Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DNA News of the Week: Why Surname Project Admins. Drink

YDNA surname project administrator sounds like a pleasant little hobby/project. It would be easy if everyone with the same surname actually matched when expected. Meaning everyone descended from the same ancestors actually matched. The first half dozen men who tested in our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie DNA project all did match one another. Even those not known to have descended from the same ancestors matched. Our luck ran out a few weeks ago when someone did not match anyone in the group and actually descended from a maternal line. I thought the odds would be against this happening again with our next test results. Unfortunately, it happened again. Our batch number finally came up, our kits were in the 562 weekly batch at FTDNA. Results were posted around 8:00 pm Friday night on Good Friday/ Black Friday. I was completely floored when one of our testers didn't match anyone else. We expected him to match either our line or the line of their supposed distant cousin. Their distant cousin didn't match anyone in our group either, they had tested outside our group a few years ago. This cousin tested as I1, better known as the Viking Haplo group. The rest of  our group belongs to the I2, Scottish clade. Our last Forgy result Friday turned out to be R1. This is the most common haplo group in Europe. His STR signature is also very common with 761 perfect matches. So we had no match at all between the I1 and R1 cousin.

The Correct Forgety family
Friday we also got a result for our Forgety tester. It was thought this family had changed its name from Forgey to Forgety due to a family dispute. This turned out not to be the case with our tester testing positive for the Haplo R1. That is turning into a happy ending with this family now linking themselves to there correct line of Forgety or Forgaty. This tester didn't have a common STR signature; he only got 28 matches with 12 markers tested. 

We have one more result coming in soon. This tester is in batch 563, so should not be far behind the others. This was a 37 marker test so it may take longer.Our previous tests actually took 6-7 weeks. The kits sat unprocessed for several weeks before being check in. 

It would be great to have one confirmed Haplo group for every individual Forgey/ Forgy & Forgie line. Our phase 2 of testing hasn't not brought us any closer to this goal due to the NPE's (non paternal events). I think one of the two testers on the Robert Forgy and Elizabeth Beatty line must carry Robert's haplo based on the odds? I might be wrong and both families may have a break in the paternal line? With these two family representatives not matching we need a third descendant from a different child than these two to test. I'm hoping such a person turns up eventually. We need to do some reverse genealogy to find one. 

Last Tuesday I got my Ancestry.com results back. They came in just short of 3 weeks from the time Ancestry received them. This kit didn't sit at Ancestry waiting to be checked in so this test came back in half the time FTDNA took. I am finding the layout of the Ancestry DNA site to be outstanding with many great features. After the NPE's in our Y project I've been looking to my autosomal DNA results to verify my paper trails. I have had about 12 or so matches at FTDNA which have helped verify our family stories and paper trail. I'm finding even more cousins at Ancestry. The trees posted by my matches have been very helpful. Some people say you can't rely on these mostly unsourced trees. Well if you match the person and find a common ancestor on their tree I would say their tree is right. I have such unusual ancestry that it's easy for me to determine where I connect with most of my matches. One of my Grandmothers was Nicaraguan, and one of my Grandfathers was from Burgenland, Austria, a Great Grandmother was from County Galway Ireland, and a Great-Great Grandfather was from Quebec, Canada. One of my Grandfather's, on my maternal side, had purely early American lines. The only early American line on my father's side belonged to his Great-Grandmother. If a person's ancestors all come from the same general area it's much more difficult to determine how you connect with matches. 

Hopefully, next week the new FTDNA Population Finder will have been unveiled. Possibly by this time next week we should have our next DNA Y result. I will be completely discouraged if this person doesn't match anyone. I may then give up Genealogy and take up bird watching?

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Here is where we stand with our DNA testing

The world of genetic genealogy is really the booming segment of genealogy now. The ethnic results presented in detail by 23andme and Ancestry.com with visually appealing charts can be understood by everyone. Many people not interested in genealogy before have ordered these autosomal tests. Many will go no further, but some will become involved in more in depth research. So it is great news that Family Tree DNA will be offering  a similar ethnic breakdown now by improving their Population Finder. This should increase interest among non genealogists in testing with them. I can't wait to see this improved Family Finder tool myself!

I've been wondering since I became involved with DNA testing and gotten some unexpected results how accurate the results given by all these genealogy related companies really were? Human error is always a possibility. I had never heard of someone getting a completely wrong result before. I've heard of very slightly off results. This week someone came forward with news of getting a completely different haplo group from Family Tree DNA which didn't match the results they got from 23andme. A number of people have tested with both Family Tree DNA and 23andme so they have verified their Y and mtDNA Haplos. I don't think a majority of people test with more than one company. So we really don't know exactly what the error rate is? It's a good idea to test with more than one company to verify your haplo if yours turns out to be an unexpected result, which can't be explained using other sources. One member of our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie group tested his Y DNA with Ancestry.com. His results matched what we got from Family Tree DNA. My mtDNA result matched my cousins at 23andme.

A little over a week ago we received our first DNA result back from the 2nd Phase of our Forgey/Forgy & Forgie Y DNA testing. We got the results back exactly 21 days after the lab received his kit, on a Tuesday. Unfortunately, the results were useless because this person's surname came through a female line. I didn't explain how this test worked in enough detail to the tester, and they didn't know that fact would affect the results. In the future before I buy a test for someone I need to verify their descent from a strictly male line.

I'm hoping our next results come in this week which will be 21 days after they were received by the lab. The next two kits are in batch 562, and we have another one in 563. All of the results are going to be useful, but the first 2 have us on pins and needles. We have a Robert Forgy descendant who didn't match half dozen other testers. The options here are old NPE (non paternal event) and no blood relationship to us, or another Ferguson line took the name Forgy, but aren't blood relations to our Ferguson line, or the name Forgy came through a maternal line? This result is of great interest for those reasons. The other exciting result will be for the Forgety family. Are they blood relatives of our Forgey family as a family story suggests, or are they really descendants of an unrelated Forgaty family in Virginia? Hopefully we will be put out of our misery soon?

I have an Ancestry.com test in progress right now. I've been trying to gage when it might come back. From other testers I've gleaned results come back at about 30 days after they receive the kit. So they generally come in before the expected date of 6 to 8 weeks, if they don't there is a problem. I find this is also true with Family Tree DNA with test results coming in 3 to 4 weeks after the lab gets the kits. My experience also has been, with Family Tree DNA, that they batch the kits on a Wednesday and the lab generally gets the kits a day before they are batched. It can take them weeks to batch a kit after they receive it in the mail.
We'll see how long it takes for our results to come back? We will be in suspense until we see the new Family Finder Ethnic breakdowns and get our long waited DNA results!

The Autosomal test coverage for our surnames is nearly complete

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Awaiting DNA Results/Getting ready

We had a moderate quake where I live here in Whittier, California last night (and many small ones since that one). I was thinking I hope the earth doesn't swallow me up before we get our latest round of DNA test results back. We have been given expected completion dates of early May for two kits, and late April for one. I expect to get the results before then, but it's hard to predict since I know FTDNA has its hands full with the new Big Y tests kits. 

Top bars on page show
Paternal and Maternal segments
I've just tested with Ancestry.com and expect my results about the same time as the others. I have other distant cousins in the process of testing or planning to test. It's very difficult to keep track of so many results. My mom and I tested with FTDNA and some cousins tested with 23andme. Gedmatch had been a wonderful tool for comparing with cousins who tested at Ancestry.com and 23andme. A new tool I've been using is Genome Mate, a program that groups matches by chromosome and allows you to visually see the length of the shared segments. There are many nice features in this program which allow you to analyze your matches, and keep notes for them. When you upload a gedcom file along with your browser CVS file from FTDNA the program compares your family surnames with those of your FTDNA matches. I'm currently adding more collateral family surnames to my family tree in order to compare as many names as possible with my matches. You can also mark each match according to which side of the family they are from. You can then see charts with maternal and paternal shared segments for each chromosome. The Genome Mate  program also allows 23andme data uploads.

Something else I'm doing is combining family group sheets with test results so I can more easily remember where my matches fit in the scheme of things.
The earth is still moving non stop here in Whittier. We hope the next shake up is only from our DNA test results?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Two Hugh Forgeys?

Hugh Forgey Pension Document states date of birth, and place, and his locations in America

I didn't realize we had two contemporary Hugh Forgeys wandering around  Kentucky. An Alexander Forgey researcher, Paula Solar, shared some of her info with our Forgey/Forgy Facebook group. An obit for Alexander Forgey stated he was raised by his Uncle Hugh Forgey after his father died, which confirms this is not the same Hugh I had in mind. I was thinking his Uncle, or Grandfather, was Hugh Forgey of Bourbon County, KY. It can't be the same man because the Hugh Forgey I've always been familiar with lived and died in Bourbon County, KY where he left a will. This other Hugh died in Lawrence County, Ohio 10 years later. I've decided, armed with this new information, I need to reevaluate the evidence. I need to go back to Pennsylvania and Kentucky and reevaluate the Hugh Forgey records and decide which Hugh is being referred to, and where were these men living and when?

We do know the Bourbon County, KY Hugh was a Revolutionary War Veteran. We find detailed personal information for him in his pension. He stated in this pension application document that he was born in 1754 in Co. Antrim, Ireland. He also stated that he landed at the Port of New Castle, Delaware in 1774; from there he migrated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where another Samuel Forgey had been living since the 1850's or 1860s. After the War we find this Hugh in Greenbrier, West Virginia. In 1787 he married Mary Dyer in Greenbrier. This would be a late first marriage for a male born in 1754. I have a feeling he was married before, and may have had at least a couple of children already? In 1794 we find him at his long time home in Bourbon County, KY. We know he is there by then because of his marriage in that year to Sally Everman. His wife Mary apparently died in childbirth.

Hugh Forgey's 1848 Lawrence County. OH will
Moving on to the other Hugh Forgey, we first find him on an 1800 Tax list for Montgomery, Kentucky along with his brother James. We know his brother's name was James because this fact is stated in his will. James Forgey married Peggy Rogers in Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky in 1797. Winchester is 18 miles from Bourbon County, Kentucky. It's assumed that Hugh Forgey was also in this same area in 1797. Hugh later migrated to Lawrence County, Ohio with his nephew Alexander Forgey, son of James, who he raised after his father's death. We know he was there by 1817 when Hugh married an Elizabeth Kneff. He was probably in Ohio in 1812, because there is a Hugh Forgey listed as a War of 1812 Veteran serving in an Ohio battalion.

So we have both Hughs living between 17 and 20 some miles away from each other in the early 19th Century. It's difficult to say whether they both settled in that part of Kentucky because they were relatives or it's just coincidence? If they are related could Hugh have been their father? Hugh had a young family with Sally Everman and they had sons named James and Hugh. Could Hugh have much older children with the same names? There was no law against that. That's a possibility. Another possibility would have been that Hugh was their uncle. We saw a previous instance an uncle raising Nephews. We have a John Forgey in Mason County, KY in 1800. Could he be another brother of theirs? He seemed to be either a recent immigrant based on a naturalization document or he was John Forgy of Cumberland County, PA's son?

We also have an Alexander Forgey in Washington County, Virgina who has no identified children. James and Alexander could be his sons? Alexander Forgey was born around 1740, while James and Hugh were born between 1770 and 1780.

About 200,000 immigrants came to America from Ireland before the Revolutionary War. For a few decades after the war another 100,000 Scots-Irish migrated from Ireland. Another possibility is Hugh and his brother James were part of the wave of immigration after the war, and had no close relationship to any of the earlier families? It doesn't look like that is the case. We don't find them living in Pennsylvania or landing at a port there. It was typical for immigrants to stop over for a brief time in Pennsylvania after arrival.

I looked again at the 1790 Census for Pennsylvania and considered who the Hugh Forgey of York County might have been. I forgot that this Hugh was probably not a Forgey at all, but instead was a Fergus. He appears on most tax lists for York as Hugh Fergus. We actually have a small number of Forgey immigrant families, probably less than a dozen. With just a handful of immigrants it shouldn't be that enormous of a job to place them in proper family units? Land records may help to link some of these families? DNA is also an important tool because so few records survive. I'm hoping it will be useful in our case. So far all of the Forgey males who have tested are tightly related sharing a common ancestor sometime in the past 300 years. I'm hoping that our next round of testing will uncover more diversity so we can separate families into family into groups.

New Castle, Delaware the port where Hugh Forgey landed in 1774
and popular port for Scots-Irish immigrants

Friday, February 21, 2014

DNA Project How To

The most important first step in a DNA project is to set your goals. Randomly test individuals carrying the same surname, for instance, will not produce the targeted results needed if you are trying to answer particular questions about your ancestors.
The goals in our Forgey/ Forgy & Forgie DNA project are as follows:
  1. To identify all of the family branches using branch tags (branch specific marker mutations) or new unrelated lines through the discovery of families from different Haplo groups
  2. To extend our pedigrees by connecting branches 
  3. To find a possible ancestral locations in the Old World
To move towards those ends it's necessary to locate as yet untested family branches, and find a male carrying the name to test for that branch. Since testing is expensive it's important to stay focused on our goals.
I found the colorized group Y DNA charts to be the most useful when analyzing results. The color coding of the mutations tells you how far away from the modal (or common result) that person's marker was, minus is blue; plus is pink. In order to see the color coding you have to set up subgroups on the subgroup page, then place each person in a subgroup. I also found the marker title coloring to be useful. Red background markers are fast moving markers, and change often.
Our project is now in the process of testing 3 men to find out whether they are related to the other testers, and they are all from different branches. All of the first phase testers were related.  
I made the video above so I can remember everything I learned over the last few years. If anyone has any corrections or useful tips please share them.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Rootstech 2014 Highlights

Something Spencer Wells and I have in common. He said visiting this exhibit influenced his career choice. I was inspired to study Art History in college after visiting this exhibit. This is my actual ticket.

I attended the 2014 Rootstech conference virtually by watching the streaming video. This year's streamed sessions and keynotes were thought provoking. I appreciated the intellectual sophistication of Spencer Wells keynote speech. Lisa Louise Cooke's iPad presentation introduced me to all the possibilities for using one to aid in my genealogy research. The Stephanie Nielson keynote, the final keynote speech of the conference, was very inspiring and a real tear jerker. I recommend watching it if you haven't
I'll share some of the notes I took during the sessions. I recorded many of the key points in Spencer Wells' speech. Introduced as the "Indiana Jones" of DNA, he is the founder of the Genographic DNA Project. He said when he put his idea forward regarding offering DNA tests to the public his colleague didn't think it would take off. The first day 10,000 test kits were sold, which immediately proved his colleague wrong with his prediction that maybe he would sell only few hundred or thousand kits over many years. After one year 100,000 kits were sold. About a decade later 1 million kits had been sold by DNA companies. In the one year period between 2013 and 2014 nearly 1 million more people have taken a DNA test. DNA testing has now become viral. He also explained that all humans share 99.9 percent of the same DNA. This is because mutations in DNA are very rare. We all descend from common ancestors in Africa 200,000 years ago. Migration began 60,000 years ago. Africans have accumulated the most mutations which points to Africa as the place of origin of mankind. As he said copy errors in DNA are rare but do happen at rate of about 100 per generation which represents a smalls fraction of our DNA. These collected errors allow us to identify our DNA cousins who share the same sequences. Spencer Wells wants us to spread the word about our experience with DNA to encourage others to test. I agree, the more testers we have the more we'll learn.
I also enjoyed the streaming session "Introduction to DNA for Genealogists". The overview of all the tests offered and companies offering them was interesting. I have not tested with Ancestry.com, and was I interested in the presenter's results. Ancestry groups matches according to their confidence level. At low confidence level the presenter has around 4000 matches. As he stated the high number of matches are overwhelming to deal with. The solution to this problem would be if everyone who tested posted a tree so it wouldn't be necessary to contact thousands of people to request their information. It really surprised me that with all his matches only about 4 people actually posted trees. This is a problem with all the testing companies. Few people post family trees. He talked about the changing nature of DNA test results, and how your current results may change as the science advances. He felt that the study of SNPs will lead to better matching in the future.
Here are some to the other tips and highlights:
  1. During the "FamilySearch Family Tree: What's New and What's Next"presentation it was announced that there would be hints attached to names on your tree, like the Ancestry.com shaky leaves. Photo uploading will be made easier too.
  2. Puzzilla is an app you can use with your Familysearch tree to see your terminal tree branches. I looked at my tree with this app and discovered that wrong additions were made to some of my lines.
  3. I didn't know that you could dictate with your iPad instead of typing. Lisa Louise Cooke with her "Become an iPad Power User" sold me on an iPad which will likely be my next computer.
  4. During Joshua Taylor's session "Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results" I was persuaded to try to use the search Yippy engine. It categorizes your searches which can be handy. He also said that when looking for a specific kind of document think about all the possible people or agencies that might have it and search accordingly. 
  5. "5 Ways to Do Genealogy in Your Sleep"session introduced me to some new strategies such as setting up an alert on Ebay for a family bible. One of my names is rare, Forgey, so I can just set up an alert for anything coming up on that name.
  6. The "Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.com" presenter Christa Cowan had some great advice regarding searching that site. She said if your search results don't produce a possible match at the top of the match page continue to narrow your search. I will also start using the general location box in my searches. 
As Christa Cowan's young nephew's observation in a cemetery confirms, we have more dead relatives than living ones, and we need all the help with can get to keep them all straight and discover more. Here is a link to videos of the streamed session :

Puzzilla Tree

Saturday, February 8, 2014

atDNA: What Do Cousin Matches Look Like

The RootsTech 2014 presentation on DNA was very interesting, and I plan on watching it again when the video becomes available. I do think one point that should have been brought up wasn't. The presenter made it sound like all atDNA matches are related within the last 5 generations. This is also the genetic distance which the testing companies use as the cut off point when suggesting relationships. They don't suggest relationships past 5 generations. If you read the full explanation of possible relationships twenty generations is a possibility when looking at distant matches.
I decided to take a look at our atDNA matches that I've confirmed a shared ancestors with to see the patterns of inheritance for each generation.
Most of these charts compare my mother and myself to various confirmed surname matches.
We'll start by comparing myself with my first cousin:

First Cousin Match

The Blue lines represent the DNA we match them on for each chromosome 

I don't have any second cousin matches

Third Cousin Matches

These 3rd cousin matches vary by quite a bit. I share a great deal of DNA in common with my 3rd cousin, but my mother shares less DNA with her 3rd cousin matches. It could be her matches are 3rd cousin once removed?

Fourth Cousin matches

On the left are my mother's fourth cousin matches, on the right are mine. My mother's large block share (the blue) may be a 4th cousin, while the orange match is definitely 4th cousin once removed.

Fifth Cousin Matches

Here we see that a fifth cousin can still share good size blocks of DNA. This first is a comparison between my fifth cousin and I; the second is a comparison between my cousin, and our shared fifth cousin.

Seventh Cousin matches

Here we see at the 7th cousin range we can still inherit blocks of atDNA. My mother has matches here with single IBD blocks ranging 7.93 to 16.15 cm. 

Tenth Cousin Match

This 10th cousin is one of my matches on my father's side. She still shares quite a bit of DNA with me at this distance. She has a long pedigree chart I've compared with and I can't find any other surnames that we have in common.
Add caption
The conclusion I draw from this is that generally if you share large amounts of DNA with someone you are closely related. First cousins are very obvious matches. I don't have second cousin matches so I can't say how large the shares would be? By third cousin we see a greater variations in the amount of DNA shared. It's definitely difficult to differentiate cousin relationships after first cousin. It's still possible to share sizable blocks of DNA up to 10 generations. I have many matches who have large posted trees at Family Tree DNA and we can't find common ancestors leading me to believe that a majority of my matches are beyond the 5 generation cut off. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dividing People: The Forgey Slaves Hawkins County, TN

James Forgey will "their children may be divided"
Last Thursday I went the NGSQ study group which was in the virtual world of Second Life. We discussed an article we read about tracing the family of a former slaves. It got us talking about slavery and our families connections with it. We said we had curiosity about what happened to the slaves owned by family members after they were freed. Until the mid 1990's I had no idea any of my ancestors could have owned slaves. I had only known them to have lived in the Midwest, and didn't know they had first settled in the south. I remember picking up a book about Tennessee genealogy at our local library and seeing abstracts of family wills mentioning slaves and was blown away.
I've definitely ran across the Forgey former slaves while researching the family in Tennessee since several took the name Forgey after they were freed and did remain in the same area. I've been taking a closer look at these families this week. I had suspected that James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN might have fathered children with some of his slaves because several were described as Mulatto. I did find some evidence that this might be the case a few days ago. 
This is some of the information I've found regarding slavery in my own branch of the Forgey family (James Forgey was the brother of my ancestor. Andrew Forgey was my direct ancestor).
The only mentions of the Forgey slaves I've run across are found in the family wills, and total numbers are found in tax lists.

Above is the first reference to slaves in my branch of the Forgey family. It's the 1809 Taxlist for Hawkins County, TN. We see here rows representing acres of land owned, horses owned and slaves owned. Hugh Forgey and Andrew Forgey Jr. owned no slaves, but Andrew Forgey Sr. owned 1 slave and James Forgey owned 2. 
Later in 1809 we find the name of Andrew Forgey's slave in his will. His name was Bacchus. 

We do find that Andrew Forgey Sr.'s wishes were followed and Bacchus remained in Andrew Forgey Jr.'s family until his death in 1831. Andrew Forgey Jr. wills him to his wife.

I have not found Bacchus on the 1870 Census he may have left the area or most likely was dead by then.
James Forgey Sr. owned 2 slaves in 1809. By his death in 1831 the number had grown. Only a few were identified by name.
A 3 year old was named in James Forgey's 1831 will. Her named was Sarah. She was willed to Matilda Forgey daughter of James. James also names an Alsy and Robert describing them as young in 1831. I have not been able to locate these people after freedom.

We can follow some of the Forgey slaves from enslavement to freedom. 
We'll start with Joseph and wife Margaret (Peggy)
We first see this couple here in Andrew Forgey Sr.'s 1809 will 
The callousness of the James Forgey family can be seen when you read these snippets. They had no qualms about separating children from their parents. 

Here we have James Forgey's wife Margaret also dividing up Joseph and Margaret's family in her 1856 will Hawkins County, TN. 

It looks like Joseph Forgey didn't live to see freedom but his wife Peggy did. We find her living in Hawkins County, TN; listed on the 1870 and 1880 Census for Hawkins County, TN. 

We see that Peggy Forgey is listed as a mulatto. Her father's birthplace is given as Ireland. We know her master James Forgey was born in Ireland so it is very possible he is Peggy's father. 
Next we can follow Thomas Forgey from slavery to freedom. James Forgey Sr. names Tom in his 1831 will.

Rachel Forgey died before her mother Margaret Forgey. Rachel willed Tom to her mother Margaret. In 1856 Margaret mentions Tom in her will.

In 1870 and 1880 we find Thomas and wife Fary living in freedom with his family in Hawkins County, TN. He seems to have made a successful transition and was working as a blacksmith.  

We see more Forgey slaves not named in the family wills in the Census. In 1850 James R. Forgey Jr. owns 21 slaves most being children. We do not have most of their names. Here are a few more I found in the Hawkins County, TN Census.
 1870 Census Hawkins County, TN

Lou Forgey 1880 Census Hawkins County, TN

I believe one of these families relocated to Knox County, TN at one point and can be found there in the 1940 Census. After 1900 I no longer find Black Forgeys living in Hawkins County, TN. 

Inhumanity is not confined to a single race or group of people. I've been reading a book about the Scots-Irish. I agree with the author that hard living conditions in lowland Scotland hardened the people which would later settle the south. They did not feel the pain of others. I believe James Forgey in particular was the sort of ruthless business person that really did not feel the pain of others. The business men involved in the slave trade in England, Spain, the Netherlands didn't have a conscience, but they didn't live with the slaves. The way that some families in the south lived with other human beings and didn't have the decency to free them is hard to fathom?

Here is partial list of Forgeys born into slavery
  1. Joseph Forgey (Mulatto)
  2. Peggy Forgey (Mulatto) Born about 1815 she claims her father was born in Ireland in 1880
  3. Malvina Forgey-Harlan (Mulatto) born about 1839
  4. Mary Forgey (Mulatto) born about 1854
  5. Lou Forgey (Mulatto) born about 1845
  6. App. Forgey (Black) born about 1863
  7. Thomas Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1829-1830
  8. Fary F Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated):  1831-1832
  9. Alice Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1852-1853
  10. Martha Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1853-1854
  11. Jinetta Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1855-1856
  12. Dorcas Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1857-1858
  13. Margarett Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1857-1858
  14. Joseph Forgey (Black) Birth Year (Estimated): 1858-1859
  15. Alsy Forgey (Black) Before 1834
  16. Robert Forgey (Black) Before 1834
  17. Sarah 1828

Friday, January 24, 2014

Too Many Sales of One Plot of Land?

Forgey sales deeds Knox County, Tennessee from the County Index book
I've been examing the new databases at Ancestry, the ones resulting from their partnership with Familysearch, for anything new which might solve my brickwalls. I'm waiting for more Virginia databases in hopes of finding out more about Alexander Forgey and his family. I have nothing at all on Alexander's family, so far, other than documentation of a short marriage which evidently produced no children? So far I know Alexander was in Cumberland County, PA  in the early 1770's, and migrated to Washington County, PA in the latter part of that decade.
I have not been able to locate any records for Alexander Forgey after 1807. I have not been able to locate a will or probate for him. I've looked at deeds to 1800, wills, and taxlists to 1804 for Washington County, VA.
I do believe Alexander Forgey of Knox County, TN might be a son of this older Alexander, of Washington County, VA, due to the fact Alexander, the younger of Knox County, TN was said to have been born in Virginia. Losing track of the older Alexander I wondered if he joined his possible son, and nieces and nephews, in Knox County TN?
I've been puzzled by the many land sales of Alexander Forgey, apparently selling the same piece of land on Flat Creek in Knox County, TN. Are we dealing with 2 different Alexander Forgeys selling different plots of 250 acres land or the same plot of land? I'm not seeing any clues that there were 2 different men in Knox County,TN such as references to a Junior and Senior. I never saw 2 Alexanders on the three Knox County, TN taxlists I've searched. The older Alexander would have aged out of the taxlists by 1804 I believe?
In 1802 an Alexander Forgey purchased 250 acres on Flat Creek from James Forgey. The younger Alexander Forgey would have been 23 and unmarried; which, would be a little unusual in my experience. That would have been a young age, for a single man to have had enough money to buy land. Could the elder Alexander have made the original purchase from James? If we had a Census records for 1800 or 1810  this might be cleared up? Unfortunately no Census records for eastern Tennessee survive before 1830.
Here are the Alexander Forgey land tranacations as recorded in the deed index for Knox County, TN (these deeds were not filmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Hence, it took me a while to locate and get copies of them)
We can see James Forgey's orginial land grant as the first transaction. This land was later split in half and sold to Alexander Forgey and Andrew Forgey (Andrew's relationship to Alexander is unknown).
Flat Creek Knox County, Tennessee
Forgey Land Purchases

Richard Freer to James Forkey
Warrant for 640 acres (actual grant was for 500 acres on Flat Creek)
Date of transacton: 10 July 1788

James Forgey 
Land Grant #305 for 500 acres on Flat Creek
Book C Volume 1 page 49
Date of Deed: 27 Nov 1792

James Forgey to Alexander Forgey
250 acres on Flat Creek
Book L Volume 1 page 4
Date of Deed: 2 Dec 1802

James Forgey to Andrew Forgey
250 acres on Flat Creek
Book L Volume 1 page 16
Date of Deed: 2 Dec 1802

John Smyth to Alexander Forgey
250 acres Flat Creek 
Book M Volume 1
Date of Deed: 1 Oct 1807

Samuel Cox to Alexander Forgey
Book N Volume 1 page 286
Date of Quit Claim: 9 Aug 1809

Here are all the sales of property by Alexander Forgey as recorded in the county deed books. All of the land transactions consist of 250 acres on Flat Creek in Knox County, TN. We only see one apparent buy back of 250 acres on Flat Creek. Alexander Forgey sold 250 acres to John Smyth in 1803 and buys it back from John Smith in 1807. An Alexander Forgey sells land to John Thompson in 1812. I don't see a deed for a repurchase from John Thompson which I expected because Alexander Forgey sells 250 on Flat Creek again in 1815 to Abner Parr. We know the 250 acres on Flat Creek sold to Abner Parr was from the James Forgey land grant because it's stated on the deed. We don't really know whether the 1803, 1807 or 1812 land transactions involved the original land grant? There is an 1809 Quit Claim deed from Samuel Cox. It doesn't appear to involve the 250 acres of land on Flat Creek? It references a tract of land.

Flat Creek Knox County, Tennessee
Forgey Land Sales

Alexander Forgey to John Smith
250 acres Flat Creek
Book L Volume 1 page 21
Date of Deed: 4 Jan 1803

Alexander Forgey to John Thompson
250 acres Flat Creek
Book O Volume 1 page 315
Date of Deed: 12 May 1812

Alexander Forgey to Abner Parr
50 acres Grant #305 (James Forgey's grant)
Book P Volume 1 page 402
Quit Claim
Date of Deed: 21 Nov 1815

Alexander Forgey to Abner Parr
250 Flat Creek
Book P Volume 1 page 403
Date of Deed: 4 Feb 1815

In conclusion it isn't clear exactly which Alexander Forgey was involved in all these transactions? We only see one purchase of 250 acres of land on Flat Creek (the second purchase looks like a buy back?). Alexander Forgey, the younger, was said to have lived on his father-in-law John Sawyer's property at some point. He may have received land from his father-in-law and never filed a purchase deed. I have not looked at every deed and a reading of everyone of these may provide more information as to how many Alexander Forgeys lived in Knox County, TN in the early 19th Century.
Forgey purchase deeds Knox County, TN. Click to enlarge

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How long does it take to make a family tree?

A first cousin of mine needed help researching his maternal family tree. He wanted to know whether his grandfather was Native American because he was born on the Pala Mission Indian reservation in San Diego County, CA.
I began researching his tree with only the names of his grandparents, Robert Ridge and Mildred, and place Southern California. No maiden name for Mildred.
So how long did it take to put together the outline of his family tree?
I began at 3:04 pm on Saturday January 11, 2014.
3:04 pm My first stop was the 1940 US Census records since these are the most recent and complete records that would include his grandparents.

3:06 pm I noticed he was born in California.I knew abstracts of birth records for California were online. I checked to see if I could find his birth record but instead found birth records for his children. At 3:06 I had my cousin's grandmother's maiden name.

3:11 pm I had located his grandparents on the 1930 Census. Now I had birthplaces for Robert Ridge's parents which should help me identify his parents in 1920.

3:26 pm It took me a little while to locate Robert with his family on an earlier Census. Once I did locate him in 1910 I also found him with his parents Gertude B. and Mang Ridge. I had never heard of the name Mang before. I wondered if it was Native American? I knew that with an unusual first name it would be simple to identify Mang Ridge on earlier records.

3.48 pm Found the Mang with his father after I took a little break for a snack. I now had his full name Mangrum Ridge and his parents, Robert and Nancy's, names and birthplaces. At this point it looked like they were not Native American. They lived on the Pala Mission Indian reservation in 1880, but were not descended from tribal members.

3:54 pm I decided to check Ancestry.com trees thinking it would be easy to find a Mangrum Ridge if someone had made a tree for the family. I immediately found several trees for him. All of the Census data matched the Mangrum on these trees. These trees included attached records and old photos of  Mangrum and Gertude's family from the early 20th Century. I found more of his ancestors on these trees too. 

I know these tree can contain erroneous information so I needed to read through their attached records. The trees looked accurate after analyzing the information contained in the records. I did wonder about one of his ancestors said to have been killed in the Civil War. When I looked at the attached record it said he was a private in a colored regiment. I don't think this ancestor was African America so I believe this is a wrong connection?
I decided to try to see if I could push his line back farther than the mid 19th Century. I hit the same brickwalls previous researchers did. I was not able to locate the Kohrs family in 1920. I also could not locate the Ridge family in 1860 or before.
5:59 pm. I found my cousin's possible Kohrs great grandparents. This is the closest match I could find in 1910 Colorado. Unfortunately Mildred wasn't born until May 1910, and April was the Census month. It sounds like Mildred's parents names were not included in her 1978 Oregon death certificate? Her social security application would be another source for their names.
I continued to research the family until I went to bed at 11 pm without any more success. 
I did manage to locate the Ridge family on the 1870 Census for El Monte, California and I found Robert Ridge and Nancy Rice's marriage record. 
Without the trees I found at Ancestry.com it would have taken much longer for me to put all this information together. I've put my tree together over many years. It will take this family more time and effort to surmount the 19th brickwalls. It really takes years to assemble and document a family tree. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Binders vs. Books

Here are the books I've printed seen near an oxygen tank. See the same tank and binders below to get a better idea of compactness the books.

I've been scanning the documents I've collect over the years and filed away in binders. I had them arranged by surnames, and placed the documents in page protectors. The page protectors made the binders very heavy. It's good exercise lugging these around. Since Lulu books are so inexpensive to publish I decided to print my important documents and information into 8 1/2 by 11 paperback books. So far I have 4 books published, and they are pretty comprehensive covering all of the important documents, stories, and data about my ancestors up to the current time.
I'm not going to throw the binders away. They still contain some material not in the books and they contain some original copies, and original documents. I am enjoying these books. I thumb through them from time to time, and love seeing both the documents and family photos without having to lug out heavy binders.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Genealogy Resolutions and Year in Review

The End of the Alexander Forgey paper trail  is 1807, picking up from here in 2014

Happy New Year 2014! 

It's been such a fruitful year genealogy wise; it's hard to recall every single new find, there were so many.

  1. My mother took the Family Finder autosomal test through MtDNA in August. This has led to finding more distant cousins. The best outcome of this is that she looks like a DNA match to a distant Forgey cousin, further cementing our relationship to the McMinn, Tennessee Forgeys.
  2. My cousin Darryl Kapple took the Y DNA test and we now have a Haplo group of J2b. So we know our family had been in the Mediterranean area at some point.
  3. I took the MtDNA full sequence test and found out I belong to the African Haplo L2a1F. 
  4. Some of my Forgey first cousins took the 23andme DNA test.
  5. A third cousin, Sophia Preston, tested with 23andme and we discovered we share the maximum DNA that a third cousin is likely to share.
  6. The Virginia Memory Chancery court project led to more indepth information about the Lewis Zirkle family, plus great stories! The same database contained a court case naming Benjamin Wray's children and grandchildren, which is conclusive proof we descend from him.
  7. Another big breakthrough came from Ohio court records. Eve Urmey is named as a sister of John Urmey in his Ohio will. This John is son of Jacob Urmey and Susannah Brower. This is satisfactory proof, for me, that Eve is their daughter. 
  8. After adding Brower to the tree I was able to find some great information about this family and their origins in Germany. I've also collected up Urmey and Brower wills this year.
  9. It looks like Edward Browning's wife was Elizabeth Drane.
  10.  This past week I've added another name to the Kapple tree, the name Rottenstummer. I did this with the help of a Kleinmurbisch, Austria cousin. Rottenstummer seems to have originated in the village of Kleinmurbisch.
My to do list for 2014
  1. I think my number one priority this year is going to be trying to find out more about the mysterious Alexander Forgey of Washington County, Virginia. We don't know who his children are, and we don't know where or when he died? We lose all track of him in 1807.
  2. While researching the Brower family I saw Brenneman given as Susannah Brower's mother Eve's maiden name. I can't confirm this. I would like some documentation for this?
  3. I've been doing some Browning family research this year. I would like to find more documentation linking the Tennessee Brownings with Maryland. Also need to find documentation that Elizabeth Drane was Edward's wife.
  4. I still don't have any photos of Frank Kappel and Mary Kurta, my great-grand parents, so I will be continuing to search for those.
  5. Another carry over from previous years is finding the death information for Patrick Mullen and Mary Huvane who died in Ireland.
  6. The partnership of Ancestry.com and Familysearch will produced more records to search, and I plan on using them as soon as they are available. When I don't know?
  7. Another resolution from years past is learning more about my Nicaraguan ancestors. I did look into getting more information about them, but was disappointed to find out that the vital records office for Granada, Nicaragua doesn't respond to mailed in requests. You must request records in person. So finding out more on this line may mean a trip to Granada, Nicaragua?
  8. I'll continue searching War of 1812 records as they come available.
  9. I've upgraded my cousin Darryl Kapple's Y DNA test, and should get the results in a few weeks. We'll see if there as any matches at 37 markers?
In conclusion I've made some great headway, and confirmed the parentage of Eve Urmey and Elias Wray, this year. We've confirmed our paper trails using DNA. We've also added some great stories, so we have more than statistical information. I've compiled much of what we have so far into several books I've printed, through Lulu, this year. This included printing this blog into a book. If next year is as fruitful I will be very grateful!

Welcome Catharina Rottenstummer to our tree!