Understanding the use of DNA research in genealogy and explaining it are two very different things. Fortunate we are, then, to have Edward G. Hubbard’s fine nine-page article in the May 2014 issue of The Maine Genealogist using a Maine family to illustrate how DNA can be used to “support genealogical conclusions that are based on indirect evidence.”
The article is “DNA Evidence and Genealogy: The Hubbard Families of Acton, Maine; Wisconsin and North Carolina.” The author’s objective was to trace the lineage of his great-great-grandfather, Daniel Hubbard, born 1815 in Maine, who had taken his family from Orono to Wisconsin in the 1850s.
The record of Daniel’s second marriage listed his parents as Daniel and Frances, and had him being from “Shipley,” which Hubbard figured out was likely Shapleigh. But probate records and the Revolutionary War pension file for an older Daniel Hubbard did not name children.
Land deeds, it turns out, recorded transactions between the older Daniel and various sons, including the Daniel who went to Wisconsin, and also a son Samuel.
Meanwhile, Edward Hubbard was corresponding with Beverly Hubbard Godfrey, who was descended from John H. Hubbard, who was shipwrecked off North Carolina in the 1850s. Beverly’s line was also connected to Stephen Hubbard of Cape Elizabeth.
Could it be proved that both John H. and Stephen were sons of the above-named Samuel, son of Daniel?
Indeed it could, by comparing the Y-chromosome DNA test results for Edward Hubbard and for a brother of Beverly Hubbard Godfrey. Edward’s article nicely explains what such a test looks for, namely a high percentage of the same alleles, which are repeating sequences of information.
Twenty-five of 27 such sequences matched exactly, Edward pointed out, and the other two were only slightly different.
The Y-chromosome DNA referenced here is what we think of as the surname line — the father’s father’s father’s father, and so on.
The other piece of genealogical data that can be proved using DNA is the mitochondrial DNA, which is the mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s line, and so on. This can be tested in males as well as females, but males do not pass on mitochondrial DNA.
In between these two genealogical lines, there are, of course, many other lines that alternate between male and female descent. DNA testing does not yet cover those kinds of lines specifically.
I was very pleased to see The Maine Genealogist, which is the quarterly of the Maine Genealogical Society, publish this useful illustrative article.
Membership in MGS is by the calendar year, so researchers who decide to join now would receive the full year’s worth of publications, at a cost of $25 per year, sent to Maine Genealogical Society, PO Box 221, Farmington, ME 04938.
Another fascinating piece in the May issue is “The Search for Abigail, Wife of Benjamin Murch of Hampden, Maine” by Dana Paul Murch of Belfast. Murch traces Abigail’s connections to the Arey family of Orrington, including relation to the Hayden and Bickford families. I especially appreciated reference to the work of the late Katherine “Kay” Trickey, a dear lady whose lifelong research benefited so many of us.
Also in the May issue are “Some Owners of The White House of Belfast, Maine,” by Rick Davis; and “Nineteenth Century Records of the First and Second Churches of Wells, Maine,” by Priscilla Eaton. The latter includes causes of death for 1852-1868, information that is compelling as well as useful.
Do take out your calendar and write “MGS” across the date of Saturday, Sept. 13. Plan to attend the annual meeting in Brewer, which will feature a keynote address by Dr. Thomas Jones, “Can a Complex Research Problem Be Solved Solely Online?”
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.