10 June 2017

I'm Back! And This Time Armed with DNA!

Life sometimes has a way of throwing you curve balls and you either strike out or you knock it out of the park. Two and a half years ago it was announced that my current employer would be closing our plant. I had a choice, either I could go on the hunt for another job and likely lose ground with the kind of pay I was making at the time, or I could put in two years of hard work, work part time for lower pay, tighten the budget, and get my degree so that I would finally have a chance at a better future. I choose to go back to school. With the help of my wonderfully supportive family I made it, and now I have an amazing future and I love what I'm doing as a paralegal.

The hardest part of going to school was resisting the urge to be pulled into solving another family mystery, especially when my in-law and then my parent's DNA tests came back before I was done with school. That was so hard to not dig in and focus on my priorities first.

Having our autosomal DNA done has begun to break down some brick walls, not only for us but for other people as well. The first wall to crumble was for someone else. His name is Anthony and he contacted me about eight months ago. I explained to him that I was focused on school, but certainly willing to help him if he could wait until I was on Winter Break. He agreed and patiently waited for me to get back to him. While I was on Winter Break he and I emailed almost daily regarding the Ward's in my father-in-law's family. He had told me that he and several other family members had done their DNA and had a surprising story to tell me. It turned out that one of my father-in-law's ancestors had left his first wife, which explains why I could never find his death record, changed his name slightly and had a whole other family with another woman. He probably would have never been able to solve that mystery if it were not for DNA.

The next mystery on the demolition list was my father's 2x great grandfather. He was a man that ran away from home and disowned and even denied his parents. Through DNA we have proven the connection to his Aunt's descendants. I still want to try and get the descendants of his half siblings to do DNA to have a more definitive connection, but I'm pretty certain we have proven who the parents of William G Woolsey are because of DNA.

Right now I am eyeballs deep in a new mystery that seems to crumble a little more each day. I have been searching for my mother's great grandparent's families prior to their marriage. When my mother did her DNA, I was able to find that all Roes that we connected to descended from one Jeremiah Roe who immigrated from Ireland where he was born in 1750. Right now I am compiling a tree of all of his descendants. It's hard because I have some gaps between siblings where I think there are other children that I am missing because the records were very sparse then. So far I have not been able to find the exact branch of the Roe family that my 2x great grandfather Jerry Roe belongs to, but I will. I have, however, had a breakthrough on his wife, Rachel Mason.

DNA helped me make a connect with several Roe cousins, very closely related actually. I started a facebook group for all of us so that we could exchange stories and photos. One of the things I learned is that the oldest brother of my great-grandfather continue to live the Gypsie life that he had learned from his parents and passed it down to his descendants, unlike my great grandfather who left that life behind. Well heck, that explains it all! No wonder I couldn't trace the family or find them in most census records, and the children I knew of are all born in a different state! With that in mind I also used our DNA to see who we shared in common with the last name of Mason, and again a particular family kept popping up. This family turned out to be Rachel's parents, and the best part is I finally found a census of her with her parents, and in the margin was a notation about a group of families that were traveling together as Gypsies! That's it!

Now I have a theory I'm pursuing on my Roe connection to solve who the parents of Jerry Roe were. I hate to keep all of you in suspense, not really I've been in suspense for twelve years, but I'll have to report back when I do finally solve this mystery and I'll have to write more about Rachel's story.