Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Beginning

My genealogy life began in March 1995. I was in Ohio for a maternal cousin’s funeral. My sisters, cousin, and I were visiting my dad’s grave in Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. It was my first trip back to Ohio since 1974 (my family had moved to Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia, in 1973).

As we were gathered around his final resting place, we were talking about how much we did not know about his family. It was suggested since I did not work outside the home, I should find out about them. And so it began.

Once I returned home, I obtained my Mamaw Campbell’s (Leona Myrtle Allen Campbell) obituary from the Clark County Public Library in Springfield. I had a little knowledge about her family as I had attended some Allen family reunions as a child and visited the family cemetery in Pike County.

Her obituary led to many more obituaries and vital certificates for her family and the family of my Grandpa Campbell (Henry Clinton Campbell) whom I never knew as he died in 1939, 20 years before my birth. I also contacted “new” cousins on both lines. Some of them knew about me and others had photos of family members. I saw my Grandpa Campbell for the first time thanks to a photo shared by a cousin.

In 1996, I made my first genealogical research trip to Ohio with my sister Holly. My first stop was the Crispin Cemetery in Highland County, Ohio. I have been visiting Ohio 2-3 times a year since. I also have visited many other states researching my ancestors and those of my husband including Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Even though I have now been researching almost 23 years, I feel it is,“Only the beginning, only just the start,” as my favorite artist Robert Lamm sings.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Skeletons in My Closet, Part 3

Autosomal DNA tests came in for the three sisters a couple of weeks ago and I have been comparing them with some of the kits on my maternal side of the family.

Below is a chart of the total shared cM between the three sisters (D, M, and S), my mom, my two aunts, my uncle, my brother (actually my half-brother), my sister, and me, obtained from Family Finder Matches at Family Tree DNA.

This is another chart of the matches obtained from the GEDmatch 3D Chromosome Browser using the cM threshold of 5.

Based on Blaine Bettinger’s The Shared CM Project, for a first cousin relationship with the sisters, my brother, sister, and myself should have around 533-1379 of shared cM. For a relationship of aunt/uncle with the sisters, my mom, aunts, and uncle should have about 1301-2193 of shared cM.

Remember, we are also related through my maternal grandmother. Just using that side of the family, my brother, sister, and myself are second cousins, once-removed to the sisters and should share around 0-325 cM. My mom, aunts, and uncle are second cousins to the sisters and should share about 43-504 cM.

If my brother, my sister, and I are half-first cousins to the three sisters (sharing the same grandfather but different grandmothers), we should share an average of 425 cM according to the table located at the International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki page. My mom, aunts, and uncle should have about 850 cM shared since they are half-aunts and half-uncle. It looks like we have met that requirement.

I also performed the “In Common With” feature on everyone at Family Tree DNA and used various lines of my grandfather (O’Rear, Humphries, Harbison, Alexander, Cole, Kinney, Henderson, Stephens, and Gann). This would have been easier if more matches would have had ancestral surnames and/or GEDCOMs associated with their kits.

This project would have been more difficult if I did not have a clue about the paternal grandfather of the sisters. I would have most likely have used some additional third-party tools.

What’s next? I am testing four more of my maternal first cousins in a couple of weeks. I am also going to research the maternal lines of the sisters to help sort out all of my maternal lines. Their father also had three siblings with unknown fathers so I will see where that will lead. Personally, I am going to start to work on assigning chromosome segments to my specific ancestors. I have more mysteries to solve!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Skeletons in My Closet, Part 2

On 3 March 2017, I had dinner with my “new” cousins in Valdosta, Georgia. I met Dottie and Sherrie, two daughters of my possible half-uncle, and Devon, one of his granddaughters.

An Alabama birth certificate of Charles Edward Butler was obtained by my uncle. This was actually an amended birth certificate which was issued as the result of a name change that occurred 31 January 1994.1 I mentioned this to Sherrie and Dottie. They said when their father retired, he had a problem receiving his social security benefits. He discovered that his surname at birth was O’Mary instead of Butler which he had been using all his life. Charles spent a few days in Alabama trying to locate his birth certificate. This may explain the sighting of the man in Jasper who looked just like Lester O’Rear (my grandfather).

My mom has requested birth certificates of two more children of Grace O’Mary. The vital records office in Alabama is having difficulty locating the certificates. A trip to the Lamar County Probate Court may be necessary.

Below is a link to a chart of my 2nd great-grandparents, William Richard O’Mary and Amanda E. Harrison listing their daughter Emma Caroline (my great-grandmother) and Grace (mother of Charles).

O'Mary Chart

I have not yet located a marriage record for Grace and Howard Butler (my great-grandfather). She was 15 years of age when their daughter Iva Lee was born.

Grace’s son Burtis never married nor had any children so the identity of his father may never be found. Doris did have children and so did Willa. I have not made any contact with them yet.

Grace married E. Lester Johnson and had 3 sons with him and all 3 are now deceased. They may have known some family information.

The three sisters have submitted their DNA to Family Tree DNA and their results are estimated to be available by the end of April. I can't wait!

1Alabama Department of Health, amended birth certificate no. 101-33-54378 (1933), Charles Edward Butler, formerly “Charles Edward O’Mary”; Center for Health Statistics, Montgomery.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Skeletons in My Closet, Part 1

My genealogical world was turned upside down last week while attending a maternal uncle's funeral. The family was in the church's social hall having lunch between the service and the burial. I noticed that there was quite a bit of animated conversation going on at the table in front of me. I looked at my sister who was seated there, and she kept saying to me, "Did you know? Did you know?"

I went over to her and asked what she was talking about. She asked me if I knew that my grandfather had an illegitimate son. I looked around at the table and heads were nodding yes. It seems that the secret had been revealed to an uncle recently by my aunt. My other aunt spoke up and said she was planning to tell us at our annual trip to St. Simons Island in May. My sister and I asked my mom about it. She also knew and was rather upset that the cat was out of the bag. She thought that it was a secret only known to the three sisters and she had wanted it kept that way. A few days later I was told that my other two uncles had known.

Story is that some of my family had been attending a family reunion in Jasper, Alabama, a number of years ago. A relative had mentioned that there was a man in Jasper that looked just like my maternal grandfather. My grandmother's sister told my aunt that she knew who the other man was. This aunt is also a genealogist and she tracked down a couple of the man's daughters and actually met with them a couple of times. I've been involved in genealogy since 1995. Why wasn't I told?!

The mother of the illegitimate son was a woman I know about from my research. Her name was Grace. Grace was my grandmother's maternal aunt. Grace was my grandmother's step-mother. And most likely Grace was the lover of my grandmother's husband (my grandfather).

Researching the life of Grace has moved to the top of my to-do list. I'll also be reviewing my family's DNA results and looking for some new subjects to test.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Black Friday Deals

A couple of weeks ago I discovered I had five ancestors buried about an hour from my daughter's house in Franklin, North Carolina. Since we were going there for Thanksgiving (my in-laws also live in Franklin), I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go cemetery exploring.

In the Newfound Baptist Church Cemetery in Leicester, Buncombe County, North Carolina, I found a set of maternal 4th great-grandparents (David Cole and his wife Rachel Thrash) and their fathers (my 5th great-grandfathers), Joseph Cole (Revolutionary War veteran) and Valentine Thrash (Revolutionary War veteran).

Barbara, the wife of Valentine Thrash, is buried about 14 miles south in Candler, Buncombe County, at the Hominy Baptist Church Cemetery.

Newfound Baptist Church Cemetery

Hominy Baptist Church Cemetery

I am sure I will be making future trips to Buncombe County for additional research.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy birthday, Daddy!

Today would have been my dad's 87th birthday. The last one we celebrated with him was in 1968.

Allen Henry Campbell was born 19 December 1928, in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, to Henry Clinton and Leona Myrtle Allen Campbell. He was their 4th child and only son.

Dad was a great bowler and played in several leagues. His first job was as a pinsetter at Shamrock Lanes in Springfield when he was only 14 years of age.

I got my love of animals from him. His hobby was raising beagles and he had many over the years. I knew all of their names, every single one. He was a member of the American Kennel Club and was registered as Allen's Royal Beagles. Dad participated in many field trials throughout Ohio and bordering states. My sister Kelley and I used to attend them with him (my brother Jim also did before we were old enough to go). We even had our own corduroy jackets with Allen's Royal Beagles embroidered on them.

Happy birthday, Daddy! We love you and think of you often.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Very Special Gift

My dad was Allen Henry Campbell.  He was born 19 December 1928, in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio1, to Henry Clinton Campbell and Leona Myrtle Allen.  He was their 4th child and only son.

Dad died 11 July 1969, in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio2, and is buried in Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio3.  At the time of his death,  I was 9 years old, my sister was 7, and my brother (actually my 1/2 brother from my mom's first marriage) was 21.  My mom was 3 months pregnant with my youngest sister.

I don't remember visiting my dad's grave before we moved away to Georgia in 1973 and do not know if my mom ever did.  It wasn't until I visited it in 1995 that I noticed something was wrong.  It was a military stone and the information stated he served in World War II.  He would have been too young to serve in that war.  Sometime after I returned home, I ordered his military files from St. Louis.  His records stated he served in the Korean War.

I had thought about ordering a corrected marker, but I never did anything about it.

In April 2014 when I was visiting my brother, he gave me a flash drive and asked what I thought.  There were tombstone photos in the file.  I wasn't sure if he wanted me to research the names.  He said he wanted my opinion on the stones.  He said he was going to replace my dad's stone with a new one that would have the correct information on it.

The stone was ordered and we were not sure when it would be set as the cemetery office said it would be at least several months.  I was hoping it would be there by my October 2014 Ohio trip, but it was not.  A few months later the stone had arrived, but my dad's name had been misspelled so the process had to start again.

This morning I received an email from my brother with photos.  The stone is in place and it looks beautiful.  I am in tears and thankful for this gift my brother has given my father. A man who was not his biological father, but a man who became a part of his life when he was 10 years old.

1. Clark County, Ohio, birth certificate no. 110317 (1928), Allen Henry Campbell; Clark County Health Department, Springfield.
2. Ohio Department of Health, death certificate 049089 (1969), Allen H. Campbell; Division of Vital Statistics, Columbus.
3. Ibid.