Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sarah Campbell-Wray: Searching A Place For Everyone Who Shares A Surname

My ancestor Elizabeth Wray-Forgey she was the Daughter of Sarah Campbell-Wray

I've hit a brickwall with my ancestor Sarah Campbell-Wray of Jackson County, Indiana. Researching women is challenging because they were named in few records. My male ancestors names can be found in deed records. When buying land for the family home or farm only the male head of household's name appeared on the deed. Women's names didn't appear on census records until 1850, unless the woman was the head of the household because she was widowed, for instance. My ancestor Sarah Campbell-Wray died in 1847 as a wife and mother, at age of 37. Her early death and the young ages of her children has lead to a brickwall regarding her origins, and the names of her parents. On top of this there were only two identified Campbell males contemporary with her recorded on censuses for Jackson County, Indiana. These men weren't old enough to be her father.

Since there wasn't a Campbell family in Indiana that Sarah Campbell-Wray fitted into I searched neighboring counties. I thought I found her family in Lawrence County, Indiana. William and Mary Gilles did have a daughter named Sarah and they were old enough to be her parents. Unfortunately their daughter Sarah wasn't my Sarah. She married a Dougherty the same year my Sarah married Anderson Wray. This led me to return to Jackson County, Indiana records to see if there were Campbells missed by the censuses.

A major set of records containing women's names in the 19th century, and before, are marriage records. Indiana marriage records are online at Ancestry and Family Search. There is a quick index search at the Indiana State Library site. This index is perfect for my search. It's an index to marriages to 1850. To find every Campbell who married you have to enter the surname in the spouses search. The first surname search field only brings up husbands names. Here we see more names than those represented on the early censuses. Possible siblings of Sarah? I looked up information on those listed, but have not been able to find a connection?

Probate records are another source listing many names not appearing on early census records. This record collection hasn't produced any results regarding Sarah Campbell.

Tax records are another source for names between censuses, but not available for the time period I need online.

Another source containing names missed in the censuses, or who lived in the area between censuses, is deeds. The Family Search microfilm digitizing project has completed digitizing the deed films for Jackson County, Indiana. Unfortunately you have to view the online digitized deed books at a Family History Center or Family History Library to unlock them (there is a little lock beside records that need to be viewed at an FHC or FHL, or you just need to sign in to see). These records are not indexed yet, but many books contain indexes, and there is often also a general index that has been digitized. Oddly the general indexes for Jackson County deeds are at the bottom of the list of digitized films, so some people might miss them.

Indiana sales deeds include the wives names because the wife has a dower interest her husband's property, and therefore had to sign the deed. When land was sold wives were interviewed, as Sarah Campbell-Wray was, to insure she wasn't coerced into signing the deed by her husband.

Looking through the Jackson County Deeds I did find several Campbell men who didn't appear on any of the other records. These men included a James T. Campbell, a Joseph B. Campbell, and a William P. Campbell. Of these 3 men one stood out. James T. Campbell had a land transaction with Sarah's husband, Anderson Wray's, Uncle William Harrison. The fact a relative was named with a Campbell is a breakthrough,


I have not been able to find anything stating James T. Campbell is related to Sarah. The deed I found states his full name is James Trigg Campbell. I searched censuses looking for him. I could not find him on the censuses for Jackson County. I did find a James T. Campbell in neighboring Washington County. This James T. Campbell would be too young to be my Sarah's father, but in the right age range to be her brother. He was born in Tennessee in about 1809. He has a Charlotte Campbell in his household in 1850. My Sarah also has a daughter named Charlotte. Tennessee matches the birthplace for my ancestor Sarah according to her daughter Polly T. Wray-Hall. My ancestor Elizabeth Wray-Forgey's 1880 Census entry gives Indiana as the birthplace for her parents which isn't correct.

Polly Thurman Wray-Hall, Sarah's daughter, gave Tennessee as her mother's birthplace on the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses. On the 1880 her mother's birth location was given as Virginia. Her husband may have provided that information? She was a widow and most likely provided the information on the later censuses.

James T. Campbell is a good candidate for a brother or possible cousin of Sarah Campbell-Wray. Some of the information for him is hard to reconcile and might suggest he came to Indiana from Tennessee later than Sarah? The Charlotte in his household was born in Tennessee in the late 1830's and my Sarah married in Indiana in 1833. This Charlotte is said to be James T.'s sister in the 1880 Census. There is a 30 year age gap between them. Not sure if that relationship is a correct? An Elizabeth Campbell appears to be a relation living close to James T. and family in 1850. She has a 4 year old daughter born in Tennessee in 1846. It appears relatives of James joined him in Indiana many years after he settled there according to later censuses.

Charlotte died in 1903. Her parents weren't named, but East Tennessee was listed as her birthplace narrowing the place of origin for these Campbells.

BLM land grants is another collection of records listing individuals not always found in other records. There is a Robert Campbell listed that I hadn't seen on other records for the area.

In 1860 Sarah Campbell-Wray's daughter Elizabeth Wray-Forgey had a Jane Campbell in her household. That Census doesn't give relationships so there is no way of knowing if she was a relative or friend visiting the household?  I mention this because a Jane Campbell is listed in the BLM index for Jackson County. This widow would have been too old to be the Jane in the 1860 Forgey household. The BLM Jane was likely too old to have been born in the mid 1830's. The Jane in the Forgey household was born in the 1830's. The BLM Jane's husband was a soldier in the War of 1812.

One of James T. Campbell's neighbors in 1850 appears to be a Campbell relative of his. Eliza Campbell born in Tennessee has a Jane in her household. She was born in the 1830's. It's possible she is the Jane appearing in the Forgey 1860 household, her age is closer to the same.

Not finding Sarah's parents in Jackson County, Indiana I turned to Washington County where the James T. Campbell and his relatives families from Tennessee settled. I found an interesting woman named Elizabeth Campbell who could be old enough to be my Sarah's mother. She purchased land in 1829 and sold it in 1840. Since Sarah had a daughter named Elizabeth this person might be worth looking into, if she can be found on any other records giving her origins?

I have found more Campbells in Jackson County, Indiana than were listed on the early censuses. There could be others who happened to die shortly after migrating to the area without leaving any traces behind? Sarah Campbell-Wray is still a mystery. I'm hoping these newly found families lead to a breakthrough. James T. Campbell seems particularly promising, although no one has a tree with his parents names either? I'll continue looking at the available records and do some page by page searching in court orders, probates, and deeds. Indexes can miss people and not all names are indexed.

When trying to find parents of ancestors it is important to find everyone carrying their surnames living in the same area. Researching all of those with the same name for clues. Relying on census records alone causes us to miss everyone in an area between censuses, as I've discovered.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Comparing Autosomal DNA Ethnicity Results

I've just started reviewing our MyHeritage DNA ethnicity results. I decided to compare the results again between all of the companies, plus add the new results from MyHeritage. My mother Edna Forgey-Kapple tested with 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, and her raw data was uploaded to MyHeritage.
Examining my mother's known ethnic heritage I was able to breakdown her father Charles Forgey's ethnicity. He was mainly Scottish and German. He may also have had some English ancestry, but I have not been able to make that connection.
I was not able to breakdown her mother Graciela Del Castillo's ethnicity. Nicaraguans have a high percentage of Iberian and Native American ancestry, with a smaller percentage of African. It's been difficult for me to trace our family back in Nicaragua beyond the late 1700's. The surnames I have so far are all Spanish.

Here are the percentages from MyHeritage DNA

44.10% British/ Irish/ Scottish seems to be on the high side since my mother also has a possible 12% German ethnicity on her father's side? It's possible she received more of the British/Scottish DNA from ancestors? We inherit differing amounts of DNA from our ancestors, the amount shared with distant ancestors is small, and sometimes can't be detected at all. My mother does match many German line cousins on her Roller line. Not as many on her German Urmey line, which may be the reason for the high British number? Iberian seems too low considering my mother's Spanish surnamed ancestors such as Del Castillo, Garcia, and Granizo. My mother has many Nicaraguan matches with Spanish surnames also. The Native American result of 19% is the highest from all of the companies, and I believe it's too high. 

The East European number is way too high. I suppose this covers Germany also? Although most of it is said to be Balkan. The Balkan ancestry would appear to be completely wrong? 

Family Tree DNA misses all of my mother's British/Scottish ancestry. Instead they assign most of her European DNA to Western Europe? According to their map Western Europe covers continental Europe only. It does cover Germany, but my mom isn't that German. This is a big miss. I would guess the 6% Eastern  Europe is German too? Way too much continental European. The Native American result could be correct? They completely miss my mother's Southern European. This result doesn't reflect her ethnic heritage well at all.

Ancestry DNA gives my mother 40% Great Britain and 10% Ireland. This 50% would have to be assigned to her father, leaving no room for German. There really isn't any room anywhere in these results for her German ethnicity. Like I said before she does have many German related matches, so she evidently did inherit that DNA. Not sure if the Scandinavian relates to the German? My mother has no known Scandinavian ancestry. If she did it would be too far back to show up as 4%. 

I give Ancestry DNA credit for finding Iberian DNA. However the Italian is likely wrong. She doesn't have a high percentage of Italian matches either. She does have a high percentage of Nicaraguan matches with Spanish surnames. Our known Nicaraguan surnames are all Spanish. My grandfather was positively not Italian. 

Looking at the 23andMe result the British & Irish seems low? I would think this would be at least 38%? Although it's possible my mother may have received a higher percentage of DNA from her German ancestors? There is a 7.80% Broadly Northwestern European number, which could reflect either German or British ancestry, or a little of both? There is also a Broadly European result of 6.10%, which could trace to anywhere? There is also an unassigned amount of DNA. The 34% is close enough for me however.

I'm very happy with the high Iberian percentage number here. It makes more sense than the results from the other companies, considering her Spanish family surnames, and her many matches with Spanish surnames. There is an unassigned Southern European 10%. Could that be Italian? I doubt it. It may reflect ancient shared Southern European ethnicity that came down through the generations?

No Scandinavian in these results also makes sense.

Which results best reflect my mother's heritage? 
23andMe's results best reflect her heritage. I have a caveat to this. 23andMe phases results if at least one parent and child tests with them. Both the parent and child's results change due to phasing. My mother and I both tested, and these results are phased.  The unphased ethnicity results look a lot like the other companies, but I would say are still slightly better.

You can adjust the results at both 23andMe, and AncestryDNA. 23andMe allows you to adjust based on confidence level. AncestryDNA allows you to adjust based on a possible percentage range. These adjustments aren't helpful for those who don't already know their ethnicity. 

The take away for me is phasing results with parents and children improves the accuracy of ethnicity results. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Trip to Tennessee Part 3: Old Jonesborough Cemetery

Cemeteries are such moving places. Even though none of my direct ancestors are buried in Jonesborough, Tennessee. I still found visiting the old Jonesborough Cemetery very moving, and educational at the same time. I took a tour of the cemetery with local guide Gordon Edwards who is helping to restore the cemetery, and also studying the history of the people buried there. He is a fount of information about the cemetery and the people buried there. I had met him the day before in the County courthouse. He assisted me in printing my ancestors' deeds. It was raining the day of the tour, which didn't dissuade me, and a local resident from taking the tour anyway. It did stop raining soon after the tour started, but was raining heavily when we started out.
I remembered my Great-Grandmother Isis Browning-Forgey as I was listening to the history of this cemetery, and burial customs in early America. I learned something about burial customs from a letter Isis wrote in 1907, with instructions for her burial and funeral. She said she wanted to be buried in a black robe and slippers, and didn't want to be put away too quick or kept out for viewing too long. Her dearest wish came to mind seeing the stream when I headed back to town and saw the little creek again. "Now I am going to tell the wish that is dearest to my heart of anything in this world is that some sweet day I may be able to stand on the banks of the New Jerusalem and clasp glad hands with each and everyone that is near and dear to me in this world."

On the tour I learned about the burial custom of burying people with their feet facing east, because Christ was said to return in the east. They wanted to rise onto their feet facing in the right direction. Christianity influenced early burials, but these customs were later replaced by more secular customs such as Tombstones designed for more esthetically pleasing purposes, rather than only religious significance. The tombstone below reflects the emphasis on beauty rather than the early morbid tombstones showing skulls etc.. This tombstone is part of a cradle grave meaning it extends out in a cradle like form. The cradle extension can be used as a planter, as in this case. The cradle style was often used for young women, such as those who died in childbirth. It was a demonstration of the extreme devotion to someone very beloved.

The change in attitudes and styles of burial really got going during the Victorian era, beginning in 1837. Death was viewed as more of a celebration because the dead were going to their reward in heaven. This attitude led to the use of cemeteries as parks, where families would picnic and spend time relaxing. Landscaping further added to the park like atmosphere. Death was also romanticized as can be seen in some of the tombstones designed to evoke this feeling.
Joneborough Cemetery is a city cemetery, the first plot was purchased in 1803. It was never a church cemetery. Cemeteries unaffiliated with churches also influenced the secularization of burial.
This cemetery contains the graves of many prominent early settlers of Tennessee, including the first Mayor of Knoxville (1816-1817) Thomas Emmerson and his wife Catherine, and their adopted child.
Tombstone of Catherine Emmerson wife the first Mayor of Knoxville. It's being repaired as you can see.

Grave of Thomas Emmerson first Mayor of Knoxville b. 1772 d. 1837
Towns tended to be the areas where more financially well off citizens lived. Small business people and professionals lived in town. The Old Jonesborough Cemetery reflects the wealth of the town. My ancestors who died during the 18th and 19th centuries are mostly buried in unmarked graves, or graves marked much later. Farmers, such as my ancestors, were often buried on their farm with graves marked by stones (by the way it's still legal in Tennessee for someone to be buried on their property). Marking graves has always been expensive. A craftsman had to be paid for the skilled work they performed, and the materials could be costly. After the railroad came to town fortunes increased enormously, which is also reflected in the elaborate monuments. Train transport also meant tombstones could be shipped in from mass producers. Tombstones could be purchased through the Sear's catalog.

This is another interesting tombstone for a cadet at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He drowned during boating exercise apparently? The stone shows a little hand reaching up towards a small boat and oar. I've seen others who have drowned with similar tombstones, depicting someone with arms up stretched.

When I first saw this large cemetery with two slopes I didn't think anything of it other than it was a large cemetery. When I took the tour I found out it's a segregated cemetery. One slope was for whites the other blacks. Before the African American cemetery was founded slaves and freed slaves would have been buried in the ditch between the slopes along with paupers.

The African American cemetery is still active. The white cemetery isn't.

Looking toward "colored" slope of Cemetery
African Americans also had their own church in Jonesborough. When I first saw this evidence of segregation I thought this confirms the Southern stereotypes I learned. I then remembered that Forest Lawn in Glendale, California began as an all white cemetery. Interesting many famous African Americans are now buried there like Michael Jackson. California was as segregated as much of the South before the Civil Rights era. Before getting overly sanctimonious we have to remember racism was everywhere in America before the Civil Rights era, and has been seriously diminished but not completely eradicated to this day.
Deed setting aside land for burial of colored persons and other strangers
The African Methodist Church can be seen in this pic on the other side of the railroad tracks.

It is wonderful to see volunteers are restoring this beautiful cemetery. There are still some tombstones lying flat. One of my own ancestor's stones is also lying flat in another cemetery. I found out that isn't good for the stone, and may eventually lead to it's complete destruction. Below you see a tombstone being replaced on it's base.
Maintaining the cemetery is expensive. Mowing that much lawn on a frequent basis is very expensive too. I'm hoping the cost never leads to the abandonment of this cemetery. Going on the paid tours is a good way to support the cemetery.
Like I stated earlier cemeteries are such moving places. Places where we remember our history, and loved ones who have gone before us. I've seen stones that say something like, "I was once up there where you now walk." That reminds me that I have a meeting with my Great-Grandmother Isis Browning-Forgey on the banks of the New Jerusalem, but hopefully not too soon!  
For further information about this cemetery here is the contact information: Heritage Alliance, 212 East Sabin Drive, Jonesborough, Tennessee (423-753-9580).

Sunday, August 20, 2017

BIG Y: I got it, I don't got it?


The Big Y DNA test is an advanced Y DNA test, of course for males only. The test is designed to place testers on the Y haplogroup tree. A haplogroup tree looks something like our pedigree chart. There are off shooting branches from our ancient common lines leading down to more modern times.  haplogroups generally only tell us about our ancient geographic roots, and migrations. The BigY is attempting to change that by identifying more modern haplogroups, using novel variants, making it useful for genealogy.

Our Current Position on the Family Tree DNA Haplogroup SNP Tree

My Forgey family is now in the Big Y at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). My uncle and one of his 5th cousins, once removed, have been upgraded to the Big Y. SNP's or mutations, Single Nucleotide Polymorphicisms, are determined by the mutations of nucleobases ATCG which are used to determine someones haplogroup. A Nucleobase base at one particular position, which differs from a reference sample determines whether a tester is positive for a particular SNP or mutation.

My Uncle and his 5th cousin once removed both shared the same nucleobase for a SNP that had not yet been named as a haplogroup. When a SNP hasn't been named yet it is identified by a long string of numbers giving its position, such as 2580707, the reference may be A for that position, but the tester may be G at that position, meaning there was a mutation (which my uncle and cousin matched exactly in their case in order to be a match and test positive for the newly named haplogroup). If two or more people match at that position with the same base (ATCG) this SNP may, or may not, be deemed significant enough to be named as a new haplogroup.

Some of the SNP's now being identified by name as haplogroups may be fairly recent? It does appear, as these haplogroups are added, they are mainly shared by specific surnames, or since surname groups are over represented they may just represent the geographical area where these surnames developed?

My uncle and his 5th cousin, once removed, now have their own haplogroup which no other tester so far shares. Before this haplogroup SNP was discovered,  likely by the I-M223 group administrator Wayne Rogers at FTDNA, we were in the haplogroup I-BY3819 that was estimated to be 900 or more years old making it useless for genealogy purposes. It did confirm our Scottish origins however, plus suggest the name is derived from Ferguson the dominate surname in that haplogroup.  The new haplogroup could be either unique to our surname, or the geographical area our family lived in, or even more widespread? Hard to say since so few men have tested.

A way to test how old this haplogroup might be would be to SNP test for the new haplogroup BY19896/BY198967. We know both of our Forgey Big Y testers share a common ancestor around 300 years ago. We don't know when the other Forgeys who settled in America share a common ancestor? It would be interesting to see if all of the Forgey lines share the same terminal SNP. It costs $39 dollars to test a SNP. Much cheaper than the Big Y. So this kind of testing is doable.

Something I don't get is YFull has quality scores for SNP's which seem to disagree with conclusions about SNP's made by Big Y? Hence  "I got this, I don't got this" in my title for this post. The yet to be named SNP's are called Novel SNP's. YFull also calls those SNP's only found in a single tester private. When more than one tester shares a SNP it isn't private anymore, and becomes unlocked which can lead to breakthroughs. So it is good to test as many distant cousins at different degrees of relationship, or those sharing the same surname as you can afford to unlock these SNP's, which hopefully we lead us to more modern times.

According to FTDNA both of our testers have around half a dozen high confidence positive results on yet to be named SNP's. YFull has a propriety SNP quality rating system. My uncle's test is still being analyzed by YFull so we don't know the quality of his yet to be named, or novel SNP's? Roger's analysis has been completed and according to YFull the best quality of novel SNP's he has are two in the "acceptable category". None what they call "best quality". The rest are rated my by them as  "ambiguous".  The SNP's shared between my uncle, and his 5th cousin once removed,  are all classified as ambiguous by YFull? Not sure of the quality rating for these SNP's will affect our placement in the YFull tree? Will YFull recognize the I-BY19896 haplogroup? Or keep us in the I-BY3819 haplogroup?

My uncle and his 5th cousin, once removed, each share many novel SNP's, but also have a couple they don't share, which may prove helpful if these SNP's are ever added for SNP testing. They would appear to have developed later than 300 years ago? Some novel variant SNP's may be significant and some may not? We also have unnamed novel SNP's shared by many others, likely quite old. We just have to wait and see where this all leads. I'm still learning how to work with these results, and rely on expertise of the group administrators like Colin Ferguson and Wayne Rogers.

You can learn more about the Big Y by watching these Youtube videos:

Here you can see novel SNP's represented by the numbered positions far left. These are the results for our two Forgey testers as you can see they share most of the same novel SNP's but not all. These mutations are probably more recent than 300 years.