This "DNA stuff" has me hooked!
For those of us who have spent years researching our lineages and building our family trees, we know all too well the many brick walls we face in our journey. If you descend from African slaves, those brick walls are even thicker! Genetic Genealogy is becoming increasingly popular due to the opportunities it presents to knock down some of those walls. I am of the belief that Genetic Genealogy, when used to compliment traditional genealogical research techniques (versus using it as a primary source for research), can be a very powerful tool to break brick walls, bridge gaps in identifying ancestors and reunite families.
|Elodie Schaeffer Carter|
To explain my presumption, I take you back to 1990 when I interviewed my great-grandmother, Essie Beatrice (Taylor) Mckinley, better known as "Essie B." She spoke of her mother, Lizzie's siblings: Johnny Stone, Rob Williams and Kate Williams. Essie stated Lizzie was the daughter of her mother's slave owner, Col. Richard H. Haile, but her stepfather, Sheppard Williams (aka "Shep"), raised her. Her older brother, Johnny Stone, was the son of another white male who's name is unknown. Sheppard fathered Mary's last two children, Rob & Kate. Many relatives knew of Johnny & Kate, but no one recognized the name "Rob." I mention that fact to emphasize had it not been for Essie, much of what I'm about to tell you would be nearly impossible to conclude. Essie only mentioned Rob's name nothing more. The only other info she provided was that "Aunte Kate's" daughters or nieces moved her to New Orleans where she subsequently died.
|Bobby V. Schaeffer|
"You're gonna kill me too...Look what I found..."
Attached to the message was Bobby Schaeffer's Funeral Program from 2003--her paternal uncle. The obituary states he was the son of Robert Williams, Jr. and Valerie Schaeffer. Now that we know that her grandfather was named after his father, Robert Williams, Sr., it's certainly plausible the elder Robert's age could match my Robert Williams. It also states he is survived by several family members including, but not limited to four brothers, Larry, Tommy, Jimmy & Charley.
|Obituary of Bobby V. Schaeffer|
For months, I searched GenealogyBank.com, a website that hosts historical newspapers around the country, for old copies of New Orleans' Times Picayune looking for a death notice in the obituary sections with no success. Suddenly, I realized if Robert, Jr. died in LATE December of 1972, his death notice wouldn't be published until January of 1973. I changed my search criteria and discovered his death notice (shown below). It states that Robert, the son of Robert Williams, Sr. and Mary Ford, died on Dec 31, 1972 in New Orleans. His surviving siblings were Gertrude, Eli, Henry, Charles, Sheppard and Johnny. The first three names Elodie recognized because she remembered her uncle mentioned those names. The last two names caught my attention because of the name associations of the aforementioned brother of Robert, Sr., Johnny Stone and Robert's father, Sheppard Williams. Clearly, Robert, Sr. named these last two children after them. The obituary also mentions Elodie's father, Larry and his brother--all with the surname WILLIAMS, including Bobby Schaeffer, referred to as "Robert Williams III." Lastly, it states Robert, Jr. was a native of St, Francisville, Louisiana. That is where my ancestors came from!!!
|Newspaper Obituary for Robert Williams, Jr., Elodie (Shaeffer) Carter's grandfather.|
Shortly after this milestone in my research, I discovered the union of Robert Williams, Sr. and Mary Ford produced the following 11 children: Odile, Gertrude, Charles, Viola, Sheppard, Robert, Jr., Henry, James, Johnny, Elijah & Morris. What a wonderful discovery--to find the descendants of Robert Williams, Sr., my 2x great-grandmother brother...and all I had was his name!!!
DNA research continues to amaze me!
|This graph illustrates shared DNA between Elodie Carter and some of my other known relatives in a one-to-many relationship validating the existence of close common ancestor.|