Genealogical New Year’s Resolutions

This list of Resolutions is similar to last year’s, and the year before that…and five years ago.  It’s not that I don’t accomplish my goals, but some goals take a while to achieve.  There is a list of genealogy mysteries I want to solve at the end of this article.  Some of these (No. 7, 11) are brand new goals; some of these(No. 12, 16) have been on my list for over 20 years.  What does that mean?  Some goals take time…a lot of time.

Number 1—Get my certification or accreditation as a professional genealogist.  (It would be about time.)

Number 2—Publish (maybe self-publish) my book on Schuyler County (IL) people who served time at   Joliet penitentiary.  (I’ve been close to ready for three years.)

Number 3—Switch to a new genealogy software.  I have always used Family Tree Maker.  It was bought               out by, and now they are not going to support it.  Hmmm.  (I have a love-hate    with!)

Number 4—BLOG more regularly.  I’m shooting for twice a month.

Number 5—Publish more articles in genealogical newsletters, journals, and magazines.

Number 6—BUST through genealogy brick walls.  (A brick wall is an ancestor whose parents cannot be found.)


In the last two years, two major breakthroughs on my family tree happened.  Finding the parents of Asahel Phillips was a 50+ year mystery passed down to me by previous researchers.  DNA made that breakthrough possible.  Finding the father of Edward Page Morris took old-fashioned, hand-cranking microfilm research by a great genealogist and cousin, Denise Hardnack.  That name had been lost to us since 1831—184 years.

These are my genealogy brick walls that I intend to work on this coming year.  There is no particular order.

1) What is my Dad’s true ancestry—We are not Nortons, but we have not Y-DNA matched ANY other family.

2)  Publish my Cornett work—I have not proven my Lusinda Cornett Gay’s parentage, but I have definitely proven other details on the Cornett family.

3) Daniel McAtee’s ancestry—Dad’s DNA matches are directing me towards a certain branch of the McAtees, and maybe a rewrite of some of the currently believe lineage.

4) Nancy Russell Gott’s parents and her relationship to Uncle Fielding Lewis.

5) Elizabeth Collins Beghtol’s parents.

6) Nancy Beghtol’s maiden name.

7) Re-Do Gott genealogy per new insight from DNA.

8)  The Browns—The original research by Clayton Brown of Vermont, IL, was wrong.  These Browns were in Fulton Co, IL, and had come from Harrison Co, OH.  We have several DNA matches.

9)  Fry-Harker-Bear—Several DNA matches have Harker and Bear ancestry.

10)  Shaver-Locke—Nathaniel Shaver married Mary Polly Locke.  Martin Coons married Mary Locke, daughter of Rebecca.  Somehow the two Lockes are related.

11) The maiden names of Esther Philips and Rhoda Philips.  These are new names on the family tree—maiden names unknown.

12) Montooth-Dean-Sloan—Irish connections.  The Montooths and Deans came from Killybeggs, Donegal, Ireland.  Also, the Boyds, Cassidys and McNeelys.  They seem to be related to other Pitssburgh PA Montooths, but how?  James Sloan was from Belfast, but his parentage is a mystery.

13)  Elizabeth, wife of Daniel Garrard.  Some say she was a Washington from THE Washington family.

14) Mewshaw nationality and DNA.  Moonshaw, Mewchance and Mushaw are alternate spellings, but where did such a strange name come from?

15) Dixon—My mtDNA line.  Two Dixon sisters married two Woods brothers in Blount or Knox Co, TN.

16) Mary Polly Duval Miles’s parents—She has to be connected to the Duvals of Culpepper Co, VA.

17) Isaac Shirley’s parents—DNA matches might help solve this one.

18) John & Susannah Baker Termin’s ancestries.  Married in York Co, PA.

19) Henry Rupert—prove he is Peter’s father

20) Andrew White’s wife.  Probably died in Harrison Co, KY.

There are more!   Obviously, I cannot get to all of these in a year.  Sometimes, by accident, a clue pops up, and record surfaces, or a someone’s DNA matches and new light is shed on these dark, dusty questions.

I will share details about my brick walls in future blogs.  Maybe, I’ll share a BREAKTHROUGH!

(PS:  In the last week, I have struck up a conversation online about my Cameron/Cambron line.  I saw something on a record in my files I had never caught before–over 10 years I  have had that record.  Also, with more years of research under my belt, I am reading the same deed and getting a different interpretation from it.  DNA shows that my Camerons are probably related to the Charles Co, MD family, but I might be looking up the wrong branch.  Brick wall still stands.  1/17/2016)


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