#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Branching Out

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve read my posts about the Cook family and my missing 3rd Great Grandfather. I’ve been attempting to use DNA to identify Frances Cook’s paramour, even adding Y DNA from my mother’s brother last year. So far, I have not been successful, although I know I could spend more time analyzing my matches.

One of the challenges with this family is that my great-grandparents, Arthur Cook and Dollie Allison, married each other’s siblings. Many of my cousins, therefore, are related to me on both lines, making it difficult to separate out the “just Cooks” from the “Cooks and Allisons.”

So, I think need to go back and find more atDNA matches who are descended from Frances and her father, George Cook, who didn’t marry Allisons, so that I can use them to find non-Cook cousins who would be descended from Frances’ mystery man. At least, I think that’s what I need to do.

George was born, according to his War of 1812 discharge paper, in Lancaster, South Carolina, in 1789. According to that same record, he was 28 years old when he was discharged in 1817. The next record we have for him is from 1834, when he married Jane Sizemore (née Johnson). He would have been 45 years old. What was he doing all that time? Had he been married before? If so, and if he had surviving children, I would love to find their descendants!

Frances, my 3rd Great Grandmother was born circa 1835. The 1850 Census shows George and Jane living with children Frances, William T., Lucinda, Rhoda, Catharine, Washington, and Sarah, the youngest, age 5. I don’t know what became of any of those other kids! Someone on FamilySearch has entered a death date of 1880 for Lucinda, but there’s no source for that information.

Frances had eight children: William Thomas, John, Nancy Georgiann, George W., Catherine, Masouria, Melissa, and Fanny. Family lore is that they all had the same father, but that is unproven. The family tree on FamilySearch is pretty well filled out, with children for each of them except Masouria. I could do more to locate living descendants if those children and look for them on the DNA services.

I did locate a couple of William Thomas Cook’s descendants through DNA – and one who I’d been working alongside for years at Pensacola Little Theatre never knowing we were related – but so far, no one has had any more insights into the identity of Frances’ lover(s).

For my DNA searching on this brick wall, I am blessed to have the DNA of my great-aunt Bonnie Cook Holland. She is the grandson of John Cook, great-grandchild of Francis, and the closest sample I have to the mystery man. The trouble is, not many people of her generation appear to have tested, and some fairly close matches either don’t know anything about their roots or they’ve failed to respond.

I have confidence that if I keep adding branches to the family tree, I’ll eventually find the key matches that will help me solve this mystery!

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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2 Responses to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Branching Out

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    I think we have to keep checking back as more people get added to the DNA databases. We might be reaching a point where most people inclined to be tested have already done so. Thius, the growth of the databases is likely slowing down. That’s just a wild-ass guess, though!

  2. Barb LaFara says:

    I am on a similar search, it is so frustrating and time-consuming. I have spent hours filling out branches to find living descendants who match my mother. But, like you describe, those matches seem to know less than I do… ugh! There must be an easier way to use the DNA data. Let me know if you find one! Thanks for sharing.

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