Mitochondrial DNA Bulldozes Brick Wall

I’m doing that happy dance today – leaping for joy – and am I EVER glad I’ve sponsored so many mitochondrial DNA tests. Today, I’m incredibly thankful for one particular DNA test.

Think mitochondrial DNA doesn’t work or isn’t effective for genealogy?

Think again.

Often, when people ask on social media if they should test mitochondrial DNA, there is a chorus of Negative Nellie’s chanting, “No, don’t bother with that test, mitochondrial DNA is useless.” That’s terribly discouraging, depriving people of knowledge they can’t obtain any other way.

When people heed that advice, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When people don’t test and don’t provide genealogical information that would go along with a mitochondrial DNA test, mitochondrial DNA is much less useful than it could be if people actually tested their full sequence mitochondrial DNA at Family Tree DNA, not just for their haplogroup at 23andMe or Living DNA. There’s a huge difference.

Family Tree DNA tests the full mitochondria and provides matching to other testers which is critical for genealogical purposes. In fact, Elizabeth Shown Mills wrote about using this exact same technique here.

mtDNA not useless

And by the way, this is not an isolated outlier case either. In fact, mitochondrial DNA from this same line was used previously to prove who Phoebe Crumley’s mother was.

If people hadn’t tested, then these walls would not have fallen. Every person who doesn’t take a mitochondrial DNA test is depriving themselves, and others, of critical historical information and clues.

It’s all about CLUES and sometimes that big brick-wall-breaking boulder falls into your lap out of the blue one day.

Today was that day!

Phoebe’s Family Found

I’ll be writing a more detailed article about my ancestor, Phoebe, shortly, but for now, I’d like to share exactly how mitochondrial DNA broke through this brick wall that I truly believed was permanent. I’ll walk you through the various steps so you can follow the same path. Do you have female ancestors without families in your tree? Start thinking about the possibilities!

DNA Pedigree Chart

Let’s start with my DNA Pedigree Chart.

I know many people look at my DNA Pedigree Chart and think it’s a bit over the edge, but identifying the family of Jotham Brown’s wife, Phoebe, would absolutely NOT have been possible without this valuable tool and the fact that I’ve been “collecting” my ancestors’ DNA.

As you can see, any time I find the opportunity to test either the Y DNA line, or the mitochondrial line of any of my ancestors, I do. I’ve been quite successful in that quest over the years thanks to many cousins.

The brick wall that fell is an ancestor of Elizabeth Vannoy and her mother, Phoebe Crumley, shown on my DNA Pedigree Chart, boxed in red, with their haplogroup, J1c2c.

A Proxy Tester

Elizabeth Vannoy, being my great-grandmother on my father’s side, doesn’t’ share her mitochondrial DNA with me, so I had to find a proxy tester.

My cousin Debbie knew another cousin, David, whose mother was Lucy, granddaughter of Elizabeth Vannoy. David agreed to test, back in…are you ready for this…2006. Yes, almost 13 years ago. Sometimes DNA is a waiting game.


At that time, the family rumor was that Elizabeth Vannoy was “Cherokee.” Yea, I know, everyone with ancestors who lived east of the Mississippi has that same rumor – but the best way to actually find out if this is true is to test the relevant family line members’ Y and mitochondrial DNA. Native American haplogroups are definitive and haplogroup J1c2c is unquestionably not Native, so that myth was immediately put to death. (You can read about Native American haplogroups here.)

However, Elizabeth’ Vannoy’s mitochondrial DNA has patiently remained in the Family Tree DNA database, accumulating matches. Truthfully, I’ve been focused elsewhere, and since we had a brick wall with Jotham Brown’s wife, Phoebe (c1750-c1803), which had not yielded to traditional genealogy research, I had moved on and checked cousin David’s matches from time to time to see if anything interesting had turned up.

I thought there was nothing new…but there was! However, it would take my cousins to serve as a catalyst.

Cousin Rita

On New Year’s Eve of 2016, I received an e-mail from a previously unknown cousin, Rita, who was also descended from Jotham Brown and Phoebe. Rita was born a Brown and over the next two years, not only tested her Brown line’s Y DNA which matched Jotham Brown’s line, but also connected her family via paper trail once she knew where to look. She’s a wonderful researcher.

Cousin Stevie

Another researcher who lives in Greene County, Tennessee has doggedly researched the Brown, Crumley, Cooper and associated Johnson lines. It was rumored and pretty much believed for years, because of the very close family associations and migration routes that Phoebe was Zopher Johnson’s daughter. I worked through this mountain of information in late 2015, reaching the conclusion that I really didn’t think Phoebe was Zopher’s daughter, but since there were no known daughters and Zopher’s wife’s surname was unknown, there was no way of finding matrilineal descendants to test. That door was slammed shut. I thought permanently.

However, Stevie had previously recruited two men from the proven Jotham Brown line to Y DNA test who matched a third Brown man whose line descended from the Long Island, Sylvanus Brown family.  Wow, Long Island is a long way from Greene County, TN. Adding to the evidence, our Jotham Brown named one of his sons Sylvanus, a rather unusual name.

This revelation allowed us to track the Brown line forward in time from the Sylvanus on Long Island, providing significant pieces of evidence that Jotham indeed descended from this line.

At that point, we all congratulated ourselves on at least finding an earlier location to work with and went on about solving other mysteries.

Rita’s Theory

I think Rita must be on vacation between Christmas and New Years every year, because I heard from her again on December 28th this year. It took me a few days to reply, due to the Holiday Crud being gifted to me, but am I EVER glad that I did.

Rita, it seems, has spent the last several months sifting through records and looking for migration patterns of families from Long Island. Can you say “desperate genealogist.” I’m not going to steal her thunder, because this part of the journey is hers and hers alone, but suffice it to say she wrote me with a theory.

Joseph Cole was found in Botetourt County, VA along with many of the families that eventually settled in Frederick County, VA and then migrated on together to Greene County, TN. In other words, she’s using the Elizabeth Shown Mills FAN (friends and neighbors) concept to spread the net wider and look for people that might be somehow connected. I took this same approach in Halifax County, VA several years ago with my Estes line very successfully.

Rita discovered that Joseph’s father John Cole also migrated from Long Island through New Jersey into Virginia and settled with this same group. Hmmm, Long Island, same place as Sylvanus Brown. Interesting…

John Cole, it turns out, had a daughter Phebe, who married a Jotham Bart, according to a Presbyterian church book in New Jersey where they settled for a short time in their migration journey. The church records referenced are transcribed, not original.

Jotham Brown, who is known to connect to the Brown family found on Long Island, is found migrating with this same group, and Rita wondered if indeed, Jotham Bart was really Jotham Brown and Phoebe was actually the daughter of John Cole and wife, Mary Mercy Kent.

Still being in the grips of the Holiday Crud, I asked Rita if John Cole and his wife had any proven daughters who would be candidates to have descendants mitochondrial DNA test.

Lydia Cole

While Rita was searching for daughters of Mary Mercy Kent and John Cole, I had sufficiently escaped the grim reaper to check cousin David’s mitochondrial DNA matches, just on the off chance that some useful gem of information was buried there.

David has 16 full sequence matches, of which 7 are exact matches, meaning a genetic distance of 0, a perfect match. Keep in mind that a perfect match can still be hundreds of years in the past, but it can also be much closer in time. Just because it can be further in the past doesn’t mean that it is. You match your mother, her sisters and their children, and that’s clearly very recent.

What was waiting was shocking. Holy chimloda!

Phoebe's sister, Lydia Cole

The Earliest Known Ancestor of one of David’s exact matches is Lydia Cole, born in 1781 in Virginia and died in 1864 in Ohio. The tester, Pete (not his real name,) had a tree. Thank you, thank you!!

Pete was stuck at Lydia Cole, obviously, but his tree provided me with Lydia’s husband’s name.

Oh, and by the way, guess what our Phoebe, born about 1750, named her daughter? Yep, Lydia.

Should I have noticed this hint sooner and dug deeper. Yes, I surely should have – Pete’s test was taken in 2012 so this information was there waiting for 6 years.

Is Lydia Cole too good to be true? Perhaps. Is she related? Of course the first thing good genealogists do is try to poke holes in the story. Better me than someone else. Let’s see what we can find.


Desperate to find out more about Lydia Cole, I checked Ancestry’s trees, understanding just how flakey these can be. Regardless, they are great clues and some are well sourced. Other people’s trees are at least a place to start looking.

Phoebe's sister, Lydia Cole at ancestry

There was Lydia with her father, John Cole and Mary Mercy Kent, the exact same couple Rita had hypothesized as Phoebe’s parents!

Lydia’s marriage was sourced and sure enough she married William Powell Simmons in Frederick County, VA in 1801, where Jotham Brown and Phoebe, his wife lived. It appears, according to Rita, that John Cole and his entire family settled there.

What a nice little bow on this package – at least for now. Am I done? Heck no…this journey is just beginning. You know how genealogy works – when you solve one mystery, you just add two more! Plus, there’s that little issue of verification, finding the relevant documents, etc. I know, details, right?

Is it possible that Lydia Cole isn’t really Phoebe’s sister? Yes, it’s possible. There is a roughly 30 year birth difference – although we all know how fluid these early dates can be.

DNA alone this far in the past can’t prove anything without additional evidence. It’s theoretically possible that Lydia’s mother was another close relative of Phoebe’s mother, somehow – explaining why Lydia and Phoebe would match so closely on such rare mitochondrial DNA. It’s possible, but not terribly likely.

Preliminary autosomal research also shows connections to the Cole family through other descendants of John Cole – so the evidence is mounting.

There’s a lot more research to do – verifying records, discovering more about Phoebe and John Cole and Mary Mercy Kent. I think Rita is already in the car on the way to Virginia😊

We can now follow Phoebe’s family’s migration from Long Island through New Jersey to Virginia. We now know the identity, pending confirmation, of both of Phoebe’s parents and can track those lines back in time. We know roughly when and where Phoebe was born. We can put the Brown and Cole families in the same place and time on Long Island.

All, thanks to mitochondrial DNA tests at Family Tree DNA confirming Rita’s hypothesis.

What a glorious day!!!

What Can Mitochondrial DNA Do For You?

Mitochondrial DNA is anything but useless. If you’re thinking, “yes, but David only had 16 matches total, and the only possible useful ones were the 7 exact matches because the rest are too far back,” – you’d be mistaken.

One of David’s matches is a distance of 2, meaning two mutations, and that’s the match that confirmed that Clarissa Marinda Crumley was the sister of our Phoebe Crumley, proving that Lydia Brown was indeed Phoebe’s mother, NOT Elizabeth Johnson who apparently married a different William Crumley just a few months before Phoebe’s birth. I wrote about unraveling that mystery here.

If you haven’t mitochondrial DNA tested, what critical information are you missing? You don’t know what you don’t know. If everyone would test, just think how many brick walls would fall.

If you haven’t tested, please do so today. Here’s a summary of what you can learn – as if you needed any more encouragement after Phoebe’s story.

  • Matching to other testers – you can’t solve genealogical puzzles like this without matching – which is the primary and incredibly important difference between “haplogroup only” tests elsewhere and Family Tree DNA’s full sequence test.
  • Lineage identification – Native American, African, European, Asian through haplogroup assignment and matching
  • Haplogroup Origins – countries where other people’s ancestors with your haplogroup are found, much more granular than the haplogroup lineage identification
  • Migration Path – in deeper history, where your ancestor came from
  • Settlement Path – more recent history by looking at where your matches ancestors were from
  • Ancestral Matches Map – your matches Earliest Known Ancestor’s locations
  • Ancestral Origins – locations of your matches earliest known matrilineal ancestor, which is how I discovered my own matrilineal ancestors are Scandinavian even though my earliest known ancestor is found in Germany
  • Combined matching with autosomal test results through Advanced Matching

I want to thank my cousins and wonderful collaborators, Debbie, Rita, Stevie and in particular, David for testing – along with Pete, Lydia Cole’s descendant.

Sometimes it does take a village! Test those cousins.



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65 thoughts on “Mitochondrial DNA Bulldozes Brick Wall

  1. Your email came at just the right time to give me hope. I have been told like many others that having the mitochondrial test was a waste of time. But the more I studied DNA the more I wanted to see what I could find. So I did it right before Christmas. I’m in waiting mode for my test results to come back from FamilyTree DNA. I had a full sequence test done. Thanks so much for the information and how you used it. Wish me luck. Mary Ann Stringer

  2. I believe the Coles are my family. I’ve felt like all your information is always dancing around mine, and this is the moment where it is finally directly overlapping. While the names are matching mine, my tree has many facts that are different than yours. However I haven’t done much work on this part and I’ve been suspicious of bad info for a while now.

    I’m in the process of having my grandmother do a DNA test, and am also working to gain access to a family Bible. It’s not a Cole bible, but a Perry one, but you never know what might be in it. My ancestress Lucinda Cole (1811-1880) was the closest Cole in my family tree.

    The Underwoods married into my Cole line and Jim Bartlett has looked at my DNA in relationship to them. We’re DNA cousins. I don’t know if he would be a resource.

      • Ancestry and 23andMe with uploads to FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and Gedmatch – I’m A922877. This close cousin’s kit is also on that line, a generation up from me. A570845. This is paternal line for both of us.

    • I have Coles too. Jemima Coles, daughter of Robert and Jemima Griffin married James Secor. There are a lot of Coles in the Long Island and Westchester areas. Long Island was very sparsely populated until the early 1800’s, so if you get back before that, you’re pretty much related to everyone, at least by marriage.

  3. Thanks for the info on mDNA. I have yet to have it prove useful to me, but ask any and all family members I can talk into testing to include it.

    Your mention of a Vannoy and the myth of a Cherokee connection sparked my interest. I have a similar myth with a Fox (a brickwall) in my family. The lady I think was his sister (not enough proof yet), married a Vannoy. Small world.

  4. Actually, Sylvanus was a fairly common name on Long Island in the 1600’s and 1700’s. It would be unusual for someone tracing back to LI in that time period to not find a Sylvanus somewhere in the tree.

    • I also have several male ancestors with the first name Sylvanus. At one time in the late 1700s-early 1800s it was more common.

  5. Congratulations!!!

    I recently tested at the full mtdna and the results have provided more matches but, I can’t get people to respond to emails or there is no tree accociated with the match:( My mother’s side is very interesting; Nix, Sheppard, Allen, Bolling, Farrar and others.

    on with the hunt,

    Joe McCulloch

    • Hi Joe, I have McCullochs and Sheppards (Shepherd) in my tree, pretty far back. They are on my mother’s paternal Van Meter line. Hannah McCulloch (1737-1791) married Joseph Inskeep (1733-1806). They are my 5G-Grandparents. They were from New Jersey and ended up in Hardy County, (West) Virginia. I have my tree on FTDNA, MyHeritage, GEDmatch.

          • I just found your note about your McCullochs from Wigtonshire. I’m a descendant of William McCulloch (born 1738 in Mochrum Parish) and Elizabeth McBride who married in Old Luce Parish in 1771 and then took ship to America, settling in New Scotland, Albany Co., NY. I’d love to exchange information if we are working on the same McCulloch family.

    • Hi Joe, I have Sheppard/Nix from Western NC (Buncombe Co) on my father’s side. James McHenry (Henry) Sheppard/Shepherd abt 1828-1901. Sarah Nix was the third wife of Henry as he was called. The second wife Nancy Carter was my ancestor. I have researched this family extensively. Any connection? I will also check gedmatch/genesis for possible match. I am M577152.

      • Virginia,
        Thanks for the response. I don’t find a match with us in GedMatch. I do have a Sarah Nix b. 1830 in N. Carolina but no known spouse. Samuel Thomas Sheppard b.7 Jun 1811 Moore Co, North Carolina d. 19 Jan 1891 Merkel, Taylor Co, TX. was my 3rd. great grandfather.

        Thanks again,
        Joe McCulloch
        Crawford, Tx.

  6. I have had a few successes with MtDNA over the years. But if you don’t test, you get nothing. And as Roberta says, it’s a waiting game, often a long one.

    I’ll be sharing this on my Facebook timeline and in the groups where the naysayers hang out.

  7. How wonderful! I would love to get distant cousins from my great-great-great-grandmother’s Winter family to test their mtDNA. One day maybe…

  8. Roberta, I also disproved a myth that my gg grandother was NA. I am U3a1b so she was most likely Not NA. They say there is sometimes truth in some of the myths. After my gg grandmother died, my gg grandfather DID marry a NA lady.

    The following is not of broad interest, just wanted to pass it on. The Ricardian Bulletin, the magazine of the Richard III Society, December 2018, in an article written by Glen Moran, says a net is being cast to prove that the mtDna of The Princes in the Tower is U5a2b. He can be followed on Twitter@glenmoran17.

    If you want this magazine, I can mail it to you if you have a P.O. Box number to preserve you privacy.

  9. Congratulations!
    Have not found the name of my 3rd great grandmother yet, but have found a possible sister and parents, so it is getting closer. I don’t know her name but can name several of her relatives and people her family connevted to and knew in 3 states!
    Now I wish I had an mtDNA test for every maternal line in my tree!

    My best match will not reply to messages, but finally I found her ancestor and I belive the ancestor was a sister or first cousin and their maternal line is to ladies named Baldwin., Pittsylvania Co, VA and Caswell Co, NC. And it is exciting just to find family members.
    Now I need her name. She was Mrs. Martin Durhsm, possibly Susannah.

    So happy for you. MtDNA tests are worth the extra cost to do the full sequencr. I only look at full sequence matches. Those pass all the levels.

  10. I have my 2 grandmothers MTDna, and a Y37 for my father’s paternal line – since dad pass and none of his brothers are alive a paternal 1st cousin tested. Am working to convince my mom’s only living brother to test.

    Where can I find a form like the one you show for your DNA Pedigree.

  11. Roberta,
    Awesome blog…you definitely give me inspiration and insight. By the way my mom’s maiden name is Brown. I do know that most of them were in the area of Georgia and North and South Carolina. Congratulations on your find. Yes doing a family finder test on my mom then later on I will upgrade on the Mitochondria DNA test with her. I have tested 2 of my Male cousins on the Brown side as well…they are both brothers and going to test one of their sisters as well later on…you definitely inspire me more for challenges on digging into my treasured past…thanks

  12. Excellent and compelling example of how one can used this type of DNA to solve a mystery. Thank you for sharing!

    Do different mitochondrial haplogroups experience widely different rates of divergence? Your donor had 7 perfect matches. My mitochondrial haplogroup is H1a1 appears to have a lack of divergence. I suffer from 250 perfect matches (GD=0) after completing a FMS. I suspect this haplogroup is ancient.

    Thanks in advance for any insight you might share.

    • Haplogroup H as a whole is much more common. Roughly half of Europe, so yes, without mutations you’re going to have more matches.

  13. Congratulations, this is fantastic! I can’t wait for more of the story. In anticipation, I did a re-read of the posts for Phebe and for Lydia Brown’s 3 daughters (or not) last night so I would be prepared for your upcoming post. I’m glad I did!

  14. I’m going to have to take a much closer look at this. I am one of those negative Nellies. I have 56 mtDNA matches, but they are all at least 2 steps away. My maternal line is French Canadian, so I was fairly easy to take my tree back to abt. 1614 France. To find a use for this information would be nice. Her paternal line was also fairly easy as there are only one, maybe two families that use that surname. I have all of my 5G-GP on my maternal side and only one road block for my 6G-GP.

    • I first learned about genetic genealogy in 2014 and wasn’t interested in mtDNA testing for more than four years. Then, in October 2018, I received my mtDNA full sequence results and just loved them! My known matrilineal line ends 1735 in Germany, but the mtDNA test connects me to five matches with French Canadian ancestry (four of them descend from three different daughters of the same woman). However, not all of them researched their trees this far – I had to do a little digging on my own using their earliest known ancestors and then other people’s trees on Ancestry. I’ve written about it here:

  15. i have a 0 distant match that popped up last year in March. no tree or most distant ancestor location either. she has an e-mail address though. i’ve built out the other matches trees, but i did not find any common surnames or locations.

    • What I wish I had done was to go up the tree, then look down the tree a branch or two on each child’s line – I would have noticed Frederick Co., VA which would have immediately set off warning bells.

  16. Cousin Roberta! Pheobe and Jotham Brown, of Greene County TN are my 5th G-Grandparents. I descend via their son William, grandson William M Brown, great granddau Sarah Brown… This is a fabulous discovery using MtDNA!

  17. I would really like to discuss this further with you. I am a direct female line descendent from a Lucy (possible last name of Jesse or Jepps) that married Robert Brown 1742-1795. I am also a J1c2c. Seems like there are too many coincidences. Cumberland and Franklin County, Virginia. There has to be a way we relate. Would love to figure it out.

  18. This post helped explain some of the confusion I have been having about which dna testing would be right for me to do. I also have the family legend of Native American ancestors (specifically my maternal grandfather’s grandmother) and a couple others throughout my father’s maternal line. If I follow you, I would need to find a cousin of my grandfather’s descended from his aunts to verify the claim, correct? I have just started doing more genealogical research and haven’t found much, except for those trees, which have all sorts of misinformation in them.

  19. Thank you! I have been at genealogy workshops and had the leader say not to waste money on the mtDNA test. I get so upset! But I have not used it the way you have. Thanks so much for sharing you approach!

  20. Hi Roberta, I have a question. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the magic of mitochondrial DNA. I have a brick wall on my mothers paternal great grandmother. (Moms fathers, mothers, mother) If I can have a direct female tested would that help me scale the wall?

    • I should probably have mentioned that I did the full sequence mtDNA from FTDNA last August. I have 52 exact matches (HVR1) and 29 exact matches (HVR2) I actually found a match in Oslo while there, but we can’t seem to connect. Maybe you can point me in the right direction to a better understanding mtDNA?

      • MaryAnn – I tend to look only at full sequence matches as that will narrow your search to the real possibility of finding a match within a genealogical time frame. I don’t know if Roberta agrees, but a match in HVR1 leaves you with to large a pool and even a match in both regions will not give you the focus you need given the slow mutation rate of mtDNA.
        Also you should not dismiss all mutations as they may be a heteroplasmy which may revert back or not. I am no expert in this – I just was lucky that Debbie Parker Wayne was the speaker I had invited for a conference and my results came back when she was here.

        Hopefully Roberta will correct me if I am completely wrong!

  21. Thanks for sharing this Roberta. You also give me hope. You may remember that it was trying to find my most maternal grandmother (Sarah LNU) that got me into all this DNA stuff over ten years ago. I did two mtDNA tests even before there was autosomal testing.

    Still do not know Sarah’s surname and I have 6 zero distance matches. Two are adoptees. Last year I matched a gentleman in Ireland who doesn’t know much about his maternal line, but that supports my belief that Sarah’s parents were Irish emigrants to Virginia or North Carolina, early in the 1700s.

    We’ll have to talk someday about how I can make some progress. Thanks again!! Janet

    • That seems like a really long time ago doesn’t it! Have you checked to see if any also match you on autosomal? I know, small chance but who knows.

  22. Congratulations for the huge break through!

    With the origin of Elizabeth Johnson, Jotham Brown and Phoebe Cole starting to get clearer, you sure look to be on a lucky strike with your 5x great-grand-parents. I hope 2019 will be as kind to you in this regard. And I’m looking forwards to read their stories.

    On the mt-DNA topic, I would add one item to your “here’s a summary of what you can learn” list: – verifying one line of the tree, far back and quickly, with much less headaches than the other lines. I easily confirmed the papertrail to my 6x great grand mother as I identified the descendants of two of her other daughters.

    When I tested my paternal grand-mother, everything just fall into place quickly as I saw the name of my 10x great-grand-mother or her mother all over the place.

    Mt-DNA can be a very, very low hanging fruit to verify ancestor way far back. I don’t regret one cent I invested into mine and my grand-mother’s.

  23. This is so inspiring! I had my mtDNA tested through Family Tree too. I haven’t done much sleuthing since the original reveal – but I did learn my maternal ancestors (those who share my genetic code) are in North Africa. Following your work inspires me to do more research.

  24. Thanks for this article! It showed me my money was not wasted and there is some hope at finding my mtDNA grandmothers. I was able to track my mtDNA line to my 5x great-grandmother (not via mtDNA but the tree with help from a few others). 2x great-grandmother Mary Hassett and family were Irish Famine Immigrants. I found one descendent of my 3x great-grandmother’s sister but of all the generations back to the 5x great-grandmother, found no others. I realize Ireland is very difficult to work with. I have 2 perfect matches to my mtDNA (HVR1, HVR2, Coding regions), and one of those is also part of the Ireland mtDNA project. I see I have more reading to do on mtDNA. I’m an adoptee and one or two women in my birth family have done a bit of correspondence and collaboration with me regarding our Irish line but they aren’t as heavily invested in this as I am, nor have they spent the time on it I have. My mtDNA line – McConnell –> Moore –> Hassett (Hassen, Hassan, O hosain, etc) — > Battersby –> Farmer –> Smyth. Again, thanks for the article, and the encouragement.

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  26. My 3xgrt-grandmother is probably Dutch, Finnish and NA about 1800 WVA. Probably Dutch New York. Wish I could get the paper trail back to there.

    • I worked one last night where I got the families in the same place at the same time in the same religion. So close.

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  28. This article just has be baffled . Jotham brown jr , Margaret Maloney , phoebe ellen Johnston popped up on my family tree . And I’m baffled beyond words because I’m an African American . This article has given me so much insight

      • No I just put my info in family . my great grandmother is Lou Ethel brown is Charles a brown daughter who was white on her census in 1920 but 30 40 50 she’s negro idk I’m going to do the dna test asap

        • Yes, please do. There are a lot of the descendants of this couple at FamilyTreeDNA. You can test there or at Ancestry and upload your DNA file to FamilyTreeDNA.

  29. Always like following your blog. I was curious the farthest we can go back on maternal side is Elizabeth Ertol (4thgm). I checked my grandmothers matches and she didn’t have any Ertol matches. Could that just be a coincidence? Some hints show Elizabeth surname to be Parkman. My grandmother does seem to have some Parkman cousins. Would this show Parkman may be more chance of being Elizabeth last name then Ertol is based on my cousin matches? Would I need to confirm if they share my tree or grandma’s dna? My mtdna is H13a1a1.

    • I would suggest attempting to find someone to target test on the Errol side. You can also do autosomal clustering which might well help you.

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