As I started looking at my DNA test results, I had about a half dozen matches with a shared ancestor. Those were great and mostly from my father's Jennings line, which have several very able and talented researchers so the trees are quite well built out and documented. After reviewing all the matches with a shared ancestor, I started looking at some other high confidence matches without shared ancestors.
One really got my attention. Their family tree was filled with Beards and it seemed they originated from Bedford County, Virginia, just like my Beards. As I reviewed her tree -- and it was a wonderful tree that included old photographs and personal reminisces about family members -- I learned her Beards descended from a Captain David Beard (1745-1815). Could he be related to my Samuel Beard?
David Beard's father was Adam Beard (1725-1777). Adam's father, John Beard (1705-1780), left a will in which he named several grandchildren. Through this will and several other documents related to David and Samuel's aunts, uncles and siblings, I've concluded they are brothers -- a fact the DNA match seems to support. Once I had that worked out, I began working on David Beard's descendants was was able to confirm how my DNA match and I were related. I reached out to my DNA match and introduced myself.
|The Mason County, West Virginia, cabin of Adam Beard (1787-1872), son of Capt. David Beard|
Courtesy of my DNA match's son's Ancestry.com family tree
Over the last several months, we have become research collaborators, trading information back and forth, and email buddies. Her uncle Clarence Mern Beard (1885-1960), wrote a book entitled, Last of the Covered Wagons. It is out of print now and I have not been able to find a copy. My cousin had a copy of the original manuscript and thoughtfully typed it into Word and sent me an electronic copy. She has allowed me to blog about the book from time to time and I look forward to doing so.
|Clarence Mern Beard (left) with his father-in-law, Francis Henry Banker|
I would love to know the story behind this photo.
Photograph is courtesy of Ancestry.com member dac529
You just never know what you'll find at the other end of a DNA match!
Update: Another AncestryDNA test match had me confused for awhile, until the three of us did more research. We discovered my first DNA match, and a descendant of the people described in this post, descended from Adam Beard's (1725-1777) youngest son, also named Adam Beard (1755-1788), not his older brother, David. Genealogy research is never done.