A quick recap on what we learned, what we questioned, and what’s still keeping me up at night from the ancestry research extravaganza.


So a few weeks ago, I resolved to head out into the suburbs to devote myself to a Saturday of pure ancestry research — and we got a helluva lot done.

As it stands now, Texas950 has yet to reply back to my initial message. A bit of a bummer since I was hoping to connect with her — but luckily we have her humble family tree to work off.

If Ancestry.com’s estimates are to be believed — and Texas950 is my mom’s second cousin — that means our search begins at the MRCA can be two of eight people:

  • Jerry Davis and Minnie Shields
  • Pat Harrison and Pearl Bogany
  • George Dickson and Sallie Mae Kennard
  • The parents of someone named Willie Reddrick
ancestrydna family tree results for Texas950’s family and my possible second cousin
Part of Texas950’s tree

Unfortunately, none of the above has a location attached to them or even a date of birth.

HOWEVER, since I’m one of the world’s foremost experts on obvious clues, I looked to Texas950’s username for leads.

Texas950.

Texas.

My God. Could it be that simple?

After punching in Texas for the possible location of Jerry Davis and Minnie Shields I discovered that it was that simple.

Boom.

So now we have a location. After further research, we discovered that the family was mostly localized in the Houston area.

This helped us greatly in finding out more about Texas950’s kin. Soon we were uncovering census records going as far back as 1880 and death certificates for much of the family.

Which reminds me, I should tell my mom to get her heart checked. If we’re related to this family then we are INCREDIBLY predisposed to heart disease. Yowza.

One of the interesting things that tends to happen when you look through these records is that you start to realize that many people tend to make mistakes when compiling their trees. Not to disparage Texas950’s efforts — I think she did a fantastic job. But there were still a few inconsistencies and gaps that Mrs. H and I were able to fill by doing a deep dig into the family records.

After a while, Mrs. H decided that it might help us even more if we just compiled our own tree, and so that’s what we did.

The great and scary thing about having someone like her on my ancestry team is that she’s able to use her years of research and ancestry acumen, and weaponize it to a frightening degree. After a while she was able to take Texas950s above family tree and turn it into this.

AncestryDNA family tree for Texas950’s family and my possible second cousins
I’m related to someone here.

I had to zoom wayyyyy out in order to fit it all in there.

Like I said, Mrs. H is a BEAST when it comes to this sort of thing.

Unfortunately, when all was said and done — and even though we nearly tripled the family tree — we were unable to find any leads when it comes to my grandfather.

That being said, it was really fun and incredibly helpful to spend the day with Mrs. H trying to figure this out.

Takeaways

The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry — especially when it comes to finding a grandfather you never met. I should learn to temper my expectations more even if something cool like getting a 2nd cousin match comes up.

All that being said, I learned a lot of new resources I can use in the future from Mrs. H though including:

 

  • Find a Grave: A great resource to help find where people are buried. It also allows you to discover their relatives and next of kin.
  • Family Search: A fantastic and free website that provides a zillion indexed records from all over the globe.

The search doesn’t end here though. I’ll be doing a lot more digging in the coming weeks.

 

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