AncestryDNA – The Next Step

A Strange Request

Back in May, my mom asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day. She was expecting something like a manicure, an outfit, a day of watching my son but my answer was AncestryDNA testing.

My mom was a little surprised by my response but she was ready to move forward. Here is a little background about me. I’m obsessed with genealogy. I’ve searched family records since I was high school. Here’s the thing. Family trees generally go by DNA/blood relatives. I’ve recorded my mother’s adoptive family tree as my own. But I know there is another branch out there that I can call my own.

There are people out there that look like my mom.

My son is about 2 years old and lately I’ve noticed a he walks like my husband’s dad. It is seriously crazy. I can’t help but see his G-daddy in him when he’s running around playing. What kind of traits did I get from my biological maternal grandparents?

AncestryDNA Testing & Results

Back to my point – we sent off for ancestryDNA autosomal testing. A few weeks go by and the results are in!  My mom has 3rd – 4th cousin matches. That’s pretty crazy. One day we have no leads and then we have a link to her biological family.

AncestryDNA matches

Third cousins are pretty distant relatives. 1st cousins share the same grandparents, 2nd cousins share the same great grandparents, third cousins share the same great great grandparents. Ok now what?

Now – we find a common ancestor…well that would be sort of simple IF we knew our biological family. Ok… so here’s what I did. I went down every 3rd/4th cousin match and recorded surnames.  This took forever  (by the way there is an easier way) The same name kept popping up – Johnston.

Oh my goodness. I’m on to something here. So I looked at those 3rd an 4th cousin matches with Johnston in their list of surnames – I recorded their family trees and meshed them all together in one family tree which led up to common ancestors – Samuel Johnston and Sarah Bell.

We have found 5 descendants all from different children of Samuel Johnston and Sarah Bell. Samuel and Sarah had 12 children or so. I’ve only found records for a handful of their children.

1860 Winston Co, AL page 1239 #8
Saml P. Johnston m 47 carpenter NC
Sarah B. f 43 seamstress GA
Horace m 16 farmer NC
Pinkney m 14 NC
Taylor m 12 NC
Andrew m 10 NC
Susan A. f 8 NC
Marcus m 6 NC
Thomas m 5 GA
Julia f 3 TN
Laura f 1 AL

Not listed on this census

Emma – married William Blackwell.

The names in blue are the ones that our 3rd/4th cousin matches descend from.  EEK! This is pretty exciting!

If you are a descendant of Samuel Johnston (1815-1864 ish) and Sarah Bell (1817 – ?), please contact me! Let me know your family line.


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