Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year 2016

Thank you to all the blog readers throughout this year. Here's wishing you the very best for 2016, and I hope you break all those genealogy brick walls down !!

Friday, October 16, 2015

The McLemore Girls Picture

Family history is a wonderful thing. This picture is nearly priceless. I had a request from one of my cousin's wife (Cindy Wehner Fronczek) to post a picture of the McLemore sisters. Always willing to share with my cousins.

Without further ado, the McLemore sisters.

Standing (L-R) Laura McLemore Burnett, Annie Kie McLemore Redus
Siting (L-R) Sallie McLemore Redus, Nancy McLemore DeBerry, Mary McLemore Burrows

Monday, August 24, 2015

What is wrong with all these pictures?

First, let me say I have over the years discovered trees at that have some darn good stuff -- well put together and well sourced. Then there are . . . well let me illustrate.

This is a test. What is wrong with the screen capture below? Unfortunately over half of the trees at Ancestry for the family below had this configuration.

Unfortunately, IMHO opinion, trees are even worse. In the case of FamilySearch not only are the participants doing this type of stuff, but the computers at FamilySearch make these types of changes all on their own, no prompting, they just do it.

At least at Ancestry, I have the option to ignore this insanity and I control my own tree. At FamilySearch, not only do some of the "genealogists" think they are smarter than me and my research, the computer thinks it is smarter than all of us and just makes changes even after I put correct sourced information into "MY TREE."

For the folks at FamilySearch, that is why I refuse to spend even one more millisecond messing around within your trees, and I refuse to teach my genealogy students your tree system.

And when you approach these people in Salt Lake about these issues, they say they do not have a problem or when confronted with evidence they ignore you and will not answer queries. I get an airdale salute (you Navy guys know what that is)!

This new trees system is every bit the mess you had with the Ancestral File and other tree ventures you have tried in the past. When is someone at FS going to figure out that the computer can't be trusted to take control and link up people in these online trees.

But enough of my ramblings I just pulled just three examples from my "tree" at FamilySearch. There are many, many more I assure you.

In each of these examples these are entries to "MY TREE" I did not even make. I do not have the time to sit here and go through their convoluted menu system to get this stuff out. Even if I did have then, it still continues to come back unannounced anyway.

In this first case, when the computer inserted Mary Mason I took her out of my tree as it has been positive proven she was not Elizabeth Dancy's mother (child birth at age 9) and the computer came back and inserted her back in again this time without a date of her birth. (click on image to enlarge).

In the screen shot below, I put none of these people in my tree. Didn't ask for them to be put in there. In fact, I have not even gotten that far out in the tree. Again the computer decided what was best for my tree, not me. (click on image to enlarge)

In another random act of genealogy this third example shows why this system is no better than the trees at Ancestry (at least I have control over that one).

Please notice the families on the far left and compare then closely with the rest of the chart. Again I wasn't this far out in building the tree, didn't enter these people and the computer system at FS has messed this tree up entirely.

I could keep this up for the rest of the day but to what point? They won't listen to legitimate concerns out at Salt Lake and I don't have time to keep correcting the record only to have some computer system come back and make more changes I did not ask for or want.

Genealogy trees you either love'em or hate them. But I would suggest a third alternative and you can do what I do. Nothing goes to my online tree unless the preponderance of the evidence says I am right. You can use trees but verify the information.

Bottom line, once that genie is out of the bottle, if it isn't right, good luck getting it back in the bottle.

To bad I can't get some of these Ancestry tree people, including the FamilySearch tree people in Salt Lake in some of my classes. We would have to spend some time realigning their thinking. ;-)

I'm posting this piece to my main genealogy blog as well, maybe this will get some attention, especially out at FamilySearch. Are you folks listening or will this fall on deaf ears like everything relating to this computerized tree system. Only time will tell.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Family Group Monday - Aaron Redus-Lucy Ann Oglesby

It's Family Group Monday and time to meet a Redus Family Group.

One of the more fascinating Redus families I have had a chance to study has been Aaron Redus and Lucy Ann Oglesby and their children. One of my public projects is to find and link their children to Aaron and Lucy's memorials at Find A Grave. So here are the FAG Memorial numbers and some additional information on this family.

Father: Aaron Redus 31022653 (tombstone picture)
Mother: Lucy Ann Oglesby-Redus 31022565 (tombstone picture)

Elizabeth Oglesby Redus-Hine 41372358 (tombstone picture)
Sarah Chaffin Redus-Tanner 29256757 (individual and tombstone picture)
Mary Louise Redus-Crawford 74217124 (individual picture only)

Augustus Franklin Redus 100310342 (tombstone picture)
Have sent request to memorial owner to link him to his parents. Been looking for his final resting place for quite some time.

Silbernia Redus-Coats 74219025 (individual and tombstone picture)
Caroline Minervia Redus 32046719 (tombstone picture)
Have sent a FAG request to Rheba Dec Currier to link her to the parents.

James Ware Redus Sr. 5059585 (tombstone picture) My third great grandfather

Luther Warren Redus
I have discovered no proof to date that he was buried in the Blackland Cemetery in MS. From Anne Glidewell at FAG: Two of us searched the entire cemetery and could no find this tombstone, a few were broken beyond reading and there were some graves marked with stones though. So Luther's final resting place remains a mystery.

Thomas Jefferson Redus. Another mystery where his is buried for this family.
Thomas Jefferson Redus left home in Aberdeen, Mississippi when he was about 18 years old and moved to Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana. The 1850 Federal Census shows him living in Caddo Parish with Roscoe Cole Oglesby in household No. 166. (Lucy Ann Oglesby's brother). R.C. Oglesby was Tom's protege and business adviser, as he had signed notes for some of Tom's business ventures, and was named a conservator of his estate after his death. No doubt Tom was developing into a prominent business man. He was owner of a two story brick building facing the corner of Texas and Commerce Street (Lot 9, Block 50 and Lot 9, Block 60). He also owned 162 acres of land in DeSoto Parish near Mansfield, Louisiana. Thomas Jefferson Redus died October 16, 1854 of Yellow Fever (according to a letter from a first cousin). It is possible TB may have caused his death as it was widespread throughout his family. In any event, he died without a will so the Judge of the 18th Judicial District in Caddo County, Louisiana appointed Roscoe Oglesby the Curator of Tom's estate. His brother, Luther Warren Redus, who lived across the Louisiana border in east Texas, appeared in Court in Caddo County, Louisiana and furnished the names of Tom's heirs. The property was sold for a little over $17,000 and the proceeds after court cost were given to the heirs. Included in the settlement was a portrait of Thomas valued at $100 which was given to his father Aaron. This very large and beautiful portrait was given to Aaron Redus, and was in turn passed down to Mary Louise Redus Crawford (Tom's sister). A relative of Mary Louise wrote a letter in 1955 in which she remembered her grandmother having a large picture of uncle Thomas Redus. She said that Thomas was never married. I have unable to find were he was buried. The untimely death of Thomas ended a promising career. His estate valued at $17,000 in the mid-1850's was considerable for a young man his age (23 years old at the time of his death).

Martha Redus 32046843 (tombstone picture)
Some have a middle initial of A, but I have no records including the tombstone that show a middle initial. Have sent a FAG request to Rheba Dec Currier to link her to the parents.

John Redus 15339860 (tombstone, his picture and a picture of him and Sallie)
William Redus 61091286 (tombstone and individual picture)
George Redus 61744271
Another Redus with a middle name of Washington, but which I can not find a record to support that. (tombstone picture)

As some of you know I am a picture junkie. If anyone has a picture of any of Aaron and Lucy's kids, spouses or descendants, would love to see them and it would be neat to post them here. So there you have it folks. You can see what has been publicly posted on this family on their FAG memorials. If you have anything to add you can post it here or email me at familyhistorian at frontier dot com. Cousin Larry.

Monday, April 20, 2015

John Hurt-Ester Brick Wall Update

As some of you may know who attend my genealogy classes at Tri-County Community College in Peachtree, NC, I recently solved a long standing brick wall using Ancestry DNA newest tool -- "New Ancestor Discoveries."

After many years I finally nailed down my 4th great grandfather's wife as Ester daughter of Margaret McCarter born in South Carolina. Of that I had no doubt last week. (see previous post on this blog and on the Family Roots and Branches blog)

Even after uncovering my newest 5th great grandmother - Margaret McCarter - I still wasn't convinced who Ester Hurt's father was. You see Margaret McCarter had three husbands and children by all three. I almost immediately ruled out her first husband William Motley. The timeline I had established for John Hurt and Ester just didn't work for him to be the baby daddy.

Since the Ancestry DNA tool picked up on John Lynch Jr and his wife Elinor Henson, I thought I had maybe a path directly to John Lynch Jr's -- John Lynch Sr who was Margaret's second husband. But since he died in supposedly in 1781, I just wasn't feeling right with him either in the timeline. Besides according to one message I read, there is suppose to be a family bible that indicates there were only two sons by that short marriage. I also wasn't getting even a nibble or even a brown leaf (my term for a researched DNA match) on the Lynch family via any of my Ancestry autosomal DNA tests.

Once I made up my mind that husband #1 or #2 weren't going to work, that left husband #3, the best of the three -- Jesse Neville. I purposely stayed away from him until I could rule the other two out since he was the better genealogically and historically 5th great grandfather and father of Ester Hurt.

I used my private tree over the weekend to test my theory and relinked my test to that private tree (a method I like to use often).

I can now say with excellent certainly based on my strong circumstantial paper trail (mostly indirect evidence), and our Ancestry autosomal DNA testing (me and my father) that Jesse Neville (who is buried with Margaret in Walhalla, SC) born-5 Jul 1759 in Fauquier County, Colonial Virginia, and died on 4 Mar 1842 in Walhalla,  Oconee County, South Carolina, is the father of Ester, who is the wife of John Hurt -- my 4th great grandparents.

Grandfather Jesse served during the Ref War. From the DAR GRS database:

NEVILLE, JESSE  DAR Ancestor #: A082513
Birth:  7-5-1759    FAUQUIER CO VIRGINIA
Pension Number: *S21899
Service Source: *S21899
Service Description:

If you want to read a great testimony to service during the Rev War (short of wintering over at Valley Forge with my cousin George Washington), check out Jesse's Rev War pension abstract at the Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements website (
Jesse's father Captain William Neville (my 6th great grandfather) is also a patriot listed in the DAR GRS.

William Neville apparently saw service in two wars. He is shown as an ensign in the Fauquier Co., VA Militia in 1762 at which time we were engaged in the French and Indian War. He was also a captain in the Revolutionary War stationed on the frontiers of Rutherford and Tryon Counties, NC. William never received a pension but references to his service can be found in a pay voucher at the NC State Archives and also in the pension records of his son, Yelverton (S4614), and in the pension of Thomas R. Musick (S16897).
NEVILLE, WILLIAM  Ancestor #: A082528
Birth: 1740    VIRGINIA
Service Source:


Service Description:
Some of his service is documented in the pension of a man who served under him -- Thomas R. Musick ( as follows:

"The said Thomas R. Musick further on his oath states that in the beginning of the year 1778, he went to Rutherford County in the State of North Carolina and volunteered as a private in a light horse company under the command of Captain William Neville and served in that company one year (being the period of his engagement) that after the expiration of this period of service in the [year] 1779, he the applicant took the place of one Hardin and again served as a private in the same company under the same commander for a further period of 3 months -- That the company commanded by Captain Neville was employed during the whole period of the applicants service as aforesaid in the protection of the frontier against the inroads of the Indians."

And now you can see why I was reluctant to jump first on Jesse until I had disproved the other two potential fathers.

Oh BTW - I am now part of the Jesse Neville Ancestry DNA circle, my 13th DNA circle. I will have more on Jesse and the Neville family soon. In the meantime, I need to get an American flag and Gayle and I have to make a road trip over to Walhalla. Wonder if he has a DAR marker?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ancestry's "New Ancestor Discoveries" feature Busted A Long Standing Hurt Family Brick Wall.

Well as most of you who read my Family Roots and Branches blog ( know recently I blasted the Ancestry DNA tool release of the "New Ancestor Discoveries" feature on this blog (see previous post at

After taking some time to sort through the debris field of this new tool and getting a few more of these matches on two of my DNA testers pages I can now say that there "may" still be "some" hope for this new tool after all. Honestly one good set of matches out of 15 still doesn't give me a real warm and fuzzy feeling.

While I am still not a fan of this network centric DNA tool concept (read into this that I want a chromosome browser tool), out of all the mess that was the opening week for this new "tool," including what I consider the promotion of this new feature that bordered on false advertising, I have actually used it to bust wide open a very long standing ancestral female brick wall line. So while the initial promotion still gets a failing grade, the new tool gets a qualified "C-."

As it turns out and now Ancestry has admitted in some of their material these "New Ancestor Discoveries" are not necessarily "new ancestors" in your chart after all.

From one of their question mark menu's:

Possible New Ancestors & Relatives
Once you've taken your AncestryDNA test and received your results, keep an eye out for "New Ancestor Discoveries" on your results page. To find these new potential ancestors and relatives, we compare your DNA to that of other AncestryDNA members who have already built their family trees. And, New Ancestor Discoveries can happen all the time as more people use AncestryDNA. Clicking on the photo of your potential new ancestor or relative will lead you on the path to discovering amazing new details of your family story as you determine how they may fit into your family tree.
My fellow genetic genealogy blogger Roberta over at DNAeXplained has had a similar experience and her results are noted at this link:
So let's back up and look at what I got from my father's DNA testing page and this "New Ancestor Discoveries" matches tool.
Initially, there were only two of these "new ancestor discoveries" presented (which is what I based my initial criticism on -- Berryman Isom Jones and his wife Licenia Watkins. I crawled, dug around the net, banged my head against the wall, searched, analyzed, researched, banged my head against the wall again, and no matter how I cut it neither a crowbar or dynamite was going to fit this couple any where as ancestors in my tree. There was already at that possible generation indicated for these potential ancestors to much proven via existing DNA testing and a great supporting paper trail for these folks to even remotely fit.
A couple of days later, after much criticism Ancestry dropped their little bomb shell on their blog written by the man who did the introductory video to this new feature Mr. Kenny Freestone. I call this the dirty little truth revealed -- "these may not be ancestors" at all. Duh, hey Kenny, ya think?
You can read his post at, but let me pick a couple of the more notable passages.
"Last week we announced an exciting new AncestryDNA feature called “New Ancestor Discoveries.” The response to this feature launch has been very interesting to watch—we’ve received lots of feedback breathless with praise because we “proved” a relationship, and some feedback that dismisses the feature because it does not “prove” relationships. As we consider feedback from both of these extreme positions, it seems appropriate to explain more clearly what this feature is and is not."
Well it least I did not say "it does not “prove” relationships." I said it doesn't prove ancestors as you claimed in your promotional material including the video introducing this feature.
Still quoting from Mr. Freestone's blog post (italics/bold text are my doing).
What is a New Ancestor Discovery?
  • What it is: A New Ancestor Discovery is a suggestion that points you to a potential new ancestor or relative—someone that may not be in your family tree previously. This beta launch is our first step toward an entirely new way to make discoveries, and a way to expand how we do family history.
  • What it isn’t: This is not proof, or a guarantee, of a new ancestor. They’re called New Ancestor Discoveries, and many may be your actual ancestors. Some will be other relatives that fit somewhere on your family tree, and some will be people that you may not be directly related to.
  • It’s a starting point to further research. We’ll show you a New Ancestor Discovery if you share significant amounts of DNA with multiple members of a DNA Circle—which means you might also be related to the ancestor that the DNA Circle is built around. These hints can be a great starting point for your research and help you connect to other family members you didn’t know you had.
You know I wish you would have said that from the very beginning Mr. Freestone. It would have saved me and many others hours of research trying to figure out how to get those people in our family trees. So promotion of this new tool still gets an "F."
Now for the silver lining in all this. My father's DNA page has since picked up three more of these "new ancestor discoveries" people. The original couple and one of my dad's new ones still has not panned out to date.
But one couple did! Up front I will tell you that if I had not done some paper trail research on my one known ancestor (John Hurt) several years ago in the South Carolina state archives, this match might have gone unnoticed as well. No records available at Ancestry helped me uncover this until now missing wife of John Hurt, my 4th great grandmother. The initial research done in South Carolina made all the difference in the world. So with this DNA circle match and the paper research, it all ultimately let me knock down a long standing female ancestral brick wall.

The description given for John Lynch was my first good clue on where to look in my tree to see where he might fit.

"John Lynch was born on January 24, 1780, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was married in March 1806 in his hometown. He died on March 5, 1863, in Gainesville, Texas, having lived a long life of 83 years."

Given the range of relationship that the others in DNA circle had to him, I only had one line that runs through Spartanburg SC. I knew that we had to be dealing with a family associated with my John Hurt, a paternal 4th great grandfather. As it turns out these people above weren't ancestors, but in fact this Jhn Lynch was a 4th great grand uncle and his wife.

Once I opened up one of the trees to a match in the circle and I saw who John Lynch's mother was, alarm bells started to ring. I had seen that name before in the research I had done in South Carolina. That name was Margaret McCarter. As it turns out based on DNA testing and the paper trail she is my 5th great grandmother and her second husband - John Lynch is my 5th great grandfather.

Here is some of the info provided by the paper trail.

Taken from SPARTANBURG COUNTY/DISTRICT SOUTH CAROLINA DEED ABSTRACTS BOOKS A - T 1785 - 1827 ( 1752 - 1827) by Albert Bruce Pruitt.
BOOK K p. 344 Jun. 26, 1806

Margaret MCCARTER (Spartanburgh) to son-in-law John HURT (same); for love and affection give a Negro girl Nutty (or Mutty). Witness Alexander MCCARTER, Mary MCCARTER, and James VERNON. Signed Margaret MCCARTER's mark. Wit. oath Jun. 27, 1806 James VERNON, Alexander MCCARTER, and Mary MCCARTER to Isham FOSTER. Rec. Jul. 7, 1806

BOOK L p. 290 - 292 May 6, 1808
John HURT (Spartanburgh) to James VERNON (same); for $100 sold 50 ac on N fork of branch of Tygar R; border: S - Alexander MCCARTER, E - James VERNON, and N - line mentioned below; part of 160 ac grant to John ORR but presently owned by John HURT; except land between "head of pond" and a line to N fork of Tygar R. Witness William PERRIN, Andrew VERNON, and Moses RICHARDSON. Signed John HURT. Wit. oath May 7, 1808 William PERRIN to Isham FOSTER. Rec. Jun. 24, 1808 Dower renounced Ester HURT to Isham FOSTER May 7, 1808.

BOOK L p. 309 Jan. 12, 1808
Margaret MCCARTER (Spartanburgh) to Mary MCCARTER (Greenville Dist.); for $1 sold a Negro girl Fanny Witness William PERRIN and John HURT. Signed Margaret MCCARTER's mark. Wit. oath Jul. 4, 1808 John HURT to Danl WILBANKS. Rec. Aug. 8, 1808

BOOK N p. 98 - 99 Nov. 28, 1811
John HURT (Spartanburgh) to Andrew B. FLEMING (same); for $10 sold 140 ac on N side of S branch of N Tygar R; part of grant to John ORR; border: W - Alxr. MCCARTER, E & N - J JORDAN, and S - J VERNON. Witness Joseph HURT, Henry HUTCHESON, and James VERNON. Signed John HURT. Wit. oath Mar. 15, 1814 Henry HUTCHESON to John CHAPMAN. Rec. Apr. 6, 1812. Dower renounced Nov. 28, 1811 Ester HURT to Michl MILLER. BOOK N p. 157 - 159 Oct. 22, 1811
Once all the pieces were put into place, this pretty much was a slam dunk. So when you look at these "New Ancestor Discoveries" matches on your Ancestry DNA test page, do not look at them as ancestors only, but broaden that a bit to aunts/uncles or even close cousins. Pay attention to the others in the circle and see how they are related and that may help you place them on your family tree.

Bottom line, thank you Ancestry for helping me bust through a major brick wall. Now help me figure out who the other 13 "New Ancestor Discoveries" matches are!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ancestry Tree Used to Present Ancestry DNA Results - New Way of Looking at Genetic Genealogy

To my immediate family, extended cousins and genealogy friends,

Over the last three years I have been extensively involved in combining my genealogy research of over 37 years with the results of the various DNA testing that me and my various family members have utilized. There were several goals for doing this all this DNA testing.

  • The initial goal of this testing was to use the various DNA tests taken by me and members of my immediate family to verify and strengthen the well-researched and sourced ancestral paper trails in my family history research genealogy / project.
  • Use Autosomal DNA testing to possibly discover,document, and extend dead end (brick wall) lines in my family research.
  • Use Autosomal DNA testing to possibly undercover and prove some female ancestral lines that have been difficult to work.
  • Use Autosomal DNA testing to uncover potential NPEs (non-parent expected) lines or ancestral lines mistakenly identified during paper trail research.
  • Attempt to extend my existing Van Horn family surname line back using autosomal DNA testing to my immigrant ancestor – Christian Barentsen Vanhorn – who was previous identified and proven using Y-DNA testing with FTDNA.
  • Conduct some lineal DNA research on various lines of descendent from a colonial ancestor Nichols Martiau. I am a proud member and the national registrar for the Nicholas Martiau Descendent Association.

One of the biggest problems associated with these test has been how to present this data in a consumer style format to family, friends and even help my genealogy students work on their research and DNA presentation results. Also discover a way to best explain to a layman what these test results mean and how they can relate their test results to the DNA tests they are managing.

Over three years of working out various angles, ideas, false starts, spread sheets, computer apps, browser plug-ins, using two different genealogy programs (TMG and Legacy) to document results, and numerous other chart, graphs, printouts, programs, etc.; and even having Ancestry resetting all our DNA test results last year which caused me to have to start all over, I have finally settled on what I think is a relatively simple method of display of these DNA results using the KISS method.

So what follows is my first attempt at presenting our family DNA test results has just been released on my Autosomal DNA Ancestry public tree at

Now for some explanations of who is involved in this project and what you are seeing on that ancestor chart.

The autosomal DNA results reflected in my tree involves me, both my parents, and a first cousin 1x removed on my dad's side of the family. I manage all these tests from within my Ancestry account. Since all the participants are still living, only my identity will be made public.

Initially, I documented each of the new Ancestry DNA circles presented to me and inserted them into the ancestor chart using the same graphics that Ancestry uses:

The results of that task yielded 10 Ancestor DNA circles. These are my highest confidence matches. Once I laid them into the chart I used the following graphic to reflect the path of that DNA (and thus proof of descent) from me to those matches using the following symbol:

 I then carefully documented each of the leaf matches that I had (at this point that number is 38 leaf matches). Each of my leaf matches trees was closely scrutinized and their ancestral trail documented in my notes. This resulted in a pair (sometimes only one due to multiple marriages) ofwhat is known as Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCA) that I and each of my matches share. These MRCA matches were then document in the tree using the following graphic:

I also have an ongoing project of looking at my non-leaf matches in an attempt to make whatever connection that may be there. In some cases my matches may not have built out their DNA tree as far as mine, but I may have in my database additional information that could help them extend their tree to a most recent common ancestor that we share. Higher confidence matches that represent closer matches, have been easier to do. In one case, I even assisted a cousin, who was adopted in discovering his biological parents. I call these matches “researched matches” and they have been some of the most rewarding, but time consuming research for me to do

These researched matches have been indicated in the chart using this icon graphic:\

Next I added in the leaf matches of both my parents. And yes, they had matches (usually deeper in time) than I did. Their MRCA leaf matches are indicated by the first icon graphic below. I have also laid in some of their “researched matches” as well using this graphic, but neither their or my researched matches are near completion. These are the graphics I used for MRCA matches and "researched matches" for both of them.

Finally I have worked on my cousin’s matches. Like me and my parents above I have a set of graphics for her MRCA and researched matches using the graphics below.

While this is still an ongoing project with more DNA match data that needs to be analyzed, documented and displayed, I feel like this new method of sharing what has been found looks pretty sound and I wanted to share it with my family and friends. Some of you are probably scratching their heads about now wondering what all these new wonderful and weird graphics on the tree represent.

In addition to working on my tree, I am also working on my wife’s tree/DNA testing as well and will be publishing that information as soon as the initial data is ready for display.

Stay tuned here for additional information as it becomes available and I hope to publish additional information and refinements in this methodology soon on this and our other family of genealogy blogs.

Cousin Larry