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Monday, February 10, 2014

A Genealogist’s Progress

Suddenly, it appears that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  How long it will take me to reach the end of that tunnel, I do not know.  After all, genealogy is a journey back in time that requires time and patience.

Several recent events or discoveries have been encouraging.  First, as I have mentioned in other posts, my sister and I have matched many "cousins" genetically through Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test, an autosomal test, which matches one with “cousins” from both sides of his/her family.  However, the authenticity of our matches as related to this post will depend on the identity of our 6th Great Grandfather West, something that still remains unproven.  It hinges on John West and Mary Madden being our 6th great grandparents. But, there’s hope!

In July, 2012, I matched genetically with a male “cousin” who may, also, descend from John West and Mary Madden.  Again, if the paper trail proves the “cousinship,” he and I are 7th cousins. 

In August, 2013, my sister and I matched significantly with a female “cousin” who descends from Phoebe West.  Phoebe West, the daughter of Isaac West and Susanna Anderson, may have been the granddaughter of John West and Mary Madden. My one concern about this match is that we also match this female cousin as 7th cousin 2R through the Triplett line.  If the paper trail works out with the John West/Mary Madden lineage, my sister and I are 7th cousins 2R with this cousin, also.  Could the significant match be attributed to the fact that we may match the cousin much closer with the Tripletts than we have discovered, or is it because we match her through two lineages, the Wests and Tripletts?

In October, 2013, my sister genetically matched a male “cousin” who descends from John West and his second wife, Eleanor Massey.  Again, if, indeed, John West is our 6th great grandfather, my sister and her male cousin are 6th cousins 1R.  This connection is based on better research and documentation.  Furthermore, no other lineages appear to be possibilities for their match.

The most significant match, however, occurred on January 27, 2014.  It is one that my sister and I have with a male “cousin” with the West surname.  Since I descend from the Tipton family, Doug and I attended the Tipton Family Association of America meeting in Burnsville, North Carolina, in October, 2013.  Unexpectedly, I met Mr. West who was attending the Tipton meeting with his wife, a Tipton descendant.  At the time we could not determine if we were related and decided to exchange information.  When I saw his West direct line, I immediately felt that his 5th great grandfather, John West, born in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1732, could be the brother of my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West, born about 1730. 

The best is yet to come!  Mr. West took FTDNA’s Family Finder test in December.  His results were reported on January 27, 2014.  And YES! He is a genetic match with my sister and me!  I couldn’t be happier.  Of course, we still don’t know the father of his John West.  He does not know the spouse of his John West.  On-line researchers believe that his John West served in the Revolutionary War and was likely killed in the battle at Moore’s Creek near Wilmington, NC, in February, 1776.  Mr. West descends through John West’s son, Thomas West and Thomas’ spouse, Elizabeth Preston.

Again, if we can prove that the parents of his John West and my Alexander West were John West and Mary Madden, Mr. West would be a 6th cousin 1R to my sister and me.  The genetic match between him and us is quite significant because no surnames other than West are evident in our lineages.  Also, the three of us match significantly on the 14th chromosome which indicates that we share a common ancestor.  My sister and I do not have any other matches “in-common” with Mr. West who match on the 14th chromosome in the same segment that we match with him.  I find the data extremely significant.  On the down-side, Mr. West is not an “in-common” match with my sister’s male “cousin” West match or with my female “cousin” and male “cousin” matches.  It would have been nice if the six of us matched on that 14th chromosome.

In addition, I’m excited that Mr. West plans to take one of the Y-DNA tests when they go on sale.  A Y-DNA test may connect him to other males who descend from the same male ancestor and place him in a West Family Group.

You know where I’m headed when the weather warms up – Rutherford County, NC, the county that was created from the western portion of Tryon in 1779 – to research John West, born in 1732, in Tryon County, North Carolina!