Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Monday, August 25, 2014

Scratching My Head

On Sunday afternoons between our morning and evening services at church, I frequently look through new Ancestry DNA matches for me and my dad up to about the 50% mark. I had an unusually large group of matches yesterday so I continued working on them after I returned home from the evening service until I had managed to get through them.

I always find a few things like a mother being born after her child was born, linkage to "parents" who are born in distant places with no connection to where the child was born and died, having children at under ten years of age, women giving birth at advanced ages, etc.

I love those tips about surnames that you and the match share. I clicked on one of those yesterday to discover that her ancestor sharing a same name as mine was allegedly married in Massachusetts in 1611 and allegedly had a child born in 1612 in Tewksbury, Essex, Massachusetts. I kept thinking that the date on Plymouth Rock is 1620. Since the person in question was born in England, I couldn't even assume the person was of native American origin. Of course, Tewksbury and Essex County didn't even exist as early as that tree alleged.

That, however, was not the biggest thing that made me scratch my head. The trees in question are actually not those of the person to whom I shared in this case but some I found as a result of that DNA match. I discovered that my DNA match and I shared the surname Stump. I knew that my Catherine Stump was born about 1711 in Pennsylvania, that she married Johannes Peter Keim in 1732, and that she died around 1768.  I had never tried to identify her parents. I didn't recognize this person's Stump line, but it did have ties to the Lancaster/Berks County areas so I just decided to see if anyone had identified the parents of my Catherine Stump. I found a couple of interesting things. Although she died in 1768, one person had her residing in Elk Lick, Somerset, Pennsylvania in 1840 with a link to the census for that year. She'd already been dead 71 or 72 years at that point. I didn't know that censuses enumerated ghosts. However, that one is not the one that took top honors in the unusual things category.

So what was the strangest thing I found? There were probably at least 20 trees that gave her death location as Chongqing, Chongqing Shiqu, Chongqing, China. As you might expect, there were no sources for the locations. One person had several citations for Stump, but the one thing that wasn't cited was the death. I'm trying to figure out why a woman from Pennsylvania would travel to China in the 18th century. (Her husband died in Pennsylvania in 1782.) It would have been a difficult voyage, and I just don't see it happening when she was married and had a family. Why have so many people apparently blindly accepted that she died there?  I thought that persons perhaps thought she might have been a missionary. The Wikipedia article shows that the mission movement to China began in the early part of the 19th century. However, it was mid-century before that took really began to explode. Lottie Moon, a name most Southern Baptists will recognize, didn't go to China until 1873. This does not seem like a likely reason for Catherine Stump to be there. I will not be adding this location to my own data. I may make a note that I've found undocumented trees that say she died there but that I have found nothing to support that conclusion. If anyone can provide documentation that she ever set foot in China, I'd love to see it.

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