I am a curious type. As a journalist, you would expect that, right?
So for the past several years, I’ve been digging into family history, genealogy and unearthing some very interesting ancestors. I’ve been studying many surnames: Gibson, Jacobs, Slone, Reynolds, Amburgey, Huff, Sizemore, Smith, etc.
Once you put your toe into the waters of genealogy, the ripple effect is huge. I have found so many great-aunts and uncles, cousins and great-great-great-something grandparents, my charts are overflowing.
But let me tell you, there are still many mysteries out there. Gibson genealogists alone have been trying for decades to crack the nut of who begat whom. In case you don’t know, Gibsons begat by biblical proportions. We. Are. Everywhere.
Recently, my dad and one of his sisters spit in some tubes and sent their DNA off to 23 & Me. It turns out, we are part Congolese — about .6 percent. Somewhere in the late 1700s to early 1800s, someone from the Congo begat. That would explain the historical census notes of “mulatto” or “passes for white” that I kept finding.
My dad’s DNA showed he is 99.6 percent European — 71.1 percent British and Irish United Kingdom; .1 percent Western Asian and North African; .1 percent Sub-Saharan African; and .2 percent unassigned.
My aunt, who would not have the Y DNA, had slightly different results: 98.9 percent European — 76.5 percent British and Irish; .7 percent Sub-Saharan African (this is where the .6 percent Congolese comes in); and .4 percent unassigned.
Interesting stuff. I am hoping to upload the information to Gedmatch and see if was can determine who the progenitor Gibson was.
I also learned Grandma Gibson, a Reynolds/Slone line, is from a rare haplogroup. 23 & Me explains haplogroups refer to mutations that represent the clade (haplotypes that share a common ancestor) to which a collection of particular human haplotypes belong.
Grandma’s is H16.
According to haplogroup.org, the woman who founded this line lived between 2,000 and 10,000 years ago. The origin is undetermined. Again, a curiosity.
However, Grandma’s Reynolds’ lineage is well-documented. I know one of her great-something grandpas fought in the battle of King’s Mountain during the American Revolution. If you don’t know about that particular battle, look it up in the history books. It was a turning point in the war.
My Grandma Jacobs’ family, a Slone/Slone line, has quite a colorful history. I don’t have DNA for my mom’s side of the family, just research and some background from my grandparents. Her aunt, Verna Mae Slone, was a fairly well-known writer. A lot of my family history she documented in several books complete with pictures.
I remember her as being a sweet lady. In 1993, according to the Kentucky Women’s History Project, “her portrait became the centerpiece of photographer Barbara Beirne’s exhibit Women of Appalachia at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.” It’s a great photo of her. She’s the type of person you hope to find in your family tree.
For those of you who want to check out her books, look her up on Amazon. I’d recommend starting with “What My Heart Wants to Tell.”
Not all of my ancestors were sweet though. I’m finding those in my trip through history. But you have to take the good with the bad.
Regardless, I’ll continue wandering through time and discovering “the begats” and personal stories that make history come alive.
Sheila Selman is regional editor/digital content editor for The Goshen News. You can contact her at Sheila.firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @sselman_TGN or on Facebook at Sheila Selman Journalist.