Friday, September 22, 2023

At Least it Isn't John Smith


I've run into a problem with this most recent research goal of mine. I'm tidying up my ThruLines suggestions for DNA matches who descend from my fourth great-grandfather, Aaron Broyles. My first step had been to connect the six matches descending from Aaron's son Cain—a small number which should be fairly easy to complete. Right?

Think again. There is one DNA match whose ThruLines chart has me stumped. The line of descent moves from Aaron himself to his son, Cain, and then to Aaron's namesake grandson, Aaron R. Broyles. From there, supposedly, the next generation included a son named William. And there's the problem: I can't find a son named William. In fact, I can't find any sons at all; the younger Aaron had only daughters.

I spent a lot of time poking around all the possible collateral line routes to unearth any clues about the missing William without success. There was no William to be found.

And then, it hit me: what if the trees this ThruLines diagram was drawn upon were based on the wrong Aaron Broyles? After all, I've run into that problem before with the name Aaron Broyles. While having to find multiple Aaron Broyleses might make the possibilities even messier, at least it isn't a John Smith that I'm seeking!

Doing a quick search through records at, I located another Aaron Broyles who happened to have a son named William. Checking the data on my ThruLines match, it gave the same year of birth as the William I had found in this quick search. And this William's middle initial—"H."—made all the more sense once I realized this other Aaron was married to someone whose maiden name was Hays.

It is easy to see how someone could make the mistake. The other Aaron Broyles was born in 1821—the same year, but not the same month, as my Aaron Broyles.

How I'm related to this other Aaron Broyles I don't yet know. I'll have to construct my own tree to determine the connection to the correct ancestral Broyles linking me to this DNA match. Or—who knows?—perhaps extending the family line and vetting it with adequate documentation may point me to another most recent common ancestor shared with this DNA match. In fact, I'll need to confirm every step along that generational journey. There may be yet another unexpected turn to find. 


  1. It is challenging when families continue to use the same names for everyone!

    1. It certainly encourages us to sharpen our research skills!


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