I completely failed last year in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Week challenge. Started out gung ho and then life got in the way. So I’m going to try it again this year.
The prompt for Week 1 in 2019 is ‘FIRST.’
Didn’t take me long to figure out what ‘FIRST’ I would write about. It’s my new found FIRST cousin. Okay, maybe he is only a half FIRST cousin, but I will focus on the FIRST part.
My younger brother and I were born to wonderful parents who happened to both be only children. That meant we had no aunts or uncles. No first cousins. We grew up with what I call the ‘old people.’ Those ‘old people’ were our maternal and paternal grandmothers. Our maternal grandfather died a couple years after I was born in 1957. My paternal grandfather was unknown.
My father was born in Los Angeles in 1931 to an unwed mother. The birth certificate we had a copy of didn’t list the name of the father, and my father was given his mother’s name, Schumacher, with a slight spelling change of Shumaker.
When my father and paternal grandmother were alive, it never occured to me to ask about our family history. It never came up in conversation. Oh how I wish I had asked.
One day, my mother and I were watching TV back in 2015 and there was a commercial by Ancestry and their DNA test. I ordered 3 test. One for me, my younger brother and our mother. The results came back and were less than robust for our paternal side of the family. I sighed and went about my maternal tree. That proved to be very beneficial in validating my research.
Mid 2017 I started seeing DNA matches that me and my brother shared that didn’t match our 3 known family lines. I build mirror trees up the wazoo. I finally realized that those 50 or so DNA matches should be in one tree and not 50 different ones. So I bought Family Tree Maker to help with my research and combining the trees.
I found that our unknown paternal grandfather’s last name was Hutson, and the family was from Perry County, Missouri. But who was our grandfather?
In most of the DNA Groups on Facebook, people kept saying to spread your DNA into the most ponds. So I uploaded all 3 tests to GEDMATCH, FTDNA and MyHeritage.
I had previously used MyHeritage as my family search website. Their search features and database offer records that Ancestry doesn’t. It became apparent to me that I should just bite the bullet and renew my membership with MyHeritage for a year and see if there was any benefit. What’s a couple hundred dollars in the grand scheme of things?
My Ancestry tree was uploaded to MyHeritage as a gedcom and I waited. One day there was a record match to my father as if his last name was HUTSON!!! I thought, are you kidding me?
Off I went to get a copy of my father’s original birth certificate. Who was this Hutson guy? How did they know the name Hutson?
My father’s OBC came in the mail. His father was listed as Clarence Roy Hutson. Clarence was in my tree, but I never suspected him to be the birth father. He was born in 1910 and my grandmother in 1894. My grandmother was a ‘Cougar’ long before it became a part of the contemporary vernacular.
Clarence Roy Hutson was married at least 3 times that I could find. He only had one other child I could find. That was a daughter born to his 1st wife. She ended up being my father’s only half sibling and her son was named Robert, just like my father.
I talked to my 1/2 ‘FIRST’ cousin on the phone last year. He seemed nice but very detached to his mother’s family. But I do have a 1/2 ‘FIRST’ cousin, even if he isn’t interested in building a relationship.