52 Ancestors #12: Charles L. Kirkland (1841-1912)

Once again, I’m profiling someone who is not a direct ancestor. This week’s prompt is “misfortune”, and nothing says misfortune quite like being a passenger on the Titanic.

rms_titanic_3

 

The passenger in question was Charles Leonard Kirkland, younger brother of my 2nd great grandfather John W. Kirkland. At the time of the 1861 census, Charles, then aged 20, was living in Richibucto, New Brunswick with John and his family, including my then 2- year-old great-grandmother, Wilhelmina Kirkland. Charles and John were both cabinet makers and were both Baptists. Charles would eventually become a Free Will Baptist Minister.

1861 census
1861 Census, New Brunswick, Kent, Richibucto, Pg 44

Three years later, in 1864, Charles married Rachel Warman. They had 9 children over the next 20 years, some of whom were born in New Brunswick, others across the border in Maine. Two years after Rachel’s death in 1896, Charles married Nellie (Carver) Wheeler, a divorcée with four children. In 1900, Charles, Nellie and her four children were living Dover, Maine, where Charles was working as a clergyman. That marriage appears to have been short-lived.

1900 census
United States Census, 1900, Maine, Piscataquis, ED 134 Dover town, image 16 of 38

Charles became a well-known preacher who led revival meetings throughout New Brunswick, Maine and frequently in Saskatchewan. In the summer of 1911, Charles spent three months preaching in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, while he was visiting his sister Emma (Kirkland) Withrow, who lived in nearby Tuxford.

In late 1911, Charles travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, reportedly to settle an uncle’s estate, but I’ve yet to be able to confirm that. There was a Kirkland who died in Glasgow in Sept 1911, but I’ve not been able to substantiate the family connection. He was much too young to have been Charles’s uncle. But in any case, there is no doubt that Charles was in Glasgow, as he wrote a letter to his daughter Maud in March 1912. In that letter, he mentioned that a coal strike was making it difficult to book passage home.

Unable to leave from Glasgow, Charles travelled to Queenstown, Ireland, where he bought a 2nd class ticket aboard the RMS Titanic. He perished in the sinking and his body was never identified. A gravestone was erected in the Mattawamkeag Cemetery in Maine, where his wife and 3 of his children were buried. It simply says “Charles L. Kirkland – buried at sea”

I’ve often wondered if my great-grandmother Minnie even knew that her uncle was on the Titanic. I suspect not, as there was nothing in the PEI newspapers about it. As Minnie’s husband, Albert Prowse, was a politician at the time, a local connection to the Titanic disaster would surely have been a subject of great interest.

Much of what I’ve learned about Charles Kirkland comes from his profile on Encylcopia Titanica, although the information on his parents differs from what I have found, which I discussed in an earlier post. As always, sources I’ve used can be found on Charles’s WikiTree profile.

52 Ancestors #11: Eva Magdalena (Sarah) Somers (1753-1824)

For this week’s theme of “Lucky”, I used a random number generator to pick the ancestor I would profile. I asked for a number between 1 and 500, and got #253, which I then compared against an Ahnentafel Report of my ancestors. So by the luck of the RNG, this week’s ancestor is Eva Magdalena (Sarah) Somers. She did have an slight advantage in getting selected, since she is in my tree twice! I’m a descendant of two of her sons, Ephraim Allen and Matthew Allen. Ephraim’s grandson, Isaac Trenholm Allen, married Matthew’s daughter, Miranda Allen. Isaac and Miranda Allen were my 3rd great grandparents, which makes Sarah both my 5th great grandmother and my 6th great grandmother.

Luck comes into this profile in other ways as well. I’ve been very lucky in that other descendants of Sarah Somers and her husband, Benjamin “Shy Ben” Allen, have been researching this line since long before I ever gave family history a thought. Most of what I know of this branch of my family tree comes from the work of others – in particular, Barbara Trenholm-Merklinger, whose website Trenholm.org, published in 1999 and last updated in 2011, is still my first go-to site for sorting out the many children of my Allen and Trenholm ancestors, and Arthur Owen, whose family tree intersects with mine in several places. In addition to his tree on “Our Maritime Ties”, Arthur has documented much of what he knows about these ancestors on WikiTree. I am grateful to both of them for sharing their many decades of research so openly!

The first story I read about Eva Magdelena (Sarah) Somers was on Barbara Trenholm-Merklinger’s site, in her introduction to the Allen family.

The story is told that Benjamin Allen was extremely shy, hence the name “Shy Ben”. One night after returning from a long trip, he found a New Year’s Eve dance in progress at Fort Cumberland. After suitable liquid fortification, he went to the center of the dance floor and said: “I am in dire need of a wife! Who will have me?” Up stepped a hearty lass of German descent, Sarah Somers, who said “I’ll have you, Ben!”. The happy couple were married on the spot by a minister who happened to be in attendance. It is said that any pugnacious tendencies in the Allen female descendants can be attributed to Sarah.

This “hearty lass of German descent”, was born in Whitefield, Pennsylvania in 1753. Her parents were Mathias Somers/Sommer and Maria Christina Null, who were both born in Germany and married in Pennsylvania in 1749. The Somers family was among the original group of German families in Philadelphia who settled the Monckton Township on the Petitcodiac River in what was then Nova Scotia (now Moncton, New Brunswick), in 1766.

On January 1, 1771, a month shy of her 18th birthday, Sarah Somers married Benjamin Allen, some 20 years her senior. They had 12 children, most of whom also had large families – my 4th great grandfather, Matthew Allen, had 11 children and my 5th great grandfather, Ephraim Allen, had 15 children (with two wives). As a result, there are likely thousands of descendants of Sarah Somers and Benjamin Allen alive today, many of whom show up among my DNA matches. Even if the likelihood of matching a 5th or 6th cousin is low, the shear number of them means that I match a lot of Allen/Somers descendants.

How many of them have pugnacious tendencies has yet to be determined.

Using Stranger Matches in Visual Phasing

With the standard three-sibling visual phasing, it’s usually easy to tell who owns each crossover. However, if you’ve adapted the technique for two siblings plus others, such as a nephew (like I did) or a half sibling, sometimes you can’t. In those cases, stranger matches can be very helpful. In this post, I’m going to demonstrate the use of strangers in visual phasing, using an example from my own results.

In a previous post, I showed how I did visual phasing with two siblings and a nephew (the son of a 3rd sibling). On each chromosome, I start the same way, with my mother (my nephew’s grandmother) in the extra view. I the set the crossover points and label the ones I can.

On Chromosome 4 (figure 1), I could label all of them except for 2 – one at 27.3 Mb and one at 174.5 Mb (outlined in red). I know these crossovers belong to either L or J, but I can’t tell which.

Chr 4 - Fig 1
Figure 1

Following the same technique I used previously, and with the help of some known cousin matches, I was able to figure out most of the chromosome, with the exception of those two unlabelled crossovers.

Figure 2Time to bring in some strangers to help, starting at the crossover on the left, at 27.3 Mb.

Because I know this crossover belongs to L or J, and because I know it’s a paternal crossover, I need to find some paternal matches to L and J over that section of Chromosome 4.

Since our mother has been tested and her kit uploaded to GEDMatch, I’ve already used the Phasing utility on GEDMatch to create phased kits for both L and J. I run the GEDMatch Tier 1 Matching Segment Search utility on the two phased paternal kits and look for matches around the 27.3 mark on Chr 4.

Matching kits at 27I found 6 people who match L from about 22 Mb to 34 Mb. Those same people match J from 22 Mb to 27.3 Mb. So, even though I have no idea who these matches are (hence the term “stranger matches”), it doesn’t matter. This is enough to tell me that the crossover at 27.3 must belong to J. That enables me to complete the first section.

crossover 27

Let’s look at the other end, around 174.5.

crossover 174This one is less clear-cut. Neither of us have matches that cross 174.5. We have the same two matches (Karen and Mary B) from 155 Mb to 163 Mb, as expected. And after 174.5, we have different matches, as expected. But who has the Cooper matches and who has the Sharpe matches? To figure this out, I needed to dig into these matches a bit further.

First, I ran the Multiple Kit Analysis on GEDMatch for each kit against L, J & R, to see if any of them matched on other segments besides the one on Chr 4. The only one that did was John M. (the last line of the J table), who matches J and R on Chr 17, in addition to the match with J on Chr 4.

comparison 17Looking at the visually phased Chr 17, John M would appear to be a Sharpe match (paternal grandmother)

Chr 17.pngAs well, I looked up John M in J’s FTDNA matches (his last name appeared in GEDMatch – I removed it for privacy) and found that he has a tree attached to his DNA results. He has ancestors from the same small town in New Brunswick as my grandmother’s ancestors, including one with a surname in that line. Since our paternal grandfather and grandmother came from different countries, it would be highly unlikely that we match on Chr 4 on one line and Chr 17 on a different. And since both segments are of a decent size (12cM and 14.9cM), it’s unlikely that one is a false match.

So while I haven’t (yet) figured out exactly who our common ancestor is, I’m quite confident that John M. is a Sharpe match.

Therefore, the crossover at 174.5 also belongs to J.

complete 174.pngAnd Chromosome 4 is complete

Chr 4 complete.pngWith the help of some stranger matches.

52 Ancestors #10: Agnes Prowse (1872-1949)

When I started the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, I decided to focus on direct ancestors, with the occasional foray into collateral lines. This is one of those weeks. While I have no shortage of strong women (this week’s theme) to write about from my direct lines, there’s a group of woman I came upon in my research for whom I have particular admiration.

Agnes Florence Prowse was born on August 5, 1872 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. She was the youngest of the 12 children of Joseph Jarvis Prowse (the brother of my 2g grandfather, Samuel Prowse, 52 Ancestors #4) and Agnes Rider Jarvis (the niece of my 3g grandmother, Agnes Rider).

Agnes had an older sister, Elizabeth Prowse, who was born in 1864. Following the death of her sister-in-law in 1889, Elizabeth moved to Murray Harbour, PEI, to care for her brother Isaac’s two young children. In 1894, Elizabeth, like many unmarried women of her generation, made her way to Boston to seek employment.

In 1896, Agnes, age 23 and unmarried, gave birth to a daughter who she named Bessie. In 1897, Agnes left Bessie in the care of her brother Phillip and joined her sister Elizabeth in Boston.  In 1900, Agnes and Elizabeth were working as servants in the same household in Boston.

1900 census Prowse.png

By 1906, Agnes had reunited with her daughter back in Charlottetown. In 1911, Agnes and Elizabeth were running a small boarding house, in a home that they rented. Bessie, then aged 15, lived with her mother and aunt.

1911 Census.png

By 1921, they owned a larger house on Euston Street in Charlottetown, which they also ran as a boarding house. By this time, Bessie had begun her long career as a teacher and was living with her mother, aunt and 5 boarders, all male.

It can’t have been easy raising a child as a single mother in the early 1900s in Charlottetown. She clearly raised a strong, independent daughter. Bessie became a teacher who was much loved by her students and was an active member of the PEI Professional and Business Women’s Club, including acting as President of the club for several years in the 1960s. Bessie never married and had no children that I know of.

Unlike many in her immediate and extended family, who had long detailed obituaries, Agnes’s death warranted barely a mention in the local paper.

Agnes death

To Agnes, Elizabeth and Bessie – you may not have left descendants, but know that you are not forgotten.

X-Chromosome & Recombination – an Example

The X-chromosome is passed down differently than the other 22 chromosomes. Since men only have one X chromosome, which they get from their mothers, when a man passes his X onto his daughters, he passes an intact X. As women have two X-chromosomes, one from each parent, when she passes her X onto her children, she could either pass along her paternal X, her maternal X, or a mixture (recombination), like with any other chromosome.

According to a study done by Blaine T. Bettinger (The Genetic Genealogist), in 14% of cases, the X-chromosome is passed down intact, with no recombination. Most X-Chromosomes undergo one or two recombinations. Here are the percentages seen among the 250 samples in the study.

Recombinations
Since I’ve done Visual Phasing using my results, my sister’s and my nephew’s, I thought it would be interesting to see how our X-Chromosomes compare. Here’s the overall view. The bottom shows the match between each of us and my mother. As expected, my sister and I share a full X with our mother (if we didn’t, she couldn’t be our mother!). My nephew does not.
Chr 23 full.jpg

First up, me. As a female, I received two X chromosomes – one from each of my parents. Since my father only had one to give me, from his mother (Sharpe), of course I got his intact. From my mother, I happened to also receive an intact X chromosome with no recombination. I got her maternal (Hicks) X chromosome.

Chr 23 Leanne

Next is my sister, J. She too got intact chromosomes from both parents, but in her case, she received our mother’s paternal (Prowse) X chromosome. So while we each received an X with no recombination, we received different ones.

Chr 23 Jayne

And finally, my nephew, R. As a male, he only received one X chromosome, from his mother (my eldest sister). Because of the way I charted them, it looks like this:

Chr 23 Ryan

But in reality, it’s all on one chromosome, so it would look more like this:

Chr 23 Ryan complete

We can see that R’s X chromosome underwent 3 recombinations. From this, we can also see what my eldest sister’s chromosome must have been – something like this:

Chr 23 Debbie

The recombination point could be anywhere within the red square. Where exactly it occurs is unknown, but we know there is one, and probably only one.

So, of my mother’s three children, one received her complete maternal X chromosome, one received her complete paternal X chromosome, and the third received a combination.

DNA never ceases to fascinate me!