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[Thread] Like many of you, I fumbled my way into #GeneticGenealogy which uses DNA testing in combination with traditional genealogical and historical records to unlock hidden connections & answer questions. It's what helped answer this question: who was my 2nd great grandfather?
My great grandmother on my paternal side was Dora Cloud (1890-1975) and she was an Estelvste - an African Native American - of the Creek tribe. Here she is visiting her mother's grave with my wee grandfather is tow (look at her knees).
Dora was a mixture of two sparsely documented groups from an area - the Indian Territories - that didn't keep the best records. Raised by a single mother who passed way too early, the only record of her father was on the Dawes Final Rolls: John Whistler.
We have a name & no other information, especially since he wasn't a member of the Creek tribe. By a stroke of luck I had 2 #Ancestry #DNA matches who still had the Whistler surname with small family trees associated with them.
Creating a scratch tree to start building out a family tree from those 2 trees it quickly became clear that the Whistler family was significant in the Westward expansion & well documented!
The family line goes back to John Whistler (1756-1829) who built Fort Dearborn in 1803, the future site of Chicago! His descendants setup the Sac and Fox agency in Kansas territory, where my 2nd great grandmother, Sophia, was living.
Now we have the family, they're in the area but many of the men were named John Whistler - which one was it?! John Harrison Whistler Sr (1807-1873) died well before my great grandmother was conceived, so it had to be one of his descendants.
But several of them were also named John 🤔 After working on this for a few days the #Ancestry #ThruLines gave me a big clue. I had narrowed the possibilities down to 2: John Harrison Whistler Jr. (1838-1890) & John Sands Whistler (1869-1939).
It would be easy to think that the younger John Sands would be the likely candidate because he was only 2 years older than my 2nd great grandmother. Same area & close in age but #Ancestry #ThruLines shed some light on the situation.
Out of the blue #ThruLines showed I was DNA matched to several folks in the US & Canada via the Bailly family. John H. Whistler Sr had married Esther Mary Bailly, the daughter of Joseph Bailly (1774-1835), a Canadian fur trader & pioneer.
What really stood out was that the DNA matches to the Bailly side were much stronger - closer relatives - than the Whistler DNA matches. That made John H. Whistler Jr the likely candidate.
In addition, documentation for John Sands Whistler appears to say he had traveled East before my great grandmother was conceived. I'm sorry my great grandmother never knew the truth because we know from letters she was searching for it herself.
That discovery helped in mapping several DNA matches that were not able to be mapped before. Learning so much about the family history & their incredible journey was also really satisfying. I hope this encourages you to try #GeneticGenealogy to break those roadblocks.
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