The next step – DNA

Back in May, my mom asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day… She was expecting something like a pedicure, an outfit, a day of watching my son but my answer was DNA 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 been searching 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 family tree as my own. But I know there is another branch out there.

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 bio-grandparents?

Back to my point – we sent off for ancestryDNA autosomal testing. A few weeks go by and bam… we have 3rd cousin matches. That’s pretty crazy. One day we have no leads and then we have a link to our bio-family.

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 cousin match and recorded surnames. The same name kept popping up – Johnston.

Oh my goodness. I’m on to something here. So I looked at those 3rd cousin matches with Johnston in their list of surnames – I recorded their family trees and mushed them all together in one family tree which led up to a common ancestor… 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 the children.

1860 Winston Co, AL page 1239 #8
Saml P. Johnston m 47 carpenter NC
Sarah B. f 43 seamtress 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 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. Contact form is on the About Page.


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