Tuesday, July 25, 2017

There's Always Going to be a Down Side

Admittedly, at first I jumped the gun. Looking at the pedigree chart for my—finally!—first real "exact match" from my mitochondrial DNA test, the minute I saw the name Elizabeth Strother, I knew we had a match. Why? Because there was an Elizabeth Strother, sister of the Jane Strother who was part of my matriline.

At least, it was part of my presumed matriline. The difficulty, as we've been discussing, is that right in the middle of my matrilineal ancestry is the roadblock of the unknown parentage of my orphaned second great grandmother.

We've already examined the possible lineage from the point of that orphan back through the next several generations, and why I think these are reasonable guesses. But when we get to the soon-to-become wife of Thomas Lewis, Jane Strother, we start running into problems.

First off, though some old recountings of the family genealogy state, almost in one breath, "Jane, daughter of William Strother of Stafford," there are some records which assign to him thirteen "blooming daughters," while other arguments imply he had absolutely none—or, perhaps, six.

Thankfully, the listing that allowed for a more modest count of six included both a Jane and an Elizabeth.

Besides that, depending on whose account one is reading, Jane's father, William, is one of a line of at least three, if not six, generations of men named William Strothers. Conveniently, each generation is numbered. The trick is to insure how far back any particular researcher decided to start his count of the Williams. One genealogy has my William identified as "William III." Another counts him as "William VI."

Let's take leave of our woes on that side of the family for a moment and look at the other side of the story: the pedigree chart provided by my exact match.

What I hadn't, at first, noticed when I spotted that Elizabeth Strother in my match's tree was that she had Elizabeth's parents listed not as William and Margaret, as I was showing, but as Francis Strother and Susannah Dabney. Understandably, for large families given to repeating the same favorite names from generation to generation, there would be more than one Elizabeth in the Strother generations. But I'm really not in the mood to celebrate that abundance just yet.

As it turns out, depending upon which old published genealogy one wishes to use as guide, there are helpful suggestions...or not.

For one thing, in support of a Francis Strother's very existence, there is mention of Jane's father William having a brother Francis. More to the point, that brother Francis did marry someone named Susannah Dabney.

Even more perilous to the survival of my presumed pedigree, that Francis and Susannah did have a daughter. And—surprise, surprise—that daughter's name was, indeed, Elizabeth.

Oh, groan.

Take heart, though, for in continuing the saga of that Elizabeth, it turns out she married someone named James Gaines. My match's pedigree indicated her Elizabeth Strother married a man by the name of John Frogg, just as I had had it in my own records. The only problem I had from that point onward was that my match's pedigree continued with a daughter for John and Elizabeth Frogg, when I only had two male descendants listed for that couple—male descendants, incidentally, who would never pass along that matrilineal heritage from my Jane's mother.

If you recall from the other day, that very John Frogg (or Frogge, as some records had it) was the one over which there were some documentation disputes, according to the national Daughters of the Revolution website. Still, even on their database, one of the descendants of this John and Elizabeth was listed as the Jane Frogg named by my match. And, just as my match had it in her tree, this DAR-verified Jane went on to marry a Virginia man named Manoah Corley.

So perhaps that "down side" I was concerned about adds up to nothing more than mis-attributed parentage of the Elizabeth Strother in my match's line. Still, to be quite sure I'm comparing the correct lines—after all, mine is a presumed line, owing to my second great grandmother's orphan status—I need to check every step of the way on both mine and my match's pedigree. This will take some additional digging to pull up as many documents as possible.


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