Project Success Stories

Tracing my ancestors with Y-DNA help

When my father died, I discovered a sketchy family tree going back to my great-great-grandfather Phillips who had five children who lived to adulthood - the tree showed most of the descendants of two of the five (my great grandfather and one of his brothers) but little information about the others. There was a letter from a third cousin of mine of whom I hadn't even known existed. He was descended from my great grandfather's brother and had recorded the information about his line. What I wanted to do at that point was to trace back my Phillips line as far as possible but there were no leads.  

On a visit to England, I met my third cousin but he could shed no light on other Phillips ancestors of ours. I then decided to track down descendants of my great-grandfather's other siblings. Two were males. The tree indicated one had left for Australia about 1871, had married "Emily", and had a son "Harry" but where in Australia the English side had not heard. I decided to look for my Australian Phillips's later. Another brother had stayed in England. Using census information for England taken in 1901 (there are no more recent censuses publicly available at this time), I discovered he was still single at age 41.

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Who Would Have Thought?

As I opened the envelope and read the news, I found myself saying "who would have thought".  I was thinking back to two years earlier when Mike and I set out on this adventure. Mike, my husband of forty six years, was the real motivator in this journey. He had come up with the idea, in November of 2005, of doing DNA testing through Family Tree and joining He and several of his family have long been interested in their family history and had some information already documented. So we set out to see what more we could find.

I am an only child. My parents, Vern and Ruby (Shadley) Phillips, had moved from Illinois to San Diego CA in 1939, where I was born Connie Lou Phillips in 1943. Therefore, for a Y DNA sample I needed a male donor. My father and his only brother were no longer living, so I asked my uncle's son if he would take the test. He consented and that took care of that hurdle, for the Phillips line DNA. While looking over the Family Tree DNA website Mike had discovered that there were surname projects listed. Mike and I both joined our surname projects, ordered the kits, and waited for our test results to come back.

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DNA - The New Tool for Genealogical Research

Many folks often get discouraged when they reach a "brick wall" and can't proceed further with their investigation.  That "brick wall" comes to most every one whose ancestors left few if any documents to trace.  I reached my "brick wall" with Robert PHILLIPS, born 3 January 1786 in Lancaster Co., SC, and died 31 March 1861, Flat Creek Township, Lancaster Co., SC.  He married Susanna DEASON, daughter of Edmond Riley DEASON, Sr. and Hester CATO.

It appeared I would not be able to advance my ancestral lineage in a traditional way, searching records in courthouses, corresponding or visiting with older family members (they are a treasure of info when they are contacted), and seeking the help of distant folks on the Internet.  That is how I found that Robert PHILLIPS had a half-brother, Joel Phillips.  Who was the mother of this new person I had in my data base?  Robert's father apparently had been married twice.  A family member near Kershaw helped expand that family, but I was still unable to determine who their father was, and who his wives were.  Another link was that this family may have come to South Carolina from southwest Virginia.

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Shaking the Tree

My father died at age 45, his father at age 51 and his grandfather at age 60.  My grandfather's mother died in her early 30's and when his father remarried and moved from Hardeman County, Texas to Oklahoma in 1903, my grandfather and two of his five siblings stayed in Texas with their father's brother in Quanah, Hardeman County.  My great grandfather died in Arkansas in the early 1920's.  I have yet to find his grave but in the 1920 census he was in Pike County, Arkansas. 

About six years ago, when I got the "itch" to find out something about my ancestors and those of my wife, I had little to work with on my paternal line. The only thing I had was an article from the Foard County, Texas Historical Society about my grandfather Arthur Phillips.  The article had been written several years after my grandfather's death and the information consisted primarily of "family tradition".  Unfortunately, that tradition proved to be about 90 percent incorrect.  It said that my grandfather, Arthur Phillips was born at Nashville, Tennessee in December 1866 to Charles W. and Betty Phillips and that the family had moved to Texas in the early 1900's. 

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