By Don Taylor
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.
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
|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|
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.
[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