Monday, October 21, 2013

My Ancestry.com DNA Ethnicity Estimates

I finally received my new and improved DNA ethnicity estimates from Ancestry.com.
This particular test looks at autosomal DNA from a saliva sample. Autosomal DNA is the 22 pairs of chromosomes we inherit from our parents, one set from our mother and one set from our father. They do not include those that determine sex, the X or Y chromosomes. If I test other members of the family in addition to my own testing, I can determine which segments have been inherited from whom. So if my brother were to take the test, through comparing our results, I might be able to determine which parts of DNA I didn’t inherit from my parents and which he did.  That would also hold true if I tested my parents, aunts and uncles; I could determine which parts of DNA I didn’t inherit from my grandparents.  It’s important to realize that this DNA test only reflects what I’ve inherited from my parents; it doesn’t reflect the entire potential DNA that exists in my ancestral line.

In general, my results seem to fall in line with what I already know about my family. They show that by far the greatest percentage of my genes is from Eastern Europe. A typical Eastern European native born in this region today has 82% of their genes from here. My DNA reflects 65% of genes from this area, which is actually within the range of the DNA of a typical native. This makes sense to me since both of my maternal grandparents are from Poland; the surnames Chrzanowski and Dabrowski have long roots in this region. Instead of being half-Polish, I guess I’m more like 2/3 Polish.
The other influences reflected in my DNA show a mixture of ethnicities: 17% from Great Britain, 13% from Scandinavia and 1% each from Western Europe region and Italy/Greece region. I think this must come from my paternal grandparents. My family history research is revealing my Conklin, Lent, and Outhouse surnames to be of Dutch origin. The Passtoor and Kolb surnames have Germanic origins, and the Baisley and Lamb surnames, whose origins are yet unknown, are likely from England via Scandinavia. History tells us early Scandinavians, or those who we call the Vikings, invaded England (among other places) and some settled there, so maybe I have some of that Viking DNA in me.  
The remaining bits reflect traces of Finnish/Northern Russia, North African and Irish DNA. The migration of people into North Africa is perhaps from Arabic and Moorish conquests, and it’s likely they brought slaves from other regions with them as they migrated. This could be the source of that less than one percent of DNA. Whether it is from the paternal or maternal side, I don’t know; however it’s likely that the Finnish or Northern Russian traces are from the distant ancestors of my Polish relatives. The biggest surprise was to find I have minute traces of Irish ancestry. None of my research reflects any Irish relatives, but I would guess it’s from the paternal line because of the cornucopia of ethnicities—but I’m glad I can celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day legitimately next year!
Besides learning about my ethnicities, the whole other point of taking the DNA testing was to connect with cousins. Although others have reported receiving a large number of matches where they can determine a common ancestor, I haven’t been so lucky. So far, I’ve only had one meaningful match where we share a common 2nd great-grandfather. This has been disappointing. So now I’m weighing the option of asking more relatives to test or upload my data to another company in hopes of connecting with more cousins.
What do you think? Is DNA testing worth it?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jacob Baisley

Jacob Baisley was the eighth child of James and Caroline Baisley[1]. I first discovered that Jacob Baisley was my great-grandfather in 1993 when I had a renewed interest in researching my family history. I have never met my paternal grandparents, both of them having passed on when my father was still a teen. My father told me that his grandfather's name was James Baisley and remembered visiting the Baisley farm in Wappinger’s Falls in Dutchess County, New York, when he was a boy. 

1900 US Census, Westchester County, Town of Cortlandt, New York
When I found my great-grandmother as the wife of Jacob Baisley enumerated on the 1900 census[2] , you can imagine my surprise—and my father’s surprise—and the numerous questions that followed. The census listed my grandmother, Edna, and her siblings, Fannie, Florence and Franklin. I immediately searched for birth records for my grandmother and her siblings in the Town of Cortlandt. Turns out, my great-grandmother, Jennette "Nettie" Baisley, née Lamb, had indeed had children with Jacob. My grandmother’s father was Jacob Baisley, not James Baisley[3].

The birth records created another mystery. I received records for four children, but Fannie’s wasn’t among them; instead I discovered a son, Alonzo Van R. Baisley[4], but he doesn’t appear on any census records; and Fannie never appears on another one after 1900; maybe she married or died. However Van Allen shows up in all of the later censuses, usually with his father and aunt. Was Alonzo Van R the same child as Van Allen? The date of birth for Alonzo Van R. Baisley is only one day off from that listed on Van Allen’s WWI draft registration card. I suspect Van Allen is a nickname for Alonzo Van R. Baisley.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, Jacob and Nettie were no longer a couple. Nettie is the wife of James Baisley on the 1910 census[5], and all of Jacob’s children, except Van Allen, were living with Nettie, plus two more children were listed, Bessie, age 9, and Raymond, under one year old. Also noted on the census was how long they were married—2 years—and number of children born and still living. Nettie noted that she had birthed seven children and six were living. I suspect Fannie, who was Jacob and Nettie’s first child, died sometime between 1900 and 1910.

So who was this James Baisley?

A marriage record for James Baisley and Nettie Lamb[6] revealed that they were married in Oct 1910, stating this was the first marriage for both of them. If true, this means that my grandmother and her siblings were born out of wedlock. And it also means that they told the census taker they were only married for 2 years when, in fact, they were not married yet. I thought it interesting to note that Nettie was ten years older than James and she used her maiden name.  It also means that the father of Bessie and Raymond—Jacob or James— is in question until I can obtain their birth records. 

James’ birth record revealed that James Baisley was the son of George Baisley[7], whom I discovered was Jacob's brother[8]. Nettie Baisley had married her ex-husband’s nephew, James. I can only imagine the scenario at family gatherings. This may explain why most of his grandchildren never knew Jacob existed. Apparently he was estranged from the family, and one can hardly blame him; however, I have no idea what the circumstances were during that time in their lives. Maybe Jacob wasn’t a very good partner or an absent parent.

There is much I don’t know about my great-grandfather. Even his birth date is questionable. No one seemed to know exactly when he was born and so far I haven’t found any documentation of his birth. The census and his death record all give me different dates. The closest I have come to finding his date of birth is on a note included on Alonzo Van R.’s 1891 birth transcript[9] which states that Jacob was 23 and Nettie 18. This gives me a birth year for Jacob as 1868 and for Nettie as 1873, which is only a few years older than what is stated on their death records.

Photo courtesy of Albert Baisley, Peekskill, 1993.
Jacob Baisley (far right) on his farm in Montrose, NY, about 1937 [16]
I haven’t been able to find a marriage record for Jacob and Nettie, either. I can surmise that they might have married as early as 1888 since according to the 1900 census, Fannie was born in July 1889; but that would make Nettie’s marriage age at 15 to Jacob’s 20, which seems a little young for her.  I have wondered whether she and Jacob were even married, but I think it would be unusual for them to have lived together unmarried for over 10 years and have had five children.

My impression is that Jacob was a lonely man. After his separation from Nettie, he was living alone[10] until moving in with his son, Van Allen, and widowed sister, Jennie, in her home in Crugers[11]. He lived there with his son, even after his sister’s death in 1936[12]. He seems to have had little contact with his other children. His death in February 1943[13] is barely a one-line mention in the paper and only mentions he is survived by one sister, Mary Decker, and one son, Van Allen, even though all of his daughters were still living[14]. Jacob never remarried. He is buried in Cedar Hill cemetery[15] in Montrose, where I have yet to find his marker. He rests in the cemetery where his sisters and his parents are buried. It appears that even in death, his estrangement from most of his family remains. 




[1] Surrogate's Court, Westchester County, New York, Record Group 4 - Judiciary, Series 16, Estate Records 1775, 1782-1921, James Baisley estate inventory file no. 1897-16, Box A-0303(36)L, folder 7; Westchester County Archives, Elmsford.
[2] 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, Westchester, Town of Cortlandt, p. 76B (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 57, sheet 39B, dwelling 638, family 790, Jacob Baisley household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Oct 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1,174.
[3] Town of Cortlandt Clerk's Office, Westchester County, New York, transcript, birth certificate no. 314892, local registration no. 3634 (1892), Edna Baisley; Town of Cortlandt, Town Clerk's Office, Cortlandt Manor, New York.
[4] Town of Cortlandt Clerk's Office, Westchester County, New York, transcript, birth certificate no. 314891, local registration no. 3178 (1891), Alonzo Van R. Baisley; Town of Cortlandt, Town Clerk's Office, Cortlandt Manor, New York. Clerk wrote a note attached to certificate stating mother, Nettie Lamb's age was 18 and father, Jacob Baisley's age was 23.
[5]1910 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, Westchester, Cortlandt, Peekskill, p. 100-B and 101-A (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 10, sheet 18, dwelling 284, family 383, James Baisley household; digital image,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Oct 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1,089.
[6]"New York, Marriages, 1686-1980", FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : 30 Apr 2012; database and image;   marriage record no. 5472, James Baisley and Jeanette Lamb, 1910; citing: New York Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, Albany. Microfilm of original records at the Municipal Archives of New York, New York City.
[7] New York, Department of Health, Birth Certificates, birth certificate no. 9923 (1884), James Baisley; New York State Department of Health, Albany.
[8]Surrogate's Court, Westchester County, New York, Record Group 4 - Judiciary, Series 16, Estate Records 1775, 1782-1921, James Baisley estate inventory file no. 1897-16, Box A-0303(36)L, folder 7.
[9]Town of Cortlandt Clerk's Office, Westchester County, New York, transcript, birth certificate no. 314891, local registration no. 3178 (1891), Alonzo Van R. Baisley.
[10] 1910 U.S. census, population schedule, New York, Westchester, Cortlandt, p. 232-A (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 18, sheet 9 (penned), dwelling 156, family 168, Jacob Baisley in George Albert household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1089.
[11] 1915 New York state census, population schedule, Westchester County, Cortlandt, election district 14,  p. 22 (duplicate), line 30, entry for Jacob Baisley in Jennie Hennion household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed  8 Feb 2010).
[12]"Henion," (Peekskill, New York), The Evening Star, 1 Dec 1936, "Deaths" page, no page number; Field Library, Peekskill. The Field Library supplied photocopy of front page and obituary page.
[13] Westchester County, New York, death certificate (registered) no. 12 (1943), Jacob Baisley; Town of Cortlandt, Town Clerk's Office, Cortlandt Manor, New York.
[14] "Baisley--At Crugers, N.Y.," (Peekskill, New York), The Evening Star, 24 Feb 1943, no page number; Field Library, Peekskill. The Field Library supplied photocopy of front page and obituary page.
[15] Westchester County, New York, death certificate (registered) no. 12 (1943), Jacob Baisley.
[16] Jacob Baisley and Elmer Baisley family, ca. 1937; digital image, ca. 2012, privately held by Hiztorybuff. Albert Baisley, son of Elmer Baisley, gave a copy of the photograph to Hiztorybuff, his second cousin, once removed, with permission to scan it and use it in publications. The location and condition of the original is not known. Photo is of  (left to right) Albert Baisley, Willard Baisley, Thusnelda (Winkelman) Baisley holding Karl Baisley, and Jacob Baisley.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog! Glad you've stopped by. Here on Rattling the Bones, you will be following my genealogy journey into discovering the roots of my family history. I will be sharing my new discoveries and stories about my ancestors. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions in the comment section at the end of this post. And please consider subscribing so you don't miss a word!