Same or Different?

My great-grandmother was Winnie Mae Hutchinson (1871-1913), wife of Hiram Currey. Winnie died when my grandmother was 10 years old. With the loss of her mother at an early age, my grandmother lost connection with her mother’s family. My grandmother’s desire to learn more about her Hutchinson grandmother is what started my genealogical journey. Thus, I have been researching my grandmother’s grandparents, Albert and Julia (Harding) Hutchinson, their children and grandchildren for years in an attempt to learn about my grandmother’s aunts, uncles and cousins. Since Albert and Julia both died before my grandmother was born, her aunts, uncles and cousins would have been the only members of her mother’s Hutchinson family she could have possibly known.

Although my grandmother lost contact with her first cousins, DNA is allowing me to reconnect with some of those Hutchinson cousins. I have a couple of matches that Ancestry classifies as 3rd cousins. Shared matches hinted that these ‘3rd cousins’ are Hutchinson cousins. One of those matches did not have a tree but provided me with her parents’ names, Thomas and Jeanette Hutchinson. According to my DNA match, Thomas Hutchinson was born in Missouri in 1929.

In my research, I had a Thomas Hutchinson born in 1929. I had this Thomas as the son of Thomas G. Hutchinson and Minnie E Hanson. The primary source for this relationship was the 1940 census record for Thomas Hutchinson living in Ward 8, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri (sheet 19A)



Unfortunately, I did not have enough research to prove that the Thomas in my research was the same Thomas as my match’s parents. Since I shared enough DNA with my match to indicate that we could be 3rd cousins, I started trying to prove/disprove a relationship between the two Thomas Hutchinson’s.

One of the documents I located was an application for a marriage license in the Washington, Marriage Records, 1854-2013 for Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie E Hanson. The application was dated 23 Jan 1956. According to the application Guy Hutchinson was divorced and Minnie Hanson was single.



I also found the marriage license that was dated 1 Jun 1956. The marriage was witnessed by Rosalie Rankins and George A. Rankins. Since I have a Rosalie Hutchinson Rankins as the daughter of Thomas G. Hutchinson, it is possible that the Rosalie Rankins who witnessed the marriage was the daughter of Guy T. Hutchinson.


With Rosalie Rankins as the witness on the marriage license, I began to wonder whether the Thomas G. Hutchinson in the Missouri records was the same person as Guy T. Hutchinson in the Oregon/Washington records. Sine the 1940 census indicated that Thomas G. Hutchinson’s wife was named ‘Minnie’ I also began to wonder whether the Minnie of the 1940 census was the Minnie Hanson of the marriage license.

An obituary transcript for Mrs Minnie E Hutchinson from the 19 Dec 2000 issue of the Oregonian (courtesy of Genealogy Bank) supports the theory that the Minnie of the 1940 census is the same Minnie Hanson of the marriage record.

Mrs Minnie E Hutchinson, 90

Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) – Tuesday, December 19, 2000
A funeral will be at noon Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2000, in Bateman-Carroll Funeral Chapel in Gresham for Minnie E. Hutchinson, who died Dec. 15 at age 90.

Mrs. Hutchinson was born Aug. 12, 1910, in Kansas City, Mo. Her maiden name was Hanson. A homemaker, she moved to Gresham in 1946 and lived in Canby since 1963. She was a nurse’s aide for the Canby Nursing Home in the 1960s. In 1954, she married Guy T. Hutchinson; he died in 1962.

Survivors include her sons, Thomas, Ronald, Donald, James and Joseph; daughters, Mary N. Mitchell, Martha B. Belk and Rose V. Rankins; 36 grandchildren; 67 great-grandchildren; and 47 great-great-grandchildren.

Interment will be in Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The family suggests remembrances to Full Gospel Community Church in Milwaukie.

Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) – Tuesday, December 19, 2000

The names of the children in the obituary are similar to the names of the children in the 1940 census. The obituary identifies a daughter as Mary N. Mitchell who may be the Nadine Hutchinson in the 1940 census. Included in the obituary, but missing from the census was a son named Joseph.

Another document that supports the concept that the Minnie Hanson of the Washington marriage license had previously been married to a Hutchinson is the 1943 obituary of Minnie’s brother, James Hanson. This obituary includes Mrs. Minnie Hutchinson as a sister of James Hanson. (St. Joseph Union-Observer, 13 Aug 1943 – found on


At this point, I do not have enough evidence to prove that the Thomas G Hutchinson and wife Minnie of the 1940 Missouri census record are the same as the Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson. I do have verification from my DNA match that her grandparents were Thomas G (or Guy T) Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson.

My next step is to try and locate a Hutchinson-Hanson marriage record in Missouri (or Kansas). I also need to check for land records for Thomas G. Hutchinson in Buchanan County, Missouri. If Thomas Hutchinson owned land in St. Joseph, then the sale of that land might show that he moved to Oregon.

I will also continue researching the children of Thomas and Minnie. Hopefully, I will acquire a ‘preponderance of evidence’ to support my theory that Thomas G. Hutchinson and his wife Minnie are the same couple as Guy T Hutchinson and Minnie Hanson.





DNA Captures a Criminal

In case you haven’t heard, the investigators in the “Golden State Killer” case used DNA found at several murder scenes to capture the criminal. This person’s DNA was not already in the criminal justice system. Instead, the investigators utilized tools similar to those used by genetic genealogists to identify relatives and ultimately identify the murder suspect. Dick Eastman’s blog, “DNA that Cracked the ‘Golden State Killer’ Case came from Genealogy Websites” contains more information on the use of the DNA including links to two news articles on the topic. The Time Magazine article “How Did They Catch the Golden State Killer” also discusses the work of the investigators.

This use of genetic genealogy has been a hot topic on various Facebook groups. As with every issue in society today, there are multiple viewpoints on the issue. I have read many of these posts and comments and can understand the poster’s concern.

I haven’t formed a firm opinion either way, but I would like to share my thinking about the issue.

  • I spit into a test tube to have my DNA tested at Ancestry. This test is called an autosomal DNA test. These autosomal tests do not sequence the entire length of the DNA. Instead they test for an identified set of markers helpful for proving relationship. These are not the same set of markers that forensic scientists test for in criminal investigations. (See DNA Testing vs. Codis, Criminal Database by Emily Aulicino, Genetic Genealogy)
  • I have been researching my family history for forty years. I’m not sure exactly when I first started sharing my research online, but my original site was at Yahoo’s GeoCities: [My site is cited by Steve Shook in his site: Silvernale-Shook Genealogy.] Over the years, my data has been shared on a variety of sites: GeoCities, RootsWeb, Family History Hosting, and thru my RootsMagic site.
  • I have a public, searchable family tree on Ancestry called Heartland Genealogy. I’m not sure when I uploaded my first tree, but it was quite a few years ago. I have freely shared Gedcom files with other researchers and sites. My data was contributed to various projects included One World Tree and Ancestral file.
  • Ancestry privatizes information for living people in trees. In addition, I rarely add a living person to my online tree at Ancestry. Nor do I include living people in Gedcom files or in my RootsMagic upload. Since this is true of most genealogists, I’m fairly certain that the criminal investigators had to go to a lot of work to identify the suspect’s family. This work likely included digging thru newspaper articles and public records.
  • With my DNA I have LOTS of cousin matches (over 1200 pages worth). We all have a lot of relatives — and we are all related.
  • I recently made a connection with a granddaughter of a first cousin that was unknown to the family. Without DNA testing, we would not have found each other and I would have never been able to share my grandparents story with her!

We can’t put DNA technology back in the bottle and pretend we don’t have this ability. Thus, the discussions need to continue on how this technology can and will be utilized.


DNA Puzzle – Crawford Line

When I spit in a test tube for my first DNA test, I had high hopes of proving a relationship to another Crawford line and ultimately breaking through our brick wall in early Kentucky. Those hopes were greatly diminished when I wasn’t a match to a known descendant of the James and Martha (Knight) Crawford line.

However, I had matches to descendants of William N. Crawford of Washington and Isaac and Nancy (Miller) Crawford of Kentucky. Those matches have revived hopes of figuring out how my Crawford line fits into the greater Crawford genealogy.

Since I have those matches ‘painted’ on DNA painter, I decided to experiment to see how they overlapped with DNA from my 2nd cousins.


The above picture shows the DNA Painter results when I turn off my other lines.

  • Blue — Crawford-Hammond descendants (my 2nd cousins)
  • Yellow — Sellers — have no idea how related but Crawford family lived near Sellars
  • Dark Green — Ralston-McCormick — Grandparents of Josie Hammond (Crawford-Hammond line)
  • Tan – William N Crawford of Washington
  • Orange – Isaac Crawford of Garrard County, Kentucky

I expected to see overlap between my blue areas and the dark green Ralston-McCormick since everyone in the Crawford-Hammond group descends from James Barr Ralston and Nancy Jane McCormick. The Crawford-Hammond group represents my great-grandparents while the Ralston-McCormick represents my 3rd great-grandparents. Could this generational difference explain the lack of overlap between these two groups?

I was hoping to see overlap between my blue (Crawford-Hammond) and the other Crawford lines (tan or orange). Unfortunately, I can’t see this overlap. However, there is an overlap between the tan and orange on Chromosome 1.


Does this overlap indicate that these two Crawford lines are related?

Is the lack of overlap with my Crawford line (blue) due to the fact that we have to go back at least 8 generations to find a common ancestor? OR does it indicate we are not related?

I posted a question about this issue in the DNA Painter User Group on Facebook and got some excellent advice.

First, since the Crawford, William N  and the Crawford, Isaac Garrard KY  both match me on Chromosome 1 between 74,314,526 and 82,818,466 we are likely all related.

Second, the fact that the Crawford-Hammond group does not match in this area of Chromosome 1 likely does not indicate a lack of relationship. This can be explained by the distance we have to go back to find a common ancestor.

Based on the advice from the Facebook group, I started looking at how ‘Crawford, William N’ and ‘Crawford, Isaac’ compare to each other on Family Tree DNA’s chromosome browser. While playing around with Crawford matches and the Chromosome Browser, I found two more Crawford matches on Chromosome 1.


Now, to try and figure out how we are all related!



Come ‘Paint’ With Me

DNAPainterLast month, I was introduced to DNA Painter thru a DNA study group sponsored by the Topeka Genealogical Society. Although I haven’t done a lot of ‘painting’, I think this tool may help me figure out relationships to mysterious matches.

Before I can use DNA Painter with unknown matches, I need to ‘paint’ more known matches. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my identified cousin matches are on Ancestry which doesn’t provide a chromosome map. Thus, I’m hoping some of these cousins will help me ‘paint’ more DNA connections by transferring their DNA to GedMatch or vendors accepting DNA transfer for free.

The transfer process is fairly simple — but time consuming.

By transferring your data to one of these sites, I can do a one-to-one match comparison to get the segment data needed for painting. Watch for updates as I get more cousin data to work with!

Ancestry DNA – Compiled Family Trees

Michael John Neil had posted a photo on Facebook about the new DNA circle feature that he calls ‘compiled trees’. When I first read Michael’s post, I was reminded of Ancestry’s One World Tree project. Fortunately, there is a major difference between these two projects: DNA.  So, I decided to investigate and see what I could learn about these compiled trees and my research.

When I clicked on my Ozias Wells circle, there was a button to learn more about Ozias Wells.


Clicking on that button took me to what appeared to be a profile page for Ozias Wells. However, this profile page was not from my tree but compiled from 99 family trees.


Clicking on the ? reveals more information about the compiling of this tree data.


Unfortunately, the only link to further information that worked was the one, “How can I  use a compiled view to enhance my research?” Not being able to find out how the compiled view was created is particularly troubling to me since my Ozias Wells circle only has 6 family groups and 99 trees were compiled to create the compiled view. This brings back memories from 2004 and the One World Tree project. As I remember it, that project was an attempt to merge family trees into one big tree using the power of computers.

I was hoping that DNA matches would prevent the merging of people with the same name for these compiled views. Since 99 trees were compiled for Ozias Wells and I only have 6 family groups in my DNA circle, I am going to be very cautious when looking at these views.

After looking at a few of my circles and the associated compiled tree, I have to say, this feature has some merit. When I switch to the FACTS view of the compiled view, there is a button to toggle on/off comparison with my tree.


With comparison turned on, the compiled view will place a check mark next to sources I already have associated with the person in my tree. There is a green plus sign next to sources others have attached to this person.


On the surface, I like this feature! However, I will have to be cautious when using these suggested sources to make sure they are about this particular individual and not some other person of the same name.

Besides the uncertainty as to how this information was compiled, I have another issue with these views: a child can appear multiple times.


I have Thurston Kennedy Wells as the son of Ozias Wells. Others must agree since the compiled tree shows him as a son — but there are several of him. I found this duplication of the children to be true on several different compiled views. However, I did not click thru to the trees to try and determine any differences.

At this time, I think these compiled views have potential — particularly if the DNA data is a primary factor in the process.

However, I wish there were additional features to go with these compiled trees: a chromosome browser and the ability to message all of the members of a DNA circle as a group.


Are We Irish (or Not)?

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s day. Growing up (and throughout my teaching career), this day was for the ‘wearin of the green’. I’m guessing that more children wear green to avoid the pinching than to proclaim their Irish roots.

I remember asking mom about our heritage. I don’t remember the exact question, but I’m guessing that I asked if we were Irish. I do remember the first part of her answer: “No, we are Welch.” She had to go on and explain that being Welch meant we came from Wales. Then she expanded and named some other countries (which I don’t remember).

Unfortunately, the paper trail hasn’t led to Wales (yet). I can safely say that for over 200 years, I am American. Prior to that, our lines lead back to England, to the Alsace-Loraine area of Germany, to Scotland and possibly to Ireland.

It is my RALSTON line that may go back to Ireland. My great-great grandfather, Richmond Fisk Hammond’s first wife was Sarah Ellen Ralston. Sarah was the granddaughter of David Franklin Ralston. According to Find a Grave, David Franklin Ralston was born in Ireland.

Since the Ralston surname is of Scottish origin, it is likely that our Ralston line is Scotch-Irish. Scotch-Irish families were Scottish families that settled the Ulster plantation during the time of King James. (The YouTube video, Born Fighting, provides background on Scotch-Irish heritage.)

Thus, the paper trail says we may be Irish – but more likely Scottish people who lived in Ireland for a while.

With DNA ethnicity reports being popular, one might assume that my DNA results would verify Irish blood. Unfortunately, our potential Irish ancestor first appears in my 7th generation of ancestors. Thus, the chances of my getting much ‘Irish blood’ are slim. The article, Where is my Native American DNA helps explain why some ethnicities won’t show up in a DNA test.

So, does my DNA ethnicity report reveal Irish blood? The answer is ‘maybe’. According to Ancestry, there is a ‘low confidence’ that my heritage is 3% Ireland/Scotland/Wales. For one of my brothers, that percentage increases to 9%.

From what I’m learning about the Ulster Scots, I believe that our heritage may be Scotch-Irish (which is basically Scottish by blood, Irish by where living prior to America).

So, will I continue to wear green?

Yes, because I believe that everyone is a ‘wee bit Irish’ on St. Patrick’s day.


Feeling Lucky – and – Grateful!

In thinking about a ‘lucky‘ post for a ‘52 Ancestors‘ post, I couldn’t think of any family stories where someone got ‘lucky‘. Without an idea about what to write about, I was going to skip this prompt.

My thoughts then turned to a DNA study group meeting on Monday at the Topeka Genealogical Society. As I was thinking about using new tools to look at my DNA results, I realized that I am LUCKY to have quite a few second and third cousins that have had their DNA tested on Ancestry.

Having seen McGuire charts used to show DNA results, I decided to use these matches to begin constructing a McGuire chart for my Crawford line.

Screen Shot 03-09-18 at 08.00 PM

I was able to enter the number of shared cM for myself and my brothers on the chart. However, I was not able to enter the amount of DNA shared between any of these cousins and any of the other cousins. Even though my McGuire chart is incomplete, creating this chart helped my figure out the relationships between these cousins.

By looking at my data in this way, I realized that one of my 3rd cousin once removed matches had quite a bit more shared DNA than my other 3rd cousin once removed matches. At this point, I have no idea what this means. However, I would not have been able to make this observation without creating this McGuire chart.

Will I repeat the process and create a McGuire chart for some of my other lines? At this point, I doubt it. First, these charts would be much easier to create if there was a way to ‘print’ a  box family tree descendancy chart to Excel. Second, I don’t have as many known close cousins on my other lines.

I feel lucky that my 2nd and 3rd cousins have been willing to have their DNA tested. More than that, I am grateful that they are contributing to the family research in this way.