above or below the vendor threshold.

How can we minimize the effects of imputation?

  • Generally, the best result will be achieved if both people test at the same vendor where their DNA is processed on the same chip and less imputation is required.
  • Upload the results of both people to both MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA. If your match results are generally consistent at those vendors, imputation is not a factor.
  • GEDmatch does not use imputation but attempts to overcome files with low overlapping regions by allowing larger mismatch areas. I find their matches to be less accurate than at the various vendors.

Additionally, Ancestry has a few complicating factors.

Ancestry Issues

AncestryDNA is different in three ways.

  • Ancestry doesn’t provide segment information so it’s impossible to triangulate or identify the segment or chromosome where people match. There is no chromosome browser or triangulation tool.
  • Ancestry down-weights and removes some segments in areas where they feel that people are “too matchy.” You can read Ancestry’s white papers here and here.

These “personal pileup regions,” as they are known, can be important genealogically. In my case, these are my mother’s Acadian ancestors. Yes, this is an endogamous population and also suffers from pedigree collapse, but since this is only one of my mother’s great-grandparents, this match information is useful and should not be removed.

  • Ancestry doesn’t show matches in common if the shared segments are less than 20cM. Therefore, you may not see someone on a shared match list with a relative when they actually are a shared match.

If two people both match a third person on less than a 20 cM segment at Ancestry, the third person won’t appear on the other person’s shared match list. So, if I match John Doe on 19 cM of DNA, and I looked at the shared matches with my Dad, John Doe does NOT appear on the shared match list of me and my Dad – even though he is a match to both of us at 19 cM.

The only way to determine if John Doe is a shared match is to check my Dad’s and my match list individually, which means Dad and I will need to individually search for John Doe.

Caveat here – Ancestry’s search sometimes does not work correctly.

Might someone who doesn’t understand that the shared match list doesn’t show everyone who shares DNA with both people presume that the ancestral DNA of that ancestor “skipped a generation” because John Doe matches me with a known ancestor, and not Dad on our shared match list? I mean, wouldn’t you think that a shared match would be shown on a tab labeled “Shared Matches,” especially since there is no disclaimer?

Yes, people can be forgiven for believing that somehow DNA “skipped” a generation in this circumstance, especially if they are relatively inexperienced and they don’t understand Ancestry’s anomalies or know that they need to or how to search for matches individually.

Even if John Doe does match me and Dad both, we still need to confirm that it’s on the same segment AND it’s a legitimate match, not IBC. You can’t perform either of these functions at Ancestry, but you can elsewhere.

Ancestry WorkArounds

To obtain this functionality, people can upload their DNA files for free to both FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage, companies that do provide full shared DNA reporting (in common with) lists of ALL matches and do provide segment information with chromosome browsers. Furthermore, both provide triangulation in different ways.

Matching is free, but an inexpensive unlock is required at both vendors to access advanced tools such as Family Matching (bucketing) and triangulation at Family Tree DNA and phasing/triangulation at MyHeritage.

I wrote about Triangulation in Action at FamilyTreeDNA, here.

MyHeritage actually brackets triangulated segments for customers on their chromosome browser, including parents, so you get triangulation and parental phasing at the same time if you and your parent have both tested or uploaded your DNA file to MyHeritage. You can upload, for free, here.

In this example, my mother is matching to me in red on the entire length of chromosome 18, of course, and three other maternal cousins triangulate with me and mother inside the bracketed portion of chromosome 18. Please note that if any one of the people included in the chromosome browser comparison do not triangulate, no bracket is drawn around any others who do triangulate. It’s all or nothing. I remove people one by one to see if people triangulate – or build one by one with my mother included.

I wrote about Triangulation in Action at MyHeritage, here.

People can also upload to GEDmatch, a third-party site. While GEDmatch is less reliable for matching, you can adjust your search thresholds which you cannot do at other vendors. I don’t recommend routinely working below 7 cM. I occasionally use GEDmatch to see if a pedigree collapse segment has recombined below another vendor’s segment matching threshold.

Do NOT check the box to prevent hard breaks when selecting the One-to-One comparison. Checking that box allows GEDmatch to combine smaller matching segments into mega-segments for matching.

I wrote about Triangulation in Action at GEDmatch, here.

Transferring/Uploading Your DNA 

If you want to transfer your DNA to one of these vendors, you must download the DNA file from one vendor and upload it to another. That process does NOT remove your DNA file from the vendor where you tested, unless you select that option entirely separately.

I wrote full step-by-step transfer/upload instructions for each vendor, here.

Testing Close Relatives Is VERY Useful – Just Not for Triangulation

Of course, your best bet if you don’t have your parents available to test is to test as many of your grandparents, great-aunts/uncles, aunts, and uncles as possible. Test your siblings as well, because they will have inherited some of the same and some different segments of DNA from your parents – which means they carry different pieces of your ancestors’ DNA.

Just because close relatives don’t make good triangulation candidates doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable. Close relatives are golden because when they DO share a match with you, you know where to start looking for a common ancestor, even if your relative matches that person on a different segment than you do.

Close relatives are also important because they will share pieces of your common ancestor’s DNA that you don’t. Their matches can unlock the answers to your genealogy questions.

Ok, back to triangulation.

Triangulated Matches

A triangulated match is, of course, when three people all descended from a common ancestor and match each other on the same segment of DNA.

That means all three people’s DNA matches each other on that same segment, confirming that the match is not by chance, and that segment did descend from a common ancestor or ancestral couple.

But, is this always true? You’re going to hate this answer…

“It depends.”

You knew that was coming, didn’t you! 😊

It depends on the circumstances and relationships of the three people involved.

  • One of those three people can match the other two by chance, not by descent, especially if two of those people are close relatives to each other.
  • Identical by chance means that one of you didn’t inherit that DNA from one single parent. That zigzag phenomenon.
  • Furthermore, triangulated DNA is only valid as far back as the closest common ancestor of any two of the three people.

Let’s explore some examples.

Building Triangulation Evidence – Ingredients and a Recipe

The strongest case of triangulation is when:

  • You and at least two additional cousins match on the same segment AND
  • Descend through different children of the common ancestral couple

Let’s look at a valid triangulated match.

In this first example, the magenta segment of DNA is at least partially shared by four of the six cousins and triangulates to their common great-grandfather. Let’s say that these cousins then match with two other people descended from different children of their great-great-great-grandparents on this same segment. Then the entire triangulation group will have confirmed that segment’s origin and push the descent of that segment back another two generations.

These people all coalesce into one line with their common great-grandparents.

I’m only showing 3 generations in this triangulated match, but the concept is the same no matter how many generations you reach back in time. Although, over time, segments inherited from any specific ancestor become smaller and smaller until they are no longer passed to the next generation.

In this pedigree chart, we’re only tracking the magenta DNA which is passed generation to generation in descendants.

Eventually, of course, those segments become smaller and indistinguishable as they either aren’t passed on at all or drop below vendor matching thresholds.

This chart shows the average amount of DNA you would carry from each generational ancestor. You inherit half of each parent’s DNA, but back further than that, you don’t receive exactly half of any ancestor’s DNA in any generation. Larger segments are generally cut in two and passed on partially, but smaller segments are often either passed on whole or not at all.

On average, you’ll carry 7 cM of your eight-times-great-grandparents. In reality, you may carry more or you may not carry any – and you are unlikely to carry the same segment as any random other descendants but we know it happens and you’ll find them if enough (or the right) descendants test.

Putting this another way, if you divide all of your approximate 7000 cM of DNA into 7 cM segments of equal length – you’ll have 1000 7 cM segments. So will every other descendant of your eight-times-great-grandparent. You can see how small the chances are of you both inheriting that same exact 7 cM segment through ten inheritance/transmission events, each. Yet it does happen.

I have several triangulated matches with descendants of Charles Dodson and his wife, Anne through multiple of their 9 (or so) children, ten generations back in my tree. Those triangulated matches range from 7-38 cM. It’s possible that those three largest matches at 38 cM could be related through multiple ancestors because we all have holes in our trees – including Anne’s surname.

Click to enlarge image

It helps immensely that Charles Dodson had several children who were quite prolific as well.

Of course, the further back in time, the more “proof” is necessary to eliminate other unknown common ancestors. This is exactly why matching through different children is important for triangulation and ancestor confirmation.

The method we use to confirm the common ancestor is that all of the descendants who match the tester on the same segment all also match each other. This greatly reduces the chances that these people are matching by chance. The more people in the triangulation group, the stronger the evidence. Of course, parental phasing or cross-matching, where available is an added confirmation bonus.

In our magenta inheritance example, we saw that three of the males and one of the females from three different descendants of the great-grandparents all carry at least a portion of that magenta segment of great-grandpa’s DNA.

Now, let’s take a look at a different scenario.

Why can’t siblings or close relatives be used as two of the three people needed for triangulation?

Aunts and Uncles

We know that the best way to determine if a match is valid is by parental phasing – your match also matching to one of your parents.

If both parents aren’t available, looking for close family matches in common with your match is the next hint that genealogists seek.

Let’s say that you and your match both match your aunt or uncle in common or their children.

You and your aunts or uncles matching DNA only pushes your common ancestor back to your grandparents.

At that point, your match is in essence matching to a segment that belongs to your grandparents. Your matches’ DNA, or your grandparents’ DNA could have randomly recombined and you and your aunt/cousins could be matching that third person by chance.

Ok, then, what about siblings?

Siblings

The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of you and someone who also matches your sibling is your parents. Therefore, you and your sibling actually only count as one “person” in this scenario. In essence, it’s the DNA of your parent(s) that is matching that third person, so it’s not true triangulation. It’s the same situation as above with aunts/uncles, except the common ancestor is closer than your grandparents.

The DNA of your parents could have recombined in both siblings to look like a match to your match’s family. Or vice versa. Remember Parental Cross-Matching.

If you and a sibling inherited EXACTLY the same segment of your Mom’s and Dad’s DNA, and you match someone by chance – that person will match your sibling by chance as well.

In this example, you can see that both siblings 1 and 2 inherited the exact same segments of DNA at the same locations from both of their parents.

Of course, they also inherited segments at different locations that we’re not looking at that won’t match exactly between siblings, unless they are identical twins. But in this case, the inherited segments of both siblings will match someone whose DNA randomly combined with green or magenta dots in these positions to match a cross-section of both parents.

How False Positives Work and How to Avoid Them

We saw in our first example, displayed again above, what a valid triangulated match looks like. Now let’s expand this view and take a look more specifically at how false positive matches occur.

On the left-hand (blue) side of this graphic, we see four siblings that descend through their father from Great-grandpa who contributed that large magenta segment of DNA. That segment becomes reduced in descendants in subsequent generations.

In downstream generations, we can see gold, white and green segments being added to the DNA inherited by the four children from their ancestor’s spouses. Dad’s DNA is shown on the left side of each child, and Mom’s on the right.

  • Blue Children 1 and 2 inherited the same segments of DNA from Mom and Dad. Magenta from Dad and green from Mom.
  • Blue Child 3 inherited two magenta segments from Dad in positions 1 and 2 and one gold segment from Dad in position 3. They inherited all white segments from Mom.
  • Blue Child 4 inherited all gold segments from Dad and all white segments from Mom.

The family on the blue left-hand side is NOT related to the pink family shown at right. That’s important to remember.

I’ve intentionally constructed this graphic so that you can see several identical by chance (IBC) matches.

Child 5, the first pink sibling carries a white segment in position 1 from Dad and gold segments in positions 2 and 3 from Dad. From Mom, they inherited a green segment in position 1, magenta in position 2 and green in position 3.

IBC Match 1 – Looking at the blue siblings, we see that based on the DNA inherited from Pink Child 5’s parents, Pink Child 5 matches Blue Child 4 with white, gold and gold in positions 1-3, even though they weren’t inherited from the same parent in Blue Child 4. I circled this match in blue.

IBC Match 2 – Pink Child 5 also matches Blue Children 1 and 2 (red circles) because Pink Child 5 has green, magenta, and green in positions 1-3 and so do Blue Children 1 and 2. However, Blue Children 1 and 2 inherited the green and magenta segments from Mom and Dad respectively, not just from one parent.

Pink Child 5 matches Blue Children 1, 2 and 4, but not because they match by descent, but because their DNA zigzags back and forth between the blue children’s DNA contributed by both parents.

Therefore, while Pink Child 5 matches three of the Blue Children, they do not match either parent of the Blue Children.

IBC Match 3 – Pink Child 6 matches Blue Child 3 with white, magenta and gold in positions 1-3 based on the same colors of dots in those same positions found in Blue Child 3 – but inherited both paternally and maternally.

You can see that if we had the four parents available to test, that none of the Pink Children would match either the Blue Children’s mother or father and none of the Blue Children would match either of the Pink Children’s mother or father.

This is why we can’t use either siblings or close family relatives for triangulation.

Distant Cousins Are Best for Triangulation & Here’s Why

When triangulating with 3 people, the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) intersection of the closest two people is the place at which triangulation turns into only two lines being compared and ceases being triangulation. Triangle means 3.

If siblings are 2 of the 3 matching people, then their parents are essentially being compared to the third person.

If you, your aunt/uncle, and a third person match, your grandparents are the place in your tree where three lines converge into two.

The same holds true if you’re matching against a sibling pair on your match’s side, or a match and their aunt/uncle, etc.

The further back in your tree you can push that MRCA intersection, the more your triangulated match provides confirming evidence of a common ancestor and that the match is valid and not caused by random recombination.

That’s exactly what the descendants of Charles Dodson have been able to do through triangulation with multiple descendants from several of his children.

It’s also worth mentioning at this point that the reason autosomal DNA testing uses hundreds/thousands of base pairs in a comparison window and not 3 or 6 dots like in my example is that the probability of longer segments of DNA simply randomly matching by chance is reduced with length and SNP density which is the number of SNP locations tested within that cM range.

Hence a 7 cM/500 SNP minimum is the combined rule of thumb. At that level, roughly half of your matches will be valid and half will be identical by chance unless you’re dealing with endogamy. Then, raise your threshold accordingly.

Ok, So Where are We? A Triangulation Checklist for You!

I know this has been a relatively long educational article, but it’s important to really understand that testing close relatives is VERY important, but also why we can’t effectively use them for triangulation.

Here’s a handy-dandy summary matching/triangulation checklist for you to use as you work through your matches.

  • You inherit half of each of your parents’ DNA. There is no other place for you to obtain or inherit your DNA. There is no DNA fairy sprinkling you with DNA from another source:)
  • DNA does NOT skip generations, although in occasional rare circumstances, it may appear that this happened. In this situation, it’s incumbent upon you, the genealogist, to PROVE that an exception has occurred if you really believe it has. Those circumstances might be pedigree collapse or perhaps imputation. You’ll need to compare matches at vendors who provide a chromosome browser, triangulation, and full shared match list information. Never assume that you are the exception without hard and fast proof. We all know about assume, right?
  • Your siblings inherit half of your parents’ DNA too, but not the same exact half of your parent’s DNA that you other siblings did (unless they are identical twins.) You may inherit the exact same DNA from either or both of your parents on certain segments.
  • Your matches may match your parents on different or an additional segment that you did not inherit.
  • Every segment has an individual history. Evaluate every matching segment separately. One matching segment with someone could be maternal, one paternal, and one identical by chance.
  • You can confirm matches as valid if your match matches one of your parents, and you match one of your match’s parents. Parental Phasing is when your match matches your parent. Parental Cross-Matching is when you both match one of each other’s parents. To be complete, both people who match each other need to match one of the parents of the other person. This rule still holds even if you have a known common ancestor. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been fooled.
  • 15-20% (or more with endogamy) of your matches will be identical by chance because either your DNA or your match’s DNA aligns in such a way that while they match you, they don’t match either of your parents.
  • Your siblings, aunts, and uncles will often inherit the same DNA as you – which means that identical by chance matches will also match them. That’s why we don’t use close family members for triangulation. We do utilize close family members to generate common match hints. (Remember the 20 cM shared match caveat at Ancestry)
  • While your siblings, aunts, and uncles are too close to use for triangulation, they are wonderful to identify ancestral matches. Some of their matches will match you as well, and some will not because your close family members inherited segments of your ancestor’s DNA that you did not. Everyone should test their oldest family members.
  • Triangulate your close family member’s matches separately from your own to shed more light on your ancestors.
  • Endogamy may interfere with parental phasing, meaning you may match because you and/or your match may have inherited some of the same DNA segment(s) from both sides of your tree and/or more DNA than might otherwise be expected.
  • Pedigree collapse needs to be considered when using parental phasing, especially when the same ancestor appears on both sides of your family tree. You may share more DNA with a match than expected.
  • Conversely, with pedigree collapse, your match may not match your parents, or vice versa, if a segment happens to have recombined in you in a way that drops the matching segments of your parents beneath the vendor’s match threshold.
  • While you will match all of your second cousins, you will only match approximately 90% of your third cousins and proportionally fewer as your relationship reaches further back in time.
  • Not being a DNA match with someone does NOT mean you’re NOT related to them, unless of course, you’re a second cousin (2C) or closer. It simply means you don’t carry any common ancestral segments above vendor thresholds.
  • At 2C or closer, if you’re not a DNA match, other alternative situations need to be considered – including the transfer/upload of the wrong person’s DNA file.
  • Imputation, a scientific process required of vendors may interfere with matching, especially in more distant relatives who have tested on different platforms.
  • Imputation artifacts will be less obvious when people are more closely related, meaning closer relatives can be expected to match on more and larger segments and imputation errors make less difference.
  • Imputation will not cause close relatives, meaning 2C or closer, to not match each other.
  • In addition to not supporting segment matching information, Ancestry down-weights some segments, removes some matching DNA, and does not show shared matches below 20cM, causing some people to misinterpret their lack of common matches in various ways.
  • To resolve questions about matching issues at Ancestry, testers can transfer/upload their DNA files to MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, and GEDmatch and look for consistent matches on the same segment. Start and end locations may vary to some extent between vendors, but the segment size should be basically in the same location and roughly the same size.
  • GEDmatch does not use imputation but allows larger non-matching segments to combine as a single segment which sometimes causes extremely “generous” matches. GEDmatch matching is less reliable than FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage, but you can adjust the matching thresholds.
  • The best situation for matching is for both people to test at the same vendor who supports and provides segment data and a chromosome browser such as 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, or MyHeritage.
  • Siblings cannot be used for triangulation because the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) between you and your siblings is your parents. Therefore, the “three” people in the triangulation group is reduced to two lines immediately.
  • Uncles and aunts should not be used for triangulation because the most recent common ancestors between you and your aunts and uncles are your grandparents.
  • Conversely, you should not consider triangulating with siblings and close family members of your matches as proof of an ancestral relationship.
  • A triangulation group of 3 people is only confirmation as far back as when two of those people’s lines converge and reach a common ancestor.
  • Identical by chance (IBC) matching occurs when DNA from the maternal and paternal sides are mixed positionally in the child to resemble a maternal/paternal side match with someone else.
  • Identical by chance DNA admixture (when compared to a match) could have occurred in your parents or grandparent’s generation, or earlier, so the further back in time that people in a triangulation group reach, the more reliable the triangulation group is likely to be.
  • The larger the segments and/or the triangulation group, the stronger the evidence for a specific confirmed common ancestor.
  • Early families with a very large number of descendants may have many matching and triangulated members, even 9 or 10 generations later.
  • While exactly 50% of each ancestor’s DNA is not passed in each generation, on average, you will carry 7 cM of your ancestors 10 generations back in your tree. However, you may carry more, or none.
  • The percentage of matching descendants decreases with each generation beyond great-grandparents.
  • The ideal situation for triangulation is a significant number of people, greater than three, who match on the same reasonably sized segment (7 cM/500 SNP or larger) and descend from the same ancestor (or ancestral couple) through different children whose spouses in descendant generations are not also related.
  • This means that tree completion is an important factor in match/triangulation reliability.
  • Triangulating through different children of the ancestral couple makes it significantly less likely that a different unknown common ancestor is contributing that segment of DNA – like an unknown wife in a descendant generation.

Whew!!!

The Bottom Line

Here’s the bottom line.

  1. Don’t use close relatives to triangulate.
  2. Use parents for Parental Phasing.
  3. Use Parental Cross-Matching when possible.
  4. Use close relatives to look for shared common matches that may lead to triangulation possibilities.
  5. Triangulate your close relatives’ DNA in addition to your own for bonus genealogical information. They will match people that you don’t.
  6. For the most reliable triangulation results, use the most distant relatives possible, descended through different children of the common ancestral couple.
  7. Keep this checklist of best practices, cautions, and caveats handy and check the list as necessary when evaluating the strength of any match or triangulation group. It serves as a good reminder for what to check if something seems “off” or unusual.

Feel free to share and pass this article (and checklist) on to your genealogy buddies and matches as you explain triangulation and collaborate on your genealogy.

Have fun!!!

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Curt Lore: Knock, Knock, Knocking at the Door – 52 Ancestors #328

1908 ended in Rushville, Indiana with Edith Lore marrying John Ferverda in November, “quietly,” the same day as they obtained their license, in the home of the Presbyterian minister.

For socialites, Nora Kirsch Lore and Curt Lore, this turn of events for their daughter was quite out of character. Why on earth did Edith and John marry in this manner? And no, in case you’re wondering, there wasn’t a baby on the way.

Perhaps it was because Curt was out of commission for several weeks in 1908 when he had typhoid and nearly died.

Perhaps an unfortunate suicide within the family had made the couple decide that sooner was better than later.

Or, maybe there was more to the story.

What was happening in Rushville in the Lore family?

Rushville in 1909

Postcard courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

Never doubt for one minute that Rushville was a fast-living high-stakes horse-racing town.

This birds-eye view from 1909 clearly shows the racetrack beside the creek, in the flood-prone area. Rushville was built around racing.

Courtesy Indiana Historical Society

That horse racing track was quite large in comparison to the village itself, perhaps reflective of its outsized influence on the citizens. Much of Rushville’s early development was thanks to “horse money.”

Curt and Nora lived in town, raising their four daughters, but Curt’s racehorses were boarded someplace nearby. This postcard, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, shows a typical horse farm. Indeed, for all we know, one, or some of these could have been Curt’s.

Even today, the area that was originally the horse-racing track is still quite large when compared to the rest of the city and dominates the landscape.

The courthouse is marked with a red star, then the First Presbyterian Church where Nora and the girls attended services, and finally, on West Second Street, the location where the Lore family lived.

Panning out a bit, further to the left, we see the East Hill Cemetery. Curt Lore built a mausoleum there for the Reed family in 1907. It was the last stop for Rushville citizens.

Curt himself had cheated the grim reaper in 1907. In January, he came down with typhoid. For weeks on end, the newspaper reported that he was very ill and not expected to survive. Imagine reading that if you were his wife or daughters.

John Ferverda was a pallbearer in January for a typhoid victim, probably a friend of his future wife, Edith.

The river had flooded, contaminating wells with sewage. Nora sent the girls to their grandmother’s in Aurora, preparing for the worst.

One daughter, Curtis, remained at home to help care for her father.

Did the other daughters, especially the two youngest children, realize they were being sent away to spare them the agony of witnessing their father’s death?

On March 18th, Curt was still reported to be the same, but then, on the 21st, the newspaper reported him to be out riding. Not on a horse, I’m sure, but in a buggy. Then again, a week later.

Glory be! Curt had triumphed in his battle against the Grim Reaper.

On June 10th, Curt seemed to be functioning again. He applied for a position as the superintendent of light and water that he did not get. He still, however, retained the city’s street sprinkler contract, but on the 11th his horse died.

Curt still retained his spunk, mixing it up with the local Marshall and got himself arrested in June. This is the only record of Curt actually getting into legal trouble, although I suspect he stepped quite close to that line regularly.

Life continued for his daughters and Nora like normal. Social outings, card games, meetings at the social club, church – all reported in the local newspaper. Thankfully, for me.

In October 1907, Curt bid on and was awarded bridge repair contracts. That apparently worked well, because he was awarded additional contracts in May of 1908. In June, he purchased a “large cement mixer,” so he was apparently planning on doing more construction and bridge repair.

At that point, we were beginning to see less of Curt in the newspaper, but in September he was visiting Knightstown on business and in October 1908, was involved with a political parade.

We also find fewer mentions of Nora in the social columns. Of course, one might surmise that because her grandparents were ill and passed away and because her sister’s husband met with an untimely and tragic death on Halloween that perhaps Nora was otherwise occupied.

Everything seemed pretty much normal, if somewhat quiet…right up until the extremely subdued November wedding of Edith and John.

Normally, the Rushville newspaper social column tells us who is visiting whom on the train, especially during the holidays. Not one peep about any of the Lore family. Nada. Nothing.

What was going on?

1909

  • January 27, 1909 – John Ferveda got several encores with his singing act.
  • February 1 and February 10, 1909 – C. B. Lore is in very poor health at his home on West Second Street.

Uh oh, now we know. Curt’s sick again.

  • April 15, 1909 – Nora Lore to Curtis B. Lore, part lot 5 in the original plat of Rushville, $1, etc.

Based on a later entry where Nora sells this lot, I suspect that this transaction is reversed and Curt deeded the lot to Nora. Curt is transferring assets to Nora.

  • May 14, 1909 – Newspaper states that John Ferveda (sic) is the operator at the Big 4 Station in Rushville and had at one time an assistant in the office in Carthage. Carthage is about 15 miles northwest of Rushville.
  • June 1, 1909 – Misses Curtis and Mildred Lore went to Aurora yesterday to be the guests of their grandmother for several weeks.
  • June 17, 1909 – Children’s Day will be observed at the Presbyterian church next Sunday. The Sunday School will render interesting exercises in the evening: “That Little Word of Don’t” – Eloise Lore
  • June 21, 1909 – Misses Curtis and Mildred Lore returned Saturday from Aurora where they have been the guests of their grandparents. Their sister, Eloise, who has been visiting there several months accompanied them home.

The girls are growing up. Curtis is 18, Mildred is 10 and Eloise is just under 6. Caring for a family in addition to Curt’s apparent illness must have been extremely difficult for Nora. Edith was married, but she and John helped Nora.

  • June 23, 1909 – Carrie Wieman of Aurora is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore and family on Second Street.

Carrie Kirsch Wymond was Nora’s sister. The daughters of the Kirsch family had been on the receiving end of grief for months. Margaret’s husband, Todd Fiske killed himself on Halloween the fall before.

Carrie’s husband was increasingly ill with syphilis which was probably quite the closely guarded family secret. Sadly, he had given it to her too.

  • June 26, 1909 – Curt Lore who is also in the business, is oiling in Main Street between First and Second. He heats the oil before applying it and says that it will last longer. The summer will probably come and go and all the streets in the downtown district will never be oiled, if the weatherman continues to oppose the movement. The rain is not injurious to the oil, but stops the work and it cannot be put on while the streets are wet. An almost continuous rain fell for 48 hours shortly after the improvement was tried in front of the Daily Republican office and did no harm.
  • June 29, 1909 – Tim Hiner and Curt Lore were busily engaged today oiling Main Street between 2nd and 3rd.

Curt is back at work! He recovered AGAIN. This is amazing!

  • July 13, 1909 – Rushville Daily Republican – Edgar Lore of Shelbyville is the guest of his uncle, C. B. Lore and family on West Second Street.

This is a fascinating record because it gives a name to one of Curt’s nephews. I wonder if this is Lon’s son. Census and Ancestry research don’t show this Edgar in Shelbyville or nearby. There is an Edgar in Butler Co., PA who may be related. The mystery remains about Curt Lore’s brothers and their families, but this is one more puzzle piece. Maybe someday a DNA match will help answer the questions about Curt’s family.

  • July 14, 1909 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond is the guest of C. B. Lore and family on West Second for several days.

I suspect that Carrie was no longer living with her husband, all things considered.

  • July 18, 1909 – Edger Kirsch returned to Shelbyville today after spending a few days with C. B. Lore and family.
  • July 28, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Russell Payne, Mr. and Mrs. John Ferveda, Miss Curtis Lore and George Kelly have established a camp a short distance north of this city.

I wonder what camping in 1909 was like? I never even considered that my grandmother even MIGHT HAVE camped.

FamilySearch offered this photo of camping and cooking, and I found a book written in 1909 about the same subject.

  • Martin Kirsch and son Edgar of Shelbyville spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Lore and family in West Second Street. They made the trip on motorcycles.
  • August 17, 1909 – C. R. Morgan of Alexandria is relieving J. W. Ferveda, Big Four operator. Mr. and Mrs. Ferveda while on their vacation will visit relatives in Aurora and Leesburg.

Edith and John spent their vacation visiting both sets of parents.

  • August 27, 1909 – Of course the I. & C. officials did not know that George Kelly and Miss Curtis Lore had spent the afternoon together on the fairground. But the car was crowded and the officials thought that the very last one had got on that could ride. Miss Lore was the last. George stood and watched the car pull out and wished there had been room for one more. And now their friends are having a lot of fun out of it.

We know that Curtis Lore had a boyfriend from my grandmother’s stories, but we’ve never known who he was. The boyfriend’s family apparently moved “west” as in to someplace like Arizona. Curtis wanted to go along, at that time, to improve her health. Nora said no, and always blamed herself for what happened to Carrie after he and his family left. Nora regretted that decision for the rest of her life.

Was that boyfriend George Kelly? I suspect so. I do not find any George Kelly in Rush County in the 1910 census, so he could have been “the one.”

  • September 1909 – Joseph Wymond, Carrie Kirsch Wymond’s husband is committed to the Wabash Valley Sanitorium near Lafayette, Indiana where he would eventually die of his “affliction.”.
  • October 20, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen arrived last night to be the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore in West Second Street.
  • October 21, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Ed. L. Beer entertained at 6 o’clock dinner last evening Mr. and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen and Mrs. Curt Lore.
  • October 22, 1909 – Mrs. Will Coverston has been the guest of Mrs. Curt Lore on West second street and went to Anderson before returning home to Goshen.

It seems that the Coverstons continued to be close friends of Curt and Nora. They had likely came to say goodbye to Curt and help Nora.

White Plague

You see, Curt had tuberculosis.

I’m amazed given the contagious nature of this disease which was untreatable before antibiotics that so many people came and went.

  • November 17, 1909 – C. B. Lore who has been ill for several months is very low at his home on West Second Street.
  • November 26, 1909

Curt died. He had cheated the Grim Reaper so many times before. In 1907 and 1908 and even earlier in 1909. But not this time.

The Grim Reaper came calling, knocking on the door, intending to collect. Sadly, there was no escaping, not even for seemingly invincible Curt Lore.

Curt was only 48 years old, or so this and his obituary both say.

Ironically, even with this death certificate, there is still uncertainty about when he was born, based on the 1860 census in Pennsylvania which tells us he was born in 1856.

It’s pretty hard to be in the 1860 census if you weren’t born until a year later.

Perhaps Curt had not been entirely forthcoming with Nora. Maybe once he had subtracted 5 years off of his age, it was just easier to remain “younger” than face the music of an angry wife.

Yep, born in 1861 it was. No one would ever know – at least not until genealogists started digging. Pesky great-granddaughter, anyway:)

Family

It’s worth noting that the obituary mentions several things and omits others. Curt’s father is noted, for example, but not his mother who outlived his father. It mentions that Curt had four brothers. That’s true, but he had at least one more and possibly two that lived to adulthood.

He also had one sister who positively outlived him.

This family is incredibly difficult to unravel due to the combination of a lack of records and becoming so fractured and scattered after both parents’ deaths.

Curt was making his way in life on his own from about the age of 12 or so.

But perhaps most interesting is that there is no mention of children other than his daughters with Nora.

Three Years

My grandfather and my great-aunt used to talk about Curt’s illness. His death certificate tells us that he had tuberculosis for about 3 years. This article mentions that he has been quite ill for the past year, which equates almost exactly to the time when Edith and John married. Perhaps now we’ve solved the mystery of why they married “quietly.” Curt was becoming increasingly ill. Perhaps the young couple realized he wasn’t going to get better, so there was no pointing waiting to marry. He wasn’t going to be able to walk Edith down the aisle, nor pay for a wedding – ever.

Three years tracks back to about November of 1906, give or take. That was the fall that Edith was in business college, assuming she actually did attend in Indianapolis.

In early January of 1907, the newspaper reports that “Curt Lore who has been employed with the Indianapolis, Columbus and Southern Interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.” Sounds like he was no longer working at that job. Maybe now we know why.

This also tracks back to almost exactly the time that Curt contracted typhoid, in January of 1907.

Curt managed to beat typhoid, but unbeknownst to us, it appears that he beat BOTH typhoid AND tuberculosis at the same time. I can’t even begin to imagine the fortitude required to beat not one, but both diseases.

He worked through the next two years – sprinkling the streets, repairing bridges, and otherwise earning a living. I’m sure Curt simply tried to work through his misery until he was simply too sick to get out of bed.

Having recovered from simultaneous diseases earlier, I have immense respect for this man’s stamina. Sadly, he simply wasn’t able to do it again. His body was ravaged.

According to family members, when Nora realized how ill Curt really was, and the eventual prognosis – she quietly approached the city fathers and ask them not to award Curt more contracts. She was concerned about the legal ramifications if he were to die with a half-fulfilled contract. It’s not like she could repair bridges herself.

Nora once told my Mom that she thought Curt contracted TB when he went to Kentucky on horse business.

Curt lived fast and died relatively young.

Following Curth’s death, Nora’s life would become immensely more difficult. Their daughters at home were Curtis, 18, Mildred 10, and Eloise 6.

Curtis, named for her father, adored Curt and helped Nora care for him.

Daughter Edith, Curtis’s sister, and best friend was married of course, but lived locally and could help her parents.

The two youngest girls were sent to their grandparents in Aurora during Curt’s illness. Probably both to protect them and because Nora simply could not do any more. Caregiving is incredibly difficult and all-consuming, especially when taking into consideration that Curt was carrying a lethal disease and quite contagious.

Now we know why any mention of the couple ceased in the newspaper. Their social life ceased too – not just because of the illness itself and care requirements. Everyone in Rushville would have known to keep a safe distance.

Their Address

The 1900 census does not give a street address for Nora and Curt, so it was only through his death certificate that I was able to discover where they actually lived.

The map shows the location, given that “West” begins at Main Street. I can’t read the last digit of the street address, but it’s clearly 421, 427, or 429. Based on the other numbers on the same certificate, I believe it’s 421.

The property has to be the one outlined in red above. The houses to the right are 417-419 and the house to the left is 431, so too far west.

This earlier 1879 map shows the same property along with the depot and nearby warehouses. This makes sense, especially considering their good friends were station-masters and Edith, their daughter, married John Ferverda, the railroad station agent.

Regardless of which address was theirs, the house stood on this piece of land, and it looks like they had an extra-large backyard, extending onto what is now the lot 424 First Street, behind 423 Second Street.

It’s here that Curt and Nora lived for at least a decade, probably closer to two decades, and most of their married life.

While those properties hold contemporary buildings today, the neighbor house, at left, looks like it was probably standing when Nora and Curt lived next door.

  • November 27, 1909 – C. B. Lore who died Thursday evening held a $1000 policy in the State Life of Springfield, Mass. The funeral of Curtis B. Lore who died of tuberculosis on Thursday evening will be held at the home in West Second street Sunday afternoon at 2:30, conducted by the Rev. J. F. Cowling. Burial will be in East Hill Cemetery.

Curt would be buried in East Hill, like the rest of the Rushville folks, near the mausoleum that he had built just two years earlier.

I am very glad that Nora had this life insurance policy, but it would not last long. Ever darker times were ahead. However, first, she had to bury Curt and probably pay some large number of overdue bills.

There’s no record of Curt working beyond summer, and he likely could only work less and less as he became increasingly ill.

It’s interesting that Curt’s funeral was not in the Presbyterian Church, although his obituary said that he was a member. Perhaps he was a member in name only to placate Nora.

Curt’s father’s family had a traumatic emotional journey due to differences between Catholicism and the Protestant faith, literally severing the family, cleaving them clean in half like a religious saber. Curt’s father left the family and left Canada after his mother died. I doubt he ever looked back.

Curt’s avoidance of all churches may have been a result of those family experiences and a deeply ingrained suspicion of everything church-related held by the Lore family for generations.

Driving Up and Down Second Street

Wanting to see as much of Rushville as I could, I “drove” up and down Second street on Google, looking at homes. Second Street isn’t very long, extending left to right (west to east) on the north side of the courthouse, below.

Their home is the red star at left, and the courthouse at far right.

Would Curt and his family even recognize Rushville today? I think so. There’s a lot new, but the courthouse was build in 1896 and hasn’t changed much. Curt was certainly in this building a lot.

Driving down Second Street towards their house, then turning around and looking back at the courthouse gives is a peek, if you ignore the vehicles, at what the town might have looked like back in the day.

Many of these buildings in the downtown area likely stood when Curt watered these streets before they were paved. The courthouse is at right two blocks in the distance.

Turning around and looking westward on second, we pass by the Knights of Pythias Hall where Curt attended meetings.

The first actual homes today begin in the 200 block of West Second.

Most homes are gone and have been replaced by more contemporary buildings, but a few remain.

Looking west from Second and Harrison into the area that today remains residential with vintage homes. Curt and Nora lived about 2 blocks further west.

I love this house. This wasn’t where they lived, but they certainly would have passed by. Their home had to be spacious because they had 2 servants living with them in 1900, plus 4 children, and Curt was a successful businessman.

That old 1879 Rushville map shows that the area where the 400 block of West Second is today was at that time a warehouse and the train tracks were laid right down the side of what is today Second Street. The depot is shown too, near the stockyards. I’m sure that there was some sort of industrial or animal noise at all times. If I close my eyes, I can hear it.

In 1900, Nora and Curt’s neighbor was the railroad agent, so this location makes sense. Edith married John Ferverda, the station agent, so I should be extremely grateful that they lived where they did.

A lot changed in Rushville between 1879 and 1900 as well. At some point, those tracks down the street were removed and the warehouse replaced with homes.

It’s also possible that the houses have been renumbered sometime between 1909 and today. I’ve seen that happen more than once, and it plays havoc with dealing with early original records and trying to find current locations.

Google Maps shows that the entire 420 section of West Second appears to be gone now, replaced with a contemporary home and garage. The brick house on the left is probably where their house stood.

The house on either side looks to be original.

Standing in the street where they lived, looking downtown at the courthouse, I realize just how small this town was. Curt probably walked many places, or took the buggy, of course. Curt’s daughters are shown in the buggy with one of their horses, below

Two of the Lore daughters with horse and buggy near Rushville.

Standing in this very place on Second Street back in their day, horses would have been clip-clopping, carriages creaking perhaps, and the train whistle in the distance. You would have been able to hear people talking, especially in the hot summertime with windows open. Maybe smell dinner cooking too.

Now, Nora and the girls would have to navigate without Curt.

Burial

  • December 14, 1909 – East Hill Cemetery Company to Mrs. Nora Lore, lot in cemetery, $35

This lot was Curt’s burial plot and where Nora would eventually be brought home to rest by his side as well.

My very sad mother beside Nora’s grave, not yet covered with grass, at left, beside C. B. Lore’s stone

Mom is standing by Curt’s stone in the cemetery, probably not long after Nora was buried in 1939.

Moving

Before the spring of 1910, according to the newspaper, Nora and her three girls would move from where she lived with Curt on West Second Street to 324 West First Street.

The house was smaller, cute as a button, and certainly less expensive to rent.

Plus, Nora may have needed a change of scenery. While moving was difficult, the fact that they didn’t own the West Second Street property probably made the move easier.

At least Edith still lived in Rushville, and John would have helped his mother-in-law.

In fact, it was here, in this house, that Nora received a visitor.

The Visitor

John Ferverda was sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee and visiting with Nora, when someone knocked on the door, asking for Curt.

Nora told the young man standing there, hat in hand, that Curt had, unfortunately, passed away.

Curt was well-liked with a charismatic personality and had hundreds of acquaintances, given his broad spectrum of business dealings. Nora assumed, of course, that this caller was another business associate dropping by to say hello or see what kind of horse-trading might be in order.

This young man was different. He shuffled, hesitated a bit, and a wave of disappointment visibly washed across his face. He was crestfallen.

This man, you see, had come to find his father.

I’d wager that was one incredibly awkward moment. A tongue-tied young man standing on this porch at the door, probably wishing he was absolutely anyplace else – face to face with the grieving wife – neither one of them knowing exactly what to do or say.

Nora invited him in, and they sat at the kitchen table and talked, but she took that conversation to her grave.

It wasn’t Nora who revealed this incident – nor was it ever spoken of while she lived.

It was John who told Edith and her sister, Eloise. One of them told my mother years later.

Mom and Eloise were under the impression that this son was previously unknown to Nora and might have been from Kentucky. Somehow the dots were connected and it was presumed this son has been fathered when Curt was involved with racehorses in Kentucky sometime after Nora and Curt were married.

So Nora discovered that Curt caught more than tuberculosis in Kentucky. Or, at least, that’s what everyone thought. Apparently, judging from this information, Curt had visited Kentucky regularly for decades.

Well, Did He or Didn’t He?

Before I discovered Curt’s marriage in Pennsylvania, Mom was certainly unaware Curt had been previously married, let alone still married when he married Nora in 1888. Imagine her shock!

Was this man knocking on the door Curt’s son from his first marriage, Herbert Judson Lore, who would have been age 30? Kurt Lore and Mary Billings are given as Herbert’s parents on his death certificate in 1968.

Herbert looks incredibly like Curt. I can see my mother in his face too. No DNA test needed here.

Neither my grandmother, Edith, nor her sisters, Eloise or Mildred had ANY IDEA they had a living half-brother who only lived about 140 miles from Eloise.

Was the man at the door Curt’s son that I’ve never been able to locate, John Curtis Lore, born January 20, 1881?

Was he Curt’s son Seldon B. Lore, known as “Sid,” born in June of 1886 and found in 1904, as a laborer in Oil City, PA?

Or, was this yet another young man?

If the young man had been born after Curt and Nora were married, he would have been 22 or younger that day he stood nervously on Nora’s porch, looking for answers.

Digging Deeper

One John Curtis Lore who lived in Kentucky registered for the 1918 draft giving Mary Galliland as his next of kin. Mary Bills, Curt’s first wife married Allen Galliland after their divorce in 1888. In 1900, Herbert J., John C., and Seldon B Lore were living in Warren County, PA with Mary and Allen and their half-sister, Alta Gilliland. In 1910, Mary and Allen were living in Cowlitz, Washington with Alta, but the boys were on their own. In 1918, Mary was living in Crewe, Virginia.

John Curtis Lore certainly seems to be Curt’s son, but this record is from 9 years after Curt died. Who knows where John was living in 1909 or 1910 when that young man appeared on Nora’s porch.

What happened to John Lore?

The May 1, 1924, Franklin County, Pennsylvania newspaper tells the story.

Tragedy seems to follow the Lore family like an ominous ever-present dark shadow. An 11-day old baby? His poor wife.

Is this the same John Lore? The name is slightly different.

There’s a lot of incorrect information in this article, but I found this man’s death certificate based only on his death month and year. His nickname was apparently Jack or was misrecorded on the delayed death certificate.

John died of tuberculosis too. How heartbreaking. Even more tragic, his young wife, Annie Jewell Cox Lore died in May 1927 of tuberculosis as well. The children were raised by their Cox grandfather.

Hmm, given the circumstances, I’m doubting if John Curtis Lore or his wife have a tombstone, but let’s take a look.

I didn’t find them, but I did find that child buried in that same cemetery 42 years later.

That baby, born just days before his father’s demise was James Harold Lore, according to FindAGrave.

John’s son also died at age 42 in a motorcycle accident, striking a truck.

Tragedy seems to have run generations deep.

Forgiveness

Nora forgave a lot while married to Curt, like the fact that he was still married to another woman when they were married in 1888, assuming she discovered that fact.

Nora certainly stuck by him through thick and thin. Multiple business ventures, that embarrassing horseracing scandal, a lawsuit or a few, then multiple illnesses.

Regardless of all that, I do believe Curt was Nora’s true love with his infectious impish smile, curled locks, and piercing blue eyes that melted her soul.

My grandmother, Edith, spoke of Nora’s intense grief surrounding Curt’s death. Nora wanted to be buried beside him and with the Lore surname on her stone, even though she eventually remarried.

She would join Curt in the East Hill Cemetery almost exactly 30 years later.

It would prove to be a very long 30 years.

So, what happened to Nora?

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Descendants of WWII 92nd Infantry Buffalo Soldiers Sought to Identify Remains

Soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division marching in Italy after freeing the region from German troops on April 8, 1945. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2181029

Recently, Fold3 published an article about the 92nd Infantry Division known as the Buffalo Soldiers – a black infantry division that fought in Italy during WWII and suffered severe casualties.

Fifty soldiers of the 700 lost have never been identified and remain unaccounted for.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) is seeking family members of these deceased soldiers to submit DNA for comparison. Details are provided, here.

This is NOT Commercial Testing

Note that testing with any commercial company (such as Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, etc.) does nothing to identify these remains. If you have already tested there, it doesn’t count for this purpose.

The DNA of the soldiers’ remains is processed in the government forensic lab and is NOT entered in any public database. Family members must contact the Defense POW/MIA Agency and submit DNA specifically for identification of remains. DNA submitted for the identification of remains will not be used for any other purpose.

While this specific ask is for the Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division, DNA of family members of all soldiers whose remains have not been recovered and repatriated should be submitted.

Historically, mitochondrial DNA is the easiest to recover from degraded remains, but sometimes they can recover enough autosomal DNA. If you’re a family member, offer regardless. Amazing results are being garnered with forensic samples that wasn’t possible even just months ago.

Trust me, I’m inquiring about submitting my DNA in the hope of identifying my first cousin, Robert Vernon Estes who died as a POW in North Korea.

If your family member’s remains have never been identified, please contact the authorities and volunteer to DNA test. Even if you don’t qualify for whatever reason, you may know or be able to locate someone who does.

Servicemen’s Families Sought

The entire list of unidentified 92nd Infantry soldiers who gave their life for their country can be found in this article.

The men listed below cannot be identified because there is no DNA sample available from a family member. When attempting to identify the parents and families of these men for this article, I found hints about why the families of these men may not have been located. It appears that some were not living with their birth families or had no siblings.

This makes it even more important for anyone who recognizes these men or these families to contact the Army Casualty office with information. Every soldier deserves to be identified.

  • Benjamin Davis Jr., 29, Webster, Florida, died February 9, 1945, so born about 1916. Jr. implies that his father’s name was the same, but I was not able to locate his family through census or other readily available genealogical search methods.
  • Melton Futch, 20, Perry, Florida, born January 28, 1923. Died Dec. 31, 1944. Parents Robert Futch born 1881 in Georgia and Laura Littingham born 1885 in Georgia, married in Taylor Florida on October 15, 1916.
  • James Thomas Mathis, 22, Fayetteville, Georgia, born there August 9, 1922, died December 27, 1945
  • Anderson Slaughter Jr., 23, Fulton, Georgia, born August 14, 1921, in Atlanta, Georgia. Died February 11, 1946. Essie Mae Slaughter is given as next of kin in 1942 draft registration. Her name is given as Elsie Slaughter on 1930 census as his mother, age 36 (born 1894), living with her mother Victoria Travelis or Travis or Trarelis (SP) age 59, (born about 1871). Eliga Travis died on October 10, 1920, with his wife listed as Victoria Travis. Jr. suggests Anderson’s name is the same as his father.
  • Wesley Melton, 20, Chicago, Illinois, born September 26, 1924. Died February 10, 1945. Edna Melton listed as next of kin on his draft registration in 1942. In the 1940 census, Edna, his mother, is listed as a widow, age 39, born about 1901 in Illinois. A woman by that name died July 12, 1972.
  • Staff Sgt. Henry W. Wilson, 24, Independence, Kansas. Draft registration says he was born December 11, 1919, in Kansas. Next of kin is Carrie Wilson. 1920 census shows Altee (spelled Henry in 1930 and 1940) Wilson (35) born in Oklahoma, father born in Tennessee, and mother in Oklahoma. Wife Caroline (34) born in Missouri, father born in Tennessee, and mother in Missouri. 1930 and 1940 census show two other children, a male, Leroy age 17, and a female, Louise age 13.
  • James Luther Strong, 34, Covington, Louisiana, born September 23, 1910, in LeCompte, Louisiana, died November 10, 1945. He was married when he enlisted in 1943. He listed his residence as St. Tammany, Louisiana but enlisted in Houston, TX. His draft registration card in 1940 gives his next of kin as Mrs. Kattie Bogany, his aunt. Who lived in Beaumont, Jefferson Co., TX.
  • Herbert Taylor, 23, Salisbury, Maryland, died February 12, 1946, so would have been born in 1923. 1930 census shows a person by his name, age 11, so born 1919, with Charles and Hattie Handy, listed as an adopted son. He was born in Virginia but both parents born in Maryland. There is a draft registration for Herbert Taylor, born May 8, 1915, in Newport News, VA who lists Nanie Duncan as his mother. He works for the Seaman Elridge Orchestra in Baltimore. Another registration for Herbert Lee Taylor who lists his wife as Adeline Taylor. None of these align well.
  • James Edward Warren, 19, Pelahatchie, Mississippi, born June 17, 1925, same location. Lists Lennie Macelroy, his mother, as next of kin who lives in the same place. Died February 6, 1945.
  • Maceo Aquinolda Walker, 20, New Rochelle, New York, born December 11, 1924, in Baltimore. Next of kin is Louis Walker of New Rochelle, same address. Died February 10, 1945. In the 1940 census he is listed with parents Louis Walker, 40 (born 1900) in Maryland and Patricia, 38, (born 1902) in Virginia. In 1930, Richard Shelton, brother-in-law is living with the family in NYC, age 22. No other children.
  • Cleo Penny, 23, New York. Died February 11, 1946. The 1930 census shows a Cleo Penny born in 1924 in NC. If this is the right family, there are 3 sisters and a brother.
  • William Thomas McFadden, 24, Olanta, South Carolina/Baltimore, MD. Died February 10, 1945. The 1930 census shows a person by this name in Motts, Florence Co., SC with parents Thomas L. McFadden (3) and wife Annie (28). If this is the correct person, there are 2 sisters and a brother. Also living in the residence is the sister-in-law, Elizabeth Nelson, age 13. His draft registration card in Baltimore, MD in 1942 shows that he was born in Olanta, SC on July 18, 1920, and that Catherine Dickey is his next of kin, with no relationship given.
  • Robert Williams, 26, Richmond, Virginia. Died February 8, 1945, so born about 1919. Several men by this name are found in the Richmond area.
  • 1st Lt. John M. Madison, 32, Washington D.C. Died April 5, 1945. The 1940 census shows him, age 27, a math teacher. The census says he is living with some family but his father is clearly not age 30. Something is amiss with the census. The house number suggests he is living alone.
  • Jose A. Lopez, 29, Washington D.C./Palmira, Cuba. Died February 8, 1945. Born 1915, not a citizen when enlisted in 1942.

For all we know, the bones of these men have already been tested in the Army forensic lab in Hawaii and are just waiting for a family member to match their DNA. If you are related to these men, please contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490 to arrange to submit a DNA sample.

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