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The secret is out!

I’m one of four keynote speakers at THE Genealogy Show in Birmingham, England which takes place on Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th, 2020.

2019 was the first year for this show, and it was wildly successful. I’m honored to be asked to keynote in 2020, and I have surprises up my sleeve!

I hope that you’ll be able to attend. Check out their website here and watch THE Genealogy Show’s Facebook page for announcements and great genealogy postings.

So far, two of four keynotes have been announced, the other being Maureen Taylor.

Genealogical Tourism

If you’re from the UK, then this is your stomping ground, but if you’re not from the UK, then this show might just be a great opportunity to combine a great conference with some genealogical tourism.

  • When I was in England before, I didn’t realize that I was descended King Edward (1239-1307) who is buried in Westminster Abbey. Of course, given that I know that much, more of my ancestors are buried there too.

I’m going to Westminster and that’s all there is to it. I’m not sure how one gets from London to Birmingham without driving (cause I’m not driving on the “wrong” side of the road,) but you can bet your britches I’ll be figuring it out. England has trains!

  • Another must-see for me is Scrooby Manor, the home of William Brewster, Pilgrim, from whom I also descend.

Anyone else descended from King Edward I or William Brewster?

Are you planning to be in Birmingham next June?

Rumor has it that there are quilt shops too!

You could have one whale of a good time!

What other genealogical adventures might you plan around THE Genealogy Show? Do you have ancestors from England, Scotland or Wales?

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Thank you so much.

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“It was the third of June another sleepy dusty delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was bailing hay”

Bobby Gentry’s song speaks to the mundane. The routine, the heat and bored-out-of-my-mindness of late summer.

It wasn’t the third of June but the 20th of July.

We couldn’t wait to get out of school a few weeks earlier but by now, we were missing our friends. Missing school too but would never admit it.

We were only half-way through the summer and the second half promised to be just as hot and miserable as the first.

I was 13 the summer of 1969.

Days had an interminable, forever, drifty dreamy quality.

Summer would never end and school would never begin. I was both terrified and excited, as I would be starting high school a few days after Labor Day. That felt like a long time in the future on this particular hot July day.

Each day was a carbon copy of the day last, filled with softball, fans that didn’t move nearly enough air, library books, chasing frogs into the creek and on good days, a trip to the swimming pool and an ice cream cone after the work was done.

Mom had lots of rules that had to be obeyed, designed specifically to interfere with my fun. Of that, I was sure.

Yes, another sleepy, dusty, sweaty July day.

That time of the summer, sweating never stopped.

Air conditioning didn’t exist. Windows were propped open for the entire summer.

Our old black and white television worked when it took a mind to – which wasn’t often.

It had rabbit ears appended to the top and on the best days we got 3 channels. Most days, one or none. Some sets didn’t even have rabbit ears.

Television shows were rationed to 2 or 3 a week because TV was just about our only luxury and we needed to make that old thing last as long as possible. Tubes burned out regularly. Repairmen cost money. We watched Lassie, Walt Disney and Bonanza. Sometimes we splurged and watched Tom Jones too, but Tom Jones only made the hot summer hotter.

My Friend Jim

I had been babysitting for several years.

The young couple that lived across the street had two children and soon, her brother came to live with them.

I don’t remember much about the couple or their children, but I remember that brother well. His name was Jim and he was infinitely, infinitely more interesting than the kids, my library books, any chore I’d been left to do and pretty much anything else on any boring summer day.

My favorite pastime that summer was convincing Jim that I had a twin sister.

You see, I had 2 pairs of glasses, and I would wear one white-rimmed pearlescent pair with one outfit, then change to another outfit and wear the black-rimmed pair. In one pair of glasses I wore my hair in a ponytail and in the other, down.

Yes, I was very, very bored and I have no idea just why I thought that was so much fun. Perhaps because Jim confided in both sisters about the other one.

Jim was an older man – all of 16. A lanky redhead with a job and a car. He also had a girlfriend, Cindy who did not like me AT ALL!

Wonder of wonders.

Jim wanted to take me to the drive in root-beer stand – well one of me anyway. We climbed in his turquoise Mercury Cougar with bucket seats and cruised the neighborhood with all 4 windows down.

The root-beer stand served beverages in frozen mugs. Just roll your window up about 3 inches and they affixed the tray to the window. They also served frozen custard and fried tenderloins. Those were the days, I’m telling you!

This Cougar, which is for sale, looks just like Jim’s! Be still my heart. The car, not Jim.

I’ve always been a car buff. I can’t help myself. It started young. As soon as I began drooling it seemed I was drooling over cars, and well, I’ve never stopped.

I liked Jim, as a friend. If you’re a guy, those words are the kiss of death.

Cindy really didn’t have anything to worry about.

I loved hanging out with Jim and his guy buddies. I helped him change the spark plugs and oil. That was one honking big engine.

I enjoyed waxing his car after I washed it with the hose. Yes, sometimes I wore a bathing suit, especially when I mowed the yard. No, not a bikini, mother would NEVER allow that – a modest one-piece with shorts. IT WAS HOT!

Jim often came over to help. He helped me with the yardwork and I washed his car. We both thought we got a great deal.

Sometimes, we cruised the circle drive around the local Seashore swimming pool. There was an open-air dance hall with a jukebox and someone was always there. In the summertime, the pool was the hangout place and there was always drama, every single day.

Flirtations occurred beside the pool, in the dance hall and we all kept an eye out for who was cruising and riding shotgun with whom.

Toward the end of July, the boredom became flat out intolerable. When jobs around the house begin to seem interesting, it’s time to go back to school. I did love to visit the library, and Jim seemed to enjoy taking me just about anyplace I wanted to go.

Even back then, I was already a geek at heart, reading voraciously. Jim just shook his head, but he gladly shuttled me to feed my book addiction.

By that time, Cindy really REALLY didn’t like me.

Jim had an older buddy named Dave who was kind of well, slow. Other people made fun of Dave, how he acted and walked, with a bit of an awkward strut, but we just accepted him. The difference being that eventually Jim and I grew up and Dave never did.

We were protective of Dave and made sure to include him in our activities. It must have been difficult for Dave to age, but never to be able to drive and to watch his friends outgrow him his entire life. I don’t know what ever happened to Dave.

The Stars and the Moon

Sometimes I wanted to talk about things Jim really didn’t want to talk about. No, I don’t mean anything like THAT – I mean space.

Not the space like gapping a spark plug, but interstellar space, science and astronomy.

In 5th grade, my teacher made the mistake of asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I opined that I didn’t know, so she pushed me a bit. I pronounced that I was going to be an astronomer. The shocked look on her face said it all, but I was innocently oblivious and missed the significance entirely. She wasn’t expecting that answer and tried to gently dissuade me, encouraging me to make another selection, but I was having none of that.

I had always been fascinated with the moon and stars and space since I first saw the planets. Other kids wished on the stars. I was filled with wonder, yearned for knowledge and to go there. I couldn’t get enough – drinking up every smidgen of information like a sponge.

I joined the math club. I ran the library out of science books, reading them over and over. I was the original geek.

I loved to look up at the moon. While other kids were thinking about cheese, I was thinking about what might really be there and how the cosmos worked.

Oh, of course, I would have loved to just be all star-struck and dreamy, but my kind of dreamy was different from anyone else.

Not even Jim or my best friend Curtis understood that. No one where I lived in small-town Indiana would ever understand that.

To me, the moon was a destination, a place of fascination. I longed for the moon to give up her secrets. I strained to see. We didn’t have a telescope.

Soon, very soon, history would be made and I wanted more than anything else to be a part of it.

The Space Age

I was a child of the space age. I don’t ever remember the space program not existing. My early school days were punctuated by rocket launches and news of men orbiting the earth, narrated by Walter Cronkite on the evening news. Walter Cronkite was the voice of America in those days – the “Most Trusted Man in America.”

Often, we didn’t watch the news, but we surely listened on the radio.

Mother seemed to regard me with an air of amusement, like she was just waiting for me to outgrow this phase and get back to Barbie dolls.

That was never going to happen, not unless they introduced Space Barbie – and I don’t mean Space Ken.

July 20, 1969

It might have been hot and dusty, but it wasn’t the third of June, it was the 20th of July.

Apollo 11 was orbiting the moon. THE MOON!

I had chores to do. My deal with Mom was that I worked and did chores in the morning, but I got to go swimming in the afternoon, so long as I got my chores done, left the pool by 5 and was home by 5:15. She watched me like a hawk.

Mom wasn’t at all sure about our neighbor, Jim. After all, he was “older” and might be a bad influence. According to Mom, all boys were bad influences.

Mom came home for lunch, but then went back to work. I asked Mom if she was going to watch the moon landing, and she said that she couldn’t.

I wanted desperately to watch, but our TV wasn’t working. I was supposed to go to the pool in the afternoon, but Jim suggested that he, Dave and I go to the park, on the way to the pool, and listen to the first man walk on the moon. After the landing, he would drop me off at the pool. Seemed like a great idea to me!

Mom probably wouldn’t have approved, but she was at work.

We didn’t know exactly what time the landing would occur, or actually, if it would occur at all. There were so many things that might go wrong.

Would the Eagle lander separate from the Apollo 11 capsule?

Would the Eagle burn up on descent in the moon’s atmosphere?

Would the Eagle crash land, being  a sure and certain death sentence?

Would there be an explosion when they landed?

Would we watch the astronauts die?

Would they sink in the dust on the moon?

Was the dust actually dust, or was it tiny meteor shards that would destroy their space suits, meaning they would perish?

Would the Eagle be able to lift off from the moon?

Would the Eagle be able to dock with Apollo 11 so that the astronauts could come home?

No one had ever been there or done this before. We had no answers. Only questions. Many, many questions.

What were the odds that everything would work exactly right?

The small park was deserted, probably because it was beastly hot, so Jim pulled the car under the trees the near the swings.

We opened the doors so we could hear the radio and swung on the wooden swings.

As it became evident that the landing was actually going to happen, we all three went back to the car, getting inside, but leaving the doors wide open, hoping for any breeze. Dave was in the back seat, but all three of us were leaned as far forward as possible, as if that would help us hear.

Our sweaty legs stuck to the seats, but we didn’t care.

The astronaut’s voices were gravely and distant.

Then nothing.

Silence.

Not a peep.

There should be.

It had been too long.

Something was wrong.

We looked up at the sky through the windshield, just in case we could see.

Of course, we couldn’t and felt ridiculous.

More silence.

No. One. Even. Breathed.

Minutes that seemed like eternities passed.

Finally, at 4:17, we heard what our ears had been straining desperately for, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Oh. My. God.

There were only three of us, but we cheered and shouted and hugged each other. So did the crew at Mission Control in Houston.

We were both ecstatic and relieved.

The astronauts were supposed..

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If you have taken a MyHeritage DNA test or transferred there, quick, check your results because you may have new Theories of Family Relativity! I do.

MyHeritage introduced Theory of Family Relativity for their DNA customers in February this year at RootsTech. I wrote about the introduction and how to use and evaluate Theories here.

Theories of Family Relativity, sometimes abbreviated as TOFR, first looks at your DNA matches, then their trees, and provides you with theories as to how you share a common ancestor.

These are called theories for a reason. They utilize your tree and other people’s as well. Sometimes multiple trees have to be used to connect the dots if you or your matches tree isn’t extended far enough back in time.

My normal cautions about trees apply here. One of the great things about theories, though, is that if there are different “paths” suggested by trees, TOFR shows those multiple paths and allows you to evaluate for yourself.

Evaluation is crucial – which is why they are called theories.

Multiple DataBases Contribute to Increased Theories

MyHeritage utilizes trees and other information from multiple databases and then ranks their probability of being accurate. Databases include:

  1. MyHeritage records
  2. 45 million trees at MyHeritage
  3. FamilySearch trees
  4. Geni trees

In their blog article, MyHeritage provides additional details such as:

  • The total number of Theories has increased from 6 to 14 million
  • More than 46% of their users have at least one Theory (no tree, no Theory)
  • A new notification system is being rolled out, so you’ll receive an e-mail when you receive new Theories
  • For now, the TOFR database will be updated periodically, but eventually it will be automated so that TOFRs will be reported as they occur

My Theories

In February, I had 51 Theories. This week, MyHeritage refreshed TOFR again and now I have 26 more for a total of 77.

Of these new 26, 24 are accurate. One connects me to the wrong son of my ancestor, and one is inaccurate – but I know why both are wrong.

The second inaccurate theory is because most trees include the wrong mother for my ancestor Phoebe Crumley. Her mother was Lydia Brown, not Elizabeth Johnson. I performed extensive research, including mitochondrial DNA testing, and proved that Phoebe’s mother was Lydia, not Elizabeth. However, wrong trees are plentiful and have been propagating like weeds for years now in many databases with no documentation.

This is why evaluation is critical.

I particularly like that theories aren’t just provided blindly, expecting you to just have faith, but each “link” is evaluated and given a confidence ranking.

Using Theories

He’s an example of how to use theories. You can find them by clicking on the purple View Theories banner or under DNA matches by utilizing the Tree Details filter.

If you have a new Theory, it will be labeled as such so you don’t waste time looking at Theories you’ve already processed. I write a note for every match I’ve reviewed in the notes box in the upper right hand corner.

Theories are important, but don’t overlook the information in the green box. If the theory turns out to be not exactly correct – the additional information may still be the link you need.

View the theory by clicking on either the View Theory link or the Review DNA Match button. Your theory is the first thing you’ll see below the match itself.

The theory is presented with the detail available when you click on View full theory.

In this example, my first cousin tested and entered at least a partial tree. TOFR created 5 different “paths” based on combinations of trees as to how we are related.

I’m displaying Path 1 where the link has a 93% confidence ranking. To view that comparison, click on the green intersection button and additional information between the two trees used to create the theory will display. In this case, it’s me with no additional information, but Path 3, below, shows the link between two trees at our common grandfather level.

Now if I click on the green intersection button, I see a lot more information, based on the information in both trees, shown side by side comparatively. The more information in the trees, the more information MyHeritage has to use when constructing these Theories.

I love this tool!

Even my Theories that aren’t completely correct provide me with hints and other people’s information to evaluate. I can almost always figure the rest out by myself.

Better yet, given that I paint my matches with known ancestors at DNAPainter, I now have 26 more matches to paint, AND, if I look at my shared matches with these people, I’m sure I’ll have even more. I may never surface for air!

Many people are very likely to discover new ancestors, especially people who are newer to genealogy!

Beware though, and verify, because these connections are hints and theories, not gospel.

How Do You Get Theories?

Maybe you don’t have Theories and want some. How can you encourage the system to generate Theories?

  • If your DNA is not attached to your person card, connect it by clicking on the DNA tab at the top of any page, then on Manage DNA Kits.

  • Under Manage DNA Kits, you’ll see 3 dots to the right side. Click there to assign a DNA kit to a person.

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Sooner or later in genetic genealogy, you’re going to run across the acronym, NPE or MPE.

Years ago, the phrase NPE was coined to generally mean when the expected parent or parents weren’t.

  • NPE means nonpaternal event, also sometimes nonparental event.
  • Some folks didn’t like that term and began to use MPE, misattributed paternal event or misattributed parentage.

Of course, today, this situation could arise as a result of an adoption, a donor situation, either male or female, or the more often thought-of situation where the father isn’t who he’s presumed/believed to be based on the circumstances at hand.

Historically, adoptions weren’t a legal situation. If the parents died on the wagon train, someone took the kids to raise. Ditto a woman raising her sister’s children.

At that time, everyone knew the situation and it wasn’t a secret. A couple (or more) generations later, no one knows and the presumed parent(s) aren’t, especially if the child used the surname of the people who raised him or her. That’s a very common step-father situation, especially before official birth certificates.

Regardless of the situation, the “adoption” was undocumented for future generations. Hence, the term “undocumented adoption.” I’ve used “undocumented adoption” for a long time because I felt there was less judgement inherent in that description. Other people simply say “of unknown parentage.”

Discoveries are Common

Of course today with various types of DNA testing, these types of situations are slowly, or not so slowly, being discovered.

When they reveal themselves, you may have to saw a branch off of your tree. That’s ugly if you’re a genealogist, but at least it’s not someone you know personally.

However, if the people involved are closer in time, the discovery may be a shock or traumatic. I experienced this with my half-brother, Dave, who turned out not to be my biological brother.  I found him and then heartbreakingly lost him. I loved him regardless and wrote about our journey here, here and here.

These situations used to be remarkable, but with so many people DNA testing, these revelations are becoming daily events.

No Judgement

While the first thought that might occur is that someone was cheating, that may not be the case at all. Lots of circumstances may come into play. I wrote about several here.

I would encourage everyone to suspend judgement, not assume and to give our ancestors and family members the benefit of the doubt. We don’t and can’t know what happened to them.

Moccasins and glass houses

Besides that – if it wasn’t for your ancestors, you wouldn’t be you!

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Amazon Prime is a subscription service that includes free delivery and often that means one-day delivery, at least within the US.

On two days per year, known as Amazon Prime Day, subscribers get access to even better deals on Amazon items. Even if you’re not a prime member, you still receive the great prices, just not the free shipping.

Super prices coupled with free delivery make DNA kits even better values.

Check out the prices for the vendors products we know and love – you may come away with an amazing deal.

DNA Tests

Family Tree DNA – ethnicity, DNA matching and includes free return postage within the US – $49MyHeritage – ethnicity, DNA matching, and Theories of Family Relativity – $59

AncestryDNA – ethnicity, DNA matching and ThruLines – $49

23andMe Ancestry only – ethnicity, chromosome painting and DNA matching – $99 (apparently no sale price price)

23andMe Ancestry plus Health – above plus health information – $199 (apparently no sale price)

Free Gift From Me!

If you’re uncertain about what to do after you receive your DNA test results, you’re in luck, because in a few days ago I published DNA Results- First Glances at Ethnicity and Matching. In the next week or so, I’ll be publishing a First Steps article that will get you started with matching, using your results and why they are important.

Just open your new test results and follow along.

Like always, you can share with your family, friends and on social media – and it’s free.

DNA Books

If you want to educate yourself with a book, below you’ll find  my favorite DNA books in no specific order. Note that two of these are brand new.

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies by Debbie Parker Wayne (this is a brand new book published in March 2019)

Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine Bettinger (published October 2016)

Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne (published January 2016)

DNA Guide for Adoptees by Brianne Kirkpatrick and Shannon Combs-Bennett (just released in May 2019)

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich (March 2018)

Disclosure

Yes, these are affiliate links. You save a bundle and I make a few cents for the effort of gathering this information in one place for you and publishing the article. Doesn’t cost you a penny – you don’t pay anything extra.

Thanks so much for helping to keep this blog free for everyone and keeping the lights on!

Enjoy!

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As a woman, I often wonder what will define my life when I’m gone. For our ancestors, it was often a woman’s husband and sometimes, her children. That’s pretty much it.

Of course, today, living on the “right side” of women’s lib which ushered in many opportunities for women, I am much more in control of my own life. I can make my own choices about important and not-so-important matters, without anyone’s agreement or blessing required. Key word is required.

I selected a career, purchased and sold property without my husband’s or father’s “permission” and gasp, I vote. My ancestors would probably be both ecstatic and horrified, depending on who they were and when and where they lived

Social media provides me with the opportunity to share choices and record my daily life as I type into the ether.

For better or worse, someday my descendants may be mining Facebook to see what great-grandma was doing on July 4th, a hundred years in the past. They’re going to be awfully bored, but it’s the mundane day to day things that cumulatively weave together the threads of our life. Isn’t that really what we long to know about our ancestors?

I want to know that my great-great-grandmother picked green beans and snapped them sitting under the shade of an old oak tree in a heat wave that was “hotter than Hades, like never before” with her 3 sisters while their small children playing in the creek nearby under their watchful eyes.

There might not have been cameras, but I can paint a powerful mental picture.

My descendants, if I have any, will probably have a good laugh at the fashions, automobiles and old-fashioned technology of the time in which I live. I already cringe looking at the styles of the 60s and 70s.

See,  you’re laughing already!

At some point far into the future, styles won’t just be old-fashioned, they will have no comprehension of life today. Our life will be entirely unfamiliar.

Picking 3 or 4 events at random from my life, I ask myself if those few items, with no additional information would truly be representative of who I am? Probably not, yet that’s what we find, if we’re lucky, about our ancestors.

The further back in time we search, generally the less we can discover about any ancestor, and women are more difficult than men – beginning with the fact that they change their surnames when they marry. Add to that the fact that they couldn’t vote so aren’t on voter lists, rarely lived outside the home of their father, husband or finally, their children and seldom if ever made purchases like land. Often they weren’t mentioned by name in wills.

Lucy Moore broke the rules. Not all of the rules of the colonial society in which she lived, but a great many. Probably out of necessity – but nonetheless – thankfully, it created records.

I like Lucy, a lot. She was spunky and I can’t help but wonder if that is indeed her legacy to me.

In the Beginning

Nothing about finding Lucy was easy – not even her name. It wasn’t recorded in any family records and was only revealed in deeds. Were it not for that, she would have slipped forever beneath the waves of anonymity.

I suspect, but don’t know, that Lucy is short for Lucinda.

I have calculated Lucy’s approximate birth year by using the birth dates of her children in combination with the tax lists.

I discovered her death date or at least the year quite by accident, after missing it the first time around. Thank goodness for these 52 Ancestors articles which force me to reread everything about each ancestor.

In 1782, William Moore and Lucy had 6 “white souls” in their household in Halifax County, VA, which tells us that they had 4 living children. We don’t know the actual birth dates of any of her children, but information provided in later census and other documents gives us a range or approximation.

If they were married a year before the first child was born, and a child was born every 2 years, their marriage occurred in approximately 1773.

Looking backwards, we know that Jane Moore who married in 1823 was born in 1797. Her sister, Rebecca married in 1825, so she was likely born before 1805. She could have been born about 1799. If that’s the case, then Lucy would have been having children from about 1774 to 1799, a span of 25 years. If Lucy’s first child was born about age 20, then the final child was born at 45.

Of course, children could have been born closer than every 2 years, and some children probably died.

We know that 4 were living in 1782 and 5 were living in 1785.

Therefore, if Lucy was age 45 in 1799, she was born approximately 1754. The census tells us that she was born between 1750-1760, so 1754 works. It’s possible that Lucy was a little older, but not much older because we know, based on the census, that Jane was born in 1797.

Where Was Lucy Born?

We don’t know where Lucy was born, but I can pretty well tell you where she wasn’t born.

Lucy lived her married life in what is today the Vernon Hill community, at the intersection of Oak Level Road and Mountain Road (Highway 360) in Halifax County, VA. Today, at this intersection, we look south and west over the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and cemetery which was once the land owned by William and Lucy Moore.

Halifax County was form in 1752 from Lunenburg County, and the area around Vernon Hills hadn’t yet been settled. Land grants for that area began to be obtained a decade later and it wasn’t until between 1765-1770 that that area was actually cleared and people began taking up residence there.

The families that inhabited this community didn’t move out from Banister Town, as the town of Halifax was called then, or South Boston but migrated from counties like Amelia and Prince Edward which were further north and east where the desirable available land was all taken.

An hour and a half drive today took 10 days in a wagon with no shocks, bumping and jarring all the way in 1765.

Halifax County was the new frontier, a land of opportunity, and the generation to which Lucy’s parents belonged hitched up the wagon, applied for a land patent, and moved. They built log cabins, some of which still stand today more than 250 years later. They cleared the land, backbreaking work, in order to sew small patches of tobacco.

Tobacco drained the land of nutrients in just a 3 or 4 years, creating “old fields” that had to lie fallow for roughly 20 years, so the need to keep clearing land was incessant.

Tobacco was a high-maintenance crop. On top of depleting the soil, it also required massive amounts of labor and sold for pennies.

Where Lucy lived, everyone worked in the fields and everyone was poor. The larger plantations owned by wealthy settlers who also owned slaves were located along the Dan River, close to South Boston. Vernon Hill was 15+ miles away, a day’s ride and there was no reason to go there. Roads were mud pits and South Boston or Banister Town existed in another far-away world. It’s entirely possible that Lucy never once made the trip to town.

Lucy would have moved to the Vernon Hill or Oak Level area with her parents probably sometime between 1765 and 1772/1774 when she married William Moore. Most of the families who bought land in that region were neighbors from Prince Edward County, so there’s a good possibility that she might have known William before arriving in Halifax County.

Many of the people were also dissenting families. The Rice family is recorded in 1759 in Price Edward as building a meeting house for a dissenting religion. Mary Rice married James Moore, the parents of William Moore, Lucy’s eventual husband. William himself was a dissenting Methodist minister, at least in the beginning.

Dissenting was a binding cause among like-minded families.

Marriage

If Lucy began having children about 1774, give or take a year or so, she likely married between 1772 and 1774, age 18-20.

William Moore had been living in Halifax County since about 1770, so it’s likely that Lucy’s family was a Halifax County family as well.

There was no marriage return filed with the clerk, perhaps because as “dissenters,” they were not an Anglican church-attending family or possibly because some of the records were destroyed during the Revolutionary War. It’s also feasible that during the War, people just didn’t bother to file those marriage returns because it was a long ride to the courthouse, the filing wasn’t free and who knew what the outcome of the war might be.

Now, we’re left to try to fill in the pieces of information that our ancestors knew quite well.

Road Hands

At that time, all property-owning men were required to donate one day per year for road maintenance. Keep in mind that at the time bridges didn’t exist and wagons regularly got mired axle deep in ruts and mud.

The first road hand list in the 1782 court records includes the Moore men and shows us who the neighbors are:

John Pankey surveyor from Walton’s Mill path to county line, tithes John Sloane?, James Ferguson, Hugh Ferguson, Thomas Jeffress, Lewis Halay, Benjamin Halay, Daniel Trammell, Thomas Trammell, Richard Lamkin, Richard Thompson, William Yates, Jesse Spradling, Isaac Farguson, John Farguson, Nimrod Farguson, Charles Spradling, Mack (Mackness) Moore, Rich Moore, William Moore, Thomas Williamson Jr. and Sr., Edward Henderson, William Pankey, Nathan Sullins, John Mullins, Wiliam Ashlock, James Moore, Bartholowmew Harris, Benjamin Edwards, William Edwards, Thomas Dodson Jr. and Sr., George Dodson, Robert, Mathis, John Tolles, Martin Palmer, William Walton.

The county line would have been Pittsylvania County which was roughly 5 miles west on Mountain Road

Was Lucy’s family among these road hands?

The Candidates

The most likely candidates for William Moore’s wife were the neighbors, of course. Those are the young ladies that William would have seen most often – at church, perhaps at school if there was one, in the neighborhood and at entertainment events like corn shuckings. Of course, that’s assuming they grew corn in Halifax county. I know they grew literally tons of tobacco and tobacco picking was not a mixed-gender social event.

Of course, the fly in this ointment might be that William began preaching before 1775, which means that he might have met Lucy in a different church someplace on his circuit outside of this immediate community.

However, if Lucy was from one of the local families, the following families, in alphabetical order, were involved with the Moore family by living adjacent or witnessing documents during that time-frame.

Dodson – The Dodson family was in Halifax County before 1774 when James Moore sold Thomas Dodson land bounded by James Spradling and James Henry. I have proven Dodson ancestors, so I could DNA match through those folks. If Lucy was a Dodson, this could be nearly unsolvable using DNA, especially so far back in time.

However, if I have overlapping DNA matches between known Dodson segments and segments that descend from the Moore line, that could be a clue using DNAPainter.

Ferguson – The Ferguson/Farguson family also hails from Prince Edward and Amelia County and witnessed deeds in Halifax County for the Moores for years beginning with Joseph Ferguson in 1773 when James Moore sold land to Thomas Ward.

I do DNA match several descendants of the Ferguson line although not all through Halifax County. I suspect that my Combs family was intermarried with the Fergusons in Amelia County. If Lucy was a Ferguson/Farguson, this too could be complex.

Henderson – The Henderson family is intermarried with the Moores. James Moore’s daughter, Lydia, is all but certain to be the wife of Edward Henderson who was from Prince Edward County and owned land adjacent to James Moore. In 1786, James Moore sells land to Edward Henderson bounded by the “old fields,” James Henry, William Moore, Nathan Sullings and was witnessed by Mackness and William Moore along with John Poindexter.

I do DNA match members of the Henderson family, but some of Edward Henderson’s children intermarried with descendants of Marcus Younger through the Clark family. How I match the Henderson line descendants would be critical information, meaning through those Henderson children who married Clarks or other Hendersons.

Henry – In 1776, James Henry is listed in a deed as “of Accomack County” when he sold land to James Spradling which bounds James Moore’s plantation. The Henry family shares lines with the Moore family in 1774 and family members, including women, witness deeds over the years, including 1778. In 1780, James Henry is listed “of King and Queen County” when he sells additional land to James Moore via his power-of-attorney William Ryburn. Henry family members may not have lived in Halifax County.

DNA matches do not suggest a connection with a Halifax County Henry family.

McDaniel – Henry McDaniel witnessed a deed in 1773 for James Moore’s sale to Thomas Ward along with James Thompson and Joseph Ferguson.

I do DNA match with descendants of Henry McDaniel.

Pankey – James Moore sells land to John Pankey in 1778 intersecting with Colonel Henry’s line, witnessed by Joseph Dodson, Charles Spradling, Edward Henderson and William Moore. In 1780 Moore sold Pankey additional land and in 1781 when the deed was witnessed by William Parker, Jonathan Colquitt and Charles Crenshaw. In 1784, James Henry of King and Queen County sold more land to James Moore against Pankey’s line and Nathan Sullins. Witnesses were John Poindexter, Howard Henderson and William Walter. The Pankeys were involved with the Moore clan for years, including a suit for slander in the 1800s.

Pankey is an unusual surname and I do have DNA matches from the Halifax line.

Slate – The Slate family has some type of relationship with the Moore family. They were in the area by 1770 when Samuel Slate witnessed the original deed for James Moore when he purchased his initial land from James Spradling and then again in 1774. William Slate counter-signed a debt document for William Moore in 1824, and two of William’s daughters married Slate men.

Given the Slate marriages, I expected to DNA match Slate descendants, but surprisingly, I don’t, at least not yet. Either these daughters had few children, their descendants haven’t tested or we don’t share DNA segments.

Spradling – The James Spradling family shared a property line with the James Moore family, witnessed deeds and a Spradling son lived with James Moore for 2 years before enlisting for the Revolutionary War. James Moore bought his original land from James Spradling in 1770 but Spradling patented the land in 1765. However, this patent was the exact same patent filed by Isham Womack in 1762, so a change of hands happened between 1762 and 1765. Spradling witnessed deeds in 1774 and conveyed land to James Moore again in 1778 and 1785.

There is one DNA match that descends from a Rachel Spradling born in 1730 and died in Halifax County. I would expect more if Lucy was a Spradling.

However, I have numerous matches to descendants of the Womack family that I can’t explain.

Stubblefield – The Stubblefield family also came from Prince Edward County. George Stubblefield witnessed the original James Moore land purchase in 1770. Sally, James Moore’s daughter married Martin Stubblefield in about 1787. This family may have been related before coming to Halifax County.

A Lemuel Moore which may have been James Moore’s son or grandson married Ann Stubblefield in Grainger Co., TN in 1804. The Stubblefield and Moore families migrated from Halifax to Grainger together.

I DNA match lots of people from this line, which I would expect with the multiple marriages into the Moore line and migration together on into Tennessee. However, if I don’t match through known Stubblefield marriages into the Moore family, the Stubblefield DNA matches may mean something more.

Thompson – The Thompson family was in the area by 1773 when James Thompson witnessed a deed for James Moore. In 1798, James Moore’s son, Mackness, married Sarah Thompson and his daughter Mary Moore married Richard Thompson, both in 1789.

I do DNA match some people with Thompson ancestors from Halifax County, but this is expected due to the known Moore-Thompson marriages. Ancestry trees suggest that James Thompson was married to an Elizabeth Rice, although her ancestry needs work and could be a different Rice line, not related to Mary Rice, James Moore’s wife.

Walton – Walton’s Mill path had to be someplace close because Walton deeds tell us that William and Spencer Walton owned land on the Second Fork of Birches Creek, the same waterway where the Moores lived. The Walton family was also from Prince Edward County and various members witnessed deeds for the Moore..

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I know this isn’t about DNA, but it is about ancestors and old photos. What’s not to love!

My friend sent me a link where you can upload an old photo and it’s colorized, for free. (Thanks Chris!)

I’m having so much fun, I just have to share with you.

https://colourise.sg/#colorize

The photo below is my Mom from during WWII. I think she looks a lot more real in the colorized version, at right.

The technology works best with high resolution, in-focus photos. That doesn’t mean it won’t work with others and it’s free to try.

It works great with groups of people too. Here’s my Dad with my sister’s kids.

Have fun!

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People who have worked with genetic genealogy for a long time often forget what it’s like to be a new person taking a DNA test.

Recently, someone asked me what a tester actually sees after they take a DNA test and their results are ready. Good question, especially for someone trying to decide what might work for them.

I’m going to make this answer very simple. For each of the 4 major vendors, I’m going to show what a customer sees when they first sign in and view their results. Not everything or every tool, just their main page along with the initial matching and ethnicity pages.

Please feel free to share this article with people who are new and might be interested. It’s easy to follow along.

I do want to stress that this is just the beginning, not the end game and that every vendor has much more to offer if you take advantage of their tools.

Best of all, it’s so much FUN to learn about your heritage and your ancestry, plus meeting cousins and family members you may not have known that you had.

I’ve been gifted with photos of my grandparents and great-grandparents that I had no idea existed before meeting new family members.

I hope that all the new testers will become excited and that their results are just a tiny first step!

The Vendors

I’m going to take a look at:

Each vendor offers DNA matching to others in their database, plus ethnicity estimates. Yes, ethnicity is only an estimate.

Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA was the first and still the only genetic genealogy testing company to offer a full range of DNA testing products, launching in the year 2000. Today they stand out as the “science company,” offering both Y and mitochondrial DNA testing in addition to their Family Finder test which is comparable with the tests offered by Ancestry, 23andMe and MyHeritage.

Your personal page at Family Tree DNA shows the following tools for the Family Finder test.

The two options we’ll look at today are your Matches and myOrigins, which is your ethnicity estimate.

Click on Matches to view whose DNA matches you. In my case, on the page below, you can see that I have a total of 4610 matches, of which 986 have been assigned to my paternal side, 842 to my maternal side, and 4 to both sides. In my case, the 4 assigned to both sides are my children and grandchildren, which makes perfect sense,

You can click to enlarge this graphic.

The green box above the matches indicates additional tools which provide information such as who I match in common with another person. I can see, for example, who I match in common with a first cousin which is very helpful in determining which ancestor those matches are related through.

The red box and circle show information provided to me about each match.

Family Tree DNA is able to divide my matches into “Maternal,” “Paternal” and “Both” buckets because they encourage me to link DNA matches on my tree. This means that I connect my mother to her location on my tree so that Family Tree DNA knows that people that match Mother and me both are related on my mother’s side of the tree.

Your matches don’t have to be your parents for linking to work. The more people you link, the more matches Family Tree DNA can put into buckets for you, especially if your parents aren’t available to test. Plus, your aunts and uncles inherited parts of your grandparent’s DNA that your parents didn’t, so they are super important!

Figuring out which side your matches come from, and which ancestor is first step in genetic genealogy!

You can see, above, that my mother is “assigned” on my maternal side and my son matches me on both.

“Bucketing” is a great, innovative feature. But there’s more.

The tan rounded rectangle includes ancestral surnames, with the ones that you and your match have in common shown in bold.

Based on the amount of DNA that I share with a match, and other scientific calculations, a relationship range is calculated, with the linked relationship reflecting where I’ve put that person on my tree.

If your match has uploaded or created a tree, you can view their tree (if they share) by clicking on the little blue pedigree icon, above, circled in tan between the two arrows.

Here’s my tree with my family members who have DNA tested attached in the proper places in my tree. Of course, there are a lot more connected people that I’m not showing in this view.

Advanced features include tools like a matching matrix and a chromosome browser where you can view the segments that actually match.

Family Tree DNA Ethnicity

To view your ethnicity estimate, click on myOrigins and you’ll see the following, along with people you match in the various regions if they have given permission for that information to be shared with their matches:

MyHeritage

MyHeritage has penetrated the European market quite well, so if your ancestors are from the US or Europe, MyHeritage is a wonderful resource. They offer both DNA testing and records via subscription, combining genetic matches and genealogical records into a powerful tool.

At MyHeritage, when you sign in, the DNA tab is at the top.

Clicking on DNA Matches shows you the following match list:

To review all of the information provided for each match, meaning who they match in common with you, their ancestral surnames, their tree and matching details, you’ll click on “Review DNA Match.”

MyHeritage provides a special tool called Theories of Family Relativity which connects you with others and your common ancestors. In essence, MyHeritage uses DNA, trees and records to weave together at least some of your family lines, quite accurately.

Here’s a simple example where MyHeritage has figured out that one of the testers is my niece and has drawn our connection for us.

Theories of Family Relativity is a recently released world-class tool, easy to use but can solve very complex problems. I wrote about it here.

Advanced DNA tools include a chromosome browser and triangulation, a feature which shows you when three people match on a common segment, indicating genetically that you all 3 share a common ancestor from whom you inherited that common piece of DNA.

MyHeritage Ethnicity

To view your ethnicity estimate at MyHeritage, simply click on Ethnicity Estimate on the menu.

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William and James are both common names, as is Moore. Saying this family has been difficult to research is an understatement. I’ve made multiple trips back to Halifax County, Virginia over a period of 3 decades – each one unearthing new tidbits, but also adding more questions than answers.

Slowly, a painting of the life of William Moore has unfolded, in quite an unexpected way. But first, I had to figure out which William Moore was mine.

Multiple William Moores

There were at least five, count ‘em, five, William Moores in Halifax County, Virginia in the late 1700s, and at least two James Moores. Of course, every William and James had children named William and James, and Thomas too. Oh yea, there were Thomas Moores in Halifax connected to the Williams and James. By 1800, we had another 3 “disconnected” Williams, probably sons of the other Moore men.

I was pulling my hair out.

The only way to even begin to straighten this out is deeds that include neighbors, waterways, court records and tax lists. Plus, a couple Williams had the decency to die with a will – but not mine of course.

Worse yet, the descendants of an “unrelated” James Moore, also from Amelia County, today live on the land that my James and William Moore lived on in the late 1700s and early 1800s. I say “unrelated” because the Y DNA tells us that they don’t share a paternal Moore ancestor, but I’m not entirely convinced they are in fact “unrelated.” More about that in James Moore’s article, yet to come.

I’m able to somewhat separate my particular William Moore from the other Williams because my William, after moving to Halifax County with his father, James, never moved again. He always lived in the same location, the Second Fork of Birches Creek, on land that is now the Vernon Hill community at the intersection of Oak Level Road and Highway 360, also known as Mountain Road.

Before I introduce you to my William, let me tell you who he is not.

The Wrong Williams

These men are NOT my William Moore. I compiled an embarrassingly large “every name” spreadsheet of every Moore person I could find in colonial Virginia with the assistance of Joyce Browning’s excellent extractions before she retired from active genealogy. This means that if there is a land sale with a buyer, seller and 4 witnesses, there are 6 entries in my spreadsheet for this transaction, which is also indexed by location and waterway.

Needless to say, the Moore family was not isolated, and the Combs, Rice and Estes families took the same migration path from eastern Virginia to Halifax County, more or less, so their records are contained in this same 25,000+ row spreadsheet. By the middle to late 1700s, these early colonial families had been intermingling and intermarrying as they pushed the westward frontier for 5 or 6 generations.

Yes, it was a miserable exercise BUT, BUT and this is very important, without that effort, I would never have been able to sort these families. In some cases, I still can’t entirely.

These 4 William Moores who are also found in Halifax County in the 1700s and the early 1800s are NOT my William.

  1. William (1) Moore born between 1712-1715 and died in Halifax County in 1786. He was living there as early as 1767 according to the vestry processioning notes. He lived on (Little) Cherrystone Creek and had a wife named Prudence who predeceased him. He is somehow connected to Robert Wooding. His children were Lucy Anna Moore who married John Echols and lived in Lunenburg County, Elizabeth Moore who married a Rowlett, William Jr. who lived in Pittsylvania County and probably married Sarah Hill. William lists grandchildren in his will, was wealthy and had an extensive probate.
  2. William (2) Moore born between 1770-1780 lived on Catawba and Childrey Creeks on land purchased by his father, Thomas who lived in Cumberland Co., VA in 1804. In 1829, William and his son William G. along with sons Wesley and Barnett were acquitted of assault. William (2) was declared a “lunatic” in 1833 and died in 1834 with a will. He had wife Mary, children; Harriett who married Thomas E. Moore, a hatter, who MAY have been the son of my William Moore or possibly a son of Daniel Moore, but there is no proof. (I’d love a Y DNA test from this line.) Harriett and Thomas sold their interest in William (2) Moore’s estate in 1834 from Charlotte County, next door to Halifax. William (2) also had son Barnett B. Moore born 1794 who married Lydia Booker and died in Greenbrier, WV, William G. Moore who married Virginia Taylor, Thomas P. Moore who married Susan Daniel, John W. Moore who was alive in 1834, Mary Moore who married a Taylor, Elizabeth Moore who married Donald Murphy and Jenetty Moore who married Griffin Toombs. There is no known Y DNA test from this Moore line, but I suspect there may be a relationship with my William Moore family. In addition to the possible marriage, Isaac Medley was William (2) Moore’s estate administrator and was involved with my William as well, both as a neighbor and the man who foreclosed his property. On the other hand, Isaac Medley was a wealthy land speculator and seemed to be involved with everyone.
  3. William (3) Moore married Rhoda Archer Powell in August 1802. His estate was probated in by 1804 in Halifax County. If they had a child, it was a female. This William may be the William associated with the Hugh Moore group.
  4. William (4) Moore alive in 1775 who accepted a slave in payment of his wife’s share of her father, James Hill’s estate. I believe they lived on or near Wynne and Terrible Creeks in Halifax County.

While these aren’t my William Moore, it’s certainly possible that some of these men are related to my William Moore and if the Y DNA were be tested of Moore males who descend from these lines, we would be able to prove or disprove it – breaking down brick walls for all parties. There’s also an early Daniel and Thomas Moore who may be related. I have a DNA testing scholarship for any Moore male who descends from these lines. If any of these are your lines, leave a comment on this article, please!

My Guy – The Reverend William Moore

The Reverend William Moore was one of the earliest Methodist Ministers in the US, even before the Revolutionary War, and in particular, Virginia. He was such an interesting man and quite well traveled for a humble Virginia colonial farmer. Of course, most of his travels were on the back of a horse plodding through all kinds of weather on his way to meeting houses carrying his Bible in his saddlebag. He began as a circuit-riding preacher.

William Moore was born about 1750 in Amelia County, Virginia near Saylor Creek, the part that would become Prince Edward County in 1754. His parents, James Moore and Mary Rice lived beside her parents Joseph Rice and his wife Rachel, so William grew up beside his grandparents, at least until they pulled up stakes, packed the wagon and set off for greener pastures about 75 miles away.

Back then, 75 miles was a far distance. William may never have seen his grandparents again.

By 1765, the Moore family had moved to Halifax County, Virginia where on January 7th we find a deed from James Spradling and his wife, Mary, to James Moore for “238 acres on the branches of the second fork of Burches Creek whereon the said Moore now lives being a part of a patent to said Spradling dated Sept. 16, 1765.” This deed was witnessed by George Stubblefield. The Moores had a generations-long relationship with the Stubblefield family and may have already been related.

Halifax County Tax Lists

Before the 1790 census, thank goodness we have Halifax County tax lists, at least partial rolls for some years.

William Moore first appears on the head of household list in 1782 with a total of 6 “white souls.” Given that 2 are he and his wife, that leaves 4 children born over approximately 8 years, plus one year before the birth of the first child and 1 year for maybe 1 death puts the marriage of William and Lucy at about 1772. Subtracting 21 years from that puts William’s birth at about 1750 or 51, or earlier. We know William died in 1827, which would have made him about 77. Lucy lived for several more years.

In 1783, a personal property tax list was taken that tells us that William had one horse and 2 cows and in 1784, he is taxed with 100 acres “from last year.” By 1784, he is up to 7 cattle and in 1785, he has 7 household members, so another child has been born. William continues to be taxed on 100 acres of land, even though he hasn’t purchased any yet, according to the deed books. As a “renter,” he is likely responsible for the taxes on the land he cultivates.

In 1788, he has 2 horses but in 1789 and 1790, only 1. Unfortunately, the 1790 census for Halifax County is missing as is 1800 and 1810.

By 1792, William has 2 horses until 1795 when he has one again but in 1796, back to 2. I suspect he is breeding a horse and selling the colt, but that’s just a guess.

In 1794, William begins being taxed on 170 acres.

In 1797, William is listed as exempt from taxes. There are very few reasons for this to occur:

  • Advanced age (70 at that time in Halifax County)
  • Disability (authorized by the court)
  • A minister
  • A sheriff or official

Granted, William was a minister, but not an Anglican minister. Never before had he been listed as exempt from taxes. His father, James, had been exempt every year since 1791, likely due to advanced age. I think James was born about 1721, so the fact that he was exempt in 1791 would seem to corroborate that.

William is not exempt in 1798, but is again in 1799.

If William was exempt because of age, he would have been consistently exempt from 1797 on, but he wasn’t. Something happened to William in 1796 or 1797, which is also the same time that he stopped submitting marriage documents to the Halifax County Clerk to be recorded.

In 1798, William is listed with 170 acres +100 acres from R. Dayelle. Is this really Ransom Day?

In 1799, William has a total of 300 acres listed as follows:

  • 100 from James Moore
  • 100 from same
  • 100 from Ransom Day

In 1799 and 1800, William is back to one horse but has 2 again in 1801. The 1801 tax list says nothing about being exempt.

In 1802, William is taxed on 200 acres of land and that correlates with the sale of the 100 acres that he bought previously from Ransom Day. He has 3 horses that year and he is exempt again. He has 3 horses in 1803 and 1804, but 2 in 1805.

William continues to be exempt until 1806 and 1809 when he is not listed as exempt and has 4 horses. He is once again listed as exempt in 1810. After that, the tax lists are different and only provide the number of acres which continues to be 200 acres on the Second Fork of Birches Creek for William.

In 1812, William begins to be listed as William Sr., indicating that another, younger William has emerged, likely his son.

I can’t tell all of the William Moores in the county apart, so we don’t know when or if William’s son William joined the tax list. Both William and his brother Azariah married and settled in Pittsylvania County.

Azariah shows up on the tax rolls in 1804, meaning he would have been born in 1783 or before. He was a veteran in the war of 1812. His death was recorded in Pittsylvania County, but unfortunately his mother’s name is not provided.

1816 is the last year that we have tax lists for this time period. William is missing entirely from the 1820 census. The only possible William Moore that could be him is not living among the neighbors where I would expect to find him and has a slave. Given what I know about William, I’d be very hard-pressed to believe that William is mine. I think he was either missed or is at the bottom of a census page that managed to get cut off. Looking at the schedule, that’s exactly where I would expect to find him, based on his known neighbors.

Dissenters!

The Rice and Moore families were early dissenting families in Prince Edward County, meaning they did not belong to the Anglican Church. Initially, these dissenting churches were illegal, but eventually, after the Revolutionary War, each county was grudgingly allowed to have 2 or 3 “dissenting ministers” who had to be ordained and to register with the county who would then license them to perform marriages and other ministerial functions.

The requirement for ordination served to severely limit the number of requests, as ordination implied some sort of formal training and interacting with the upper echelon of the church, not just being inspired, jumping on a tree stump and preaching to your neighbors.

Joseph Rice, William Moore’s grandfather, is recorded in 1759 as having built a meeting house for a dissenting religion in Prince Edward County, so we know that William Moore was raised in a “dissenting” household. This is very probably why William’s marriage to Lucy was never recorded in the records of Halifax (or Prince Edward) County, as their marriage was likely not performed by a minister from the Anglican Church. In 1770-1775 when they would have married, the provision for dissenting ministers to be licensed had not yet been incorporated into law, so their marriage was technically nonexistent.

Another possibility is that marriage records are missing in Halifax County for the Revolutionary War years. They could have been married and the return filed, only to be subsequently lost.

Unfortunately, because that record doesn’t exist today, we don’t know Lucy’s last name.

The Early Methodist Church

William Moore is particularly interesting because of his, at that time, revolutionary religious ideas, and his passionate renderings of them.

The Methodist church had its roots in England. Francis Asbury volunteered his service to America in 1771, and in 1776, when the Revolutionary War broke out, he was the only Methodist minister to remain in America. The rest, along with many Anglican ministers as well, returned to the safety of England. While the Methodists often received the sacraments from Anglicans, now that option no longer existed.

Seeing the problem of the lack of ministers, Asbury set about finding American men to recruit as circuit riders. He had a problem however, in that ministers at that time had to return to England to be ordained, something colonial men were not interested in doing, nor was it practical, especially not in wartime. Asbury continued his work as best he could with the resources he had.

The Methodist Church in the colonies was a fledgling organization. The 1784 Christmas Conference, held a few years after the American Revolution, in Baltimore, Maryland, was a historic founding conference of the newly independent Methodists within the United States 

By November 1784, it had become evident that the American Methodists were to be granted some level of freedom from the English Anglican Church Methodist societies, and Thomas Coke was to ordain Francis Asbury as the first American Bishop at the Christmas Conference.

Eighty-three itinerant ministers were eligible to attend that conference, and of those, 60 were present, including William Moore. This record is preserved in a painting of the historic event. Unfortunately, William is too far to the rear to be seen clearly, but he is individually identified.

One possible fly in the ointment is that a different William Moore who lived in Baltimore was known to be associated with Francis Asbury, but the William Moore from Halifax County was close to another minister at that conference by the name of James O’Kelly. My ancestor, William Moore, is known to be the man who founded a church in Halifax County with O’Kelly.

We will never know for sure if the William Moore in the painting is mine from Halifax County or the William from Baltimore. For now, I’m going to assume it was my William because of his association with O’Kelly and his level of commitment to the Methodist faith.

The 1784 Christmas Conference

The famous “1784 Christmas Conference” in Baltimore, Maryland, convened on Christmas Eve, where Francis Asbury was ordained by Thomas Coke by the authority of John Wesley. This signaled the beginning of the organized Methodist Church in America, separate from England. At this conference, itinerant preachers gathered from the frontiers where they were circuit riders. Over a six-week period they prepared for the meeting and they were all present for the historic ordination of Asbury on Christmas Day along with 12 additional ministers who were ordained, setting the precedent that ministers were ordained in America at the Conference.

This wood carving of a painting shows the ordination of Asbury by Coke, with the legend prepared, below.

This is the best rendition we have of William Moore if this is our William.

William’s son, Azariah, was described by his widow in her War of 1812 pension application as having had black hair, blue eyes and a red complexion.

William is described in “The Lives of Christian Ministers” as follows:

REV. WILLIAM MOORE became an itinerant preacher among the Methodists in 1778 and continued three years having located in 1791. He was at the Conference in 1779, as also was O’Kelly, and was one of the preachers that approved the appointing of a presbytery and the giving of the ordinance to the people. This Conference was regular in its appointment and had plenary powers. It appointed a presbytery to ordain its preachers and authorized the administration of the ordinances. The answer to the question, “What mode shall we adopt for the administration of baptism?” was “Either sprinkling or plunging, as the parents or adult may choose.” Whether dissatisfied with the circuit assigned him, after Mr. Asbury came to the Conference, we know..

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This article is Part 4 of a series about mitochondrial DNA. I suggest you read these earlier articles in order before reading this one:

This article builds on the information presented in parts 1, 2 and 3.

Hellooooo – Is Anyone Home?

One of the most common complaints about ALL DNA matches is the lack of responses. When using Y DNA, which follows the paternal line directly, passed from father to son, hopefully along with the surname, you can often discern hints from your matches’ surnames.

Not so with mitochondrial DNA because the surname changes with each generation when the female marries. In fact, I often hear people say, “but I don’t recognize those names.” You won’t unless the match is from very recent generations and you know who the daughters married to the present generation.

Therefore, genealogists really depend on information from other genealogists when working with mitochondrial DNA.

Recently, I experimented at Family Tree DNA  to see what I could do to improve the information available. Family Tree DNA is the only vendor that provides full sequence testing combined with matching.

This exercise is focused on mitochondrial DNA matches, but you can use the same techniques for Y DNA as well. These are easy step-by-step instructions!

Let’s get started and see what you can do. You’ll be surprised. I was!

Your Personal Page at Family Tree DNA

On your personal page, under mtDNA, click on Matches.

Matches

You’ll be viewing your match list of the people who match you at some level.

You’ll see several fields on your match list that you’ll want to use. Many of the bullet points in this article refer to the fields boxed in red or red arrows.

You can click this image to enlarge.

Let’s review why each piece of information is important.

  • Be sure you’re using viewing your matches for the HVR1, HVR2 and Coding region in the red box at the top. Those are your most relevant matches. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also view your HVR1+HVR2 matches, and your HVR1 matches, because you literally never know what might be there. However, start with the HVR1+HVR2+Coding Region.
  • Focus on your Genetic Distance of 0 matches. Those are exact matches, meaning you have no mutations that don’t match each other. A genetic distance of 1 means that you have one mutation that doesn’t match each other. You can read about Genetic Distance here.
  • Be sure you’re looking at the match results for the entire data base or the project you want to be viewing. For example, if I’m a member of the Acadian AmerIndian project and have Acadian ancestry on my direct matrilineal line, knowing who I match within that project may be extremely beneficial, especially if I need to narrow my results to known Acadian families.
  • Look at the earliest known ancestor (EKA) information. Don’t just let your eyes gloss over it, really look at it. There may be secrets hidden here that are critical for solving your puzzle. The mother of Lydia Brown was discovered by a cousin recently after I had (embarrassingly) ignored an EKA in plain sight for years. You can read about that discovery here.
  • Click on the little blue pedigree icon on your match to view trees that go hand in hand with the earliest known ancestor (EKA) information. Some people provide more information in either the EKA or the tree, so be sure to look at both for hints.

  • If your match’s pedigree icon is grey, they haven’t uploaded their tree. You can always drop them an email explaining how useful trees are and ask them if they will upload theirs.

Utilizing Other Resources

Many people don’t have both trees and an EKA at Family Tree DNA. Don’t hesitate to check Ancestry, MyHeritage or FamilySearch trees with the earliest known ancestor information your match provides if they don’t have a tree, or even if they do to expand their tree. We think nothing of building out trees for autosomal matches – do the same for your matches’ mitochondrial lines.

Finding additional information about someone’s ancestor is also a great ice-breaker for an email conversation. I mean, what genealogist doesn’t want information about their ancestors?

For example, if you match me and I’ve only listed my earliest known ancestor as Ellenore “Nora” Kirsch, you can go to Ancestry and search for her name where you will find several trees, including mine that includes several more generations. Most genealogists don’t limit themselves to one resource, testing company or tree repository.

WikiTree includes a descendants link for each ancestor that provides a list of people who have DNA tested, including mtDNA. Here’s an example for my ancestor, Curtis B. Lore.

Unfortunately, no one from that line has tested their mitochondrial DNA, but looking at the descendants may provide me with some candidates that descend from his sisters through all females to the current generation, which can be male.

You can do that same type of thing at Geni if you have a tree by viewing that ancestor and clicking on “view a list of living people.”

While trees at FamilySearch, Ancestry and MyHeritage don’t tell you which lines could be tested for mitochondrial DNA, it’s not difficult to discern. Mitochondrial DNA is passed on by females to the current generation where males can test too – because they received their mitochondrial DNA from their mother.

Family Tree DNA Matches Profiles

Your matches’ profiles are a little used resource as many people don’t realize that additional information may be provided there. You can click on your match’s name to show their profile card.

Be sure to check their “about me” section where I typed “test” as well as their email address which may give you a clue about where the match lives based on the extension. For example, .de is Germany and .se is Sweden.

You can also google their email address which may lead to old Rootsweb listings among other useful genealogical information.

Matches Map

Next, click on your Matches Map. Your match may have entered a geographical location for their earliest known ancestor. Beware of male names because sometimes people don’t realize the system isn’t literally asking for the earliest known ancestor of ANY line or the oldest ancestor on their mother’s side. The system is asking for the most distant known ancestor on the matrilineal line. A male name entered in this field invalidates the data, of course.

My Matches Map is incredibly interesting, especially since my EKA is from Germany in 1655.

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