The Ancestry.com search has been very illuminating. The DNA data just lays it all out for you. I have all the information I could ever want about Jerry’s oil-working, die-making families and Mom’s ferry-running, coal-selling mother’s family.
The big mystery ended up being my maternal grandfather. For everyone else, the DNA algorithm figured out who the grandparents were, then great-grandparents, and so on. That trail ended at my grandfather Earl F_____, just as if he was the result of rabbit-like parthenogenesis or fell from heaven.
All I could do was look at third cousins and try to see what people we had in common, which was hard, and to search for his name in the local papers, which was much easier.
In my search I found that the Post-Dispatch had a weekly column in the 1940s listing the names of new polio cases and their parents. I found his name there, dated a few months before my grandmother divorced him for his drinking, gambling ways.
I also found several obituaries for a Sister Helen F______, a beloved nun survived by her brother Earl F______. I dismissed that, until I went back to my third cousins’ family trees and saw they claimed Sister Helen, just not her brother Earl.
Three things became evident:
- When one quarter of your family tree consists of an aunt who died at 19, an uncle who died at 5, and a nun, there are no close cousins that will contribute to any DNA forecasts.
- Earl must really have been a dog for all the relatives to shun his existence.
- I am related to Great-Aunt Helen, nun, ergo bride of Christ, ergo Jesus is my great-uncle through marriage.
I immediately found Gary, proclaimed, “I AM THE GREAT-NIECE OF JESUS,” and blessed him with the sign of the cross.
This means I am Catholic on my mother and father’s sides, so I am MORE Catholic than my half-blood husband with his convert father. I told him I did not mind our mixed marriage.
So, at the end of the DNA road, I have found a celebrity connection to beat my tenuous in-law connection to President Harding.
This totally makes up for being 100% English/Irish.