|Julie started her search on Social Media in 2014|
Note that the sign contains an error. She was born it was Jamestown General Hospital
|Julie with her DNA Kit|
The initial DNA results came in late summer of 2014. Julie was very fortune to have a genetic 2nd cousin match and a handful of genetic 3rd cousin matches. The remaining matches were for more distant cousins.
An initial genetic 2nd second cousin match through DNA can be a range of possibilities. The relationship could be a 1st cousin (1x removed), a great aunt or uncle, a 2nd cousin or even a 3rd cousin.
The 2nd cousin match thankfully had a public tree shared at Ancestry.com. When initially reviewing the ages of match’s deceased parents it appeared that there was the possibility that the relationship between the match and Julie could possibly be a 1st cousin (1x removed). After an initial discussion with Julie she gave me the okay to contact the 2nd cousin on her behalf.
The First Contact
We are very fortunate that the 2nd cousin match, Stewart, reached out to me after receiving my initial message. This was the first step in unlocking the mystery that is Julie’s heritage. Through our initial conversation Stewart was able to provide helpful details. His mother was an only child. His father, Kenneth Miller, was born in West Virginia the son of Warren Washington Miller and Nora Ida Spangler. Kenneth had two sisters Stella May Miller and Nettie Elizabeth Miller. Stella May did not have any children.
From this initial conversation we had a starting point:
- Our initial hypothesis was that Julie was most likely connecting to Stewart through his Miller and Spangler relatives due to his mother being an only child.
- If the match to Stewartwas truly a 1st cousin (1x removed) – one of Julie’s parents could possibly be a descent of Nettie Elizabeth Miller.
- If the match was further back – Julie would be linking to S.M through the ancestors of Warren Washington Miller or Nora Ida Spangler.
Descendants of Nettie Elizabeth Miller
With a starting point – the next step was to research Nettie Elizabeth Miller and see if any living descendants could be located. A timeline format was used was document the historical records associated with Warren Washington Miller and his daughter Nettie Elizabeth Miller. While researching Nettie the names of her grandsons were located. After discussing with Julie she indicated she was ready to move forward and gave me permission reach out to Nettie’s grandson, Clinton. Prior to reaching out to Clinton a letter detailing Julie’s search for her birth family and family history of Warren Washington Miller and Nora Ida Spangler. Included with the letter were ancestry charts and a copy of the Miller family timeline.
After reading the letter Clinton indicated he would be willing to speak with me. He was able to provide information about his grandmother Nettie and his extended family. Clinton also indicated he was willing to help and consented to do a DNA test. With that we ordered an AncestryDNA test for Clinton.
We were looking forward to the results of Clinton’s DNA test. After the results came in the first thing to do was to determine if Julie and Clinton were cousins. The DNA test indicated that Clinton and Stewart were genetic second cousins. From genealogy research we knew that Clinton and Stewart were 1st cousins (1x removed). The DNA test also indicated that Clinton and Julie were genetic 3rd cousins.
An initial genetic 3rd cousin match can be a range of possibilities. The relationship could be a 3rd cousin, a 2nd cousin (2x removed), a 3rd cousin (1x removed) or a 2nd (3x removed).
To better understand the potential relationship between Julie and Clinton their raw DNA kits were analyzed at GEDMatch. GEDMatch is a free website that allows individual from different DNA testing companies to share their test results and collaborate. GEDMatch offers users many different utilities to analyze raw DNA results. One of the utilities available is a 'One-to-one' compare which allows two DNA kits to be compared. This utility will determine if two kits share DNA. If the two kits do share DNA the utility will identify the shared segments by chromosome. The utility will also show the amount of DNA shared in centiMorgans(cM) by chromosome and in total. Once the amount of shared DNA is understood a genetic table can be consulted to have a better understanding of the potential relationship between the two individuals.
Julie and Clinton share 105.4 cM of DNA across 7 chromosomes. This quantity of DNA is in the range of 2nd cousin (1x removed) and a 1st cousin (3x removed). After Clinton learned he was related to Julie the first thing he did was give her a warm welcome into the family. The cousins have remained in touch and that opportunity to meet during the summer of 2015.
From Clinton’s DNA test we knew more:
- Julie was related to both Stewart and Clinton, this eliminated Stewart's maternal ancestors from our search.
- Julie and Clinton did not share enough DNA for Julie to be a descendant of Nettie Elizabeth Miller.
- Julie was related to the ancestors of Warren Washington Miller or she was related to ancestors of Nora Ida Spangler.
One of the challenges of identifying potential family members through genetic genealogy is patience. Progress is entirely dependent on the DNA tests completed by others. Sometimes you simply have to wait for more results to draw additional conclusions. As the popularity of DNA testing grows and more individuals get tested, the potential exists that there will be more genetic matches in time.
Possible Elimination of the Spangler Family
After waiting several months we got another clue. In September of 2015 a woman who was researching the Spangle or Spangler family reached out. She had identified a cluster of ten cousins who were all connected to the Spangle family. These ten cousins were all linked through DNA. Clinton was sharing DNA with nine of the ten cousins in the cluster. Julie didn’t share any DNA with the cousins in the Spangler cluster.
As Julie didn’t share any DNA with the cousins in the Spangler cluster it appeared quite plausible her link to Stewart and Clinton was through Warren Washington Miller.
A closer look at the Miller Family
After eliminating the ancestors of Nora Ida Spangler, we were able to look closer at the Miller family to begin to establish different scenarios to determine how Julie was linking to both Stewart and Clinton. After reviewing numerous combinations of ancestor charts three scenario’s appeared the most plausible.
The first scenario reviewed was the relationship between the cousins if Warren Washington Miller was the common ancestor. This analysis was built with Julie as shown as a 2nd cousin (1x removed) to Clinton. In this scenario Julie would descend from an unknown child of Warren Washington Miller.
The second scenario reviewed was the relationship between the cousins if Henry W. Miller, father of Warren Washington Miller was the shared ancestor. This analysis was built with Julie as shown as a 2nd cousin (1x removed) to Clinton. In this scenario Julie would descend from a sibling of Warren Washington Miller.
The third scenario reviewed was the relationship between the cousins if Henry H. Miller, father of Henry W. Miller, father Warren Washington Miller was the shared ancestor. This analysis was built with Julie as shown as a 3rd cousin to Stewart. In this scenario Julie would descend from a sibling of Henry W. Miller.
The fourth scenario reviewed was the relationship between the cousins if an ancestor of Emaline Weaver, mother of Warren Washington Miller was the shared ancestor. This analysis was built with Julie as shown as a 3rd cousin to Stewart. In this scenario Julie would descend from a sibling of Emaline Weaver.
Link to the DNA Circle of Rhoda Osceola Elder
Periodically we would check Julie’s DNA results on both AncestryDNA and GEDMatch to look for additional close cousin matches. Late fall of 2015 we discovered that Julie had been linked to the DNA Circle of Rhoda Osceola Elder. The DNA Circle indicated Julie was possibly connected to five other individuals.
Thankfully some of the individuals in the DNA Circle had public trees available on Ancestry.com. Through these trees we learned that Rhoda Osceola Elder is the daughter of Lucy Ann Miller and the granddaughter of Henry H. Miller and Lydia Shoup. Four of the individuals were descendants of Rhoda Osceola Elder. Three of the individuals in the circle were sharing DNA with Julie. Five of the individuals in the circle were sharing DNA with Stewart. Two of the individuals in the circle were sharing DNA with Clinton.
Using this information from the DNA Circle we were able to identify an additional cousin that was also a descendant of Henry H. Miller and Lydia Shoup that shares DNA with Julie but does not share SNA with S.M. or Clinton.
The majority of these cousin matches were more distant. One was in the 4th – 6th cousin range and the others in the 5th – 8th cousin range to Julie.
From this cluster of Miller cousins we learned:
- Confirmation that Julie is a Miller descendant through the connections to multiple cousins.
- The common ancestors that currently link all of the cousins are Henry H. Miller and Lydia Shoup.
- The current analysis indicates Julie shares DNA with descendants of Lucy Ann Miller and Henry W. Miller, two of the nine children of Henry H. Miller and Lydia Shoup.