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615RE: [About_Alfords] Elkanah Alford

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  • Jim Liptrap
    Mar 2, 2014

      Ethnic percentages – Yes, but…..  How many generations back is Sarah’s Father?  And do you have a parent, aunt or uncle still alive to test one generation closer?  Or a sibling or cousin to correlate the results?

      FamilyTreeDNA’s “Family Finder” test is on-sale for $99


      They are trying to expand their database to improve reliability.  I have found fifth-cousins, which would be a common ancestor in the sixth generation back.  Mainly, the test allows you to connect with others searching the same families.  Finding something “significant” would require matching someone who has done more research than you have.  Or if you were looking for information on “Descendants of….”


      As to percent ethnicity, they can’t necessarily detect anything less than about 3 or 4%, which would be about 5 generations back.

      Data from FamilyTreeDNA can be downloaded (free) to http://www.gedmatch.com/  which claims to find small bits of ethnic DNA, down to less than .1%.  How reliable that is, I have not investigated.


      For either, the more information they can collect, the better their calculations will eventually become.  This is a fairly new technology.  So with time, it should improve.


      For me, ancestors born in the 1770’s are mostly 5th generation back.  If I suspected a different race within that time frame, I would be interested in what the tests had to say.  Whether it could be called “proof” of anything is probably too early to tell.  But it could suggest directions for your research.


      I would be curious to hear what you find out.





      From: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com [mailto:About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Gale Shafer
      Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 11:07 PM
      To: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [About_Alfords] Elkanah Alford


      I have a picture of his headstone that shows dates 1838-1914 and was erected in recognition of his Civil War service, even though his exact burial plot was unknown. Burial was in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Dyer County. I guess I haven't pursued the death certificate and should, but I know records weren't kept for some early periods. You have really given me some avenues to investigate that I hadn't thought of before, and I sincerely appreciate your taking this much time on my ancestor. I know that I have run across Alfords in researching some other early families and wondered where mine were. When I joined the Alford Association, I was sad to learn that my branch had lots of unanswered questions about its lineage.


      I was especially interested in your explanation of the mulatto designation on the census records. My dad had skin that tanned easily and black hair but had blue eyes. My mom called him "black Irish." 


      I don't know much about the DNA testing for females yielding significant information. Some women friends who have had it done didn't feel they got anything helpful. If I were to have it done, would it reveal any racial information about my ancestors?

      Sent from my iPad

      On Mar 2, 2014, at 9:28 PM, "Jim Liptrap" <jim@...> wrote:




      (1) You have a date of death.  Have you found a death certificate for Elkanah?  He is not listed in the Dyer County or Tennessee Death Records for 1918 on-line.  If you have it, does it name a father?


      (2) Elkanah is listed as child of Sarah Alfred on the 1850 Census in Sullivan County, Tennessee.  Have you checked the 1850 Mortality Schedule?  If his father died within the 12 months before the census was taken, he should be listed there.  Also check Washington County, Virginia.


      (3) Check tax records for Sullivan (and Washington) County for each year 1840 to 1850.  Not just land taxes, but personal property taxes.  See what Alfords were there, and who disappeared the same year Sarah appeared.


      (4) OR…… In the 1850 Census, Sullivan County, page 10A, “SubDivision 30th” (not very helpful)  Mary Alferd, 80, is shown with her (apparent) daughter Nancy, 30, and Nancy’s two children.  Next door is Sarah Alfred, 42, and her 7 children, including Elkanah.  Mary and Nancy are listed as born in Virginia, all the others in Tennessee.  Mary is listed as white, all the others as mulatto.  In 1860, now identified as ‘River Bend Forge,’ Sarah and her children are listed as white, while Nancy and four of her six children are still listed as mulatto.  In 1870, now Bristol Post Office, Sarah and her children are all listed as white.  Remember that the term ‘mulatto’ was used more generally in the early census records to include those of ANY ‘mixed-blood’ so that Sarah’s father could possibly have been an Indian, rather than a Black, and the ‘color’ not as obvious.

      Records of “free coloreds” were simply not kept as thoroughly as of the white population.  And the marriages were often ‘common law’ marriages that were not recorded by the county.   You might find references in the records of the “overseers of the poor.”  This is a Virginia term.  I am not acquainted with the similar office in Tennessee.  Colonial North Carolina required “bastardy bonds” of unmarried fathers among the white population.  I do not know whether this extended to the ‘free colored’ population or not, nor whether Tennessee continued this practice after separating from North Carolina.  You could also check the County Order Books for the period of a year before to several years after Elkanah’s birth to see if any charge was brought against Sarah, or on Sarah’s behalf, that might mention Elkanah’s father.  But it is possible that no official record of Elkanah’s father was ever made. 

      Nor of Sarah’s.  Have you looked for an Alford family missing a “Mary” born about 1770?  The area of Bristol was pretty rugged in that era, being well beyond the “safe” white settlements, and subject to frequent Indian attack.  Even in 1808, Indians were not  an uncommon hazard.  So what Alford Families migrated to (or through) the Holston River region in the very early 1800’s?


      (5) Have you tested your ‘autosomal DNA’ such as Family Tree DNA’s FamilyFinder, or the 23-and-me equivalent?  It would not be as directly helpful as the yDNA of a direct male descendant, but a match could help you identify Mary’s Alford Family.


      Probably not the answer you were looking for.  And very possibly another ‘dead-end.’  But if you have looked everywhere else………






      From: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com [mailto:About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Gale Shafer
      Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 12:33 PM
      To: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [About_Alfords] Elkanah Alford

      While there are some still living, I am not on speaking terms with most of them due to a family issue from many years ago. Sorry.

      Sent from my iPad

      On Mar 2, 2014, at 6:23 AM, "Jim Liptrap" <jim@...> wrote:

      Has a direct-male descendant taken a yDNA test?

      From: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com [mailto:About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Gale Shafer
      Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 12:03 AM
      To: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: <About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [About_Alfords] Elkanah Alford

      That would be the one.

      Sent from my iPad

      On Mar 1, 2014, at 7:13 PM, "Jim Liptrap" <jim@...> wrote:

      Which Elkanah Alford? (1844-1911) in Tennessee?

      -----Original Message-----
      From: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com [mailto:About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com]
      On Behalf Of Gale Shafer
      Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2014 6:53 PM
      To: About_Alfords@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [About_Alfords] Elkanah Alford

      Has anyone ever found more information on this branch? I can' t get past his
      mother and grandmother.
      Gale Alford Shafer

      Sent from my iPad


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