Friday, November 10, 2017

A Providence Family Connection Through DNA

I am excited to report that I recently discovered a DNA match who is likely kin to me on my PROVIDENCE family line. My PROVIDENCE ancestry comes through a great-great grandmother, Ersie Jane PROVIDENCE ROBINSON (abt. 1850-bef. 1910) on my father's side. Grandma Ersie Jane lived in Greensville County, Virginia. She married my great-great grandfather Joshua ROBINSON in Greensville County, Virginia on June 9, 1867. Discovering more about my PROVIDENCE ancestry has been achieved by a combination of oral history, document research, and now DNA. 

I initially learned of Grandma Ersie Jane through oral history in 1995 and 1996 which came from conversations with four siblings of my paternal grandmother Hattie MOORE PAIR (1902-1956): Samuel "Channie" MOORE, Charlie "Jack" MOORE, Washington MOORE, and Della MOORE RICHARDSON. During my initial conversations with my great aunt and three great uncles, who were born between 1900 and 1917, they gave me names of both sets of grandparents and other family members. They did not know Grandma Ersie, but heard about her from their parents and others. Later,I also had conversations with other grandchildren of Grandma Ersie Jane and Grandpa Joshua and gathered and wrote their memories of their grandparents. 

I don't remember if any of the grandchildren recalled that Grandma Ersie Jane's maiden name was PROVIDENCE. I think that the first time I learned her maiden name was when I discovered her 1867 marriage license to Joshua Robinson. After learning Grandma Ersie Jane's maiden name, I began asking if any of the grandchildren remembered her kinfolks. It was probably my great aunt Della and her first cousin Rozella, who told me that Grandma Ersie Jane had a sister named "Lucretia" who was married to Grandpa Joshua's brother Aaron GREENAWAY. None of the grandchildren remembered any other kinfolks of their grandmother. Research of Lucretia provided invaluable information on Grandma Ersie Jane's family and will be discussed further in a separate blog posting.


After gathering oral history from my great aunt, great uncles, and other grandchildren of Joshua and Ersie Jane PROVIDENCE ROBINSON, I began searching documents such as marriage licenses, death certificates, and the census on the people they named. 

Research of documents can verify or dispute oral history as well provide new ancestral information. Much of this research was done in the late 1990s when there were not many resources on the Internet. I spent many hours gathering family history documents the old school way at libraries and courthouses. As I gathered documents on my family, I shared my findings with Grandma Ersie Jane's grandchildren and other family members through conversations as well as in the writing of letters, newsletters, and family reunion books.


My recently discovered PROVIDENCE DNA match and I both took autosomal DNA tests through Ancestry DNA.  This test analyzed the 22 pairs of chromosomes we inherited from each of our our parents. The results according to Ancestry DNA indicate that we share 27.5 centimorgans across two DNA segments and that we are fourth cousins. It helps to possibly make some type of definite family connection if both parties know names of their ancestors. Since my PROVIDENCE DNA match has a family tree on the the Ancestry DNA website, it enabled me to see that the PROVIDENCE surname is common in both our our ancestral lines. 

Ancestry DNA results for my PROVIDENCE DNA match and I

The DNA kit of this new match is being managed by her son and I sent him a message via Ancestry's site earlier this week. Thankfully he responded and I look forward to our journey together to piece together our family history. 

Genealogy is a continual process of working from the known to the unknown. The known for me through oral history and document research is that I had a great-great grandmother named Ersie Jane PROVIDENCE ROBINSON of Greensville County, Virginia, the daughter of John and Eliza PROVIDENCE. John and Eliza had at least two other children: Lucretia and Matthew. Matthew PROVIDENCE had least two sons: John and William. Matthew's son John was born around 1897 in North Carolina and died in 1952 in Portsmouth, Virginia. 

The known of the family tree of my PROVIDENCE DNA match indicates that the maiden name of her maternal grandmother Gentelia was PROVIDENCE and that Gentelia's father was named John PROVIDENCE who was born around 1904 and lived in Southampton County, Virginia in 1930.

It does not appear that John, the son of Matthew and the John PROVIDENCE ancestor of my DNA match were the same person. However, there are numerous other men named "John PROVIDENCE" living in Virginia and North Carolina during the same time as the other two Johns mentioned above.

Genealogy is a continual process of working from the known to the unknown and I look forward to discovering more about my PROVIDENCE ancestry and making family connections with living descendants through oral history, document research, and DNA.


Renate Yarborough Sanders said...

Congratulations, Dru, on making new discoveries and connections on this line! I really like the way you organized this blogpost. :)


Professor Dru said...
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Lisa Y. Henderson said...

Nice work!