Mitochondrial Sisters

Fred and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin family circa 1950 in Hathaway, Louisiana.  The children from left to right are Sylvia, Loris, Austin, Alma, and my mom Betty Lou.

This post is coming together from several things that I’ve been working on lately.  I’ve been editing a lot of old photos from different eras.  It’s also time to look at my mom’s side of the family.  I think I’ve neglected them a bit lately.  I did post this really nice edited photo of my mom’s childhood family recently just to give that side of my family a little bit of family history crumbs.  But it wasn’t a bona fide post.  I’m including it in this post to make it official!

The other thing that helped me to focus the theme for this week was a new DNA match at 23andMe.   He is a grandson of Aunt Marguerite, my grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin’s younger sister.  Since he matches through his mother as I do, our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the same.  The mtDNA is passed on from mothers to their children without any changes most of the time.  From time to time there are mutations.  Since 23andMe only gives an estimate of the mtDNA and those estimates are slightly different,  I’ll just say that our designation is H1.  Some of the close relatives get an -n or an -h at the end, but we’re all basically in the very common group H1.

Grace Phenice Sowder, Myrtle Phenice Bucklin, and Marguerite Phenice Hill in their young adulthood.

I also had edited photos of both Marguerite and their other sister Grace.  I recently got a blog comment from Grace’s nephew by her husband Ray Sowder.  He commented about how Grace seemed to be out of his uncle’s league as far as looks are concerned.  I have to admit, those Phenice sisters were attractive young women.  I was thinking of sharing those photo edits, as well as a photo of my own sisters that I had completed recently.  It made me realize that there are several generations along this maternal line with three or more sisters.  So I decided to make this post about all of those mitochondrial sisters.

Alma Bucklin Waldorf, Marguerite Phenice Hill, Betty Lou Bucklin Landry (my mom), Myrtle Phenice Bucklin (my grandmother), Loris Bucklin Woolley, and Sylvia Bucklin Pilcher at Grandma’s house on Alice Street in Jennings, Louisiana, on January 22, 1984.

I found several photos of my mom with one or two of her sisters, but none of just the four sisters by themselves.  I also wanted one of them as adults.  The one I decided on was this photo of Grandma with her sister Marguerite and her four daughters after the funeral of Grandpa in 1984.  It’s a good photo of all of these H1 carriers.  It includes two of the generations that are the focus of this post.  Too bad they didn’t think to include some of the granddaughters in this photo, but that wasn’t the focus on that day.  This was one of the most difficult times in my Grandma’s life and it’s nice to see her surrounded by those she cared about the most.

There are two generations before and after these two and I keep changing my mind about which two I will talk about next.  I suppose I will go with the previous generation since I’ve shared those photos before.  I’ll save the new photos (in all living color!) for the end.

Rosetta Ruth Keys Bryan, Daisy Keys Phenice, Mabel Keys Miller in 1894.

So that brings us to the Keys sisters Daisy, Ruth, and Mabel.  I’ve posted about them previously.  They all immigrated to Louisiana from England with their mother and brothers in July 1887.  Ruth lived in Jennings, Daisy lived in Hathaway, and Mabel lived in Kinder.  They stayed pretty close to where they originally settled after arriving in the United States.

Those lovely girls were the daughters of Martha Cook Keys, the brave woman that brought her five children to America after her husband had passed away.  She was a dressmaker and shop owner in London at a time when a revolution in clothing manufacturing was taking place.  I always took it for granted that she made her clothes with a sewing machine – a machine that seems so common.  But it was a newfangled thing back then.  Before that, people went through the painstankling process of sewing everything by hand.  She was part of a revolution.  I found this out from a TV program I saw when I took a break from writing this post to take a lunch break.  I have a bit more respect for old Martha now.

Martha Cook Keys and Henrietta Cook Keys were from Great Wigsborough, Essex, England. They were married to Keys brothers.

I only have one photo for both of Martha and her sister.  I think the one of Martha is a photo of a painting.  At least we have something!  She was born in 1836 in Great Wigsborough, Essex.  She was the first child of Job Cook and Ruth Horsnell. Henrietta was born in 1839 and she was the last child of Job and Ruth.  That’s because Job died the following year at the age of 38 from “phrenitis.”  Otherwise I’m sure there would have been at least one more daughter.  All the other generations that we know of had three or more daughters.  Henrietta passed that H1 down to the present also.  I have a DNA match that came directly down from her through a line of daughters.

Ruth (1816-1880) was the daughter of William Horsnell and his wife Ann (1774-1859).  We don’t know Ann’s last name.  Since I don’t know her last name, and she is the originator of the H1 DNA for all of these women, I think I may put her last name as H1.  Somehow that seems appropriate.  Ruth had two sisters, so Ann started the trend of having three or more daughters along this line.  It could have been started earlier, but we don’t know that history.

Jamie, Jodie, and Karen in 1978

Jamie Landry Perry, Jodie Landry Rhodes, and Karen Landry Fontenot on Christmas Eve 1978 in Jennings, Louisiana.

Let’s get back to the more modern era.  I had three sisters.  My two older sisters have died.  My sister Karen died this year, so that was another reason I wanted to write this post about sisters.  This photo was a photo that my parents had on a small table in their living room for many years.  It’s from 1978 and it’s a good photo of all three of my sisters.  I can see why Mama wanted it where she could see it frequently.

Jodie did not continue the tradition of three daughters.  She had two children and they were both boys.  Karen did a little better.  She started out with a son, but then did better by having two daughters.  (Just kidding, James!)  Then Jamie decided that she had to keep the tradition alive.  She had three daughters.  She really did have three daughters, but you surely know I’m joking about her trying to keep up a tradition.  It’s just a trend that happened through the years.  Mostly it was the result of large families and the law of averages.  If you have lots of children, about half of them will be female.

Sarah, Beth, and Jill Perry

Sarah, Beth, and Jill Perry in November 2020 in League City, Texas.

Here is a very recent photo of Jamie’s three Perry girls.  This was taken last month at the wedding of her youngest daughter Beth.  Weddings and funerals are usually such big family events for us, but this was the year of Covid.  Karen’s funeral had very limited attendance due to precautions for the virus.  The high point was that the cousins in Lake Charles gathered around in the distance at the graveyard to show their love and support.

Beth and Glen’s wedding was postponed from the spring because of the pandemic.  I was looking forward to the family getting together for their wedding in early November.  But Covid struck again and Allen (the father of the bride) came down with a positive test.  So we had to have a virtual attendance to the event.  It’s not as good as being there in person, but it’s much better than missing the whole thing!

Now that she’s married, she can start thinking about carrying on that tradition!  I know, I know.  It’s not really a tradition, but we can’t let that stop her.  Jill already has one daughter.  They could make it fun – like it’s a contest or game.  Our family likes games.

Let the H1 continue!

Pappy Baby

Pappy Baby

Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. circa 1893

This week I’m taking you way, way back. Not just back to the 20th century, but to the 19th. This photo was taken over 120 years ago. It’s not quite as old as the some of the other photos that I’ve posted on here, but it is older than most. I’m not really sure where it comes from. It’s either from the Tin Can Collection or the Secret Collection. It is definitely not from the Fort Knox or A.J. collections. Those are the names that my Landry cousins have come up for the various collections that have been discovered or revealed.

Whatever collection it came from, it is definitely a treasure. It is a photo of my father’s father Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. He was born on January 9, 1893, in Westlake, Louisiana. He was the youngest of 10 children born to Simon Alcide Joseph Landry and Marie Celeste Leveque Landry. The family was from the West Baton Rouge Parish, but resettled in the Lake Charles area some time during the 1880s.  I’m guessing that this photo was taken in is his first year of life, so some time in 1893.

I actually just had a snapshot of the photo to work with, but I’m not sure if a scan would improve the quality of the resulting photo.  It looks like the original is faded and monotone, but not every old photo is going to be crisp with great contrast.  I’m just glad to have a photo of Pee Paw when he was just a petite babe.

The other thing I was thinking about when I selected this photo was the family he was born into.  Cousins marrying cousins.  But I was curious about those cousins and when they lived and died.  Last week I talked about the death of the last of my maternal grandmother’s first cousins from her Phenice side.  There is actually still a surviving first cousin from her Keys side.  When I looked a Pee Paw’s first cousins, there haven’t been any around for fifty years or so.  In fact, from the Landry side of the family my dad doesn’t have any surviving first cousins.  He does have some first cousins from the Patureau side of the family.

Of course, with cousins marrying cousins, you can’t really distinguish one side from the other very easily.  This makes things particularly confusing when dealing with DNA.  I’ve been thinking about checking with my dad’s siblings to see if they would be willing to do a DNA test.  Even if I’m confused now about the DNA sources from an entwined family tree, one day I may be able to figure something out.  It’s always best to DNA test the oldest generation.

A few of us have already taken some DNA tests and I was surprised with the results.  First cousin Kenny and I share less DNA than most first cousins.  Yet first cousin Scott’s daughter and son have tested and I share more with them than I do with Kenny. What’s up with that?  Did daddy and aunt Frances share a lot more in common than most siblings?  Only a DNA test would tell.

A Study of Hine Genes

George Henry Hine with grandsons

George Henry Hine with his grandsons in 1919.

I thought I’d do a post about DNA this week.  It is directly related to this photo.  It is a photo of my maternal grandfather Fred Bucklin as a child.  He and his male cousins are gathered around their common grandfather George Henry Hine.  (I will try to identify everyone later in this post.)  I wonder if Henry was the one that passed on that towheaded or blond hair trait.  It was very common in his grandchildren and their children and grandchildren as well.  Of course, some of them don’t have this trait.  DNA traits are randomly passed on to offspring.

In each generation each parent passes on half of their genetic information.  So children are made up of half of each of their parents.  But the half that they passed on to their children was not separated evenly from their parents.  Most of the time a parent passes on more of the traits of one parent than the other.  On average you have 25% of your grandparents genes, but it varies from 19% to 35%.  As more generations pass, the differences can be notable.  I’ll give you an example.

I am the great great grandson of George Henry Hine.  Joseph Connors is too.  We both descend from his daughter Addie Mae, so we are 2nd cousins.  Chad Foley is a great great grandson as well, but he descends from Henry’s son James.  That makes him 3rd cousins to Joseph and me.  DNA tests have been done on Joseph, his mom Louise Bucklin Connors, me, and my mom Betty Lou Bucklin Landry.  And just recently Chad agreed to share his DNA results on the the website, which allows me to compare his results with everyone else who has tested.  Thanks again, Chad.

I found the results very interesting.  On average a 3rd cousin shares around 1% of their DNA, which comes to around 79 cM (centimorgans – a measuring scale for genetic linkage).  Since I discovered Chad’s DNA at Ancestry where aunt Loris tested, I will let you know that the average amount shared for 2nd cousins once removed is 129 cM.  Loris and Chad only shared about 62 cM, which was a little low but still in normal range.  I was curious to see if her siblings and cousins would share more.  And when Chad shared his results, I saw that they did.

My mom and Louise (and her brother Ray) shared more than 100cM with Chad.  This was still lower than average, but much more than Loris had.  The only one with the average amount was uncle Austin who shared 126 cM with Chad.  That’s what can happen with the random mixing of DNA through the generations.  And it can be even more random.  I compared my DNA to Chad and I share the same amount that my mom had.  All of the DNA that matches Chad just happened to pass on to me as well.  But when I compared Chad to Joseph, they had no matching DNA.  Even though Louise had about the same amount as my mom, she just happened to not pass any of it on to Joseph.  (I’m sure there was other Hine DNA that was passed on to Joseph, but the DNA segments that matched Chad were not.)

So this is an encouragement for all of you to do DNA tests.  Besides getting all of that fun heritage information and seeing whether you have Neanderthal DNA, you get to see who you are related to.  But most of the time it’s better to test the older generation.  Sometimes those little pieces that connect to certain distant ancestors get dropped out along the way.  There are a few Stanbrough (from Henry’s wife Susan Stanbrough Hine) segments that mom had that were not passed on to me.  Some of them were really interesting, too.  I’m still related to those distant cousins, but there aren’t any common DNA segments to easily prove it.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it’s time to try to identify the people in this photo from 1919.  At that time George Henry Hine had 11 grandsons.  His daughter Addie Hine Bucklin had 8 of them.  The rest were from his sons.  Let’s see who might be who.  The first one born was Leo Bucklin in 1898.  That’s him standing tall in the middle of the photo.  Next born was Ralph Bucklin in 1902.  He must be the one in the overalls.  Next born was Carl Bucklin in 1904.  He is in the back to the far left with his head turning away.  Finally Lonnie Hine gives Henry a Hine grandson in 1905.  He was named Arthur Henry and he is standing to the right of the oldest one (sans hat).

The next three are the hardest to identify.  They all look alike to me.  It doesn’t help that two of them are identical twins.  Herbert Bucklin (grandfather of Joseph) was born in 1906 and then Clarence and Fred (my grandfather) were born in 1907.  I’ll say that Herbert is the boy 2nd from the right in the back row, Fred is on the right in the back, and Clarence is 2nd from the left (sticking his tongue out.  Carla, if you want to switch those names in your mind, that is fine with me. Either one is representative of what he looked like.)  The next grandson born was Aulden Hine (son of James and grandfather of Chad) in 1908.  He is standing in front to the far left with plaid hat.  Robert Bucklin was born in 1911 and is standing in front on the right in the dark shorts.

Okay, we’re almost finished.  If there were any more, I’d have to number them and make a chart!  Roy Bucklin was born in 1915 and that’s him with his hand to his blond hair in front.  And lastly, there is little Kenneth Hine sitting in grandpa Henry’s lap.  He was born in 1916 to James.  There would be one more grandson born.  Bert Hine had a son named Harold in 1921.   There is not a photo of Harold with his grandfather because Henry died in 1919 at the age of 72.

So now we’re done.  Fini. The end.  The case study of Hine genes has been completed.  At least for now.



Hats in Hand and a Fob to Boot

Southern gentlemen from 100 years ago.  Note the fob on my great grandfather Max Patureau on the left. This photo has been edited and colorized.

This photo has a bit of Southern charm about it.  Don’t you think?  The men are dressed nicely with their jackets and hats.  I guess hats on your head were not for  indoors or for photos.  I’m not really sure about hat etiquette from 100 years ago.  The setting is very nice as well.  It looks like these men are standing around old live oaks with Spanish moss hanging from them.

I’m pretty sure this was taken in Lafayette, Louisiana.  I’ll tell you why I think this.  The man on the left is my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian Patureau, who we all like to call “Grampa Max.”  He lived in Plaquemine until 1912 and then moved to Lafayette with his family.  Part of the family was his son Romuald or Rome (rhymes with foamy) who is standing next to him in this photo.  Next in the photo is Louis Joseph Peter Landry who was the brother of Robert Joseph Landry, Sr., otherwise known as my grandfather Pee Paw aka Pappy.  So Louis was my grand uncle.

Louis and his wife had moved to Lafayette by the time their first child was born in 1906.  And since his wife was Clemence Babin, aunt of my grandmother Erie Patureau (Mee Maw), the families would have associated with each other.  They were pretty close according to Tommy Landry’s account of the family.  In fact my grandmother was living in Louis and Clemence’s household at the 1920 Census.  And with family get-togethers like the one in this photo, there would be chances for her to get to know her mother’s first cousin Rob Landry quite well.  Well enough that they were married in November of 1921.  (Which makes me wonder:  Is there a photo of Mee Maw and Pee Paw’s wedding?  If so, someone is holding out big time on me!)

Getting back to the photo.  The man on the far right is Pierre Oscar Patureau.  He was Grampa Max’s younger brother.  He was a dentist and he lived in New Orleans.  That doesn’t help my theory that this photo was taken in Lafayette, but it still points to southern Louisiana.   And since Uncle Oscar died in 1926, this photo was taken earlier.  I estimate the date as around 1920.

The main inspiration for posting this photo was DNA related.  On 23andMe daddy had a match with someone that showed as his 2nd or 3rd cousin.  This is not unusual because everybody with a good amount of Cajun DNA shows up at this predicted level of relationship.  Even the fact that the match had the last name of Landry wasn’t too significant.  But his name showed up on my tree, so I checked to make sure he was the same person in my tree.  And sure enough he is.  He even has a son named Van Landry!  The DNA match is the great great grandson of Louis Joseph Peter Landry, the man in this photo.  But this DNA match didn’t know it.  He only knew that his grandfather’s name was Dickie Landry.  With the great legacy of family tree information and old photos that my dad left behind, I have been able to share lots of family history with him.  I hope he appreciates it as much as I do.

From Finicy to Phenice

1935is - Three Generations of Phenice

Circa 1935 – Harry Clifton Phenice, Myrtle Phenice Cozad, Samuel Charles Phenice, Bernard Orville Phenice, May Phenice Taylor, and Emma Phenice Quillen.

This is one of the photos that I rediscovered the other day.  It shows three generations of my Phenice family in it.  I believe the young man in the middle is Orville Phenice, my grandmother’s brother.  Their father is Harry Clifton Phenice, who is shown on the left.  His father is the old man in the middle of the photo – Samuel Charles Phenice, a Civil War veteran and witness to the Lincoln assassination.   The other three women are Harry’s sisters Myrtle, May, and Emma.  The topic of this week’s post concerns the three generations prior to these three.

My grandmother and her siblings were born in southern Louisiana, but the generations before her were born in Pennsylvania. Her father H. C. moved to Louisiana in the 1898.  His father Samuel was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, moved around a  bit and ended up in Nebraska.  Samuel’s father Daniel was also born in Mercer County.  The father of Daniel was unknown and there have been many family members who have done research trying to find out who he was.  The further you go back, the more different the name is spelled.  Nowadays we spell the name “Phenice,” but the earliest spelling I found for the family name is “Finicy.”  Previous researchers uncovered some good information, but they were unable to identify the parentage of Daniel Phenice.  That was before DNA testing.

In 2013 I had a DNA test for myself and my parents at 23andMe.  I only found one Phenice connection on that site.  But at AncestryDNA it was a different story.  I tested my aunt Loris Woolley there last December. I started finding Phenice connections right away.  There were four 2nd cousins through the Phenice line and two 3rd cousins (to my mom’s generation).  It was helpful that they shared a good amount of common DNA with my mom, aunt Loris, uncle Austin, and their 1st cousin Julie.

In addition to all of those matches, there were several more who had ancestors with the surname “Phenicie” in their trees.  Those ancestors were all from Pennsylvania and some of them were from Mercer County.  I had seen some of the ancestors previously because they had names similar to names in our tree.  They have a Daniel Phenicie born around the same time (1808) as ours and a Samuel Phenicie who also fought in the Civil War.  I wasn’t sure how all of these other DNA matches connected, but the common DNA was pointing in the same direction.

I let the matches add up for most of 2016, but by October I had enough to inspire me to go looking for a connection.  So I made a spreadsheet of all of the names and started comparing DNA and family trees.  I looked through old research that had been done (thanks to Orville’s daughters Marilyn, Kathleen, Linda and Carol, plus some others) and found a common theme of a John Phenice born around 1765.  So I sketched out a provisional family tree.

I put John Phenicie as the father of our ancestor Daniel Phenice (b. 1809).  Since I had a few DNA matches who were descendants of Joseph Phenicie(b. 1762) and because they were born close to the same time, I put John and Joseph as brothers with an unnamed father born around 1730.  I had many more DNA matches who were descendants of Samuel Phenicie (b. 1795), so I also put him as a son of John Phenice.  Additionally there were a few descendants of an Eliza Fennesy that were DNA matches, but the parents were unknown. From there I had to try to find some source documents to back this up.

I pored through the old census records from the late 1700s and early 1800s in areas that I knew the family had lived.  Daniel and Samuel were known to have lived in Mercer and Somerset counties in Pennsylvania, and Joseph and his descendants lived in Bedford and Franklin counties.  I had already found Daniel in the Springfield, Mercer, PA censuses of 1850 and 1860.  His name was spelled Finnesy and Finnessy in those documents.  I knew I was going to have to be flexible in the spelling of the name.  I went to the 1840 census in Springfield and looked through every page of it.  I finally came across a Daniel with the  another alternate spelling of “Finecy.” (Transcribed as “Ferney” by Ancestry.)  I was glad to finally find him in 1840, but was even more excited when I saw the name directly below his – John Finecy.  And he was the right age to be Daniel’s father.  Families lived close to each other more often back then, so this looked very promising.

I continued my search for these two in the Springfield of 1830.  I didn’t find Daniel or John there, but I did find Samuel.  I checked all of Mercer county for Daniel, but I couldn’t find him.  Since Daniel married Susan Jackson in Somerset County in 1831, I decided to look in Somerset County.  I didn’t find Daniel, but I did find John.  He was listed on the census as “John Finicy, Sr.” (Transcribed as “Finiag” by Ancestry.) There was a John Finicy, Jr. a few pages before, so I would think that he was another son of John Phenicie.  There were no other names close to Finecy/Phenice and the like.  I found “John Finasee” in 1820 in Somerset County and “John Finnessee” in 1810 in Allegheny County.  I think the borders were moving back then more than the people.  They weren’t changing as much as the spelling of the name, though!

In the meantime I had been corresponding with a descendant of Eliza Finnesy.  I explored her family tree, but was unable to find out how she was connected to our Phenicies.  I was directed to the 1850 census of Eliza after she had married a Wingard.  In that census, there was a woman in the household named “Margaret Finnesy” (same spelling as my Daniel – actually the same census taker).  The relationship was not identified in the census.  There was also a death certificate that showed Eliza’s maiden name as being Finnesy, so Margaret was most likely her mother.

Then I found a really good source.  It was a record of a marriage between a John Phinnecy and a Margaret Maurer on May 29, 1792.  This tied together everything that I had found and supposed up to that point. From information in the 1850 census Margaret would have been born around 1774, so that would put them at the right age to have been parents to Samuel, Daniel, and John Jr.  In addition to these children, I found some more DNA matches who had a Mary Finnessee born in 1798 in their trees.  In one of them they had the birth location as Allegheny County, which corresponded to what I had found for John Phenice in 1810.  I believe she is another child of John and Margaret.

All of this information makes me feel pretty certain that John and Margaret were indeed the parents of those individuals.  In addition to the paper sources, the DNA backs it all up.  And the members of our extended family were the only people with that last name in those counties.  I searched through those census pages till I was cross-eyed!

There is another record that I found, but I’m less sure of it.  It is for a “John Archibald Finnacy” born in 1765 in Maryland.  I don’t know why I am unsure of this as being “our” John Phenicie.  There were references in census records that showed Joseph and other family members as being born in Maryland.  The name and the date correspond as well.  There is a similar record for a Joseph Finnacy born in the same location.  The birth date is shown as 1768 which is different than all other records of Joseph Phenicie which show him as being born in 1762.  In any case, it gives the parents of these two as Stephen (b. 1730) and Ann.  That date would match my supposition and other clues.  Stephen is also a common name in both family lines.

So the data all seems to support the suppositions I made to start off.  I found the name of John Phenice’s wife – also known as my great great great great grandmother Margaret Maurer.   Since everything else lined up so well, I also added the parents of John as being Stephen Finnacy and Ann.  I’m happy with the results, though I haven’t been able to find out when the family immigrated or where they are from.  I get new matches frequently and there are also a few unconnected DNA matches who have the Finecy name in their trees.  There’s always something else to explore.

May 11, 2017 Update – I obtained a new photo from the same day as this photo was taken.  Better yet, the names of everyone was labeled on the photo!  So I edited this post with those names and here is the photo.

The Samuel Charles Phenice family in 1935.

Harry Clifton Phenice, Lola “Myrtle” Phenice Cozad, Samuel Charles Phenice, Anna “May” Phenice Taylor, and Emma Orra Phenice Quillen. A father and four of his children circa 1935.

Hathaway Horse Sense

A Little Bit of Horse Sense Goes a Long Way

I have recently been going through the book that Edith Keys Segraves put together and published in 1980.  It is called “Cook-Keys Family: Two Centuries in England and America.” In it she lists the ancestors of Henry Keys and Martha Cook, my great great grandparents.  I’m sure you know all about them because I have mentioned them before and recently posted a photo of their three daughters – Daisy, Mabel and Ruth. (See Dec. 13, 2015 post by clicking on thumbnail.) 1890s -Ruth Mabel and Daisy Keys Clarity Portrait Drama Those three daughters are the root of the discovery I recently was able to confirm.

In the book Cousin Edith not only lists the ancestors, but also spent a good bit of time and energy in finding and naming as many descendants as she could find.  At that time it would have meant a lot of telephone calls (with real phones connected to the wall!) and letters (remember those?  You would sit down and write on paper with a pen!)  And she didn’t stop with just the descendants of Henry and Martha, she went back two generations further – namely to William Horsnell who was born in 1770.  I posted a photo of Uncle Will Horsnell (son of William) a while back. (See Feb. 24, 2016 post by clicking on thumbnail.) 1875 - William Horsnell and Rebecca in Iowa Rev.He’s the uncle that moved from Iowa to Louisiana and Martha Cook Keys followed him there.  He’s the first person buried at China cemetery.

But before Martha moved to Louisiana, some of her Horsnell and Cook relatives followed Unce Will and his brothers to Iowa in the 1850s.  Cousin Edith tracked most of this information and listed their descendants at the end of her book.  And me being the devoted (or deranged – you can choose your adjective!) genealogist that I am, I have been entering all of these people into my own family tree.  Then I take it a bit further and try to bring it up to date.  Using birth and death notices on Ancestry is the first thing I do.  Then I look up obituaries online or on  Some of them will list all of the family members, which is really helpful.  Once I get to people born in the 50s, I take to Facebook and see who I can find.

There is a lot of information that people share on Facebook.  Has anyone noticed that?  It can be helpful with my research.  I even copy photos of relatives and add them to my tree.  It’s interesting to see how some family lines kind of die out, while others spread like wildfire.  In my quest, I came across some Hunters with a Horsnell mother.  From time to time I’ll send a note to someone if it looks like they are interested in genealogy, but most of the time I find as much as I can then move on.  That’s what I did with the Hunters.

But then on a genetic genealogy site a few days later, someone with the same last name as one of the Hunter sisters posted a note about being on a DNA site, which is where I do a lot of my research.  So I went to the site and searched the name in Mama and aunt Loris’s match list.  The guy’s name didn’t show up in their list, but a Cheryl Benham did come up.  And the name sounded familiar from the Hunter sisters.  So I looked her up, and sure enough Cheryl Hunter married a Benham.  Could it be our Horsnell cousin Cheryl?  She had matching DNA to aunt Loris and a smaller amount with Mama.

1770 William Horsnell Connection - 3

So I sent her a note, and she replied quickly.  Yes, her mother was a Hornsell.  Even though she matched mom and Loris, I still wanted to get more verification.  She was a member of 23andMe where many Keys relatives have tested, so I invited her to share with me.  She quickly agreed and yesterday I compared her with the other Keys cousins and “Eureka!” she matched Kay Bryan and Myra Miller (who are 2nd cousins to each other and 4th cousins with Cheryl) on the exact same spot.

1770 William Horsnell Connection - 2 rEV

Definitely some Horsnell DNA that has been passed down through the generations.  (In case you were wondering about the title, this is what I was refering to.  Mama always said that she had “Hathaway horse sense.”  Come to find out, she inherited it!)

1770 William Horsnell Connection - 1

So that book by Edith Keys Segraves is a treasure.  I wish I could thank her.  I’m sure she would be excited to see the verification of the research with the matching DNA.  Maybe even more excited than all of you are!  But to see DNA from each of the Keys sisters – Daisy being represented by mom and Loris, Mabel being represented by Myra Miller, and Ruth being represented by Kay Bryan –  that was passed down from even further back and being able to identify it is remarkable.  Thanks again, Cousin Edith.

McGrath and Mooney: My Irish Roots

1880s - Mary McGrath Bucklin

Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin some time in the 1880s

This is my great great grandmother Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin and even though she was born in England, she was all Irish. I knew about her ever since I was young. I didn’t have much information on her and assumed that she was Irish. But she was born in England. So I searched for her parents’ names. I found her father’s name on the marriage registration when she married James A. Bucklin in 1854. I wanted more.

I wanted the name of my great great great grandmother and Mary Ann wasn’t talking! But her DNA was. My mom had a strong DNA match at 23andMe named Matt G. and the only common surname that we had with him was McGrath. Normally that wouldn’t be enough to go with since McGrath is a common Irish name, but since there was so much common DNA, I pursued it a bit more vigorously.

I sent him her birthdate and birth place, but the thing that revealed the connection was when I told him that she had settled in Palmer, Massachusetts. That was where his McGrath Irish roots were from also! And the best thing about it was that his grandfather and great grandmother had gathered information about the family and written it all down for the rest of the family.  (For someone who does genealogical research, this is a very exciting thing to hear.)

So I prodded him to find that written information and see if he could find the clear connection. And sure enough he finally found the name of a certain Mary Ann who had married a James Bucklin in Massachusetts in 1854.  Mary Ann and James later moved to Louisiana and over time they lost touch with the rest of the family back in New England.

And here’s the best part. (Wait, didn’t I already say something else was the best thing? Oh, well.) I told you earlier that I wanted the name of Mary Ann’s mother.  She was the last unknown great great great grandparent of mine.  And they had her name! And the name of all of Mary Ann’s siblings -Arthur, Margaret, James, Catherine, John, and Daniel.  They had lived in Roscommon, Ireland and the last sibling was born in Ireland in 1838. So the family moved to Massachusetts some time between 1838 and 1854.

And everyone knows what happened in Ireland during that time, right? The Great Irish Potato Famine.  I’ve heard about it all of my life, but never thought that it had any direct effect on my family. Boy was I wrong! Mary Ann’s parents found a way to move themselves and their seven children to the United States at a time when over 1 million people starved to death in Ireland.  They were among the million people who left to find a better life.

So this St. Patrick’s Day I’m going to celebrate my Irish roots. And I’ll be glad to tell everyone that I am the great great great grandson of Maria Ettadosia Mooney McGrath!


1893 - I was an Irishman

Part of a journal by Mary McGrath Bucklin’s son Louis Charles Bucklin in 1893. He refers to himself as an Irishman. (see green print)

Phenice DNA at AncestryDNA

Aunt Loris Bucklin Woolley (my mom’s sister) agreed to submit a saliva sample to AncestryDNA a few months ago. I had myself and my parents tested at 23andMe previous to that, but I wanted to spread my net to the pool of testers. One of the first DNA matches that I noticed on her results was someone named Henry Oakley Spencer.

I had expected that match because I already knew that he had a good portion of matching DNA with my mom.  I had interacted with him on Ancestry after noticing that his family tree had matching names of Daniel Phenice and Susan Jackson.  Then he had taken a DNA test at AncestryDNA and uploaded his result to  He showed up as having more DNA in common with my mom than anybody else she matched DNA with.  It was actually more than would be expected for 3rd cousins. 

So the match to him was not a surprise.  The surprise that I did find was a DNA match with the Quillen name. My great grandfather Harry Clifton Phenice (grandson of Daniel and Susan) had a sister named Emma Orra that was married to a Quillen, so I assumed that’s how we were related. And sure enough, I was right.  This DNA match was the great granddaughter of Emma Phenice Quillen.  

1921- Catherine Jane Foster Phenice and Samuel Phenice with grandchildren

Circa 1920- Cathrine Jane Foster Phenice and Samuel Phenice with grandchildren (children of Emma Orra Phenice Quillen).  On Cathrine’s lap is Harold, in the middle is Erma, and on Samuel’s lap is Dean.

Actually two Phenice 3rd cousins (to my generation) have tested there and are matches to Aunt Loris. But the best part is that one of them responded to my note to her and ended up sending me a photo of Harry Clifton Phenice’s parents Samuel Charles and Cathrine Jane Foster Phenice with some of their grandchildren!! I love getting new old photos of my ancestors. It’s an exciting reward to the research that I do.

So if you enjoy this photo, you can thank my third cousin Michelle Quillen.

Phenice and Keys United

1900-Daisy Keys, Emma, May, HC and Ed Phenice

March 1906 – Daisy Keys, Lola Myrtle Phenice and Emma Orra Phenice in the back. In the front is Harry Clifton Phenice and James Edmund “Edd” Phenice. The four Phenice individuals are siblings.

These people would never have dreamed that their photo would be posted on an electronic device that would be available for all to see.

The photo includes the parents of my grandmother Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin. Daisy Keys Phenice is the one standing on the left. She was married to Harry Clifton Phenice who is sitting in front of her.  The ages of the people suggest that the photo was taken sometime around 1905-1910.  It was probably taken in March 1906 when Daisy and H. C. went up to Precept, Nebraska, for the wedding of his younger sister Myrtle. (See Visits in the Past)

The others in the photo are H. C.’s sisters Myrtle and Emma (a witness at the 1906 wedding) and their brother Edd. Some of this information was on the back of the photo. Myrtle Phenice was older than Emma Phenice, but in this picture the one in the middle looks younger.  After comparing this photo to other photos that were personally labeled by Emma Phenice Quillen, I think the names are correct.

July 20, 2018 Update

When I originally posted this photo, I thought it was probably from around 1900.  That would have been closer to Daisy and H. C.’s wedding date.  That would have been too early, though.  There’s no way that Emma was only 11 years old in this photo.  When I found Myrtle’s wedding record from 1906 and it showed Daisy as a witness, I changed the date for the photo.  It was likely taken just before the wedding.

I also had the names incorrect for the sisters.  I had no name for the brother.  My mom wrote the names on the back of the photo as Daisy, Emma, and May. (Though it looks more like my handwriting from years back.  I probably asked her about it and that was her best guess.)  Then I got in contact with Emma’s granddaughter Mona Quillen and she recognized her grandmother as the sister on the right.

If the name May was correct, then that meant that the girl in the middle was 20 years older than Emma.  Anna May Phenice was born in 1869 and Emma was born in 1889.  That couldn’t be right.  Then Mona sent me copies of several photos of her grandmother and her siblings.  And best of all, she had written names on the photos.  What a treasure that is!  After looking through them and editing them, I was able to recognize which sister was which.  So now I think I’ve got them straightened out.

Keys in the DNA – Unlocking a Mystery

This is a reworked page from the book by my grandmother’s cousin Edith Keys Segraves – “Cook – Keys Family: Two Centuries in England and America.”  It shows the common ancestors that were discovered through matching DNA. 

The story begins with a post by a DNA match at 23andMe.

“H1 looking for mother’s ancestors and relatives.”

By StillCurious on Jun 27, 2012
My beautiful blond mother was supposedly born in April 1927 under the name “Jane Hamilton”. As an infant she was adopted by a judge and his attorney wife in Lake Charles, LA. The adoption papers show Ft. Worth, TX as my mother’s place of birth/adoption but this info could be false or misleading. Because her adopted parents were global travelers who had the legal knowledge to obscure birth records, my mother could have been born anywhere in the U.S., or possibly Western Europe.

To this day, my mother and I have been unable to trace her ancestry. It would be wonderful to help my mother identify her ancestors before she passes. My mother’s health has been good most of her life and it would seem her maternal ancestors in particular would have also had generally good health.

Thank you for any information leading to the identity of my mother’s ancestors and relatives.

I joined in April 2013 when a group of friends decided we’d get our DNA tested. I sent off for a kit, completed it appropriately, and then waited patiently to get my results. As I waited, I also completed surveys on the site and explored the forums to try to get educated about the DNA results so I’d know a little before I received them.

At last the results arrived. Besides finding out that I have the most Neanderthal DNA of anyone in my group of friends, 23andMe provided me with a list of other members who share common DNA with me. So I started sending out invitations to “share genomes” with my closest cousins on the list. This just means you can compare your chromosome information with theirs and see where the common genes are located.

23andMe also tells you what your maternal and paternal haplogroups are. They are not really all that helpful because it only tells you about your father’s father’s father’s…line and your mother’s mother’s mother’s…line. And there are many more lines as you go back through the generations. My maternal haplogroup happens to be H1, which is the same as StillCurious, who wrote the above posting a year ago on 23andMe (His one and only posting.). He also is a close cousin of mine according to 23andMe. When I read his posting, I thought, “Maybe I’ll be able to help him find out who his mother is.” My response to myself was, “Yeah, right.”

The following are 23andMe correspondences, starting with my invitation to share genomes (cousin messages are italicized):


Jun 30, 2013 Van Landry wrote to Elizabeth Wermuth and StillCurious, suspected Cousins:

Through our shared DNA, 23andMe has identified us as relatives. Our predicted relationship is 3rd Cousin, with a likely range of 2nd to 3rd Cousin. That would mean we share a great great grandparent. Here is a list of mine:

Narcisse Landry (b. 1796), Marie Hebert (b. 1802), Joseph Leveque (b. 1805), Marguerite Landry (b. 1821), Ferdinand Patureau (b. 1826), Marie Landry (b. 1829), Trasimond Landry (b 1839), Marie Bujol (b. 1843), James Bucklin (b. 1821), Mary McGrath (b. 1827), George Hines (b. 1846), Susan Stanbrough (b. 1851), Samuel Phenice (b. 1844), Katherine Foster (b. 1849), Henry Keys (b.1823) and Martha Cook (b. 1838).

Would you like to explore our relationship?


Jul 3, 2013 Elizabeth Wermuth, a Cousin wrote to Van Landry:

That is so funny! My great grandparents are Martha Cook and Henry Keys!!! My grandparents are Inez Moreau and Lloyd Bryan, grandparents are Herbert Bryan and Rosetta Ruth Keys, her parents are Martha Cook and Henry Keys! So yes we do share great grandparents!


Jul 3, 2013 Van Landry wrote to Elizabeth Wermuth, a 2nd Cousin once removed:

My great grandmother was Daisy Keys, who married Harry Clifton Phenice. My grandmother was Myrtle Phenice, who married Fred Bucklin. And my mother is Betty Lou Bucklin (grew up in Hathaway, LA), who married Bob Landry. This makes us 2nd cousins once removed. I finally found someone related to me through my mom’s side. Have you found any others related to you through the Keys? I’ve found several people on here related to me through my father, but none of them as closely related as you are. I’ll have to check with my mom to see if she remembers your family.


Jul 3, 2013 Elizabeth Wermuth, a 2nd Cousin once removed wrote to Van Landry:

I haven’t found any others that I don’t already know besides first cousins… my mom and her parents grew up in Hathaway they all still live there except my mom and I!

I have a huge family tree book at home that dates back a few hundred years and most from England…. know my great grandfather (our haha) came from England.. i have to look into the rest this weekend and send you over what I have!

This is pretty amazing that you can find a second cousin through 23andme.

Jul 10, 2013 Bill Kedem (StillCurious) a mysterious cousin wrote to Van Landry:

Thanks for your 23andme sharing invite which I have accepted. Your family tree info could be helpful in determining my mother’s biological family.

My mother was apparently adopted in 1927 and to this day we have been unable to trace her biological parents. She was adopted by Judge Thomas F. Porter and Mary Gayle Porter from Lake Charles. Judge and Mrs. Porter (my adoptive grandparents) were both attorneys and were quite good at obscuring my mother’s true family in all adoption records. Judge and Mrs. Porter had a considerable no. of friends, relatives and business associates all over SW LA.

To exchange more info, please feel free to call me.



Jul 13, 2013 Van Landry wrote to Elizabeth Wermuth, a 2nd Cousin once removed:

I was comparing genomes and came across an intriguing mystery. According to 23andMe, I’m related to a guy named Bill Kedem. The order of the relationship is somewhere around 3rd cousin. I contacted him and started sharing genomes with him. He said that his mother was adopted and they were still curious and wanted to find out where she came from. I checked to see if he was related to any of the many people that I’ve determined to be on my dad’s side of the family, and there were no common genomes. He told me that his father was not Cajun, so that would mean that we are related through our mothers. When I compared him to you, I was greatly surprised. It showed that you two shared twice as much DNA (compared to yours and mine) across 13 segments of your chromosomes.

I don’t really know you and don’t want to be intrusive, but I was interested in seeing if there was anything you might know about our common relatives of long ago. His mother was born in 1927 and given up for adoption as an infant with the name Jane Hamilton. Bill is not related to my Cajun side and is not related to your Ashkenazi Jewish side, so they are probably related through the same line that we’re related. (Bill’s and my common maternal haplogroup H1 would support this.) I could be completely wrong and missing something, but it is an interesting mystery nonetheless.

Any thoughts, any complaints, any questions? I can’t stop thinking about it.

Jul 15, 2013 Elizabeth Wermuth, a 2nd Cousin once removed wrote to Van Landry:

You aren’t being intrusive! This is crazy… yes I see him as a 2nd cousin and the most closely related person I have on this site…. since he is related to us both it has to be through Henry Keys and Martha Cook…. My family tree shows….. Martha Cook and Henry Keys had a daughter Rosetta Ruth Keys…. she and Herbert Bryan had a son Lloyd Bryan (1916-1972) who married my grandmother Inez Moreau… they had two children my mother and uncle… So if his mother was born in 1927…. maybe it was from either my great grandparents or their siblings? not sure….


Jul 15, 2013 Van Landry wrote to Elizabeth Wermuth, a 3rd Cousin:

Well that cleared up a problem I was having in figuring this out. I mistakenly thought you were the daughter of Lloyd Bryan. When you listed them earlier, you called them your grandparents, but also called Herbert Bryan your grandparents. And called Martha Cook your great grandparents. No mention of your mother, so I assumed you were related to Keys through your father, Lloyd Bryan. I assumed wrong. So it’s you to your mother to your grandfather Lloyd Bryan through your great grandmother Rosetta Ruth Keys to your great great grandparents Henry Keys and Martha Cook. So that means we are 3rd cousins.

When I was looking at this problem before, it seemed like the generations were off somehow! That explains the problem, or at least some of it. The question now is if Lloyd had any sisters that may have given up a child for adoption. That’s based on our assumptions being correct!

Jul 27, 2013 Van Landry wrote to Bill Kedem (StillCurious) a 3rd Cousin:

Ok, let me tell you what I have discovered so far.

I went to visit my parents this past weekend and looked over information on my ancestors. You and I are related through my Mom’s side of the family. I’m pretty sure it is through my (or our) great great grandparents Henry Keys and Martha Cook. They lived in England and had five children. When Henry died, Martha – a dressmaker – moved with her five children to Louisiana. The oldest daughter was my great grandmother Daisy Keys. The next child in line was a daughter named Rosetta Ruth Keys (b. Jan 13, 1879 & d. April 22, 1967 in Jennings), who I think was your great grandmother.

She married Herbert Maurice Bryan (b. March 4, 1880 & d. Nov. 5, 1932) on December 24, 1901. Their first son (fourth child) was Lloyd Bryan who was born in 1911. He is the father of Sandra “Kay” Bryan, who is the mother of Elizabeth Wermuth, who shows as your second cousin on 23andMe. (You both show as third cousins to me.) Lloyd was kind of young to father your mother in 1927, so the likely candidates are his older sisters:

Rena Oliva Bryan was born in 1902, married Robert Allen in 1931 and had her only reported child in 1932. The son died at age 15.

Elsie Ruth Bryan was born in 1905, never married and no report of any children. She went away to school in Houston and worked there for a while. She ended up living in Lake Charles. She died in 2002. A very good candidate.

Hazel Bryan was born in 1908, married Clifton Derouen in 1931, and had her first child in 1933. She died in 1998. The children are Eugene (b. 1933), Linda (born in 1937), Jarrett (b. 1940 & d. 2000), and Donald Derouen (b. 1945). They were born in Lake Charles and several of their children were born in Lake Charles also. If one of them could be tested, it would be helpful in solving this mystery. How to go about that is beyond me.

Jul 28, 2013 Bill Kedem (StillCurious) a 3rd Cousin wrote to Van Landry:

Good morning, Van.

Thank you very much for taking so much time to shed light on my mother’s ancestry. You have obviously taken a serious and time-consuming task in hand. My immediate family is very grateful for your time and kindness.

I have informed my half sister (Diana Greene from Lafayette) of your info and she is going to review it ASAP with our mother, Jane Porter Zerkowsky. As I mentioned, Jane is confined to an assisted care facility in Lafayette and her mental faculties are rapidly failing. However, I do believe she will understand your info and finally realize that it is true her biological mother was Elsie Ruth Bryan.

My sister Diana and Jane met with Elsie at Elsie’s care facility in Lake Charles not long before Elsie passed. My sister has informed me that Elsie did not acknowledge Jane as her daughter. The story of this meeting is long and detailed and I am still trying to verify more info about the meeting and why it took place.

Furthermore, if you can believe this, the Clifton Derouen family lived across the street from Jane’s residence in Lake Charles in the 1960s. Never did Hazel acknowledge any connection to Jane as her Aunt. We have reason to believe that Hazel was aware of the family connection because of info my sister and Jane subsequently learned from another member of Hazel’s family. I believe I mentioned to you in our telephone conversation that we were aware that the Derouen family was possibly connected to my mother’s biological mother.

I will be in touch too with more info as I receive it from my sister.

Jul 29, 2013 Van Landry wrote to Bill Kedem (StillCurious):

I’ve been so excited about this all day. When I sent you all of those names, I thought they would be faceless names that wouldn’t have much meaning to you or your mother. I was a bit confused by the line “finally realize that it is true her biological mother was Elsie Ruth Bryan.” I had only said that she was a very good candidate. Then I questioned the phrase “finally realized.” When I read more, I realized that the names I sent you were not faceless in the least. I even got choked up a bit knowing that she had visited Elsie shortly before she died.

When I was looking at the ‘possible candidates’ for her mother, I remember fantasizing about the possibility of Elsie being her mother. I saw that she moved to Lake Charles and I imagined her moving there so she could be close to the daughter that she gave up those years ago. So you can see why your information floored me. And then to have Hazel’s family living across the street was surprising too. I don’t recall you mentioning the Derouens when we spoke on the telephone. I remember talking about the Keys family. Come to find out, we were talking about the same people! When I made the comment about one of them being tested to verify the connection, I thought, “Yeah, right, like someone would do that for a perfect stranger.”

Not strangers after all. And it doesn’t look like a test is needed to verify the connection.