Project Success Stories

Cousins Reunited After 67 Years

One of our Phillips DNA Project members, John Phillips of Sydney, Australia, recently related a story which needs to be shared about his wife Netalija. While technically it is not a DNA success story, it is a success story on the benefits of using the Internet and genealogy sites to do your family research. You never know what you might find and Netalija found something she thought was lost forever, her family in Russia. 

The two videos below tell the story of how two cousins, Netalija and Marianna, separated by the Battle of Leningrad in 1941 and each thought the other dead for 67 years. John used to post his family history and the results from John's family history quest resulted in a joyous reunion between Netalija Karlovna Mittenberg, his wife, and her cousin, Marianna Aleksandrova Egorova.

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Our Common Objective

Presumably members of this DNA project share a common objective. That is to trace back as far as we can our bloodline, revealing distant relatives and gaining glimpses into the history of those who helped fashion our characteristics that make us into who we are today.  Each of us seeks distant Phillips's, recognising that somewhere the trail will finish but with the help of DNA we may be able to add a few more generations.

Eventually, we will find links with other surname groups who share our DNA and Smiths and Jones will begin to enter our family trees.  We are simply Phillips's because sometime in the past an ancestor chose the name Phillips.  Why?  Was he a horse dealer or lover as the Greek Origin suggests?  Was it for political or religious aspirations or did he merely like the name and chose it in preference to the many others available?  Some make choices to belong to a group; others seek the opposite and want to be different. Ultimately each of us, I suppose, is seeking the tribe to which we belong.

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Danny Phillips Success Story

I am 53 years old with 3 grown children, two granddaughters and another due in June.  I have lived in Macon County, Tennessee, my entire life.  Macon County is about one hour west of Overton County, Tennessee, where many Phillips lived.  I have worked as a meat department manager since high school.

I started genealogy about 25 years ago and zipped right through my mother's family but found that my Phillips line was not so easy.  I spent hours in libraries, courthouses, even flying to Oklahoma where my great grandfather migrated in 1905.  NO LUCK.  After all those years and TOO much money, I heard about DNA.

I had my doubts but was willing to take a chance.  I am so glad I did...shortly after testing, I received emails from two matches.  Beverly Phillips' husband and I are almost exact matches and Doyle Phillips is very close.  Beverly was a great help in sorting out my connections.  Without her help, I would still be looking for that missing link.  I also enjoy Doyle's emails and applaud his hard work.  Nancy and Carolyn have also been very helpful.

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A DNA Testing Success Story

I joined the Phillips DNA Project at the request of James Phillips, who believed that the lineage I had traced for myself might help him find out more about his. James, as it turned out, had correctly guessed we might share common ancestors. And we do. James and I and four others are represented in Group 20. This, alone, might be reason enough to participate in the project, collecting cousins who may not know their detailed lineage, but suspect they are in a group of relatives from a common geographical area, and then sharing genealogical information about their common ancestors.

However, I also wanted to solve an old genealogical puzzle. Based on my own genealogical research, I was convinced that I traced back to Rev. George Phillips of Watertown, Massachusetts. After all, genealogists and historians for over 150 years have claimed lineage links from the original colonists of Massachusetts, who came with the Winthrop fleet seeking a better life in the New World, to the Newtown, Long Island, and old Hunterdon County, now Mercer County, New Jersey, Phillips families. As these printed references claimed, Theophilus, Joseph, Daniel, and their sister who married Henry Mayle, who lived at and helped found the town of Newtown, Long Island, descended from Zerobabel Phillips of Southampton, Long Island, Rev. George Phillips and his second wife, Elizabeth's first son. After all, if it was printed in a book, let alone many books, how could this claim be wrong? Well, there were "hints" over the years that this might not be correct and always ended in too many "unknowns."

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