Thursday, April 27, 2017

DNA of Jemima Campbell Tice (daughter of Joel Campbell, 1735-1828) PART IV of IV

The difficulties in learning more about the mother of Joel Campbell's children were discussed in Part I of this series. Part II discussed the use of mitochondrial DNA to confirm recent common ancestors in the maternal line. Part III told the tale of locating a maternal descendant of Jemima Campbell.

This Part discusses the results of that descendant's mtDNA testing.

The DNA of Carol Anne Baker, a maternal descendant of Jemima Campbell, was obtained using the normal "cheek swab" and analyzed by Family Tree DNA using their “Full Sequence” test. [That test includes HVR1, HVR2, and Coding Regions.] Her results were then compared with others to determine common ancestors.

Mutations in certain parts of the DNA are common to many participants. Those common mutations happened thousands of years ago and the date and location of some mutations can be estimated. Of course a mutation happens with a specific person who then is a node (or branch) in the mtDNA tree. Every living person with that mutation in their maternal DNA came from that same woman long ago where it first occurred.

Jemima’s Haplogroup

Yes, each mutation denotes a "special mother."  In Jemima’s case, there was a woman who lived about 50,000 years ago in the Near East whom the geneticists have labeled "J". She is our (Jemima’s) super grandmother, and her maternal descendants are said to be in her "Haplogroup." (“Haplo” is the greek word for “single” meaning that everyone with that genetic signature is related back to a single person.)

The haplo subgroups can be further refined as more people are tested. For example, a subgroup of "J" known as "J1b" is thought to be part of a group that migrated to the Mediterranean about 6000 years ago. The woman that carried that "J1b" mutation is another one of our "grandmothers." The haplogroup for Jemima is further refined to "J1b1a1." The timing of this last mutation and its location appears to be in Great Britain in the last 1000 years, but that needs to be refined.

mtDNA Matches

Carol Baker’s mtDNA results should be identical to those of Jemima Campbell Tice. The chance of a mutation to the mtDNA over those six generations is a possibility, but small. Other maternal descendants of Jemima should share the exact same mtDNA signature. In fact, this mtDNA signature is likely unique to a “grandmother” up to 22 generations in the past. A match would identify a person with whom Carol and Jemima share a common ancestor.

Unfortunately there are not a lot of mtDNA results with which to compare.  Carol has one “match” with genetic distance of “1” meaning that all of the markers are the same except for one. FamilyTreeDNA does not calculate the probabilities of such a match having a common ancestor, but my crude estimate is that there is only a 50% chance of that person sharing a common ancestor with Carol after the year 1600. In this case, the match had no genealogical information on their maternal line prior to 1900, so there was little to be gained anyway. One path of research might be to collaborate with this person on tracing their maternal line to see if it leads back to Newark.

A second “match” had a genetic distance of “2” meaning two of the markers did not match. This decreases the possibility of a very recent common ancestor, but indicates the likelihood of a common ancestor perhaps 15-40 generations in the past. The maiden name of the person in this line that lived in the early 1700s is Elkins, which is a name with English origins.


The maternal ancestry of Jemima's mother is European and highly likely out of Great Britain. As more people with known genealogy are tested, the possibility of “exact matches” with Carol’s mtDNA increases. The data from those matches will yield more information about recent ancestors of Jemima's mother. Carol's test results will undoubtedly help other genealogists as our line of known maternal ancestors extends about ten generations which is relatively long for "known" maternal lines.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DNA of Jemima Campbell Tice (daughter of Joel Campbell, 1735-1828) PART III of IV

The difficulties in learning more about the mother of Joel Campbell's children were discussed in Part I of this series. Part II discussed the use of mitochondrial DNA to confirm recent common ancestors in the maternal line.

Finding a maternal descendant of a person born in the 1700s is easier said than done. Most of that is due to the name changes and the paternalistic nature of record keeping in the early days.

I began my effort by offering $500 for someone to do the work for me. To quote that blog from May of 2015, "The Abigail DNA Project will award $500 to the person who can identify a living maternal descendant of the mother of Joel's children and convince that person to submit a sample for mtDNA testing."

When it became obvious there were no takers, I dived into it myself, descending the maternal tree of Jemima Campbell, hoping to find a researcher on who might know a living descendant. I hit some dead ends, but in the process I probably did a lot of genealogy that someone will find useful. I finally thought I was close and left a few messages for people managing family trees on One was a woman who manages a wonderful tree called appropriately "The Karie Sexton Family Tree." I left a note in February of 2016 inquiring about the maternal lines that descended from Emma Mourhess (see tree below). She did not see the "You have a message" icon on until October, but her reply was encouraging. Her husband had a cousin who was a maternal great-granddaughter of Emma Mourhess.

Soon Carol Anne Baker (my long lost 6th cousin) and I were talking. She is the 5th great-granddaughter of Jemima's mother with an unbroken maternal line. She submitted a sample for mtDNA testing and has agreed to share the results with her "cousins." Interestingly, Carol's maternal ancestors of the last six generations, all lived in the general area where Joel spent his last years.

Mother of Jemima Campbell (name traditionally given as Nancy Leonard)
Jemima Campbell
Rebecca Tice (daughter of Jemima Campbell)
Sally/Sarah Crowl (daughter of Rebecca Tice)
Emma Mourhess (daughter of Sally Crowl)
Frances Leona Crane (daughter of Emma Mourhess)
Frances Emma Colburn (daughter of Francis L Crane)
Carol Anne Baker (daughter of Francis E Colburn)

Part IV will discuss the results of the mtDNA test.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nancy Campbell - Discovery of the first primary document containing this name?

I came upon the name of 'Nancy Campble' in the DayBook of Cadwallader Colden's store.  The store was located in Coldengham, New York.  The date of her visit to the store was October 1, 1768.

Many of you know I have been quite skeptical of the traditional names of Joel Campbell's wives. The main reason for my skepticism is that I have not seen any primary sources for them.  By 'primary sources' I mean original documents that were created by someone in her presence or at the time she lived.  In fact, I have not even seen any secondary documents. I consider 'secondary documents' to be records of people who might have seen a primary document or talked to a person who knew her. I would consider the legendary Benajah Campbell bible to be a secondary source, but I have never seen it.  It appears to be missing for the time being.

What we are left with are family genealogies that give a Nancy Leonard as the mother of Joel's children referencing missing secondary sources.

By 1768, Joel Campbell and his family were living close to Coldengham, New York. Joel was about thirty-three years old.

Cadwallader Colden Jr. kept a store that is believed to have been located close to his new mansion (the ruins of which still exist) in Coldengham, New York. Today, Coldengham is a hamlet in the Town of Montgomery. A DayBook of the transactions at that store in the years 1767-1768 resides in the New-York Historical Society. See recent post on the transcription of this document.

Joel Campbell, his brothers, and a sister were recorded as shopping at Colden's store in the 1767-1768 period.

Each store entry lists the person whose account would be charged and the person who picked up the items. In the entry for Nehemiah Carpenter of October 1, 1768, Nancy Campble was the recipient of the items (which were oddly not enumerated). The items were "p[e]r order" and cost 13 shillings and 6 pence.

October 1, 1768 Entry in Nehemiah Carpenter Account.  See top entry.

The majority of the Campbells who shopped at this store, are known to be related to Joel. So it is likely that this 'Nancy' is also related. Could she have been the mysterious Nancy Leonard?

Many other questions remain about this transaction.  Why was she picking up items for Mr. Carpenter who was a relatively wealthy member of the community? Could it be she was picking up cash from Carpenter's account in payment for a service? Based on other entries, I think not, as the clerks typically indicated when cash was disbursed.

Even more confusing is the last entry before this one. It was on the same day, immediately prior to Nancy's 'pick-up.' It was, however, recorded by a different clerk as the handwriting shows. The person visiting the store was the wife of Nehemiah Carpenter.  She picked up 3 pounds of cotton wool and 1/4 pounds of an illegible item.  [Feel free to add a comment below if you recognize this item.]

The entry just prior to Nancy Campble's entry. is also to Carpenter's account.

Did Nancy visit the store together with the wife of Nehemiah? It seems likely due to the proximity of their entries. Could Nancy have been in the employ of the Carpenters? Could she have been a seamstress who was to work with the 'cotton wool' purchased by Mrs. Carpenter? Caulfeild's dictionary describes the manufacture of cotton wool as follows: "The raw cotton, after having been passed through the 'willow,' 'blowing,' and 'scutching' machines, is spread out into broad, soft, fleece-like wadding, when it is wound on a roller. It is employed for lining garments, quilts, &c, being placed between the material and its lining, and then sewn and kept in position by diagonal runnings at even distances, called 'quilting.'" Perhaps Nancy was making some winter garments for the Carpenters using this material?

In summary, it appears we are related to a 'Nancy Campble' who could very well be the 'Nancy Leonard,' wife of Joel Campbell as given in traditional genealogies. This is the first time I have seen this name in a primary document, so I am quite elated.