Saturday, December 28, 2019

Morris x2

On the 16th day of July 1869, Parsons Harris Morris, then Register of Montgomery County, being the son of Grandison and Mary Williams Morris, and my first cousin three times removed, issued a license for the Rites of Matrimony to be solemnized between William Morris, son of Thomas and Polly Williams Morris, and Martha Uriah Hall, daughter of John and Hannah Steed Hall. Nathan W. Smart, Justice of the Peace, on 17 Jul 1869, solemnized said Rites. From this union was born Lula Bell Morris, called Lou, on 22 Dec 1888, who is my first cousin, twice removed.

William and Martha Hall Morris would, in 1900, make their home in Randleman, Randolph County, North Carolina. No surprises there, as his wife’s Hall family can be found living between Randolph and Montgomery Counties as far back as the late 1700s and up to the early 1800s.

Lula (Lou) Belle married Marvin Westmoreland on 3 Nov 1903 in Davidson County, North Carolina. Her brother, Charles P. Morris, signs as witness to the marriage. Little did Lou Belle Morris know that she was marrying into another Morris family.
The Westmoreland family hails from Stokes County, North Carolina and before that, Richmond County, Virginia, formed in 1692 when the first Rappahannock County was divided to form Richmond County and Essex County. In the marriage record above, Marvin’s name is mistranslated as Marion. Future records show his name is indeed Marvin.

Marvin’s great grandparents, who both were born and died in Germanton, Stokes County, North Carolina, are William Westmoreland, 1799-1847, and Charity Morris, 1807-1870. Charity’s parents are Presley Morris, 1775-1815, and Charity Hutchins, 1778-1828. Presley descends from Edward Morris, 1708-1752, and Mary Hammond, 1707-1803, through their son, Hammond Morris, 1733-1810, and Mary Tuttle, 1735-1778.

This is the fourth Morris family that I have encountered in the search for my fourth great grandparents, the parents of John Jacky Morris. Descendants of three of these Morris families have been Y-DNA tested, several of them by me, and Y-DNA shows these Morris’s as three separate families.

I do not know if the Presley Morris line has been Y-DNA tested, but would, obviously, like to see those results compared to my own Morris line. My own atDNA matches, as well as the kits I manage for my Morris family, show many Westmoreland connections, all distant matches, 5th to 8th cousin matches with low cM values, but all going back to William Westmoreland, 1799-1847, and Charity Morris, 1807-1870.

Family Tree DNA

I am particularly interested in this line of Morris’s for two reasons. First, per the trees of my atDNA matches, at least one of these Morris’s ended up in what today is the Clarksville area of Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Presley Morris had a brother, Jesse Morris, 1742-1807, who married Jane Pointer (Jones); there seems to be much confusion on her maiden name being Pointer or Jones, is one a maiden name and the other a previously married name, or perhaps the maiden name of her mother? More research is required to fully straighten this matter out. At any rate, this couple, Jesse and Jane, made their home in Mecklenburg County, Virginia – the same area where my third great grandfather, John Jacky Morris, is believed to have been born. Per Find-A-Grave:

Jesse Morris Sr. and Jane Pointer married about 1775. With estate money left to him by his father, Edward E. Morris Jr., the couple bought land in Mecklenburg Co, VA (some of the land today is also part of Brunswick Co, VA, which borders Mecklenburg, where they grew tobacco and lived the rest of their lives. Until they died, they never lived anywhere else but on their farm in Mecklenburg, VA. 

They had 7 children. Jesse Sr. was well respected. He died at the age of 61. (

Second, descendants’ trees show another brother, Shadrick Morris, ended up in Limestone County, Alabama, the same place where a current Y-DNA match lives, so, for these reasons, I am highly motivated to begin tracing this line to see what, if any, connections to my own Morris family I can find.

The 1910 Census shows Marvin and Lou making their home in Davidson County with daughters Nellie, born 1907, and Clara, born 1909.

Jun 1912 brought the most tragic event to a family that could ever be delivered. Clara, the young daughter of Marvin and Lou Morris Westmoreland, was murdered by Jesse Morris, her uncle and brother to her mother. Clara is buried at Fair Grove Methodist Church in Thomasville.

By 1920, Marvin and Lou are still in Thomasville, Davidson County and Marvin makes his living in the cotton mills, as so many families did at that time. Several children have been added to the family since the last Census, Geneva (1911) Rebecca (1913), Marvin Jr (1914), Mary (1916), and Lois (1918).

1930 shows the family still living in Thomasville, Davidson County, but Marvin has changed occupations, from the cotton mills to a Layman in a chair factory. Marvin Jr is also working in the chair factory. Two daughters, Mary and Lois, are working in the cotton mill as Spoolers. Raborn Thrift, son of Geneva, another daughter, is in the home of his grandparents.

29 Jan 1933 brought the death of Marvin. He must have been in failing health as it is noted he had been unemployed for six months. Lou reported his death.

1940 shows Lou working as a Matron in the Public School. Living at home are Marvin Jr, Ruth, Joseph and two grandchildren, Lucy and Rory.

Lou Belle Morris Westmoreland died in 1943 at the age of 55. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren left to carry the legacy of two Morris families.

Friday, December 6, 2019

DNA Testing – A Beginning Foundation

Due to all the questions I have received from readers, family members, and friends, about my own DNA testing, I have decided to incorporate into this Blog some things that I have learned along the way that have helped me in understanding my own DNA testing results. The following is not all inclusive, and is simply a foundation that anyone can use to build upon to expand their knowledge and understanding of their DNA testing results. I have listed some valuable resources at the end that you will want to use to further your journey with your own DNA testing results.

First and foremost, all genealogical sources, including DNA testing, have the potential to reveal unexpected relationships or the lack of an expected relationship. You, the tester, must anticipate these possibilities and consider the potential emotions and reactions of ALL involved. Be prepared for the unexpected. The worst possible unexpected result is finding out a parent is not your biological parent or who you thought was a full sibling is only a half sibling. If this knowledge is going to rip your life, or the life of your parents & siblings apart, it may be best not to DNA test. On the other hand, you have an absolute right to your own genetic heritage. Each individual must make the best decision for themselves.

If you decide to Autosomal DNA test, there are some basics that you must understand in order to interpret your DNA results.

1) Family relationships
It is imperative to understand family relationships and where that relationship fits in a family tree
Full siblings share parents (common ancestor couple)
First cousins share grandparents (common ancestor couple)
Second cousins share great grandparents (common ancestor couple)
Third cousins share 2nd great grandparents(common ancestor couple)
Fourth cousins share 3rd great grandparents (common ancestor couple)
Fifth cousins share 4th great grandparents (commn ancetor couple)

Removed cousins:
The word removed means that the cousins come from different generations
Once removed means that cousins are one generation apart
Twice removed means that cousins are two generations apart

Your first cousin once removed is the child or parent of your first cousin
Your second cousin once removed is the child or parent of your second cousin
Your first cousin twice removed is the grandchild or grandparent of your first cousin
Your second cousin twice removed is the grandchild or grandparent of your second cousin

Drawing out the relationship on paper is a good way to catch hold of the meaning of removed cousins. Here is what my own parent’s cousin relationship looks like and how I am related in multiple ways to Thomas Morris, who serves as my 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers.

2) How you got your DNA
At conception, every human inherits 6 billion base pairs of DNA packaged into 46 chromosomes
You get 3 billion base pairs (23 chromosomes) from Mom and 3 billion base pairs (23 chromosomes) from Dad

The first 22 chromosome pairs are called Autosomes and are numbered 1 through 22 (and is where the name Autosomal DNA testing comes from)

The 23rd pair are called the sex (or gender) chromosomes X and Y
Men inherit an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father (XY)
Women inherit an X chromosome from their father and an X chromosome from their mother (XX)

Your father got 50% of his DNA from his father and 50% from his mother = a combination of all four of his grandparents

Your mother got 50% of her DNA from her father and 50% from her mother = a combination of all four of her grandparents

You received 50% of your DNA from your father and 50% from your mother = a combination of all four of your grandparents

The DNA you received from your grandparents, through your parents, is a combination of all 8 of your great grandparents, so, every DNA match you have will lead from one of your grandparent's lines through your great grandparents

In reality, DNA testing traces all four of your grandparent lines

There are methods and tools (Leeds Method, Q&D Trees, GEDmatch, DNA Painter, Triangulation, Shared Matches, In Common With, Chromosome Browsers, cM Project) that can be used to assist in determining the relationship to a DNA match and which of your four grandparent lines a match connects to.

3) How does the DNA testing company know what relationship you share with a DNA match?
Using a measurement called centimorgans (cM) and a mathematical formula (called an algorithm), the DNA testing company can work out the genetic distance (relationship) between two people based on the amount of shared DNA. The chart below shows the relationship and the amount of DNA that relationship will share.

Note: 2nd cousins and closer will ALWAYS share some DNA. If you share no DNA with a known 2nd cousin, then you are not 2nd cousins.

About 10% of 3C will not share DNA
About 50% of 4C will not share DNA

Note: when DNA testing companies do chromosome comparisons, they can't distinguish between the two chromosomes in a pair (maternal and paternal). Instead, they treat them as one combined chromosome. This means that when you match someone on a segment, the DNA testing company can't be sure if the DNA was inherited from your mother (maternal side) or from your father (paternal side) - that’s what you have to figure out and there are tools and techniques that can be used to help you do this.

4) The language of Genetic Genealogy (DNA testing)
In order to understand your DNA results, you must understand the language. Here are the terms (and the meaning) most used that you will want to know

Centimorgan (cM)
A measurement of genetic linkage that shows how close or far a relationship is between two people. The higher the cM value, the closer the relationship

SNP (snip)
Distinct segments of DNA on a chromosome that is compared between two people to see if they genetically match. The amount of matching SNPs is measured in cM

A section of SNPs. A ‘matching segment’ is a section that is identical between two people

Start Location and End Location
Individual markers (called base pairs - the things that SNPs are made of) within a chromosome. A segment of a chromosome can be identified by these location markers

IBS (Identical By State) - SNP values that match between two people due to race or ethnicity (example: Jewish & African)
Note: Matching segments smaller than 7 cM and 700 SNPs have a high likelihood of being IBS (matching by race or ethnicity) and should be ignored

IBD (Identical By Descent) – SNP values that match because they were inherited from a common ancestor

Most Recent Common Ancestor - the ancestor from which you and a DNA match received your shared DNA

5) Resources I use frequently
Books (available on Amazon for a cost and most likely at your local library for free):
Genetic Genealogy in Practice by: Blaine T. Bettinger & Debbie Parker Wayne
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by: Blaine T. Bettinger

Websites & Blogs (Free unless noted):
The Genetic Genealogist
Kitty Cooper’s Blog
Your Genetic Genealogist
DNA Detectives
Ancestry DNA

Family Tree DNA
Wheaton Surname Resources
The Legal Genealogist
International Society of Genetic Genealogy

Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques

DNA Central ($)

The Shared cM Project (this will become one of the most important tools you use)


DNA Concepts for Genealogy: Y-DNA Testing Part 1 2 3

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Caroline Rhoda, daughter of John Jacky Morris – full circle back to the Morgan’s

It was my hope by writing about all the children of John Jacky Morris that I would find some scrap of documentation that would allow me to connect with another Morris family and I could finally identify the parents of John Jacky, my third great grandfather. I have come to the last child of John Jacky Morris, Caroline Rhoda, and that hope has been dashed. While I have not discovered much of anything new about John Jacky, I have come full circle back to the Morgan’s. Hang on tight, because this blog is going to be a doozy of a read as I explain how Caroline, and her sister, Susan, just keep leading me in circles around the Morgan’s.

Caroline Rhoda (I’ve also seen her name as Carolina) was the youngest child of John Jacky and Amelia Morris. She was born in 1834, most likely in the Uwharrie area of Montgomery County, and at a time when a lot of families in this area were migrating south and west as new land was opening for settlement. Caroline made the 1840 Census, a female between the ages of 5 thru 9, along with her sisters, Tempy and Diza.

By 1850, Caroline is one of three children remaining at home with her parents. Living between her sister, Susan Morgan, who married Samuel Morgan, and her brothers, Thomas and John Jr, she is listed as age 15.

Caroline married James Kearns (also seen as Keerans) from Randolph County, between 1851 and 1854. I have not, to date, been able to find a marriage license for them. It gets a bit interesting from here, so, hang on while I try to explain my way through this maze of family connections in a way that makes sense.

Since beginning my research on the Morgan’s of Montgomery County, I constantly encounter people who lived in lower Randolph County engaged in some way, by marriage or business, with those who lived in upper Montgomery County, specifically the Eldorado, Ophir and Uwharrie areas.

Some of these families have a connection back to Chatham County, an example is John Stewart, who has ties to Charles Morgan Senior who died in Chatham County, North Carolina in 1787. Charles’s will was probated in Feb 1788. I have been attempting to prove my Morgan’s descend from this Charles Morgan Senior.

It is proven in John’s Revolutionary War file that he left Chatham and migrated to Montgomery County shortly after the Revolutionary War, between 1788 and 1790. John Stewart married Rachel Morgan and is the proven son-in-law of Charles Morgan Senior of Chatham County, who died in 1787. He, John, was a witness to Charles Morgan Senior’s will in Nov 1787 and in Feb 1788, he sold, at the same time Charles’s will was probated, Rachel’s (his wife) interest in the estate rights of her father, Charles Morgan Senior to her brother, then noted as Charles Morgan Junior.

Chatham County Deed Book D, page 416, records an indenture made on the twelfth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight, between John Stewart of Chatham County Planter of the one part and Charles Morgan of the same place Planter of the other part, witnesseth that in consideration of five shillings lawful money of North Carolina to the said John Stewart in hand paid by the said Charles Morgan, John Stewart hath sold unto the said Charles Morgan all the Estate rights, title, interest, property claims, and demands of him the said John Stewart in right of his wife Rachel Stewart, or otherwise under or by virtue of the will of his late father in law Charles Morgan the elder deceased.

In John’s Revolutionary War pension file, he lists Charles Morgan Senior as someone who can testify to his claim of service as well as his character. This cannot be the same Charles Morgan Senior, his father in law, as he died in 1787, proven by the probate date of his will in 1788, and John’s Revolutionary War pension file is dated 1833, some forty-five years later. This Charles Morgan Senior can only be his brother in law, noted as Charles Morgan Junior back in Chatham County in Feb 1788, but now known as Charles Morgan Senior, because he has a son named after him.

John Stewart also lists, as someone who is knowing of his Revolutionary War service and can testify to his character, one Edward Brewer Senior, who also is from Chatham County, North Carolina, but migrated to Randolph County after the Revolutionary War. When I looked at Edward’s Revolutionary War pension file, I found that John Stewart had testified that he served three months with Edward Brewer under Captain Duglas.

But that is not all. John’s sisters, Elizabeth and Barbara, provided statements as well. These two sisters married brothers, John and William Russell. Elizabeth made her home in Randolph County, while her sister Barbara, resided in Montgomery County as noted in the document. Elizabeth and Barbara note in their statement, that during the Revolutionary War, they lived with their father, on the public road, in Chatham County and Chatham land records show that the Morgan, Stewart and Brewer families all lived around the Dry Creek area on Haw River.

The conclusion that I am coming to, although documentation that definitively ties this Chatham County and Montgomery County Morgan family together, is currently not showing itself, is that Charles Morgan, who was called Charles Junior in Chatham County in 1788, did move to Montgomery County between the 1800 and 1810 Census years, and there, in Montgomery County, he was noted as Charles Senior as he had a son named Charles, after himself. He most likely moved after 1802 as it was then that he began selling his land in Chatham County.

Deed book J, page 41 records a 1797 deed from Charles Morgan of Chatham County to Alston Jones, of Orange County, for 100 pounds money, on the north side of Haw River, beginning at a stake on the bank of the river in Oliver Brewer’s line, running east with Brewer’s line and crossing the first prong, 119 acres. Witnesses: Thomas Snipes and George Blalock.

Oliver Brewer is the father of Edward Brewer, mentioned above, who moved to Randolph County, and the same man whom John Stewart and his sister’s, Elizabeth and Barbara, testified to his, Edward Brewer, character in his Revolutionary War file.

Great Blog on Brewer’s:

Another deed found in Book N, page 17, Charles Morgan of Chatham to Nathaniel Husketh of Chatham, year 1802, 300 acres on Haw River, beginning on the bank of the River, Joseph Morgan’s corner, to Hackney’s spring branch to Dry Creek. Witnesses: Thomas Snipes and Hardy Morgan.

This Joseph Morgan is the brother of Charles Morgan and both are mentioned in the 1787 will of Charles Morgan Senior. I find it very interesting that Hardy Morgan, who cannot be the son of Mark Morgan (1712-1792), as that Hardy Morgan died in 1796/7. It also cannot be the Hardy Morgan who ended up in Montgomery County as he, being born in 1788, would have been too young, at 14 years old, to sign as witness to a deed in 1802. So, who is this Hardy Morgan who witnessed this deed?

A third deed dated 1802, Charles Morgan of Chatham to William Morgan for 25 pounds current money, 50 acres, beginning Zachariah Morgan’s corner, runs north, then east to Charles Morgan’s line then south to Zachariah Morgan’s line. Witnesses: Will Dismukes and Will Prince.

Zachariah Morgan and William Morgan are the brothers of Charles Morgan and are both named, along with Charles, in the will of Charles Morgan Senior who died in 1787. This brings up an interesting discussion on who exactly the Zachariah Morgan is in Montgomery County. He, Zachariah, testified in John Stewart’s Revolutionary War file that he was born in Chatham County and was 12 or 13 years old at the close of the Revolutionary War, this makes him born around 1770. Charles Morgan’s 1787 will does mention a son named Zachariah and I wonder if he is Charles and Rachel Morgan’s brother and brother-in-law to John Stewart. The ages certainly would be close enough for them to be siblings.

I know for sure that, prior to 1809, there was a Zachariah Morgan who lived in Montgomery County on the road leading from Fisher’s ferry to Fayetteville; joining the land of Andrew Dennis, my forth-great grandfather. Andrew Dennis lived on Cedar Creek, (and the same area where John Jacky Morris lived), current day River Road area and had a son named James, who married Mary Morgan. As noted previously, it is not a stretch of the imagination to think that James Dennis married the girl next door. It is very possible that Mary is Zachariah Morgan’s daughter, although she has been attached to my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Morgan, I have shown in a previous blog why I think this is in error.

The Hardy Morgan who ended up in Montgomery County, married Nancy Hearn in 1807, per the Fold3 widow pension file for Nancy. Both Hardy and Charles are found on the 1810 Census for Hattom, Montgomery, North Carolina. Hardy is listed as a young man with a wife and one small child while Charles is listed as a male over the age of 45, making him born before 1765. The 1830 Census shows Charles East of Pee Dee and Yadkin River, Montgomery, North Carolina, listing him between the ages of 70 thru 79, making him born about 1755. This puts Charles Senior, who died in Chatham County in 1787, being born about 1735.

The internet research that I am working from and attempting to prove (or disprove), seems to be missing a generation. There are three Charles Morgan’s, not two. The first Charles, born about 1735 and dying in 1787, Chatham County, the second one born about 1755 and migrating to Montgomery County after 1802, and the third Charles Morgan being born about 1788, who is the father of Spencer Morgan, Willis Morgan and Henry Morgan, as proven in the Crump v. Morgan court papers. This Charles Morgan married a woman named Delilah, who is reputed to be a Stewart, although I have found no evidence to support that claim.

Although I have no proven documentation, the third Charles Morgan is most likely the brother of Hardy Morgan, who married Nancy Hearn, and my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Morgan. Y-DNA testing has confirmed that Willis Morgan descendants and Joseph Morgan descendants are of the same Morgan family. I am almost positive that Charles Morgan, the father of Willis Morgan, and Joseph Morgan, my fourth great grandfather, are brothers, based on Y-DNA and atDNA testing. I am on the hunt for a male descendant of Hardy Morgan to Y-DNA test.

Caroline’s own sister, Susan, married Samuel Morgan, whom is reported to be the son of Spencer Morgan and Elizabeth Tolbert (also seen as Talbert) from Montgomery County. Spencer is most likely the son of Charles Morgan II (b. ~1755 d. aft 1830) and brother to Hardy, Charles, and Joseph. Spencer and his family left Montgomery in the Fall of 1845 for Christian County, Kentucky. Family lore says that Samuel, being in love with Susan, came back to Montgomery County, North Carolina to marry her. I cannot help but wonder if Susan had some involvement in the meeting of Caroline and James Kearns. I am on the hunt also for a male descendant of Spencer Morgan to Y-DNA test.

Also, of interest is the Hall family who migrated from Randolph County to Montgomery County in 1840. On the 2nd day of March 1840, E.F. Morgan, of the county of Montgomery, sold to John Hall, of the county of Randolph, for the sum of $725, and lying on the east bank of Barnes Creek, land that included a Grist Mill and a Saw Mill. Two other tracts of land, known to many as the McCulloch tract and Spencer tract, sold to John Hall at this same time.

James Kearns, who married my third great aunt, Caroline Morris, is the son of Hubbard Kearns and Nancy Hall, who just happens to be the sister of the John Hall who bought the tract of land and the mills from Ebenezer Franklin Morgan in 1840.

I just keep coming full circle back to the Morgan’s. And it gets better…

On 2 Jul 1860, James Kearns, listed as a Carpenter, is found in the home of Bethel Beckerdite, probably just doing some carpentry work for the Beckerdite family on the same day the Census taker came around. Of interest, Bethel Beckerdite is the brother of Amos Beckerdite, whose son, Colin Beckerdite, married Caroline Morgan, the daughter of Hardy Morgan and Nancy Hearn.

On 31 Jul 1860, Caroline and James are found in their own home with three children, William, who will marry Margaret Manor, daughter of Andrew and Malona Dunn Manor. John, who will marry Josie Holshouser, daughter of Adam and Lydia Goodman Holshouser, and Sallie age 3 months, living in Western Division, Randolph County amongst many of James’s relatives.

1870 finds the Kearns family in New Hope, Randolph County, which looks to just be a name change from Western Division as the area was called in 1860. As seemed to be the popular thing, the family is listed by initials only. Notice that James’s occupation has changed from Carpenter to Miller and Sallie, who was 3 months old in 1860 is no longer listed. She has either died, or M.M., who is Martinia Minerva, has taken her place, so, Martinia was either called Sallie or Sallie died young. Martinia will marry Howard Surratt, son of George and Martha Badget Surratt in 1881.

Also listed on this Census is S.C Kearns, age 5. I have yet to discover who this child is and what happened to her. B.P, Burl Pinkney is listed as age 2.

1880 shows Caroline and family still living in New Hope, Randolph County. We see on this Census that William and John are no longer living at home. They have married and William makes his home in Stanly County and John still resides in Randolph County. Martinia and Burl (married Mary Ferrell) are still at home and the S.C. that was listed in 1870 has been changed to Electa (marries Thomas Forest). Mandy (marries Ben Tysinger), Isaac (married Martha Lomax) and Arthur (marries Mary Ellen Beck) have been added to the family during the Census years.

As we (hopefully) all know by now, the 1890 Census has been lost due to fire. In 1900, the Kearns family have moved to Alleghany, Davidson County. The only child living at home is Arthur, his wife, Mary Ellen is also living in the home. Notice that Caroline has listed she has given birth to nine children but only eight are currently living in 1900, so, perhaps, Sallie, listed as three months on the 1860 Census died young. Mary Ellen also lists one child living, but this child is not listed on the Census. I assume it is Floyd Kearns, who was born 1 May 1900, one month prior to the Census being enumerated.

Caroline Rhoda Morris Kearns, my third great Aunt, who leaves a tantalizing historical record for me to continue to search and discover even more connections, died in Sep 1906, at the age of 72. She is buried at Pine Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery in Denton, Davidson County.