A Tinsley-Dingman DNA Connection–Or Not

I am blessed or cursed with multiple relationships to individuals.

Look in all directions or you may overlook something.

In many cases, I’m aware of these multiple relationships or at least propensity to have them in certain portions of my family. The tendency to have multiple relationships with many relatives is not unusual for some genealogists and often the multiple relationships are discovered within five or six generations of the pedigree (and close enough to create challenges in analyzing autosomal DNA test results). The specifics of what portions of the family intermarried more than once depend upon ethnicity, migration patterns, and other historical and sociological factors. But multiple relationships can occur anywhere in your tree.

Sometimes when you do not expect it.

While searching trees of DNA matches for specific last names is a hit and miss process, it can be a way to start going through matches in an attempt to pick the low-hanging DNA fruit before working further. That’s how I came upon this match: I searched for the last name of Dingman in the trees of my matches. My most recent Dingman ancestor is Mary (Dingman) Sargent, born in Ontario, Canada, in the 1810s/1820s.

One of those matches is for a person who will be referred to as TD. While searching the tree for the Dingman reference, another last name caught my attention: Tinsley. I have a fourth and a fifth great-grandmother whose maiden name was Tinsley and whose family was Virginia–completely unconnected to my Dingman family.

TD’s tree indicates that she descends from Enoch and Nancy (Dunaway) Tinsley, a couple who married in the 1810s probably in or around Fleming County, Kentucky. Enoch and Nancy are her third great-grandparents. Enoch and Nancy are my 4th great grandparents. There are a few names in her tree beyond Enoch and Nancy that do not appear to coincide with compiled information put together by myself and others, but the information from Enoch and Nancy to the current generation appears consistent with what I have already located. At this point, I’m not worried about the information in TD’s tree beyond Enoch and Nancy as I’m trying to determine my connection to TD.

While I need to focus on the Dingmans since that’s what I was working on, I do need to accurately determine my relationship to TD if possible. It is imperative that I remember that just because a tree has the same name as I do and even the same ancestor that I do that the possibility exists that my DNA connection to that person is not through that ancestor. There could be multiple connections.

TD’s 6th great-grandparent (according to her tree) is an Eva (Dingman) Stufflebeam, whose son John Stufflebeam was born in 1756 in Columbia County, New York. All of this information is from her tree and has not been validated. My Dingman family also was living in New York State during the same time period, but based on her tree and what I know about my Dingman family, I did not see an immediate possible genealogical connection. If there is one, it would have to be further back than my 6th great-grandfather Dingman. That’s a pretty far connection to have any shared DNA through an autosomal DNA test–but it is possible.

Looking at the shared matches with TD gave me some insight. TD and I share 8 cM across 1 segment. That’s something I need to keep in mind as well. The fact that we share DNA in only 1 segment means that we either share Tinsley DNA or Dingman DNA, but probably not both. TD and I currently have four shared matches:

  • SVH–my third and sixth cousin (another double relationship). SVH is my third cousin through our common descent from Riley and Nancy (Newman) Rampley and a sixth cousin through our shared descent from James and Sarah (Gibson) Rampley. Riley was the great-grandson of James. SVH has two Rampley connections because her great-grandparents were distant cousins. Relevant to the discussion at hand (again trying to stay focused) is the fact that SVH descends from Nancy (Newman) Rampley who was a granddaughter of Enoch and Nancy (Dunaway) Tinsley.
  • RN–my third cousin once removed. RN descends (as do I) from William and Rebecca (Tinsley) Newman. Rebecca was a daughter of Enoch and Nancy (Dunaway) Tinsley.
  • CW–relationship unknown. CW and I have four shared matches. Three of them are descendants of William and Rebecca (Tinsley) Newman.
  • DS–relationship unknown. DS and I have eight shared matches. Two of them are known descendants of William and Rebecca (Tinsley) Newman.

Based upon the shared matches with TD, I’m concluding that the one segment we share comes from our Tinsley-Dunaway connection and not the Dingman family. However, I am making a note on TD’s match that she shared more than one genealogical connection to me and that it appears (for reasons stated above) that the DNA she shares with me is through our Tinsley-Dunaway connection and not through our potential Dingman connection.

Additional consistent information is that my DNA matches have one other descendant of my most recent Dingman ancestor and a dozen matches who are a descendants of that most recent Dingman ancestor. TD is not a shared match with any of those thirteen Dingman descendants.

Given the distance of our potential Dingman connection, I doubted that the DNA connection I had with TD rested with that family. But it was still good to confirm.

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Two Neill Cousins, Shared DNA, and Coin Flipping

Shared amounts of autosomal DNA can vary from one relationship to another. One should not assume that just because the amount of shared DNA is less that the individual is more distantly related when the paper genealogical tree is viewed. The amount of DNA shared can vary somewhat even if two different sets of individuals have the same paper tree genealogical relationship.

  • M-my third cousin through our descent from Samuel Neill (died 1912 Hancock County, Illinois). M and I share 14 cM across two segments.
  • C-my third cousin once removed through our descent from John Neill (born 1810s Ireland). C and I share 105 cM across five segments. John is the father of Samuel Neill (died 1912).

The amount of shared DNA for individuals with a known relationship should fall within ranges of values that have been established. Average amounts of shared DNA are just that: averages.

It’s similar to tossing twenty coins and counting the number of tails that are obtained. Sometimes you’ll get ten tails, sometimes you’ll get five tails, and sometimes you’ll get fifteen. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have twenty coins or that the coins are not fair. It’s just how probability works. The same applies to the amount of shared autosomal DNA between two individuals.

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Separating Out Farms in the 1880 Agricultural Schedule

This image is from part of the 1880 U. S. Census agricultural schedule for Montebello Township in Hancock County, Illinois.

Adam Trautvetter (the intent of the Adam Trautfether) is enumerated twice in this census. The first entry is for the property he owned. The second entry is for property than he rented for a fixed amount (as opposed to to renting for a portion of the crops). The name of the landowner is not indicated.

There are two similar names on the bottom of this page as well (the Hansens)–one was a landowner and one was not. I originally wondered if this was a “repeat name” as well. It is not. A reading of the 1880 population schedule for Montebello Township indicates that there are enumerations for households headed by both a Sullivan and a William Hansen, indicating that the bottom entries are for different men. There was only one Adam Trautvetter in the 1880 census for Montebello Township.

I looked at quite a few agricultural enumerations in Hancock County and did not locate any “duplicate” entries similar to Trautvetter where the rented ground was separated out for a separate enumeration from the owned property. I also did not notice enumerees who indicated they had both owned and rented property. It might have been an unusual practice in 1880 in this area to farm both owned and rented property. I don’t have an answer to that question. Adam’s uncle Adam was deceased by 1880.

The instructions for the enumerator that I was able to locate did not answer the question: “was it standard practice to separate out owned from rented property in the 1880 agricultural census?”

I do not have an answer fr whether the double listing was common. What I did get a feel for when looking at the entries was how much of the county was farmed by the owner and how much was farmed by tenants.

One has to look at more than just the numbers–those tick marks mean something as well.

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A Sledd at Camp Douglas

There are lots of little clues in this oath of allegiance for Joseph Sledd which appears in Ancestry.com’s “Union Provost Marshals’ Papers, 1861-1867” and was taken from the National Archives’ Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, 1861–1867 (microfilm publication M0345, made from War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109).

Joseph Sledd was of Bourbon County, Kentucky, when he made this declaration at Camp Douglas, Illinois, in February of 1865. Camp Douglas was a Union Army prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers.

Sledd’s appearance in these papers means that there’s probably more information on his military service. This reference may just be the beginning of information available on Joseph Sledd.

Sledd was a grandson of Thomas and Sally (Tinsley) Sledd, Amherst County, Virginia, residents who migrated to Bourbon County, Kentucky in the very early 1800s. Sledd apparently survived his time at Camp Douglas and later returned to Kentucky.

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Six Stubs For Teeth

I am making my way through the pension file of Emerson Randles of Coshocton County, Ohio. Emerson married a Mary J. Rampley whose first “appearance” in any record is on when they marry. The hope is that there is something in the pension file that provides some clues as to her family of origin.


But pension files can contain all sorts of clues. In Emerson’s testimony about his health, he mentions numerous places where he was stationed, involved in skirmishes, or imprisoned. All these locations are somehow tied to some sort of illness or injury, which is the real focus of most of the lengthy statement  Emerson made in New Bedford, Ohio, on 18 June 1889. It is in this statement that Emerson states:

I had the scurvy so bad in Victoria Texas that I had to drink vinegar. My teeth began getting loose, and the gums to shrink soon after I came home and the teeth have dropped out one by one until I have only 6 stumps of teeth left, and they do not amount to anything.

This deposition was contained in Emerson’s pension file which was located at the National Archives. The image used in this post was created from a digital scan made of the original deposition.

Even statements that appear to be entirely medically related can contain some good clues.Some of these details could be documented in Emerson’s service record. In this case, I’m not going to obtain a copy of his service record as my real focus is on Emerson’s wife and I don’t think his service record will shed any light (bright, faint, or anywhere in between) on her family of origin.

But it was interesting to learn about Emerson’s teeth–that’s an image one doesn’t even get from photographs during this time period as mouths in pictures from this era are usually closed.

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Thinking About Research Process for John Gibson

I’ve decided to take another stab at the family of John Gibson (born in Stow, Massachusetts in 1751) and who I wrote a while ago after finding a reference to him in a Gibson family history.

The author of that family history apparently loses John after a land transaction in 1799 where he sold his property in Ashby, Massachusetts, and indicated that it was thought that John left the area after that point in time.

And, for unexplained reason, the author indicated that John Gibson died after 10 April 1811. The author makes no reference as to why they knew John was alive on that date. In all honesty, I need to read more completely the Gibson genealogy from which the information on John was obtained to see if there is any other reference to that 1811 date–it may be that he signed or appears in some sort of probate or other estate settlement document. But that’s only a guess.

Apparently at some point, some genealogist has taken the “last alive by date” for John and converted it into a death date. That date is given as John’s death in numerous online references, all seemingly copied from the initial date converter.

I’ve not thrown out the online references to John and his children. Just because a compilation has one fact apparently interpreted incorrectly does not mean that other information in those compilations is incorrect. Those compilations have given me solid leads on John’s children, specifically:

  • Catherine Gibson, born 1783 in Ashby
  • John Gibson, born 1778 in Ashby

I’m using the information in those online compilations on those two children as clues to obtain further information from “non-compiled” sources. I am also constantly reviewing that data to determine if the information is reasonable and consistent. And as I do that, I’m tracking from where the information was obtained. That does slow down the research process, but it makes later continued analysis and reference easier. 
Another of John’s children, Sarah (born in 1744 in Ashby) is believed to have married Samuel Sargent. I’m also hoping to find documentation to solidify that “belief.” 
Part of the rationale for tracking these children of John Gibson is that some of the records on Catherine, John, and Sarah Sargent mention where they lived and where their children were born. 
These locations are then being used as possible places to search for John Gibson in an attempt to see where he went after he apparently left Ashby. Chances are hopefully he’ll turn up near where one of his children live.
And then maybe I’ll find estate, probate, or land records on him that may more concretely tie him to his children and maybe even solidify that died after 10 April 1811 death date. 
Some schools of thought would suggest that I research the children completely, then put that information together, see what it says and go from there. Given that I’d really like to find John after 1799 and that records on him may help me confirm where his children ended up, I’ll keep working the approach that I’m using now. 
Because I’m hoping to firm up the “belief” that John’s daughter Sarah married Samuel Sargent–after all, that’s my actual line of descent.

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Not Getting the Revolutionary Cart Ahead of the Horse

Haste makes waste.

A search on GoogleBooks for Samuel and Sarah (Gibson) Sargent brought up the a reference in a genealogy of the descendants of John Gibson of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Sarah Gibson who married Samuel in 1798 is my ancestor.

And it’s tempting to immediately conclude that my Sarah is the daughter of this John Gibson referenced below:

I don’t have too many ancestors with Revolutionary War service as this John does–his father actually does as well.

But it’s important to read the entire writeup carefully. The author uses the word “likely” to define the relationship between Sarah (Gibson) Sargent and this John Gibson. Just how “likely” is “likely?” It is enough to put the relationship in my database and go from there?

Just because other online trees have included the relationship does not mean it is true. They could very well have used the reference above (or a reference derived from it). It may or may not be worth my time to look at other online compiltations to determine if someone has attempted to take the relationship from “likely” to something even stronger.

At the very least, it would be good to know why the author used the word likely? There’s no indication of what prompted the author to clarify the parent-child relationship as likely. Was it beause of the proximity of the indivduals involved? Were there no other Gibson families in the area? Was it based upon the probable age of the Sarah who married compared with the known Sarah, daughter of John?

I don’t know.

It appears that the author was unable to locate John after he sold property in 1799. The book follows other male Gibson lines of descent (it also includes information on children of Gibson daughters) and the lack of information on any of John’s other children causes me to believe that the author simply lost the family after 1799.

What to do?

I know where Samuel and Sarah (Gibson) Sargent were after 1799. They left the immediate area. It’s possible that they moved along with other Gibson family members. At this point, I will:

  • Look for Gibsons living near (in the same and adjacent counties) to Samuel and Sarah (Gibson) Sargent in post 1800 census and other records. 
  • Look for Gibsons living near Samuel and Sarah (Gibson) Sargent’s children in New York State, Michigan, Illinois, Vermont, and New Hampshire. While the father John probably didn’t move into Illinois, it is possible that he did go to any of the other areas and the Sargents could always have lived near Gibson cousins.The Sargents who settled in Illinois and Michigan did not settle near other Sargent relatives. 

That’s probably enough for now. 
The motivation is to find something on John Gibson that may more concretely tie him to the family of Samuel and Sarah (Gibson) Sargent. 

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A 1905 Letter of Permission

It’s the only signature I have for John Michael Trautvetter: when he gave consent for his seventeen-year old daughter Ida to marry in 1905.

It was not the only document he ever signed in his life. By the time John Michael married in 1868 in Hancock County, Illinois, he had already purchased part of the real estate that would compromise his farm upon his death in the early twentieth century. That property would be mortgaged and paid off several times before his death. Each deed, mortgage, and release were recorded in the county recorder’s office. Of course John did not sign the deeds of acquisition, but the record copies of mortgages he did sign do not contain his actual signature–just the clerk’s copy of it.

John Michael also wrote no last will and testament. The case file of loose papers for the settlement of his estate contain no copies of any documents that were signed by him before his death. John Michael’s parents have no estate settlement records. His parents liquidated their Illinois real estate in the 1860s before John Michael’s father returned to Germany where he died. John Michael is not mentioned in the estate settlement of his mother-in-law, Barbara Haase, who died in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1903. His wife was deceased by this time and John Michael had no interest in the estate.

It is possible that his signature appears in the probate file for one of his neighbors, but those records have not been searched. Had his daughter been of legal age when she married, there would be no extant copy of his signature.

Sometimes people do not leave all the records behind that we would like.

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