Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

25 Feb 2016: Breaking the DNA Barrier February 25, 2016

I thought I’d do a series of posts allowing you to follow along with my experiences in having my DNA tested.  I know lots of folks who have considered using modern technology to aid in their genealogy research, but the price seems a little high with an uncertain outcome of success. For a long time, this was me.  I mean I already know a startling amount about my family history.  What more could I learn from the DNA that is locked inside the cells of my body?

Well, we’re about to find out.

After doing some research, I decided to work with Family Tree DNA (www.familytreedna.com) I chose them because from the chatter I read online, they give you the best results for the money. And it wasn’t cheap. I decided to purchase two tests, the Family Finder and the mtDNA Ancestry Test.

ftda-logo

Here’s what they consist of:

mtDNA Ancestry Test: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is passed down almost unchanged from a mother to her children. That lets you trace your maternal ancestry using the world’s largest mtDNA database.

Family Finder: Will give you a very detailed geographic breakdown of where your ancestors came from. It works by comparing your DNA to the DNA of hundreds of ethnic groups around the world.

The Family Finder test is $99 and the mtDNA is $199, so all together it was about $312 including a shipping charge.  Considering the package it came in, I think that shipping charge was a bit high.

What came in the mail from Family Tree DNA

What came in the mail from Family Tree DNA

After I placed my order online, they mailed the test out to me very quickly.  I followed the instructions given and swabbed the inside of my cheeks.  Today I mailed back my samples, so now we wait to see what I get for my $312.

My samples and release form to be mailed back.

My samples and release form to be mailed back.

What am I hoping for?

I have two goals in mind that were the reasons I decided to outlay such a sum of cash. First, there’s been a persistent rumor on my mom’s side of the family, that my mother’s, mother’s, mothers’, mother’s, etc, side of the family was jewish. Since I’ve been unable to track that maternal line back to Europe, hopefully the mtDNA test will either prove or disprove the rumor that I’m a Jew.  Personally, I’m hoping I’m one of God’s chose people.  There’s not a whole lot of us at my Baptist church.  🙂  The most distant female line ancestor I know of is Regina Von Glahn. She was born in February 1835 in either Germany or Holland.  She came to America in 1850 and married Jacob Green, then died 17 February 1907 in Secaucus, New Jersey. Hopefully with this test, I’ll find out more about Regina’s origins.

The second reason, and the reason that I’ve decided to spend the money now instead of later is that I’m searching for a long-lost relative. I recently read an article that said that many people who have been adopted do DNA tests to find out about their biological family histories. In the case of Family Tree DNA, I had to sign a release form to send back with my samples.  This form gives  FT DNA permission to disclose my name and address to any close family matches that they may find in their database.  I’m hoping that maybe he has or he will send in his DNA for testing, if so, maybe I’ll be able to find this relative.  Since he was adopted and I’m having difficulty tracking him down after his adoption, who knows … maybe being one of God’s chosen people will help!

Anyway, this is post number one.  I’ll post again to let you know what results I get from my test.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

 

23 Feb 2016: Will the surnames Wells and Geoghan die out? February 23, 2016

Can a name die?

You wouldn’t really think so, but it’s surprising how close both my parent’s surnames have come to extinction. Reasons why? Mostly not enough sons having sons.

Can a name die

Let’s start with the Geoghans.

John Geoghan (My Grandfather) had five children:

  • Daughter
  • Son 1
  • Son 2
  • Son 3
  • Daughter

Son 1 had one son with the last name Geoghan

Son 2 had one son that does not have the last name Geoghan

Son 3 had two sons, one with and one without the last name Geoghan

So from John Geoghan, of his 12 grandchildren, 8 boys and 4 girls, only TWO BOYS have the last name Geoghan to carry it on to the next generation. Yep, you read that right, only two! Why only two of the four you ask? Those are two really long stories of family drama you wouldn’t believe!

Now let’s go back another generation to my Great Grandfather, Thomas Geoghan.

Thomas had six sons and one daughter. Of all of those children, the only one to produce a son was my grandfather John. So now my brother and cousin are left to carry yet another generation of Geoghans!

My brother has two boys and my cousin has one. So it’s up to those three boys to carry on the name Geoghan if we want to see it survive for our family line.

No pressure there!

Producing an heir ... it ain't just for royals anymore.

Producing an heir … it ain’t just for royals anymore.

So how about the other half of my family, the Wells side. I’m sorry to say they’re not fairing much better.

My grandfather, Williams Rogers Wells, had nine children, six boys and three girls. Here’s how he fared for name carrying male grandchildren:

  • Son 1: 3 sons
  • Son 2: No Children
  • Son 3: No Children
  • Son 4: 3 daughters
  • Son 5: 2 daughters
  • Son 6: 1 daughter

No pressure on “Son 1”, my mom’s uncle Everett Stillman Wells!

So how did Everett’s boys do?

  • Son 1: 1 son and 1 daughter (this son has 2 daughters) DEAD END
  • Son 2: 1 son and 3 daughters (This son has 2 sons and one daughter!!)
  • Son 3: 2 daughters

So it’s down to the two sons of Everett (son of James Wells) to carry on the Wells name!

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If you go back another generation in the Wells family, to Williams Rogers Wells’ father, Jonathan Russell Wells, Williams was the only son who produced any children.

If you go back yet another generation to Jonathan Russell Wells’ father Russell Wells, it’s not much better. Russell had three sons, Silas Crandall Wells, Thomas Randall Wells and Jonathan Russell Wells.

Silas had two sons, Wallace Ray Wells and Ray G Wells. Ray died when he was ten. Wallace Ray Wells had a son named Edward Gray Wells, but so far as I know, Edward only had one daughter. So Silas is a DEAD END.

large_itsagirl

Thomas Randall Wells had three sons. Sounds promising, but sadly they all died under ten years of age. So again, DEAD END.

You have to go back to my 4th great grandfather, Randall Wells (my personal favorite ancestor! Read my books to find out why!) to find a wealth of sons with sons. Randall had five sons. His son Russell (my ancestor) as we know only has two male descendants that carry the Wells name.

Randall Wells Jr doesn’t seem to have any living descendants bearing the Wells name. It is possible that the other three sons may have produced enough male heirs to carry on the name. More research on those branches of the family is necessary though.

Anyone looking for a project to take on???? 🙂

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.