Monday, 23 January 2017

I AM a Wanamaker!

Well, it looks like I won't have to redo several big branches of my family tree after all. I've found four people with whom I share some DNA and some Wanamakers. Two of them are a bit iffy, tree-wise, and we only share a tiny bit of DNA, but the other two are quite convincing, especially Vicki F, who is probably my 5th cousin once removed. We're both descended from Hermanus Wannamacher and Susannah Pulisfelt, my 5th great-grandparents from Germany via New Jersey. Here's the 'proof' that we're related, a nice big yellow and blue block on good old chromosome number 8:

Yes, I know our chromosomes aren't labelled with the names of our ancestors (would that they were!) but I couldn't resist. 

I've also found some DNA matches with people from some of the other families that join up with the Wanamakers.  These families include some of my favourite ancestors - the Bates, Towers, Lincolns and Lathrops.

So now I can confidently write about the Wanamakers and the other family lines that join up with them, all of which amounts to several hundred people - those are just the ones I know about, of course,  Don't worry, I won't be writing about all of them.

For now, I'm doing some more research, and probably won't be writing much for awhile - unless I find a juicy scandal, of course, or god forbid, somebody who changed their name for a mysterious reason.  And I'm still looking for more DNA matches, just to settle the Wanamaker question once and for all.

Monday, 16 January 2017

I Thought I was a Wanamaker

First I thought I was Irish, but when I researched my father's 'Irish' ancestors, I found that they were mostly German and English.  Then I thought I was a Smith, but if you've been reading this blog, you'll know what happened there.  Then I thought I was a Wanamaker.....

After a bit of a break from dead ancestors, I'm climbing around in the Wanamaker branch of my family tree.  Late last year I did an autosomal DNA test in hopes that I might make some Wanamaker connections that lead back to the Mayflower.  Why?  I wrote about this puzzle in an earlier post, here.

So when my DNA matches became available, I eagerly typed 'Wanamaker' into the search box.  Guess how many matches popped up?  ZERO! I tried every spelling variation I could think of, and still got ZERO.  Yes, the search box works - I had no trouble finding multiple matches for several other surnames in my tree, but not a single Wanamaker.  What does this mean?

Well, one possibility is that even though there are a great many Wanamaker descendants who have trees on, I'm the only one who has had a DNA test.  I find that hard to believe.

Another possibility is that someone in the Wanamaker line was adopted.  I find that hard to believe too, but not quite as hard.  I have birth records for some of them, but certainly not all.

Alma McConnell Wanamaker -
does she look the type?
And is that a black eye?
The possibility that's easier to believe is that one of the Mrs Wanamakers along the line 'played away' on at least one occasion.  If so, how will I ever find out who it was?  Was it my great-grandmother Alma McConnell?  She married William Henry Wanamaker, and everybody knows that William was a difficult man with a fiery temper.  Did Alma seek comfort somewhere else?  Or maybe it was William's mother, Catherine Bates, wife of Jacob Wanamaker, or Jacob's mother Elizabeth Tice, or... who knows?

I'm currently exploring ways of finding out if there's any Wanamaker DNA out there somewhere that I can connect with, and I'm keeping all extremities crossed.  If I'm not a Wanamaker, a great big branch of my tree is wrong, and I don't even want to think about that.

Oh well, I do like puzzles...