Friday, February 20, 2015

A Surprise from AncestryDNA

I have to admit, after the breakdown AncestryDNA gave of my deep ancestral background, I of all people never expected that the information would lead to any useful connections.  But when I received the e-mail message in my inbox about the new, better, "improved" results, I of course clicked on the link and looked at the page.  Not only was I surprised to see some names that actually made sense with my family history, I found a relative.

One of my possible top-level connections showed the names Armstrong and Stackhouse in New Jersey.  These are the surnames of my fourth-great-grandparents, so they caught my eye immediately.  When I looked at the person's online family tree, her Armstrong and Stackhouse were the same as mine!

After investigating the tree a little more, it was easy to determine which child my possible cousin descended from, as only one line was really fleshed out.  Lucky for me, it was one of the children who appeared in the 1840 census of the family as only a hash mark with no name, and who was not with the parents in 1850, so one of those hash marks now has a name in my own tree.

Even though my newly found cousin (about fourth or fifth cousins, once or twice removed) has very few documents linked to her tree as sources, I was able to find many, many documents on my own when I began researching to verify the online information.  (I use online trees, particularly those without documentation, as clues only, and verify all information with my own research.)  So far almost all of the info in the family tree appears to be correct, though I have learned quite a bit more than what is posted.  (This was the family for which I obtained so many documents when I spent a day on research while in Salt Lake City for the FGS/RootsTech conference.)

Through this cousin's tree I also discovered the second marriage of a daughter who was in her parents' household, apparently as a widow, in the 1850 census but whom I had not been able to find in 1860.  I was then able to follow her family through censuses, vital records, and newspaper accounts, adding new generations to that line.

I was very disappointed that the tree did not have any  information on my fourth-great-grandparents beyond what I already know.  My cousin appears to be stuck at the same place I am in that regard.  No federal censuses for New Jersey prior to 1830 survive, so I really need to buckle down with tax and land records to go further on this line.  That will probably necessitate a trip to New Jersey at some point.  Maybe my sister will let me stay with her; hey, maybe she'll even help!

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to everyone, particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.