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Roots
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montedavis

I grew up without much knowledge of my ancestry beyond my father's parents in Maine and my mother's from Texas and Illinois. Once in my teens, I went to New Brunswick with my paternal grandmother; her parents had come from Canada to Maine about 1890, so she had cousins around Newcastle, NB. I'm still hazy about whether they were my second -> Nth cousins or cousins once ->Nth removed, but I did learn that that Williston lineage traced back to a Loyalist who had gone to Canada in the 1780s rather than remain in the newly independent US.

On the other side, I learned (also hazily) that my mother's mother's parents had taken part in the Oklahoma land rush around 1889 -- either as Boomers who entered the territory then, or as Sooners who had sneaked in earlier. And my second great-grandmother was native American (Cherokee and/or Choctaw) -- a source of some embarrassment to my grandmother, but of positive interest to us in the 1960s and after.

That was about it until ten years ago, when my parents died. My brother and I did some preliminary digging with Family Tree Maker software. We found a long chain of Davises, already established by some Mormon researcher, that took the line back to arrival in Massachusetts from England in the early 17th century, and let it slide until another burst of activity recently. Online genealogical work has become much more productive in the interval, as the software and the Ancestry.com website now work together to trawl for possible connections between your tree and those published by other users. So we've filled in quite a few more lines, and can summarize to date:

1) Among nearly 300 ancestral names, nobody you've ever heard of. Maybe solid citizens, to judge from length and concentrations of residence, but so far not one who made it into history books. (OK, sure, I'll probably descended from some king or other, but past a few centuries back so is everyone else.)

2) Aside from that Canadian loop and the native American "blood," almost all arrived relatively early and (going by names) were WASPs or WASPish. There's not much sign of the big 19th- and early 20th-century waves of immigration: Irish, German, Italian, central/eastern European. Most we've identified were here by the 18th century or before.They also tended to move slowly, staying several generations in each place. By the time of the Civil War the Crane (maternal) side had reached a line from Texas to Illinois, and stopped there.

3) On current trends, this part of the clan isn't going to take over the world any time soon. My sons grew up with just two first cousins, as did I; my parents had one or two each. If we had family reunions, they'd be tiny.         


If you're interested, you can now get your DNA tested for $99, and (in addition to identifying genetic disorders and potential medication sensitivities/resistance) they'll connect you with everyone who is a relative. I gave test kits to some of my family members for Christmas.

One of my great-grandparents was adopted, and so now my family has an extra stem on our family tree. It also showed that some family history was incorrect.

We got this for my younger daughter, who will be going to med school next fall (yay!). It was so fun, we got a kit for everyone else in the immediate family.

We located a third cousin (shares 9 DNA segments with me) in Minnesota, and linked his family tree back into mine.

I discovered my DNA is 6% Ashkenazi. I suspect the great-great-grandfather that's missing from my dad's side of the tree was an eastern european jew. That's almost as cool (and I say without any sarcasm) as being 3.1% Neanderthal...

Edited at 2013-02-25 09:40 pm (UTC)

Been there for quite a while. My mother went to work for the National Foundation - March of Dimes in 1960 as they were retooling from polio to birth defects and medical genetics, and retired in 1985 as VP for medical information -- having overseen content for most of the first generation of hospital and university genetic counseling programs. But you're right; coupled with the online records available now, it should fill in some gaps.

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