Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking Into the Past

Ok, so anyone who knows me or has read my blog over the past few years knows I don't have much else to do besides kids and Genealogy. I finally got around to testing my mtDNA and for those of you who are not savvy it is the line of females from which women trace their ancestors. It is a gene passed from female to her children but only continued through females. Since starting my research I knew back five to six generations based on family records. Proving is harder than old folks memories. I traced back to a wife of Eldred Swain of Emanuel County, Georgia in the 1700's. Her name was Delana, and that was all that was written. Records prior to 1850 only contained the names of the head of household and then marks represented the age groups of male and females living in the household and if they were free persons or a slave. So trying to prove someone prior to 1850 is pretty difficult unless you find other documents such as wills that give names of otherwise digits on a page. And since a census was every 10 years looking for people is difficult and if you are a female even harder once you passed 12. I have looked on various sites for the past four years and finally found a man working on a branch of the line of Eldred Swain where he mentioned that she was possibly a Johnson. Then you get a last name but if there are many living in the area what then?
This was the same with another female ancestor. With her we knew her last name but finding her parents was another feat. I finally found a possible that until proven wrong I am sticking with. We have one family of Johnson living in the county close in proximity to the family of her known husband. The census in which she would be a child is of course the digits no names but their is a child with the age category living in the home. By the next census she is married so how can I prove her? I have looked for marriage records but if there ever was one I cannot find it. One person denied me so far saying that she married to early, and the parents had their first child three years after they were married. Ok, so a couple marries and doesn't have a kid for three years? They didn't have birth control as is evident by my large family lines (hehe they didn't have much else to do). So my assumption stays. But you think working with every ten years is hard but how about when someone is from another country? Some countries do have records but third world is usually a oral history. Like my hubby I was finally able to prove to him the other day he is five years older than he thinks he is. His mother said that he was born the year the locusts swarmed in Libya. I looked it up after watching a show on History Channel on Biblical Disasters, he was born in 1955. But after 22 years of marriage, who cares about five years. But when I ask him about his ancestry, he can name his grandfathers for five generations but ask for a female name or dates of birth and he is lost. How do I share my children's heritage with them if we cannot remember names?
My mtDNA showed that my female line in a few short skips go from Georgia to Europe and Germany and then to the people of Yemen or North Africa a J1 Haplotype is what it is referred to. So I guess a few thousand years ago I was from the same place as my hubby was born. Just goes to show we are all one big family. I like the people who say oh I can trace to Adam, where did you find that census record, when I can't even find my greatx4grandparents? Another issue is the variations of a surname spelling. I may have brought this up on occasion but some of the spellings just make you wonder how we have the documents we do have. Such as today, I was looking up Boyett. Here's a few Boyette, Boyet, and try Benjamin and you get Ben, Benj, Benji, B and "Doc" or some other nickname that someone was called. For the longest time I thought that LNU was a spelling for some female name and finally found out it stood for "Last name unknown". Jno is John and James can be Jimmie, Jim or Jimmy. I hope the census takers of 2010 will do a better job. And don't get me on handwriting or just initials for a whole family either!