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Thread: Help with Colonial American genealogy

  1. #1
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    Help with Colonial American genealogy

    Hi everyone, I've been focused on my Colonial American heritage for a while and took an AncestryDNA test in hopes of finding clear matches to this line. While I've found a few great ones confirming my mother's Messecar/Van der Hoeff branch the majority I cannot pin down, even the 20cM and up individuals. With my English line AncestryDNA has been an absolute blessing, I'm easily able to find the mutual ancestors most of the time even down to 10cM. Why is it so difficult to connect with my American cousins? How does one go about finding the errors in their tree after the late 1700s/early 1800s when, in most cases, I've had to rely on family history books, wills, land deeds, and seemingly unsourced citations? With these matches I generally can't even find a matching surname, I do notice some patterns in the matches trees but I'm unsure if this is simply because these are common Colonial surnames or if I may be connected somewhere.

    I guess I'm asking for any tips for breaking through Colonial era brick walls, anything I should know about Colonial history, etc...people seemed to move around quite a bit those days. Much appreciated and thanks for reading!
    Y DNA E-V13>Z5018>S2979>Z16659>S2972* John Saunders unknown birthdate, died 1840 in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, England.
    MtDNA U5a2c3a Betty Hallissy b.1801 Passage West, Cork, Ireland

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  3. #2
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    One of my tough to follow ancestors is Barbara Rippeth/Reppeth, born abt. 1795 in PA, the daughter of Hugh Rippeth/Reppeth and Huldah Franklin. Hugh is documented in PA from 1778 up until 1800, I'm assuming he must have passed between then and 1810 because he cannot be found on census or any other records in that period. Hugh is said to have been "an Irishman"/"a native of Ireland" in the various county history books (History of Bradford County and Pioneers and Patriot Families of Bradford County Pennsylvania) but I cannot corroborate that information. There are other Rippeth/Reppeth family members in PA at the same time as Hugh, of the same age, supposedly tracing back to Anne Arundel, MD, to a James Rippeth (born in the US, not Ireland). James Rippeth appears to have ben a slave owner, would this be a reason for Hugh to lie about his origins in Pennsylvania? Whatever the case, I seem to have zero DNA matches to any Rippeth/Reppeth family, there are matches to Barbara Rippeth but nothing further.
    Y DNA E-V13>Z5018>S2979>Z16659>S2972* John Saunders unknown birthdate, died 1840 in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, England.
    MtDNA U5a2c3a Betty Hallissy b.1801 Passage West, Cork, Ireland

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     pmokeefe (05-29-2019),  Táltos (05-30-2019)

  5. #3
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    An interesting development on Hugh Rippeth: since the tax recordings, land deeds, and late 1700's/early 1800's census' don't have any information pertaining to the age of the person being recorded I attempted to trace the other Rippeths as potential siblings. While researching James Rippeth I found his marriage record and it states that he married a Martha Quigley in 1774, Lancaster PA. Upon reviewing my DNA matches I've got four that trace back to the same Quigley family as Martha, no other potential matches in their trees, I think I may be onto something.

    Edit: the Public Trees attempting to merge this Rippeth family to the Rippeth family in Anne Arundel County, MD, I don't believe they are correct. We may be related down the line but not in the way suggested in the trees, although I have found a few separate entries for James Rippeth in "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Runaway Servants, Convicts, and Apprentices, 1728-1796", James' residence place is Lancaster, PA (also listed as "owner"). Very confusing but the DNA matches should help clear things up if I'm lucky enough to find any more so far back.

    Last edit!: I also am not so sure that Hugh was a native of Ireland, he was probably just born of Irish stock. The Quigley's do seem to go back into Ireland but I need more records.
    Last edited by BackToTheForests; 05-30-2019 at 12:54 AM.
    Y DNA E-V13>Z5018>S2979>Z16659>S2972* John Saunders unknown birthdate, died 1840 in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, England.
    MtDNA U5a2c3a Betty Hallissy b.1801 Passage West, Cork, Ireland

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     Dewsloth (05-30-2019),  Táltos (05-30-2019)

  7. #4
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    Taking a pause from the Rippeth line for a bit to try my hand at finding some info on one of my favorite brick wall lines: Phebe Poiner, said to be born in 1750 in Dutchess County, NY, to a man from France with the last name Poiner/Poyner and Eunice Chapman of Connecticut. I've recently gotten some very surprising matches, so far they are all trace their lines back (three seperate matches so far, one of them entirely French/French Canadian!) to Pierre Arsenault, born 1646 in France (passed away in Canada), and Marie Guerin, born 1662 in Canada. These matches also match on lines with the surname Poirier, this particular Poirier line traces back to a Jacques Poirier and Francoise Brunet. The reason that Brunet is relevant is on another site I shared my kit number with a Brunet descendant (this man has incredible knowledge of his family history) and we found that we shared a small match, he also gave me his paternal uncles kit number. Well, I compared his uncles kit number to my mothers' today and this is what I got:

    Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 11.16.15 AM.png

    This line also has a connection to the Arsenaults.

    I'm not really sure how to proceed from here, I contacted the Brunet descendent to see if this Francoise Brunet, or her parents, are a part of his line. Any suggestions? What am I doing wrong? Should I put these matches into a group on AncestryDNA?
    Y DNA E-V13>Z5018>S2979>Z16659>S2972* John Saunders unknown birthdate, died 1840 in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, England.
    MtDNA U5a2c3a Betty Hallissy b.1801 Passage West, Cork, Ireland

  8. #5
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    Is it obvious that I've got a lot of time on my hands at the moment? Anyway...

    I've gotten word back that this is indeed a different line of Brunet's, I consider this great news in a way, I can now take focus off if that particular line. He mentioned to me that he does have Arsenault in his tree so I replied with the common Arsenault ancestors (plus their parents names) of my matches, hopefully we can connect somewhere. This is pretty huge for me, I never thought I would be able to uncover my French ancestors or where in France they came from, I'm cautiously optimistic. Poirier and Poiner is pretty close
    Y DNA E-V13>Z5018>S2979>Z16659>S2972* John Saunders unknown birthdate, died 1840 in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, England.
    MtDNA U5a2c3a Betty Hallissy b.1801 Passage West, Cork, Ireland

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