I'm back! I haven't written a blog post in several months. But I have a good reason. I have been writing! Yes, I have written and produced a third book. It's entitled Ealy Family Heritage - Documenting Our Legacy. See icon on the right side for more details. Underneath, I am asking two questions:
(1) Do you want or need a great example on how a family history book can be written and organized?
(2) Are you an Ealy (a descendant of Big Bob Ealy of Leake County, Mississippi) and you want to learn about the family and its history?
If your answer is YES to either one of those two questions, get the book! You won’t regret it.
A year ago, I predicted something in my blog post, 20 Do's and Don'ts of DNA, for the year 2015. I wrote the following, "I have a prediction! 2015 is going to be a phenomenal year for everyone who partakes in genetic genealogy." I hope that my prediction turned out to be true for everyone? For me, it certainly has! The ancestors were working overtime and utilizing DNA to send the best clues ever. My DNA discoveries came in the following three ways:
1. DNA enabled me to find new ancestors and family members that I was unaware of. I wrote about those discoveries in these blog posts:
March 8, 2015: Finding the Connection to a DNA Match Within An Hour! – reveals the discovery of another sister of my paternal great-grandmother, Angeline Bass Belton of Warren County, Mississippi.
March 7, 2015: The Truth is in the Spit – reveals the confirmation of Uncle Random Briscoe of Marshall County, Mississippi, the proposed brother of my maternal third-great grandmother who was transferred to another owner.
July 13, 2015: Repairing Broken Ties: DNA Finds Aunt Barsilla – reveals how DNA led me to discover the whereabouts of my paternal third-great grandmother Beadie Bass’ sister, Barsilla Williford, who was bequeathed to a different owner and remained in North Carolina, while Grandma Beadie and her children were taken to Hinds County, Mississippi in 1849.
July 1, 2015: My Maury Povich Moment with DNA – reveals how after over 20 years, I finally pinpointed the father of my mother’s paternal grandmother, Sarah Partee Reed of Tate County, Mississippi. His name was Prince Edwards, and this DNA discovery led to finding a “new” family branch out in Oklahoma! Not only that, this DNA discovery led to discovering an African ancestor, Prince’s father Luke Edwards Sr., who was brought to America from West Africa, according to oral history, and his African name was remembered and passed down by family elders! I am still doing the “Carlton Banks” dance on this discovery!
August 2007 Oklahoma City Herald newspaper article featuring the 2007 Edwards Family Reunion, the descendants of Grandpa Prince’s brother, Peter Edwards, attended by over 400 descendants. Uncle Peter’s 12 children left Mississippi around 1910 and settled in Oklahoma. Some descendants even moved to Alberta, Canada.
2. DNA showed me that one of my ancestral theories concerning Native American ancestry was wrong! Read April 5, 2015: Jumping to Conclusions with Genealogy and DNA.
3. Last but definitely not least, DNA also confirmed long-time research and family connections that were the foundation of my second book, 150 Years Later: Broken Ties Mended. This is what I mean.
Check out the old family portrait at the top of this blog post. It's of a man named Cannon Beckley with his 20 children and several grandchildren. This picture was taken in the year 1900, in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. During my research of my maternal great-grandfather William "Bill" Reed (1846-1937) of Tate County, Mississippi, Cannon appeared on Rev. William H. Barr's 1843 slave inventory (Abbeville Co., S.C.), along with Grandpa Bill's father, Pleasant Barr, and numerous other family members. When I called out the names on that inventory to my late cousin Isaac Deberry (1914-2009), a grandson of Bill Reed, his eyes bucked when he heard the name "Cannon." He immediately said, "That was Grandpa Bill's brother! He talked about him all the time!"
Further research revealed that Cannon wasn't his brother, but Cannon's mother, Sue Barr Beckley, and Grandpa Bill's father, Pleasant Barr, were likely sister and brother. Cannon was one of 12 children born to Sue and her husband, Jacob Beckley Sr. The family was split apart in 1859 in Abbeville, South Carolina. In 2009, the Reed and Beckley families came together in Atlanta, Georgia and Abbeville, SC, on the 150th year anniversary of the family's separation. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. See reunion documentary here.
In December 2015, two new DNA matches appeared in my AncestryDNA database within a week of each other. Thankfully, both of them had viewable family trees. My heart skipped a beat both times when I saw that the two new DNA matches are members of the Beckley Clan! With “Kismo,” I share 15.1 cM across 1 segment. After Cousin Walter King of Oxford, Mississippi uploaded his AncestryDNA raw data file to GEDmatch, I learned that he shares 33.5 cM across 2 segments with my mother and her brother. And out of all of Aunt Sue Barr Beckley's 12 children, guess which son was Kismo and Walter’s third-great grandfather? Yep...Cannon Beckley!
Like I said a year ago, I say again: "I have a prediction! 2016 is going to be a phenomenal year for everyone who partakes in genetic genealogy." I hope that this declaration will be the case for you and me. DNA is awesome!