Sunday, November 1, 2009

Surprising Genealogical Findings

As most of you know, I am very into, not obsessed, with genealogy. I have spent quite a bit of time researching both sides of my family. My cousin Fred got me into it first with research he had done on our mother's side, the Mitchell family. Later on my cousin Martha, whom I first met in 1990 at a Berry reunion in Georgia and the first family reunion I had ever attended, got me into researching my dad's side. I was amazed at the complexity of it all.

Many years later and with little progress I received an email from another cousin, Martha, who was a Berry family researcher in Georgia. Georgia is where my family came from. During the depression, our parents traveled north looking for steady work and found it in Manchester, New Hampshire. Manchester was where I and my younger brother were born. My two older brothers had been born in Griffin, Georgia. At the time Martha contacted me, I had no idea from where my Berry ancestors had originated.

Martha mentioned another family reunion in Cullman, Alabama and gave me another cousin, Jo, to contact. I did and both I and my brother made arrangements to attend. While at that reunion, Jo mentioned a reunion near Hillsborough, North Carolina. Hillsborough, it seems, was close to the original home site of a Robert and Elizabeth Berry. These Berry ancestors were thought, at that time, to be the originating ancestors of all our Berry families. She gave me another cousin's name, Ben, to contact there.

We attended the event with Jo and other cousins from Georgia and I heard of a Berry DNA Project that several of our cousins had participated in. I made arrangements immediatley to join this project. I was the third participant from this Berry line. Since then, nine more participants have joined and the results from these findings have drawn together many lines of Berry families to the one Robert and Elizabeth Berry of Orange County, North Carolina.

The DNA method is a finalization step in genealogy. It validates the research one has done. It does not take its place, however. One of the participants of the project came to us as a very big surprise. Most of the children of Robert and Elizabeth Berry migrated south through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and west to Texas. Descendants of one of their children, though, chose to migrate north through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and west. It was from this line our DNA participant claimed to be from. With the research they had available, they could only go back a few generations and were not able to connect with any distant ancestor line. Until the results of the test came in. They matched our Berry family line and it was proven through combined research they were the descendants of Robert and Elizabeth Berry. This participant was born in Moline, Illinois. This was in the direct migration path of these Berry descendants. The big surprise was his name: Ken Berry

Ken, our entire Berry family is proud of you and your accomplishments.

In the next few days I will go into another surprising genealogical find in our family.

No comments: