Monday, June 9, 2014

The Genealogy Maze

Searching a family surname is like going through a corn maze. You never know where a turn will lead you. Will that path end in a dead end or lead to another path to search?  This is what I encountered when I decided to find more ancestors to add to my Conner family tree.
I had a small amount of information that I had gleaned from having grown up in the area where they had lived since 1875. I had visited my great grandparents’ graves and knew their birth and death dates. 

 James Conner born 1816 in Georgia, died 1896 in Lake County, Florida.
Mary Vanzant Conner born 1832 in Georgia, died in Tavares, Lake County, Florida
They are buried in Glendale cemetery in Umatilla, Florida along with other family members.

Over the years, I talked to relatives, ordered death and marriage certificates and filed all the information away. Using all this information, I turned to a new tool to use, DNA.

My brother and I have both had our DNA tested at Family Tree DNA and I turned to the cousin matches to search for Conner and Vanzant (my great grandmother) surnames. I downloaded my Family Finder matches as a spreadsheet and did a search for these surnames. The easiest way to find someone's family tree is to contact them via email. If this doesn't generate a response, a google search or search at one of the genealogy sites may turn up family trees or information. These trees are in various places including,, wiki family trees, individual web pages, Family and many more.
I ended up discovering some Blackburn descendants in some peoples trees.  My great grandmother, Mary Vanzant Conner, was born in Georgia to William Vanzant and Lavina Blackburn. While looking at some of these Blackburn family trees, I found one that linked to William Miller RS. He had a DAR file number.
After going to Daughters of the American Revolution website and using their ancestor search, I found a descendant of Lavina’s brother, Martin, had applied for DAR membership. Their application included family Bible records and other proof of relationship. I had now found Lavina’s mother, Mary Ann Miller Blackburn, and her family. Mary Ann’s parents were William Miller and Amy Barker. I am now working on adding the various members of all these families. Considering how many children people had back then, I have a lot of work to do. The most exciting find, so far, for my family tree. Oh, yes I still need to find those elusive Conner ancestors.
Coming up soon:  William Miller, RS and his ancestors.

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