DNA Doesn’t Lie – John Montran

Brown-Montran Line
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For a few years, I’ve hypothesized that my great-grandfather, John F. Montran and John Foster Montran were the same person.

I have been unable to find a record of John F. Montran and my great-grandmother, Ida Mae Barber marrying in 1892. My grandmother was born in 1893 with the name Donna Montran and when Ida remarried in 1897 to Max Fisher she indicated her surname was Montran and that she was married once before. So, I believe John Montran and Ida were married about 1892.  Donna indicated in 1911 that her father was dead. Certainly, John F. Montran doesn’t seem to exist anytime in the 20th century. I have found no records for John F. Montran after my grandmother’s birth in 1893.

John Foster Montran married Maude Minnie Winter in 1894. I have found no records for John Foster Montran before 1894. He had two children with Maude, Thelma M. Montran and Ruth Grace Montran, in 1895 and 1897 respectively. In the 1900 Census, Maude is listed as a widow and John appears nowhere else.

  • 1892 – John Montran married Ida
  • 1893 – Donna was born.
  • 1894 – John and Ida separate.
  • 1894 – John married Maude Minnie Winter
  • 1895 – Thelma is born.
  • 1897 – Ruth is born.
  • 1898-1900 John dies.
  • 1911 – Donna indicates her father, John Montran, was dead.

All the parts appeared to fit. The locations weren’t too far off. Donna indicated her father was born in Pennsylvania but had lived in Canada. Maude indicated her husband was born in Canada, but Maude and (her) John married in Pennsylvania.

DNA image by Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I figured that DNA testing would prove the two John Montrans were one. I began researching the descendants of John and Maude (Winter) Montran. In 2015, I found a living descendant, I’ll call Sue[i]. I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in doing a DNA Test. The results should prove my hypothesis that the two John’s were the same person. She wasn’t interested in testing then, but maybe sometime.

I continued searching and finally found another descendant of John and Maude (Winter) Montran, I call him James[ii]. I contacted him, and learned he wasn’t interested in testing either.

I continued searching but didn’t find any additional living descendants of John and Maude and I set the project aside for a while.

It had been nearly two years since I had contacted Sue, so I thought I’d follow-up with her and see if she was interested in testing now.  She replied that she had tested with 23 and Me and had her results.  My mother tested with 23 and Me several years ago. My mother and Sue should show as a match. If my hypothesis is correct, they would be half first cousins, once removed. No match on 23 & Me. When you look for matches on 23 & Me, the page says, “Note: your anonymous matches have been opted out of DNA Relatives and are no longer visible within the tool.”  I thought, maybe Sue opted out of DNA Relatives. I asked her to double check her settings. She responded that she opted in to DNA Relatives the day before. She also shared her results with me.  Again, nothing, nada.

Using Blaine Bettenger’s “Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4,” I could see that half first cousins, once removed (1C1R) should share 226cM of DNA. And that the range seen for half-1C1Rs was from 57 to 530.  I even decreased the match criteria from the usual 7cm segment match required to only 4cM segment match and still no match with Sue.

Of course, it is possible that there was a non-paternal event that caused these DNA results, and it is always good to keep an open mind.  However, these results prove to my satisfaction that my great-grandfather, John F. Montran, and the John Foster Montran who married Maude Minnie Winter were two different people.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Separate John F and John Foster in all my records and notional work and indicate that they were definitely different individuals.


————–  Disclaimer  ————–

Endnotes

[i] Surnames are removed from living individuals. First Names used may or may not be the same as the living individual’s name.

[ii] Ibid.

DNA – Glennis Paternity Project Part 11

Another GEDMatch Match

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Recently, I returned to looking at the matches for my half-sister Glennis to see what might be new. One of the nice features of GEDMatch is that when you look at a match you can click on the “L” to list the matches that match that individual. In Glennis’ case when I do that if the individual also matches our mother, I know that the match is on her maternal side. If the individual doesn’t match our mother (nor obviously me) that means the match is on her unknown paternal side.

In the past she has matched to several people who have appear to have a common ancestor on a Morgan/Odell family in West Virginia. I encountered a match with AHW and contacted the individual’s listed email address. It is always awesome when the individual responds. After a couple emails, AHW’s tree was shared with me.

I also took a look at AHW using DNA Painter and found a nice long match on chromosome 13 with two other individuals.

Image of DNA Painter - AHW match on C13
AHW matches two others on C-13

According to his tree, his Great-Grandmother was Rachel Odell who I had on my “notional” list. She was one of 11 children of William Odell and Jane Morgan. She and her husband were the brother and sister of Nathan Smith Morgan and Belinda Odell that are am currently researching.

AHW shares 58.3cM of DNA with Glennis which would suggest they are 3rd cousins. However, because a brother and sister married a non-related sister and brother there is some endogamy and the relationship is likely a generation further back than I’d otherwise expect.

That suggests that Jacob Morgan and Elizabeth Smith and/or Joshua Odell and Susannah Davis are the most likely common ancestor. So, the finding confirms that I am in the right tree and studying the right family line who also appear to have had the four people in the line.

D'oh!
D’OH by Stannered [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia.com
The thing that I hadn’t realized, but knew if I thought about it, was that it then proved that the Rachel Odell line has to be a dead end. If Rachel were a common ancestor, then AHW would be a 2nd cousin and not a 3rd and I would expect much more DNA in common. It is kind of a “doh moment.”

The good news of this match is that it confirms Jacob Morgan and Elizabeth Smith and/or Joshua Odell and Susannah Davis as likely common ancestors. It also eliminates their grandchild Rachel Odell and her descendants from consideration.

I still have hundreds of descendants to analyze but eliminating one group is awesome. So back to the children of Nathan Smith Morgan and Belinda Odell. I only have four of their 12 children to look at left. Then I can go down the other 25 lines. Sigh…. Hopefully, someone else will test and I’ll be able to jump to a lower spot on the tree.

Thank you MWH, (AHW’s contact) for your help and thanks to your other family members on Facebook for helping me narrow my research.

DNA – Glennis’ Paternal Search – Part 7

Following Morgan/Morgan/Morgan/Davis

By Don Taylor

In the search to find the biological father of my sister Glennis, I am continuing to develop a tree of the descendants of Francis and Fannie (McGregor) Morgan of Pleasants County, West Virginia.

Francis and Fannie had 12 children

Child Children Notes/comments
Clara M Morgan Gail Hemsworth
Naomi Hemsworth
Married Everett Luzader

Married Earl Deem

Henry Clifford Morgan None. Died at age 15.
Lewis V. P. Morgan Lula Edna Morgan
Opal Jean Morgan
Died at age 2.

Married William Davis

Rosa Virginia Morgan
Dora D. Morgan
Ephraim Stokeley Morgan
Nathan Spencer Morgan
John A. Morgan
Sarah D Morgan
Unnamed Morgan
Orien E. Morgan
James Cyrus Morgan

Lewis V. P. Morgan was born 30 December 1871 in Lafayette, West Virginia.  He was the third child of Francis Marion and Fannie R. (McGregor) Morgan.

He married Maude L. Lamp in 1899 in Tyler County, West Virginia. They had two children.

  1. Lula Edna Morgan, was born in 1900 & died in 1902 at the age of 2 due to a fire.
  2. Opal Jean Morgan, was born in 1902 in Pleasants County, West Virginia. Opal married William Henry Davis in 1920. They had two girls and appear to have had no sons.

Lewis’s wife died in 1908 and he never remarried.

  • During the 1910 Census Lewis was living with his sister Rosa and her husband, F. M. May.
  • During the 1920 Census, Lewis was living with his mother-in-law, Sarah L Lany.
  • During the 1930 Census, Lewis was living with his uncle, Elie H. Morgan.

It does not appear that the descendants of Lewis V.P. Morgan could be potential candidates for Glennis’ biological father.


Sources

1910 Census (FS), Family Search, F M May (Lewis Morgan) – Lafayette, Pleasants, West Virginia. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPF5-6Y6.

1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Sarah L Lany – Meade, Tyler, West Virginia. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MN2Q-ZP3.

1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Elie H Morgan – Saint Marys, Pleasants, West Virginia. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMHY-2T1.

Find a Grave, Find a Grave, Lewis V. P. Morgan – Memorial# 34028908. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=34028908.

West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, Family Search, Lewis V P Morgan – 30 Dec 1871. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NM7W-26D.

West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970, Family Search, Lewis Morgan & Maud Lamp – 1899. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FYYS-VXT.

DNA Match leads to 3rd Great’s

Autosomal DNA
Brown/Manning/Fannin Line

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.On 23 and Me, I contacted a cousin I’ll call “JK.” The individual shared 1.34% of his DNA with my mother and .77% of his DNA with me. He also shared .91% of his DNA with my Aunt Barbara.  Because of the match with Aunt Barbara, the match is on my mother’s father’s (Dick Brown) line and the amount of DNA suggested a second to third cousin with my mother.

JK responded to my inquiry after a few months and indicated that he had been adopted and that his mother was Elizabeth Fannin. He also provided a link to his mother’s obituary.  I immediately became excited. My 2nd great grandmother was Eliza Jane Fannin and I don’t know much about her. Fannin is a popular name in Kentucky and because Eliza could easily be Elizabeth, I hadn’t been able to identify Eliza Jane’s parents.  Could I find the common ancestor between JK and me that would lead to new discoveries?

The obituary for Elizabeth Fannin showed her father was Mason Fannin.[i] I was a little concerned because Mason Fannin was born in West Virginia and my Eliza Jane Fannin was born in Kentucky, but I continued on. The 1930 Census confirmed the Mason Fannin family with his wife and several of the children mentioned in the obituary.[ii]  More importantly, Mason’s parents were born in Kentucky.  I appeared to be on the right trail.

Photo of Andrew Jackson "Jack" Fannin
Andrew Jackson “Jack” Fannin

Next, I was able to find Mason Fannin’s parents in West Virginia Births. His parents were Jack Fannin and Susan McKnight.[iii]

Family Search quickly show me that Jack Fannin was Rev. Andrew Jackson Fannin (1863-1952)  (Family Search ID L2DN-DKR). It also showed that Rev. Andrew Jackson Fannin had a sister, Eliza Fannin born 1856. Their (Jack & Eliza) parents were [unknown] Fannin and Cynthia Ann Bare.

 

Chart of relationships

JK Individual
Elizabeth Fannin Parent
Mason Fannin Grandparent
Andrew Jackson Fannin Great-grandparent
[Unknown & Cynthia Ann Bare 2nd Great-grandparents

 

[Unknown] & Cynthia Ann Bare 2nd Great-grandparents
Eliza Jane Fannin Great-grandmother
Mary Elizabeth Manning Grandmother
Richard “Dick” Brown Parent
My mother Individual

So, if [Unknown] and Cynthia Ann (Bare) Fannin are the common ancestors between JK and my mother they would be 3rd cousins. That fits the range of shared expected DNA for both my mother and her half-sister, Aunt Barbara. JK would also be a 3rd cousin once removed to me fitting the shared DNA that JK and I share[iv].

Family Search also indicates that Andrew Jackson and Eliza Jane Fannin had four other siblings, providing a wealth of clues and leads.

Do I know for certain that this Eliza Fannin is my Eliza Jane Fannin?  No, but the evidence is compelling enough to sketch in the relationship and continue researching the family.  If I find something inconsistent with my known history for Eliza Jane I’ll reconsider and relook at the relationship, however, I have confidence that I’ve broken through a small wall and puts Eliza’s parents next in my Brown Research.

Endnotes


[i] News Herald, Files (Personal), Betty J. [Fannin] DeMark  POSTED: 04/13/10, 12:01 AM EDT. http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20100413/betty-j-demark.
[ii] 1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, Mason Fannin – West Virginia Fayette Kanawha District 0024. http://search.ancestry.com/search/collections/1930usfedcen/99823152/printer-friendly.
[iii] West Virginia Births, 1853-1930, West Virginia Culture, Delayed Birth Certificate – Mason Fannin – Oct 18, 1885.jpg. FamilySearch : 4 December 2014), Mason Fannin, 18 Oct 1885; citing Caperton, Fayette, West Virginia, United States, county courthouses, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 1,992,467. http://(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X55N-NK3.
[iv] I use the DNA Geek’s DNA Detectives Autosomal Statistics Chart to predect relationships.  See: http://thednageek.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/DNA-Detectives-Autosomal-Statistics-Chart.png

It’s Another First Cousin

Roberts DNA
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.One of the benefits of using Ancestry DNA for Genetic Testing is their vast database.  Because there are so many people in their system, you are much more likely to have a DNA match. Sure enough, it happened again. This time, a previously unknown person, Debra contacted me via Ancestry Messages with the simple message, “My DNA results says that you are my 1st cousin.”

Oh my, here we go again.

I clicked on View the Match, then clicked on the little “Info icon” to see how much DNA we shared. Debra and I share 621 centimorgans across 25 segments. According to the chart I use, that amount of shared DNA put us in an overlapping range of first cousin and first cousin one removed. I then clicked on “Shared Matches” and saw that she also matched with my Roberts half-siblings. Because I can view my half-sister’s matches, I looked at her results and saw that she and Debra share 893 centimorgans of DNA across 37 segments. Solidly in the first cousin range. For sure, Debra is a first cousin and now I knew that we share a common grandparent on my paternal side.

My grandparents, Bert Allen Roberts and Essie Pansy Barnes, had five children. The amount of DNA shared was not enough for Debra to be my half-sibling, so that ruled out my biological father, Hugh Eugene Roberts, from being involved. In subsequent messages, she indicated she knew who her mother was, so that eliminated Pansy and Helen, leaving only two potential sources for her to be a first cousin – Uncle Bert and Uncle John. Between the two, Uncle Bert was, by far, the likely candidate.

Photo of Bert Allen Roberts, Jr with two (unknown) women.
Bert Allen Roberts, Jr. and two unknown women, c. 1947.

Then, Debra let us know that her sister told her that her father’s name was Bert, but never knew his last name. Debra also sent a photo of Bert, her supposed father, from the late 1940s. My half-brother Tom knew Bert and was able to identify Uncle Bert from the picture.  Mystery solved!

So, welcome cousin Debra Edwards to the growing Roberts clan. I am so pleased you were able to identify who your father is after so many years.

So far, DNA test results have led to my learning about:


Note: I wish Family Tree Maker had a better way to indicate offspring producing relationships.  Creating a “spouse” and then set the relationship set to “Friend” or set to “Other” is cumbersome at best but doesn’t describe the relationship. Sigh….