Tuesday, March 10, 2015

AncestryDNA Useless? The Thrill of the Y & Breaking More Pieces Off A Brickwall

New Look and Newly expanded databases at HeritageQuest

AncestryDNA has created a product which is time consuming and provides no useful tools to compare results with matches.  It's aggravatingly difficulty to get useful data from their product. It came home to me again yesterday because a first cousin's results came in and I couldn't see any data related to our match, or see anyone we shared in common. I've always had control over previous family kits so that was new to me. I just so happened to read a post from someone else who matched a relative, yesterday, and they experienced the same feeling; they couldn't see anything but the fact they matched. Without the ability to compare outside Ancestry there would be no reason to test with them. I can't imagine what it was like before testers were able download their raw data? It must have been very aggravating. I hear Family Tree DNA has become so swamped with testers they are way behind processing results. I know its annoying having to wait a long time for results. It's worth it, however, because they provide tools necessary for evaluating your matches.

Still pounding way at the Owens brickwall. I was thrilled when one of the Y testers allowed me to see their results. The Owens family is R1b which is the most common Y Haplogroup in Europe. Occasionally the common nature of this Haplogroup means the results of a 37 marker test aren't useful for determining a relationship because there are just too many matches. In that case the test would have to keep being upgraded until the number of matches is whittled down to the point where a relationship can be confirmed. I thought my Uncle had rare DNA markers because he only had 22 matches at 37 markers. This Owens tester has only 8 matches at 37 markers. At 12 markers he had 1000 matches. Incredible how increasing the markers decreased the matches by so many. At 67 markers he had only 1 match 4 steps away. The Y test is definitely my favorite.

My Autosomal tests are also fun to work with even if they are more tricky to interpret. The value of the collaboration coming from our Owens match family is incredible! I received a deed spreadsheet for several Indiana counties which has been so helpful! This led to a major breakthrough on the Owens line. My goal at this point is to place my James D. Owens, b. between 1775 and 1785, with his parents. There were two James Owens living in Bracken County, KY at the same time and they are likely cousins. One man is the son of John Owens II and wife Susannah based on Orphans' Court records. The other is likely the son of a David or George, brothers of John II. John II remained in the Pennsylvania/Virginia area until his death. David and George had been based in the Illinois territorial area from the 1780's, one being a Militia Captain the other a Shawnee language interpreter. Their families were early settlers of Clarksville, which is now part of Indiana. After Captain George Owens was burned at the stake in 1789 his wife Charity and children, George and Thomas, fled to Bracken/Mason County, KY. After John II's wife died in 1790 his children migrated from Pennsylvania to Bracken/Mason County, KY where they met up with both Uncle George and Uncle David's families. Some first cousin marriages occurred in Bracken County, KY. between these cousins.

Getting back to the deed record index provided by our DNA match, Owens collaborator, he located an 1803 deed in Clarksville for a James Owens and a Sarah of Bracken County, KY. This would seem to support my theory that James married to Sarah Broshears could be the son of David Owens Sr.. When David Owens Jr. provided the names of Capt. George Owens' children he only named George and Thomas, and no James; so I  lean away from one the Jameses being his son. I haven't found any primary source documentation naming David's children? His children are inferred from circumstantial evidence, plus there seemed to be family knowledge of relationships going several generations back. A John A. H. Owens born 1842 in Clarksville stated his great-grandfather was David Owens Sr..  In the David Owens Jr. affidavit he doesn't state his father is David, but that can be safely inferred as he was the only other Owens in the area at the time. Since we don't have a list of David's children I would place one of our Bracken County, KY Jameses as his possible son. I base this on the new information provided by the Indiana deeds plus the previous information which suggested a close relationship between James Owens and David Owens Jr.,  based on the marriage of the men one day apart in the same church, and the fact they lived in the same location in 1830.

As usual there appears to be more than one James settling in Clarksville during the first half of the 19th Century. One was married to Sarah the other to Mary. The early deeds for Clarksville are apparently in very bad condition. When I called today to ask about getting copies I was told they don't charge for copies because the deeds are so hard to read. This has led to difficulty deciphering the names. There may be a John and Jane witnessing some early deeds? Or is it John and James? That is the question. Could be John and Jane husband and wife or brother and sister? Or could be brothers? I'm ordering a copy of the deeds to see if I can make out the names? If there is a John and Jane that could throw a monkey wrench into my theory because this would suggest a possible additional John Owens in the area, besides the one married to a Sarah. If we have two Johns one may be the son of John II? That would mean some of John II's children joined their cousins not only in Bracken County, KY but also in Clarksville. I theorized that John II's son, John III,  remained in the Pennsylvania /Virginia area because he inherited land from his father. Of course I can't be certain of that because there were two John Owenses in the original ancestral area who were probably first cousins. One of these John's remained in the original ancestral area and the other was no longer around for the 1810 Census. If  John II's son migrated to Clarksville then James married to Sarah is likely the son of John II. More deed research will clear this up.

This 1803 deed does appear to suggest the second James Owens appearing on taxlists beginning in 1804 came from Clarksville. He appears on the 1803 deed selling his land which he had purchased in July 1802 before his marriage to Sarah. I'm not sure where Sarah Broshears and James met? They both had cousins in Clarksville and Bracken County, KY.

HeritageQuest now looks like a clone of Ancestry.com; their
1798 Taxlist Greene County, PA
current owner. On March 4th the new look was unveiled. The expanded collections are wonderful. One of the books I found led to a record source I hadn't seen before. This leads back to the strange search results at Ancestry. You would think Ancestry's search would bring up results from all of their collections but it doesn't? After all this time searching for Owens in early Pennsylvania records the 1798 taxlist for Pennsylvania never came up? When I discovered the existence of this taxlist I searched for a copy online and found Ancestry had it. I found a John and David  living in the ancestral area of Greene County, PA. They seem to match what I would expect of John II's children; they owned land and rented some of the properties out. Since there were other Owens families around it's hard to be sure without a description of the property location. As I stated above deeds are key to identifying who remained in the ancestral area and who migrated?

So one of my current goals is to nail down exactly who the early Owens settlers of Clarksville were? Were they only the children of Capt. George Owens and David Owens? Or did some of John II's children head to Clarksville when they came of age to join their Uncle David Owens and cousins? Success with this line of research would either eliminate James married to Sarah as a children of John II and Susannah or confirm that he is their son.


Theresa Ager said...

Heritage Quest can be accessed for free at home with my library card. Check to see if your library gives you access.

Melinda said...

I used to use Heritage Quest when I needed to do detailed research that was impossihle to do on Family Search or Ancestry. Knowing only an approximate date and place of birth, my last find was that of a two month old infant living in an infirmary in 1900 separated by several lines from his mother. By 1910, this infant was adopted. Using the search engine HQ used to have, I was able to find this baby. I tried repeating this search again to see if the new search engine with Ancestry worked. Not only does it not work, I couldn't get the name to come up using the baby's birth name. HQ is now a useless clone taken over by Ancestry. It's very disappointing to see this company taking over in so many ways and not doing a good job at providing services. It's all about them making money, which Ancestry is doing very well at.

Jax Cougle said...

Interesting I have not tested yet with AncestryDNA but I am waiting on results from ftDNA and 23and me. I have some Owens in my background that I will be looking into with my Quaker background Harris's.
The Owens are from the Cecil Co MD/Chester Co PA area