Monday, May 21, 2012
Using DNA in genealogical research is a valuable tool which enables one to locate and communicate with distant cousins. These contacts may provide the link to break down that “brick wall” that plagues so many of us in our quest for those elusive ancestors. Recently, I communicated with one of my Family Finder DNA matches who lives in Texas.
With relative ease, we discovered that we are 5th cousins with our most common ancestors being our 4th great grandparents, Jonathan Land and Elizabeth Isbell. Their children, William L. Land (my 3rd great grandfather) and Francis Elizabeth Land (his 3rd great grandmother) were siblings.
My genealogy from Jonathan Land and Elizabeth Isbell is as follows:
· Jonathan Land (1758-aft1820)/Elizabeth Isbell (1762-aft 1820)
· William Thomas Land (1788-1871)/Nancy Jane Carlton (1793-1865)
· Nancy E. Land (1830-1903)/Alexander Balus West (1828-1864)
· Thomas Harvey West (1858-1949)/America Ann McNeil (1863-1949)
· William Charles West, Sr. (1892-1967)/Ada Beatrice McQueen (1895-1965)
· William Charles West, Jr. (1916-2007)/Ruth Stella Hughes (1918-2007)
· Charlotte Ruth West
In addition to our discovery of common Land ancestors, this cousin indicates that we also have West connections. At this time, he is uncertain as to how his Virginia Wests connect with my North Carolina Wests. In his direct line, he has an Isaac West (1741, PA-1821, VA) who married Roseanna Lewis (1752, Rowan, NC-1821, Rowan, NC).
In land records, I have found an Isaac West connected with my Alexander West I. In fact, in 1787, an Isaac West, along with Bray Crisp, was a chain carrier for the survey of a land grant for Alexander West on Glady Fork of Wilkes County. Was this Isaac West a brother or a son? I have never found any documentation to prove a relationship. In my tree I have listed an Isaac West as the brother of Alexander West I, and I have listed one as the son of Alexander West I. However, these entries are undocumented and are included only as reminders for me that they are possibilities which need further research.
Could the Isaac West who was born in 1741 in Pennsylvania have been the son of my Alexander West I? The time frame is logical, and since I don’t know from where Alexander West I migrated when he immigrated into North Carolina, the location of Isaac’s birth is plausible. Could the Isaac in my 5th cousin’s tree be “the hammer that breaks my brick wall.”?
At this time I have DNA matches with individuals descended from Barlow, Carlton, Ferguson, and Land ancestors. Hopefully, these are the same Barlows, Carltons, Fergusons, and Lands that I have in my tree. Some of these matches have been confirmed by determining our common ancestors in our family trees as I have described above. Others, particularly those descending from females, are not so easily identified. These that lie hidden in our trees but who are genetic matches will eventually be uncovered.