DNA

DNA Definites, no. 26.

I couldn’t sleep; I hadn’t adjusted to the night sounds of Guatemala City. So I logged into Ancestry.com, and:

  • T.L., who is a known third cousin. The match is actually with his sibling K.L., who provided a sample in lieu. (Predictably, Ancestry underestimates our match at 11.9 cM — 5th to 8th cousins. He shares 17 cM with G.W. and 47 with K.J., who are his third cousins and my second.) His great-grandmother Emma McNeely Houser, and mine, Carrie McNeely Colvert, were sisters. He’s my first McNeely match who is not also a Colvert, so I’m hoping our common matches will shed light on that line.
  • W.H., my known half-third cousin. His great-grandmother, Lillie Barfield Holmes, and mine, Bessie Henderson, were both daughters of J. Buckner Martin. W.H. matches siblings J.E. (94 cM), L.H. (105 cM) and M.C. (23.6 cM), who are grandchildren of Bessie’s full brother Jack Henderson. (They’re W.H.’s half-second cousins once removed.) These are especially satisfying matches as I have been frustrated and mystified by our failures to register matches with descendants of Aunt Lillie’s brother. W.H. and I aren’t Ancestry matches, but we’ll see what Gedmatch says.
  • I was shocked speechless by a match with F.W., whose tree shows her to be a descendant of Durant Dove. Durant Henderson, alias Dove, was the son of Nancy Henderson Dove, whom I believe to have been the sister of my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Patsey Henderson. But at 32 cM?? That fourth cousin-range number is much higher than I would expect with a fifth cousin second removed. F.W. has a second Henderson-Dove line, but I’m not sure that’s enough to account for the extra.
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Maternal Kin

Signature Saturday, no. 8: the McNeelys.

My great-great-grandfather Henry W. McNeely taught for a few years after Freedom and surely could read and write. His wife Martha, despite her transparent assertions otherwise, could not. Their children received educations that they had been denied, and when Henry’s brother Julius died without direct heirs about 1913, all signed off on the distribution of his estate. (All except Addie McNeely Weaver, who had recently passed.)

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Several of Henry’s grandsons’ signatures appear on World War II draft registration forms, including Luther’s son Robert H.; Edward’s son Quincy; and Addie’s son James.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Photographs

Rest in peace, Melroy Houser Sr.

My grandmother’s mother’s family often sought the warmth of other suns, and by 1940 all of her aunts and uncles had left North Carolina. In consequence, I did not grow up knowing my McNeely kin, but I often heard wonderful stories of them. My grandmother treasured all her aunts, but had a special regard for Emma McNeely Houser, who migrated to Bayonne, New Jersey, around the time my grandmother was born. All three of Emma’s children have long passed away, and she had only a handful of grandchildren. Just over a year ago, I traveled to Augusta, Georgia, to meet her son Henry‘s middle son Melroy Houser. I wrote here of my visit, which was filled with reminiscing and easy laughter.

I received word from one of his sons that Cousin Melroy passed this morning. I wish that I had gotten to know him better, but will always cherish those hours on a warm May afternoon. My deepest condolences to his children, who, like me, carry a legacy as McNeely great-grandchildren.

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