Saturday, August 6, 2022

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Who Is a Mysterious Person in Your Family Tree?

Time for this week's Saturday Night Geneaogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is:

1.  Who is a mysterious person in the family tree you'd like to learn more about? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!]

2.  Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post, in a Facebook Status post or note.

The most mysterious person in my family tree is still my paternal grandfather's biological father, about whom I know nothing, although I suspect his given name was Bertram.

My grandfather's birth was registered under his mother's maiden name of Armstrong because she was not married at the time he was born.  When he was 7 months old his mother married Cornelius Elmer Sellers, and from that point on he apparently used the last name of Sellers.  When he was 37 years old his mother filed an amended birth record for him, changing his name legally from Armstrong to Sellers and stating that his father was Elmer Sellers.

I proved through Y-DNA that he was not biologically a Sellers.  My cousin, the grandson of my grandfather's brother through a straight male line, and my father had totally different Y-DNA results, indicating they did not descend from the same man (certainly not within a genealogically relevant period of time).  (And there is no question that my father was my grandfather's son; they looked too much alike.)  My cousin matched several other Sellers men whose ancestor was the same German man, Hans Georg Soller.  My father has no matches to anyone with the last name of Sellers.

I was fortunate to meet my grandaunt, my grandfather's youngest sister, before she passed away.  She provided quite a bit of information about the family, including that my grandfather, whose given names were Bertram Lynn, was supposed to have been named after a close family friend.

Three years after Elmer Sellers died, my great-grandmother had another child (with no husband), whom she named Bertolet.  This is a little too much of a coincidence for me, particularly because the name Bertolet is pretty unusual (I'm not sure if it's unique).  Whether the same man was the father of my grandfather and of Bertolet is a separate question (my great-grandmother did not list Bertolet's father's name on the child's birth or death certificate), but I'm pretty sure that Grampa's father was named Bertram or something similar, because the name "Bert" certainly seemed to be meaningful to my great-grandmother.

My father has two Y-DNA matches at 111 markers (the most available for commercial consumer testing), both of whom have the last name of Mundy.  So my theory (still) is that my biological great-grandfather was probably a Mundy with the given name of Bertram or something similar.

With the help of one of my readers, I have a really good candidate, a Bertram Mundy who lived in northern New Jersey but who was some sort of traveling salesman.  It is quite plausible (to me, at least) that he might have traveled to the Philadelphia area, somehow met my great-grandmother (who lived in nearby Burlington County, New Jersey), and had a tryst of some type with her.  I'm still working on researching that theory and trying to prove or disprove it.