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.


  1. A traveling salesman or soldier are good candidates for an unknown father if the father was not a local "friend." I think you're on to something about the name might be something with Bert. Or, Bert could just be the name of a childhood friend she was close to.

    1. Until Suzanne found the articles about Bertram Mundy and research indicated he was some sort of traveling salesman, I figured she had just fooled around with some local guy. But Bertram Mundy seems like a great candidate, and the traveling salesman angle makes it that much more plausible.

  2. It sounds like Bertram Mundy is a great clue to follow, especially if he was a traveling salesman. I don't think NJ to Philadelphia is much of a stretch at all. Have you been able to build a tree for Bertram?

    1. Oh, I have indeed bulit a tree for Bertram Mundy and tried bringing it forward in time. From the research I have done, neither he nor his brother has any living descendants. Neither do his parents or his grandparents. When I started working on his great-grandparents' generation, I realized the likelihood of being able to connect with anyone at that distant of a relationship via DNA is pretty remote. So I took a step back and thought about other avenues. Currently my two top ideas are trying to find a photo of Bertram Mundy to look for resemblances to my grandfather and grandfather, and obtaining a copy of his divorce file for his first marriage to see if "another woman" is mentioned.


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