Sunday, May 29, 2016
Sometimes, when I'm sitting in classes, trying to get up to speed on using genetic genealogy for my research, I hear people mention that term, "Daughtering Out." Mostly, it's said as if it's an unfortunate thing: "Oh, he daughtered out." I can picture a grizzled old pioneer, somewhere out in the forsaken, craggy outposts of the west—with a worn out wife collapsed somewhere inside their hovel, out of the blazing sun—bemoaning the fact that he has many more daughters than he can afford to marry off, and nary a son to help with the work around the house.
One could almost feel sorry for the dude.
When the term is used in reference to DNA pursuits, the pity is almost palpable. No one left to man up and volunteer for that Y-DNA test to discover Dad's true roots—instead of being captive to wholesale belief in the stories he came up with. Or didn't tell at all.
However, this season, I'm on a different quest. Fortunately for those in the family who wanted to know more about our patrilineal line, my dad didn't daughter out. And the one and only possible volunteer for the test in question was glad to help out.
But that's not what I'm working on, right now.
My goal this summer is to get a clearer picture of my matrilineal line. If you remember my surprising connection with a mystery cousin who turned out to be my first—and, at the time, only—exact match on our respective mitochondrial DNA tests, you know I've long been working on finding a genealogical connection with this adoptee.
More than that goal, though, is to secure additional support for my conjecture that an adoptee in my own line—my second great grandmother, Mary Rainey Broyles—was actually daughter of Thomas Firth and Mary Taliaferro Rainey. I have some documentation that seems to point in that direction. Lacking direct evidence, though, the matter isn't really settled—at least, not in my own mind.
Looking at the siblings of Mary Rainey Broyles, though, I ran into the very situation most genealogical DNA advocates seem to celebrate: the line didn't daughter out.
While that situation is wonderful if you are looking for potential volunteers for the Y-DNA test, it doesn't exactly help me in my research goal. After all, I need daughters because I'm working on the mother's mother's mother's line. And the only ones who can pass that along are women. No distant cousins on that matrilineal line, no possible test-takers with whom I can compare mtDNA results.
That's what landed me back a few more generations in that Strother line I mentioned yesterday. I made the presumptive leap beyond the generation in which I was stuck and kept tracing that line of mothers. If—and remember, that is a very speculative if—Jane Strother, wife of Thomas Lewis, was up-line on the matrilineal side from my orphaned Mary Rainey Broyles, I now have a lot of daughters to work with. Eight, if I'm counting correctly.
For each of Jane's daughters whose descendants I'm tracing, I cheer when that daughter marries and has children of her own. I cheer louder when those children turn out to be daughters. And then I get ready to cheer when I move on down to the next generation from those daughters. I want to make it back to the land of the living with some potential candidates who will be willing to spring for a mitochondrial DNA test of their own. With bated breath, in hopes that those women's haplogroups turn out to be one and the same as mine. With a genetic distance of zero as the cherry on top. In other words, another exact match.
Only this time, it won't be a mystery cousin. I'll already have the paper trail confirmed.
As long as those lines keep daughtering out until I get back to the present.
Above: "Master Baby," 1886 oil on canvas by Scottish painter Sir William Quiller Orchardson; courtesy Google Art Project via Wikipedia; in the public domain.