GeneaChat: DNA-Has it Solved a Puzzle -Recap-What are Y’all Saying?

GeneaChat: DNA-Has it Solved a Puzzle -Recap-What are Y’all Saying?

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Did you hear how many DNA kits sold on Black Friday? The report was 1.5 million!

DNA testing to help with our genealogy puzzles has become very popular and now the pool of testers has gotten even bigger.
This season of giving has many handing out those tests. What are you hoping to find?

This month we are sharing our DNA stories.

Carol Bogaski shared:

“Story of John Adolph “Oster”

I'll try to put this in chronological order of events but not promises! John was born (out of wedlock) November of 1909 in East St. Louis, IL, we think. You see the only evidence I have is a baptismal certificate that was made out in 1943 before he married my mother. It was also not required to have a birth certificate until January of 1910 in that state. I would be guessing that it had something to do with him going in the military, too, because of it being the middle of WW2. On this certificate its gives his mother as Barbara Ebersold and his father as Louis Cordes. I had gone to the genealogy library in Salt Lake City about 1972 and never found any information on my father. He doesn't show up in the 1910 census with his mother and grandmother but is in the 1920 census with his mother, step father (Herman Oster, where he got his last name from) and his half-brother, Irvin John Oster. John Adolph was never legally adopted by Herman and his mother, Barbara, never told him otherwise because I also have legal name change documents saying that he legally had his name “changed” to Oster because he never knew or went by any other name. My question has always been ~ what last name did he go by for the first 9 years of his life before Barbara married Herman!? My father had even been married once before he married my mother and was never told that Oster was not his legal name! So about 2009 I took a trip to the Salt Lake City Family History center and a man helped me to find Louis Cordes records. So I got back to his mother and step father but stopped. Then while we were on our mission in 2013-14 a man named Jerry put up a tree on Ancestry which included Louis Cordes. He had married Jerry's Aunt in their older years. He even had photos of this tall, slender man he sent me! All was well until about fall of 2013 when I got the results of my DNA testing. At first, I thought it was just a sample of how to read the test. But to my surprise it was MY results that said I was 45% Jewish, Ashkenawsi Jew! I didn't know what to think as no one had ever mentioned that fact before and both of my parents were dead already. Then a few months later, a woman contacts me through Ancestry and says I am second cousins with her mother who was also born out of wedlock, but in 1956. This woman, Susan, has done so much research or her mother and understands DNA far better than I do and we have finally met, in person, last year. She figured out her mother's bio mother and Joanne has met her and she confessed to giving birth to her but said that the father never knew she was pregnant after they stopped dating. Then about Spring of this year Susan's sends me a family tree and asks if I recognize any of the names on it. Another shock, when I see the name of a couple that I was raised with that I called Uncle Marvin and Aunt Evelyn because they were my parents best friends!! And darn it, Marv and Ev both died in 2009 and 2010. I used to communicate with them at least once a year around Hannukah but lost track of them when they moved away to AZ. Susan says Cordes is not a Jewish last name and they don't think Ebersold is either but my grandmother and the man she got pregnant from had to be 100% Jewish to make my father 100% Jewish and with my mother being totally Gentile, makes me almost half Jewish. Sooo, Susan, Joanne and I believe our common ancestor is the Grandfather of Marvin. We believe we came from two different sons of this Grandfather and of course both sons are deceased. DARN again! I have been in touch with Marvin's baby sister who is now 78. At first, she was very friendly and open about sharing information but then I guess her husband and son told her to be careful and so far, she hasn't been willing to do a DNA test for me. I went to St. Louis for Thanksgiving to meet Joanne and it was wonderful! While there, I dropped of a Ancestry DNA kit to Marvin's sister's home but they were away for the holiday. I am about to call her for Hannukah and see if she has changes her mind. “

We wish you luck, Carol!

This DNA story is from Elyse Doerflinger:

“Pretty much since the beginning of my genealogy journey about 15 years ago, I have been searching for the father of Monroe Dugger, my great-grandfather. Monroe's mother, Charlotte Asher married Benjamin Smith Dugger prior to the Civil War. He was conscripted into the Confederate army, but it appears that he abandoned his post and joined an Union regiment in West Virginia. He ended up marrying a woman in West Virginia and started a whole new family, seemingly, never to return home to Tennessee, his wife Charlotte, or their baby girl. Charlotte had him declared dead and was essentially left in poverty, unable to collect a widow's pension because to her knowledge, he only fought for the Confederacy. Her life was undoubtedly extremely hard and difficult.

Charlotte never remarried. I'm not exactly sure why, but my guess would be that there were not a lot of eligible bachelors willing to marry an impoverished, previously married woman with a child, especially since her husband served in the Confederate army. Although Charlotte lived in Tennessee, she lived in a pocket that was very much in favor of the Union, with many men choosing to serve for the Union.

Charlotte continued to have children, however, and gave them all her married last name of Dugger. Who the father is of all of these children has been a mystery. But since I started this journey, I have heard the rumor that possible baby-daddies include one Elijah Bunton (already an ancestor of mine on a different line) and one Andrew Harmon. These were rumors that I had heard from one old lady I met while visiting my grandfather in Tennessee when I was about 12. I didn't write this woman's name down and I'm not even sure if she lived in Tennessee or North Carolina (my grandfather lives near the border), but I do remember that she gave the names of two possible baby daddies.
Well, my dad has kindly taken both a Y-DNA test (through FTDNA) and an autosomal test (through Ancestry). TWO of his Y-DNA matches have the Harmon last name! So I contacted them, explained my situation, and asked if they were possibly related to an Andrew Harmon. And YEP - THEY ARE! Woo Hoo!

I get all excited as I try to figure out my next steps - did Charlotte live near Andrew, is there anyone else I can test, etc.
But then one of them asks *which* Andrew Harmon. Uh... which? There is more than one? Ah, yes, there are two Andrew Harmons that look probable based on location and age, both of which are first cousins.... of course they are.
So my work isn't done. But some bricks did get knocked down in this brick wall. So YAY!”

Keep up posted on those baby daddies, Elyse! Good luck in your search!

Have you used DNA to help you with your gamily tree? Share with us what you are looking for or have discovered!
It’s never too late to be part of the fun. If you missed the original December GeneaChat post, here’s where to find it: Geneachat: DNA-Has it Solved a Puzzle? Add a link to a blog post or leave a comment and let us know about your experience with DNA.

Make sure you don’t miss a GeneaChat by following The In-Depth Genealogist Blog. We’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Thanks for being a part of GeneaChat!

Cheri Hudson Passey

About Cheri Hudson Passey

Cheri Hudson Passey is a Professional Genealogist, Instructor, Writer and Speaker. She is the owner of Carolina Girl Genealogy, LLC which provides research services as well as instruction and coaching though her Genealogy 1-on-1 classes. Born in South Carolina, Cheri has roots in the state for many generations. Her blog Carolina Girl Genealogy has helped tell the story of these ancestors and her research process. You can contact Cheri by email or by visiting her blog Carolina Girl Genealogy. Cheri Hudson Passey writes the Modus Operandi column for Going In-Depth Magazine.

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