Biography – Asa Ellis Roberts (1835-1886)

Roberts/Barnes Research

By – Don Taylor

“The rich got money and the Roberts got kids.”

Well, at least they did back in the 19th century. My second great-grandfather, Asa Ellis Roberts, came from a large family. He was one of at least 16 children. He too, had 16 children, 12 with his first wife and another four with his second wife. A father, farmer, and Civil War veteran, he led a hard life.

Asa Ellis Roberts was born on 28 February 1835 in Roane County, Tennessee.[1],[2] He is the son of John Calvin Roberts (1795-1873) and Elizabeth Blackwell (1796-1867).

Map of Asa Ellis Roberts Life.
Born: Roane, TN, Liven adult life in Southern Illinois
Map developed using Mapline.Com

Acy, as he was probably known of as child[3], was the 12th of 16 children. He grew up in Roane County, Tennessee. Apparently, he did not attend school as he still was unable to read and write according to the 1880 Census[4].

 

I have a lot of research to do regarding Asa’s childhood. It appears that something tragic occurred in 1848, when Asa was 13. It appears, from other researchers’ information, that five of his siblings, Calvin, David, Elizabeth, George, and John all died that year. There are five of his other siblings that I do not have death dates, so it is possible that even more than five of his siblings died in 1848. Definitely, more research is needed.

Adulthood

Asa married Elizabeth Minerva Toney (1834-1872) on 19 May 1852 in Rowan County, Tennessee.[5] Asa was 17 and Elizabeth was 18. Shortly after their marriage the young couple moved to Illinois where all of their 12 children were born.

  • William T. Roberts, born about 1853.
  • George Washington Roberts, was born about 1855 in Jackson County, Illinois; he died in 1902. He married Harriet Shinall sometime before 1895; next he married Hariett Alice Burchell on 24 December 1895.
  • John G. Roberts, born between about 1856 and died about 1870 at 13 years of age.
  • Margaret M Roberts was born about 1858. She married William Harvey Porter sometime after 1870.
  • The 1860 Census found the young family living in Township 5S (Ewing Township), Range 3E, in Franklin County, Illinois. Asa was a farmer, living with him was his wife and four children. His personal property was valued at $15.[6]
  • Calvin Logan Roberts was born in December 1860. He married Mary Emeline Fryer, next he married Willie Adeline Harrell, then he married Margaret E. (last name unknown).

Civil War Service

On April 12, 1861 the Civil War broke out and Asa joined Company I, 31st Illinois Infantry (Union) on August 15, 1861, at Benton, Franklin County, Illinois.[7]

His company mustered in on 18 September 1861 at Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois.[8] Cairo is the southern-most city in Illinois and the perfect place to begin a campaign against the Confederacy.

The “Dirty First,” as it was known, saw action at the Battle of Belmont on November 7th under the leadership of Brig. General Ulysses S. Grant. The Regiment then captured Forts Henry, Heiman, and Donelson during February 1862. The taking of Fort Donelson was a major victory for the Union. The unconditional surrender of the 12,000-man garrison ensured that Kentucky would remain with the Union. It also provided Grant the nom de guerre of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.  Grant also received a promotion to major general.[9][10]

Shortly after the battle at Fort Donelson (Feb 1862), Asa entered the hospital for pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium – two thin layers of sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart). On 23 July 1862 Asa was discharged for “Chronic Pericarditis.”[11] His physical description at discharge was 5’8”, dark hair, gray eyes, with a fair complexion.

After Asa’s Civil War Service

Sarah Angeline Roberts was born on 5 March 1863. She married Daniel Rufus Baltzell.

James Monroe Roberts was born in June 1865. He married Nancy J. Huckshorn.

In 1865 Illinois held a state census which indicated Asa and his family were living in Township 4S, Range 1E, Jefferson County, Illinois.[12]

Then tragedy struck over and over and over again. Three children in a row died as infants, 1866, 1868, and 1869.

The 1870 Census finds the family living in Township 4, of Jefferson County, Illinois. Asa is still a farmer and his personal property value had grown to $400. With him are his wife and six children; William, George, Margaret, Calvin, Sarah, and Monroe.  It appears that his son John G Roberts had already passed.[13]

In 1870, John C. Roberts was born. He died in 1873, living only three years.

On 26 May 1872, Asa’s wife, Minerva died. I don’t know if it was as the result of childbirth, but I suspect it was.  Because another child was born and died as an infant in 1872.

On 25 August 1872, Asa married Patience Anna Marshall Dean (1845-1919), in Jefferson County, Illinois.[14] Asa was 37 and Patience was the 26-year-old widow of Thomas Dean. Patience had two children with Thomas, Elnora and another child who had passed already.

With John C. Roberts’ death in 1873, that made five children in a row born and died and six children passing within only seven years. Asa’s father, John Calvin Roberts, also died in 1873.

However, Asa and Patience had their first child together Charles Wilson Roberts on 5 July 1873. Charles married Clara Farmer on 29 January 1891.

Rosa Della Roberts was born on 26 May 1875 in Jefferson County. She married James Lawrence Derrington.

Florence Elizabeth Roberts was born on 21 January 1880 in Ewing, Franklin County; she died on 26 October 1948 in Sesser, Franklin County, Illinois at 68. She married Frances Perry Scott on 24 March 1901, next married Spencer. She had 2 children I know of: Nellie and Alfred.

By the 1880 Census, all of the children Asa had with Minerva had moved on and his household in Elk Prairie Township, Jefferson County, Illinois, consisted only of him, his wife Patience, their three children together (Charles, Della, and Florence) and Patience’s daughter from her marriage to Thomas Dean, Elnora Dean.[15]

Hugh Ellis Roberts was born on 2 July 1884 in Jefferson County. He died on 30 August 1908 in Ina, Illinois at the age of 24. He married Clora Dell Scott on 7 October 1900. They had 4 children: Harry, Carrie, Bert, and Mabel.

Asa Ellis Roberts died on 5 October 1886 at the age of 51[16], was buried at Hope Cemetery in Spring Garden, Jefferson County, Illinois).[17]

Further Actions:

  • Research the death dates for 5 siblings for whom I don’t have dates.
  • Research the causes of death for the siblings who died in 1848.
  • Research Asa Ellis Roberts’ Civil War Record, his pension application, and the pension application of his widow, Patience Anna Marshall Dean Roberts.

List of Greats

  1. Hugh Ellis Roberts
  2. Asa Ellis Roberts
  3. John Calvin Roberts
  4. Elias Roberts

ENDNOTES

[1] Note: Chris H. Bailey indicates that Asa was born on Feb 18 and that his father’s bible is what indicated 28 Feb. His date is probably based upon either Asa or Patience’s civil war pension record. I need to research those records closely. That said, his grave marker and other secondary sources are all in agreement as to the 28 February date.
[2] Sources: Find-a-Grave / Asa E. Roberts – Memorial# 90772797
[3] Note: He was listed as “Acy” in 1850 Census. – Family Search: 1850 Census / Roane, Tennessee – House Number 1415; John Roberts
[4] Family Search; 1880 Census; Winfield, Elk Prairie township, Jefferson Co., Illinois, Sheet 481B, Line 8; Asa Roberts
[5] Family Search: Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 / Asa Roberts – Elizabeth Toney. Note: Some researchers suggest that Elizabeth Minerva Toney’s first name was Cynthia. My use of Elizabeth is based upon this marriage record.
[6] Family Search: 1860 Census – Township 5 S Range 3 E, Franklin, Illinois, (Page 534) Line 12
[7] Web Source: Illinois State Archives; Illinois Civil War Detail Report / Asa Roberts
[8] Web Source: Illinois State Archives; Illinois Civil War Detail Report / Asa Roberts
[9] Internet: National Park Service: The Civil War; Battle Detail; Fort Donelson; https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battles-detail.htm?battleCode=tn002
[10] Internet: National Park Service; The Civil War; Battle Unit Details; Union Illinois Volunteers; 31st Regiment, Illinois Infantry; https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UIL0031RI
[11] Chris H. Bailey – “Descendants of John Calvin Roberts & Elizabeth (Blackwell) Roberts of Roane County, Tennessee”; Page 10 (Person 10) Asa Ellis Roberts.
[12] Family Search: Illinois State Census, 1865; Township 4S, Range 1E, Jefferson, Illinois – Asa Roberts/
[13] Family Search: 1870 Census – Township 4. Range 3, Jefferson County, Illinois, Line.
[14] Source: Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934 / Asa Roberts – P. Anna Dean (Patience Marshall) (Other)
[15] Family Search: 1880 Census; Winfield, Elk Prairie township, Jefferson Co., Illinois; Sheet 481B, Line 8 – Asa Roberts –
[16] Source: Find-a-Grave / Asa E. Roberts – Memorial# 90772797 – Find (Other)
[17] Many thanks to Chris H. Baily for his “Descendants of John Calvin Roberts & Elizabeth (Blackwell) Roberts of Roane County, Tennessee.” His research confirmed much of the research I did, provided new insight into Asa Ellis Roberts’ life and the lives and even the existence of some, of his children.

———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-
Search for Ancestors at OneGreatFamily.com

 

My Male Ancestors – Birth, Death, and Age at Death

Brown/Montran Research
Roberts/Barnes Research

One of the reasons that I enjoy Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings is that he regularly makes me realize the missing branches I have in my tree leaves have lots more to do on my tree.  His recent “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” asked folks to look at their tree and determine the age of death for their male ancestors. (He had done a similar thing for female ancestors the week before.)

Using Heredis, it is really simple to generate such a report. I clicked on myself, then clicked on Documents/Ancestor Report and the system generated the data. Then I went to Report Export, I selected Excel from several options.  After the information exported, the Excel spreadsheet opened automatically.

Because the ahnentafel numbers for the individuals are exported, it is easy to select just the male ancestors by deleting all of the odd numbers. I immediately saw that my 3rd great-grandfather, Enoch Mannin, lived the longest – 88 years. The ancestor who died the earliest was my great-grandfather Hugh Ellis Roberts, who died at an extremely young 24 years of age.

Next, I began seeing my gaps.  I have three people with a range of dates for their life.  For example, my great-grandfather John F. Montran was born sometime between 1860 and 1875 and died sometime before 1911. So, he could have died at 35 or died at 51 years or anywhere in between; I don’t know.

Then, I realized I have six ancestors for whom I have no death dates. More work.

Finally, I realized I have nine ancestors in the past five generations that I know nothing about.  No names, let alone birth or death dates. So, Randy’s challenge reminded me of how much more work I still have to do. But the good news is that I have 11 of my male ancestors identified as to their age at death. Even better, I have eight more this year than I would have had last year (all of my Roberts line.).  I even have one more than I would have had last week, So things are definitely looking up.

Chart of Male Ancestors, Dates of Birth and Death

Ahn. #
Surname
Birth Date
Death Date
Age at Death
Father
2
Hugh Eugene  Roberts
° 9/1926
† 27/3/1997
70
Grandfathers
4
Bert Allen  Roberts
° 7/9/1903
† 1/5/1949
45
6
Richard Earl  Brown
° 14/9/1903
† 19/1/1990
86
Great-Grandfathers
8
Hugh Ellis  Roberts
° 2/7/1884
† 30/8/1908
24
10
Joel Clinton Barnes
° 23/6/1857
† 30/6/1921
64
12
Arthur Durwood  Brown
° ~ 1864
† 27/8/1928
~ 64
14
John F  Montran
° <> 1860 & 1875
† < 1911
< 35
2nd Great-Grandfathers
16
Asa Ellis Roberts
° 28/2/1835
† 8/10/1887
52
18
Samuel Vaden Scott
° 1860
† 1931
71
20
Nelson Barnes
° 24/3/1816
† 21/2/1884
67
22
Nimrod Lister
° <> 1824 & 1827
† < 1909
< 82
24
William Henry Brown
° 1842
26
John William  Manning
° ~ 1845
† 25/4/1888
~ 43
28
Unknown (Montran)
30
Franklin E  Barber
° 10/1836
† 7/4/1917
80
Third Great-Grandfathers
32
John Calvin Roberts
° 3/3/1795
† 4/1873
78
34
Unknown Marshall
36
William H. Scott
38
Adrico J. Haley
40
Unknown (Barnes)
42
Unknown
44
Unknown (Lister)
46
Unknown
48
Barney Brown
° ~ 1814
† <> 1860 & 1870
<> 46 & 55
50
William M  Sanford
° ~ 1822
52
Enoch  Mannin
° 1819
† 7/4/1907
88
54
Unknown
56
Unknown (Montran)
58
Unknown
60
Unknown (Barber)
62
Stephen  Blackhurst
° ~ 1804
† 24/12/1869
~ 65
———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-

 

Getting to Know You – Joel Clinton Barnes

 

By – Don Taylor

I like to get to know an ancestor, so, after I learn their vital information (birth, marriages, death) and census information for each of the censuses they were alive, I like to see if I can find any newspaper articles about the ancestor.  Census records and vital records provide the context of a person’s life, but newspaper articles provide the texture to understand a person’s life.
In the case of my father’s mother’s father, great grandfather Joel Clinton Barnes, I was astounded by what I found on Newspaper Archives via my Find My Past subscription. I knew that Joel was born in Sullivan County, Indiana. He showed up in Sullivan County during every census and died in Sullivan County. So, I added a filter to give display newspapers from Sullivan, Indiana, and I sorted the records by date. There were 340 records returned. I initially thought that there had to be many false positive returns, but I later learned I was wrong. Almost every record returned related to my Joel Barnes.
1899 plat map showing J. C. Barnes farm.
From An Illustrated Standard Atlas of Sullivan County, Wilson, Fuller & Company
Source: Indiana Memory Digital Collection

Sure, some of the newspaper articles returned had little meaning or value, such as, “Joel Barnes and family were in Sullivan visiting family this week.” And some were the posting of the exact same article, once in the Sullivan Daily Times and again in the Sullivan Democrat. But there were so many gems of information that I feel I know so much more about Joel and his family.  For example, I learned that he was born, lived his entire life, and died in the same house. The spelling of his sisters’ names, Plautine and Tryphenia were provided in a public notice by a lawyer. (Lawyers are always right in court documents, aren’t they?  In any event, the lawyers spelling will be my preferred spelling until I find another document in their own hand.) I learned that Joel was, for a while, a constable in Turman Township, which gives insight into his character.  He also ran for office as Assessor in Turman Township and served on the local petit jury, “Brother Joel” was heavily involved in his church, Methodist Episcopal, teaching Sunday school, being a leader there, and hosting prayer meetings at his home.  He hauled logs for the building of the new church, graded the lawn, and helped build the cement stairs for the front of the church.  He was also involved with the Masons and with Eastern Star.

His health came and went with bouts of “malarial fever.”
His farm was more than corn and hay. He was in the maple sap business, had sheep and sold their wool. He had chickens and sold lambs in town. He sold wood to the sawmill and had cattle.
Indiana Oil and Natural Gas
Source: Indiana Dept. of
Natural Resources
(Arrow —> Joel’s county.)

In 1913, farm life changed significantly for Joel and family when oil was discovered on his farm. His well, drilled by Ohio Oil Co., was the first in his area.

His daughter, my grandmother, Essie had a surprise fifteenth birthday party.
His son, Raye, served in World War I and wrote home.
And finally, Joel died in his own bed. He was discovered when he didn’t come downstairs for breakfast. His obituary drives home the fact that five of his ten children preceded him in death. His was a farmer’s life filled with church, community, and, most of all, family.
I have a transcript of some of these articles here.

Biography – Joel Clinton Barnes (1967-1921)

Joel Clinton Barnes
Cropped from photo
Courtesy: Ken Smith

Joel Clinton Barnes was born on 23 June 1857 in Graysville, Sullivan Co., Indiana[1]. He was the seventh of ten children, by Nelson Barnes (1816-1884), aged 41, and Mercy Eliza Taft, aka Eliza (~ 1822-1884). All ten of their children lived into the 20th century. He died on 30 June 1921 in in Graysville, Sullivan Co., Indiana, aged 64[2]. He is buried at Drake Cemetery, in Fairbanks Sullivan County Indiana, at the age of 63[3].

The six older siblings include:

Tryphenia Ann Barnes, born in 1841.
Plautina Mariah Barnes, born in 1844.
Theodore E Barnes, born in 1847.
Suzie Barnes, born in 1849.
Abraham Barnes, born in 1852.
Cyrus John Barnes, born in 1854.

His two younger siblings include:

Lucy Minerus Barnes, born in 1860.
Martha Ellen Barns, born in 1863.

 

He married Sarah Josephine Conner, aka Josie, daughter of Soloman Conner and Harriet Crapo on 25 December 1876 in Sullivan[4]. Joel was 19 and Josie was 22. Their marriage lasted 15 years, until Sarah’s death in 1892.

The children of Joel and Sarah were:

Flora Barnes, born on 18 September 1878 in Sullivan township, died in 1950, aged 71. She married Harlon Riggs on 23 December 1895. She had at least 2 children that were twins.
Flava Barnes, born on 13 May 1881 in Sullivan, died on 22 July 1882, aged 14.
Alma Barnes, aka Anna, born on 20 October 1882 in Graysville, died in 1968, aged 85. She married Charles Sylvester Harris on 19 December 1912.
William Barnes, born on 12 February 1886 in Sullivan, died on 4 November 1886 in Sullivan (Indiana), aged 8.
Orphie Barnes, born on 26 October 1888, died on 21 July 1889, aged 8.

 

He next married Marada A. Lister, aka Marady, May, Morady Maranda (1867-1932), the daughter of Nimrod Lister and Malinda Evans, on 18 June 1893 in Sullivan[5]. Joel was 35 and Marada was 26. Their marriage lasted until Joel’s death 28 years later.

The children of Joel and Marada were:

Raye Barnes, aka Ray, born on 2 May 1895 in Graysville, died in 1956, aged 60. He married Columbia Means in 1920.
Ada Barnes, born on 21 March 1898 in Sullivan Township, died on 19 December 1899 in Sullivan Township, aged 21.
Nelson Barnes, born on 14 April 1901, died on 22 November 1902, aged 7 months.
Essie Pansy Barnes, born on 15 March 1903 in Graysville, Truman Township, Sullivan Co., died on 20 November 1982 in Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Michigan, aged 79. She married Bert Allen Roberts on 13 May 1922. She had 5 children: Pansy, Bert, Hugh, Helen and John.
Mabel Bessie Barnes, born on 5 April 1906 in Sullivan County, died on 26 August 1984, aged 78. She married Herbert Burton on 18 October 1928. She had one child: Billy.

Censuses

In the 1860 Census, three-year-old Joel is living with his father, mother, three brothers, and two sisters. His two oldest sisters, Tryphenia and Plautina were already gone from the family farm in Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana[6].By the 1870 Census, two more siblings, Theodore, and Suzie, had moved out of the household. Leaving Abraham, Cyrus, Joel, Lucy, and Martha still in the household. Fourteen Joel is both working as a farm hand and is attending school as are his older brothers[7].

The 1880 Census finds Joel and Josephine living near his father, Nelson Barnes, with their 1 year-old daughter, Flora. Joel is farming and Josephine is keeping house.[8]

In 1892 Josie died and in 1893 Joel married Marada Lister.The 1900 census finds Joel and Marady living with three of Joel’s children, Alma, John A, and Ray. Flora had married and moved out by then. Flava, William, and Orphie had all died during the 1880s.[9]

In 1910, Joel and Maraday are living with daughter Anna, Son Ray, and daughter Mabel. John A Lister is living with them and is identified as Joel’s stepson.[10] (He was listed as Joel’s son in the 1900 census.)
In the 1920 Census the family is down to Joel, his wife Marada, and children, Raye, Essie, and Mable Bessie.[11] 

The Joel Barnes Farm area from air today
Courtesy: Google Maps

 

Joel died at home on 30 June 1921. He was buried at Drake Cemetery, Fairbanks, Sullivan County, Indiana with Masonic honors.

Obituary – July 6, 1921 – Sullivan Union – Sullivan, Indiana, Front Page

WELL KNOWN FARMER FOUND DEAD IN BED
Joel C. Barnes, 64, of Turman Twp., 
Succumbs to Attack of Heart Failure
Marker: Joel C. Barnes
1857 – 1921 with Masonic Symbol
Source: Find a Grave Memorial # 37229130

Joel C. Barnes, 64 years old, a native of the county and a life-long resident of Turman township, was found dead in his bed early Thursday morning by his family, who had called him for breakfast and receiving no response found his lifeless body in bed.

The funeral was held Friday afternoon at the Dodds Bridge M. E. church, of which the deceased was a member, and was conducted by Rev. L. L. Johnson, pastor of the Methodist church at Graysville, and the Masonic lodge of Fairbanks, of which the deceased was a member. The widow survives, together with one son, Ray Barnes of Sullivan, and four daughters, Mrs. Harlan Riggs of Fairbanks, Mrs. Chas. Harris of near Dodds Bridge, and misses Essie and Mabel Barnes, who live at home.
Joel C. was a son of Nelson and Mercy (Taft) Barnes who came to this county from New York state during the forties. He was born and reared in Turman township and had always followed the vocation of a farmer. In 1876 he was married to Josephine Conner who died in 1892. Five children were born to this union, two survive, Mrs. Charles Harris and Mrs. Harlan Riggs. In 1893 Mr. Barnes was married to Maranda Lester, five children being born to this union, three surviving, Ray Barnes and Misses Essie and Mabel Barnes.
Mr. Barnes was a democrat in his political affiliation and was an active member of the Masonic lodge and the Eastern Star lodge at Fairbanks.
List of Greats
1.    Joel Clinton Barnes (1857-1921)
2.     Nelson Barns (1916-1884)

ENDNOTES

 

[1] Sources: Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 / Bert Allen Roberts – Essie Pansy Barnes – Marriage License – Family Search (Other) – 1920 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 0270, Sheet 1B – Ancestry.Com (Digitizing) – 1910 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 178, Page 8A – Joel C Barnes – Ancestry.Com (Digitizing) – 1900 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, ED 138, Sheet 7B – Joel C Barnes – Ancestry (Digitizing) – Find-a-Grave / Joel C. Barnes – Memorial #37229130 – Find a Grave (Internet) – 1860 Census / Nelson Barnes – Indiana, Sullivan, Turman Twp – Family Search (Digitizing)
[2] Sources: Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 / Bert Allen Roberts – Essie Pansy Barnes – Marriage License – Family Search (Other) – 1930 Census / Indiana, Vigo, Terre Haute, Page 9A – Bert A Roberts – Ancestry (Other) – My Heritage Family Trees / Joel Clinton Barnes  – MyHeritage.com (Internet) – Find-a-Grave / Joel C. Barnes – Memorial #37229130 – Find a Grave (Internet)
[3] Source: Find-a-Grave / Marada A Barnes – Memorial# 37229133 (Internet)
[4] Sources: A history of Sullivan County, Indiana, closing of the first century’s history of the county, and showing the growth of its people, institutions, industries and wealth. New York: The Lewis Pub. Co. / Pages 234-236 (Other) – Find-a-Grave / Joel C. Barnes – Memorial #37229130 – Find a Grave (Internet) – Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007 / Joel C. Barnes – Josie Conner – Family Search (Other)
[5] Note: Married 16 years in 1910 Census.  Marriage #1 for Marada, Marriage #2 for Joel. The Indiana Marriage Index Bonds indicates 17 June 1883.
[6] Source: 1860 Census / Nelson Barnes – Indiana, Sullivan, Turman Twp – Family Search (Digitizing)
[7] Source: 1870 Census / Nelson Barnes – Indiana, Sullivan, Turman Twp, Page 27, Lines 25-31 – Family Search (Digitizing)
[8] Source: 1880 Census / Joel Barnes – Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, ED 320, Page 1, Lines 21-23 – Family Search, https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHSX-5Q4
[9] Source: 1900 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, ED 138, Sheet 7B – Joel C Barnes – Ancestry.com.
[10] Source: 1910 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 178, Page 8A – Joel C Barnes; Ancestry.com.
[11] Source: 1920 Census / Indiana, Sullivan, Turman, District 0270, Sheet 1B – Joel C. Barnes; Ancestry.com.

 

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

 

Another DNA Success Story

Cousins figure out relationship.

One of my early atDNA matches was on Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA suggested that GV and I were probably 4th cousins. He had some Roberts in his tree, but I figured that there was only a one in 32 chance that our match was on his Roberts ancestor. There was another person, MA, who shared the exact same segment of DNA with GV and me. If I could find the common ancestor between GV and MA, because of triangulation of the same segment matching, we’d know the common ancestor they share with me. I worked to help MA develop his tree further but never found a connection for him to GV and consequently never determined a common ancestor to me.

Then, I did determine who my biological father is, connected with new half-siblings and have been exploring my new family tree. I thought back to my connections with GV and MA and wondered if I could find the link now.

I took a look at the surnames I’ve been researching and compared them with the names in GV’s tree. Sure enough, we both had a John Roberts marrying an Elizabeth Blackwell. We found our common ancestor.

His tree had my “Asa” as “Acy” but otherwise, it fit my ancestors entirely. The generations are:

GV’s Roberts Line
Relationship
My Roberts Line
John Calvin & Elizabeth
3rd Great
John Calvin & Elizabeth
Elijah Josiah Roberts
2nd Great  
Asa Ellis Roberts
John Roberts
Great
Hugh Ellis Roberts
Myrtle Roberts
Grandparent
Bert Allen Roberts
[Living]
Parent
[Name Suppressed]
[GV]
Us
Me

Our common ancestors are our third great-grandparents, and we are of the same generation, so we are 4th cousins (sharing 59cM). That fits the amount of DNA we share perfectly.

GV and I have long known we are related genetically. It is just so fulfilling to finally confirm the relationship with a paper trail.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-
 

Finding Family – Ancestry and AncestryDNA provided the tools to determine my biological father and half-siblings.

By Don Taylor


Determining my biological father and discovering new half siblings is, by far, the greatest success I’ve had in my genealogical activities.  Thanks to Ancestry and AncestryDNA, I have been successful in answering lifelong questions regarding my paternity and my ancestry.
Don with step father's 1964 Olds Dynamic 88, the car he learned to drive on.
Don [Matson] Taylor with step-father’s ’64 Olds Dynamic 88
(The car in which I learned how to drive – c.1965)
Note the white sidewall tires — “Budgar” had to have them.
My quest started when I was sixteen and I needed a copy of my birth certificate to get a driver’s license.  That is when I learned that the man I thought was my father not only didn’t die in a car accident when I was a baby, but he wasn’t my father either. I had used his surname (Larson) for 12 years after which I used a new step-father’s name (Matson) for four years. Now, after sixteen years,  I had a completely new identity.  My biological father’s name was completely unknown and the surname on my birth certificate was completely made up. (That’s another story.) I adopted my birth surname then and have lived with it ever since. My mother gave me some hints as to possible friends of my biological father that I might be able to contact and learn my father’s name, but following those leads were never successful. My frustration was high but I’d go back to searching and seeking over and over again.
In 1994, a here-to-unknown half-sister, Glennis Peterson, who had been put up for adoption, found her birth mother and I suddenly had a new half-sister. Glennis didn’t learn she was adopted until she was in her 20s and had been searching for her birth mother (and a known older brother – me) for nearly 20 years. (That is another story but it is her story to tell – I think it will make a great book and she is a writer.) Anyway, her finding her birth family was a major impetus for my expanding my genealogical activities. First, I wanted to support her in learning about her new family (our shared Brown/Montran line), but also her finding us meant that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to figure out who my biological father was. For the next few years, I retraced my previous efforts making sure I hadn’t missed anything. Again, to no avail.
In 2008, Ancestry offered a Y-DNA test and I took it.  Through that test, I learned that my closest Y-DNA matches all had the same surname, “Roberts.”  The problem was all of the matches were many generations away (eight to ten generations or more); there were no close matches. Although I tried, I was unable to find any of these people having a Roberts ancestor who had descendants in the place at the right time as my conception.

In 2011, Ancestry knew they were going to eliminate their Y-DNA testing and concentrate on atDNA testing. They sent me a free “Beta” test package, so I could be included in their atDNA database. My results weren’t very exciting, most matches were known distant relatives on my mother’s side. There were a few paternal matches, but they were very distant and never had any Roberts surnamed individuals.  I was disappointed and frustrated.  I even worked on someone’s tree for a while looking for potential matches on another person’s tree that the three of us shared a segment on the same chromosome.  Still no luck. Then the wall came tumbling down.
In December 2015, I had a new match – 1st to 2nd cousin.  Wow.  And that person had a tree on Ancestry.Com.  I looked at her tree and found her grandfather’s surname was Roberts.  Could it be?  If we were second cousins we would share a great grandparent, so I used Ancestry to learn about her great grandfather’s life.  I then used that information to further understand his children. He had three sons and one of them was in the right place (Detroit, MI) at the right time (Nov. 1949).
I decided to post two stories on my blog about my findings so far.  First, I wrote about “My Paternal Brick Wall and how I believe it to be shattered. A couple weeks later I wrote about Compulsive searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949).” It was my intent to examine and explore this family line more and more until I knew if it contained my people. 
A couple weeks later, I was contacted by Melody Roberts Jackson. She was Google searching her grandmother’s name and came across my “Compulsive searching…” article. Melody read it and “My Paternal Brick Wall” post and was amazed. These were her people that I was writing about. After exchanging a few emails we chatted at length on the telephone. She said she would contact one of her cousins, someone I suspected might be a half-sister.  The potential half sister, Beverly Roberts, then called me.  And we chatted for a long time. I indicated that the only way we’d know for certain was if she took an atDNA test as also.  She agreed. AncestryDNA sent to test directly to her and she sent it in.
Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts
Photo Courtesy: Tom Roberts
Then the agonizing wait.  AncestryDNA says six to eight weeks, possibly longer.  We were hoping for six weeks, but it took the full eight weeks. When the results came in, we learned that we share 1593 centimorgans of DNA across 58 DNA segments.  The DNA doesn’t say we are half siblings but gives clues to possible relationships.  The only relations we share that much DNA with are grandchild, niece/nephew, aunt/uncle, or a half-sibling.   I am older than BR so I can’t possibly be her grandchild. Her oldest sibling is younger than I am, so I can’t possibly be her nephew. Her (our) grandfather died fourteen months before I was born, so I can’t possibly be her uncle. Simple logic eliminated all potential relationships except one, that of half-sibling.  Which means I finally determined who my biological father was, Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts. From discussions with my mother over the years, I am pretty certain he was never told of my existence.
Sadly, Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts died in 1997, so I’ll never have a chance to meet my biological father. However, my new found Roberts family is excited to have a new family member.  I now have five new half-siblings and a passel of new cousins. There is a whole new line to explore genealogically. But best of all, I am looking forward to meeting my new Roberts family in person later this spring and I really feel they are excited to meet me too.

ENDNOTES

———- DISCLAIMER ———-