Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ancestry DNA and the NADS

Yesterday, on the DNAeXplained blog, Roberta speculated on how the "New Ancestor Discoveries" at AncestryDNA could be of use. She calls them NADs and that's a great abbreviation. She also asked for input from her followers. This is my response.

How do I turn a NAD into an actual ancestor? First, here's a look at the progress in my genealogy journey. Ancestry has made a mess of my DNA match tracking, so this chart is a bit outdated. It shows dots where I have accumulated DNA matches. The red arrow points to James Childers, the topic of this post. Notice that I don't have parents for James.

The areas with large numbers of dots reflect the large numbers of matches who, like me, have tapped into published family genealogies. I'm sure I have many matches at the edges of all my non-Swedish lines, but I am stuck, have not researched, or have not found a published genealogy for those lines. James Childers is an ancestor that I have not researched, because I was not entirely positive that his daughter was my ancestor, until DNA matching added to the evidence.

James C. Childers was born about 1804 in South Carolina. He married in Madison County, Alabama, in 1828, and died between the Alabama census of 1855 and the federal census of 1860. He had ten known children: two sons and eight daughters.

Ancestry gave me a NAD named Robert Childers, who was born in South Carolina and died in Georgia. Sadly, Ancestry has since taken him away. Robert was a handful of years older than James and would likely have been a brother or cousin. According to a top match, Robert's father was Jacob Childers who died in York, South Carolina.  Aha, there's a South Carolina connection!

Faced with this hint, Roberta asks, what do I do with it?

I absolutely do not adopt Jacob Childers as my ancestor based on a DNA match to a few of Robert's descendants. For me, the hard work follows to do a Childers single-name study in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

My strategy is to take hints from my NADs, but use conventional genealogy to prove the line. DNA is a great tool, but it certainly doesn't replace good old-fashioned research.