December 19, 2014

23andMe And The 1004 DNA Relatives

When I began doing genealogy decades ago it never really was on my radar that we would be able to find and connect with cousins using our DNA. Now, here we are and our cousins are not only found, but verified by documentation and genetically. We had my husband Jim’s DNA tested through 23andMe some years ago, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many cousins of his paternal and maternal side have also used 23andMe as well and been able to contact us easily.

What We’ve Found

Many things we expected to see were English, Irish and French percentages that would be quite high. What we weren’t sure of was whether or not there was any Native American in Jim’s DNA. Just last year when his profile was updated by 23andMe it showed that there is a 0.1% of Native American blood in Jim’s paternal side of the family. We know now that what we suspected was true, but we’re still on the hunt for the elusive ancestor who brought that DNA into the family.

 What? We Have Jewish Ancestors?

Another surprising bit was that there’s also a 0.6% of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA in the line as well. As it pertains to the Wilkerson line, that was probably a mixing of DNA with some of the family’s northern European lines. As the 23andMe page explains it, “You share DNA history with 23andMe customers that have reported full Ashkenazi ancestry”.


And last, but not least, Jim also has 2.8% of Neanderthal DNA. I find this very interesting, and not because of any humorous aspect, but because, to me, it says the Neanderthals might not have survived to be a recognizable human in present time, but their mixing of DNA with other humanoids says “we adapted”. Who knows what they truly looked like? I mean, after all, “someone” had to be attracted to them, right?

It’s All Relatives

23andMe reports that, as of now, Jim has 1004 DNA relatives; 6 second and third cousins, and 344 fourth cousins. Over time, this number will likely increase. We have made contact with the closest ones with surnames like Boyert, Miller, etc. There are probably many more with whom we could connect, but their DNA profiles are private and not shared.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Wilkersons of Pleasant Grove, Iowa

George Wilkerson gravestone

Headstones of Joshua, George and Amanda Wilkerson

Back in 1995, Jim and I thought we hit the jackpot when we found this cemetery at Pleasant Grove, Iowa.  It’s located at Shinar Cumberland Presbyterian Church not far from the now deserted town of Pleasant Grove where so many of Jim’s Wilkerson, Whitmore, DeSpain and other allied families settled in the 1840’s.  These three headstones are in what they call the ‘old’ section of the cemetery which runs alongside the road to the church.  Further along that road was the old town.

The reason we thought we hit the jackpot was that we were looking for Jim’s GG-Grf Joshua Wilkerson and we didn’t know it at the time, but the George Wilkerson was ‘our’ Joshua’s younger brother, and the headstones for Amanda and Joshua are for George’s children.

Using Census Records To Trace Family Migration

Joshua Wilkerson (Sr.) was born in Delaware in 1812. We don’t know when he married, but he left DE with his brother George b. 1814 and George’s wife Margaret (Lamar) (both also born in DE) most likely in the mid to late 1830’s and settled for a time in Indiana.  We know this because later Iowa census records show some of George’s children having been born in Indiana.  Checking census records is a good way to trace a family’s migration patterns.

Joshua Goes To California To Look For Gold

George and family settled in Washington Township in Des Moines County and stayed there for the rest of their lives.  Not so with the elder Joshua Wilkerson! Looking in the 1850 census for Iowa in the Pleasant Grove township there was no trace of Joshua.  It looked like he had perhaps helped George and family move to Iowa when the state opened up for settlement and then he was called by the lure of Gold.

Our family story is that Joshua, as a single man, went off to California to find his fortune.  His descendants that still live in that part of Iowa tell of Joshua coming back with thousands of dollars, but that over time he made bad loans and ended up with a chest full of IOU”s.  We know there was a ‘fortune’ because his daughter’s sued for a portion of it.

In looking at some old Hawkeye newspapers for that time frame I found that two of the DeSpain family also were on a train to the gold fields.  In 1856 Iowa had a special census and I was able to find Joshua again, this time living with the Bedwell family who also happen to have been born in Delaware and two of their older children were also born in Indiana.  The really surprising thing in that census record was that Joshua was listed as a widower, age 44.

I’ve not established yet whether or not Joshua and the wife of Samuel Bedwell, Mary, were related, or just someone Joshua might have known in Indiana.  Either way, he was single with no children and we were just shy of the beginning of the Civil War.  I don’t think that Joshua served in the war, and he married his second wife Sarah Jane True 22 March 1860.  Their first child, Elizabeth was born eleven months later in 1861. Eight more children were born to Joshua and Sarah Jane, the last in 1875.

That day in the cemetery we searched in vain for headstones for Joshua and Sarah Jane.  Knowing we were wrong to think the others mentioned at the beginning of this story, it wasn’t until we got to know a descendant that lived there, Jim’s cousin Anita, did we find out they had no headstone.  Soon after, we began asking Jim’s family to chip in to buy one and the result is the stone you see above.

If you would like more information on this family, please visit Ancestry and search for Wilkerson and Allied Families or try this link to the tree.  Visiting trees on Ancestry is FREE.

 

 

Genealogy Tracking: Wilkersons, Whitmores and L. Frank Boyd – Part 3


As I stated in Genealogy Tracking: Wilkersons, Whitmores and L. Frank Boyd – Part 2 our genealogy research led us to L. Frank Boyd, my husband’s 1st cousin, four times removed. Jim’s cousin Trish gave us copies of records that she had about Louis, which included a letter written by him in 1914 to Jim and Trish’s shared ancestor, John Whitmore.

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Louis Frank Boyd was born 23 May 1859 in Keokuck, Iowa to parents Rebecca (Miller) and Jacob Mackley Boyd. At the age of 18 months, Louis’ mother Rebecca died and he was sent to live with his aunt in Illinois. At the age of thirteen, Louis went to live with his father who had a homestead where Baker City, Oregon now stands.

Louis Boyd was educated at the Baker City Academy and Willamette University, and subsequently learned the trade of printer. After completing his education, Louis moved to Walla Walla, Washington where he began working in the office of the Walla Walla Watchman, and after a short length of time became part owner in that publication. Afterwards, he started the Sunday Epigram and was its editor and manager for sometime. While at Walla Walla, he joined the state militia and was a member of Battery A where he was elected Second Lieutenant.

In May, 1887, he moved to Colfax and edited the Palouse [pronounced PA-Loose] Gazette until November of that year when he went to Olympia, Washington and was elected enrolling clerk of the state senate for that session. In October, 1888, he went to Spokane to accept a position as a reporter on the Review, but before the year had passed he became city editor, a situation he retained for many years.

In 1892 Louis received from Washington Governor Ferry an appointment on his staff as lieutenant colonel, a rank that he held for four years. He was always referred to as Col. Boyd thereafter.

In 1896, he was elected Spokane city clerk, a position he held for many years, as written in his biography in the Illustrated History of Spokane County, Washington; Lever, 1900. Also in 1896 he became inspector of rifle practice in the First Cavalry Battalion. During his time in the battalion he became a tireless student of military tactics.

Louis Frank Boyd, Washington State Representative, 1914 Spokane

L. Frank Boyd introduces legislation for WA voters to register at polls 1914

It is a sad note that apparently Frank was never able to speak to his first cousin John Whitmore again in this lifetime. As I noted in my biography of John, he died in 1913, so his visit to see Frank was no doubt disappointing to them both. As you can read in his letter, Frank was sick when John came to visit and may not have remembered much about it at all. Click on the thumbnail to see the image full-sized.

L. Frank Boyd letter written 1914 to his cousin John Whitmore

Even though there was a difference in ages, Frank born in 1859, and John born in 1844, it is likely that John shared his Civil War experiences with Frank, and therefore it might have been one of the reasons for his intense interest in military tactics. As you remember, John was a Medal of Honor recipient in that war, and no doubt his capturing a flag from the Confederate side at Ft. Blakely, Alabama during a battle, was surely something Frank admired about his cousin.

Portions of this article were extracted from Louis Frank Boyd’s biography in the Illustrated History of Spokane County, Washington; Lever, 1900; page 420. I would be happy to provide any documentation that is in my possession to anyone researching these families. Please ask permission to reprint or use this article.

© CJW 2008

iPentimento – COI 10th Edition – Costume

john-whitmore-family-group

We’re celebrating the 10th Edition of the Carnival of Images with the word prompt: Costume

john-whitmore-family-group

John and Mary (DeSpain) Whitmore center-front

Children behind L-R: Cordelia, John, Mariah, Mary and William

This photo was most likely taken before 1904 because the youngest boy, William, died in January of that year. I have chosen this photo for the Carnival because of the elaborate dresses the ladies are wearing.

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