DNA matches can provide a helpful way to draw connections in one's family tree, but when the relationships become as distant as that of Adam Broyles, my fifth great-grandfather, I'm preferring the route of researching documentation first. Still, we're taking a peek at what can be found through those matches.
Right now, my focus has been on Adam and Mary Broyles' oldest son, Moses, for whom I have three descendants who match my DNA test at Ancestry.com. According to their ThruLines readout, I have one DNA match with Moses' son William, which we took a look at yesterday, and two DNA matches through Moses' son James. We'll see what we can learn about James and his family today.
Unlike his brother William, who within five years of marriage moved his family from Virginia to Kentucky, James seemed to follow more firmly in his father's footsteps. The middle child of five for Moses Broyles and Barbara Carpenter, James remained in the county where his parents had raised him, Madison County in Virginia.
James Broyles was married twice, not an unusual situation during a time when childbirth took the lives of a significant number of mothers. James first married Nancy Taylor, daughter of Littleton Taylor and Ann Hensley, whose brother Humphrey later became husband of James' baby sister Nancy.
James' wife Nancy bore him five children, but her death in about 1820 must have left James with some young children still at home, for he subsequently married Anne Wilhoite, who gave him at least two more children.
Apparently, James' son John was the descendant from whom my two remaining DNA matches claim our connection. Besides the observation, now that I've been dabbling in Broyles genealogy, that John is becoming a frequent choice for naming a son, his birth before his mother's 1820 death put me squarely back in that same research conundrum: record sets not as easily accessed online.
I cheated. Turning to Arthur Leslie Keith's unpublished manuscript, now digitized and available online at FamilySearch.org, I noticed that unlike his father James, John chose to move westward. According to the Keith manuscript (page 273, or page view 275 for the online version), John likely moved to Ohio, maybe around Fairfield County. The Keith manuscript records the names of ten children, but only a few have any notations of where they were born or lived, despite adequate mention of the spouses married by these Broyles descendants and the grandchildren born.
Between John Broyles' generation and that of my DNA matches, there are sandwiched three other generations. Time to check the paper trail for each of those steps in the tree. Fortunately, moving to this side of the 1850 census divide provides more records I can work with, so tracking the assertion on the ThruLines report for these two DNA matches will be much easier to do.
Once I complete that process, the next task—and the final work on this month's research goal—will be to revisit my work on my own fourth great-grandfather, Aaron Broyles. There has been a question percolating in the back of my mind ever since discovering the Civil War diaries of some other distant Broyles cousins and their kin, and I believe I've found my answer in the Broyles Family book I bought from the Germanna Foundation this month. It is always encouraging to see how families fit together.