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!