Jacob Dobkins and the Battle of Kings Mountain – 52 Ancestors #334

The temperature peaked someplace in the 90s on the Friday before Memorial Day in 2012, and the humidity was stifling. No one else, except one runner, was crazy enough to be hiking on Kings Mountain that day.

If Jacob Dobkins could fight for his life here, I could certainly hike in the heat.

I hiked the Kings Mountain National Military Park battlefield trail which the park service has conveniently marked with signs. There was also a cell phone audio tour where visitors call a phone number, enter the stop number, and a recording explains what happened there.

My ancestor, Jacob Dobkins, who we think was living in Virginia at that time served at Kings Mountain.

The decisive battle occurred on October 7, 1780, and amazingly, only lasted for a single hour. For some, though, it was a lifetime.

Jacob Dobkins

Jacob Dobkins was born in 1751 in Augusta County, Virginia to Captain John Dobkins and Elizabeth. I have not been able to confirm Elizabeth’s surname.

At Kings Mountain, Jacob would have been 29 years old, married to Dorcas Johnson for just over 5 years, and had 2 or 3 small children at home.

We don’t know a lot about his early life, other than he grew up and lived on the frontier.

In 1773, Jacob was found in Fincastle, Virginia on a delinquent tax list. It’s possible that he had moved on which is why his taxes were delinquent. However, Fincastle County, Virginia included a huge territory – land surrounding the Clinch River in what would become Tennessee, part of western Virginia, and what would become the state of Kentucky. Who knows where Jacob actually lived.

When Jacob Dobkins and Dorcas Johnson married on March 11, 1775, they lived in Shenandoah Co., Virginia.

Jacob’s Revolutionary War pension application says that in 1779 he enlisted in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. After the war, he appears on the 1783 tax lists in Virginia, then in the Shenandoah Co. Virginia census in 1790. He is living in Jefferson Co., Tennessee by 1792 when he sued John Sevier, also a veteran of Kings Mountain. John was at that time a member of the House of Representatives from North Carolina and would become the Governor of Tennessee in 1796.

Jacob bought land in Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1795, but by 1802 had purchased land in Claiborne County where he spent the rest of his life.

A humble man, Jacob never owned more than a log cabin – yet he and 1000 other men collectively changed the course of history.

Jacob passed away on March 4, 1833, an old man, with a Revolutionary War pension. Jacob’s pension application does not state that he was at Kings Mountain, but he is listed in Pat Alderson’s book, The Overmountain Men as has having served in that battle.

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive roster.

The Over Mountain Men

There’s a difference between militia units and men who enlisted to serve in the Revolutionary War. It’s certainly possible to be both and it’s clear that some men who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain were indeed enlisted.

A depiction of the gathering of militiamen at Sycamore Shoals prior to the Battle of Kings Mountain, from 1915.

Militia units were assembled locally to protect the homes and property of the community. Militia service was unpaid. Men provided their own gun and supplies and were obligated to show up and practice on the muster field where they lived.

Sometimes men from militia units did enlist in the war but being in the militia did not necessarily equate to military service. Militiamen stayed home unless there were extraordinary circumstances where they were called to action or unless they joined the military. Men who enlisted did not stay home, but they did visit from time to time.

By Brian Stansberry – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7033099

The Over Mountain Men gathered in several locations prior to departing for King’s Mountain where they would coalesce on October 7th.

Before my trip to the Kings Mountain Battlefield Park, I didn’t realize that militia units from different locations had stayed together and fought together during that conflict. That does make sense since those men had trained together and understood their commander well. If you’re wondering about your ancestor and Kings Mountain, look for evidence of other men from his community having fought there.

I also didn’t realize that the Over Mountain Men were primarily Scotch-Irish and that they had planned to stay neutral until Patrick Ferguson, the Loyalist/British commander, threatened to “come over the mountain and lay waste their land and homes to fire and sword.” Not only did Ferguson threaten the men directly, but their wives and children. That was a very, very poor choice.

Hence, Ferguson inadvertently gave birth to their name, in part because they did indeed come from “over the mountain,” west of the Appalachians, the colonial boundary.

As the ranger said, those mountain men were born fighters and they were angered into action. Especially since the battles of Buford, known as Buford’s Massacre, and Camden had been so horrid. The British slaughtered men on the battlefield under the flag of surrender.

As the Over Mountain Men charged up the side of Kings Mountain, they shouted Buford…the leader of the massacred men.

Never underestimate the power of enraged, determined people. Not only did they win the battle, decisively, but they turned the tide of the war and showed the British that they could and would win.

The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive inflection point in the Revolutionary War.

Patrick Ferguson’s “Advantage”

Patrick Ferguson was so confident of his superiority over those backwoodsmen that he isolated himself on the top of the mountain with no defensive plan. He simply planned to shoot the men as they crested the hill. He did shoot a few, but what he didn’t anticipate is the sheer number – almost 1000 – men who were charging like Indians, not like the regimented English soldiers in formation.

The Over Mountain Men swarmed Ferguson with no warning, from every place all at once.

Ferguson’s hilltop “advantage” soon became a problem, and then turned into a trap from which he and his men could not escape. The British and their Tory supporters fell, and even after they surrendered, many died at the hands of the Over Mountain Men in retribution for what they had done to Buford and at Camden.

Some Tory soldiers were killed on the battlefield and others were lynched for treason. Then, within a day, the mountain men dispersed, disappearing back into the silent hills from whence they came….never to be forgotten. Names included Campbell, McDowell, Edmondson, and others.

My ancestor’s brother, Nathaniel Vannoy from Wilkes County, North Carolina was present as was his sister’s husband, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, depicted below leading the Patriot militiamen back home after battle.

By Don Troiani – Allan Jones personal collection, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93842148

Reverend George McNiel, the “elderly” minister, age 60 or so, another ancestor, accompanied the Wilkes County men as a volunteer chaplain. Sadly, his services were needed, although there is no comprehensive list of who died on either side.

Comparatively few fatalities occurred to the Over the Mountain Men, but many Tories died that day.

The Battlefield Path

The path today at Kings Mountain is paved and circles the actual battlefield which is on top of the mountain. Locations of interest are marked. The circular path is at the base of the hill.

Come along for a walk. Bring a cold drink – it’s hot😊

Glancing up the hill, above, and along the paved pathway, below.

The ranger told us that the land has been logged since the battle and the original forest was much more mature. The soldiers reported that they could see each other clearly through the trees, so the undergrowth is a function of regrowth.

Some of the area was craggy and remind me of the pictures of the Scottish highlands. Our Scotch-Irish ancestors probably felt very much at home. Many of the Highland rebels left Scotland after the 1745 Battle of Colladen Moor. These men and their sons were born fighters, ingrained in both their blood and culture.

Men were buried on Kings Mountain where they fell if they were actually “buried” at all. Anonymous fieldstones were marked with honoring plaques later, as we see below. Paths up and down the hillsides lead to the graves. Men were killed all over the hill, not just on top.

It’s hard to believe this beautiful, tranquil location was the site of such a monumental battle. Although, I can feel their presence in the silence.

Countless men lost their lives here and many more were wounded. It’s amazing that such a decisive battle was won by only 1000 or so backwoodsmen, virtually untrained, pitted against highly-trained soldiers and their backcountry brethren.

Nooks and crannies on the walkway hold stones marking fallen soldiers.

Today, on Memorial Day, we honor these men and their service. This is the Appalachian version of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with many more whose graves have been lost to time.

As I proceed around the mountain, the hillside becomes significantly steeper, and the woods deepen. These signs placed along the pathway were immensely helpful.

Can you imagine seeing red-coated men charging at you with bayonets?

The Patriots were longhunters, armed only with hunting rifles. Similar men had been slaughtered just weeks before. No one really expected this to be different.

The Over the Mountain Men charged the British three times and faced those bayonets. By the time bayonets were useful, the guns themselves were not.

Were they brave or foolhardy?

That third charge was successful.

The grave below is that of Major William Chronicle.

Rain

It rained the night before the battle. Wet leaves mute and absorb sound.

The Tories were confidently waiting but didn’t expect to be ambushed in silence. The Over Mountain Men had the advantage of understanding nature. They left their horses tied a mile away and approached on foot, like Indians. They fought the Indians on the frontier, but they had also learned from them. Very effectively, it seems.

Their final approach up the hill was with full-fledged war screams. The Tories found it every bit as disconcerting as did the Europeans when the Indians descended on them with war whoops.

Today, the only sound is the slightly babbling brook.

Up this hill they ran – shooting and shouting and whooping. “Buford,” they screamed with all their might.

Today, birds chirp. But on that day, the men from Virginia, North Carolina, and the area that would become Tennessee joined forces to survive the advance and crest the top of Kings Mountain. They fought their way up that hill, tree to tree. The bark was literally shot off the trees by the Loyalist’s guns.

Yes, into that horrific assault from above, the Over Mountain Men still continued to advance.

Would these men have ever dreamed that they turned the tide of the war and therefore the fledgling nation, tree by tree, as they inched up that hill? Today, the possibility for any 1000 people to have that kind of a profound effect seems nearly impossible, but it wasn’t then.

I’m sure those men never even pondered the idea that someday this would be an honored battlefield, or that their descendants would come here to honor them, their service and sacrifice, and to be with them in whatever small way we can be. That this place would one day be peaceful was incomprehensible on that October day.

Back then, there were no honored battlefields. Only bloody farmers’ fields where men were wounded and died. Honor and commemoration would come much, much later.

The Over Mountain Men were stubborn to a fault. They didn’t take orders well, if at all. Their commanders understood this – because they too were one of those men. Each man was instructed to be his own officer and do the best he could.

Family Against Family

Not everyone agreed that the colonies should become their own country. Some believed that revolting against England was wrong, for any number of reasons. Like during the Civil War that followed some 80 years later, the populace was divided.

The hardest part of this battle was probably that it turned family members against each other. In some cases, brother against brother. It’s told that one man, a Tory, was injured and asked his brother-in-law, a Patriot, for help. The reply he received was to ask his friends.

In many ways, this battle wasn’t really about sovereignty, it was about what Buford had done, under the truce flag, to the Patriots in two earlier battles. It was about Ferguson’s threat to destroy the homes, family, and farms of the formerly neutral men of Appalachia. It was about revenge and justice.

It was not a good day to be a Tory, or Ferguson.

Colonel William Campbell

Colonel William Campbell, from Augusta County, Virginia rallied the Over Mountain Men to return after they had begun to retreat and to charge the Tories once again.

He was known to the Loyalists as the “bloody tyrant of Washington County” due to his harsh treatment of Tories, but was a hero to the mountain men. He instructed them to, “Fight like Hell and shout like devils.” He was promoted to General in 1781, but died shortly after of a heart attack.

Somehow my Campbell line is related to his line, but I have been unable to identify exactly how. It’s certainly possible that my Charles Campbell was at Kings Mountain with his kinsman, Colonel William Campbell whose father’s name was also Charles Campbell.

I ponder this possibility as I walk. I can’t help but wonder how many of my ancestors fought, here, at Kings Mountain.

This tree has grown over a large rock. Was this rock a fieldstone serving to mark the grave of a quickly-buried soldier?

The previous photos were all taken at the base of the hill and slightly ascending.

Hilltop

Beginning here, the photos are from the top of the hill. This is where Ferguson and many of his men were killed. They thought that they could simply wait there for the Over the Mountain Men and pick them off with bayonets as they crested the hill. Their bayonets were “high” and did not have the effect they wanted. Bullets travel much further than bayonets and red-coated men made great targets.

On the top of the hill, which was cleared at the time, today stand two markers.

This monument is the Centennial Monument, built in 1880 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle.

This stone does not mark a grave, but honors Colonel Asbury Coward who planned the 100th Anniversary celebration and raised the money for the commemorative statue.

We are now looking down the hill. The mountain men charged up this hill, towards Ferguson’s soldiers and Tories waiting for them, about where I’m standing.

Who Was a Tory?

It was difficult to tell who was who, well, except for the English soldiers who wore those distinctive red coats. Ninety percent of the Loyalists, known as Tories, were friends and neighbors.

Emotions ran perilously high. Family members felt betrayed and couldn’t understand how their kinsmen could feel otherwise – strongly enough to want to kill them.

The Tory Oak in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, also known as the Cleveland Oak, was the tree in which Colonel Benjamin Cleveland hung at least 5 Tory traitors in 1779, three of whom had attempted to kidnap him.

Pretty much, a Tory was someone on top of the hill trying to kill you. Once there, it was almost impossible to tell the difference.

Is an unknown soldier buried under some of these rocks?  The dead had to be buried someplace here – their graves now lost to time.

The Tories and the English soldiers were pinned on top of the mountain. Some Loyalists attempted to either escape or switch sides, but I fear their lot had already been cast given that they had already shown their true allegiance. A “conversion” under duress is likely not genuine and the Over Mountain Men knew that.

But what would those men, on either side, have done if they discovered the person they were trying to kill was a family member or neighbor?

US Obelisk Monument

This beautiful white granite monument on the top of Kings Mountain is a smaller version of the Washington Monument.

Plaques on the sides list the commanders and known dead Americans. You can read documentation about the battle, here.

The plaques honor the fallen at Kings Mountain. I was so hoping for a complete roster of all the men who participated in this battle, but no such luck. Historians have been piecing this information together for years.

This beautiful white monument is located in the center of the top of the hill.

This nearby stone honors Colonel James Hawthorne who took command after another officer was wounded. However, this is one of the LEAST remarkable things about James Hawthorne. This man was made of steel and grit.

Ferguson’s Demise

Engraving depicting the death of British Major Patrick Ferguson who was shot from his horse, but he didn’t actually fall off entirely. With his foot still in the stirrup, he was dragged to the patriot side.

According to Patriot accounts, when a militiaman approached the Major for his surrender, Ferguson drew his pistol and shot the man. Probably not a good idea.

Other soldiers reacted in kind and 7 or 8 musket holes later, Ferguson was dead. Many, many men reported that they had fired the fatal shot. Militia accounts said his body was stripped of clothing and the men urinated on him before burial, near where he died. The militiamen hated this man who had wrought so much indignity and pain.

I don’t know who marked Ferguson’s grave, or when, but initially it was marked only by a pile of stones.

Major Patrick Ferguson isn’t very likable. He recruited Tories from among the residents of the Carolina backcountry and commanded several devastating Revolutionary War battles.

He’s not a hero by any measure, but we must give the devil his due. You can’t help but respect Ferguson. He embodies all that people love about the Scotch-Irish – the same traits that the Over the Mountain Men used to defeat him.

Ferguson was bullishly stubborn. His elbow was shattered in a previous battle by a musket ball, and he learned to ride with his other hand, write with it, fence with it, and used a silver whistle to command his men since he didn’t have the second hand he needed. He had to hold on to the reins with something. Obviously, that last stubborn shot he fired, surely knowing he would be killed immediately as a result, was fired with his one good hand.

Patrick was a one-armed commander in the Battle of Kings Mountain but never considered himself in any capacity disabled.

He was also a bit of a renegade, and the more established commanders basically abandoned him to face the Over the Mountain Men alone. Maybe they thought, “so much the better,” if Ferguson were killed, but little did they dream the magnitude of that victory would also mean their defeat.

There just seems to be some karmic justice lurking in that situation.

Ferguson famously traveled with two women, both named Virginia, leading to many untoward jokes about his ability to remember the right name in the heat of the moment, so to speak. One Virginia died on the mountain with him and was buried in the same grave.

One escaped, the Over the Mountain Men parting ranks to let her through. I can’t even begin to imagine how those women wound up on that hilltop.

Some reported that it was as Virginia escaped that she told them Ferguson was wearing a red and white plaid shirt. His men could easily distinguish him, but after that prize piece of information, so could the Over Mountain Men.

The location of Ferguson’s death is marked on the top of Kings Mountain.

Ferguson’s grave is nearby in a “can’t miss it” location right beside the path.

Marked with the original cairn and now a stone as well, it’s actually quite beautiful.

You know, the great irony is that Ferguson, born in Scotland, was probably related to at least some of these men.

The Over Mountain Men are Victorious

This stone, tucked away down a little path, commemorates the service of Colonel Frederick Hambright, a German born Patriot who urged his men to continue fighting after Ferguson famously claimed that “all the Rebels from hell” would be unable to drive him away.

Clearly, Ferguson was mistaken, as proven by Hambright and his men.

That Night

Imagine the night after the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Men of both sides would have been terribly on edge.

They would have been trying to rest, as best through could, among the moans and groans of the wounded. Men probably died during the night.

Neither side knew what the morning would bring, and both sides were afraid of each other. Other than the men in red coats, it was difficult to determine who was on which side.

The Tories/ Loyalists/Redcoats knew the Whigs/Patriots/Over Mountain Men would like nothing better than to hang them. The feeling was clearly mutual, based on past behavior at previous battles.

The Over Mountain Men knew that Loyalist reinforcements couldn’t be far behind.

Neither contingent could move under the cover of darkness.

I’d wager no sentry fell asleep that night – and neither did most of the other men.

Even burying the dead would have been risky.

The Tory/Loyalist Prisoners

It was reported that the militiamen had captured more than 700 Loyalists, be they English soldiers or Tory sympathizers. By the time they reached the Moravian settlement of Bethabara, near Winston-Salem, three weeks later, they had 300 prisoners, and by early December, only 130. A month later, they had 60. What happened to the missing men?

Some were likely hung. Some found a sympathetic ear among relatives or neighbors and were paroled or simply allowed to go home. Some could have been wounded and either left behind or died someplace. The Moravians reported that some escaped. More than 200 were reported to have been consigned into the Patriot militia but had since defected and rejoined the British to fight against the Patriots another day.

Returning Home

The British clearly hated these men who would not be subdued.

Hearty, brave, and having succeeded against all odds, the Carolina backwoodsmen and the Over Mountain Men returned to their homes, crossing the high mountain range through snow.

They would wait for the next volley from the British, prepared to meet them once again where they must. But the tide had turned, thanks to the incredible bravery of 1000 out-gunned, untrained, angry, Patriots.

The Battlefield Today

In order to protect the battlefield, it had to be purchased and then designated a National Historic Landmark. This occurred in 1930 when President Herbert Hoover, along with 70,000 people, visited Kings Mountain.

From the location above, marked by a rock, Hoover gave a speech that set the wheels in motion for the park today.

Hoover’s speech, above, marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain.

I can’t even begin to imagine 70,000 people gathered at Kings Mountain. Seventy times as many people as there were 150 years earlier on that same day.

Kings Mountain

This then is the story of Kings Mountain, a narrative not only of military victory but the tale of a vendetta “paid” as well.

After winning this battle, these mountain men, not soldiers, but fathers, husbands, and brothers turned around, returned home, and resumed their life on the frontier. It was fall – time to lay in meat for the winter and chop wood for the stove.

They needed to tell the wives and mothers of the men who would not be returning – those who remain on Kings Mountain. The community would help those widows and families survive.

This make-shift army of volunteer men changed the course of history and shaped this country in a way no others ever would, vanquishing their enemies who laid waste to their kinsmen under the flag of truce.

It’s ironic that we don’t even know the names of the men largely responsible for America becoming a democracy as opposed to continuing as subjects of the British crown.

Had the British and their Tory compatriots not angered these men into a boiling rage, who knows, we might live under the British flag yet today. That trajectory changed, thanks to the utter bravery and sheer stubbornness of a few hardy backwoodsmen, the Over Mountain Men, brandishing axes, knives, and hunting rifles in the face of soldiers with bayonets.

Jacob Dobkins was probably among those stalwart men. Perhaps your ancestor was too.

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Camstra Burials: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way – 52 Ancestors #333

In last week’s article, The Camstra Trail, I was gifted with the beautiful miniature photo of Douwe Baukes Camstra and his wife and subsequently found the burial location of the couple, at least in general terms.

It’s interesting how publishing something like that opens the floodgates. Well, maybe not floodgates in this case, but definitely the faucet.

Three things happened.

  • Another photo of Douwe surfaced
  • We found the burial locations of Douwe Bauke Camstra who died in 1869
  • We found the burial location of his father, Bauke Douwe Camstra who died in 1866

Douwe’s Actual Burial Plot

As it turns out, I actually HAD more information about Douwe that had been previously provided by Yvette Hoitink. Of course, I made this discovery right AFTER I hit the publish button.

Yvette unearthed a letter written almost a century ago.

Ybeltje Camstra – a granddaughter of Douwe Bauke Camstra wrote in May 1923:

“My grandfather was somebody of fairly large mental gifts. He appears to have been a good mathematician, in that we had in our family an antique silver tobacco jar with an inscription, which read that this tobacco jar was given to him for important services, rendered to the City of Leeuwarden; these services were regarding calculations that he was required to do. This tobacco jar disappeared during the theft that took place in Maartensdijk around 1895, which is a shame.”

On 12 May 1846 the family Camstra settled in Leeuwarden. For years, the family lived in the house at the Grote Kerkstraat nr. 262. From this marriage were born six children, while the family Camstra-Kijlstra also took care to raise a niece Anna Elisabeth Camstra.

Also in the house lived Catharina Proost, school teacher, charged with teaching the children. Servant was Berbertje Koopal.

The couple Camstra-Kijlstra lies buried on the old Cemetery at the Spanjaardslaan in Leeuwarden, section 3, row 26, nr. 11.

There you have it. If I were Douwe’s direct descendant, I’d be placing a FindAGrave request for a photo – even if there is no marker and even if he’s currently sharing a grave with a few of his neighbors.

Yvette provided additional information about Douwe too.

After he married, Douwe B. Camstra was first head teacher in Drachten for several years, but was later appointed arrondissementsijker [district calibrator].

He was joint founder of the “Selskip foar Fryske Tael en Skrifekennisse [Society for Frisian language and writing knowledge]” and for many years was a member as “earste skriuwer [first writer]”. Douwe also wrote Frisian novellas, of which 12 were published in “Idu[…]” and “De Swanneblom.”

In regards to his appointment as district calibrator in Leeuwarden we find the following in the Resolutiën van Burgemeesteren der Stad Leeuwarden [Resolutions of the City Leeuwarden]:

28 February 1846 – Was read a resolution of the Provincial Executives of Friesland of 24 February 1846 nr. 29 regarding information about the transfer of district calibrator D.B. Camstra from Heerenveen to Leeuwarden, to replace the fired assistant calibrator G.M. Cahais, as well as determining the time for the calibration of the measures and weights, over 1846 and all the Cities and Municipalities of the province etc. This resolution has already had the required effect, so was decided to consider as notification.

By C messier – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51124679

Douwes Bauke Camstra would have been very familiar with “The Waag,” or weigh house in Leeuwarden where all types of goods were weighed, located on the canal center city, a few blocks from where Douwe was born.

Speaking of a Descendant

My cousin, a descendant of Douwe, dropped me a note immediately after he read last week’s article. He had been gifted with a copy of the same photo in 2013 along with another one of Douwe apparently taken a few years later.

Courtesy of cousin Glenn

Douwe looked to be a bit older and his black eye seemed to have healed. So my speculation that Douwe might have been blind was clearly wrong. Now I wonder if what we thought was a black eye was an artifact of very early photography.

These two photos provide secondary confirmation of the identity of this man.

Burial Location of Bauke Douwes Camstra (1779-1866) and Anna Elizabeth Jonker (1778-1856) 

I surmised in the article that since Douwe Bauke Camstra and his wife were buried in the Spanjaardslaan cemetery in 1869, that his parents were surely buried there too. That seemed reasonable, given that his father only died three years before Douwe and since there was no other cemetery in Leeuwarden following the 1827 edict that burials could no longer occur in churches and churchyards for sanitation reasons.

Then, I received this from Yvette:

About Bauke’s burial place, all the way back in 2013, I did a research report for you with the inventory of the estate of Bauke Douwes Camstra, created on 21 July 1866, after his death.

Among the estate was:

“Graves: Four graves at the churchyard in Goutum, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grave from the church in row 18, with the two grave stones, valued at fl. 20 Deducted for maintenance and prohibition to open the two graves in which the deceased will be buried within 20 years.”

So Bauke was buried in Goutum just south of Leeuwarden. I once had a McDonald’s picnic dinner there and sent you a photo.

Yvette to the rescue once again, and my bad for not rereading the Camstra reports. The great irony here is that I was very excited about receiving that picnic photo from Yvette at the time and remember it well.

Courtesy Yvette Hoitink

I even managed to find the photo on my computer.

Yvette continues:

They owned 4 graves on the churchyard in Goutum, a small hamlet just south of Leeuwarden. They owned graves 4, 5, 6 and 7 in row 18.

Of course, this begs the question of who was intended to be buried in the other two graves, and if anyone in the Camstra family actually was ever buried there. I also thought his wife predeceased Bauke. I need to do some more reading and digging. Actually, what I need to do is write their own individual ancestor articles where I review everything.

That has to be on the north side since the south side doesn’t have 18 rows. I made a guess that they started counting the rows from the tower and indicated the location of these graves on the Google Map.

Yvette even marked their grave locations.

Google Streetview drove by the churchyard as well, but the trees were so full of leaves you can hardly see anything.

The estate bill included a provision for maintenance of the graves of Bauke and Anna Elisabeth for 20 years, so that’s long gone by now as many graves are cleared in the Netherlands after 20 years, I do not think these graves are still there. There is a small chance that they still exist because this was an owned grave, not a rented grave.

The graves at the Goutum cemetery are listed at Graftombe but the Camstra grave is not among them so it was probably cleared.

You can see the area where they are/were buried from the street beside the church. They are near the rear of the church, just the other side of the trees.

Why Was Bauke Buried in Goutham?

OK, so my logic was sound, but it was also wrong.

It made perfect sense that Bauke was buried in the only cemetery in Leeuwarden when he died. It made sense, especially since his son was buried there three years later.

In fact, now I wonder why Douwe wasn’t buried in Goutum with Bauke.

Furthermore, why WAS Bauke buried in Goutum?

After all, Bauke was a deacon in the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk Dutch Reformed church in Leeuwarden, just down the street from his home. He didn’t attend church in Goutum.

The beautiful new Leeuwarden cemetery park was just across the bridge, outside the city wall, much closer than Goutum.

This doesn’t make sense, at least not at first glance.

The church in Goutum (Buorren 23) is just south of Leeuwarden, about 3 miles as the crow flies from Bauke’s home church. Bauke would certainly have been familiar with the churches surrounding Leeuwarden.

My bet, at this point, is that Bauke was NOT in favor of being buried in a grave outside of a churchyard. There were gravesites available at the church in Goutum, and Bauke took advantage of the opportunity to purchase four. I think this comes under the category of, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Bauke found a way to be buried in a churchyard, even if it wasn’t his home church or even inside the city of Leeuwarden. It didn’t matter. The churchyard in Goutum is where he rested until at least 1886 when his 20 years was up.

Were it not for the purchase noted in Bauke Douwe Camstra’s estate record, we would never have known.

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Be Sure Your DNA Tests Are Connected to Trees at MyHeritage

As I’ve been preparing for the free seminar, “Turning AutoClusters into Solutions at MyHeritage” on Monday, May 24th at 2 PM EDT (US), I realized something VERY important that I’d like to share with you – in advance.

By the way, to watch the presentation live, just click on the Facebook MyHeritage page, here a few minutes before 2. If you’re busy, MyHeritage will record the session and you can watch at your convenience.

Upload Family Tests

It’s always important to test family members, or upload DNA files to MyHeritage if they have already tested elsewhere. You can easily upload additional tests from other vendors to MyHeritage, here.

Need instructions for downloading from other vendors or uploading to MyHeritage? You can find step-by-step instructions, here.

One of your best clues will be who else your cluster members match. Known relatives are a huge clue!

I did all that, but I <ahem> neglected a really important step after the upload.

Connect the DNA Test to the Right Person in the Appropriate Tree

I have no idea how I managed to NOT do this, but I didn’t and I made this discovery while working on my clusters.

  • As I checked the DNA tests that I manage at MyHeritage, I realized that none of them had Theories of Family Relativity. Hmmm, that’s odd, because some of them are my close relatives, and I have Theories of Family Relativity. They should too, given that we are using the same tree.
  • Then, I verified that all of these tests were connected to my tree. Good, right?

Those two facts, together, didn’t make sense, so I investigated further and realized that somehow, I had managed to create a single entry for each person, disconnected from everyone else in my tree. That lone person is who the DNA kit was connected to, but not to anyone else in my tree.

How did I make that discovery?

More importantly, how can you check each of the tests that you manage to be sure they are connected appropriately?

Even if you’re SURE you’ve connected them, please check. I discovered that I had connected them, kind of. But not properly.

Let’s look at each step so you can check too.

Are Your Tests Connected?

Click to enlarge images

At the top of your account page, select Family Tree.

If you have uploaded multiple family trees, be sure to select the CORRECT family tree where the person should be connected.

If you are related to that person by blood, then connecting them to the proper place in YOUR family tree is best. If you are not related to them by blood, such as an in-law or spouse or someone else entirely, then you can either connect them to the proper place in your tree or upload a separate tree for them. For example, my spouse and I do not have children together, so there will never be anyone who shares both of our DNA or ancestors. I uploaded a separate tree for his family so his family can see tree members that are only relevant to him.

After you click on Family Tree, on the left side, you’ll see the tree name and down arrow. If you click on the down arrow, the active tree is displayed as orange, and the other trees you have uploaded are grey.

Be SURE the tree the person should be connected in is the active tree by clicking the appropriate tree.

Find the Person

At the far right-hand side of your tree page, type the name of the person whose test you’re managing, by the name listed on the test.

If the person is NOT connected to a family in your tree, you’ll see something like the view above that shows their name but no appropriate relationship. The item blurred out below Charlene’s name is the year she was born based on what was entered when the kit was uploaded.

If the person IS connected appropriately, you’ll see the correct relationship to you.

If your relative’s relationship is shown appropriately to you, next, click on that person’s name to be SURE you’ve connected the DNA kit to that person.

When you click on that person, you’ll see their name displayed in their position in the tree, along with the DNA symbol.

If you DON’T see a DNA symbol on their tree placard, this may mean you’re in the wrong tree. It definitely means there is no DNA kit attached to this person’s profile in this tree.

For example, my husband is in my tree and in his own tree, but his DNA is connected to him in his own tree, not “him” in my tree. His name in his tree has a DNA icon and his name in my tree does not. If I accidentally connected him to his name in my tree, he would have no genetic tree-based tools because his ancestors aren’t in my tree.

DNA Symbol But No Family

If you see a DNA symbol on their placard in the tree, but no parents or family members, you’ve probably done what I did. Poor Charlene was connected to her own card in my tree, but not the Charlene where she belonged. I had apparently created a quick placeholder for her and then forgot what I had done.

When I saw that Charlene had no family, the light bulb popped on and I immediately knew what had happened. Of course, that means you need to build your tree out to that cousin in order to connect them appropriately.

Connect Up

It’s easy to connect a DNA test kit to a profile in a tree.

Under DNA, click on “Manage DNA Kits.”

Click to enlarge images

You’ll see that the person has been assigned to a name. This is what threw me off, because they were connected to a name, but I had NOT connected that profile properly to her parents (and family) in the tree. I’m guessing I was in a hurry and figured I’d connect them properly later.

Again, be sure you’re displaying the appropriate tree before you complete this next step.

Click on the three little dots and you’ll see “Re-assign kit to a different person.” Click on that link.

Begin typing the name of the person whose DNA test kit you wish to attach to a profile.

You’ll see the right person, assuming you’ve added that person in your tree. Click on that person and then Save.

All done.

Easy peasy.

If the correct person isn’t in your tree yet, just build the tree from Charlene’s stand-alone profile to the proper ancestor.

Reap the Harvest!

Now, you’ll begin to reap ALL the rewards of having your relatives test. Their kits will receive matches, hints, Theories of Family Relativity and AutoClusters that you won’t, because they will match different people that you don’t.

You’ll be able to utilize their clusters from your side of their tree just as effectively as your own. In some cases, their tests will be more valuable than your own because they have DNA from your common ancestors that you didn’t inherit. This is especially true for people who are a generation or two closer to your common ancestor.

Whose tests can you upload, with permission of course?

Be sure those kits are properly connected.

See you all tomorrow on MyHeritage Facebook LIVE to learn about Turning AutoClusters into Solutions.

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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

The Camstra Trail: A Little Box with a Photo – 52 Ancestors #332

The day started out just like any other day, but THIS day would hold something very special.

Hi Roberta,

I’m writing you from the Netherlands. I don’t know where you live. Your name came up in my search for the offspring of Douwe Baukes Camstra. I think you are offspring of his sister Lijsbeth. I have a little box with a photo of Douwe and his wife Iebeltje Egberts Kijlstra taken on their silver wedding in 1856! I want to give it back to their relatives.

This is a picture of it:

Can you help me? Do you know other relatives? If not, you can have it. Do you want it?

Do I Want It?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Of COURSE I want it – assuming it’s my relative.

First, I had to scurry off and search my genealogy software. Was this, indeed my family member?

Could I possibly be this lucky?

Holding my breath…

Oh my gosh – this IS the brother of my ancestor! I didn’t know his middle name, and I have a different spelling for his wife’s name, but it’s definitely the same couple.

This is so exciting!!!

I asked Marga where she found this treasure.

The little box belongs to my mother, but she doesn’t know where it comes from. We don’t have any family in the north of the Netherlands. I put a picture of it on Facebook and it is many times shared, but no reactions at all. I found on the internet that there are not many people left in our country with the name Camstra…

In the box there is a little paper. It says: “Ybeltje Kielstra en Douwe Baukes Camstra beiden geboren +/- 1810 bij hun zilveren huwelijksfeest in 1862.” Which means: Ybeltje Kielstra and Douwe Baukes Camstra both born +/- 1810 at their silver weddings party in 1862.

The date 1862 is wrong because it was in 1856.

Marga took this scrap of information and began searching, trying to find if they were related to Douwe. She fleshed out his vital information, including his parents.

Marga had clearly done her homework. I just have to say this – it’s incredibly confusing when Bauke Douwe Camstra names his first and second sons both Douwe Bauke Camstra. The first son died, but I digress.

I replied to Marga, then I tried to wait patiently for her response.

The internet/Facebook somehow bollixed things up and my reply to Marga went AWOL. Even though I could see it from my end, Marga couldn’t.

Two days later, she queried, “You’re not interested?”

You’re Not Interested?

OMG YES I’M INTERESTED!!!!!!

Thankfully, Marga received this second message and posted the envelope.

Longest 3 weeks of my life.

What if it got lost in the international mail? The mail here in the US has been taking weeks to months for some items mailed in the same county – let alone from across the ocean.

Where was it?

Would it EVER arrive?

“Be patient,” I told myself, over and over.

I did not receive the patience gene.

One Cold February Day

Finally, one cold mid-February day, almost a month later, a small envelope arrived.

I mention the envelope was small for two reasons.

First, I laid it aside in the pile of junk mail because I was expecting something larger. Who wants to sort through junk mail when you’re impatiently waiting for something VERY precious?

Second, truthfully, I didn’t expect something THAT small. It’s miniature.

Did I mention that I adore miniatures???

The little box itself is about 2.5 by 3 inches and it’s less than half an inch thick. Maybe closer to a quarter inch.

When I was sorting through the mail later, I squealed with excitement, because there it was.

I opened the envelope carefully and saw a face that looked at least vaguely familiar. Was my ancestor a female version of him, minus the beard? They shared the same parents.

Lijsbeth Bauke Camstra married Hendrik Jans Ferwerda on February 19, 1829 in Leeuwarden. Hendrik was a school teacher and they lived their married life in Blija, about 13 miles (22 km) away, near the sea.

Their first child was Bauke Hendrick Ferwerda, born January 26, 1830. He married Geertje Harmens DeJong who passed away before Bauke remarried and the family immigrated to America, settling in Indiana.

Some siblings don’t look at all alike and others are dead-ringers for each other. Did my ancestor, Lijsbert Baukes Camstra, born March 13, 1806 look anything like her younger brother, Douwe Baukes Camstra, born on May 15th of the following year? If so, did she pass it on?

I don’t know. You can be the judge.

Douwe Bauke Camstra pictured beside his great-nephew, Hiram Bauke Ferverda, at right. Hiram was about 15 years older than Douwe in this photo and his hair is not grey. It looks like Douwe might have been blind in his left eye.

Douwe would be my great-great-great-great-uncle. I believe this is also the earliest photo of any family member.

The Camstra Home

Douwe and his sister Lijsbeth, both with the middle name of Bauke, Camstra were born in this home, in Leeuwarden.

Camstra home in 2014

Yvette Hoitink, Dutch genealogist extraordinaire, located this property for me in 2012. In fact, you can see my very first glimpse for yourself in this short YouTube video that Yvette recorded while walking down the street. You can hear the church bells ringing in the background.

I’ve since been to Leeuwarden myself, but there’s nothing like that first glimpse on the other side of what you believed to be an insurmountable brick wall.

Whoever would have guessed that another 9 years later, a Camstra family photo would surface in an unrelated family in the south of the Netherlands and make its way to me in America.

Of course, I had to find out more.

What Happened to Douwe Bauke Camstra?

Douwe died in Leeuwarden on August 20, 1869.

We don’t know where he lived, but it certainly could have been in the very house where he was born.

The clock tower and the gardens were at the end of the block, quite conveniently located. In fact, the Camstra home was convenient to pretty much everything in Leeuwarden.

The Camstra home was located at Grote Kerkstraat 33, shown below on Google maps today.

Tresoar, the present-day regional archives where Douwe’s father’s Pleasure Garden was located was just a couple blocks down this street in the direction we’re looking, and what turns out to be Douwe’s final resting place was across the moat ringing the old city.

Yvette also filmed the location of the Pleasure Gardens in this video.

Cemeteries

Cemeteries work differently in the Netherlands (and the rest of Europe) than they do in the US, even back then.  Real estate is at a premium, especially dry land. You really didn’t want to dig a hole and have it fill with water. Coffins aren’t supposed to splash.

People were buried on the terps, raised areas built for churches, then the plots were reused a few years later. How long? Well, that depends on the location and the circumstances. In many cases, family members shared grave spaces with other family members. If the grave was abandoned, then some years later, often roughly 20, someone else was buried in the same space.

If the original inhabitant hadn’t entirely returned to “dust” yet, no problem.

A small ossuary building allowed whatever remains remained to visit with their neighbors and continue their degradation stacked, respectfully, together. Most cemeteries in the Netherlands have an inobtrusive little building for just this purpose. No one thinks anything of it.

This little Ossuary is found in the church cemetery in Wolsum where Hiram Ferwerda lived for a few years.

Originally, the Leeuwarden cemetery would have been inside the fortified city walls, of course, beside that church tower in what is today the parking lot.

This map from 1612 shows the church and detached church tower at far left, although other records tell us that the decrepit church was demolished in 1595 or 1596. The “yard” surrounding the church would have been the cemetery.

It’s also worth noting that the Dutch Reformed Protestant church is shown at right, at the other end of “Grote Kerkstraat,” or Great Church Street.

This 1664 map shows the remains of the church, along with the churchyard in front of the bell tower. I can’t help but wonder if the little house at the base of the tower is either the caretaker’s home, or the ossuary, or both.

The red arrow points to the Camstra home. You found a church or a cemetery no matter which direction you walked. Churches, old or contemporaneous, at either end of the street.

By Ymblanter – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40571285

The Protestant church, already several hundred years old by that time was a couple blocks east of the Camstra home. There were burials inside the Protestant church, Grote of Jacobijnerkerk, in crypts and in the floor, but I find no record of external burials. Surely they existed. People had to be buried someplace and churchyards were where cemeteries were located. Only the wealthy were buried inside the church, in the floor. There is space around the church on the old maps. Precious space inside the city walls was never wasted.

A royal interdiction in 1827 put an end to the unhygienic burials in and beside churches. Communities had to seek more suitable locations to bury outside the cities. In Leeuwarden, the “new” cemetery at the Spanjaardslaan opened in 1833. Of course, it’s now called the “Old City Graveyard,” but it certainly wasn’t the oldest. The churchyards were far older.

The residents were reluctant to give up their churchyard burial practices, but a Dutch landscape gardener designed a beautiful cemetery that would function as a park in addition to being a cemetery. Located on the old dwelling mound, Fiswerd, once a monastery, the beautiful, quiet cemetery allows visitors, then and now, to leave the busy city behind.

Entering these gates, between the skulls on the top of the fence, the park doesn’t much resemble a cemetery as we perceive them today.

The peaceful essence that the landscaper had in mind to lure those Frisians away from their church graveyard can still be felt today.

Trees, grass, and landscaping are found everyplace.

But where is Douwe?

The cemetery was designed in 5 “departments.” The first was for the rich middle-class and nobles. Many graves had impressive monuments which remain today. Needless to say, those graves weren’t reused. The second department burials weren’t quite as dignified but still wealthy. The third area consisted of people we would probably consider middle class, but no nobles. The fences in this area are the most ornate though. Go figure.

The fourth area is the furthest from the entrance. Many people buried here could not afford stones, so they had a simple wooden cross, or perhaps a common, uninscribed stone for several burials. The fifth is the most recent and the cemetery is now closed to new burials.

You can feast your eyes on beautiful photos, here.

As you might gather, the Camstra family was relatively wealthy. Douwe and Lijsbeth’s father, Bauke Camstra owned that beautiful home, just a few doors from the ducal residence, as in Duke of Orange, now a museum. Plus Bauke owned another property AND the Pleasure Gardens.

I fully expected Douwe to have a memorial stone, perhaps a large one.

The known burials are searchable, here.

There are indeed four Camstra burials, but not Douwe☹

This was the ONLY cemetery in Leeuwarden at that time, so Douwe is assuredly, or was, buried here. Maybe in one of those unmarked, or shared, graves., although that seems odd, given what we know about the family.

Perhaps his grave is one that had a monument that, over time, sunk.

Perhaps Douwe was not as wealthy as his father.

Wait? What?

Wait….his father.

Was Douwe buried in the grave previously occupied by his father?

As it turns out, no, Bauke Douwes Camstra, his father, died on May 24, 1866, not quite three years before his son, which means he’s buried someplace here too. Bauke’s wife, Anna Elizabeth Jonker, Douwe and Lijsbeth’s mother died in 1856, so she’s nearby as well.

Bauke Douwes Camstra was unquestionably wealthy, so there is really no question that he was not buried in section 4 of the cemetery. I can’t help but wonder if, somehow, he obtained special dispensation to be buried in the old churchyard beside his Pleasure Garden. But then again, the Dutch are sticklers for rules and organization – so I’d bet not. If they let Bauke do that, then they’d have to let everyone do that. Besides that, Bauke worked, at least for a time, for the municipality.

Well, then, what about Douwe’s grandparents? Was he buried in their graves?

Nope, the last one of his 4 grandparents died in August of 1830, so they aren’t buried in this lovely park. They probably rest beneath the parking lot in front of the clock tower, today, or maybe in the churchyard of the Dutch Reformed church down the street.

My ancestor Lijsbert Baukes Camstra, probably carrying her son, Bauke Hendrick Ferwerda, about 9 months old, would have stood here too, with her parents and siblings as she buried her last grandparent. I was probably standing not only on their graves, but walking in their footsteps.

If they are buried at the protestant church a few blocks away, that’s OK, I visited there too.

Because the grandparents were the last generation of burials before the new cemetery was opened, they would never have been removed. They were, however, eventually bricked over if in fact they are buried in either location.

Good Heavens, I walked on them, probably ate fair food on top of them, without giving it even a thought. Because we don’t “reuse” cemeteries here, I should have, but never realized I was literally “visiting” their graves as I celebrated “Orange Day” when I visited the Netherlands.

Talk about oblivious. Also, talk about perfect. I hope they have a sense of humor!

My DNA is all over Leeuwarden, or maybe I should say in the earth surrounding the old churches and cemeteries in Leeuwarden.

Lighting the Way

We don’t know exactly where my ancestors Bauke Douwes Camstra (Dec. 28, 1779 – May 24, 1866) and his wife, Anna Elizabeth Jonker (Dec. 30, 1878 – 1856) are buried in this lovely cemetery park in Leeuwarden, but they are unquestionably there.

We can, however, trace their life’s path.

We can start at their home at the red arrow, walk west to the cemetery, now a parking lot (red star) in front of the clock and bell tower where they may have buried their parents. We can visit Bauke’s Pleasure Garden (red star), now the pristine City Gardens and Tresoar archives, and walk to the Durch Reformed church (red star) to the east of their home where they worshiped and Bauke Camstra was a deacon.

This church is where their lives were celebrated at their funerals.

Ironically, 152 years after Douwe Bauke Camstra died, in 1869, it was the “little box with a photo” that allowed me to find him, and his parents, in the beautiful old cemetery.

Come along for a stroll in this video and visit the final resting place of the Camstra family.

Update: I family note records that the Camstra-Kijlstra couple is buried in section 3, row 26, number 11 of the cemetery.

Thank You!

A huge thank you to Marga, her mother, and Yvette.

None of this could have happened without Yvette’s original discovery and subsequent research or Marga’s determination to return the photo to a family member, combined with her and her mother’s generosity.

Thank you! Thank you!

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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

FREE LIVE Presentation: Turning AutoClusters into Solutions at MyHeritage

You’re invited to join me for a FREE Facebook LIVE presentation on May 24th, at 2 PM EST.

We’ll be talking about tips and tricks to turn “AutoClusters into Solutions at MyHeritage.”

AutoClusters are a great tool and few of us are using them to their fullest potential. I know I wasn’t.

MyHeritage will be hosting this seminar on their Facebook page, LIVE.

I’ve done a few of these LIVE sessions before and they are SO MUCH FUN for everyone!!! They’re super popular too. We’ve had between 14,000 and 20,000 people view each one.

Want to Hear a Secret?

I’ve made three discoveries while preparing for this presentation – in the first cluster alone. I can barely stop. Who needs sleep anyway?

No, I’m really not kidding. My great-grandmother had a missing brother. We all assumed he died because we, today, couldn’t find hide nor hair of him.

Well, guess what – he’s not missing anymore. His descendants didn’t know where he came from, and we didn’t know where he went. It’s almost impossible to connect someone backward in time if you don’t have any geographic link at all.

AutoClusters ARE genetic links, from either end.

No Registration Required

You don’t need to sign up in advance. Just set a reminder and show up at the proper date and time. There’s enough “seating” for everyone, and no wait either. Can’t join us on May 24th at 2 PM EST? Don’t worry. MyHeritage records the sessions and you can watch them later.

Upload DNA Files Now!

I’m giving you this early heads-up so that you have time to upload your DNA file to MyHeritage, and the DNA of your close relatives whose tests you manage (with permission of course), if you haven’t yet done so. If you upload now, you’ll have access to all of the tools before the session.

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Download your DNA file from either Ancestry, 23andMe, or FamilyTreeDNA. Step-by-step instructions for downloading your DNA file from each vendor can be found here.
  2. Upload your DNA file to MyHeritage. Step-by-step instructions for uploading to MyHeritage are found here.
  3. Upload or create a tree at MyHeritage or connect your relative’s DNA to their profile card in your existing tree.
  4. If you already have a fully paid data and records subscription plan at MyHeritage, you will receive all of the advanced tools, for free – including AutoClusters. You can try a free subscription if you don’t already have one, here.
  5. If you don’t have a data and records subscription plan, you’ll need to pay the $29 unlock for the advanced DNA tools, including AutoClusters, which is less expensive and quicker than testing again.

If you have close relatives who have tested elsewhere, you might want to ask them to transfer to MyHeritage as well. If they aren’t personally interested but will download their file, you can upload it and manage their DNA from your MyHeritage account.

You’ll find tools and matches at MyHeritage not available in other databases. MyHeritage is very popular in Europe. I’ve found some of my closest Dutch and German matches at MyHeritage, including in clusters.

Which is, of course, another reason to watch “Turning AutoClusters into Solutions at MyHeritage!”

Hope to see you there!

_____________________________________________________________

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

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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