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, were 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. 

Thursday, December 18, 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, where 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.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I have a love-hate relationship with

Let me rephrase that: I have a love-hate relationship with the public's perception of

The one ubiquitous question that is always thrown about at dinner parties and social gatherings is "What do you do for a living?" I have a whole litany of amusing responses to my standard reply of "veterinarian" that was in use for over two decades. It most aways involved a story regarding the questioner's long-deceased beloved pet and its unfortunate demise. Example:

"You're a veterinarian?!?! Oh my God, I had this tiny adorable Chihuahua when I was a kid named Pepe! When he turned sixteen, he got really, really sick. We took him to the vet, but we didn't want him to run any tests because, well, you know, he was sixteen. And can you believe the vet just let him die? Can you tell me what happened to him?"

Of course, responses to questions of this nature put you in a precarious situation. After all, this is usually a question presented at a social gathering surrounded by a handful of other inquisitive guests with widened eyes eagerly waiting for my scholarly and informative, yet kind and compassionate, response.

"If you actually let your veterinarian DO something for the dog when it became ill, you could have asked him then, instead of asking me now!"

No. No. Probably a wee bit too accusatory.

"I'm sorry. I consider myself an excellent practitioner, but I am regrettably bad at diagnosing a memory. Perhaps we could break out a Ouija board and ask Pepe his presenting complaints?"

Hmmmm....condescending? Likely.

"I'm so sorry to hear of anyone losing one of their dear fuzzy babies. Even many years later the grief is still tucked away in our memories. At sixteen, Pepe could have suffered from a dizzying array of many age-related conditions, but I am sure you comforted him through his final days. He was lucky to have lived so long."

Yep. That works.

Unfortunately, a similar thing occurs now after leaving behind decades in a medical field to chase my ancestors, as well as solve the historical mysteries of others.

"I'm a professional genealogist."

"Oh! My [aunt/uncle/cousin/grandmother/insert other relative here] is on all the time! He/she has already done all my family tree. So you just sit on all day? That's odd."

When I ask if it is a maternal or a paternal aunt who "did all their family tree," I am often greeted with a quizzical look and a cocked head, much like a bewildered spaniel. When the questioner tells me it was actually his father's sister who did the work, I ask why a paternal relative would work on the ancestry of his mother if they were not related. "Oh, no, that's just my dad's side." As if this somehow still is "all" the family tree. "Well, I guess half your lineage is unknown, correct?"


And the family tree was "done"? Can this endeavor ever be referred to in the past tense? My grandmother used to ask me that. "Aren't you done yet?" But of course, this was the same woman who asked, "why didn't you become a real doctor?" Sigh.

I think from now on my response will be "Walmart Greeter."

Plain and simple, has become the face of genealogical research in the digital age. There is no escaping its enormous contribution to the field I have chosen, and thus I do love the site. Gone are the days I would have to drive two hours to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to sit for hours cranking microfilm reels of unindexed census records reading them page-by-page to find a person of interest. If I went home with four or five new entries after a four-hour roundtrip drive and nearly twelve hours of research, I was a happy man. has made that task a two-minute search in my jammies with a cat in my lap.

But and sites like it have given researchers a reason to be lazy. By a fantastically huge margin, the enormous majority of records used by genealogists like me are still hiding in courthouse basements, neatly cataloged archival collections, local historical societies, private collections, and people's mothball-laden closets. Good research is hard. Really hard. And awfully damn fun.

And such are the mixed feeling I have for's foray into the world of genetic genealogy. But this time it's not the perception of AncestryDNA that I dislike, it is truly the business forces behind this arm of the genealogical giant that irk me. 

Those who have read this blog from its inception, especially since the hunt began for my biological grandfather via the powers of autosomal DNA, know that I use 23andMe as my tester of choice. I did so at the beginning because, as a doctor, I was intrigued by the medical report that accompanied the results and the identification of genetic markers of disease or propensity for disease that the company reported along with good links to scholarly medical articles. Unfortunately, the FDA shut down that component of the test after I had only tested myself, my mother, and my father. But I have become accustomed to 23andMe's format, and their chromosome browser, and their utilities to analyze genetic matches.

I have also mentioned that I had my autosomal DNA results, as well as my mother's results, from 23andMe added to the FamilyTreeDNA database. Again, this option is no longer available, as divergent technologies from both companies has made integrating 23andMe data into the FamilyTreeDNA database impossible, but I have tested through FamilyTreeDNA as well when I needed specific testing not available through 23andMe, or if I wanted to use the hundreds of thousands of profiles tested through that company, as there is never such a thing as too many matches.

But of the three big DNA companies in the game, I had yet to test with AncestryDNA.

The abbreviated reason I had not done so is that AncestryDNA offers no chromosome browser, no reporting of the amount of DNA matched with an individual in terms of segment length or percentages, no ability to triangulate results to see if three or more people share both DNA and a common ancestor to prove one's chromosomal heritage from a distant individual or couple. These factors are discussed in much, much greater detail on several Internet sites and blogs dedicated to genetic genealogy, so I will not tear them apart in detail here. But if I can't use my results through AncestryDNA, why should I drop a couple hundred more dollars to obtain them?

The sad reality is that the powers that be at know that the greatest bulk of their users are the great-aunts of the people I meet at dinner parties. They want genealogy to be fun and fluffy and comforting and happy and a point-and-click experience.

Science is hard. And knows it. They have a whole team of highly educated professionals tweaking their algorithms to calculate genetic matches as accurately as possible. 

They just don't think the average genealogist can handle it.

But as I have already previously mentioned in other blog posts, anyone can take their raw data from any testing site and upload it to a free site called If you are reading this, and you have been autosomal DNA tested at any of the three sites, and you have not yet uploaded your raw data to - do so now! This will help you, and it will immensely help others. 



I'll wait.

So again, why would I want to test again with a third company that won't offer me scientific support to find my grandfather? Why would I test with a company who will give me results I have to load into a third-party site, when my results from the other laboratories are already there?

Because of those people I meet in social situations and their great-aunts and cousins. has name recognition. After revealing my chosen profession as a genealogist does anyone ask me, "Hey, have you done the full-sequencing mitochondrial DNA test with FamilyTreeDNA? Do you think it's worth the money to do that over just their mtDNA-Plus?"


Usually within the first or second sentence of a person's response, the term "" will be inexorably mentioned.

People test at AncestryDNA because it sounds fun. Because they want the warm fuzzy experience. The company gives you fun colorful graphs of what countries your ethnicity derives (which I have already stated is as accurate as measuring a doorway with a cat.) Further, if you find matches with others using AncestryDNA, the tool they use to show you how you are related is by comparing your family trees to each other. And if you are matched with someone with shoddy research or no family tree, the results are meaningless. Lastly, having matching DNA segments and knowing you have a common ancestor is great, but it is a dangerous assumption to think that they go hand in hand. That is why triangulation with another researcher with the same common ancestor is necessary to see if you all share the same strand of DNA at the same chromosomal location. This is something you cannot do at AncestryDNA.

But by the end of the first quarter of 2015, the company estimates that over one million people will have tested with their service.

One. Million. People.

Since I had hit a wall of resistance with my mother's presumed Schrader father, I needed a million more people to bolster my argument. Also, there were surprisingly many family trees posted on by relatives of these three Schrader brothers (and my possible grandfather). Had they been tested through this company as well even though they were maintaining a wall of silence with me? One of these trees was posted by a son of one of the Schrader brother, one by a grandson, and one by a nephew. At this point, ANY Schrader DNA would guide me toward my missing grandfather, so I had hoped that some of these tree-posters had actually taken the AncestryDNA test. And who knew how many more distant relatives I might find here? Especially important were the Wisconsin Schroeders and associated families. Any connection with these German families might allow me to tie my mother to both LaVina Daugherty and her husband, Edward Emil Schroeder/Schrader.

And since discovering that Ed Schrader may not even be the father of my missing grandfather even though LaVina Daugherty was married to him during the births of her sons, I desperately needed the help of a million more people.

So on 10 September 2014 whilst mired stuck and flailing in the Schrader quicksand with no sense of progress, two autosomal DNA tests were shipped to me from AncestryDNA - one for me, and one for my mother. I had to feel like I was doing something with momentum while formulating a plan to test more living Schraders.

Like a Pavlov dog, I started salivating the moment the test kits arrived on my doorstep, and my kit was back at the post office (with spit) within hours of having been delivered on 13 September 2014. Coordinating schedules with my mother, even though she lives just over three miles away, meant her test kit didn't hit the mailbox until 26 September 2014. They were both on their way to the lab, and I waited to see if I might find an edge by utilizing this venue while also arranging for my new inside Schrader contact to come to fruition.

My mother's test gained a few days on mine, as they were received by the laboratories of AncestryDNA on 22 September and 1 October 2014, respectively. Since I had already done all the preliminary footwork on 23andMe, and because I was proactively dismayed at AncestryDNA's shunning of science, I was not chomping at the bit to see the results, but of course, I was eager to have fun with them. After all, I was chasing my grandfather's identity, but I also had many, many more known ancestors I might learn more about if I discovered viable matches on any of my other family lines. Also, October was a busy month for me. With six seminars in four weeks in various locations in Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, I was barely able to keep up with PowerPoint revisions and lecture building to fret a great deal over these impending results.

My AncestryDNA results were obviously the first to arrive as announced via email on the afternoon of 15 October 2014, although I was not able to sit down and access them on my computer until later that night. And much to my surprise, in addition to the thousands of matches and pages-and-pages of remotely distant relatives, I had one very close match.

A male identified by initials only, whose test results were administrated by a second party, and whose family tree was locked from view to me, was identified as my "Close Family to First Cousin." I frantically looked to see if the initials matched any of the known Schrader clan, but I came up empty handed. Of course, yes, I was curious, but I certainly wasn't insanely clawing at my computer screen. Although I do not have first cousins interested in genealogical research, nor do I know of anyone in the immediate family that might have been tested, I do know there are a handful of relatively close relatives on my father's side that are on a variety of DNA sites. And since I only had my test results in the AncestryDNA system, I had no references with which to compare to see if this was a maternal or paternal connection.

So at 10:31 p.m. in the night of 15 October 2014, I sent the following message:

"Hello. Although I have been working with DNA for quite some time via 23andMe and FTDNA, I have just gotten my results on Ancestry. I am wading through the ins and outs of the match features. Nonetheless, this says you are my first cousin. Now THAT is something I want to explore! Who are you?"

Unfortunately, I was also frantically preparing for a lecture I had to give in Dayton, Ohio, that I was driving to the following Friday morning. Anyone who knows me is aware of my profound level of procrastination. PowerPoints, laundry, packing, and all the preparations for leaving usually are frantically taken care of hours to minutes before I have to walk out the door. And on the morning of Friday, 17 October 2014, I had to be on the road no later than 10 a.m. because of a timed afternoon engagement the day before my lecture.

At 7:07 a.m. that Friday morning I got a response to my AncestryDNA query:

"Mike, I see you are located in Indiana which dovetails with my family history. Perhaps you are researching this connection for someone else who is older than you? [The] family tree is rather small so it's great to happen upon such a close connection. If we are in fact first cousins then we share grandparents which might be Daugherty..."

Holy Jesus Christ, Joseph, and Mary Mother of God and All the Angels and Saints on High... did I read that correctly?



Minutes before needing to hop into the car and drive to Ohio, I now had a pounding headache and the immediate need to vomit.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hoosier Daddy's Daddy?

Although Joseph Schrader appeared to be the best candidate to be my mother's father, I was effectively shut down by one of his grandchildren via an email on 21 August 2014.

"Not going to happen."

Additionally, any other Schrader relative that I had contacted who had made any sort of initial response to my pleas went silent thereafter.

"I have contacted the rest of the family. None of us are interested."

Without knowing how far-reaching that contact extended, I had no idea whom I could or could not reach out to within the extended Schrader family. Although the three Schrader brothers had between them eleven children ranging from the ages of fifty-two to eighty-two that would effectively be my mother's first cousins, I was now grievously apprehensive toward casting out a wide net of DNA requests. Were the Schraders all standing in a unified front against my desire to seek answers regarding my mother's paternity, or did I just have the random misfortunate of contacting the single Schrader grump having his own personal temper tantrum? I hated to test either theory. And I wasn't exactly keen on making anyone angry enough to confront me on a level beyond a terse email.

But there were other unsettling questions in my mind as well.

While analyzing my mother's DNA matches, there were a small number of people who shared DNA with her that did not do so with anyone related to her mother, Helen Timmons, or with any of the other Daugherty relatives I had tested to date. If LaVina (Daugherty) Schrader was my mother's grandmother, these outlying matches would most likely be those who connected via her grandfather, Edward Emil Schrader, none of whose relatives I had tested. 

But Ed Schrader was a first-generation American. Both his parents were German-born immigrants who settled in Wisconsin. And none of these random unplaced matches had any German ancestry. Also nobody with Wisconsin Germany ancestry in either the 23andMe or the FamilyTreeDNA databases in which my mother's autosomal DNA results were posted had a match to my mother.

Although I had an iron-clad case for my mother's connection to LaVina Daugherty and her sons, I had absolutely nothing to tie her to Edward Schrader.

The unfortunate reality which I had already most dreadfully considered was confirmed the very same day I was shot down by Joe Schrader's grandson.

Interestingly, although I was told adamantly that "none of us are interested" by Joe Schrader's grandson, I was contacted immediately the same day by Joe Schrader's youngest child. Although made aware of my request by her uncooperative nephew, she seemed to want to know for herself what was going on. Her initial contact was brief, but it gave me a glimmer of hope that perhaps I really would have the possibility to find answers through the living members of the Schrader family!

After my response detailing - again - the nature of my search and the mathematical reasons for believing one of the Schraders was my grandfather via my mother's connection to the Daugherty family, her response made sense as much as it was devastating to hear.

"My Dad has some interesting roots on his mother's side."

She went on to indicate that she was under the impression that her grandmother, LaVina (Daugherty) Schrader, was married multiple times, and even though she was married to Ed Schrader for the bulk of time her children were born, it was common knowledge within the family that the brothers were not all the children of Ed - some were half-brothers to each other, some full brothers.

So, even if I could figure out which Schrader brother was my mother's father, it was entirely likely, and very possible, that he wasn't a Schrader anyway.

Hoosier Daddy, Part II? Hoosier Daddy's Daddy?

Seriously. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

It was time to consider cashing in my retirement account to pay for several dozen more DNA tests.

I was now not only faced with figuring out which of the Schrader brothers was my grandfather, I needed to figure out which Schrader was a Schrader, and which one was not. So for a family that was adamant about not cooperating with my research and not wanting to be tested, I was presented with the need for more Schrader tests than even I had anticipated.

The prospect was dizzying. And depressing.

After this initial email from Joe Schrader's daughter, I heard nothing more from her, even after several return messages. She too had escaped my reach, and was at the very best apathetic about my search, or at the worst, shut down by her extended family from participating or contacting me.

I spent the following couple weeks considering my options. And researching. And analyzing DNA matches.

Edward Emil Schrader was the eldest of nine children. Seven of his eight siblings had children of their own, and I could account for thirty-eight Schroeders from this next generation mostly born and raised in Wisconsin. I found proof that fully half of that number had already passed away, but I was sure I could find some living Schroeders to test to see if my mother shared a connection to them. If she had matching Schroeder DNA, she would then conclusively be connected to both Ed and LaVina.

If I wanted to keep it local and work within the parameters I had already established, I considered the possibility of contacting younger generations of Schraders in and around the Niles and Dowagiac area. Although further removed from the three Schrader brother candidates, and therefore likely to have a much smaller percentage of matching DNA that would result in a more hazy degree of relationship, I could test a fair number of them to not only see how the Schrader brothers related to each other, but how they related to my mother. But this would require a lot of tests. And cooperation. I only held out hope that those a generation or two removed from these dead Schrader brothers would not be upset by the concept of unearthing family secrets about people with whom they had no personal connection. I would also be dealing with a generation that might be more technology savvy and less afraid of testing.

And as luck would have it, in the course of my research I located a granddaughter of the second Edward Schrader - one of my mother's possible paternal candidates - that lived locally and happened to work with a friend of mine with whom I had known for nearly two decades.

God Bless Facebook and all its exhibitionist tendencies.

I contacted my friend on 1 September 2014, explained my dilemma, and asked him if his coworker seemed like a person amenable to helping me with my search. He responded that he did not know her well, but she seemed friendly and inquisitive. Having an inside view into the Schrader family by a helpful mole would allow me to know who to ask, who not to ask, who would likely help me, and who would shun me. I was working on getting me an inside spy!

Unfortunately, I was now at a standstill. There was little else I could do at this point to make forward progress. I waited for my inside Schrader connection to develop, but frustratingly, the Schrader granddaughter worked part-time, and not often in my friend's department. He would not have contact with her regarding my family until 14 October 2014. And surprisingly, I actually had to work on things that paid me an income instead of chasing dead grandfathers. The fall of 2014 brought me several lectures all over the Midwest that required new PowerPoint presentations, and traveling, and updating literature, and all the mundane things that go with paying the bills.

But while I waited, theories and plans and possibilities and testing protocols swirled in my head. Many nights I went to bed thinking of Schraders, dreamt of Schraders, and woke up thinking about Schraders again. I even dreamt that I got a job at a Michigan grade school solely for the purpose of bribing attending great-grandchildren of Joe Schrader to let me scrape their cheeks at recess so as to have some Y-DNA. I was obsessed.

On 16 October 2014, I ordered four more autosomal DNA tests from 23andMe, ready and waiting for a younger generation of Schraders descended from these three brothers to willingly step forward and spit for me. And yield the answer to my grandfather's identity.

And like so many other times along this journey, the focused shifted.