Naomi is a friend and cousin through my father’s adopted family. We met when I began researching my father’s adopted family in the late 1990s. Naomi is an excellent researcher and family historian. I was surprised when she reached out to me to ask about ethnicity and DNA testing.
Naomi DNA tested her mother and her mother’s two siblings at Ancestry.com. The ethnicity estimates for her mothers siblings were similar and followed the research she had completed. For her mother, it was just off. I explained that sometimes our deep genetics do not always follow what we believe is our ethnicity. In other words, the ethnicity reports from autosomal DNA testing will change as more people test and more reference groups are created.
It still bothered her so I asked Naomi to share her mothers DNA test with me through Ancestry.com. To our surprise, her mother was not a full biological sibling to her other two siblings. She is an NPE (non-paternity event).
Naomi’s mother (NM) was born in Florida, in 1943, to a mother with deep roots in the southern US states. The DNA matches from her paternal side all indicated family links to New York and New England. Since NM’s mother lived in a busy military and port city, I assumed the biological father could have been in the military. Naomi set out to interview her mother and her mothers siblings about their early life and what they remembered about their mother during that time. I started the process of organizing the DNA matches in to groups and analyzing their trees for commonalities.
I asked Naomi to transfer her mother’s DNA to FamilyTreeDNA and also started a genetic tree for NM with her closest DNA match. This closest DNA match belonged to a family of Smiths with recent immigration from England to New York City. However, many of these Smith trees were incomplete due to a lack of records from the 1890s in New York and the very common last name. This posed a brick wall that had to be broken in order to continue with our research.
Our DNA match had a small tree ending with Florence C. Smith. Florence was born in 1883 to John T. Smith and Elizabeth McCarthy, according to the 1900 census. They resided on South 10th Ave in Mount Vernon, NY. Through the NYS Historic Newspapers search, I learned John Smith and family moved to South 10th Ave in early 1895. I needed to connect John to the other Smith DNA matches at Ancestry. The 1900 census also reveals John immigrated from England in 1870. I searched the 1880 census for 25 year old John Smith in New York City. I found a potential 24 year old John Smith living with his parents Charles and Sarah Raine and siblings, the youngest a Florence Maud Smith. My intuition told me John named his oldest child after his youngest sibling.
That intuition was correct! The other Smith DNA matches could be tied to Charles and Sarah, through building out the trees of those matches. Based on the amounts of DNA shared between the Smith descendants and NM, I determined Charles and Sarah were the mutual shared ancestors. I began to research each child of Charles and Sarah.
Through researching Florence M., I found she married in to a very well known New England family named Hardy. There were many DNA matches to the Hardy family and Warner family. Building in to my genetic tree, I created new trees for these Hardy DNA matches and Warner DNA matches. I found Addison Hardy married a Sarah Jane Warner, which tied all of these DNA matches to Florence’s husband, Samuel Addison Hardy. Since there were DNA matches to the family of Florence Maud Smith and Samuel Addison Hardy, I began to research their children.
Samuel and Florence had four sons, three who lived in to adulthood. In 1940, Brother B was living in New York City, Brother C resided in Massachusetts and Brother D lived in Mount Vernon, New York. NM’s mother did live in New York City for several years and worked as a telephone operator at a bank. She was very good friends with another telephone operator at the same bank after she moved back to Florida. Brother B was a banker. We believe it’s likely the friend and her husband moved in the same social circle as Brother B.
The Surprise & Conclusion
Naomi reached out to the daughter of Brother B, who happens to live roughly 20 minutes away from where she and NM live. Brother B’s daughter was upset and understandably needed time to process this new found information. She did tell Naomi her granddaughter tested with Ancestry and we eagerly awaited those results. They came in about a week later, withthe perfect amount for a half great aunt.
This information and supporting DNA evidence was enough to satisfy Naomi and NM that Brother 2 is the biological father.