Thursday, January 15, 2015

Waiting Impatiently

Just a brief word of reassurance to those who have devoted a lot of their valuable time and energy reading my blog and sharing my journey over these past several months.

I have not disappeared.

Let me first bait you a little bit and tell you, there is SO much more to this story! So, so, so much more. 

In the ten days since my last blog post, I have endured a two-day air travel nightmare that should have taken just a single afternoon. That alone could have been a blog post from hell. Since my arrival in Salt Lake City, Utah, I have been felled with the flu. I am typing this blog entry from a strange bed in a puddle of my own sweat whilst coughing up my left lung.

It has been a less than conducive atmosphere for writing.

Although I will be away from home until February 17, I had fully anticipated keeping you all on board for this crazy ride. I just have to ask your indulgence while the driver of this short bus takes a few extra days to recuperate.

Trust me.

It will be worth the wait.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Reunion, Part II: Telling My Mother

Part II of my mother's reunion with her birthparents follows thirty-two years after Reunion, Part I. (see Hoosier Daddy?: Reunion).

This part of the reunion was significantly different for a number of reasons.

Although not having personally been in the situation of giving up a child or being adopted (...although my mother often told me I was a foundling...), I think there is often a fundamental difference between the separation of a child from each of his or her birthparents. And that difference is well illustrated in my mother's situation.

Helen Marie (Timmons) Miller was an unhappily married woman with three children caught up in the tumultuous divorce proceedings from her first husband. Their marriage having soured years before, she had found the love she wanted and deserved in Frank Strukel. 

And she was pregnant.

Since the discovery of my mother's surprise mystery paternity in February 2014, I have had friends, relatives, and readers of the blog comment, "Oh, now it makes sense why she gave your mother up!" The flash of doubt obviously had to spark in Helen's head once she realized she was pregnant, but I do not think the answer, nor the situation, is as easily explained as people think it to be.

Perhaps Helen's uncertainty of Carol's paternity factored into her decision, but the fact remains that she very quickly convinced herself that the child was Frank Strukel's. And Frank went to his grave believing his eldest daughter was raised by someone else. Helen's first husband, Eldon Miller, threatened to take custody of the only child he was willing to let her keep, four-year-old Sandy, if she kept her unborn child. Frank Strukel, a recently returned veteran of World War II, still bearing the very fresh emotional scars from months in a German POW camp, was living with his parents rebuilding his life post-war. He loved Helen, and he wanted to marry her, despite the disapproving whispers of his staunchly Catholic family. But he was not in an economic position to take on a wife, a four-year-old stepchild, and a newborn baby. And an illegitimate child would further test the limits of the acceptance of his new wife to his Catholic family.

If there were doubts in Helen's mind, she never spoke of them. But it is unlikely these doubts forced her to make the heart-wrenching decision to relinquish her unborn child. Had circumstances been different, it is almost certain that Carol would have been raised Carol Sue Strukel, never doubting her paternity.

The fact remains that Helen did make that heart-wrenching decision. And she carried a child for nine months that she knew she would have to say good-bye to after its birth. The mother-child bond was already formed with every stirring and every kick of the child she would never watch grow up. And based on my mother's original birth certificate, she bestowed on my mother the first and middle names she carries today. Whether it was a name agreed upon by her adoptive parents is debated. They most likely had a say in it, although while both mothers were still living, they both claimed to have come up with her name. Nonetheless, the baby girl born in Goshen General Hospital that New Year's Eve might, had a name; and with each cry or giggle or coo, had a budding personality. But as Helen told the story, she endured my mother's childbirth with quiet, staunch stoicism, because she felt that she was not allowed the selfish luxury of showing discomfort and garnering pity. This pain she endured silently because she would be forever unable to feel any further intense emotion - joy, sadness, pain, pride, anger, laughter, love - with the daughter that would grow inside her, but be nurtured and flower under the care of someone else.

The mother-daughter reunion in 1982 was a tearful, joyous reconnection of that invisible umbilical cord that is never permanently severed when a mother loses a child.

Conversely, a birthfather's role in bringing a baby into this world can run a gamut of scenarios. There is no doubt that Frank Strukel relinquished the child he thought was his with emotional regret. When discussing baby names when Helen again became pregnant in 1948, he brought up the name Carol as a way to remember his first child. That daughter, Dianne, remembers overhearing a conversation as a child between her parents regarding an adopted baby, fearing that she was the adopted child they were discussing. Memories of the child born on the last day of 1946 was rarely far from either of their minds.

Very soon after discovering my mother's unknown paternity, and at the beginning of my search, I remarked to my cousin Lisa that I would now be blessed with FOUR grandfathers: my father's father, Dean William Lacopo, Sr.; the father of my mother who raised her with devoted love and affection and was the grandfather of my childhood; Raymond Ezio DePrato; the father of my mother who lived his adult life thinking he relinquished his daughter and loved her from afar in his own personal way, Frank Louis Strukel; and as then the yet-unidentified biological father of my mother that gave her life.

That man was Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty.

In 1946, this man was known as Jim Daugherty. Whereas Helen had to carry her child, hold her after her birth, arrange for another couple to raise her, and tell her goodbye; Jim's function in my mother's creation was likely limited to one physically gratifying encounter with my grandmother. He never knew of his child's existence. He didn't even have to sign away paternal rights to her adoption. He lived his life from that pivotal moment in the spring of 1946 blissfully unaware.

That does not make him any less significant in my mother's existence, and therefore in my own. I tend to be prone to deep introspective thought, and I get my mind blown by deep existential reflection of the fate of my very being had that random encounter not occurred. And as a genetic genealogist and a medical professional, I am fascinated by the parts of me, physically and emotionally, that are "Daugherty". In the "nature versus nurture" debate, I firmly believe there is an enormous amount of nature involved. And so who Jim Daugherty was, who he is, where he came from, and what makes him tick are subjects vitally important to me.

And these things I believe are also vitally important to my mother. But early in my search, her interest was primarily academic. By identifying that her paternity was not what she had been told thirty-two years previously, I changed her story. I altered her perception of her creation. And so a new story had to be written, but this time the actors of the original script were gone. Helen could answer no questions. She could confirm no doubts. She could not be asked to recall any stories. And whomever the man was that also entered the stage in 1946 was likely gone too. The story would be mostly conjecture. As a genealogist, I was compelled to refill my emptied family tree of one-quarter of its previous inhabitants. And as a son, I need to answer the questions I had now laid before my mother.

Since the early assumption was that my missing grandfather would be approaching 100 years of age, there was no anticipation of meeting the man who was her father. And even on the infinitely small chance that I would find a living being, my mother was decidedly disinterested in meeting a man who had no emotional ties to her mother and had no knowledge of her existence. The question was mostly raised when discussing the possibility of finding half-siblings, but again, she felt there would be nothing more than a biological connection. She could see no reason to insert herself into anyone else's lives and create the potential for emotional upheaval. But there was curiosity about what this man may have looked like. Where was he from, and what did he do? Questions that were mostly biographical and mostly based on curiosity.

As my DNA research dragged on, my mother's interest waned even more from the beginning mediocre curiosity. She held little interest in hearing my news of autosomal DNA match percentages . She saw more of a failure to identify a man with each test, rather than the pathway it was creating to  confirming the identity of her father. When the path led to a family unwilling to help us in our search, who selfishly responded that they thought the search was "useless and futile," my mother was even less interested in knowing the truth.

Even my excited phone call to my mother while driving to Dayton, Ohio, outlying the surprise discovery of two Daugherty brothers, one of whom was likely her father, met with little outward emotion. I had made numerous phone calls like this before, discussing candidates to test, and how they seemed to be a good match to be her father. All of them ended with no answers. Perhaps the perceived closeness of the AncestryDNA connection didn't really sink into my mother's mind during that phone call. After all, I had been babbling about DNA continually for much of the preceding year.

"Just let me know when you know something."

At 12:59 p.m., on the afternoon of Wednesday, 22 October 2014, I shot a brief, shocked email to Donna, who had been my contact to Brighton Daugherty, informing her that the profile she created revealed that he was my grandfather.

At 1:09 p.m. I called my mother.

In preparing to write this blog, I called my mother and asked her about that fateful afternoon phone call. Frankly, after the exciting culmination of an enormous amount of time, money, and effort, I had no real recollection of it. I can tell you that my phone indicates that we spoke for thirty minutes and twenty-two seconds.

I don't recall shouting, sobbing, wailing, laughter, crying, comforting, or any cork-popping champagne moments. Nor does my mother.

Oh, I was excited. My heart was beating wildly, and my brain was processing rapidly, but still woefully behind on sorting all the miscellaneous data I had accumulated in my head.

The agreed upon consensus between my mother and myself was that the overriding emotion of the phone call was shock.

"Mom, it's me. Remember the AncestryDNA match I told you about the other day? His data just finished processing on the other site I needed to use to understand how he is related." 
"He's your father. Harold James Daugherty is your father."
"And he's alive."

Silence. Shock. Processing.

"I need to meet him. When can I meet him?"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Centimorgans or Percentages?

Average Estimated cMs for Autosomal Testing Comparisons. click to enlarge
Kristina Gow Dunnaway, ISOGG Facebook Page, 2014, use with permission

I will take a moment away from the narrative to answer the most commonly presented question put to me by readers regarding autosomal DNA matching.

And yes, I just heard that audible group sigh from all of you chomping at the bit to hear about my mother's reunion with her father. All in due time. All in due time. 

But let's start out the new year right. It is important for all genealogists - novice and experienced alike - to start 2015 with a cheek swab or a vial of saliva. And if your response is that you have already done so, then you need to start 2015 getting your older relatives, who are regrettably finite resources, to spit or scrape. Remember that DNA testing benefits both you, the researcher, and those out there desperately looking for a match. Take a lesson from what you have read in my blog. My path to Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty, my grandfather, began with my mother's relatively tiny 0.52% match to Brighton's first cousin, thrice removed: Brian Joseph Ryder. 

Brian's great-great-grandmother, Bertha Daugherty, was a woman who died at the age of thirty-six years: sixty-three years before Brian Ryder was born. He never knew the woman. He never knew her name. When he started to poke around into his ancestry at the time of his 23andMe test, she became a passing fill-in-the-blank on his family tree. But Bertha's brother, Ira Daugherty, was my great-grandfather, and Ira's son was the man I spent 2014 searching for.

If Brian Ryder had not tested out of sheer curiosity, I would not have had the starting point for my search.

The larger the DNA databases become, the more helpful they will become to the genealogist, the adoptee searching for his or her birthparents, the foundling with no history at all, the millions of children born of sperm and egg donations that have made modern-day genealogy so technologically baffling. DNA testing helps everyone.

Do it.

So that takes me back to the question I am asked most frequently.

When I discuss relationships and DNA matching, I often do so in terms of percentages. It is one way that 23andMe lists their genetic matches, and the mathematics makes more sense to me and my analytical brain. I have posted a graphic with my blogs indicating how known relationships should theoretically match each other by percentages. Siblings match each other by 50%. Half-siblings match each other by 25%. First cousins match each other by 12.5%. And the biggest revelation for my search came when my mother matched Ken Ryder by over 4%; and I knew second cousins match on the average of 3.125%.

But not all DNA sites list percentages. And the total amount of DNA tested by each company varies slightly, as well as how they report it. Additionally, the percentages by which different sexes match is skewed a bit by counting the matches on the X-chromosome, as women have two of these to the man's one. Roughly, the centimorgans of DNA you match with another person divided by 6800-7100 should give you a ballpark percentage.

What the hell is a centimorgan anyway?

Wikipedia defines it this way. "In genetics, a centimorgan (abbreviated cM) ... is a unit for measuring genetic linkage. It is defined as the distance between chromosome positions (also termed, loci or markers) for which the expected average number of intervening chromosomal crossovers in a single generation is 0.01. It is often used to infer distance along a chromosome. It is not a true physical distance however."

Confused? Don't be. What I wanted to point out by this definition is that a centimorgan is not a tangible distance, such as an inch or a centimeter. It does infer a length of segmentation along a chromosome, and as genealogists we can think of it as a "sort of distance." All DNA testing companies report the amount of DNA you share with a match in centimorgans.  When you upload your results to, the many user tools also show matches in centimorgans and not percentages.

Oh, and when I say you should all get autosomal DNA tested in 2015, that automatically means you have to follow up with an upload of your results to If you are only going to test through one company (cheapskate), you can still compare your results to others on who have tested through other platforms, and who have also uploaded their results to this site. It's free. Free is good.

Do it.

So I am presenting you here with a chart similar to the one I have posted before in which the percentages of DNA are show that you have in common with known stated relationships. This chart I give you today shows you the theoretical average of shared DNA you have with known stated relationships in centimorgans. This handy chart was made by Kristina Gow Dunnaway, and she gives permission for its reproduction and personal use. If you publish a book with this chart included and make a ton of money, that's another story, but I will leave copyright law to Judy Russell at Home - The Legal Genealogist.

You will see that the chart uses 6800 cM of autosomal DNA (atDNA) as its base figure for total DNA measured per person. This is the amount tested by FamilyTreeDNA. A more detailed discussion regarding the numbers game, the testing companies, and counting the pesky X-chromosome can be found at the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)'s wiki page at Autosomal DNA statistics - ISOGG Wiki. I have visited this page so often my browser recognizes it as soon as I type "au" only.

And remember, Mother Nature does not follow the rules set out on either one of the charts that I have given you. These are averages. The numbers are based on a purely theoretical assumption that DNA is passed perpetually in a tidy 50:50 split every generation. It is not. The key to remember is that the larger the number, the more reliable the relationship assessment should be. I knew at the beginning of my search that my mother's father was not the man she thought he was, because she matched her sister by only 26% (1935 cM). There is no way you can make an argument for that being a full-sibling relationship. But as the numbers become smaller and smaller, the known relationship gets fuzzier and fuzzier.

Additionally, remember that if you have cousin marriages in your ancestry or come from a highly admixed population that may have had limited choices for marital partners, due to religion or perhaps geographical isolation, the numbers become wonkier and less defining.

Remember when I said life was messy?

Get busy setting up the 2015 budget, and make sure there are ample resources set aside for DNA!

Monday, December 29, 2014


Life is full of "What if...." moments.

As a veterinarian, I spent many hours counseling grieving pet owners and crying right alongside them. They were always brimming with heart-wrenching "What Ifs."

What if I brought him to you sooner?
What if I didn't give him those table scraps? 
What if I didn't leave the door open just for that brief moment?
What if I had stayed home with him instead of going on vacation?

The problem with any of these scenarios is that they can never be undone. Every day we choose paths and make decisions based on the information put in front of us at any singular precise fleeting moment. None of us are blessed with the vision of foresight or clairvoyance. But we are all too keenly aware that the path not taken oftentimes would have led to a completely different destination, sometimes a more pleasing or less painful one. So many times I had to console pet owners by reminding them that life is full of these tragic reassessments that will drive you crazy if you let them eat away at your brain and your soul.

I have been very vocal about my disdain for AncestryDNA's decision to withhold hard science from the consumer. Just this week, a 68-year-old Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, woman located her biological siblings via AncestryDNA, but news articles report that she cannot tell if they are full siblings or half siblings. She would know this if she were provided with factual data rather than a warm, fuzzy "You're Related!" message from AncestryDNA. And since this information is not provided, most people who test through them do not even know that such information can tell them so much more. So, like this woman, many just guess at relationships, or are left wondering. If you don't know what you're missing, you don't miss it.

With that being said, what if I had tested with AncestryDNA first, or at least had not waited so long to cough up the $200 for two tests for my mother and me?

Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty had tested with AncestryDNA at the beginning of 2014. Almost at the same time I learned through 23andMe that my mother's father was not the man she thought he was. An immediate broad-sweeping testing of my mother with all three companies would have immediately given me the answer that instead took eight months, over a thousand dollars in DNA tests, and countless hours of valuable time. Ironically, my path to success would have looked much like the left side of the opening graphic. 

And this blog would have been a hell of a lot shorter!

I used to scoff at the human-interest news stories that showed a wide-eyed innocent adoptee who, after testing with a DNA company, immediately finds his mother/father/sibling was already in the database.

Pfffffttthhhhh.... that never really happens!

Oh...ummm...yeah, I guess it does.

From the onset of this search, I had never dreamed of finding a living person. My grandmother would be approaching her 98th birthday if she were alive today. At the beginning of this journey I teased my mother that I'd find her some withered centenarian on whose knee she could sit and say "Hi Daddy!" We had many a good laugh over that one. 

Brighton Daugherty didn't get the daughter on his knee, but he got the "Hi Daddy!"

What if I had a Schrader who had been willing to test from the onset of my request?

I would have received an unanticipated result that indicated any of the children of the three Schrader brothers I had asked were my mother's second cousins, sharing approximately 3.125% of their DNA with each other. If a Schrader were my grandfather as initially suspected, any of these people would have been my mother's first cousins or half-siblings, sharing 12.5 to 25.0% of their DNA with each other. A good scientist who obtains results that do not fit his hypothesis reevaluates his premise. This would have sent me back to look for more Daugherty children and reminded me that John Henry Daugherty's 1939 obituary referenced unaccounted for grandchildren. I said before in this blog, I always get my man. I would have ferreted out Harold James Daugherty eventually.

What if I knew Ira Daugherty had two sons from the onset of my search?

If I had not dismissed Ira Daugherty as childless, and as a source for sons, and therefore candidates for my grandfather, I would have had a starting list of eight men instead of six. Their presence in South Bend, Indiana, might have made them more viable candidates than the ones living in Niles or Dowagiac, Michigan. Brothers, Thomas Richard Daugherty and Harold James Daugherty, would have definitely been men I sought out before some of the others.

But would I have jumped on Harold James Daugherty as the prime candidate for my mother's father? Probably not. His muster rolls from the Navy deceivingly appear to place him on the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt at the time of my mother's conception. And since he was only nineteen years old at the time, did I think my twenty-nine year old grandmother would have been wooed by a punk in a uniform?

Apparently she was.

Once I thought about it, Frank Strukel was only twenty-three when he met my grandmother, so she was partial to those fresh faced soldiers in post-World War II regalia.

As previously mentioned, the normal gestation for a human infant would indicate that my mother was conceived sometime between 26 March and 7 April 1946.

Harold James Daugherty appeared on the United States Navy muster roll for the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt for the period ending 7 June 1946.

But a good researcher pays attention to details. "Period Ending" is as deceiving as AncestryDNA's "Close Family to First Cousin" relationship range. For the latter, I had initially assumed that Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty was within a 12.5% match of me, and likely my great-uncle. If he were really my grandfather he would have garnered a more closely related match category. Analysis of his raw data shows I carry over 26% of his DNA within my cells, but having just entered into AncestryDNA's world, I was unaware at the time that this is the next highest category of match after "Parent, Child, Immediate Family Member." Apparently a grandfather is "close family," but not "immediate family." Comments to my blog from many people indicated that their grandparents/grandchildren fall within this same category.

For the former, the muster roll for the "period ending June 7, 1946" indicated only that Harold James Daugherty was present on the ship since the previous muster, which looks to have occurred every three months. This last muster roll indicated that Seaman Second Class Daugherty "Tran. to RS & AGC, BRKLYN, NY FFT PSC Great Lakes, Ill. for separation." I am not exceptionally good with naval acronyms, but apparently my grandfather was transferred to the recruiting station and armed guard center in Brooklyn, New York, for further transfer to the Personnel Service Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, for separation. No date was given.

The U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Brooklyn, New York, on 21 March 1946 for post-shakedown alterations after sailing to Rio de Janeiro for the inauguration of Brazilian President Eurico G. Dutra and then stopping in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a change in command. The ship left Brooklyn for Norfolk, Virginia, where it arrived on 10 April 1946.

Apparently, Jim Daugherty (as he was called before his Hawaiian days and before he adopted the moniker of Brighton) left the ship while it was in dock in Brooklyn and was then sent to the naval station just north of Chicago during those last ten days of March. A little paper work, a slap on the back, all military forms in order, every box ticked, all Ts crossed and Is dotted, and Jim Daugherty is on a train back home to South Bend, Indiana, by the end of March, or perhaps the first week of April, 1946.

Thank you Grandma Helen for welcoming home the troops.

And just as an aside, my mother's tests came back from AncestryDNA on 24 October 2014, six days after I had made the connection via She and Brighton Daugherty are classified as a "Parent, Child, Immediate Family Member" match, as she is with me.

Do I wish I had found my grandfather immediately via this AncestryDNA route?

I'd say yes, only in that I would have had several more months of time with this incredible man. But overall, no, I have deeply treasured the squiggly-lined path to success. I have met incredible people, most who are now firmly classified as my relatives, albeit distantly. I have learned their stories. I have gained a far better understanding of the Daugherty family during their wanderings in Michigan. I have discovered an amazing treasure trove of photographs from distant cousins that I would have never found via a direct discovery of my grandfather, many of which have been used to illustrate this blog in the past. Since I come from an extended family that is more apt to throw things away rather than save them, these photos are priceless.

In addition to adding a very human component to my research, I have vastly improved my knowledge of DNA usage for genealogical research. Who could have asked for a better classroom than real life? And look at the amount of Daugherty DNA I have to play with now!

So where do I go from here?

"The Grand Finale" was definitely a misnomer for my last blog post. Although it was definitely akin to the multiple colorful loud blasts of fireworks at the end of a Fourth of July display, it merely was the culmination of my DNA search and the identification of a man who was previously unknown. But the story is far from over. Not only did I find a grandfather very much alive, but I found one that is incredibly fascinating. 

Don't get me wrong, everyone has a tale to tell. I firmly believe that. We all have hopes, dreams, aspirations, joys, failures, loves, tragedies, interests, and memories to share. They are all unique and fascinating and stories that desperately need to be told. But by outward appearances, many of the men of my grandfather's generation came home from World War II, settled down with their new brides, raised a handful of children, secured their steady and reliable 9-to-5 jobs where they worked for forty to fifty years, and retired to a life of fishing, televised football, coffee with the boys at the local diner or games of bridge at the nearby senior center.

Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty is definitely not one of those men.

For every jaw-dropping adventure I am told about this man, I uncover a previously unknown secret about him as well. I am learning more and more everyday about Ira Daugherty and Katherine Tries, the parents who molded the man, and who were possessed of their own seriously significant personal flaws. Brighton Daughtery is a man who has drunk thirstily and heartily of the Cup of Life and has embraced the true meaning of carpe diem

Sometimes free-thinkers and adventurers happily take others on their joy ride, and at other times they drop off their startled passengers on a random street corner to continue their ride without them. 

Brighton Daugherty has had his fair share of passengers.

How do you tell the story of a man still living? Will my assessments be fair? Will my recounting of his life be accurate? Will I broadcast information via this blog that was meant to be buried forever in the sands of time? But if so, aren't the good and the bad things we do part of what defines us as a person? I never want to read a biography that's all propagandist garbage extolling only a person's virtues, nor do I want to read a bitter tell-all exposé that reveals only the bad.

Do I write a chronological tale, or write about the stories as I discover them? My first "meeting" with my grandfather was a FaceTime chat via my computer. My first request: "Start from birth and work forward. I want to know everything about you." Regrettably, it just isn't that easy.

As this blog moves forward, it may take the form of an intricate Hollywood drama, with tales of conversations with my grandfather interspersed with flashbacks and memories. Sprinkled within will be the fruits of my research uncovering the facts that support -- or refute -- the stories I learn.

But likely we need to skip ahead a couple months to meeting the man in person who has been the focus of this blog from the very beginning. Thirty-two years after meeting her mother, my mother finally met her father.

"Hoosier Daddy?"

Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty is.

Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Grand Finale

Thomas Richard Daugherty (left) with wife, Barbara.
Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty (right rear)

It was nearly impossible keeping this new genetic development to myself once I arrived in Dayton, Ohio. Some of the officers of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society had asked about my blog during dinner, and I had to bite my tongue to contain my excitement.

"Just keep reading."

My full day of presentations in Dayton on Saturday, 18 October 2014, went off without any major catastrophes. My professional life had recently run the same route as my genetic research life. Unexpected twists and turns and surprises around every corner: failing hard drives hours before presentations, glitchy projectors, fire alarms, laptops that reboot at will, remotes that advance all my slides at once. But this was a good Saturday, and in addition to a fun, productive work day, I was also excited, but almost serenely comforted, that my search for my grandfather was coming to an end.

Of course, that didn't stop me from checking my email via smart phone between every presentation.

After the day came to a close, I got in my car to drive further south to a friend's place north of Cincinnati. I had made plans earlier to spend a few days away from home so that I could be removed from the burdens of homeownership and concentrate solely on client projects that were slipping behind schedule. Of course, I can't imagine how such a thing could have happened. Chasing my family mysteries was taking up entirely too much of my time and was definitely not paying the bills. So I was dedicated to spending a few days analyzing, writing, reporting, footnoting, sourcing, and being a productive genealogist.

Fat chance.

As soon I joined my Buckeye friend for dinner, I regaled him with tales of DNA and Ryders and Schraders and Daughertys and percentages and databases and relationships, whilst drawing genealogical diagrams on napkins. Although he apparently lost his way somewhere in the story from Point A to Point ZZ, he shared my enthusiasm for a long, expensive, seemingly impossible journey, now apparently reaching its final destination.

Donna and I had already exchanged nearly a dozen emails since our phone introductions during my drive to Dayton. While I was lecturing, she was uploading Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty's autosomal DNA results from AncestryDNA to Although I knew processing of data depended greatly on the server status of this overworked, but vitally helpful, site, it did not stop me from checking it several times a day. I also visited my AncestryDNA account an inordinate number of times, waiting for my mother's results to appear, knowing logically that they were still likely a week or more behind mine.

But during the days of waiting and watching, and between largely unproductive spurts of client work, I combed Internet databases for information regarding Thomas Richard Daugherty, while Donna filled me in on what she knew of the life of his brother, Brighton Daugherty.

As I had found earlier via the United States census, the two boys were the youngest of four children born to Ira Daugherty and Katherine Tries. They were both born in Chicago: Thomas in 1923, and Brighton in 1927. I readily accessed digital images of their birth certificates from the Cook County, Illinois, Clerk's office. Although, enumerated in the 1930 census renting at 940 North LaSalle Street in Chicago, the Ira Daugherty family had moved to South Bend, Indiana, by 1933, when they appear in the city directories there at 917 North Hill Street. Perhaps they had memories of a childhood on the busy streets of urban Chicago, but the Daugherty boys were definitely raised as Hoosiers, spending their formidable years in South Bend.

Shortly after their move to South Bend, Indiana, Katherine (Tries) Daugherty became a single mother. In 1934, without Ira, she is living at 224 Sycamore Street and working as a laundress for the University of Notre Dame; and by 1937 she and her family had moved to Taylor Court in South Bend, where I had found them in the 1940 census prior to my drive to Ohio, where Katherine claims to be a widow.

Of course, having worked backward from the Daugherty family to find this connection, I knew full well that Ira Daugherty was alive and well in 1940 and until the automobile accident that claimed his life in 1943. Although he had abandoned his family and left South Bend in the early 1930s, he reappeared in the city directories with his third wife in 1941. While Ira Daugherty was living at 1134 Cedar Street in South Bend, Katherine Daugherty, "widow of Ira," was living less than three miles west on the other side of the St. Joseph River.

But what about Thomas and Harold Daugherty? One of these sons had to be my grandfather. What could I find out about them?

Thomas Richard Daugherty, 1942
Graduate of South Bend Central High School

Thomas Richard Daugherty graduated from South Bend Central High School in 1942. He was a member of the Izaak Walton League Club, a nature conservation group, and he played violin for the school orchestra. His senior photo shows a man with a steely gaze, a confident air, a sly smile, and a square jaw. He joined the United States Navy immediately after graduation, where he became a medic out of his love for science and medicine. That certainly sounded like a great genetic clue to me, as I too was a member of the Izaak Walton League in high school, and I had entered the field of veterinary medicine out of my love for science and medicine.

I combed what databases I could find remotely to see if I could clarify Thomas's service dates. I could not. Was he back in South Bend, Indiana, in the spring of 1946, to meet my grandmother and father a child never known to him? It was very likely. He would have been twenty-two years old, and the 1945-1946 city directory of South Bend indicated that both he and his brother, employed by the United States Navy, where living at 1506½ Dunham Street, where their mother had moved in 1944.

Thomas Daugherty did not marry until 1952, still a resident of South Bend. His bride, Jeanne (Broadhurst) Campbell, brought with her a toddler by her first marriage, Glenda, whom Thomas raised as his own. There was evidence upon my initial research that Thomas and his family had moved to California where his first wife had died very young. He had remarried and eventually relocated to Lee County, Florida. He died there on 3 November 1997, and his wife had him buried in the military cemetery in Mayfield, Kentucky, where she was from and still had family.

I started work on finding the present whereabouts of Thomas's second wife, Barbara, and his adopted daughter Glenda, so that I could find out more about the man who seemed to be by grandfather.

Donna, my AncestryDNA contact for Harold "Brighton" Daugherty, continued to fill me in on the life of the other Daugherty brother. Although she was not present during the first sixty years of his life, she had a keen memory, and she had been able to knit together a fairly cohesive history of his life from the bits and pieces she had heard over time. But for every bit of information she did know, there were large gaps of time in Brighton's life of which she knew little. What she did know of the man through personal experience was that he was not a man to have followed the prescribed parameters of a routine life and a mundane job. Having little immediate family of his own, Donna was eager to share the life story of a significantly remarkable man.

Until we could resolve the relationship via factual DNA numbers, Brighton was not told of the existence of his possible niece and genealogist grandnephew. Although a tremendously hearty man well into his seventies, Brighton had experienced a slew of physical setbacks in his eighties. He had recently undergone major surgery for spinal stenosis that was significantly affecting nerve function in his hands. Recovery was arduous, and when he was finally functional enough to return to his apartment, he became desperately ill with a respiratory condition. Upon a second hospitalization, it was discovered that his apartment was infiltrated with black mold, and likely the reason for his medical setback. The same weekend I had contacted Donna was the weekend Brighton had moved into an assisted living center. He was still months without any of his personal belongings, as the apartment complex was still dragging its feet about cleaning his mold-infected belongings. The repetitive moves and health issues had taken its toll on Brighton. He was irritable and sometimes confused. It was decided to wait to bring Brighton into this adventure until he was settled in his new place, the pieces of his life returned to him from his apartment, and the DNA answers I was seeking were confirmed.

Brighton Daugherty, 1977

Harold James "Brighton" Daugherty did not finish high school, so I was not as fortunate to find a graduation picture for him, and to picture him at the time of my mother's conception. He left school in his senior year, and with permission with his mother, followed in his brother's footsteps and joined the United States Navy in 1944, shortly after his seventeenth birthday. Donna knew little of Brighton's early years, other than he hated the name Harold, and for most of his early adulthood went by "Jim." He was a bit of a nomad in the 1940s and 1950s, and living the life of an adventurer, he held on to few mementos and photos that documented his life from this time. One of the few photos that Donna could retrieve for me was also one of her favorites: Brighton the sailor on his boat off the shores of Hawaii when he was fifty years old.

Brighton had his share of secrets too. He lived a life rooted in the present and the future, and he saw little benefit to dwelling upon the past, so tales of ages gone by were mostly considered unnecessary. But pointed questions about people and places from his younger years would often result in a tight-lipped refusal to respond.

Like his brother, Brighton too had returned to South Bend after his service in the Navy, and Donna recalled that he had served on the U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt after the war. Indeed, I was able to find muster rolls for Harold James Daugherty on this ship through the muster of 7 June 1946. Just as his older brother, Thomas, he returned to live his mother at the Dunham Street address.

Only nineteen years old at my mother's conception (when my grandmother was twenty-nine), and apparently still at sea in the spring of 1946, and only classified within a first cousin relationship to me via AncestryDNA, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Harold James Daugherty was my great-uncle. Thomas Richard Daugherty was likely the grandfather I had been seeking.

Although I tried for the remainder of the week to work on projects that would earn me a living, I kept going back to those damn Daughertys, ferreting out information from any online source I could  access whilst away from home. Donna and I continued to trade emails, and I was beginning to learn of the fascinating life of Brighton Daugherty: a sailor, an artist, an author, a diver, an adventurer, a photographer, and more. I shared pictures of my mother and my family in the eventuality of connecting our two families together.

Surprisingly, just after noon, on Wednesday, 22 October 2014, the autosomal DNA raw data for Harold James Daugherty had been processed and was available for manipulation on Like so many keystrokes and clicks before, I held my breath and waited for the computations to run and display. My heart raced. The vein in my forehead throbbed. I could hear the blood pumping in my ears.

Harold James Daugherty shared 3587.1 cM of DNA in common with my mother. He shared 1868.6 cM of genetic material with me. And for those who think in percentages: that's 50% and 26% respectively.

I immediately emailed Donna.

Brighton's results are available on GEDmatch.
He's my grandfather.
I'm freaking out right now.

My grandfather was alive and well in Denver, Colorado. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Researching and Driving

Source: Wikimedia Commons, USMC, 2011

After making the discovery that my close genetic match on AncestryDNA was to a Harold Daugherty, a previously unknown son of Ira Daugherty (1886-1943), I was overcome with a whole host of emotions. Elation, shock, excitement, exuberance... these all have to be put on that list. But frankly one of the biggest was relief. Thank God I no longer had to deal with Schraders, dream about Schraders, schmooze the Schraders, cajole the Schraders, beg the Schraders, or kidnap a Schrader to find the answers I had been seeking and so close to finding.

Add regret to that list of emotions, too. I had just spent $400 on four more DNA tests the night before in anticipation of a long hard battle getting far-flung Schraders to test for me. And believe me, I chase dead people for a living; this is not a small amount of money. I have no supplemental spousal income, and I come from a long line of white trash, so there are no legacies awaiting me in the future. I could have put that money toward something else... like heat for the winter. Food. Cat litter. Extravagant luxuries like that.

Ooooh, but I had four DNA tests to use on other people now! Joy!

But I digress....

I sent back my first email reply via Ancestry's mail system to the person managing Harold Daugherty's DNA account at 8:43 a.m. Friday morning, 17 October 2014. This was in reply to their email asking if I was possibly related to the Daugherty or the Tries family that was sent to me nearly two hours previously. I did not go all bonkers letting the person know that I had surmised "H.D." stood for Harold Daugherty, nor did I go into a long accounting of my search for my mother's father and my findings related to the Daugherty family thus far. I didn't want to scare the contact away, and frankly I was still fleshing out the details of this newly revealed connection to Ira Daugherty. And I was frantically trying to pack my car to leave.

My response was merely: "I still do not have access to the family tree on AncestryDNA."

The previous response had indicated that the administrator had unlocked the restricted access to H.D.'s family tree, but it was still locked to me. I wanted to see that my assumptions were correct before launching into my story. Regrettably, there was no immediate response to this return email. I was hoping to get some sort of confirmation to my suspicions before I headed to Dayton, Ohio.

But what I did do immediately was to call my mother.

By this time, my mother's enthusiasm for the search was pretty much nil. My talk of DNA matches, second cousins once removed, Daughertys and Schraders, and plans for future testing had long since fallen on barely tolerant ears. I had given my mother a family chart showing the connections within the Daugherty family, complete with percent genetic similarities of those tested, and how the results pointed to nobody other than the Schrader brothers. Among my explanatory notes on the side, I had ended with "No other person on this planet [other than the Schrader brothers] could match these numbers and be Carol Crumet's father. The only other exception would be if one of the Daugherty brothers had a son unbeknownst to me (or to them) who then went on to be the father of Carol Crumet."


Upon handing my mother this chart a few days previously, she set it aside with, "I will look at it later."

When I had last called to go over the chart with her and launched into my Operation Schrader DNA plans, it was met with an audible sigh over the phone. I testily responded that if she was so utterly bored with this search that had taken over my life, I would be more than happy to hang up. She begrudgingly listened. But I am certain if asked, she couldn't name a single Schrader brother by name.

After giving her a string of paternal candidates, each dying younger than the one before, she was left with a trio of dead brothers whose families were at best, uncooperative, and at worst, hostile. And since the man who was her biological father had no real relationship or connection with her mother and probably had no recollection of her after possibly just a single night together, what did it matter? I think she placated me more for the genealogical aspect of the search and its ramifications upon my research than in any eager anticipation of a happy ending.

But with this new piece of information, and with the name and identity of her father, the response just had to be different.

Now mind you, as a genealogist, I work for myself. For twenty-two years I had worked as a veterinarian that required my presence at my practice by 7:30 a.m. every morning. I have never gone to bed before 1 a.m., and thus I have been sleep deprived for well over two decades. The only reason I was awake at 8:43 a.m. on a Friday morning was because I had to be on the road. My normal sleeping hours are usually in the 4 a.m. to noon ballpark, and I get this trait from my mother. So after not hearing an immediate response from the AncestryDNA connection, I called my mother at the last possible moment before leaving the house in hopes that she would be up and about.

At 9:55 a.m., there was no answer. I left a frantic message to call me immediately with no verbiage as to the reason for such urgency. 

I dismantled my computer display, packed my final bag, stuffed my new Daugherty notes in my pockets, and I hopped in the car for Dayton, Ohio.

But how on Earth was I supposed to be concentrating on the road with a mind stuffed with new possibilities and the very likely possibility that my great-uncle was still living? And even though his brother, Thomas Daugherty - likely my grandfather - was not alive, I knew now that there was someone intimately related to him that could at least tell me about the man. In the brief amount of time I had between revelation and driving, I had discovered a city directory entry for 1945-1946 that indicated Harold J. Daugherty and Thomas R. Daugherty, both employed by the United States Navy, had lived together on Dunham Street in South Bend, Indiana.

I fantasized about the conversation.

"Oh yes, I remember my brother coming home one spring night after we returned home from the Navy. He had met this hot number from Elkhart. I think he said her name was Helen. He thought she was quite something, but regrettably nothing ever came of it."

Okay, fine, like I said, it was a fantasy. I am sure an 87-year-old man likely forgets what he had for breakfast, let alone recalls who his brother was having sex with in the spring of 1946. But it's my fantasy. Don't judge. 

I couldn't shake the immediacy of the situation and my need - no, my unquenchable thirst - for information, so I logged onto via my phone... while driving.

Yes, I am well aware this is an unwise move. Yes, I am also well aware that texting and driving in Ohio is illegal. Yes, I am also well aware that all of this could have waited until I checked into my hotel in Dayton. Yes, I am also completely and fully aware that these findings, no matter how relevant to my search nor however important or revealing, are of no use to a dead man.

Bad, bad, bad genealogist.

Nonetheless, I sent one final Ancestry email to the administrator of the presumed DNA profile of Harold Daugherty at 10:33 a.m., having been on the road an excruciatingly long twenty minutes. I just wanted to cover my bases in case I could have more knowledge, more quickly, with more answers, now.  Now.  NOW.

"I am traveling today and responding by phone. Can you call me today at 555-555-5555? If I am unavailable, please leave a message with the best time to return your call. Thanks!"

Again, I didn't want to scare anyone off with too much detail, and frankly, I can barely chew gum and walk simultaneously, so that was a pretty wordy text for driving.

And no, you're not getting my number from this blog. I can't find everybody's father!

I called my mother again at 11:06 a.m. Again, voice mail. I announced that I would be calling roughly every ten minutes until she answered her phone, which I repeated again at 11:15 a.m. At 11:19 a.m. she returned my call wanting to know what the emergency was (but more likely to shut me up). I laid out the details as I knew them up to that point, but frankly a lot of it was conjecture, as I knew very little about Thomas and Harold Daugherty other than their recently discovered existence. I told her I was waiting for the contact person from to call me.

Which happened whilst I was chatting with my mother.

I hung up with my mother and called my voice mail immediately. The name of the woman who managed the profile of "H.D." was Donna, and she indicated that she had a busy day ahead of her and would be available to talk after 5:30 p.m. that night.

5:30 p.m.!?!?! 

I did NOT just text and drive to have to wait for answers for another SIX hours! And I had dinner plans that night with association members of the group I was lecturing to the following day. I agonized over calling back immediately, or being respectful of her wishes and her busy schedule and to talk later. I wrestled with the options, but on hindsight and reviewing the time stamps on my cell phone, I apparently endured this tumultuous internal struggle for a grand total of 55 seconds.

I called.

Donna had known Harold James Daugherty, whom she called "Brighton," for over twenty years. They both had watched a documentary by Spencer Wells about The Genographic Project, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, at the end of 2013. Donna, a hobbyist genealogist, was intrigued by the ancestral identities encoded in our DNA. Brighton had a very limited knowledge of his extended family background. Together they ordered DNA tests from AncestryDNA and submitted their samples at the beginning of 2014, just as much to seek answers regarding their ancestry, as it was on a curious lark to see what their results would tell them.

While Brighton Daugherty's results were tabulated by AncestryDNA at the beginning of 2014, I was finding out my mother's father was not the man she thought he was via 23andMe.

Over the next 42 minutes, I explained to Donna the roller coaster ride that had been my life over the past eight months in search of my grandfather, and that I had already narrowed the field down to the Daugherty generation that Thomas and Brighton belonged to. She was equally as excited to find someone so closely related to Brighton, as he had very little family currently in his life, nor had he ever been particularly bonded to them when he was younger. I probably knew more about the Daughertys than he did.

Regrettably she knew very little about Brighton's brother, Thomas Daugherty, other than his existence, and one photo she had seen shortly before his death when his body and countenance had been ravaged by a stroke. She knew only that he had died in 1997 in Florida, and that Brighton had visited him there many years before. Thomas had been married twice, and he had no children of his own. He had adopted his first wife's daughter who was five years old when her mother married Thomas Daugherty, and he lovingly raised her as his very own, but there were no other biological siblings to test if my mother truly proved to be his daughter. But in addition to Brighton, Thomas's second wife was still living, and at the age of eighty years, she too could tell me more about her late husband once we got confirmation of what seemed already a done deal regarding my mother's paternity.

Donna and I both ended our conversation with excited and joyful exuberance at the twists of fate that had caused our paths to cross, and I hung up enormously relieved that I had found an ally in the final steps of my search who was truly eager to help me, unlike the Schraders who were quite the opposite.

I explained the deficiency in AncestryDNA's reported results for those who took a scientific and factual approach to assessing the DNA profiles of our matches, and I asked her to upload Brighton's raw data to where I could compare it to mine and my mother's previous 23andMe test results already there. I also informed her that I was still waiting to obtain my mother's AncestryDNA results, but that I expected them rapidly on the heels of my own.

Frankly, it was just a matter of days before all my work over the past several months would come to fruition, and I would have an answer to my quest. A name for my grandfather. And a living soul to tell me all about him.

I called my mother with an update, and she too was cautiously eager to hear the outcome.

And with that, I arrived at my hotel in Dayton, Ohio.

Nothing makes a drive go more quickly than finding a grandfather. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bad, Bad, Bad Genealogist

The original working model for my search. Click on image to enlarge.

When I received my reply to my AncestryDNA email regarding my close match, I had very little time left before I had to be in my car and headed to Dayton, Ohio. I did not have the luxury to mull and ponder over the possibility of an elusive Daugherty connection that seemed tantalizingly close.

But I didn't need that much time.


Because I am a bad, bad, bad genealogist.

The match with this new mysterious Daugherty connection was within a first cousin range as indicated by AncestryDNA's I-told-you-so approach. I had no hard data at my fingertips to corroborate this information. No quantitative amount of DNA segments to guide me. No percentages of shared DNA with which to play my familiar numbers game. But the short reply email I received to my inquiry told me two things. Firstly, when I indicated that the match was within a first cousin range, the respondent asked me if I was doing this for someone considerably older than me. So I inferred that the mystery match was an older man. Secondly, the response indicated that if I was truly that closely related to this person, it would either have to be through the Daugherty or the Tries family.

I had been mired in Daughertys for months. But I had yet to come across the surname Tries.

So how does that make me a bad, bad, bad genealogist?

Simple deduction indicated that if this mystery person thought I was related via the Daugherty or the Tries family, then somewhere a Daugherty married a Tries. So I did a simple check of such in FamilySearch's search engine. And in a fraction of a second I had this:

"Ira Dougherty" married "Katherine Trese" on 4 February 1911 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

If you refer to the opening graphic you will see a simplified version of the working model I had for my mother's unknown father that you have seen before. You will also see that Ira Daugherty was the brother to Bertha (Daugherty) Ryder Rieder Prestidge Merrifield and LaVina (Daugherty) Schrader Johnston that I have discussed in detail in previous blog posts. I had already located two marriages for Ira Daugherty, and I knew that he died in the same automobile accident that killed LaVina (Daugherty) Schrader's youngest son in 1943. But this was the first time I had heard of Katherine Tries.

If Ira Daugherty happened to sire some sons by this newly-discovered bride, they too would mathematically qualify to be candidates for my mother's father, just like the Schrader brothers. They would all be males of the same generation to be on the list of "possible grandfathers."

As I anxiously watched the time, with my car already packed and ready to drive, it was again only the matter of a couple of key strokes to find Ira Daugherty enumerated in the 1920 census, living in Chicago with his wife, Catherine, and their 5-year-old daughter, Lillian.

And it was equally just as easy finding them in the 1930 census enumeration of Chicago, where Ira Daugherty was living with his wife, Cathrine, and children Lillian, age 15; Gladys, age 8; Thomas, age 6; and Harold, age 3.

Thomas and Harold Daugherty.

Two boys.

And two more candidates for my mother's missing father that should have been on my list from the very beginning.

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Why did they not make this blasted list from the very beginning?

Because I am a bad, bad, bad genealogist.

Ira Daugherty was a passenger in his own car when his nephew flipped it and died on impact south of Niles, Michigan, on 15 March 1943. Three days later, without gaining consciousness, Ira too died. His obituary published the day of his death in the Niles newspaper rehashed the details of the horrible accident that it had previously reported upon days before. It also narrated a fairly standard biographical sketch of Ira Daugherty. The obituary provided the standard vital information one usually expects to read in the newspaper. It gave his date and place of birth. It indicated his service overseas in World War I. And, most importantly it completely enumerated his survivors by name. His brothers and sisters were listed with their places of residence. His five step-children born to his surviving wife, Melita, by her deceased first husband, were also mentioned by name. Even included was a brief passage indicating his eldest stepson, Rudy Schmaltz, was station in Virginia in the United States Army. For a genealogist, it was a fairly thorough assessment of a life lived and ended tragically. 

No children of Ira Daugherty were mentioned.

When Albert Daugherty died in Niles, Michigan, on 11 December 1960, he too was honored with a detailed obituary in the local newspaper, the Niles Daily Star. Having no children of his own, the obituary was so complete as to list his surviving nieces and nephews: Margaret Byrd, Catherine Dorn, Edward Schrader, Ted Schrader, and Joseph Schrader. These were the children of his sisters, Bertha and LaVina.

No children of Ira Daugherty were mentioned.

Based on such information, I had discounted Ira Daugherty as a possible source for male heirs to be my mother's father. And although I had meticulously detailed the lives of his two childless brothers, Albert and John Jr., I had done so primarily because they were always attached by the hip to their parents and to their sisters in all their frequent moves back and forth between Grand Rapids, Niles, Dowagiac, and Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana. Somehow the need to dig further into Ira's life was never a priority since I had already deemed him "childless."

Trust me, there were tantalizing clues. And they had been uncomfortably stirring in the back of my mind. When the progenitor of all these siblings, John Henry Daugherty Sr., died in 1939, he too got a nice obituary in the Niles Daily Star. It stated he was survived by eleven grandchildren. Bertha had two. LaVina had five. And in my notes, I have underlined, "Who are the other four grandchildren???" Even accounting for step-grandchildren, the number never really worked. It bothered me.

Bad, bad, bad genealogist.

But now I had two new boys to contend with, Thomas and Harold Daugherty. So what became of them? Why were they ostracized from the Daugherty family? Or conversely, had they somehow been the ones to cut ties from the often drunk, less-than-law-abiding, rowdy Daugherty family and their extended kin now centered in Niles, Michigan?

The new working model for my search. Click on image to enlarge.

There was one more census to check: 1940. And there they were. This time no longer residing in Chicago, Illinois, "widowed" Katherine Daugherty was living in South Bend, Indiana, at 4 South Taylor Court, with her children: Gladys, 18; Thomas, 16; and Harold, 13.

Yes. There they were. The two brothers Thomas Daugherty and Harold Daugherty were living in South Bend, Indiana, on the census six years before my mother's conception. South Bend, Indiana. Just a bus ride away from Elkhart, Indiana, were my grandmother Helen (Timmons) Miller lived. South Bend, Indiana. Where Helen's first husband, Eldon, had found work at Bendix during the war.

Oh, and what was the profile name of the AncestryDNA account who was apparently a close genetic match to me?  The same AncestryDNA match that was apparently a much older male? The same AncestryDNA match who was apparently related to Ira Daugherty and Katherine Tries?


Harold Daugherty.

Apparently Ira Daugherty's youngest son was alive and well, and he shared enough DNA with me to be within a first cousin relationship.

If you recall, first cousins shares an average of 12.5% of their autosomal DNA in common with each other. This, of course, would be the most common default for any of the DNA companies to report if such a value came up as a match, because it's far more common for cousins to be tested at the same time.

But who else would share 12.5% of their DNA with me?

A great-uncle would.

And with that revelation, I looked at my watch. I was nearly twenty minutes behind schedule. I stuffed my notes in my pocket and jumped in the car.