Friday, November 18, 2016

Update on Maude

Here are the two previous posts:
A Brick Wall for YOU
More on Maude

A blog reader suggested that I check to see if Maude applied for a delayed birth certificate in the state of Mississippi. I thought that was a pretty good idea. I requested a search but unfortunately the search was negative and she never filed for one. I really can’t read too much into that though. She would have needed a birth certificate to apply for a social security number but she could have died before she would have applied or she never applied at all which is likely considering that she never (as far as I know) was part of the regular workforce.

Here is a good article on this history of Social Security on the Social Security Administration website:

 Historical Background and Development of Social Security


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Follow up on GySgt Di Reyes Ibañez

What I didn’t tell you yesterday is that Di was a legal immigrant from the Philippines. He made his declaration on 06 October 1959, joined the Marine Corps on 18 Jan 1960 under a green card, took his oath of allegiance on 08 June 1965 and his petition for citizenship was formally granted on 19 June 1964. He died three years later fighting for his new country. Di was single and had no children.   

I did find a passenger list for the USNS David C. Shank that listed Di R. Ibañez along with a Deogracias Ibañez. The vessel traveled from Subic Bay, Philippines to San Francisco, California with a stopover in Agana, Guam. Deogracias was listed as an American citizen while Di was listed as Filipino. This is definitely an avenue of inquiry.

I did a “tree” search on Ancestry and there is one person that has Di in their tree.  I did send a message but that person hasn’t logged in to Ancestry in over a year so I am not too hopeful. I found Di on FamilySearch. He is FSID MBGN-JJ6. There was nothing on him but a birth date with the wrong birth location and a wrong death date. I have updated his listing with what I know so far and as I find out more I will be adding it. I do not want this man forgotten.

FamilySearch has 19 online databases for the Philippines. I couldn’t find Di in any of them. He isn’t listed in the Social Security Death Index so my next move it to try and find his death certificate. I have asked an expert forensic genealogist for instructions on how to get a copy of it. I am hoping his next of kin are listed which I am sure they pulled from his military records. I did find Deogracias Ibañez in the records though. I found a marriage record in the same town where Di was born. Deogracias Ibañez married Natividad Patawaran on 31 December 1955.  Deogracias was a 51 year old widower putting his date of birth about June 1904. Is this Di’s father?  Click HERE to see the marriage contract. There are two other listings for a Deogracias in Manilla with two other spouses but I don’t know yet if this is the same person. I can’t view these two images without going to a FHC.

This is one of those people you just can’t let go of. I still have a lot of research ahead of me. My ultimate goal is to write Di’s family a letter and give them the bracelet, if they want it.

*Source information can be seen HERE.

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Friday, November 11, 2016

Gunnery Sergeant Di Reyes Ibañez


Every time I pull this bracelet out and look at it I want to cry. Thank you for your service, Gunnery Sergeant Di Reyes Ibañez. I am so sorry you didn’t make it home. Di was missing in action on 05 June 1967. He was declared dead, body not recovered in 1978. You can read his story here:

Gunnery Sergeant Di Reyes Ibañez


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Monday, November 7, 2016

Your right to vote

George Washington Esq., President of the United States of AmericaPresident George Washington, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Tomorrow is the big day. This particular election is one of the most controversial in history and it got to me thinking. I wonder who my ancestors voted for. I looked at one ancestor in particular, my #1 brick wall, James Simmons, Sr. I wanted to see which elections he would have voted in and which candidates he would have had to choose from. James was old enough that he would have voted in the very first presidential election. How exciting that must have been for him!  He would have understood just how important his vote was having lived through the American Revolution. Voting was his right, his privilege, and his responsibility. James was 25 years old in 1789 and he would have voted in 14 presidential elections prior to his death in 1843. I assume he did vote. He was of age and a land owner. He also signed a couple legislative petitions making him politically active. Back in those days the only way to learn about the candidates was from the newspaper and from local forums. I have visions of local gatherings discussing/arguing the issues. I wonder if James got up and voiced his opinion. I will probably never know the answer. What I could do is research what each candidate’s platform was and then guess who James voted for based on what I know about him. I think it would be a fun exercise. Here are the presidential elections that James would have voted in.

George Washington (no party affiliation)
John Adams (no party affiliation)

George Washington (Federalist)
John Adams (Federalist)
George Clinton (Anti-Federalist)
Thomas Jefferson (Anti-Federalist)
Aaron Burr (Anti-Federalist)

John Adams (Federalist)
Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican)
Thomas Pinckney (Federalist)
Aaron Burr (Democratic-Republican)

Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican)

Aaron Burr (Democratic-Republican)
John Adams (Federalist)
Charles C. Pinckney (Federalist)
John Jay (Federalist)

Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican)
Charles C. Pinckney (Federalist)

James Madison (Democratic-Republican)
Charles C. Pinckney (Federalist)
George Clinton (Democratic-Republican)

James Madison (Democratic-Republican)
DeWitt Clinton (Federalist)

James Monroe (Democratic-Republican)
Rufus King (Federalist)

James Monroe (Democratic-Republican)

John Quincy Adams (no party affiliation)

John Quincy Adams (no party affiliation)

Andrew Jackson (no party affiliation)
William H. Crawford (no party affiliation)
Henry Clay (no party affiliation)

Andrew Jackson (Democratic)
John Quincy Adams (National Republican)

Andrew Jackson (Democratic)
Henry Clay (National Republican)
John Floyd (no party affiliation)
William Wirt (Antimasonic)

Martin Van Buren (Democratic)
William H. Harrison (Whig)
Hugh L. White (Whig)
Daniel Webster (Whig)
W. P. Mangum (no party affiliation)

William H. Harrison (Whig)
Martin Van Buren (Democratic)


Please exercise your right as a citizen of the United States of America and vote in the 57th presidential election.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

DNA update

My most frustrating brick wall of all time has been trying to find parents for my 4th great-grandfather, James Simmons, born 14 August 1764. I have been working on this for 25 years. The good news is that DNA testing has created a small crack in that brick wall.  You can read up on where I am on with the DNA testing HERE but I have a bit of an update. There were three prominent Simmons men in adjoining counties to where my James lived — Ralph, Willis and Richard Simmons. These three men headed distinct family groups but I have always suspected that the three lines must tie in somewhere. I have actually mentioned Ralph and Willis before HERE.

Ralph served in the same Mississippi Militia unit at the same with my James’ oldest known son William. They were both officers. Coincidence? I was able to find a female descendant of Ralph’s through FamilySearch. She is a genealogist and she was able to find a direct line male descendant of Ralph’s for me to yDNA test. I wrote him a letter and he called me back yesterday. He is more than willing to take the DNA test. We spoke on the phone for about 30 minutes and he was very interested in the case. We should know something in about 6 weeks.

Another genealogist I happened across while working an atDNA angle was able to point me to some specific yDNA already on the Simmons project page. There is a man that has DNA tested who put his brick wall ancestor as John Simmons born 1725. According to this other researcher, This John was Willis Simmons’ grandfather. There is a book written about Willis that you can see
HERE. Willis headed up the “Silver Creek Simmons Family”. On page 23 is this statement, “Willis Simmons was born in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1784, came to Mississippi from Jones County, Georgia sometime between October 11, 1809 and November 1, 1810…” all of this is unverified BUT take a look at THIS PAGE again. Scroll to the graphic at the bottom and then look at the DNA match on the right. Look at the very top person, William Simmons. Look what county he is in. JONES COUNTY. Hmmmmmm. I do have Willis’ passport from Jones County, Georgia to the Mississippi Territory 11 Oct 1809 so that part is correct.1

The person that yDNA tested who is in the Willis Simmons line only tested at 12 markers but it is a 12/12 marker match to my James. I have emailed him asking if he would be willing to upgrade to 67 markers and also does he have a tree I can look at. Willis is looking good as a match and I am thinking we will be able to hook him into the known Jones County line.

There is one other prominent group of Simmons’ in this area at this same time. There happens to be a book written about this family too and you can see it
HERE. This is the “Bala Chitto Simmons Family” headed by Richard Simmons. Richard looks like a good candidate because he was born in South Carolina 04 July 1770 (not verified). Richard headed a huge family over in Pike County, Mississippi, and again, I suspected that the Pike County Simmons’ would tie in. The same person that alerted me to the person that DNA tested in Willis’ line pointed me back to the Simmons yDNA project page.  There was something there that I had completely overlooked. Two direct line descendants of Richard have tested at 111 markers.  I never saw this. Why? Their DNA is completely different. I stopped comparing their DNA to my James at 12 markers because they already had a genetic distance of more than 10. Ouch. Since Richard is a contemporary and was in South Carolina at the same time as my James, there could be an NPE to explain this. As a matter of fact, one tester carries the Simmons surname but the other does not. The two testers are a perfect match to each other. So where does that leave me?  It means that I still have to try and follow Richard’s line on paper because this could still be a match (of a sort) and could lead me back to my James’ parents.

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

1 Georgia Department of Archives and History, Passports Issued by Governors of Georgia, 1785-1809  (Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 1959),  28. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

The cost of DNA testing

All I have to say is, no matter how much I spend on DNA testing I will still never spend as much as my husband and son do on hunting and fishing.  ‘Nuff said.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Der Johannisfriedhof ist der schönste Friedhof Deutschlands

Yesterday I told you that the Johannisfriedhof in Bielefeld had been voted the most beautiful cemetery in Germany. I linked to the article but I couldn’t post the photo because I didn’t have permission to use it.  My cousin Christina has come through again.  She gave me two photos to use. 

Photograph copyright © 2016 Christina Gläntzer, used with permission

Photograph copyright © 2016 Christina Gläntzer, used with permission


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dr. Oetker’s wife

Anyone that knows anything about Germany will understand the significance if what I am about to say.  My friend (and distant cousin) Christina and I work together on the Gläntzer/Glaentzer One-Name Study. She told me something today that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Gläntzers but it is the best piece of news.  Christina’s great-grandmother was best friends with Dr. Oetker’s wife!  Yes, THE Dr. Oetker!  For those of you that are sitting there scratching your head right now, Dr. Oetker is the Betty Crocker of Germany. There are hundreds of Dr. Oetker products and Dr. Oetker cookbooks are very popular.  I own five Dr. Oetker cookbooks myself and whenever I go to Helen, Georgia I stock up on Dr. Oetker cooking and baking supplies.  (For those who don’t know, Helen is a town in the north Georgia mountains that is patterned after a German village). 

Christina was kind enough to send me a photograph and give me permission to use it in the blog. 

Fromm, Friedrich and wife AnnaPhotograph circa 1937, Baden-Baden, Germany, courtesy of Christina Gläntzer
Left to right, Mrs. Oetker, Dr. Fritz Fromm and wife Eleonore (Baack) Fromm

Oh but that wasn’t the only thing Christina told me today.  She also let me know that a cemetery where family members are buried was named the most beautiful cemetery in Germany.  “Der Johannisfriedhof ist der schönste Friedhof Deutschlands.” I can’t post the picture of the cemetery because I don’t have permission to use it but if you have Facebook you can see it HERE.

Today is a very good day.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DeArmond - Fuller - Crowder Family Cemetery

A man named Daniel happened across a blog post I did on Pumpkin Center, Georgia which is the community where I live.  You can see that original blog post HERE.  He posted a comment which said:

“Good afternoon! I found your information online and saw you did a lot of research on cemeteries and were in the Pumpkin Center, GA area. My mom's side of the family is from Pumpkin Center and I spent every summer at grandma's house, which is at the corner of Wrightsboro Road and Old Appling Harlem Highway. The reason I am writing though, is that I am working on my family lineage and while researching, I remembered finding a few graves in the edge of the woods across the street from grandma's house. I looked online but did not see them mentioned anywhere and wondered who they were. I wondered if you knew of these graves and if you had any information on them? Growing up, my mom and grandma always told me they were in the woods there and I remember finding them one summer. A few summers later, I remember going there again and finding they looked like someone had tried to dig them up, which spooked me as a kid and I never returned. That was probably 25 years ago. I did a parcel search online and that property is indeed listed as a cemetery. It's parcel 030 004B and is a triangle shape bordered by Wrightsboro Road to the north side of the property and Old Appling Harlem Highway on the south side of the property. The graves were on the south side, just inside the tree line if I remember correctly. Have you ever seen these or heard of them?”

I was a bit miffed that there might be a cemetery less than half a mile from my house that I didn’t know about. Needless to say, I dropped everything I was doing.  I had to find this cemetery.

I was able to locate the current land owner via the Columbia County tax records and I gave her a call.  She was very nice and told me yes, there is a cemetery out there.  She hadn’t been out there in years though. She told me that the cemetery is not visible from the roadway and it is in heavy woods.  She gave me some landmarks to look for and off I went.  I had no problem finding it.  There are 11 graves marked with readable markers and several more graves marked only with brick coping and fieldstones.  I searched for the names on Find A Grave and found that they were not there so I added a new cemetery and the markers I found.  And here is the DeArmond – Fuller – Crowder Family Cemetery.  I goofed when I added the cemetery name.  It should be DeArmond and not Dearmond.  I have already sent a request to have it fixed.

Copyright © 2016 Michele Simmons Lewis


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Buckner Hospital

I am working on a report about my 3rd great-grandfather who died at Buckner Hospital in Gainesville, Alabama after the Battle of Shiloh. I just found a memoir that a nurse who served Buckner Hospital wrote. She detailed the horrible conditions there and stated,

"Alas! alas! were these the brave men who had made forever glorious the name of Shiloh?"

Having a first hand account of what was going on at the hospital at the time is invaluable. Since she was there after the Battle of Shiloh, it is very possible she herself took care of my 3rd great-grandfather.

Mathew Patton is buried at the Confederate Cemetery in Gainesville though his grave is only marked as “unknown.”  There are well over 200 unknown graves here.

imagePhotograph Copyright © 2016, Tammy Underwood McCown, used with permission


Fannie A. Beers, Memories: A Record of Personal Experience and Adventure During Four Years of War (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1889), 59-69; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 30 July 2016).


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Where were your parents born? (Part II)

You can read Part I HERE.

I am trying to prove that Janet Simmons’ brother was Cornelius Freeman and that their father was James Freeman.  It would be helpful to know where Cornelius was born.  Cornelius died before the 1850 census was taken.  His widow, Elizabeth, was living in Perry County, Mississippi and her birth place was given as North Carolina.  She lived to the 1860 census and in 1860 she was now born in South Carolina.  Since she has no clue where she was born why should I expect the children to know?  Cornelius and Elizabeth had four children.  Three lived to 1880 and two lived to 1900.



Father’s birthplace

Mother’s birthplace



South Carolina








South Carolina








North Carolina

North Carolina

*Yes of course I know all about how mistakes can happen in the census.  You never know who the actual informant was, you don’t know if the enumerator was paying attention, and you don’t know who recopied the census pages and how careful they were. If I wasn’t trying to figure out whether or not Janet and Cornelius were siblings this would actually be quite funny.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Where were your parents born? (rhetorical)

According to the 1850 federal census in Perry County, Mississippi, both Silas Simmons and his wife Janet were born in South Carolina.  Silas and Janet died before the 1860 census was taken.  Eight of their children lived to the 1880 census and then two of those made it to 1900.  So where were Silas and Janet born?

Census Child Father’s birthplace Mother’s birthplace
1880 Elizabeth North Carolina North Carolina
1880 William South Carolina South Carolina
1880 Nancy Alabama Alabama
1900 Nancy Alabama North Carolina
1880 James South Carolina South Carolina
1880 Melinda South Carolina South Carolina
1880 John South Carolina South Carolina
1880 Benjamin South Carolina South Carolina
1880 Matilda Georgia Mississippi
1900 Matilda Mississippi Mississippi

Who knew this was such a hard question.

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Monday, October 10, 2016

More on Maude

For the background information please see A Brick wall for YOU
I haven’t looked at this case in a while and thought it was time to pick it back up.  I am going to try working the DNA angle.  What I am hoping to find is that Maude had more children after she left Lem.  If one of those kids (or grandkids) tested it might lead me to someone that knows something.

Maude only had three grandchildren from her marriage to Lem and all three are living.  One has agreed to DNA testing and I am waiting to hear back from the other two. 
I did get an interesting email today from the daughter of one of Maude’s half sisters.  Maude was the oldest child from her dad’s first marriage.  Maude’s half sister from her dad’s second marriage is one of the younger ones in that group so there is actually 31 years difference between the two (there were 9 children from the first marriage and 9 more from the second).  Anyway, the daughter of Maude’s half sister said, "My mother told me that her daddy went so far as to hire a private detective to look for her but they never found her." Ouch. Another blow.  Maude was hiding out well enough that a private detective couldn’t find her. 
This is one of those cases that I just can’t let go of.  I really want to know what happened to Maude.
Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bear with me seven more weeks

The massive project I am working on will be completed by next weekend. The weekend after that I start the six week long Advanced Evidence Practicum through SLIG. Once I get through that I will back to my normal happily-blogging-self. I actually have quite a bit to tell y’all.

I do have a couple of things I want to tell you today.  If you are interested in genetic genealogy (using DNA) then you need these two books:


I also have a website to recommend if you are doing research in a Public Land Survey state (for more information on what that is, see Public Land Survey System).

History Geo

This is not a freebie website, there is a subscription fee; however, if you work with the Public Land Survey system this website will save you oodles of time.  In a nutshell, they have mapped out all of the original landowners from the General Land Office Records at the Bureau of Land Management. Remember one VERY important thing.  These are the ORIGINAL land owners that obtained their land directly from the federal government either by patent or warrant.  If the original owner sold the land, that would be handled at the local county level in the form of a deed.

Here is a screenshot of T4N R11W sections 21 and 22 in Perry County, Mississippi.  You can see James Freeman and his son Cornelius had adjoining properties.  This is one of the families I am working on now. 


Screenshot from History Geo

This is so much easier than trying copying down the land description and then drawing it on a grid.  Trying to squeeze in the names in those itsy bitsy boxes is a pain. Now I just screenshot what I need.

If you hover over the parcel you get this:


Screenshot from History Geo


Another major time saver.  Look at these links, especially the Google Maps one. Being able to equate the location with a modern map is very helpful.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Friday, August 5, 2016

A bit of advice and a couple of recommendations

One of my pet peeves is when someone reduces an ancestor to nothing more than a list of vital statistics. Even worse, “genealogists” who are nothing more than name collectors.  Every one of your ancestors was a real person, had a real family and lived in a real community. They had friends and maybe even some enemies.  They probably attended the local church.  He or she had a personality, opinions, likes and dislikes.  Their life was just important to them as your life is to you. Slow down!  It isn’t a competition to see who can collect the most ancestors or who can get their pedigree back to Charlemagne. Take the time to get to know your ancestors. 

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack has written a couple of books on how to put your ancestor in context and then write about it.  What’s the point of doing research if you don’t write up what you find for others to read.

You Can Write Your Family History
Tell it Short, A Guide to Writing Your Family History in Brief

Right now I am working on a project where I am telling the story of a family for three generations and I have these two books by my side. 

John Colletta is one of those genealogists that strives to tell the story of an ancestor.  I was privileged to hear him lecture at IGHR a couple of years ago. He is very enthusiastic and animated when teaching researchers how to make an ancestor come to life. John really loves to tell a story. You can see a list of John’s publications HERE and his lectures HERE.

These two authors will help you look at your ancestors in a new way.

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My favorite feature in Evernote

My favorite feature in Evernote is being able to forward emails from your e-mail client to Evernote.  Not only can you send them directly to Evernote but you can send the note to a specific notebook and you can tag the note all at the same time.  But there is more.  You can change the subject line to whatever you want which will become the title of your note, you can trim the email of unwanted text, and you can add notes to yourself at the top of the email to remind you why you are saving the email. You can click the image to make it larger.


Here is a link to the Evernote Help Desk that has more info, How to save email into Evernote.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Sunday, July 31, 2016

All I needed was a little motivation


Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Ouch! I read this Bible verse and was immediately convicted. I have a file folder on my hard drive simply named, “Genealogy.” This folder is a catch-all for everything I don’t want to deal with at the moment. I keep hoping that everything will just magically process itself.  I have been pretending that since I have this folder organized with nice subfolders that I was handling the materials effectively.  Nope.  I was just procrastinating big time. 

I read two good books this past week.  I bought them specifically to try and get myself motivated to clean all this stuff up.

Even though I am a seasoned researcher I found both of these books very helpful. They are not just for beginning researchers.

So far it is working. I have processed more than half of what I have in this folder. Funny thing is, some of it I was able to just delete.  It was taking up needless space and making me think I had more to deal with than I actually do. 

My error is that I don’t deal with things immediately as they come in which is a major workflow problem. When you have a lot of things coming in at the same time on different projects it is just too easy to just throw it all in a folder with the intention of getting to it eventually.

I was already using Evernote but I needed to do some serious cleanup there too. I have Evernote all nice and tidy now. One thing that I needed to move from my Genealogy folder to Evernote were all of my reference materials I have been collecting, things like e-books, PDFs of cemetery surveys, PDFs of document indexes, class syllabi, etc.  What’s nice about Evernote is that the contents of these files are now searchable which saves me a ton of time.

There is a lady that pulls documents for me at the Family History Library.  She names the files with everything I need to create a full citation.  Because of that, I can park these files in this folder and not worry about forgetting what they are or where they came from.  I have quite a few that I need to rename, save to my main Media folder and link to Legacy.

With DNA being the big thing right now I have a ton of DNA stuff in this catch-all folder which I need to sort through.

I want to have the folder empty by the end of weekend so that I can start fresh on Monday morning and I think I will meet that goal.  Thanks, Drew and Kerry.

Next time I will tell you what my #1 favorite feature of Evernote is.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Statistical DNA percentages vs. real life

You get 50% of your DNA from each of your parents* which in turn means you get 25% of your DNA from each of your grandparents which in turn means you get 12.5% of your DNA from each of your great-grandparents which in turn means you get 6.25% of your DNA from each of your 2nd great-grandparents etc.  However, these are only simple mathematical calculations. DNA is much more complicated than that and real life doesn’t always match the math. For example:

You get 50% of your DNA from your mother and 50% from your father but which 50% of their 100% DNA is a crapshoot.  Your parents also got 50% of their DNA from each parent but again, which 50% was a crapshoot.  This means as the DNA is mixing and diluting as it is being passed down you can’t use a simple mathematical equation to calculate how much DNA you got from a certain person. The only time that the percentages will be on the money is the 50% you got from mom and the 50% you got from dad because you inherit entire chromosomes from each. 

Here is a great chart from ISOGG that give more of a real life expectation of what you might or might not actually see.  Even if you should mathematically inherit X amount of DNA from an ancestor that doesn’t mean you will. 

File:Ancestor relationships.jpgCousin Statistics ISOGG Wiki Page


The chart shows you the chance of you not inheriting any DNA form a particular ancestor.  What this chart doesn’t show you is the amount of DNA you could inherit in between the mathematical calculation and the calculation on these charts.  In other words, you can inherit UP TO the mathematical percentage but it may be (and probably will be) lower.

Here is a real life example and one that many people are pursing, Native American (NA)ancestry.  My 3rd-great grandmother was a Choctaw Indian (have paper trail).  Simple math would say that I would inherit 3.125% of her DNA and my uncle who has also tested would get 6.25% At this level I only have a slight chance of not inheriting any DNA from her and my uncle has 0% chance. So far so good.  However, with the way that DNA mixes and dilutes as it comes down the line I can have anything from 3.125% to 0% and my uncle can have 6.25% to above 0%

My uncle has 0.62%
I have 0.57%

Is this still reasonable?  Yes it is.  What is interesting is that I have almost as much as my uncle has.  I wish I could have tested my dad because I would bet he got a bigger chunk than my uncle did.  I also wish I could test my other living uncle but he isn’t interested in testing.  I would like to see how much he ended up with. The uncle that won’t test has a granddaughter that did test. Mathematically she could have 1.5625% of her 4th great-grandmother’s DNA.  She has a little over 1/2% chance of inheriting no DNA.  Her number should between these two.  She has 0.19%

I am waiting for DNA from a first cousin to add to my NA pool as well as the DNA from my stepmother and her brother who both descend from my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother.  This is pretty exciting because I will have DNA from a different line to compare to.  I still need to map out the exact segment matches but I am off to a good start.  There is always a chance of a false positive but I don’t think this will be the case.

For genealogists working with autosomal DNA this next chart from ISOGG might be of more interest. This will explain why you don’t share as much DNA (or you share no DNA) with someone you have a paper trail for as a cousin match.

File:Cousin relationships.jpg


Here are the mathematical calculations for familial matches. This time it will be expressed in centimorgans (cM) along with the percentages. The chart is too big for the blog so go to ISOGG's Autosomal DNA Matches and scroll down to the Table, “Average autosomal DNA shared by pairs of relatives, in percentages and centiMorgans”


Now compare those mathematical calculations to what Blaine Bettinger actually found using real life data. Notice that in Blaine’s data there are averages and ranges.

SharedcMProjectUpdate to the Shared cM Project

Blaine updates his chart as he gets additional data in.  The more data, the more accurate. 


Nutshell version – You can’t rely on statistical calculations to rule someone in or someone out as a DNA match at a particular relationship. 

* For practical purposes it is a 50/50 split but there are slight variations due to the y chromosome being smaller than the x chromosome and the possibility of endogamy – your parents having a common ancestor down the line somewhere and they are actually sharing some DNA.

NOTE:  Gedmatch’s Dodecad World9 Admixture algorithm was used to give the percentage of Amerindian in the DNA testers.  Algorithm’s are updated periodically and all of these numbers could change.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Four years

Today is Ancestoring’s 4th Blogiversary! I haven’t posted in a month so I feel a bit guilty but life is just spinning a bit too fast right now. I have one HUGE project that I hope to get done by October 1st. I was accepted into the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s (SLIG) Virtual Advanced Evidence Practicum which starts October 1st and that is why I have set that deadline. This will help me keep focused and on track.

I have really enjoyed the blog. I love to write and I love to hear from other genealogists so the blog format works well for me. By this fall I am hoping to be back posting at least three times a week again. In the meantime, I will continue to post a bit more sporadically.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis

Friday, June 17, 2016

Update to Mission Impossible

You can read the original post HERE. A very kind soul send me the names and addresses of every Grantham in St. Tammany Parish. Thank you, Katherine! I will be snail-mailing all of them. I know that one of these will be who I am looking for. As soon as I know, I will let you know.


Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis