Follow Up Friday DNA revisited

I know I haven’t written in some time.  A lot has been going on.  I was teaching a couple of online classes.  My dog, Junie passed away about 7 weeks ago after a long illness.  My niece got married.  So, a great number of factors have been keeping me away.  The biggest, is probably writers block.  I feel that I have done most of the stories that came easy.  I have to dig deeper as a writer and genealogist to get to some new ones.  I am working towards that.  But, that also means more researching and less writing.

While in Kentucky for the wedding, my mother surprised me by getting her DNA tested through Ancestry.  This was a wonderful surprise and led to many discussions during the wedding weekend with the family.  I had tested my own DNA with Ancestry several months prior.  Trying to explain the different DNA processes to others when I barely knew it myself was a challenge.  So, I came back from the trip and did some reading.  This is what I have learned as it pertains to my family.

 

First, the test that I did on my father is called a YDNA test (Family Tree DNA).  This test traces the Y-chromosome through the direct paternal line.  The reason for this was due to the fact that I have my major brick wall at the 6th great-grandfather of Samuel Whitehead.  This test only tests the Y chromosome, that is passed on through the males (in our case, Larry, Fred, Walter, George, etc.).  As a result it does not test the autosomal DNA like the Ancestry test.  The YDNA test investigates deep ancestry.  It is good for surname studies and looking at migration patterns of various Haplogroups.  It has not produced the smoking gun that I had hoped.  But, I have not given up on it yet.

Second, I tested myself with an autosomal DNA test.  This is the test that Ancestry does.  This is the test of the 22 pairs of autosomes.  These tests are used for recent ancestry, determining genetic cousins.  This test provides an admixture analysis also known as Biogeographical ancestry.  “An admixture analysis is a method of inferring someone’s geographical origins based on an analysis of their genetic ancestry (ISOGG Wiki).”  This is also the test that my mother had done.  The benefits of this genetic testing is that it tries to provide an estimate of one’s ethnicity.  This is very fun for the average person.  It is not as important for the dedicated genealogist, who is more concerned in validating connections.

Lastly, one needs to take these results with the grain of salt.  These tests are still new and the companies responsible for making these estimates are not as accurate as they will be.  By thinking of them as stepping-stones for future inquiries, you will not be unsatisfied.

 

As far as my family goes; this is what I know.

Paternally, I know I have German roots.  My father’s mother was 100% German.  The Whitehead name however has been thought to be English.  But, since I have not made a connection to Europe, it still alludes me.

Maternally, I know I have French roots.  My mother’s father’s name Sublett derives from a well-known Huguenot family, Soblet.  However, on the Moss side, I have not been able to get a connection to Europe.  The name however, lends itself to English and Welsh.

Krista   Betty  
Europe West 41% Europe West 36%
Ireland 13% Ireland 26%
Scandinavia 13% Scandinavia 22%
Great Britain 10% Great Britain 10%
Iberian Peninsula 10% Iberian Peninsula 4%
Italy/Greece 8% Italy/Greece <1%

 

The Scandinavia is the ethnicity that struck us the most, as we do not have any knowledge of having family in this region.  However, I have read recently, this is one of the areas that Ancestry has been criticized for.  According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy,

The Genetic Ethnicity Summary (of Ancestry) consistently overestimates the Central European and Scandinavian ancestral components for people whose ancestors were from the British Isles. The ancestral component from the British Isles is overestimated for people whose ancestors were from continental Europe. Overall, the European ancestry predictions tend to be inaccurate.

Regardless, the main benefit of doing DNA testing on Ancestry is that you can link your genetic matches to your ancestry tree and that is a pretty cool feature.

 

So, I will continue to explore backwards

 

 

 

 

 

ISOGG Wiki retrieved on 9/30/16 from http://www.isogg.org/wiki

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Never Give up on Learning

Sometimes we think we are too old to try something new. The old adage states, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.”   Well, they never met my grandmother.

Virginia Odelle Moss was born 3 October 1916 in Petersburg, Virginia. She was not her parent’s first child, but she was the first child to survive infancy. Her parents Thomas Irving Moss and Carrie Lou Hicks went on to have three more children, Lillian, Thomas, and Margaret. I will talk more about them in a later story.

I want to share you some of the things about Odelle. She went by her middle name, I am not sure why. Anyhow, Odelle’s family moved from Petersburg to Lynchburg, Campbell County before the 1920 census. Odelle seemed to have a typical upbringing in the 20-30’s. Her senior yearbook states she was in the Honor League, Be Square Club, Girl’s Glee Club, Spanish Club, Volleyball 1933, Basketball 1933, 1934 and the Girl’s Hiking Club. She wrote a fabulous poem that is in her high school yearbook. I have tried to ascertain whether she actually wrote it or if it was one she liked. I have “googled” it to no avail, so I think it is an original.

Gypsy

Oh, to be a gypsy girl,

A life so glad and free,

Oh, to wear the tattered clothes,

Of a wondering, gay gypsy.

 

The wide, wide world before me lies,

No binding ties to keep;

Just to ride in a gypsy van,

Oh, how my heart does leap.

 

With ever the changing landscape

Moving before my eyes,

The riding sun, the song of a bird

Would make a paradise.

 

Yet when all is said and done,

Perhaps ‘twould loose its zest

To roam always like a gypsy girl,

And I’d find that home is best.

 

When my grandfather died in 1983, Odelle was 66 years old. She did not let her life as a widow define her. According to my Aunt Carol, she enrolled in the local community college and took Music and Art Appreciation classes. When she was 70, she took a beginners art class. Over the next 10 years or so, she painted a vast amount of priceless artwork. I have included several of her works below.  You will see not only how good they are, but also how we all cherish them.  They can be found in the homes of my siblings, my mother’s and my aunt’s home.

Grandma with her painting

Grandma with her painting

 

This one hangs in my brother's home

This one hangs in my brother’s home

 

This one hangs in my mother's home

This one hangs in my mother’s home

 

house on cliff-odelle-kw

This one hangs in my home.

 

This one hangs in my sister's home.

This one hangs in my sister’s home.

 

My memories of her include shopping.  She like to go shopping. I do not think she bought much, but she liked to go, go go. She would iron everything; I mean everything, even the sheets and her underwear! She loved her daughters and her grandchildren so much. Family was very important to her. Her kisses had a bit of static in them, I am not sure why. I just remember that.   Mom, Carol, others, what do you remember most about her?

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

 

Elusive Ancestors

Elusive Ancestors and breaking the brick walls

I have been researching my ancestors for several years now. Some familial lines are easier to trace than others. I know I have discussed my brick walls in the past. But sometimes by writing about them, you are able to clarify details in the process. That is what I am doing today. It is a hot June day and instead of melting in the sun, I am inside desperately trying to piece puzzle pieces together.

I recently made friends with a fellow genealogist searching the Moss family name. This line has been intangible to me for some time. I have never felt confident with the connections I had made. She has in her line that a Moss married a Moss. Excuse me for a moment while my head mildly explodes. Is this why I can’t seem to untangle the mystery? In order to prove or disprove something in the genealogy field, you must have some set standards of proof. While I am a still a neophyte in this regard, I do my best.

 

Let us look at the Moss facts. I know that Thomas Irving Moss was born 20 Jan 1877 in Buckingham County, Virginia. The items that support this are his World War I and World War II Draft Cards. I know he married my great-grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks on 30 August 1913 (I have the certificate of marriage).   On this Marriage Certificate it indicates that his parents names were Thomas and Margaret Moss. It also lists him as widowed. My newly found friend’s research indicates that Thomas Irving Moss married Mahala K. Newton prior to Carrie Lou. So, I will need to find verification of this at a later time.

My friend, Ms. Kim also sent me an electronic version of Margaret Ann Moss’s Death Certificate. The certificate lists her parents as Thomas Moss and Lucy O’Bryant. It is signed by T.I. Moss. The date of death is 12 July 1915. So, is this Thomas Irving Moss’ mother? We need to look at signatures. Are these the same people?

 

 

Signature on Death Certificate of Margaret Ann Moss

Signature on Death Certificate of Margaret Ann Moss

Birth Certificate Information (not sure who filled this out)

Birth Certificate Information (not sure who filled this out)

Thomas Irving Moss WWI Draft Card

Thomas Irving Moss WWI Draft Card

Thomas Moss WWII Draft Card

Thomas Moss WWII Draft Card

If it is, then I am going to have reconstruct my line. What are your thoughts.

 

The coin purse

Sentimental Sunday

I previously have written about my great-grandmother Carrie Lou Hicks Moss. She was born in 1888 in Amherst County, Virginia. Her birth record states it was April 4, 1888. However, her granddaughter Carol seems to recall that she celebrated her birthday on the first day of spring (March 21). Her death certificate says that her date of birth was 21 March 1889.

My mom moved away after getting married, so we do not have many of the traditional mementos from the family. The same is true on my father’s side. So as a result, I believe my quest for information grew.

When I made my genealogical visit to Virginia in 2012, my Aunt Carol gave me some family keepsakes. Carol gave me the change purse that was in her grandmother’s possession when she died, 6 May 1956.

There is a note that my grandmother, Virginia Odelle, had written. It has sixty-cents in it. She had a 1949 half-dollar, and 10 pennies. (An aside, it was a Ben Franklin, silver dollar and since it was 90% silver, has value in both its history and it’s melt value, but it is not going anywhere.)

Note Odelle wrote

Note Odelle wrote

Carrie Lou's coin purse

Carrie Lou’s coin purse

It is not a historical heirloom by any nature, but it is a piece of both Carrie Lou and her daughter Odelle and even my Aunt. It is a simple sheepskin change purse. That is it. Nevertheless, when I think about the women that carried it, and the women that kept it safe, I cannot help but feel nostalgic. You can envision what type of women they were…sentimental.

Carrie, Odelle and Betty

Carrie, Odelle and Betty

So today, as I got out the coin purse and re-examined the contents, I feel a connection to my family’s history. What do you have that you treasure from your ancestors? Please share.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards!

 

 

 

Carrie Lou a Gibson Girl?

My mother recently came down for a visit.  It was great having her here.  We spent some time going through my family photos that I have collected.  We came across a few of her grandmother, Carrie Lou Hicks Moss.  I wrote about her previously, but after finding these pictures, I think there is more to tell.

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks

According to her birth certificate, her name was Caroline.  When Carrie Lou Hicks was born on March 21, 1888, in Amherst, Virginia, her father, Lemuel, was 38 and her mother, Emma, was 27.

As she came of age in the early twentieth century, historically there was a shift taking place in America.  Consumerism was growing in terms of magazines and fashion.  Gibson Girls were the rage.  These women were displayed in magazines like Harpers, Scribners.  These women displayed self-confidence.  “The envy of all who knew her, the Gibson Girl remained aloof of her surroundings but not to the extent of haughtiness(Source: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/gibson.htm).

Most women during this time still lived and work on the farm.  However, Carrie Lou and her family moved from the farm in Amherst to the city (Lynchburg) sometime between the 1900 and the 1910 census.  The 1910 Census shows that Carrie and two sisters (Allie and Elizabeth) worked as stitchers at a shoe factory(Craddock & Terry Shoes).  Carrie’s father, Lemuel, also worked at the factory as a Night Watchman.

Craddock & Terry Shoe Store

Craddock & Terry Shoe Store

On August 30, 1913, Carrie married Thomas Irving Moss.  It appears that she stayed home while raising their three children.   In the 1930 Census, she is listed as not working.   However, at some point, Carrie went back to work as a she is found to be working as an Operator Room Repair for the public schools in the 1940 census.  While she is listed as employed for the census, the census also indicates that she had been unemployed for 50 weeks that year.  Carrie only had a 5th grade education (source: US Census, 1940).  As you recall there was a depression going on.  In April, 1935, “FDR signs legislation creating the Works Progress Administration. (Its name would be changed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration.) The program employs more than 8.5 million individuals in 3,000 counties across the nation” (Source:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/rails-timeline/).

Thomas Irving and Carrie Lou Moss

Thomas Irving and Carrie Lou Moss

At some point she started working in the cafeteria at John Wyatt School.  Carol Sublett Johnson recalls lacing up her corset for work since her arm was in a sling.  Betty Sublett Whitehead recalls Carrie bringing home cookies from work.

Carrie died in 1956, according to her death certificate, she died from pulmonary insufficiency and anoxia.  She was 67 years old.

 

Distractions and Detours

It is by the formality of marriage that two families are joined.  It is here that I tend to get distracted the most in my genealogy research.  I find someone’s spouse, then I want to learn all about that new family.  This is how I lose myself in the “vortex of genealogy.”

I have had less success researching my mother’s maternal grandfather’s family.  Thomas Irving Moss (my great-grandfather) was born in 1877.  I have said before that his father was Thomas Moss (my second great-grandfather).  His wife was Margaret O’Brien.

We know this because of Thomas Irving Moss and Carrie Lou Hick’s marriage certificate.  But who was Margaret O’Brien.  I found Margaret and her family in the 1860 Census.  She is the daughter of William O’Brien and Sarah “Sally” Loyd.  William O’Brien was Ireland.  But she is not living with the family in 1870.  She could have been living with another family as a domestic servant, she could have been married by then, and not living in Buckingham (as I cannot find Thomas Moss in 1870 either).  But that is really all I have right now.  I know more about her brother’s because they become heads of households on census records.

Virginia did not begin keeping marriage records until 1912.  So, I cannot find the answer there.  I will have to scour other sources to build upon what I know about Margaret.  Also, I have run into problems with the last name.  Some documents have her listed as O’Brien, O’Brian, and O’Bryant.  I do not even know where she was buried.

So you can see it is often frustrating to explore backwards.  Patience and creativity will prevail.  I will have to let you know when.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Carrie Lou Hicks

Carrie Lou Hicks was my great-grandmother.  According to her birth certificate, her name was listed as Caroline Hicks, but nobody seems to recall that name.  She was born to Lemuel Dabney Hicks and Emma Frances Heath either 21 March 1888 or 4 April 1888.  Her birth certificate states the later.   Carrie was the 5th of twelve children born to Lemuel and Emma.  The 1900 Census has the family living in the Pedler District in Amherst County, Virginia.  Lemuel is renting the land that they farm.

According to the 1910 Census, the family has moved off the farm and is now residing in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Her father, Lemuel is now working as a Watchman at a Factory.  Carrie, now 22 years old, works with her sisters Allie and Elizabeth as Stitchers at a shoe Factory.

According to the certificate of marriage, Carrie marries Thomas Irving Moss on 30 August, 1913.

The 1920 Census has Carrie and Thomas living in Lynchburg, at 2017 Main Street.  Thomas is listed as working in construction at a Foundry.  “Odelle” (my grandmother) is listed here as 3 years old.  Lillian is also listed as slightly over 1 years old.

Normally one would conclude that the family stayed put, but since my grandmother, Virginia Odelle, was born in Petersburg, Virginia as well as her sister Lillian Scott (1918).  We do know that the family did in fact leave Lynchburg sometime after 1913, but returned prior to the 1920’s census.

Virginia Odelle Moss was born 3 October 1916.  According to the birth certificate, Carrie had 2 children that passed away prior to Odelle being born (Thomas Moss and Frances Odessa Moss).
Carrie Lou had Thomas Warren Moss and Margaret Elizabeth Moss in Lynchburg.

Carrie and Thomas are living at 1715 Main Street at the time of the 1930 census.  Thomas is unemployed.  Also living in the home is Odelle, Lillian, Thomas, Margaret and Carrie’s mother Emma Hicks.

Carrie Lou

Carrie Lou