In the paternal version of this post published March 24th, I discussed my experience with DNA testing so I won’t repeat that here. See Paternal DNA: Confirming Research & Solving Problems for that background. As with the paternal side of my tree, DNA has confirmed many ancestors on the maternal side of my tree and can likely help answer some outstanding questions.
This post looks at my maternal ancestors from grandparents Elmer Dennis Hopkins and Emma Ewers through my 4th great-grandparents. (See the Key to Charts at the bottom of this page.)
If every family line tested as heavily has my grandfather’s Hopkinses and Howards, we’d all have our problems solved. I’ve identified over 50 matches in his Hopkins line (#25, 50, 100) and over 100 matches in his Howard line (#26, 52, 104) so far. With shared matches that I haven’t identified there are easily 100s more.
#12: Who was the father of James Arton Hopkins? The family story is that his father was Stephen Wolfenbarger who was killed in the Civil War and that Jim and his brother were raised by their maternal grandparents and hence went by Hopkins instead of Wolfenbarger. Details about that story are available here. I’m currently working on this research project. I know family stories are often inaccurate and some of the details in this story are definitely not true, but it’s looking like the name may be. The work isn’t finished yet but there will be a blog post when/if I can reach a conclusion.
#51: Who were the parents of Rachel McFarland? I don’t have a single solid clue to Rachel’s parents yet but have identified more than 20 descendants of Rachel’s in our DNA matches who could prove helpful for making progress with this question.
#52: Who was the mother of John “War Jack” Howard? Lots of Howard researchers say she was a Native American named Letty Durham. I’ve yet to find any reason for this claim other than it’s in a large number of online trees. Even with a large number of descendants tested in this family, I’m less hopeful of making progress with this one than all of the other problems I’ve listed.
My maternal grandmother’s tree has fewer holes than the other three, mainly because of a good deal of pedigree collapse. 114 & 115 and 116 & 117 are the same couple. 120 & 121 and 124 & 125 are the same couple. 121/125, 122, and 126 are siblings.
#56: Who were the parents of William Taylor? Many Taylor researchers think they have the answer to that question, but I haven’t seen any solid evidence to back that up so I’m still skeptical. Details about this problem are here. Y-DNA results have given us a clue but I haven’t been able to connect the dots there yet. Several of William’s descendants have done autosomal DNA testing and that should prove helpful once I have some time to devote to this project.
With these problems and the ones listed in the companion paternal DNA post, I can stay busy for a long time. And I should have plenty of material for future blog posts.
Key to Charts:
- Each chart starts with one of my grandparents and goes to my fourth great-grandparents. Ahnentafal numbering based on me as number 1.
- Color block with a black DNA symbol = identified matches confirm the relationship.
- Color block with a white DNA symbol = no match identified to confirm the relationship (yet) but matches confirm relationships in an earlier generation in that line.
- White block with a star = problems I think I DNA may solve.
- Empty color block = known ancestors without any DNA confirmation.
- Empty white block = unknown ancestors with no DNA clues (so far).