More DNA testing

FamilyTreeDNA, the company that has done all of our genetic testing in the past, had a holiday sale at the end of 2011. So I decided to upgrade a few of our samples that they have in their freezers.

Firstly, I upgraded Robert Cain’s sample to 67 markers. It had previously only been tested at 37 markers along with a specialized SNP test that is being used to help sort out the CAIN lines. That is probably all I will be able to do with his sample for a while, and I am crossing my fingers that we won’t need many more tests with his DNA, samples can go bad and with Robert having passed away, I am left without a source for this genetic line.

Secondly, I upgraded grandfather’s (William Shepard) sample. Grandfather’s maternal DNA was never tested, so I remedied that situation, and I added the FamilyFinder test. This is the one I had done, sometime in early 2011, to my DNA. The results help you to find cousins in their database (male or female, it doesn’t matter) and your ethnicity. Grandfather’s maternal DNA will give us genetic information on g-grandmother Dick’s maternal line back to Sarah Asher who married Thomas Headlee in Pennsylvania in the very early 1800s.

Results are expected sometime around February 20th. If we are lucky it might be a little earlier. But I imagine with the sale that they had, lots of folks have decided to jump on the upgrade bandwagon.

I will keep folks updated.

On the same note, I periodically receive updates from surname group administrators on the progress of the testing, the sorting out of the lines, and other news related to that surname. The most active group so far has been the CAIN line, and it has come to our attention that there is a particular marker that is showing up with our CAINs, that will be confirmed with the upcoming upgrade results, indicating a Briefne connection. Part of what this means is that our CAINs are descendants of original Irish/Celts, not one of the invaders who later integrated into the population. It also points to Martin Cain possibly coming from the Northern Ireland area, as I was beginning to speculate.

The future is looking very interesting.

NOTE: The Kingdom of Breifne or Bréifne (anglicized BreffnyBrefnie or Brenny) was the traditional territory for an early Irish tribal group known as the Uí Briúin Bréifne. The Bréifne territory included the modern Irish counties of Leitrim and Cavan, along with parts of County Sligo. [from Wikipedia]

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I’mmmm baaack…

I guess I misspoke in my earlier post. I didn’t really have a speck to time to keep folks updated on my progress during my research trip. The hours flew by, then exhaustion set in, then sleep. Next day do it all over again.

But now I am home and all I can say is, the trip was a bust. But only in the sense that I didn’t find a speck of evidence that Hartley Shepard is the child of Henry and Huldah Shepard. I checked court records, probate records, land deeds, tax rolls, pretty much every index I could find that they had at the Family History Library. So far, no joy.

So my next stop is going directly to the sources in Morgan and Washington counties of Ohio. I am sure there are records out there I haven’t even heard of yet.

I did find some interesting bits on our Massachusetts and Ohio relatives. Lots of local and county history books add to the tales about these people. And it is not just our Shepard line, we have Dewey, Noble, Warriner, and Ashley connections too, and they each have their own stories to tell.

I am looking forward to getting this all put together for everyone to read. Meanwhile the search for those elusive Hartley records goes on…now where did I put that magnifying glass…

Family stories…

I have been a busy little bee in my free time for the past month, filing, sorting, throwing, exclaiming, groaning – basically trying to get a better feel for what records I need to look for in my Shepard search. In the process I have run across a few piles of emails and photocopies that never got filed. Here is a transcription from Evelyn Mason regarding the 50th wedding anniversary announcement for John Shaw and Idea Webb. Enjoy…

GOLDEN WEDDING OF JOHN AND IDA WEBB SHAW, 1887

Married, at the residence of the brides parents near Newton, Hamilton County, Ohio January 29, 1837, Mr. John Shaw to Miss Ida Webb.

On Saturday January 29, 1887, a very respectable crowd of 40 or 50 of the friends and relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw assembled at their old residence on the Hilltops to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary day, and were welcomed and entertained by Mr. F. E. Bettle and excellent wife and daughters. About 11 o’clock the company had arrived and after friendly greetings and congratulations Professor J. K. Parker very kindly addressed them with a few pointed and appropriate remarks. Letters from Mr. Shaw’s sister, Mrs. Viola Magill, of Cincinnati, Mrs. Anna Rogers of Goshen, Ohio, Mrs. Jane Davis of Indiana, Miss Mary Eberesole of California, Ohio, Mrs. Sarah Webb of Minnesota, Mr. N. E. Armstrong of Iowa, Mr. James Ferguson of Indiana, Mr. Samuel Shaw of Cincinnati. Judge Edward Riley of Kentucky, Mr. and Mrs. Wright of Kentucky and Judge J.Q. Ashburn of Batavia, Ohio, life long friends of Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, sending their congratulations and regrets at not being able to attend in person, were read. Mr. T.P. Webb of Minnesota read an appropriate poem.
    The blushing bridegroom of 77 summers, one of the best known characters in Clermont Co., and a man of more than ordinary menta1 vigor, who has accumulated a vast store of knowledge and general information by thorough course of reading history ancient and modern, and research of the general literature of the day, being called upon read the following humorous account of his courtship, marriage and first years of his married life.
This the Story
    Since the subject of celebrating our golden wedding has been under family discussion a great many questions have been asked, particularly by our younger grand children, some of them wanting to know why grandpa and grandmother were never married before and wondering how grandpa ever found such a good grandmother for them. To gratify their curiosity I suppose I will have to tell them the story and as well as I now recollect here it is.
    About 52 or 53 years ago when the state of Ohio was 33 years of age and I was a few years younger, I became acquainted with a very pretty little girl living on the Little Miami, near Newton. Somehow or other I got to sidling down that way occasionally to see the folks and test my little girls cooking, I some times staid two or three days, and thus it ran on for a year or two when I discover that the exposure to bad weather or some other cause, there was getting something the matter with me, though my gernera1 health was good. Did not know exactly what ailed me at first, so I thought I would go down and tell my little girl about it, and after chalking on my hat “Barkis is Willin” and supposing that she was getting tired of boarding me so long for nothing, proposed that we get married and board ourselves.
    Well, after hemming and hawing awhile she thought may be, perhaps we had better. That little matter being settled the next thing in order was to hunt up the old folks and see what they thought about it. They did not seem to be much surprised and being of good old hard predestination faith I guess they thought that what was to be would be any how, gave their consent and the old lady thought that if we kept in the same mind we ought marry the following summer. Ida thought in the spring would be a nice time. Well that was some concession on their part, but did not satisfy me by any means and I proposed the fore part of the next week as the proper time. But after higling and jewing for some time the best that I could do was get them down to a month ahead, and we settled on the 29th of January 1837. Meaning business now, and to save another trip, I went to the clerks office and procured a license (marriage) of old General Harrison and put in my pocket, thinking now that I had a preemption right to my girl at least. I then felt in good humor and went around whistling “Yankee Doodle” and occasionally a bar of “Old Dan Tucker”, as if there was nothing the matter. After along month expired, I hastened down to finish the matter up, and be done with It. Found & nice crowd of friends there and among them good old Deacon Ferris, whose occupation was preaching the Gospel on Sunday and blacksmithing the balance of the week. Then we stood up and he struck a few sledge hammer blows while the iron was hot and made the weld, pronouncing us one bone and one beef, or something of that sort.
    Now skipping over an interval of ten days we found ourselves settled in our own log cabin, not exactly in the garden of Eden, but high up on Mt. Pisgah, over against Jerico, and south of Sweet Afton, where we spent the balance of our honeymoon, my wife cleaning the log house and I making rails, just as happy as couple kittens.
    When after a sojourn of 2 years in this happy land we concluded to migrate a little south and we pulled up stakes and came down off Mt Pisgah and crossed over the east fork, through the valley of Jehosaphat and up Ulrey’s run by way of Jerico, to the head waters of Twelve Mile, thence westerly through the land of Nod to the big woods. Here on the ground where we are now, we pitched our tent, under the shadow of a beach tree, which as a memorial stands unto the present day.
    Before we got fairly settled in our new abode there came an imperative necessity for a few yards of calico and some other small fixings, and in due time a bouncing little girl made her appearances and took her place as natural as life at the head of our tribe, which has now grown to what we now see here today} four of the first generation and 19 of the second, all standing fair and square on their pins, physically and mentally allright, apparently and if they continue to grow up making good, industrious and useful members of society then the way we look upon it, the country will be slightly in our debt. But if any of them should be so unfortunate in their growing up as to become dudes or drones or shams, or idle drones, then we would have to acknowledge ourselves indebted to the State for their room. Be that as it may we know that we love you all and hope for the best.
    Now, reserving the best of the wine for the last of the feast, we will proceed to business, which will be to step into the dining room and assault the turkey and enjoy ourselves the best we can.

Merry Christmas to the Shepard Clan…

The test results have come in and the news is good. Here is a clarification of our results with Wayne Shepard, results which have a genetic marker mismatch of -5:

Distance: 5-6 – Related
61-62/67 You share the same surname (or a variant) with another male and you mismatch by five or six ‘points’. Because of the volatility within some of the markers this is slightly tighter than being 11/12, 23/25, or 33/37, and it’s most likely that you matched closely on previous Y-DNA tests. It’s most likely that you matched 24/25, 36/37 or 37/37 on previous Y-DNA tests and your mismatch will be found within the second panel at DYS #’s 458, 459 a, 459b, 449, or within 464 a-d, or at DYS 576, 570, CDYa or CDYb in our third panel of markers. Your common ancestor is not very recent, but your mismatch is likely within the range of most well established surname lineages in Western Europe.

More on this later…

Shepard update…

Just a short note to let you know that I have been working very diligently this weekend sorting out all the lines on this Shepard connection. In fact in using my separately created genealogy file for this problem I created a chart you can view at my flickr site. It has been a real hoot trying to untangle all the cousins that married each other in several of the generations. [Until I feel very confident of the connection, I won’t be adding this data to my regular family file.]

In a nutshell, assuming this connection correct, the Shepard line starts with an immigrant, William, from England arriving in the 1600s, the second generation settling in Westfield, Massachusetts and pretty much staying there until Henry and Huldah Shepard moved with their respective families, along with other relations, to Ohio.

Dont ignore your cousins…

One of the cardinal rules in genealogical research, is “Don’t ignore your cousins”. Too often family history researchers, especially newbies, tend to focus too much on their direct line during their research. Doing so can greatly decrease their chances of finding useful information that might help: knock down brick walls, find those missing pictures, get details on family they might otherwise never know.

Case in point.

It is very possible that I have found our mysterious Shepard progenitor. “How is this possible?”, you ask. Well I thank modern science and good old fashioned cousin searching.

Thanks to DNA we recently had a match between another Shepherd gentleman who is not a descendant of Hartley. This means that this Dr. John Shepherd and Grandfather are related very closely, genealogically speaking. But the question is, who is their common ancestor? Dr. John had in his research one generation further back than we did, to a John Shepherd born in New Jersey about 1783. Who was he in relation to Hartley? We didn’t know and further research hadn’t really turned up anything of use.

Cut to a different line. The Deem surname married into our Shepard line in West Virginia, there is a Deem Family site that I found last year, where I also found a picture purported to be of Susannah Smith Shepard, Hartley’s wife. On this site, Hartley and Susannah’s daughter, Sevilla, is listed because she married a gentleman by the name of Hiram Deem. Sevilla’s parents are listed, Hartley and Susannah, as are all four of her grandparents Henry Shepard and Huldah, and Joseph Smith and Catherine. I was curious how this person who put the information up on the Deem site knew who Hartley’s parents were, no one in our family had ever heard the names. When I tried to ask the poster where he got the information I received no response. So I gave up for a while.

Yesterday I had some time at work and decided to do a little Shepard research, as I do every couple of months. This time I decided to try the Henry and Huldah angle. Imagine my surprise when I got a hit. I had found a whole site uploaded by a Shepard descendant whose immigrant ancestor had started in Massachusetts. But in that data was a listing for Henry and Huldah Shepard along with his ancestors all the way back to merry old England. Not a mention of good ol’ Scotland.

Two items peaked my cautious interest in this site, after all this connection could be bogus. 1. There was mention of one generation where the children were split up due to the death of their father when they were very young. One child was sent to New Jersey – [hmmm – isn’t that where Dr. John’s ancestor was born?], the other was sent to Westfield, Massachusetts [our possible relations]. 2. Henry, while being born in Massachusetts, is said to have died in Ohio. I do know he was married in Ohio, I found a marriage notice for him and Huldah that was culled from the Marietta, Washington County, Ohio paper. Washington County is just below Monroe County, where Hartley is said to have been born.

So all in all very intriguing bits of information, that makes me smile in hopeful anticipation.

Of great interest, if true, is a link to the following site on Wikipedia: Gen. William Shepard this General, if a true connection, would be Hartley Shepard’s grandfather.

I have also found archival collections for this General Shepard at the Westfield Athenaeum Library. Unfortunately, we can’t get them to sent the collection here as we can with our Wisconsin Historical Society materials.

Yesterday I also finally made contact with Nick Deem, the gentleman who had the picture of Susannah Smith on his site along with the information on Hartley’s parents. According to Nick “The information and picture was handed down in my family. I am not sure which of my Mothers sisters or brothers had the picture. They have all passed on now.” But it seems that the information could very likely be correct, because there are no records in Ohio that can confirm this data and very little on Henry and Huldah to speak of, which makes it hard to imagine someone making the connection on a guess, or a whim.

So thanks to the help of cousins, we just might have found the break we were waiting for.

Now where is another Shepard cousin I can get some DNA from? More later…

The proof is in the pudding…

Recently Dale and I headed over to his cousin’s place on the water in Steven’s Point. Lovely view by the way. Jane is big on her roots and remembered me mentioning that my great grandparents Victor H. and Gertrude John lived in White Lake for a few years and he was a cashier at the White Lake State Bank (the one Dale said never existed). So when we arrived for the party, she showed me the little table in her basement where she keeps her White Lake memorabilia, one of these items was a small Golden Jubilee pamphlet, containing a little history of White Lake.

Short but sweet bank history…

In my travels…

A week or so ago, Dale and I headed up north to White Lake, Wisconsin for a memorial service for one of his Aunts. After the service we were talking to his cousin Jane and she reminded us that the Depot Museum was open. So we decided to stop in for a look-see, especially as we donate to the museum to help keep it open.

Now my particular interest in going was a recent find in my V. H. and Gertrude John research that they lived in White Lake for at least 4 years. While there Victor was a cashier at the White Lake State Bank which he helped to start, probably due to the opening of the While Lake Mill, part of the Yawkey Bissell lumber industry. The Johns most likely knew the Yawkeys and Bissells when they lived in Wabeno in the early 1900s.

Dale didn’t believe me when I told him about the bank. But of course I insisted that it was so. A fact which was confirmed when we went to the museum and in the last room near the exit, nicely framed on the wall, was the official government document allowing the White Lake State Bank to start operating, with the date of 1921, a date which corresponds with my research perfectly. It was a very fun and unexpected find.

DNA news…

I finally heard back from Dr. Shepherd, the gentleman who matches Grandfathers yDNA. He sent me a small packet of the research that had been done on his family, all of it by paid researchers. I sent him a couple of questions that he has done his best to answer, now I can start digging deeper into my own research on this line.

All we know right now, is that his ancestor John Shepherd was born in New Jersey about 1783ish. No parents are known and no idea where in New Jersey. We might just have to wait for a few years for more Shepards to have their DNA tested before we can continue the quest. At this time we still don’t know where in Europe the surname originated for this line. It could very well be English. Only time will tell.

My first blog…

Well folks to make it easier to keep everyone interested informed about my research progress on the Shepard and John lines, I have decided to try blogging it. After all, everyone is doing it. So look for some updates heading this way soon.