DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

DNA Definites, no. 23.


Joseph Buckner Martin (1868-1928) is said to have been the father of my great-grandmother Bessie Henderson and her brother Jesse “Jack” Henderson. Does DNA back this up?

Sort of.

One of Bessie’s descendants (me) and three of Jack’s (J.E., L.H. and M.C.) have tested with Ancestry DNA. I match each of them as expected. But whom do we match?

Buck Martin was the son of Lewis H. and Mary Ann “Polly” Price Martin. Though Lewis and Polly had ten children, so far I have not identified matches for any of us with descendants of any of them.

Let’s back up a generation though. Lewis H. Martin was one of 11 children of Waitman G. and Eliza Lewis Martin. My close cousins J.E. and L.H. match G.A., who is descended from Lewis’ brother Henderson N. Martin.

Eliza Lewis Martin (1813-??) was the oldest child of Urban Lewis and Susan Casey Lewis. Her siblings: John Lewis, Fannie Lewis Denmark, Joel Lewis, Bethany Lewis Martin, Susan Marinda Lewis Potts, Patience Lewis Denmark, William Lewis, Elizabeth Lewis, and Mary Ann Lewis Martin. My close cousins and/or I match descendants of at least two of them, John (J.K., K.P.) and Susan (E.P., B.P.). (My father also has matches to Susan’s descendants E.G.P. and B.A.P. at Gedmatch and D.P. at FTDNA.) In addition, J.E. and L.H. match B.T., a descendant of Urban Lewis’ brother Laban Lewis. And over at 23andme, my father’s first cousin J.H. matches A.L., an Urban and Susan Casey Lewis descendant, and K.C.K., a descendant of one of Susan Casey Lewis’ siblings.

Polly Price Martin was the daughter of James and Margaret Herring Price. Polly had  sisters Margaret “Peggy” Price Williams and Susan Price Dail. M.C., J.E. and/or I match a descendant of Susan Dail and five descendants of Peggy’s great-grandson Merle Williams.

So, while we do not have matches with any of Buck’s siblings’ descendants, we do have matches to all four of his grandparents’ line — Martin, Lewis, Price and Herring. This does not exclusively establish Buck Martin as my ancestor, but it goes a long way.

DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

DNA Definites, no. 8: Casey.

In the olden days, you sat and waited. In some mimeographed newsletter or erratically published journal you’d run across an address to pin your hopes on, a descendant on the same track you’re plodding, a grande dame with access to caches you don’t. Or: you’d pressed your own address into the palm of a kind, but wary, librarian, hoping she would be able to crack the reserve of the stingy local historian. Either way, you sat and waited for the mail to arrive.

In late 1994, I reached in my mailbox to pull out a letter forwarded from my parents’ address in North Carolina. The writer was K.K., and she’d run across a query I’d posted in the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. K.K. is a descendant of Micajah Casey (1748-circa 1800) of Dobbs and Wayne Countywhom I believed to be my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. K.K. was living abroad at the time, and correspondence was slow and expensive, but we exchanged a few letters about Caseys, Herrings, Jernigans and Lewises before exhausting our mutually meager information and losing touch.

A few days ago, my cousin D. received her 23andme results. She is the granddaughter of my father’s first cousin, and I was interested in comparing her DNA matches to his and mine. As I scanned her nearly 1000 matches, a name leapt to my eye — K.K.!  My father and I didn’t, but D.’s chromosomes retain a tiny piece of Casey that K.K. has held onto, too.  I ripped off an excited message, and K.K. responded immediately. More then 20 years after her first letter arrived, our relationship is confirmed.