Actually, we’re not even positive Susannah is her first name. I should have titled this “Maybe Susannah Maybe Hart,” but then I didn’t want someone to actually think her first name was “Maybe.” I can just see that showing up in a tree someplace someday:)
Susannah might be her first name, but if so, it’s a lucky accident in a legal document.
In Halifax County, even in the 1800s, forms and standard language were used for various types of repeat transactions – and it was a mistake on a form that named Susannah – years after her death. The one record that surely did exist at one time, Susannah’s marriage documentation, likely burned when the King and Queen County, VA courthouse burned in 1828, 1833 and 1864. What one fire didn’t consume, the others did.
For sake of consistency, and because that’s what she has been called….and because I have nothing else to call her, I’ll continue to refer to her as Susannah.
Susannah married Marcus Younger probably sometime in or before 1759, because their first child and only (surviving) son was born on April 11, 1760, named John. Note that the child was not named for Marcus, the father. Perhaps another son was born and named for Marcus, but didn’t survive.
We don’t know who Marcus’s father was as we believe that Marcus was illegitimate, probably born to a daughter of Alexander Younger, taking her surname. But we aren’t positive. We do know that Marcus’s descendant’s Y DNA through his only son, John, doesn’t match the Younger DNA line that the rest of the Younger males in the family associated with Marcus carry. Based on Y DNA results, we know who Marcus’s father wasn’t, and there weren’t any other known Younger candidates, so the probable conclusion is that Marcus was illegitimate and belonged to one of the daughters of Alexander Younger.
Illegitimacy at that time was a significant social barrier. If Susannah married an illegitimate man, she may have been illegitimate herself. There are a lot of “ifs, ands and buts” in there – but it’s the best we can do with what we have.
Is John Actually Marcus’s Son?
Now, if you’re sitting there scratching your head, saying to yourself, “But if John was Marcus’s only son, and his male descendant Y DNA tested, how do we know that Marcus was illegitimate, based on that DNA test? Couldn’t John have NOT been Marcus’s son, especially since we don’t have a marriage record that predates John’s birth? Couldn’t John have NOT been Marcus’s son, because Susannah, um, somehow got pregnant by someone other than her husband?”
The answer would be yes, that’s certainly possible. It wasn’t terribly uncommon for women at that time to have a child before marriage, either out of wedlock or by a first husband who died, and for the child to take the second husband’s surname.
However, before we go any further, let’s address this question here and now, so we don’t have to ponder this anymore.
Autosomal DNA provides some very compelling information.
I have eleven matches at two different vendors with people who descend from Alexander Younger, believed to be Marcus’s grandfather, through different children. Because several of the matches are at Ancestry, it’s impossible to know if we share common segments, but there are members of the Alexander Younger who match with me and in common with each other.
However, that’s at Ancestry, and even though their trees don’t show other ancestors in common with each other, we can’t really tell if common segments match unless they are also at GedMatch, or at Family Tree DNA, which they aren’t.
It’s unlikely that I would match 11 different people through Alexander Younger’s other children if Marcus wasn’t related to Alexander. And if the break was between Marcus and John, I wouldn’t be related to Marcus or the Younger family he is clearly associated with.
Other Younger descendants whose kits I manage also match descendants of Alexander Younger.
One last piece of evidence is that in Marcus’s will, he left John, as his son, his land, so Marcus certainly appeared to believe John was his son.
It’s extremely unlikely that John was not the child of Marcus, based on DNA matches. I think we can put that possibility to bed.
Susannah and Marcus
Susannah and Marcus were probably married before 1760 in King and Queen County, VA, where the Younger family lived before moving to Halifax County, VA, around 1785. They could also have been married in Essex County, as the Younger land was very close to the border and they had periodic transactions in both counties. King and Queen County is a burned county, and no Younger marriage records exist in Essex County that early.
In 1780, when they were about 40, Marcus and Susannah were living in King and Queen County, based on Marcus’s Revolutionary War Public Service Claim where he furnished 1 gallon and 2.5 quarts of brandy worth 39 pounds, one shilling and 3 pence. Alcohol was expensive even then.
This implies that the Younger family was in very close proximity to the soldiers, if not the fighting. I wonder how that affected the family. Anthony Hart is a Revolutionary War Pensioner, living in Halifax County in 1840 and stated he served from Essex County in an affidavit signed for Edmond Edmondson. A William Young (Younger?) signs for Edmondson in 1782 in Essex County when he marries. William Younger is also found in Halifax County later, living beside Moses Estes, whose family is also from the same part of King and Queen County. Moses was the father of George Estes who would one day marry Mary Younger, daughter of Marcus Younger and Susannah.
What, you say, this sounds like a circle. Indeed, it does – or a continuation of a drama crossing 3 generations and as many counties too.
But this gets messier yet, because Marcus’s only son, John Younger, eventually married Lucy Hart.
In 1782 and 1785, Marcus and family are living in Essex County and are taxed under Anthony Hart. By this time, Marcus and Susannah were in their early mid-40s.
This Hart connection becomes very important. These families are close, possibly related…in fact, we know they are related because of DNA results, but we don’t know exactly how.
In Anthony Hart’s pension application submitted in 1832, he states that he was born on October 14, 1755 in King and Queen County and lived there until 1802 when he moved to Halifax. He states that Lucy Younger and Mary Gresham can prove his service. Given the fact that Lucy married John Younger who is about Anthony Hart’s age, it’s very likely that Lucy was Anthony’s sister. Lucy, in her deposition says, “I lived with Anthony Hart when we were both children.” Mary Gresham/Grisham says exactly the same thing.
Why don’t they just spit it out? How are they related? If they were siblings, why wouldn’t they have said that?
Was Anthony’s father’s sister married to Marcus Younger? Or maybe Anthony’s oldest sister? Of course, we don’t know who Anthony’s father was, so we can’t reassemble this family any further. All we do know is that Anthony Hart as also found taxed with one Robert Hart.
There are also other Hart family members, such as John Hart who are born in Essex County about 1777, moved to Halifax and subsequently died in neighboring Charlotte County. I, as well as other Marcus descendants, not descended through John Younger who married Lucy Hart also match to John Hart’s descendants. Someplace, there’s a connection.
Back to Susannah
We know very little about Susannah’s life between the time she and Marcus moved to Halifax County in 1785 and her death probably sometime before 1805. In reality, we aren’t positive she was alive in 1785, but it would be unusual for a man not to remarry for that long, especially at age 45 with children to raise.
Susannah probably died between 1785 and 1805.
Marcus Younger wrote his will in 1805, but he did not die until 1815, a full decade later.
I, Marcus Younger of Halifax Co, do hereby make my last will and testament in the manner following; First, after the payments of my last debts, I give my daughter Susannah 50 acres of land where my house stands during my natural life. Also one negro girl (Fanny), one mare, one bed and furniture, one cow and calf to her and her heirs forever. To my grandson Younger Wyatt one mare. The rest of my estate to be equally divided between my 4 children namely John Younger, Elizabeth Clark, Mary Estes and Susannah Younger. Appoint son John executor. Signed with X. Witness John Hannah?, Armistead Bomar, Sally Hannah?. At a court held for Halifax Jan. 25, 1815 will proved. John Younger executor. Phil Carlton security.
As you can see, there is no mention of a wife in 1805. Susannah is stated to be his daughter. Furthermore, Susannah is listed on tax lists as having a life estate. While Marcus’s will appears to convey this land in fee simple, later records infer that she only had a life estate – which would be what a widow would have had – not a daughter.
However, on March 9, 1816, we find the following deed:
Halifax County VA Deed Book 25, Pg. 568, July 1815, registered Mar 1816
Susannah Younger, Younger Wyatt and wife Sally, George Estes and wife Mary, all of the County of Halifax of the one part, and John Younger, of the same, of the other part are entitled to an allotment of land as described below, as distributed by Marcus Younger, dec’d., which by the consent of all the parties are as surveyed, after mutually agreeing to make a survey to Susannah Younger, who becomes entitled to the part allowed her under the will of said Marcus Younger, dec’d. and by the consent of all the parties, the unmentioned tract was sold to the highest bidder at auction on 12 months credit and commanded the sum of 421 pounds, 60 shillings. Now this indenture further witnesseth that for the above consideration the said Susanna Younger and all of the above mentioned have granted, bargained and sold released and confirmed to the said John Younger a certain tract of land in Halifax County on the draughts of Bannister River containing 62 acres beginning at a Post Oak on John Younger’s land. Signed by all thirteen parties
Thomas Clark and wife Peggy
John Henderson and wife Sarah
Edmond Henderson and wife Elizabeth
John Landrum and wife Polly
George Estes and wife Mary
It appears that Susanna and the rest of her siblings sell their jointly held land to her brother, John Younger, and that Susannah’s individually held land was sold independently.
The following chart shows who is mentioned in the 1805 will versus the 1816 land sale.
|Marcus 1815 Will, written 1805||1816 Land Sale|
|Susannah Younger – daughter||50 acres where house stands, Fanny (slave), mare, bed, furniture, cow, calf, her share of rest of estate||Lays off allotment, sells|
|Younger Wyatt – grandson (mother Sally deceased)||One mare||Yes – Younger and Polly Wyatt|
|John Younger – son||Equal share||Yes, purchases|
|Mary Estes – daughter||Equal share||Yes, Mary and George Estes|
|Elizabeth Clark – daughter||Equal share||No|
|John and Sarah Henderson||No||Yes|
|Edmund and Elizabeth Henderson||No||Yes|
|John and Polly Landrum||No||Yes|
|Thomas and Peggy Clark||No||Yes|
If one is to assume that the reason Marcus left a mare to Younger Wyatt is because his mother, who married a Wyatt male, is deceased, then what we are left with is that Elizabeth Clark has died and her children and heirs are listed in her stead in the 1816 deed, being the 5 individuals not listed in the 1805 will but listed in 1816.
Susannah Younger never marries and dies in 1831, and she leaves a will too that frees slaves Fanny and Harry and leaves them $50 each. In addition, she leaves her clothes to Susannah Estes and Mary Wyatt and the rest of her property to Younger Wyatt, the son of her deceased sister. Mary Wyatt is probably Younger Wyatt’s wife. The names Mary and Polly were often used interchangeably during that timeframe.
Then, in 1842, a chancery suit is filed to clear up the title on Susannah’s land. This was a lawsuit that was not contested, but likely had to be filed to obtain clear title from everyone, especially since it seems that brother John “bought” the land in 1816 and died in 1817, without title ever being filled or legally passing. In the following document, however, you can see why the confusion exists about Susannah.
The chancery suite does answer one question and that’s the name of Younger Wyatt’s mother – Sally. The chancery suit answers a whole lot more too.
Younger, Marcus Chancery Suit 1842-057, Halifax Co. Va. – extracted and transcribed in June 2005 by Roberta Estes sitting mesmerized in the courthouse basement.
The worshipful county court of Halifax in chancery sitting: Humbly complaining sheweth unto your worships your orator Thomas Clark that a certain Marcus Younger died many years ago leaving a small tract of land containing about 53 (58?) acres to his wife Suckey Younger for life and at her death to be divided amongst his children. That after the death of the said Suckey Younger, the rest of the children of the said Marcus Younger (the wife of your orator being one) sold the said land to your orator, put him in possession of the same and have received from him the whole of the purchase money, but have not as yet conveyed to him the legal title.
That one little word was problematic…wife. Suckey, a nickname for Susannah, may well have been Marcus’s wife’s name as well, which may have been why it was so easy to slip that word, wife, in there. But Susannah was clearly Marcus’s daughter, at least the Susannah alive in 1805, according to his will.
The next sentence then refers to the “rest” of the children, implying that Suckey is a child as well.
Perhaps Marcus’s wife’s name as well as his daughters was Susannah. Susannah was also the name of one of Alexander Younger’s daughters. Was Susannah perhaps also the name of Marcus’s mother? It’s certainly possible. Marcus had a daughter Susannah and grandchildren named Susannah as well. Too many Susannahs!
It’s also worth noting that in 1805, none of Marcus’s children appear to be underage, so all born before 1785, which makes sense. In 1815, his grandson, Younger Wyatt had married, so he was at least 25 or so, being born by about 1790, meaning Wyatt’s mother would have been born before 1770, so this too fits.
Furthermore, we have another problem. Elizabeth Clark is mentioned in the 1805 will, but Thomas and Peggy Clark are mentioned in the 1816 sale, along with several other people not previously mentioned. I surmised that Peggy, often short for Margaret, is the grandchild of Marcus, but according to the 1842 chancery suit, that wasn’t the case at all. Peggy was Marcus’s child. So, if Peggy is his daughter, is she the same person as Elizabeth Clark? If so, that means that Elizabeth didn’t die, so the 3 Henderson and Landrum families were not her heirs. So, who were they? Elizabeth Clark is the only name missing from the 1816 sale that was present in the 1805 will document.
And of course, all of this assumes that Susannah was the only wife of Marcus and that all of his children were her children as well. I hate that word, assume.
You can clearly see why I never thought we’d ever solve this conundrum unless some previously unknown records magically surfaced out of either burned King and Queen County (I wish) or neighbor, Essex (unlikely, since they the records show they lived in King and Queen.) Or maybe that e-Bay Bible, I’m still hoping for that.
The Chancery suite continues:
The names of the said renders(?) are John Henderson and Sally his wife, John Landrum and Sally his wife, Edward Henderson and Betsy his wife, Robert Younger and Mary his wife, Samuel Younger and Mary his wife, Thomas P. Anderson, Joel Younger and Fental his wife, Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife, Joel Anderson and Sally his wife, Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife, William Estes and Rebecca his wife, James Smith and Polly his wife, Susanna Estes, Marcus Estes, William Clark and Mary his wife, Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife, John Younger and Betsy his wife, Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife, John Estes and Nancy his wife, Thomas Estes and Sally his wife. In tender consideration of the promises and in as much as your orator is remedyless therein at last?. To this end therefore that the above named renders? Be made parties to this suit and required to answer the allegations herein contained under oath. That in consequence of the said partys being numerous and widely dispersed in the United States that the said court decree that the legal title to the said land be conveyed to your orator and that the parties to the said contract as vendors? Be required to do so and unless they shall do so within a reasonable time that the court appoint a commissioner for that purpose and grant all other recipients relief. May it please the court to grant the Commonwealths writ of subpoena.
The joint answer of John Henderson and Sally his wife, John Landrum and Polly his wife, Edward Henderson and Betsy his wife, Robert Younger and Mary his wife, Samuel Younger and Mary his wife, Thomas P. Anderson and Betsy his wife, Joel Younger and Fental his wife, Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife, Joel Anderson and Sally his wife, Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife, William Estes and Rebecca his wife, James Smith and Polly his wife, Susanna Estes, Marcus Estes, William Clark and Mary his wife, Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife, John Younger and Betsy his wife, Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife, John Estes and Nancy his wife. Thomas Estes and Sally his wife to a bill of complaint exhibited against them in the county court of Halifax by Thomas Clark – These respondents saving? Do say that the allegations of the complainants bill are true and having answered pray to be hence dismissed.
This cause came on this day to be heard on the bill of chancery and answered and was argued by counsel and consideration and decise? that Jonathan B. Stovall who is hereby appointed a commissioner for that purpose do by proper deeds convey the lands in the proceeding mentioned to Thomas Clark in fee simply with special warranty.
Two attached pages in file as follows:
Marcus Younger left 83 acres for life to Sukey Younger for life and at her death to be divided among his children. (Note – after this statement, in a different handwriting, begins the list of his heirs. Does this mean that Sukey Younger was not considered to be his heir, because she was his wife?)
Elizabeth Clark, Sally Wyatt, John Younger, Mary Estes, children of Marcus
Thomas, Sally Henderson wife of John Henderson, Polly Landrum wife of John Landrum, Betsy wife of Edward Henderson, William Clark, Children of Elizabeth Clark (inferring that she is deceased)
Younger Wyatt child of Sally Wyatt
Robert, Polly wife of Samuel Younger, Anthony, Joel, Betsy wife of J. P. Anderson, Nancy wife of Vincent P. Carlton, John, Thomas, Sally wife of Joel Anderson – children of John Younger
John Estes, William, Susannah, Sally wife of T. Estes, Polly wife of James Smith and a grandchild name Mark Estes – children of Mary Estes
Elizabeth Clark’s children are entitled each to 1/5 of 1/4th
Younger Wyatt entitled to ¼th
John Younger’s children are each entitled to 1/9 of 1/4th
Mary Estes children are entitled each to 1/6 of 1/4th
Mary Estes grandchild is entitled to 1/6th of 1/4th
Thomas Clark and Peggy his wife – Halifax
John Henderson and Sally his wife – Halifax
John Landrum and Polly his wife – Halifax
Edward Henderson Jr. and Betsy his wife – Halifax
William Clark and Mary his wife – Patrick County
Robert Younger and Mary his wife – Halifax
Samuel Younger and Mary his wife – Halifax
Anthony Younger and Nancy his wife – Franklin
Thomas P. Anderson and Betsy his wife – Halifax
Joel Younger and Fental his wife – Halifax
John Younger and Betsy his wife – Pittsylvania
Vincent Carlton and Nancy his wife – Halifax
Joel Anderson and Sally his wife – Halifax
Thomas Younger and Betsy his wife – Halifax
Younger Wyatt and Polly his wife – Rutherford County Tennessee
John Estes and Nancy his wife – Rutherford Co Tennessee (actually ditto marks and John was actually in Claiborne by this time it is believed)
William Estes and Rebecca his wife – Halifax
Susannah Estes – Halifax
Thomas Estes and Sally his wife – Montgomery County Tennessee
James Smith and Polly his wife – Halifax
Marcus Estes (son of Mark) – Halifax
(Note – Marcus Estes the son of Mary Estes died in 1815 shortly after his marriage. Mary’s daughter, Susanna Estes also had a son Marcus Estes, not to be confused with the Marcus Estes, son of Marcus Estes, deceased, above.)
Is this not THE chancery suit to die for? Not only does it give you three complete generations, and pieces of the 4th – it tells you where the descendants were living in 1842. Never mind that the county for my John Estes is actually wrong – he and Nancy lived in Claiborne County, Tennessee but for all I know they could have originally gone to Rutherford County. John Estes did marry Nancy Moore. This was the ace in the hole that confirmed my lineage beyond dispute.
I think they heard me all the way upstairs in that old brick courthouse when I found these loose documents.
Now for the bad news.
- I still don’t know when Susannah Younger, wife of Marcus, was born, other than probably 1740 or earlier.
- I don’t know when Susannah died, other than probably between 1785 and 1805. She probably died before 1805 when Marcus wrote his will. But if Susannah in the will is actually his wife and not his daughter, then she died in 1831, at about age 90 or 91. That’s certainly possible.
- I still don’t know her first name, for sure, nor do I know her birth surname, although I think there’s a good chance it’s Hart based on a variety of evidence.
DNA may have come to the rescue, at least somewhat and has graced us with a clue that Susannah, if that was her name, was perhaps a Hart.
Marcus Younger is living with Anthony Hart in 1785 in King and Queen County, according to the tax list.
Anthony Hart and Marcus Younger both moved to Halifax, albeit 17 years apart.
Those dots could have been connected by genealogists years ago, and that connection then turning into a family story of Marcus’s wife being a Hart. It is, indeed a possibility, because that family legend certainly existed. What we don’t know is whether or not it descended through the family or was introduced later by genealogists.
In November of 2013, the seemingly impossible happened and several people from the Younger family matched a descendant of Anthony Hart – and I’m not talking about only descendants of John and Lucy Hart Younger. I match too, and I descend through Marcus’s daughter Mary who married George Estes. I don’t have any known Hart DNA from any other source. I wrote about this wonderful happy dance adventure in the article, “Be Still My H(e)art.”
Since that time, additional Hart matches have continued to accrue. However, the Hart family prior to Halifax County suffers from the same record destruction that the other King and Queen County families do.
Unfortunately, since this line does have a known illegitimacy with Marcus’s paternal line, it makes it more difficult to understand what an autosomal match really means. It could mean we’re matching Marcus’s father’s family lines and just don’t know that since we don’t know who he is, although the Y DNA does not match Hart males. Hart could be found on any other line, however.
Unfortunately, with all of the unknowns, I’m still unwilling to call Susannah a Hart. In fact, I may never be willing to step out on that limb with any degree of certainty.
We don’t know who Marcus Younger’s parents were, although we can say with almost certainty that his mother was a Younger. Of course, we don’t know who Susannah’s parents were either, and we do know the Younger and Hart families were allied before coming to Halifax County.
The connection between the families could have been because Marcus married Susannah Hart. It could have been because the Hart family married a Younger. It could be because one of Marcus’s parents had a Hart ancestor or because Marcus’s parents and the Hart family had a common ancestor. Or all of the above. We just don’t know.
If we knew something more about at least Marcus’s heritage, I’d be much more likely to make a “call” that Susannah is a Hart based on the DNA matches. Unfortunately, for now and the foreseeable future, both Susannah’s first and last name will remain in question, but by utilizing mitochondrial DNA, we might be able to determine at least some things – and maybe eventually – her ancestry.
This is where we left Susannah’s story, until just recently.
Finding Susannah’s Mitochondrial DNA
Sometimes wishes do come true. I had just about given up hope of ever finding anyone who descends from Susannah through all females to the current generation, which can be male. Women contribute their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on. Someone descended from Susannah through all females would carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, contributed by their mother, and straight back through the direct matrilineal line.
Susannah’s children were:
- John Younger was born April 11, 1760 and died just two years after his father, on July 17, 1817. He married Lucy Hart. Sons were Robert Younger (c 1790-1877) who married Mary Polly Moore, Anthony Younger born c 1791, moved to Tate County, Missouri and died about 1877, Joel Younger (1791-c1877), John Younger and Thomas Younger. Daughters were Elizabeth (1790-1875) who married Thomas Anderson, Nancy born (1798-1865), Sally (c1800-after 1842) who married Joel Anderson, and Mary “Polly” (died 1873) who married George Wray.
- Mary Younger born before 1767 married George Estes and had three daughters. , Susannah had 3 daughters that carried the Estes surname, Polly who married James Smith and had daughters and Sally who married Thomas Estes and had daughters as well. Mary Younger Estes also had sons John R. Estes (1787-1887) who married Nancy Ann Moore and moved to Claiborne County, TN, Marcus Estes (c1788-c1815) who married Quintenny, surname unknown and William Y. Estes (c1785-1860/1870) who married Rebecca Miller.
- Sally Younger married a Wyatt male and both had died by 1805. The only known child is a male, Younger Wyatt, so this line is not applicable to mitochondrial testing. Younger Wyatt was married by 1816, so Sally Younger would have been born in 1775 or earlier.
- Elizabeth Younger married William Clark and had three daughters. Elizabeth was dead by 1816. Daughter Sarah/Sally married John Henderson, Elizabeth/Betsy Clark married Edward Henderson and Mary Polly Clark married John Landrum. Son Thomas Clark married a Peggy and William Clark married a Mary.
- Susannah Younger, never married, born before 1785 given that no child in Marcus’s 1805 will was underage, died in 1831.
Only two of Susannah’s daughters had female children, Mary and Elizabeth, so there weren’t many descendants who fit the bill in order to test for Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA. Thankfully, one, cousin Lynn, descended through the daughter of Susannah Estes, granddaughter of Susannah Younger, stepped forward.
The Younger Cemetery
If we assume that Susannah and Marcus were married when she was about 20, which was typical for the time, and she had children for the next 23 years, she would have given birth to a total of between 12 and 15 children, depending on whether she had children every 2 years, every 18 months or perhaps even closer if a child died during childbirth. Of those, we know that 5 lived to adulthood, assuming that Susannah who died in 1831 really was a daughter and not Susannah (wife of Marcus) herself.
The sad, silent, untold tale is that Susannah buried more children than she raised, by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio, leaving most, if not all of them, behind in 1785 when she and Marcus moved to Halifax County. Children who died after that are certainly buried in the old Younger Cemetery on the land owned by Susannah and Marcus. Today, the land is forested with periwinkle carpeting the forest floor, perhaps planted by Susannah’s own hands.
This too is likely where Susannah herself, as well as Marcus, are buried, in an unmarked grave beneath a fieldstone, as well as son John, daughters Susannah and Sally, and possibly, daughters Mary and Elizabeth too. Susannah’s children and grandchildren would have known exactly which stone was hers, but as they moved away, died and were buried as well, the last few in the 1880s, that memory faded away with them and the land eventually passed out of the Younger family in the early 1900s.
By the time I was hunting for the Younger Cemetery in the early 2000s, the only way to find it was by tracking deeds backward and forward in time and from an old letter, found in the neighboring Pittsylvania County library detailing another researcher’s search for that same cemetery sometime between 1930 and 1960, when phone numbers only had 5 digits.
Fortunately, with the help of locals and a very nice property owner, I not only found the cemetery, but was taken to visit.
Susannah’s Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren
Susannah’s great-grandson through daughter Mary Younger Estes, Ezekiel Estes is shown below in what was probably a funeral photo. He carried Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, contributed by his mother Susannah Estes, but since only women pass their mitochondrial DNA on to their children, his children don’t carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA.
Susannah’s grandson, John R. Estes, shown below, son of Mary Younger and George Estes. He also carried her mitochondrial DNA, but didn’t pass it on.
J. E. and Mary Anne Smith, youngest son of Polly Estes (daughter of Mary Younger Estes) and James Smith. J. E. is a great-grandson of Susannah, and he too carried her mitochondrial DNA, but he didn’t pass it on either.
Joel Younger, Susannah’s grandson through son, John Younger and Lucy Hart. Joel didn’t carry Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA, but that of Lucy Hart, his mother.
Lynn’s great-great-great-grandmother, and Susannah Younger’s great-granddaughter, Mary Mildred Estes Greenwood is pictured below. Mary’s mother was Susannah Estes, daughter of Mary Younger Estes. Mary Mildred did carry, and pass Susannah’s mitochondrial DNA on to her offspring, who continued to pass it on down the line of women to Lynn today.
Looking back 8 generation in time. We may not know her name for sure, but we have Susannah’s DNA, through her great-granddaughter, Mary Mildred!
What can we tell?
Susannah’s Mitochondrial Story
Susannah’s haplogroup is H1a3a. That tells us that she is of European origin.
She does have full sequence matches, and 3 with no genetic distance, meaning they are exact matches. Does this mean we can find the common ancestor?
One match didn’t answer the e-mail, one person’s e-mail bounced and the third person is brick-walled in another state in the 1800s.
In the paper titled “A ‘Copernican’ Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” we find that Dr. Behar has calculated the most likely age of haplogroup H1a3a to have been born about 3,859.4 years before present, with a standard deviation in years of 1621.8. This means that the range of years in which the mutation occurred that gave birth to haplogroup H1a3a was most likely sometime between 2238 years ago and 5480 years ago.
The only other mutations that cousin Lynn carries are a few that are typically not included in aging calculations because they are found in unstable regions of the mitochondria. So, we don’t have any further clues as to how long ago a common ancestor with everyone who matches Lynn exactly might be.
Clearly, Lynn’s matches’ ancestors migrated to the US, and clearly, they share a common ancestor with Lynn (and therefore with Susannah) at some point in time, but we just don’t know when. It could have been in the US, or hundreds or even thousands of years before.
However, even if their common ancestor was prior to immigration, where, exactly was that? Can we tell something more from Lynn’s matches?
In order for a match to show up on your Matches Map, the test taker must complete the Ancestor’s Location, beneath the map.
Unfortunately, none of Lynn’s exact matches did that. However, several of her matches at the genetic distance of 2 and 3 did enter locations, and are found in Sweden and the UK.
Another barometer we can look at is where in the world are other people who are included in haplogroup H1a3a from? Clearly, they shared an ancestor with Susannah at one time in history.
On the Haplogroup Origins page, at the HVR1 level, we find a significant number in Germany and Sweden with several throughout the UK as well:
These people don’t necessarily match Lynn today at the personal mutation level, but they do share a common ancestor with our Susannah at the point in time that H1a3a was created. From that location, descendants have clearly spread far and wide.
This distribution would strongly suggest that haplogroup H1a3a originated in continental Europe and subsequently, some people with that haplogroup migrated to what is now the UK. The Native American indication found in the US are likely from people who believed their ancestor was Native American, or didn’t understand the instructions clearly, or don’t realize that haplogroup H1a3a is not Native, but European.
Lynn’s exact matches are shown below:
Given that Ireland and the UK are the locations I would have expected at this point in American history, especially in King and Queen or Essex County, VA., this information is very probably accurate. When evaluating matching, full sequence always trumps HVR1 or HVR2 matches, being much more specific.
The Ancestral Origins page shows the locations where Lynn’s matches say that their most distant matrilineal ancestor originated.
Of course, Ancestral Origins depends on accurate reporting of the genealogy of Lynn’s matches.
What additional information can we glean?
Checking Lynn’s autosomal DNA matches and searching by the name of Hart, we find 150 matches. Hart is not exactly an uncommon name, and this also includes a few names of which “hart” it only a portion, like “Chart,” for example.
Unfortunately, with Marcus’s uncertain parentage, even if the matches do descend from this same Hart family, and triangulate, we can’t say for sure that the Hart lineage is through Susannah. Interestingly, Lynn and other descendants of Marcus through children other than John (who married Lucy Hart) have matches with descendants of Anthony Hart, who we already met.
Hart is the recurring theme here that won’t go away. There’s an awful lot of smoke for there not to be any fire. Of course, with the 4 parents of Marcus and Susannah all being unknown, except for a suspected Younger female as Marcus’s mother, the Hart connection could be just about anyplace, or multiple places.
It’s ironic somehow that while we don’t know Susannah’s name, for sure, and even less about her surname, we do know about her ancient history from her mitochondrial DNA which was passed to her descendants, written indelibly, but her name was not.
We know she was European and that sometime around 3800 years ago, her ancestors were probably in the Germanic region of continental Europe. After that, they probably migrated to the British Isles with a group of people who would settle those islands.
We may be able to utilize her mitochondrial DNA to further confirm her family ancestry, especially in combination with autosomal DNA. At this point, all we can do is wait for another female to test and match cousin Lynn, with the hope that they have some sort of genealogy records back to a matrilineal Hart ancestor.
While that seems a long shot, then so was finding cousin Lynn, or more accurately, cousin Lynn finding me. I’m not giving up hope! I have confidence that we will unravel this puzzle one day. Now, thanks to cousin Lynn, it’s just a matter of time and patience.
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