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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Genetics Proved the Paper Trail

Two nights ago on my sister’s Family Tree DNA website, I discovered that she is a genetic match with one of my blog readers.  A few months earlier, by examining our paper trail, my blog reader and I realized that we were 6th cousins.   George McNeil and Mary Coates are our 5th great grandparents.  The Family Tree DNA website revealed that this blog reader is also a genetic match with my sister.  I was elated because the genetic match confirms the paper trail! 

Sadly, I am not a genetic match with my reader.  Often, when my sister or I match with an individual and the other one does not, I am asked why this happens.  Most of the time, my sister and I do match with the same individuals.  However, one of us may share more or fewer centimorgans (cMs) with the match than the other does.  When the match is not a strong match, both of us may not match with the individual in question because the non-matching sister did not get enough of that DNA required for a match.  I’m sure that’s why I am not also a match with my blog reader.  The reader and my sister share a small portion of DNA which is enough for them to be considered genetic matches.  I just didn’t get enough of that DNA to meet the threshold set by Family Tree DNA to be considered a match.

According to the paper trail, George McNeil and Mary Coates are the 5th great grandparents of my reader and my sister and me.  Because they are our 5th great grandparents, my sister and I are 6th cousins with my reader.  Since Family Tree DNA estimates that my sister and my reader are 4th cousins, we may be related through some other families.  Not only do we share the surnames of McNeil and Coates but also the surnames of Stout, Wagoner/Waggoner, and Wilson.  McNeil, Coates, and Wilson are from our grandfather West’s maternal lineage.  Wilson is also found in our grandmother West’s lineage.  Stout is from our grandfather Hughes’ maternal line.  The name Wagoner/Waggoner is from our grandmother Hughes’ maternal lineage.  Therefore, we may share a closer cousinship through one of these ancestors.

Never the less, the three of us are cousins as proved not only by the paper trail but also by genetics.

Hopefully, in the near future my sister and I will find that we are genetic matches with others from our West family.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cousins and More

At least one genealogical dream has come true for me.  Hopefully, it won’t be the last one and will open the door for many more. Daily, I discover new cousins who descend from my 3rd great grandparents, John Balus West and Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson.
Recently, I discovered a new cousin, Beatrice, who descends from the same great grandparents.  And even, more… this new 4th cousin is a 4th cousin with my 4th cousin, Joanne, who also descends from the same West grandparents.  For the three of us John Balus West and Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson were our 3rd great grandparents.

Since I like things organized, I created a chart to illustrate my relationships with cousins. I have included one of these charts below to illustrate the connection among the three of us.  Joanne and Beatrice gave me permission to use their names.  Thanks, Joanne and Beatrice.

Lineage of Charlotte Ruth West
Lineage of Linda Joanne Johnson
Lineage of Beatrice Wellborn
John Balus West/Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson
John Balus West/Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson
John Balus West/Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson
Alexander Balus West/Nancy Land
Franklin W. West/Cynthia Adeline Holder
Margaret “Peggy” West/Wilson Hendrix
1st cousins
Thomas Harvey West/America Ann McNeil
Thomas Clingman West/Bethanie Triplett
Mary Jane Hendrix/George Washington Wellborn
2nd cousins
William Charles West, Sr./Ada Beatrice McQueen
Dicia Albertha “Bertha” West/George Hayes Walker
Benjamin Wellborn/Artie Wagner
3rd cousins
William Charles West, Jr./Ruth Stella Hughes
Winnie Hazel Walker/Arvil Robert Johnson
George Hayes Wellborn/Mary Wellborn
4th cousins
Charlotte Ruth West
Linda Joanne Johnson
Beatrice Wellborn
Most Recent Common Ancestors: John Balus West and Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson
A few days ago, I met on-line another cousin, Patsy, who descends from those same great grandparents. However, these common grandparents are not in the same generation for Patsy as for the other three of us. They were Patsy’s 2nd great grandparents but our 3rd great grandparents.  Patsy is actually a 3rd cousin to the parents of Joanne, Beatrice, and me.  Therefore, Joanne, Beatrice, and I are “removed” from her.  In our situation, we are 3rd cousins 1 removed (3rd cousins 1R) from her. “Cousinships” certainly become complicated!

One never knows where he will find ancestors and cousins.  Several years ago, Joanne and I met through  Beatrice and I met a few days ago on the Wilkes County Genealogy Facebook site. Patsy and I, also, met on the Wilkes site.  Joanne became a follower of this blog about the time that I started writing it.  Beatrice has been a reader for quite a while, also.  Perhaps, many more of my anonymous readers may be West cousins!

Furthermore, I have connected with cousins through Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder.  Even though I haven’t found any DNA matches with the West surname, I have found DNA matches with the collateral families of Barlow, Carlton, Ferguson, Isbell, Land, McNeil, and Triplett.
While I take this opportunity to acknowledge these newly-discovered West cousins, I haven’t forgotten those of you from across the county—from North Carolina and Tennessee to the west coast.  All of you have been incredibly helpful as I have sought information about our common ancestors and the places they lived and as I continue to seek answers to the unknowns of our past.   One reason that I have this blog is to share information with you about our common heritage.  Many thanks to Beatrice, Brandon, Brent, Butch, Carol, Debbie, Fred, Jackie, Jeanette, Joanne, Nanette, Nick, Patsy, and my sister, Sandy, for sharing your information with me about our West families.  Many thanks to my other cousins who have shared information about our collateral lineages as well. I appreciate all of you.