Detective Work: The Genealogy of 2 Vietnam Vets

Texas950 made contact again — and this time, she’s got more light to shed on her Vietnam vet relatives.


After replying to Texas950’s message to me, I felt hopeful about this lead…that is until another week went by and she didn’t respond.

Since patience isn’t my strongest suit, I decided to take more active measures in reaching out to my cousin. So after a little bit of digging on Google (read: a whole lotta digging) I found both her Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

Since I’m not in the market for a new job, I decided to shoot her a message on Facebook just reaching out and reiterating a few questions I had:

  1. The name of her mother’s half-brother.
  2. Where he lived.
  3. His date of birth.

Though she did mention that there was another relative — Keith Brown — who served in Vietnam as well, I decided to follow the half-brother lead a little bit more since there was less information to go on.

Well, a few days later she got back to me!

According to her:

Tony,

I asked my mom about her half brother William”Bill” Walker not Howard. He was born the San Francisco Bay Area. She does not know his date of birth and is not sure that he serviced in the Military. We are very baffled because Ancestry has you as a 2nd cousin to me. Not sure how that is possible? Hope this is helpful.

I’m not as thrown off by the second cousin match with my mother considering that it’s only an estimate from Ancestry.com and not an actual prediction. Still…it’s important to be noted that they wouldn’t be “true” second cousins.

I also learned that Bill lived in Fairfield, CA and was even married to a woman at the time (I’ll withhold her name for the time being as I’m not sure if she’s alive or not).

Now, this is concurrent with a few things that my ba ngaoi has told me about my grandfather:

  1. He’s a black man.
  2. He lived in California.
  3. He served in Vietnam.
  4. He was married.

However, his last name is not Robinson as my grandmother has told me before — though I’m not as tripped up about this since her memory is pretty hazy of all things of that time.

From here, I’m going to follow the thread of Bill Howard from Fairfield, CA until I either hit a dead end or I reach the finish line. I’m hoping military and census records can help me out the rest of the way. If not, I recently learned about the byzantine methodology of genetic triangulation that I’m hoping I won’t have to jump into less I lose my mind completely.

Onwards and upwards. 

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3 Thoughts to “Detective Work: The Genealogy of 2 Vietnam Vets”

  1. RK

    How many cM do you share with Texas950?

    1. Tony Tran

      No idea! She’s not on GEDMatch — or at least she isn’t yet.

      I’m wondering if it’s not my place to ask her to upload her results (though I’d LOVE it if she did)

  2. RK

    No need for her to be on Gedmatch. Click on “view match” on Ancestry, then the “i” next to the confidence level, and you can see the cM.

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