Sunday, July 9, 2017

CHAPTER 33: PROOF

I'm halfway through my approximate two week waiting period before the DNA results are expected.  Instead of anxiously refreshing my browser on a bi-hourly basis I thought I would give my fingers and mind something else to do while I wait.  I thought I would summarize the eight DNA matches that have proven my connection to the Fisher line.  Here they are in no particular order- only because I don't remember the order as it all happened lightening fast.

First, and most obviously, is HK.  The original, the best, the sole reason that this is finally happening.  I'm sure his partner Naomi never imagined that working on a family tree would trigger such a shift in the world of a complete stranger.  Once I started talking to Rob, I pretty much let Naomi off the hook.  I could tell that, although she was willing to help, she was not sure what to think- and how much information was okay to share. 
 If the hypothesis is correct, HK is my first cousin 1x removed.

Debbie and "eurekapub" are a pair of siblings who have been on my match list for a couple of years now. I knew that they were matches to my paternal line (as they do not match my mother) and there is a bit of a tree that lists a few names that I have kept on my list of "possible" paternal names.  All of the family seems to be firmly rooted in Sydney.  In hindsight, this was more of a clue than I realized.  They are a "mutual match" to HK, which is why Rose (my dna detective angel) suggested that I make a mirror tree for them as well.  That is when I discovered the missing Anderson line that connected to the Anderson in HK's mirror tree.

GC is a gentleman named Graham who was tested by his step-daughter Tam.  After research we discovered that he is the grandson of the sister of my (potential) great grandmother, Marjory Taylor. We likely share John Taylor and Jane Chadwick (his g grandparents, my 2 g grandparents).  Graham is the one match on this tree that is what is known by the experts as an "outlier". On paper he is a 2nd cousin 1x removed (or 3rd cousin-but one generation older than myself)- however, we match on 259 cM's- closer to a straight 2nd cousin match.  Cece Moore has told me that this most often happens in areas where populations of the same family are highly concentrated and isolated- so people tend to marry into their own family.  It could also just be a fluke.  Time will tell.  Thanks to Tam, I have been gifted with lots of photos and info about Graham's branch of the tree.  Their family has been in the Bendigo area for well over a century- as have the Fishers.

HM is a teenager who begged his mother, Jocelyn, for a DNA test to prove his Scottish genealogy.  He did- and then some.  He is a "shared match" with HK and the eurekapub siblings.  This suggests that Anderson once again comes into play.  Jocelyn and I had a discussion and, before long, we figured out that her grandmother was a Lydia Anderson, daughter of  Walter Anderson, who was sibling to Jeannie Anderson- my likely 2nd g grandmother! 

So, at this point, I had connections to both of the parents of my two potential fathers- Taylor, on the paternal Fisher line, and Anderson, on the maternal Parker line.  It was about at this point that I felt confident enough to present evidence to Rob as to why taking a DNA test would be a good idea.

But wait, there's more.

Amelia Clapton is not a match in common with any of my known cousin matches-- however, a quick look at her tree (thank you Amelia) showed a William Robson AND Sara Jane Fisher as her 2x g grandparents.  Though both of those surnames were in HK's mirror tree- neither of those particular people were.  Here's where it got good.  Jane Chadwick (likely 2nd g grandmother) had been married to a John Robson back in Cheshire.  She had two children (maybe three) with him before he unfortunately died in what appears to be a cave in France in 1853.  That's something for future research.  Anyway, shortly after John's unfortunate demise, Jane appeared to have taken her children to Australia, and married John Taylor in Bendigo in 1855.  Eventually, Jane's son, William Robson, married Sara Ann Fisher, sister to my potential g grandfather, Charles Fisher.  I know, I know- it's overwhelming.  It hurts my head trying to make sense of it.  The bottom line is that Amelia and I are double 3rd cousins 1x removed.  We share one and a half sets of g grandparents (of various "greats") Jane Chadwick and John Robson, as well as Charles Fisher and Martha Cornwell.  In short, one set of siblings married another set of siblings.  As there is a Taylor in there somewhere this MAY explain my unusually high match with Graham- but don't quote me on that.

Whew.  How are we doing?  Are any of you still reading this?  If so, thank you.  I realize that this may be a little "dry"- particularly to those interested in the blog for the "soap opera" like story- but really, it helps me to put it all into words in one place so that I can direct skeptics to this chapter.

Alrighty then.  Moving on.  I got a match named Mandy Reidy.  She did not have a tree, but a quick Facebook search brought up someone in Western Australia with the maiden name Lethlean.  Ah yes, Lethlean was indeed familiar to me. Jane Chadwick's oldest daughter, Agnes had married and Alexander Lethlean (from Cornwall) in 1867.  He had several children from a previous marriage, and they went on to have approximately twelve more children and raised them in the Bendigo area.  I had done a little research on the Lethleans (probably because of the interesting name) and they seemed to split between Bendigo and Western Australia.  There are still many Lethleans in Bendigo, one of whom worked alongside Clive Fisher in the Bendigo Post Office for many years.  Likely unknown close cousins working side by side! Mandy quickly got on board in figuring out the exact connection.  It took about a day, but I finally figured out that we are 3rd cousins 1x removed.  Our most recent shared common match is Agnes Robson (1850-1921).  There is a sordid and scandalous story involving Mandy's great uncle that took place in the early 1930's in Western Australia that made national headlines for years.  Perhaps I'll touch on it in a later chapter.

Well, we have arrived and number eight!  About a week ago, a new match came up named Natham Turner.  He was a shared match with HK and eurekapub and lives in Sydney.  Natham's Facebook profile suggested to me that we have a lot in common- just as humans, and as expected he was quick to respond to my friend request and message which read "Hi.  You are one of the only two Natham Turner's on FB.  I believe we are a DNA match on Ancestry.  Are you interested in figuring out the connection?"
His response:"Are you an ad? Tell me more."
Nath and I were going to get along just fine.  Before long it was revealed that his grandfather was named Charles Edgar Luvei Parker- and he was born in Fiji.  Now, my (probable) g grandfather was Charles Edgar Parker Jr- however, the dates were way off.  Natham didn't know anything beyond his Charles other than his mother's name was Rose.  OK.  Challenge accepted.  By purchasing "Luvei's" marriage certificate I was able to discover that HIS father was Charles Edgar Parker III- older brother to my Rob Fisher's grandmother, Thelma.  Their parents were Charles Parker and Jeannie Anderson.  Yep.  That Anderson family.  

Thelma Parker is a mystery.  She comes from a large family that occupied much of a beautiful peninsula in Balmain, Sydney.  I have only been able to identify her birth certificate, proving who her parents were, one Electoral Roll registry in 1930, and her death certificate from 1948.  She died of Tuberculosis leaving four young children; Maxwell (16), Jean and Donald (10, twins) and Clive (9). The certificate states that she married William John Fisher at age 25 in Queensland.  I have yet to locate such a record.

There you have it friends.  I must confess it feels good to have all of this information in one place.  I now have somewhere to direct skeptics.  I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted.  Time for coffee- oh, and to check AncestryDNA yet again.