Saturday, May 28, 2016

Thoughts on New Ancestor Discoveries

Last week many people were excited about the "new" New Ancestor Discoveries rolling out on Ancestry DNA. I decided to take a look at them. I listed the New Ancestor Discoveries along with their dates for the kits I manage on Ancestry and made columns for each kit I manage. What surprised me was how little overlap my brother and father had. I had more overlap with my dad than he did, but even that wasn't perfect. For example, Dad had a hint for Malachi Watts (1793-1871) while I had a hint for Malachi's father Garrett Z. Watts (1756-1838). While I haven't figured out the exact connection for this line, I have a "hunch." I need to work forward on some of Garrett's lines to see if I can find the connection. What makes this an interesting match is Garrett's mother is supposed to be Cherokee. Our admixture shows no Native American, but of course, admixture is not very reliable. The trees from our "matches" show several variants of Garrett's mother's name.

I recognized some of the suggestions. Cassandra Parrish is a daughter of Allen Parish and his wife Elizabeth, both of whom are already in the tree. I suspect Cassandra came up as a hint because of the spelling variation and absence of a surname for her mother. John Chism is the husband of John Sheppard Anglin's sister Mary "Polly". The connection is really on Polly's parents William M. Anglin and Elizabeth "Betsy" Sheppard. Ann Eliza Abernathy is the wife of Mary Ann Harris's brother Charles Newton Harris. The common ancestors in that case are Walton A. Harris and Margaret Mosely. Several more with similar situations to these exist.

However, a handful of matches potentially useful in expanding a couple of lines are present. Our John Allred's father is unknown. We have long suspected Isaac who is "running around" the same parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama is probably a brother. Autosomal DNA confirms a kinship between the two although it cannot be determined if the relationship is sibling or cousin. Several Allreds show up in our matches: James Allred (1784-1876), Reuben Warren Allred (1815-1896), and Nancy Cynthia Allred (1840-1901). James is the person some people try to say is John's father. Unfortunately the evidence is not strong enough at this point, and I still need to complete a reasonably exhaustive search before I can build a case. Reuben and Cynthia are too young to be parents, but their family ties may help us establish a connection.I'm also excited about an Abigail Harris (1817-1889). I glanced at it quickly. It appears she was attached to a John Harris I suspect may be Walton's grandfather although she is more the age to be a sibling to Walton. I will want to see if the online tree in the "quick view" in New Ancestor Discoveries differs from the individual trees of persons we match. It's possible the trees omitted a generation also.

New Ancestor Discoveries are, therefore, a mixed bag. In most cases, the "ancestor" is probably a different relationship, but the hint received may be useful.

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