Monday, November 13, 2017

DNA of Jemima Campbell Tice (daughter of Joel Campbell, 1735-1828) - A match in North Carolina

As many of you are aware, I have been on the search for the real identity of the mother of Joel’s children. See my earlier post.  One route that has intrigued me is the use of mtDNA. You should read the prior articles for the details, but the gist is this:

Pieces of mtDNA are passed on from mother to daughter virtually unchanged for several generations.  Therefore any maternal descendants of Joel’s wife will carry the same mtDNA signature as she did.  In fact, so would any maternal descendants of Joel’s wife’s sisters or of her mother’s sisters. If a descendant of one of Joel’s wife’s sisters or maternal aunts could be found, that would lead to more info about the mother of Joel’s children.

The first challenge to this route is finding a maternal descendant who would willing submit for mtDNA testing and share the results. That descendant has been found and I will call her Cousin C.  You can read about Cousin C here.

The second challenge is to find an mtDNA match.  FamilyTreeDNA provides this service. Because the testing is relatively new, not many people have been tested. So far only one person has been an exact match to Cousin C. A second person is a match with a genetic distance of 1.  Eight more are matches with a genetic distance of  2. Because we are looking for a recent common ancestor, a very close genetic distance is desired.

The third challenge is getting the maternal genealogy of the match. Unfortunately the exact match (0 genetic distance) provided no genealogy for the maternal line. That is pretty common. People tend to research their surnames so the trees tend to be lop-sided towards the paternal lines. Maiden names fade into history.

Recently, I became impatient for the ideal match: one that had close genetic distance and a well-researched maternal line.  So...I decided to do someone else’s maternal genealogy. I was surprised that it was relatively easy. I did rely on the genealogy of others, but every link in the relationship is supported by at least one primary source.

The FamilyTreeDNA person who is an exact match is presumably still alive, so I will not list the name given on FamilyTreeDNA. I will refer to that person as Cousin M.  Cousin M’s mother and her maternal ancestors are given below:

Cousin M is the daughter of...
Ida Mae Smethers 1922-2005 daughter of...
Emma A. Hill 1897-1931  daughter of...
Sarah Ida Holcombe 1877-1953  daughter of...
Martha Ann Britt 1846-1924  daughter of...
Dicey Ann Turnage 1815-1866  daughter of...
Sarah Ann Wade 1785-1849  daughter of...
???

The good news about Cousin M’s maternal line is that it remains in the U.S. That gives me some confidence that no mistake has been made in the genealogy of Cousin C. If the maternal line of Cousin M had immigrated to the US after 1750, it is likely that I had somehow erred in determining the genealogy of Cousin C (ie that she is not really a maternal descendant of a woman who lived in NJ in the 1750s).

The bad news is that Cousin M’s maternal line leads to North Carolina.  I was hoping I could trace the line to New Jersey where Joel’s wife had lived...and maybe that will still happen.

In conclusion, the easy genealogy work is done.  Now I need to dig deep into the Wades of North Carolina and how they got there. I am encouraged because....

1) It appears Sarah Ann Wade’s father is Obediah Wade (mother yet unknown). Sarah Ann was supposedly born in Duplin, NC in 1785 and Obediah was living there as early as 1800.

2) Wade was a common name in Newark where Joel and his wife lived....IN FACT on the 1764 Ball map that shows Joel’s home near what is now Livingston, NJ and was then known locally as Canoe Brook, shows two Wade homes, Samuel and Nathaniel.

1764 Ball Map showing Joel's home and homes of the Wade family. Dark lines are the branches of the Canoe Brook after which the area got its name.

3) A 1790 militia formed in Canoe Brook, NJ contained a Lt. Obediah Wade. Clearly this could not be the same Obediah who was in North Carolina at the time? Or could it be the birthplace of Sarah Ann is incorrect with the move from NJ to NC occurring circa 1795?

All of this is speculation at this point, but I am optimistic that this route will turn up some clues to the identity of Joel’s wife. The ideal find would be to identify Sarah Ann Wade’s maternal grandmother as a “Leonard.” That would give additional credence to the traditional identity of the mother of Joel’s children being Nancy Leonard.

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