02 October, 2015

The Quest

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Okay, maybe I've gone over the deep end! This dna data is so cool, though! It's gotten me to thinking and I've begun a great quest... I'll admit, it could take me years to solve, or I may never be able to come to a resolution, but it's a challenge that I just cannot pass up. What is it?

In a few of my earlier entries I've mentioned that my paternal great-grandfather, John Reid, was born to an unwed mother in a poorhouse in Renfrewshire, Scotland. Her name was Caroline Reid, and she gave her child her own surname. I have the birth record, and no father is listed. SO... my quest is to use dna analysis to find out who the mystery man was! Impossible? Maybe. But not definitely! I have at least one good thing on my side.

Scotland did a good and thorough census in 1871, the year John Reid was conceived (he was born in January of 1872). So if my mystery man was living in Scotland during the census taking that year, he may well be on record. With the census record for that year, I may be able to place him in the vicinity of my Caroline Reid, that is, once I have narrowed my search down to some concrete possibilities.

Now, there are plenty of things working against me too. One of those is that I do not have a record for Caroline herself in that 1871 census. As of the 1861 census, she was living in Collier Street, Johnstone, Renfrewshire (a suburb of Paisley) as a boarder while she worked in the nearby mills. She was 13 at that time. The next record I have for her is the possible birth of her first son, William, in Neilston, not far from Johnstone, in 1870. That record may not be her, but I have a good feeling that it was. The next record is her giving birth to John in January of 1872 at Abbey poorhouse in Neilston, Renfrewshire, three miles down the road from her Collier Street address. After that, I have only her death record in February 1881 in a boarding house in Neilston (Andrews Land Boarding House).


Mystery Man
However, as I am daily discovering, dna is a powerful tool. I have about 4,000 matches on ancestry .com... that is, 4,000 people who share some of the same dna strands that I carry. For many of these I have already discovered the exact ancestors that I have in common with my matches and recorded that. Most have been on my maternal side, but I do have at least a few matches for each branch of my Dad's side, except, of course, for great-grandfather John Reid. So, at least I can confirm that my other great-grandparents are probably accurate as I have them recorded, including John's wife's family.

I have had my father's dna taken and it is currently in the lab being processed at ancestry. I eagerly await the results, as this should help to narrow down my avenues toward accomplishing my quest. One thing that I'm very curious about is his % of Scandinavian ethnicity. Mine says I am 17% Scandinavian and I know of no one in any of my lines from that part of the world. If he is at least that amount or more Scandinavian as well, then my guess would be that at least one of Mystery Man's parents were of that ethnicity.

Please follow me and find out how the Great Quest turns out! Who knows, it may be solved sooner than I think, if I'm very, very lucky. The next step is to examine my Dad's dna results, which should be done in just a few weeks time. Can't wait!


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