Monthly Archives: February 2014

Following the Governors with Ben Ogle Part 1

Family trees on Ancestry.com are the best when it comes to researching family history.  However, it’s like batting flies in the wind if you haven’t taken a DNA test. DNA results are the footprints in the genealogical sand of self discovery. For African Americans, that’s very important because most of us have no documented history past our grandparents or great grand parents, if we are lucky.  Again, that’s true for most of us. There are some African Americans who can rattle off family history back five or six generations. Now, that’s what I’m trying to do for my family.

In my last blog, I presented my DNA results from two companies, AncestryDNA and 23andMe.  It may have appeared that I was unsatisfied with my results; however, nothing could be further from the truth. I am the cheer leader of DNA  testing. As a matter of fact, without DNA testing, I would still be trying to figure out who I am. Therefore, I am proud and over joyed with my African ancestry as well as the other parts of me.

DNA testing has led me to discover many of my ancestors, so follow me on my journey to find out the identity of Ben Ogle. Is it possible that he’s my great, great, great grandfather? At this point, I can’t say that he is grandfather’s ancestor or that of my grandmother. He may be connected to both. Let’s find out.

I first met Ben Ogle while searching for my Horn and Poole family connections, but they had his last name as Odom. I knew that I was related to the Odom,  so I made a mental note of his name ( I have since learned to write everything down,). however, at this point, I had no knowledge of him or that he may be an ancestor.  There was a story about him attached to the tree of one of our Ely cousins. I was intrigued by the story, but at the time I didn’t see how it was applicable to me. Then, in the dark musty research room within the Clarke County Courthouse, I finally found the records of enslavement of my Horn and Robinson family.  It was a dark, cloudy day, but the room suddenly brightened. I had been looking for these records for almost a year, and here they were in the will of John Russell Robertson (Robinson) of South Carolina.  I must detour here to explain how finding these records led me to Ben Ogle.

John Russell Robertson had left certain slaves to his children. One of his daughters, Sarah Robinson, married Josiah Horn.  Among slaves willed to Sarah were Edy, Gabe, Lottie, Nancy, and Spencer.  There were others, but these are the ones that are significant to this post. Nancy was only six months old when she was taken from her mother, Edy, and sent to the Horn Plantation.  Spencer was about six years old as was Lottie. Spencer went to the Horn Plantation while Lottie was sent with Gabe to the plantation of another of Russell Robinson’s daughter, Martha Adeline Moseley. It’s possible that Mose Robinson’s mother, Catheryn Moseley, was also on that plantation, and it’s possible that Mose Robinson was conceived there between 1863 – 1865.

Edy later married Daniel Robinson who later changed his name to Daniel Banks. Edy and Daniel are the progenitors of the Robinson, Banks, and Allen families of Clarke County.  Nancy later married Henry Love1 and became the progenitor of Love, Harris, McCall, Carmichael, and McCants as well as the Horn families of Clarke and Wilcox Counties.  It appears that Henry Love1 left Clarke and Wilcox Counties with the Robinsons sometime around 1880, for Texas.

Now, back to the discovery of Ben. When Nancy was sent to the Horn plantation, she was only six months old. A six month old baby has not yet been weaned, so there had to be someone there to take care of the baby and to continue to nurse her. As I followed the path of Nancy, I found Betsy Horn (more about her later). As I followed Betsy, I found Ben Ogle, not Odom, living with his daughter and her husband, Granville Foreman. Granville later changed his surname (last) name to Lynum.

By now, I had received my DNA results from AncestryDNA. Recall that I was overwhelmed with all of the trees with names that I had never heard. Well, I had been invited by a cousin, Regina, to a Facebook group, DNA Tested African Americans. It was here that I learned to use valuable tools and information like DNA trees. Two years ago, I had about twenty fourth cousin matches on Ancestry, and hundreds of cousins beyond the fourth cousin match.  I found Regina in the later. I found my connection to Ben Ogle in the former group. One set each of my thirty-two great, great, great grand parents were there in the trees of my twenty plus cousins. By the way, at this time, my fourth cousin matches were all white. It was another year, testing with 23andMe, and meeting Stephanie Renee before I would totally understand the importance of the trees of my fourth cousins. I now have over forty fourth cousins with only five of them being of African American descent.

While searching the Addison surname from my tree, in an attempt to match Stephanie’s tree, I kept running into the same trees and families, so I decided to Google the names. To my amazement, the names Ogle, Tasker, and Addison were all connected to governors of the State of Maryland. In addition,  they were the same names found in the family trees of my cousins on Ancestry.

Next, I started to research these families to find out if their stories would lead me to my Ben Ogle and Alabama. Yes! I found several stories that seem to document part of the oral history for Ben Ogle. As a matter of fact, the factual story matches my DNA! In addition, I found relatives that match me on several chromosomes that further document the heredity. DNA is awesome and it provides a documented, genealogical footprint that leads to an identity that is not just one – hundred or even five – hundred years ago. It leads all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

Follow me to found out what I find! It’s simply amazing!

Looking for me in the spit: DNA Testing

It’s been a little more than two years since I took my first DNA test with AncestryDNA™, and I still remember the headaches that I got, trying to sort through the matches and what they meant to me. Now, two years later, I’m still a little confused, and I’ve taken another test with 23andMe, Inc. This past year both my mother and my sister have also tested with 23andMe. I can say that things have gotten a lot better. I can now identify some of my mothers relatives, and I have become friends with relatives that I call the two Stephanie’s and another one that I call Gina. They are like bloodhound on this trip. If a relative is to be found they will find him/her. What I like about the three of them is that they are like me. We are not pretentious, and we don’t have to put ourselves out there to be noticed. We just quietly do what we do and the ancestors show up! We have all learned a lot from the DNA spit that we sent to the labs. I want to expose some specific lessons about my ancestors that I’ve learned these past two years.

What I Know

I still don’t have proof of my biological grandfathers, but I know my grandmothers.  Therefore, I learned that it’s best to start with what you know. My paternal grandmother was Bertha Foreman. She was from Indian Ridge, Alabama. From oral history, I was told that she was part Native American.  I remember that my dad had a photograph of her when she was about fifteen years old. She was dressed in Native American apparel with a native head band around her head.  Her hair had been braided in two plaits, one on each side.  From the photograph, it appeared that she was attending some type of celebration.  The odd thing was that the photograph was hidden underneath some things. When I asked my father about why it was hidden, he wouldn’t answer. I got the impression, after asking my grandfather about the portrait, that it was better not to let people know that you were Native American.

My grandfather gave me a bag of Indian coins once to take to school for show and tell. After school, the kids and one of the teachers, snatched the bag from me and took almost all of the coins.  I was of the first group of African American children to attend the all white elementary school. I had mixed emotions of anger, hurt, and disbelief over this episode.  To this day, I can’t believe what happened and that this would happen to me, a sixth grader, at a public school.  I was so afraid to tell grand daddy, but when I did, he just laughed and said he knew that would happen. He was not angry at all, and said he had more coins put away, and he showed me some other native artifacts.  I knew at that point that we were descendants of Native Americans. However, when I received my first DNA results from AncestryDNA™, there was not a hint of Native American DNA reported. I was more than a little disturbed. I was irate!  Why would they withhold my true results. The feelings from sixth grade came flooding back. I felt as if something had been stolen from me again.  They only reported that I was sub Saharan African and Scandinavian.   This told me nothing, so I decided to test with another company.

My test results with 23andMe were a little better, but not as much as I thought.  Below are my ethnicity results from 23andMe.

My 23andme snip2

So, what happened to the “Indian” in me? As of December 2013, 23andMe started to report only .7% NA and 1.2% total East Asian and Native. Several months ago the percentages were higher.  I could give you a genetics lesson on recombination, but I would rather like to provide a word to express my true feelings; thus, allowing you to read between the lines. That word is poppycock!  Suddenly, 23andMe was reporting my ethnicity as Non- specific sub Saharan African, European, and Asian.  At least 30% of me couldn’t be accounted for, which left me feeling a little bewildered. What happened?

I still longed for more. Why couldn’t at least one company tell me to which tribes I belonged? Why were there suddenly major blank pages in my story?  In the meantime, Ancestry was working on their revisions. They had promised to show a breakdown of African American ethnicity, and they were true to their promise as shown below. As a matter of fact, it appeared to me, and is of my own opinion, that the two companies had a meeting of the minds on the Native American issue.  Their results were similar, but still questionable.

Ancestrydna NA Asian Europe Results African Ancestrydna Results

Although I am not totally satisfied with these results, I am definitively closer to discovering family than I was. As a matter of fact, some of my cousins and I have already connected some dots and confirmed our kinship. You will hear more about that in the days to come.  First, I want to fill some gaps for my cousins who may be reading this blog here or in our Facebook group.  I hope to encourage some of you to take a DNA test to see how you match with me or other DNA test family members. If you want to know more, just contact me. I’m here to help.

The next blog will discuss the possible connections of Ben Ogle to at least three Maryland governors.  See you on the next quest for family!