Saturday, November 12, 2016

Discovering Melungeon Ancestry in the Bruton & Whitecotton Families via Autosomal DNA Test Results

One of the benefits of testing with AncestryDNA is that it is possible to receive a very large number of DNA matches.  Currently I have nearly 25,000 matches on AncestryDNA, which is far more than one might receive from an autosomal DNA test with 23andMe or FamilyTree DNA.

While AncestryDNA has not yet offered a chromosome browser to allow folks to compare with others and find exactly where and on what chromosome the match occurs, this large number of matches & their family trees can be very helpful when you want to look at the big picture.

Which is exactly what I did this weekend.

My great x 3 grandmother was HAPPY RIDDLE born 1805 Virginia who married MOSES WHITECOTTON & lived in Jackson & Decatur Co Alabama and  Bledsoe & Bradley Co Tennessee between 1820 & 1850.

The RIDDLE family was not part of the core group of Melungeon families who lived on Newman's Ridge in Hawkins/Hancock Co Tennessee.

However, MOSES RIDDLE/RIDLEY b about 1720 Virginia married MARY GIBSON, whose family was considered Melungeon. MOSES RIDDLE & MARY GIBSON were HAPPY RIDDLE's great grandparents.  See my previous blogpost about his ancestry.

I do have several DNA matches proving that MINTTIE MAY BRUTON, my paternal grandmother,  descends from this RIDDLE family. Other paternal family members do also.

On a whim, I decided to see if I was a DNA match to any of the other surnames from the core group of Melungeons who lived on the Flatt River in Orange Co North Carolina, who migrated through Pittsylvania, Montgomery & Lee Co Virginia, and who ended up on Newmans' Ridge Hawkins/Hancock Co Tennessee: COLLINS, GIBSON, BUNCH, BOWLIN, & GOINS/GOIN/GOING/GOWEN.

To my surprise,  I found that I have a significant number of  DNA matches with descendants of ALL of these families, particularly with descendants of JOHN GOIN born about 1702 Stafford Co Virginia & MARY KEIFE.

I was also surprised to find a significant number of  DNA matches with descendants of EDWARD "OLD NED" SIZEMORE, whose Y-DNA has been proven to be Native American. Like the RIDDLEs, the SIZEMOREs were not part of the core group of Melungeons, but intermarried with them before they migrated to Tennessee.

This is a new discovery, and I have not yet compiled data from the other testing companies.

I have no idea yet how these families intersect with my paternal family tree. I am missing a lot of women. WILLIAM GOIN born about 1680 & wife CATHERINE PATTERSON  lived in Stafford Co Virginia during the same time period that my WHITECOTTON ancestors lived there.

My great x 4 grandfather HENRY LANGFORD/LANKFORD purchased land May 1773 in Pittsylvania Co Virginia from DAVID GOING, a free person of color, and his wife MARTHA. The ancestry of HENRY's 2nd wife MARY, whom he married about 1782 in Surry Co North Carolina, is unknown. Could she have been the link with these Melungeon families?

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do!  But this is a very exciting discovery.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Who was Doris McCall?

This past week I received several new matches on 23andMe, two of them from adoptees who appear to be related to my father's family.

One of them is a woman whom I'll call "S".  In her own words, she was born in 1949 and "adopted at 5 days old from a Northeast blackmarket adoption agency in Binghamton, New York".

The curious thing is, she is matching-- on the same chromosomal location--both my brother and myself, grandchildren of ALONZO COX HUBER, and also two known 2nd cousins from the family of ARETTA HUBER & JEFFERSON SPAKE of Vici, Dewey Co Oklahoma (ARETTA was my paternal grandfather ALONZO's sister).

So far, "S" is not matching any other descendants of grandfather ALONZO COX HUBER, or any other descendants of my great grandparents PHILLIP LUTHER HUBER & CRAMELIA FRAZIER of Marshall Co Iowa.

That said, she definitely seems to be related to my paternal family, at about 3rd-5th cousin level. My paternal family mainly lived in Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Oklahoma, and had no connection whatsoever to New York state.

The only clue that "S" has about her birth parents is that her mother was named DORIS McCALL.
Was McCALL her maiden name?  Was she from New York?  Or was "S" born elsewhere, and taken to the agency in Binghamton, New York at 5 days old?

And how on earth does my midwestern paternal family intersect with DORIS McCALL??

Since the SPAKE/HUBER family was from Oklahoma, I looked there first. There were two with the name DORIS McCALL born in Oklahoma in census records:

--DORIS McCALL born 1910, divorced & lived in Texas in 1930s, Tempe, Arizona in 1940 census. No further information.

--DORIS T McCALL born 1918 Beaver Co Oklahoma--very near Vici, Dewey Co Oklahoma--the daughter of HERSCHEL & IDA  McCALL, moved with her family by 1930 to Brownsville, Cameron Co Texas and married DUKE McCAULEY, died 1979.

There was also a younger DORIS McCALL born about 1932 in Corpus Christi, Texas, daughter of GEORGE & IDA McCALL.  She is intriguing because....

In July 1948, CAROL GENE SPAKE born Sept 17, 1932, the son of MERLE SPAKE & ZELPHA PICKERING of Enid, Oklahoma, ran away from home.  This made the papers because CAROL GENE SPAKE was a diabetic, and needed his insulin shots.  He also ran away more than once! By Oct 1948, he was in Fort Worth, Texas, and looking for work, according to newspaper accounts. He did not return to Oklahoma for several years. To my knowledge, he was the only grandson of ARETTA HUBER & JEFFERSON SPAKE to live for any time in Texas. He died in Enid, Oklahoma in 1967.

Several other DORIS McCALLs of correct age range were listed in the 1940 census in Texas.

Likewise there were several of that name & correct age range in New York state in the 1940 census.

"S" is also looking into a DORIS McCALL related to ROBERT McCALL of Green Co New York, which is  near Binghamton, Broome Co New York.

I have suggested that "S" upload her raw DNA data from 23andMe to, and FamilyTreeDNA, and if possible test with AncestryDNA, in order to receive more matches, and possibly find more clues about her parents' families.

Any McCALL or SPAKE/HUBER descendants with any possible information, please contact me.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016