Thank you


Lately, I’ve been telling more of my mom’s DNA matches about I feel like a gedmatch salesperson or something.  Thankfully, is free (unless you upgrade for more options) and it has been really helpful in my search lately.  Users from Ancestry, FTDNA, and 23andme can upload and compare against others that have tested with other companies.

DNA doesn’t follow rules.

DNA is weird! It doesn’t follow rules like we want it to and even if you are 3rd cousins on paper, you might not share any DNA.  So William Blackwell married Emma Johnston (daughter to Samuel Johnston and Sarah Bell).  William and Emma had a bunch of kids, one of which is Henry.  I skipped Henry during my first research because I just could not find him anywhere. I made the assumption that him and his brother were the same person.  His brother’s middle name is Henry so it was a bit confusing.  My mom looked over the tree and she questioned it and we reviewed the census records and sure enough I was wrong.

Since I had ruled out the other kids, I had to find Henry.  I widened my search parameters and finally found a record of a Henry Blackwell in TN married to Alice Crotts.  It looked like it fit.  But I found it odd that he moved and none of his family moved along with him.

  • My mom has a 3rd cousin match that is definitely related to this Henry Blackwell, the one in TN but they hadn’t connected him with Samuel Johnston and Sarah Bell.
  • My mom also has a 3rd/4th cousin match that is definitely related to Samuel Johnston.

Based on what I know of DNA, these two cousins SHOULD be DNA matches as well, I mean they share ancestors.  But they weren’t DNA matches. So the doubt started creeping in. If this Henry Blackwell descendant is not a DNA match to this descendant of Samuel Johnston, I must be wrong about Henry Blackwell. But, I have TONS of DNA matches to Henry Blackwell’s wife and her family (Crotts/Worley).

A Breakthrough

I asked another descendant of Samuel Johnston to upload his DNA onto gedmatch.  After about a week or so, he responded with his gedmatch kit number! I ran some one to one comparisons and he was a match to the Samuel Johnston descendant which I had assumed would happen. He was also a match to the Henry Blackwell descendant… My mom, this Samuel Johnston descendant, and the Henry Blackwell descendant all overlap in the same place.

Do you know what this means! DNA is unpredictable!  All of the people I mentioned in this post are descendants of Samuel Johnston but that doesn’t mean they are all DNA matches.  If only I could track down all of Henry Blackwell and Alice Crott’s children! I’m only 1 or 2 generations away but I’m just hitting brick walls.  I wish AncestryDNA would come out with some more options like filtering out people who are common  matches to another user.  But, I still would recommend uploading to for comparisons across DNA companies.

I’m sorry if this post was confusing.  I do not use people’s names to protect their privacy so sometimes it just gets complicated! By the way, if you are doing research on any of the families mentioned here, please contact me – I would love to exchange notes!

Previous posts about the Blackwell family 

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