Monday, 7 May 2018

The PM Mystery is Solved

Now I know why PM doesn't answer emails - she passed away two years ago.  I recently found her cousin Kim, who gave me that news, and told me how I'm related to them both.  I'm rather disappointed to learn that they're not descended from the Doyles after all.  Surprisingly, they connect to me in my Ellis line. My great grandfather Isaac Doyle married Sarah Ellis, but the link is not through him, it's through her.  PM and Kim are both 3rd cousins to me, descended from Sarah Ellis' sister Barbara, so our common ancestors are Sarah and Barbara's parents, John Ellis and Mary Ann Huffman. 

So why doesn't PM's DNA match ANY of my other known Ellis relations?  Well okay, she matches my brother and my cousin Graeme, both of whom have Ellis and Doyle DNA.  But she doesn't match any of the many other people I know are descended from John Ellis and Mary Ann Huffman, including a few who, like PM, are descended from their daughter Barbara Ellis?  One might think that PM was adopted, but then she wouldn't match me either....

DNA is a strange beast.  At least now I know how PM and I are related, so I can stop obsessing about that (but like I said before, I wasn't obsessed anyway...).

Last week I cancelled my Ancestry subscription - not because I'm not interested any more, but because they charge their loyal members, especially those of us who don't live in the US, an arm and a leg every 6 months.  But they offer good deals like 50% off to new members.  So lots of people cancel their subscriptions regularly and then rejoin when a good offer comes up.  That's what I'll do.  I just hope it doesn't take too long to get a good offer, because I'm feeling withdrawal symptoms already - and my current subscription doesn't actually end until next week!

Friday, 6 April 2018

I'm in Touch with Torongos!

First I had a response from my Torongo DNA match - well, from his wife.  She said they don't have much info about his family, but his sister does - and it turns out that his sister is someone I was corresponding with on Ancestry five years ago about the possible Doyle-Torongo connection.  At that time, she was pretty sure about it, but I wasn't convinced, and for some reason I've forgotten, I dismissed the whole idea and stopped messaging her.  How rude.  Sorry about that.

So I contacted her again in hopes that she's turned over some new rocks in the last five years, and she soon responded and sent me an invitation to her tree.  She had already sussed out just about everything I found about Elizabeth Doyle, and more. 

I also nudged Mrs Torongo to put her husband's DNA on Gedmatch, where I might find connections with other Torongos, who aren't on Ancestry.

So where does this get me?

I'm 99% sure that the Elizabeth Doyle Torongo I've been chasing around really was my great-grandfather Isaac's sister.  So there is a point in looking at her descendants, to see if there's anyone there with the same surname as PM (but don't forget, I'm NOT obsessed with PM...)  And the Torongo tree I've just been given access to should be a big help with that.

But even if I don't find any likely connection to PM, I'm quite satisfied with having settled the Torongo-Doyle connection, and I enjoyed poking my nose into Elizabeth's life.  Genealogy has many rewards, big and small.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Getting Tangled and Drawing Diagrams

My Torongo DNA match isn't responding.  I can see that he has logged into Ancestry the last couple of days, where I left my message for him, so he either hasn't noticed it or he's deliberately ignoring it.

While that's on hold, I keep getting my brain in a tangle, wondering if I'm barking up the wrong tree in my hunt for PM.  Maybe I've made a stupid mistake, and PM isn't in the Doyle family at all.  I always find diagrams helpful when I'm trying to nut things out, so I made one, using a screen shot of part of my Ancestry tree and the wonderful Windows Ink program that comes hidden inside Windows 10.  Click to enlarge it.

It surprised me when I realized that if PM is a Doyle, he/she must have got his/her X DNA either from the Croskery line of the family, or from an illegitimate daughter of my great-grandfather Isaac.  If that's the case, I'm scrambling in the dark, with no knowledge of her maiden name or her married name.  Not that I know of any illegitimate children Isaac might have had, but he was a bit of a loose cannon, so who knows what he got up to?  He spent his latter years hundreds of miles away from his wife, fawning over the evangelist Amiee Semple McPherson - not that I think she might have been the mother of his love child - he probably never even spoke to her.

Anyway, if you're interested in X DNA but haven't got to grips with it yet, and don't understand my reasoning, I'll try to put it in a nutshell:

  • PM has an autosomal DNA match with me, my brother and Graeme, my paternal 1st cousin once removed; therefore, PM must be somewhere on the paternal side of my family
  • PM also has an X DNA match with me and Graeme
  • I didn't get any X DNA from my father's father (because men don't give any X DNA to their sons, only to their daughters), so all the X DNA I got from my father had to come from his mother.  Therefore, the match must be in one of her lines - Ellis or Doyle.  Of course, Graeme could have got some X DNA from my father's father, because he's descended from one of his daughters - but because I couldn't, that's obviously not where the match is.
  • I have many autosomal matches with people in the Ellis line, but PM doesn't match any of them, which is a strong indication (I only wish I could say it's proof) that he/she isn't in that line, and is therefore a Doyle.  (Unfortunately, so far I don't have ANY known autosomal matches with anyone in that line except Graeme and my brother, both of whom are also in the Ellis line, so not useful in pinpointing Doyles.  And the few other people that PM and I share autosomal matches with are unknown to me, have no trees etc.)
  • Graeme and I both could have got X DNA via my great-grandfather Isaac, but NOT via Isaac's father Francis (because men don't give any X DNA to their sons, only to their daughters)
  • Isaac's only other known child is a son, Egbert, by Isaac's first wife.  Egbert would not have any X DNA from Isaac (because men don't give any X DNA to their sons, only to their daughters - forgive me for saying that multiple times, but it's a very important thing to remember), nor, obviously from my great-grandmother Sarah, who was not Egbert's mother.
  • So Isaac's X DNA is out of the running as the source of the match, unless he had another daughter that we don't know about.
  • If there's no mystery daughter (and I fervently hope there isn't!) PM could be descended from one of Isaac's siblings.  His sisters would have X DNA from their father Francis (because men don't... etc), but the fact remains that neither Graeme nor I could have got any from him, so the X DNA we both share with PM must have come, not from Francis, but from his wife Mary Croskery.  Make sense?

That was a rather large nutshell, wasn't it.  Sorry about that.

Sadly, I know almost nothing about Mary Croskery, so I hope PM isn't descended from one of her siblings!  And the possibility remains that PM, despite having no autosomal DNA matches with any of the 30 or so Ellises that I match, is in fact, an Ellis.  God forbid.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

But wait, there's more!

After ploughing through all kinds of Torongo records which told me quite a bit about the family but didn't reveal what I was looking for - i.e. was John Torongo's wife my great great aunt Elizabeth Doyle - I had a breakthrough, thanks to DNA.

I found a reasonably strong DNA match, for both myself and my brother, with someone who is descended from John and Elizabeth through their son Hilliard Francis Torongo!  It looks like we're 3rd cousins.  I've contacted this person, and am currently living in hope of a response that will shed more light on everything. It's possible that I match this person through some other route entirely, but so far, that's not looking at all likely.  So I'm quite confident that our matching DNA came from Elizabeth Doyle's parents, Francis Doyle and Mary Croskery, who were my great great grandparents. 

Fingers crossed.  Of course, this 'breakthrough' doesn't even get me halfway to Step One of figuring out who the mysterious PM is....

Friday, 30 March 2018

The Hunt for Elizabeth Doyle

But why do I care about the mysterious PM anyway? (See my previous post if you're confused already.)  If I find out how I'm related to him/her, so what?  He/she is highly unlikely to be willing or able to share any information with me about our common ancestors.  So why am I obsessed with PM?

Well, I'm not.  I'm curious, and I like puzzles, that's all.  That's my story, anyway.  And when I started looking at the Doyle family, I got obsessed with Elizabeth, which is a far more reasonable thing to do, especially because it turns out she's a bit of a puzzle herself.

I spent quite awhile hunting her down, and although I found several records confirming that an Elizabeth Doyle married a John Torongo and had a lot of kids with him, I haven't found any documentary evidence that this is MY Elizabeth Doyle.  There are a few positive signs in her children's names though. People often named their children after their parents or siblings, and there's some suggestion of this in the Torongo family.  Elizabeth's father was Francis; one of her sons was Hilliard Francis.  One of her brothers was Isaac and the other was James; one of her sons was John Isaac and another was Walter James.  This gives me hope - but that's all.

Judging by two censuses, John and Elizabeth got married either in 1870 or 1875 - and since their first child, Albert, was born in January 1871, I'm guessing that the earlier date is correct.  They had four more children - 'Lettie', Walter James, John Isaac and Hilliard Francis - born in Ontario before 1881.  They're all in the 1881 census, in Mt Forest, Ontario, where John was a blacksmith.  And then they all put on their invisibility cloaks and disappeared.

At least, that how it seemed at first.  But in fact they went to the United States - marriage records for some of the children told me that, and when I eventually found some of them in US census records, I learned that they had gone to Michigan in 1881.

So why can't I find any of them there in the 1890 US census or the 1894 Michigan census?   The problem is that most of the 1890 US census was destroyed in a fire in 1921.  And much of the 1894 Michigan census was destroyed too, including the records for Wexford county, where the Torongos lived.  So there's no joy there.  And the problem with looking for Torongos in any census or other record is that their name was spelled and mistranscribed in all sorts of ways, from Trangeau to Lorongs.  So it takes some perseverance (and imagination).

Eventually, I was able to piece the family together from directories, birth, death, marriage and later census records.  And they revealed the puzzle.  After having fourteen children together, most of whom were born in Cadillac, Michigan, John and Elizabeth seem to have parted ways.  In the 1900 census, Elizabeth is the head of the household, which doesn't include John, although Elizabeth is still married.  I finally found John in California that year, working as a blacksmith on a ranch.  He too, said he was married.  Well maybe it was just a temporary separation...

But no, in 1905, John was in Oregon, and in 1907 he was marrying somebody else there!  But poor John, according to the 1910 census, he was divorced and living alone.  His second wife Annette Stark is a complete mystery, who seems only to have existed briefly on the day she married John, then - poof - she was gone.

John died in Oregon in 1912.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth was on the move with some of her children.  In 1907 she was in Montana, and later in Tacoma, Washington.  Was she looking for her missing husband, who wasn't far away in Oregon?  Then she went to Everett, Washington, where she said in the 1910 census that she was still married, although John had already married and divorced somebody else by that time.  That same year, Elizabeth appears in the city directory for Tacoma, Washington, as the widow of John Torongo, who was still very much alive.  She was apparently there until about September 1911, and then she and at least one of her children went back to Michigan, where she died in 1912, a few months before John died.  And her death certificate states that she died a widow.  It names her father as Doyle, with no first name, and according to this record, her mother had a very common name - 'Not Known'.  I hate it when I see that!

Here are bits of some of the documents that contradict each other (click to enlarge them):

Elizabeth Doyle Torongo (known as Tessie) and some of her children in the 1910 census in Washington state, as head of the household, and married.
Elizabeth Doyle Torongo and three of her sons in the 1910 Tacoma City Directory, as the widow of John.

Elizabeth's husband John Torongo in the 1910 census in Oregon, alone and divorced (apparently for the second time), and most certainly, alive.

Elizabeth Doyle Torongo's death certificate showing her date of death as 28th of January 1912, when she was a widow.

John Torongo in the Oregon Death Index, showing his date of death as 29th June 1912, five months after his 'widow' Elizabeth died.

I can only assume that John left Elizabeth sometime before 1900 (their last child - as far as I can tell - was born in 1895, when Elizabeth was 47!  She must have been worn out).  Elizabeth continued to call herself married, but at some point, they got divorced, after which, she called herself a widow, perhaps to avoid the shame of a divorce.  Or maybe they were never divorced, and John was a bigamist, and his second wife discovered that and left him right after the wedding.

Or maybe I've been looking at two Elizabeth Doyles and/or two John Torongos.  Groan.....

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Bright Shiny Objects

If you're wondering where I've been, so am I.  As far as genealogy goes, I've spent so much time grasping at BSOs (the Bright Shiny Objects that are always popping up when you're looking for something else entirely) I got completely sidetracked from what I was intending to do, and I've achieved hardly anything - but it's been very interesting!

One of the BSOs is a reasonably close autosomal and X DNA match called PM, who I can't pin down.  He/she has no tree anywhere, doesn't match any of my known DNA matches, doesn't answer emails and doesn't even reveal his/her gender.  But a clue led me to his/her surname, and using the DNA evidence, I think I've narrowed him/her down to the Doyle branch of my father's family tree - or it could be Wanamaker...

So I'm having another look at the Doyles.  One of my paternal great grandfathers was Isaac Francis Doyle, who had eight siblings who I've never paid much attention to before.  I'm now getting to know Isaac's eldest sister, Elizabeth Doyle, in hopes of tracing her descendants and finding somebody with the same surname as PM.  If I succeed, that will only be Step One.  The next steps, to find PM's parents or grandparents, will probably be much harder.  And if I fail on Step One, I'll move on to another of Isaac's siblings.

Was the mysterious PM descended from any of these people?

It turns out that Elizabeth Doyle is one of my family mysteries.  Interesting to have one of those on my father's side of the family for a change.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Francis Doyle and Mary Croskery.  She was born in about 1848 in Ontario, Canada (or according to one census, in Ireland, but I'm pretty sure that's rubbish, or the wrong person).

I do wonder just how many Elizabeth Doyles were born at the same time in Ontario.  Various ones pop up in early census records, but birth and marriage records are harder to come by.  So looking for 'my' Elizabeth as she goes through her life, I need to be very skeptical of everything I find, until I can prove it.

At least I can be sure that the Elizabeth in the 1851 and 1861 Canada censuses are the right person, because I know who her parents and siblings were.

The next time she pops up is in the 1871 census - twice.  In one, she's 22 years old, married to John Torongo, has a 3 month old child and is living in Carrick, Bruce county, Ontario.  In the other, taken about a week later, she's also 22 years old, probably single* and with her parents in Mount Forest, Wellington county, Ontario, which is about 50kms from Carrick.  I know this second one is my Elizabeth because of the other people in the family.  And it's not hard to imagine that she was recorded first at her home, and recorded again a week later because she happened to be at her parents' house on the day the census taker knocked on the door there - or for that matter, even if she wasn't there, whoever answered the census taker's questions might have named her as a member of the family, perhaps referring to her as 'my daughter Elizabeth' or 'my sister Elizabeth', leaving the census taker to assume Elizabeth's surname was Doyle.  It's possible... isn't it?  Or are these two different Elizabeths?

Why do I think these are both my Elizabeth?  Because many other records show that an Elizabeth Doyle, born in 1848 married a John Torongo born in 1846/7, and both of them were from Ontario.  I can't find any records of a likely Elizabeth Doyle marrying anybody else.  Well, let's face it, I can't find a record of any likely marriage for Elizabeth, which would include her parents' names and put me out of my misery. As I've found before, Ontario marriage records are notoriously frustrating to find.

I've considered the possibility that Elizabeth Torongo is the wrong person, and that my Elizabeth never married - but if not, why doesn't she show up in any more records as Elizabeth Doyle?  Possibly because she married somebody else altogether, and since I have no idea what his name was, and can't find any likely marriage records...  I'm doomed.

Naturally I've looked at other people's family trees, but there don't seem to be many people researching these Doyles.  And those who are all have my Elizabeth married to John Torongo - but is that just because they're all copying each other?  Not one of them has any solid evidence.

I'm on a mission to find some.

* On this page of the census, in the Marital Status column, there's an M for married people, W for widowed people, and nothing at all for single people.  There's nothing beside Elizabeth's name, which is not exactly a definite indication that she was single.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

And the winner is.....

Me! and Ruth!  And anyone else who's been trying to figure out who Martha Campbell's mother was.

The result of the mtDNA test I mentioned last time are in, and Shayne's father has proven to be an exact match with me - and as far as I can see, that's a pretty darn good reason to say that his 3rd great-grandmother and mine are one and the same - Hannah Parks.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, please see my previous post.

While this solves one mystery, it also opens up several others, which will no doubt drive me crazy for the next few months, if not years.  The first one is - who was Martha Campbell's father?  Silly me, when I first started looking for Martha's parents, I expected to find them both at once.  But somewhere along the way, I started to suspect that her father might have died when she was a child, and her mother remarried.  It turns out I was right - either that, or Hannah was never married to Martha's father, but that's not too likely, given that Martha's surname was Campbell, not Parks.  So far, I've found no clues as to who he was, beyond the reasonable assumption that his last name was Campbell, and the possibility (just a guess) that he was the brother of another Campbell in my tree.  So I'm on another quest.

But the second mystery is, in some ways, more interesting - who were Hannah Parks' parents?  There was an influx of UEL Parks families into Canada after the American Revolutionary War, many of whom are quite well documented.  So finding Hannah's parents or grandparents among them shouldn't be too daunting.  But it is.  Amongst all the reams of information I've found about Parks families, there's only one Hannah who might be the right one - but nobody seems to know anything about her, beyond her approximate birth date.

Maybe mtDNA will eventually lead me to Hannah's mother.  Meanwhile, I'm taking a bit of a genealogy break to give my brain a rest.