DNA has definitely made dancing with the ancestors much easier. Sometimes, the results just confirm what a person researching their family history already knew. Other times, it pulls a brick out of that pesky brick wall and . . . the walls come a tumblin' down (to quote John Cougar Mellencamp)!!!
Such was the case with a New Ancestor Discovery (NAD) on Ancestry. First off - NADs are quite deceptive and, more often than not, have no actual connection to the user (in this case, me). Of the 20 NADs that have shown up since Ancestry began the feature, I hadn't had any luck at all in connecting them to my tree . . .until last week. But, before we get there, let me point out: there are multiple female surnames in my family tree that I don't know. So, it's highly likely that many of the NADs that Ancestry is connecting to me through shared DNA are somehow related to me. I just don't have a surname so I can't verify that information.
Now, back to the shining diamond of a NAD that pulled out that pesky brick: James Hogg. So, I knew I had a Hogg or two in my tree, well, actually one: Leodicia Hogg, my 3 x Great Grandmother.
Full disclosure: there's every possibility that Leodicia, who married John Tate, is actually my 4 x Great Grandmother. But . . . that's a whole other story.
I was never able to determine the parents of Leodicia Hogg, nor had other researchers on the Tate family. Brick Wall City! So, when a NAD came up to James Hogg, the easiest thing to do was to research him. After I bit of research, I learned he was the son of Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough. I found numerous children listed for them, but not a daughter named Leodicia. There was, however, a date span between some of the children listed, and Leodicia's birth year fell right in that date.
The next step was to research James and . . . he named a daughter Leodicia. Now, naming patterns are important in family history. Names were passed down generation to generation. In my Adcock line, every single child of my 4 x Great Grandfather Leonard Adcock named one of their children Leonard. He had 10 children. His son William (my 3 x Great Grandfather) named a child Joseph Leonard Adock. William's daughter Rebecca (my 2 x Great Grandmother) named a child John Leonard Smith. John Leonard named his daughter Osie Lee (short for Leonard) Smith. So, you see, naming patterns happen and are important.
Leodicia and her husband John Tate named a son James Tate. My best guess - no verifiable proof - is that James Tate was named after his uncle, his mother's brother James Hogg; and that Leodicia Hogg, daughter of James Hogg, was named after his sister Leodicia. Again, this is all assumption and no proof on my part.
The proof in the pudding part comes from my multiple (11 in all) DNA connections to James Hogg.
So, James is somehow related to me and, based on his age, most likely a brother of Leodicia. What to do? What to do?
Well, I input Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough as the parents of Leodica Hogg in my tree, and I add James as her brother. Then, I wait . . .
. . . and see if Ancestry connects me to Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough. Voila!! Multiple matches to them.
Now, having a DNA match, that far back, is not - I repeat, NOT - absolute proof of a direct connection. I do not, at this point, have a paper trail. Then again, sometimes a paper trail does not exist. What I have, is multiple DNA connections to Thomas Hogg and Mary McCullough and the belief (assumed at that, but it's all I have at this point) that they are the parents of Leodicia Hogg.
I'm going with that assumption. Now, family historians and genealogists everywhere are grabbing at their hearts and going this is the big one!!! You never assume in genealogy. I do. At this point, it's all I have to go on . . . and I'm content.
Will I stop looking for a paper trail? Hell No! I have a starting point, a stepping stone, so to speak, and sometimes, when dancing with the ancestors, that's all a person has. That first step, that first clue, might just lead me to where I need to go to have a paper trail. Then again, it might not. Genealogy, some days, is just a crap shoot!