About bethesdaalice

Born in 1950, I have been doing genealogical research since before 1990. If DNA or documents say that we share ancestors, I will help you as you work your own ancestral puzzle.

Autosomal DNA: WOW!

Autosomal DNA is good stuff! If you are doing genealogical research and have not yet done an autosomal test, you are missing out on the best resource of the 21st century. And my recommendation is pretty specific: Have your test done at ancestryDOTcom. Why? Because it has the biggest database around, and what you are hunting for with autosomal DNA testing are DNA matches — people with whom you share DNA.

Two days ago, a new match popped for me at ancestryDOTcom: A female. The photo showed a young woman, and she said she lived in San Antonio, Texas. We share 34 centimorgans (cM) of DNA across three segments. And we have 26 shared matches. Of those 26, twenty-two are positively identified. Four descend from my HUFFORD/CRIPE ancestors. Ten descend from the next generation up — my HUFFORD/PLANK ancestors. Six descend from the next generation above that: my HOFFERT/STIHLI ancestors. And two are from my CRIPE/DANIELS ancestors (intermarried with my HUFFORD/PLANK ancestor). The four who are unidentified are obvious — but unknown — HUFFORD descendants.

That told me that my new DNA match descended from Abraham HUFFORD (son of Casper, son of Christian) and his wife Elizabeth PLANK.

And the CRIPE/DANIELS info told me that my new DNA match almost certainly descended from one of two children of Abraham Hufford and Elizabeth Plank — either from their son John or from their daughter Margaret Rebecca.

How could I tell that? Because son John married a CRIPE and daughter Margaret Rebecca married a Cripe.

The DNA said that, absolutely, the descent had to be from the Hufford/Plank couple, and the DNA also made clear that the descent could not be from my ancestor (son Andrew). Instead, the descent had to be from a sibling of my ancestor Andrew. And that dose of CRIPE ancestry pointed to Andrew’s siblings John or Margaret Rebecca.

Only 34 cM of DNA shared, and I knew all of that less than 30 seconds after looking at the DNA matches. To give you an idea of how small a 34-cM share is, consider that a parent and child share 3,400 cM; that first cousins share 850 cM (on average); that second cousins share 212 cM.

I made contact with the young lady, wondering if she knew who her HUFFORD ancestor was. She had no idea. She thinks of herself as a “southerner” but remembered hearing that there were some Hoosier ancestors on her father’s side. She didn’t know much about them. Some basic looking found those ancestors in Porter County, Indiana, a place that was not home to many HUFFORD/PLANK descendants. “Home” for Hufford/Plank folks would be Carroll County, Clinton County, or Tippecanoe County. But I looked. And I found no connection.

Then I began searching on her mother’s side. After some difficulties because of multiple marriages and early maternal deaths, a name popped: Ida FISHEL. And I remembered another puzzle that I’d solved back in 2016:


Ida Fishel is named on page 61 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. However, the editor of the book made a slight goof: He spelled the surname “Fisher.”

If the autosomal DNA says that you are a HUFFORD descendant, believe it!

Carved in stone, and wrong

Abraham HUFFORD, son of Abraham HUFFORD and Elizabeth PLANK, and grandson of Casper HOFFERT (b. 1762) died in 1893 in Clinton County, Indiana.

According to his gravestone, he died Dec. 26, 1893. You can see a photo of that gravestone at his findagrave page, here:

I saw that gravestone with my own eyes, a decade or so back. It’s located in a small cemetery that is framed by wire fencing and behind a big, metal swinging gate. It’s set back from a side road in Clay Township, Carroll County, Indiana, behind an area where cows are allowed to graze. Visiting the cemetery means walking with care to avoid cow patties, but I’ve seen that gravestone with my own eyes.

And I’ve seen the entry for the man in the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. It’s on page 72, in the lower right corner. There is a photo of Abraham with his wife. Beneath the photo are the clear words, “Died December 26, 1893.”

Yesterday I saw the following, in the December 19, 1893, issue of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER, on page 799:

The gravestone got it wrong. The 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY got it wrong. Presumably, the newspaper story published seven days before the date carved in stone on his gravestone got it right, but for sure the man was dead before the date that shows on his gravestone. One-hundred twenty-seven years, and the correct date is back in play.

Union Army HUFFORDs in the Civil War

July 2020, battles are raging in the USA (complete with blood in the streets), and everyone with not much melanin in his/her skin is being called a “racist” and the “cause of slavery” and told, “You owe us! Pay up!”

Over 400,000 men died while in service in the U.S. Army, giving their lives to end slavery in the USA. What do their descendants owe anyone?

Just now, while working on John Wesley HUFFORD (1843-1924), I saw a note I’d made some years back: “Civil War, U.S. Army: Co. H, 6th Regt., Iowa Inf. Wounded in battle at Shiloh. His brother William was killed at his side.” John’s brother was William Thomas HUFFORD, born 1841 in Indiana, died in a battle at Shiloh, in April 1862. Twenty-one years old, orphaned as a child, and he died while putting his life on the line to try to end slavery in the USA. Apparently, his legacy would be spit on by today’s “movement.”

This is but the start of this post. I shall add to it as time permits. Many HUFFORD descendants served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and many of them died. That is a reality that today’s “liberals” want to ignore as they push a racist agenda for their own political purposes.

Lists of descendants

A hard-copy publication of a volume II of the HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY is not likely to happen. That said, I do my best so that researchers are able to track the descendants of Christian HOFFARTH (1716-1788) and also the descendants of his sister Anna Christina (b. 1706).

At this time there are three sites online where I have the information. Two of the sites are updated once or twice a year; the 3rd site is updated frequently. (The sites do not show living people.):

Geneanet.org allows for a pretty good list of descendants, not perfect, but pretty good. It’s a little complex to understand geneanet’s system of listing descendants, but it lists down to my father, for whom Christian was a five-greats-grandfather. In other words, it lists many generations down from Christian, showing what lines and information I’ve been able to find and verify:
Christian at geneanet

Rootsweb’s World Connect project allows me to share the information, but it is a little more problematic for users. The software shows a button for “Descendancy,” but the function behind the button does not work (at this time). However, Christian’s 17 children are shown, and one can look at each child individually, and work down thru the generations: 
Christian at rootsweb’s World Connect

Ancestry.com does not pretend to show any descendancy list. However, one can work down thru the descendants of Christian’s children. Additionally, there is an easy feature for searching the database by name. And, under the “Tree Search” function, one can select “List of all people,” and look for all people with the same surname.
Christian at ancestry

One problem with ancestry is that, altho I have that database set to “public,” the database itself is not open to all on the ‘net. One must pay for an ancestry subscription or be at a public library that pays for a subscription. There is, however, a completely free alternative: Send me an email telling me who your HUFFORD-descendant ancestor is/was, and I’ll send you an “invite” that will let you access that database for free from the comfort of your home. I’m 70; write now to request an invite; I won’t be able to pass out any invites once I’m dead. 😉

FindAGrave is another site where some of Christian’s descendants can be tracked:
Christian at findagrave
My own line is one that is completely trackable at findagrave, with links from one generation down to the next:
Christian > Casper > Abraham > Andrew > Elizabeth (m. George HOOKER) > Sarah Catherine (m. Jesse BEARD) > George Irvin > Miles.

Old paternity test got it wrong :-(

In 1994, for reasons unknown to me, there was a court-arranged paternity test. The test was to determine whether a 20-year-old female was the daughter of a 48-year-old man. The test was done by Roche Labs. The man and the mother of the female had never been married, but the man had believed that he was the father, and he had served in that role. The female called him “dad,” and they had a father/daughter relationship.

Some days after the paternity test, Roche Labs gave the man a piece of paper that said that he was, “excluded as a possible father.” I.e., the lab gave the man a piece of paper saying, “You are not the father of this 20-year-old female.” He was surprised, but he accepted it.

Fast forward 26 years, to 2020. The daughter of that then-20-year-old took an autosomal DNA test, to see what she could see. Likely, as most folks new to the world of autosomal DNA, when her results came in, she did not understand what she was seeing. However, one of her DNA matches saw that the woman absolutely had to be a HUFFORD descendant, and that the two had to be closely related.  And that woman (whom we’ll call “Ann”) sent me an email message late evening on Monday, April 13:

“I’m seeing a close HUFFORD relative. Who is it?”

Ann and I have never met, but we have collaborated for about 20 years. Here’s what Ann was seeing: First, she saw that she and some unknown female share 304 centimorgans of DNA. Second, she saw that the unknown female also has large shares with her (Ann’s) two half first-cousins. Ann’s half first-cousins are first-cousins to each other.

When Ann compared the DNA, here’s what she saw:
We know exactly how Cousin 1 and Cousin 2 fit as HUFFORD descendants. Cousin 1 and Cousin 2 share one set of grandparents. Ann shares one of those grandparents as a grandparent. What Ann saw made clear that ????? descends from her grandfather (a HUFFORD) and his 2nd wife. (Cousin 1 and Cousin 2 descend from the grandfather and his 2nd wife; Ann descends from the grandfather and his 1st wife.)

Ann looked further. She compared the autosomal DNA of ????? chromosome by chromosome to her DNA and to the DNA of Cousin 1 and Cousin 2. Here, Cousin 1 is represented by a purple line; Cousin 2 is represented by a dark orange line; Ann is represented by a golden-colored line. The unknown female is the base on whom all are compared. Any line shown means that the unknown woman also shares there. And one also can see where Cousin 1, Cousin 2, and Ann overlap.
And then there was this, showing the exact segment match between ????? and Cousin 2, from point to point, on the X chromosome:

That shows a large shared segment on the X chromosome between ????? and Cousin 2. The two share 43.67 centimorgans on the X chromosome alone.

I told Ann to go to sleep, and I’d see what I could come up with. The next morning (Tuesday), there was an email from Cousin 1:
“I just wanted to share this with you. It just popped up on my 23andMe.”

It was a screen shot showing his newest match, the unknown female ?????. I said, “I’m already on it. Ann drew my attention to it last night.”

By late Tuesday night, I knew where the unknown female fit: Her mother was that 20-year-old who, back in 1994, was told by Roche Labs that her father was not her father. Surprise! The lab screwed up, badly.

Wednesday, I phoned the Hufford cousin who was given incorrect information in 1994. At the time, I knew nothing about the 1994 paternity test. As with so many, these were all folks who had come into my life only because of my genealogical research, and I did not know his life story. I told him that he has a 22-year-old granddaughter. As I explained, this 74-year-old man said, “No. There was a paternity test in 1994, and it said that I’m not the father of this young woman’s mother.”

I said, “The test was wrong. Your brother’s son (Cousin 1) tested. Your sister’s daughter (Cousin 2) tested. Your half-sister’s daughter (Ann) tested. Your granddaughter shares DNA with all three of them in the amount that your granddaughter would share. Since the DNA says that she is your granddaughter, that means that her mother is your daughter.”

The pain and shock in the man’s voice cannot be described. As we spoke, I could hear him walk in his home to where he could find a file with that old paper from 1994, and he read from it: “You are excluded as a possible father.” For 26 years, he had saved a piece of paper saying that his daughter was not his daughter. And now some 4th cousin twice-removed whom he has never met was telling him, “She’s your daughter. That test was wrong. I don’t know how the lab got it wrong, but she’s your daughter.”

And there were his anguished words again: “Oh, no! Oh, no!” Twenty-six years of a father-daughter relationship taken because of a lab error. 😦