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Mike_G
06-16-2017, 02:09 AM
Mods please move if this is in the incorrect section. Thanks.

This may explain my love for stout beer, golf and this weird attraction I've had for the North Atlantic ever since my childhood when we went on vacation to the "shore" every year.

As I've mentioned many times on the forum, I was adopted as an infant. Over the past year I've tested with 23andme, FTDNA, Ancestry, and Living DNA. I've been fortunate to have had good leads on 3/4 of my ancestry. DNA testing itself is as expected all over the place among the four companies, but fortunately I've had a couple solid second cousin-level matches that have helped me determine my paternal side and one-half of my maternal side (maternal grandfather). The other quarter has been a black hole. No good leads, and being the running joke that autosomal testing has become around here, I have just about zero faith in what any of them tell me.

About 2 months ago a match popped up on ancestry at the 3rd cousin-ish range (119 cm/6 sgmts). He has a very small tree that shows 3/4 Irish ancestry with 1/4 German. I believe I successfully traced his name back to a couple who immigrated to the U.S. from Donegal, Ireland in the late 18th/early 19th century and settled in western PA. He (the immigrant) showed up on several family trees and in census reports in the mid 1800s. Soon after that a couple more showed up at a more distant level (56/6) that showed a "shared matches" with the first guy. No trees. For whatever the hell it's worth their Ancestry Regions all have Irish listed first.

On Sunday a fourth match appeared as a predicted 2nd cousin (254/12). She also shows shared matches with the others. Begrudgingly I contacted her and she was kind enough to reply. English/Scottish/Irish mix, but her mom was adopted. Uggggggghhhhhhh. The good news I guess is that she was born in the same western PA county (Butler) that my other match's grandfather grew up in. I guess I'll buy a twelver tomorrow night and run down the immigrants' children and their kids' descendants on the various Ancestry and Familysearch sites.

Here's the kicker with all this: I was born, adopted, and raised in New Jersey. Unless my research is 100% off the mark, my paternal side immigrated to the US from Lithuania in the late 19th century. My maternal grandfather's side is a mix of mostly English and some German (one great grandmother of German/Brit ancestry). The only group of ancestors among them who actually settled in NJ to start with was my maternal grandfather's English relatives. The Lithuanians originally settled in eastern PA coal country and moved to NJ in the early 1940s. My great grandmother was born in the southern PA area and showed up in NJ marrying my great grandfather in 1920 (marriage records confirmed). Now if the Irish lead turns out to be right, one of them somehow moved from western PA to New Jersey. That just seems way too coincidental. I'm not aware of any mass rush from Pennsylvania to New Jersey (and Newark NJ of all the hellholes in NJ) prior to WWII.

So if this Irish thing turns out right, I guess the next question is how Irish. One thing I noticed in my research is that ethnic immigrant communities tended to marry within themselves until the early 20th century. Could I have a full Irish grandmother? Half? No idea I guess until I dig through the records and hope to get lucky. In addition to being adopted, I believe my maternal grandfather was killed in WWII. He died of wounds in November 1944 and is buried in St Avold, France, leaving behind a wife and a very young daughter. Obviously no paper trail after that. By the way my last name before I was adopted was his (my mother's), not my biological father's. My grandfather's draft paperwork said he was married, so he was married some time between 1941 (1940 census data said he was single living with his widowed mom/my German great grandmother), but I have zero marriage records on the guy. And his military burial/death paperwork named his mother as his beneficiary. This stuff is nuts!

So other than the search sites that I both love and despise rummaging through, is there any where else I can go? And for those of you who may follow the stuff, how common was it for folks in PA to trek east? Philadelphia, I understand, but North Jersey? That just seems weird.

Oh and for what it's worth here are my DNA results for GB/I:
23andme B&I 28.5% Broadly NW Euro 18.9%
FTDNA 25%
Ancestry Irish 31% British 1%
Living DNA Southwest Scotland/Northern Ireland 6.6% Ireland 3.4%

NewAlbion
06-16-2017, 04:27 AM
That would be interesting. I had a paternal grandfather whose ancestors came from Donegal Ireland. But that was word of mouth from family rather than geneological research --then some fourth cousin contacted me about the Burke line, on Ancestry.com, so I might make a breakthrough because my sister, who did our families geneological research, was unable to unearth any info on this line.

I can understand why you would get tested since you were adopted but I got tested for another reason. Unlike you I knew exactly what my ancestry is : two Irish grandfathers, an English/Scottish grandmother and a west Germanic grandmother from Elsass-lothringnen . Since the Irish are of or were a part of an ethnic group that was oppressed like the Chinese and Jews I was hoping my British and Germanic mixture would push me towards genetically clustering as Scottish. The Scots and the Irish are closely related with the Scottish having elevated Germanic and English admixture, relatively speaking. I mean who wants to be part of an 'oppressed ' ethnic group ? Seems everyone wants to be Irish nowadays which is strange.

Mike_G
06-16-2017, 05:02 AM
I don't know why, but this latest turn is unexpected for me. Compared to my adoption paper work I've gone from Polish to Lithuanian, Dutch to German, and now I have to throw Irish into the mix? Dizzying.

That's funny about people wanting to be Irish or any ethnicity for that matter. I don't care if that last quarter turns out to be Irish or Irish Setter; I just want to put the puzzle together.

NewAlbion
06-16-2017, 06:17 AM
I don't know why, but this latest turn is unexpected for me. Compared to my adoption paper work I've gone from Polish to Lithuanian, Dutch to German, and now I have to throw Irish into the mix? Dizzying.

That's funny about people wanting to be Irish or any ethnicity for that matter. I don't care if that last quarter turns out to be Irish or Irish Setter; I just want to put the puzzle together.

Yeah, I understand. I wasn't implying you want to be Irish but it seems many Americans do especially on Saint Patrick's day.

tahir0010
06-16-2017, 06:21 AM
I am in the same position as you I was adopted, but my DNA it seems was very split between Eastern Europe, Middle East, Balkans, and then Northern Europe. So I am guessing that one of my parents must have been from some Ottoman Area, thus the mixture between the Middle East, Asia, and Balkan, and then the other parent must have been European. I am still having trouble figuring this all out. As it is difficult, and I have only found one cousin that is living now in Bosnia. I tried GEDMATCH, but that just confused me more, because each Eurogenes, and MDLP I do my MDLP world is highly Balkanated, and my Eurogenes is a mixture of Eastern Europe and Northern Europe. I know that this does not have to do with your Irish ancestry, but trying to piece everything together can give you a headache. Also I heard that Gedmatch isn't alway accurate when it comes to things, and then some people say it is accurate. So I have just stopped trying to define this, and just do what my FTDNA says.

Mike_G
06-16-2017, 12:03 PM
I am in the same position as you I was adopted, but my DNA it seems was very split between Eastern Europe, Middle East, Balkans, and then Northern Europe. So I am guessing that one of my parents must have been from some Ottoman Area, thus the mixture between the Middle East, Asia, and Balkan, and then the other parent must have been European. I am still having trouble figuring this all out. As it is difficult, and I have only found one cousin that is living now in Bosnia. I tried GEDMATCH, but that just confused me more, because each Eurogenes, and MDLP I do my MDLP world is highly Balkanated, and my Eurogenes is a mixture of Eastern Europe and Northern Europe. I know that this does not have to do with your Irish ancestry, but trying to piece everything together can give you a headache. Also I heard that Gedmatch isn't alway accurate when it comes to things, and then some people say it is accurate. So I have just stopped trying to define this, and just do what my FTDNA says.

You're in the same position I was about this time last year when I received my first results from 23andme. Gedmatch calculator results can be more accurate than what the testing companies produce, but I had differences similar to yours between Eurogenes and MDLP. At this point the only way to discover or confirm your ethnicity is through DNA matching with other people and tracing their heritage, which requires luck and then poring through genealogical and maybe other research sites. I don't know how much record keeping is available in your areas of interest. Here it's pretty good mostly thanks to our LDS friends, but it takes a lot of searching and by no means is all the information like census data and birth/death/marriage records complete.

My other caveat is that my biological parents are in their mid 70s at this point if they're still alive. I'm in no way interested in disturbing them in their Golden Years nor do I want to roll any grenades into tents (metaphorically speaking of course) at family reunions by contacting their close relatives, especially if I'm wrong about any of this. I don't give a damn about the circumstances surrounding my adoption, I just want to know where my ancestors came from.

Good luck and try to stay patient.

pregan
06-16-2017, 06:22 PM
You could take a Y-DNA test at FTDNA, this would tell you if your paternal line is Irish. Have you tried that? If so, I would happily check the results for ya!

MikeWhalen
06-16-2017, 07:19 PM
recent scientific research makes it clear why so many 'wish' to have some Irish heritage.
It is best summed up by the following...

16921

on a less scientific note, there is always this concept....

16922


your welcome
:)

Mike









I don't know why, but this latest turn is unexpected for me. Compared to my adoption paper work I've gone from Polish to Lithuanian, Dutch to German, and now I have to throw Irish into the mix? Dizzying.

That's funny about people wanting to be Irish or any ethnicity for that matter. I don't care if that last quarter turns out to be Irish or Irish Setter; I just want to put the puzzle together.

Mike_G
06-17-2017, 04:15 AM
You could take a Y-DNA test at FTDNA, this would tell you if your paternal line is Irish. Have you tried that? If so, I would happily check the results for ya!

My biological father is Lithuanian. Y-DNA is included in my screen name box. MTDNA haplogroup tells me nothing other than it's prevalent in northwestern Europe.

tahir0010
06-17-2017, 07:25 AM
You're in the same position I was about this time last year when I received my first results from 23andme. Gedmatch calculator results can be more accurate than what the testing companies produce, but I had differences similar to yours between Eurogenes and MDLP. At this point the only way to discover or confirm your ethnicity is through DNA matching with other people and tracing their heritage, which requires luck and then poring through genealogical and maybe other research sites. I don't know how much record keeping is available in your areas of interest. Here it's pretty good mostly thanks to our LDS friends, but it takes a lot of searching and by no means is all the information like census data and birth/death/marriage records complete.

My other caveat is that my biological parents are in their mid 70s at this point if they're still alive. I'm in no way interested in disturbing them in their Golden Years nor do I want to roll any grenades into tents (metaphorically speaking of course) at family reunions by contacting their close relatives, especially if I'm wrong about any of this. I don't give a damn about the circumstances surrounding my adoption, I just want to know where my ancestors came from.

Good luck and try to stay patient.

Question, but do you think in your research that the GEDmatch is accurate or is it only accurate if you know your ancestry background. I have heard from other Genetic websites that it is not accurate, as if you use a calculator that is not used for your dna it will not say that you aren't from that DNA it will still say that you are something in Africa even if you are European if that makes sense. So do you think it is just better to stick to ancestry and ftdna then doing all the diving in with the gedmatch. Especially for people who are adopted, and do not know a lot about there full ancestry. For example my MDLP especially my MDLP world is highly balkanized while my Eurogenes is still balkanized just not as much as MDLP world.

sktibo
06-17-2017, 09:38 AM
I mean who wants to be part of an 'oppressed ' ethnic group ? Seems everyone wants to be Irish nowadays which is strange.

Just about everyone does. It's become fashionable to belong to a 'minority' or a previously oppressed ethnic group of some kind. Basically, people want to distance themselves from the English if they're able to, and people with English ancestry usually have Scottish, Irish, or Welsh ancestry as well, so they cling to those and omit the English. I generally ask the people I meet about their ethnic background and these are the observations I have made over the years.. A friend of mine who studies Gaelic language and all things Celtic once explained to me when and how this became fashionable, although I can't put her words to justice off of memory here. If you want I could ask her, record what she says, and post it here... This is one of the topics I find to be the most fascinating.

Ahem, on topic!
@ Mike_G

I noticed that your Irish percentage remained with you despite the recent Living DNA reforms:
"Ireland 2.3%
Southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland 1.8%"

Since we know that Living DNA's Irish sample is currently 7 people (as listed in the YouTube video recently posted from the WDYTYA lecture by Garrett Hellenthal) I think the fact that your percentage remains, despite being diminished, is promising of genuine Irish ancestry. The small sample size means it would be difficult to match with, and as we have seen from our full blooded Irish forumites, even Jessie only gets around 50% in this category. I think this is the best evidence you have between your tests of actual Irish ancestry, as Ancestry's test doesn't have enough other British categories to truly separate their Irish percentage from Britain - having very few Scottish samples makes it difficult, and even fully English people often get large percentages of Ireland from ancestry DNA tests.

MacUalraig
06-17-2017, 10:11 AM
Just about everyone does. It's become fashionable to belong to a 'minority' or a previously oppressed ethnic group of some kind. Basically, people want to distance themselves from the English if they're able to, and people with English ancestry usually have Scottish, Irish, or Welsh ancestry as well, so they cling to those and omit the English. I generally ask the people I meet about their ethnic background and these are the observations I have made over the years.. A friend of mine who studies Gaelic language and all things Celtic once explained to me when and how this became fashionable, although I can't put her words to justice off of memory here. If you want I could ask her, record what she says, and post it here... This is one of the topics I find to be the most fascinating.



Couldn't agree more. It amuses me though being half Scottish and half English. I can't remember meeting anyone ever expressing pleasure about having proved they were English as they are perceived as the oppressors. Best results are Irish, Hugeonots or Jewish. Extra points if you can claim your ancestor emigrated because of religious persecution. The fact that the English have been invaded repeatedly and are even named after a bunch of invaders doesn't seem to register.

sktibo
06-17-2017, 10:45 AM
Couldn't agree more. It amuses me though being half Scottish and half English. I can't remember meeting anyone ever expressing pleasure about having proved they were English as they are perceived as the oppressors. Best results are Irish, Hugeonots or Jewish. Extra points if you can claim your ancestor emigrated because of religious persecution. The fact that the English have been invaded repeatedly and are even named after a bunch of invaders doesn't seem to register.

I'd argue Highland Scottish might be equal to or even more sought after than Irish, though I think it's awfully close between the two.

Over here in Canada we have an astonishing number of people who claim native American ancestry without any actually being there, and many families have stories about there being NA ancestors. I think there was a book written about this phenomenon. One woman I went to university with lived like she was native American... played traditional instruments, sang in their style, hung out with NA students, ect. I got to know her and I noticed her ancestry (in some classes about Aboriginal topics we begin by talking about our background) was quite vague. She was routinely upset that she was denied a status card.. Finally, I realized that she wasn't actually native American, but wanted to be more than anything in the world. I've never seen a case of conviction equal to hers. Personally, while I wish I had firmer Irish and Highland Scottish connections, I cannot deny that the dreaded English seems to be quite prevalent in me. I have only started to appreciate it after I realized how unwanted it is.. perhaps others will feel similarly and the trend may reverse in the future?

A Norfolk L-M20
06-17-2017, 12:28 PM
We've had such a bad press. Sorry, off topic.

Mike_G
06-17-2017, 03:24 PM
Question, but do you think in your research that the GEDmatch is accurate or is it only accurate if you know your ancestry background. I have heard from other Genetic websites that it is not accurate, as if you use a calculator that is not used for your dna it will not say that you aren't from that DNA it will still say that you are something in Africa even if you are European if that makes sense. So do you think it is just better to stick to ancestry and ftdna then doing all the diving in with the gedmatch. Especially for people who are adopted, and do not know a lot about there full ancestry. For example my MDLP especially my MDLP world is highly balkanized while my Eurogenes is still balkanized just not as much as MDLP world.

Good question tahir, but I'll defer to those people more knowledgeable to answer it for you, especially people who know a lot about DNA in the Turkish and Balkan region. Perhaps give Kurd a shout here on the forum? I know he does a lot of good stuff in the areas east and south of the Bosphorus Straits. I'm sure he's had to sort through a lot of Balkan DNA and given Ottoman/Balkan history I could imagine a heavy mixture of both in a lot of scenarios.

Mike_G
06-17-2017, 03:56 PM
We've had such a bad press. Sorry, off topic.

I've really enjoyed some of the comments so far. You guys/girls are funny.

I think I've got the "oppressed populations" box checked in bold with my Lithuanian background. I think the last time they kicked anyone's ass was in the Battle of Grunewald.

Norfolk you guys need a new Public Relations manager. A while back in a "what culture do you relate to?" thread, I wrote at length about my very positive attitude about my English background. OK as a Catholic maybe I'm not a huge Cromwell fan and being a Yank, I'm not crazy about King George III, but as we say over here "the higher you climb the tree, the more they can see of your ass." A nation's missteps (or perceived missteps) are magnified with its size and influence. We've had a lot of that on this side of the Atlantic since the 40's. Hell, even before that we made some very questionable moves to say the least, but that was limited to mostly domestic affairs.

Lots of welcome digression in this thread but back on topic: The whole Irish thing came as a surprise because it's all relatively recent in my DNA matches, but they're all pretty high on my match lists at Ancestry, which has proven to give me the highest number of quality matches. I think the Irish connection is very possible but on the other hand it's a relatively limited number of people.

MitchellSince1893
06-17-2017, 04:04 PM
When I was younger, and knew little about my ancestry, I was excited to later learn about my recent Welsh ancestry (father's paternal grandmother) and Scottish ancestry (father's paternal great grandmother), but as I've gotten older I've become more interested in my English side...probably because my father's mystery paternal line great grandfather was most likely English...to the point that I would be disappointed if he wasn't English.

A Norfolk L-M20
06-17-2017, 04:29 PM
What isn't always well known on the other side of the pond, is that the 19th and 20th century Irish settled England​, Wales, and Scotland as well as North America and Australia. It means that an awful lot of British families have Irish ancestry themselves, and that includes my own kids that have 25% Irish ancestry through their mother.

JerryS.
06-17-2017, 04:53 PM
I imagine that if you have Colonial English from America since the late 1700s its not a far stretch at all to find a Scottish and or Irish ancestor in the mix too.

Mike_G
06-17-2017, 05:14 PM
Yeah Jerry I expected the typical Colonial mix on my maternal side and definitely got it from my maternal grandfather to include PA Dutch, which is common where I grew up. I'm nowhere near 100% certain about this, but according to one person's tree that might trace my maternal grandfather's lineage back, they left England in the 1640s from Suffolk. Purely speculative at this point because I don't have much else to back that up right now.

rms2
06-17-2017, 06:07 PM
What isn't always well known on the other side of the pond, is that the 19th and 20th century Irish settled England​, Wales, and Scotland as well as North America and Australia. It means that an awful lot of British families have Irish ancestry themselves, and that includes my own kids that have 25% Irish ancestry through their mother.

According to Ancestry, I'm 26% Irish (I understand that could go back quite a ways). My dad's maternal grandmother was a McElroy, and her daughter, my paternal grandmother, is buried in a tomb that mysteriously has the surnames O'Malley and Cooney on it, despite the fact that her maiden surname was Pierce.

I can't explain that, but there's a lot I don't know about that line.

My grandmother was a faithful parishioner of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Orleans.

16972

JMcB
06-17-2017, 07:06 PM
According to Ancestry, I'm 26% Irish (I understand that could go back quite a ways). My dad's maternal grandmother was a McElroy, and her daughter, my paternal grandmother, is buried in a tomb that mysteriously has the surnames O'Malley and Cooney on it, despite the fact that her maiden surname was Pierce.

I can't explain that, but there's a lot I don't know about that line.

My grandmother was a faithful parishioner of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Orleans.

16972



Coincidentally, I just got my Ancestry results yesterday and they have me as 38% Irish. Although, I suspect much of that is actually Scottish because my Irish numbers should probably be around 12%. However, as you say, the time period may be far older than recent ancestry.

Nice tombstone!

MikeWhalen
06-17-2017, 07:26 PM
nice pic Richard!

I don't know if it is the same, but we had a similar discovery when we first started looking up gravestones in the local graveyard.

One of my paternal grand uncles was buried in a plot that the main big stone was of another name completely and not normally considered close kin.
Fortunately, we knew enough of the details to put together the likely reason, which was...
the man was very poor and lived a long time and by the time he died, the only local kin living was this 'other sort of distant kin family' and they 'stepped up' and took care of the burial and put him in the cemetery plot they controlled...otherwise, he probably would have been put in an anonymous paupers grave section

fyi

Mike


According to Ancestry, I'm 26% Irish (I understand that could go back quite a ways). My dad's maternal grandmother was a McElroy, and her daughter, my paternal grandmother, is buried in a tomb that mysteriously has the surnames O'Malley and Cooney on it, despite the fact that her maiden surname was Pierce.

I can't explain that, but there's a lot I don't know about that line.

My grandmother was a faithful parishioner of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Orleans.

16972

MitchellSince1893
06-17-2017, 10:51 PM
I imagine that if you have Colonial English from America since the late 1700s its not a far stretch at all to find a Scottish and or Irish ancestor in the mix too.

As time passed the percentage of English/Welsh ancestry in Colonial America dropped from 80% in 1700 to less than 50% in 1775.
http://images.slideplayer.com/26/8657217/slides/slide_16.jpg

http://images.slideplayer.com/18/5669933/slides/slide_32.jpg

MitchellSince1893
06-18-2017, 12:29 AM
Disregard

rms2
06-18-2017, 11:00 AM
nice pic Richard!

I don't know if it is the same, but we had a similar discovery when we first started looking up gravestones in the local graveyard.

One of my paternal grand uncles was buried in a plot that the main big stone was of another name completely and not normally considered close kin.
Fortunately, we knew enough of the details to put together the likely reason, which was...
the man was very poor and lived a long time and by the time he died, the only local kin living was this 'other sort of distant kin family' and they 'stepped up' and took care of the burial and put him in the cemetery plot they controlled...otherwise, he probably would have been put in an anonymous paupers grave section

fyi

Mike

Thanks, Mike. When my grandmother died back in 1970, she was doing okay and had plenty of close family around, so she wasn't put in that tomb for the same reason your granduncle was put in his. I haven't spent much time working on her line, and my dad absolutely does not care about genealogy (otherwise, he would know why she was put where she was), so her tomb will remain a mystery for the time being.

Bollox79
06-18-2017, 08:52 PM
What isn't always well known on the other side of the pond, is that the 19th and 20th century Irish settled England​, Wales, and Scotland as well as North America and Australia. It means that an awful lot of British families have Irish ancestry themselves, and that includes my own kids that have 25% Irish ancestry through their mother.

This is quite true. I have 4th and 5th cousins of both Scottish (Ferguson, Ritchie, Young among two families who are probably related back in Scotland as we all three are in a cluster of segments) in either Australia or New Zealand... I'd have to look at my notes/research. I was surprised at the amount of matches I got from both areas. Also Scottish Highland areas of E. Canada like Cape Breton. Also in Australia I get a couple cousins from New South Wales... one being a descendant of the famous rebel Michael Dwyer from Wicklow and also the O'Byrnes of Wicklow - our connection is probably through my Grandfather O'Dwyer's line, but she has a couple others in there that might be a link like a MacDonald from Scotland etc. Interesting how that still shows up in the autosomal. I knew I was descended from "rebels" from Ireland... but this just makes it that more likely as my distant cousin in New South Wales is descended from those rebel/outlaws who were sent over there. Also have the allied families of the O'Dwyers of Kilnamanagh showing up in my autosomal albeit distantly - so that looks about right based on the generations of Dywers - they married often with women from the family of the Butlers of Ormond - which still shows up in my distant cousin ancestry!!

Cheers!

Mike_G
06-25-2017, 09:42 PM
This is nuts. The 2nd cousin I corresponded with gave me a couple names for her mom's birth parents. I found her connection with the prominent name in the line fairly quickly. If we are in fact second(ish) cousins we shouldn't be too far removed, but I'll be damned if I can find any kind of connection between those people out in Western PA and where I was born. A few moved to the central and western parts of the U.S. but none east. The high match is a generation older than me, so the line going from the common relative is going to be longer on my side. I'm completely flummoxed at this point. I talked to my mom about my progress a couple of nights ago, and while she's very impressed that I've managed to find out what I have so far just based on a couple second cousin matches and one first cousin/once removed, right now I feel like an idiot because I know I'm missing something that should be obvious to me.

The more I look into my maternal grandfather side, the messier that gets in terms of ethnicity. The straight paternal line goes back to Suffolk, but there are a few possible non-English looking names from the 19th century onward (Kinney, Hiler, Larison). Same thing with the "German" great grandmother. Her paternal line goes back to Prussia, but again there are quite a few non-German names in her direct ancestor line (Meredith, Crawford, Nichols(???)).

No wonder my autosomal tests are so varied. I'm afraid to look at what happened with the Lithuanian side back in their home country. My Big Y matches range from Prussia, to Finland, Moscow, Tatarstan, Eastern Ukraine and a Tyumen Cossack thrown in for good measure.

Typical Yankee mongrel. Sheesh.

Mike_G
07-02-2017, 11:27 PM
2nd (and a half-ish) cousin looked through the information I gave her and talked about it with her brother. It seems I found their grandmother and great grandmother, who, if this stuff is correct, should be my great-great grandmother. Irish lady whose ancestry runs back to Donegal on her paternal side and Belfast and Germany (there's that pesky German again) on her maternal side. She died of tuberculosis in 1895. Her husband (whose father immigrated from Ireland) farmed out their three kids to his wife's relatives and remarried in 1896. Begrudgingly biting my tongue for now on that one.

Luck of the Irish? Knowing what I know about my entire maternal line I feel damn lucky that I was adopted and didn't know a lot of those people. Drunks, deadbeats and early deaths. I'm getting tired of interrogating dead people on their motives for certain things. "Why did you abandon your kids?" "Why didn't you stop drinking before it killed you?" "Why was your mother your next-of-kin on your burial paperwork instead of your wife? Did she Dear John you or did you Dear Jane her?" What a jacked up family. Haven't seen much on the Eastern European sperm donor side. Don't think I want to shine a flashlight down that dark hallway at this point.

Anyway, the Irish link wasn't quite as helpful as I was hoping, but I did manage to trace my great great grandmother's mom's mom's mom back to the Westphalia region in Germany, which answers my mtDNA question that's been bugging me -- I have a few mtDNA matches whose oldest relative comes from the western Germany/Netherlands vicinity. At least I can update my flags.

Mike_G
07-07-2017, 09:48 PM
After a flurry of email exchanges and more searching this week I've solved my puzzle.

Anastasia McK died of tuberculosis in western Pennsylvania at age 35 in 1895. I counted three children that her husband farmed out to her sisters. I missed the fourth, who stayed with her father temporarily. I found her in a 1910 census living with a family and working as their maid. She gave birth to my contacts' mother in 1915. Where did I fit in? DNA numbers didn't support 1st cousins/once removed, but the dates didn't support us being second cousins. Finally the idea of half-cousins came to mind. Sure enough I found a marriage record from 1920. Sometime between 1915 and 1920 she moved to NJ and married a man whose family came to America from Amsterdam in the late 1600s. She had at least three children with the guy including a girl born in 1925. I immediately suspected that her daughter could be my grandmother. I was unable to find any marriage records, but I came across her social security information that was released upon her death in 1994. Her name changed a couple times from her maiden name to her first husband's name, to her second husband's name. Her first husband's name matched that of my grandfather. Her obituary was headlined with her name and my grandfather's name in parenthesis. Freakiest thing is at some point she moved to the same town about 60 miles south of Newark to where my adopted dad has lived since the late 70s. I spent a lot of time there as a teenager. Who knows if I ever ran into her.

I have no plans to identify/pinpoint/contact my biological parents. That was never my purpose, and after discovering what I have, I have even less motivation to do so now. Don't know/don't care, although I would give my birth mom a big hug and thank her for not resorting to much worse alternatives and instead turning to a religious charity organization who put me in the arms of excellent parents with wonderful families on both sides who always treated me as one of their own.

I've found all eight great grandparent lines. There are still a few loose ends to tie up, but the heavy work is done.

Paternal:
Four great grandparents from Lithuania.

Maternal:
Great grandfather's family came from Suffolk, England in the mid 1600s.
Great grandmother's family came from the Westphalia (or Stuttgart...need to double check) region of Germany in the mid 1700s.
Great grandfather's family came from Amsterdam in the late 1600s.
Great grandmother's family came from N. Ireland in the early 1800s.


One side note regarding WW II: the United States "only" suffered 400,000 military deaths during that war. I lost my biological great grandfather in France, a second cousin/once removed on Anzio beach, and my dad (adopted dad's) godfather on Saipan who was shot by a Japanese sniper. My wife's grandfather was lucky to survive Japanese imprisonment in Manila. What a horrible conflict and I can only imagine what the people in Europe and Asia had to endure in terms of family losses.