|The Author's Maternal Grandmother|
While I'm not one to usually look for signs from above, it seemed like more than just a coincidence when the bill for my birthday breakfast came back matching the last two digits of each of our birth years: hers the dollars and mine the cents.
The chance pairing of those numbers stuck in my head and set the tone for the rest of my birthday.
A DNA Research Project
Readers of this blog know that I am researching my 5th great-grandfather Thomas Kirk. He represents a brick wall for my paternal line. I want to learn the identities of his parents and their ancestral origins. Given the spotty 18th century paper trail, I've turned to genetic genealogy.
Thomas had a large family with at least twelve children. Seven of his children were sons who lived to adulthood and had sons of their own. To accurately recreate Thomas' Y-DNA, I've been searching for male descendants of each of his seven sons.
After months of research and outreach, four men - descendants of four of his seven sons - agreed to participate in the Y-DNA initiative and tested. However, I still wanted to find male testers descending from the remaining three sons. I had feelers out to several men.
Stopping by the mailbox on my birthday, I saw there was a letter from a gentleman who was a descendant of one of those three remaining sons. He's not online and doesn't have an email address, so we've been corresponding about our shared Kirk ancestry through letters.
I ripped open the envelope and pulled out his note: "Yes I would be willing to do a DNA test."
I was ecstatic! Testing another descendant of one of Thomas' sons was a fantastic birthday present. I quickly loaded up the DNA website and ordered his kit. Five sons tested only two sons to go.
When I logged into my own account, I saw that I had a new Y-DNA match. The match's surname was Kirk. I quickly recognized that the first name belonged to a gentleman I spoke with this past winter about testing. Months of radio silence later, here I was staring at another genetic match and, best of all, the descendant of one of the two remaining sons.
|Chart of Y-DNA-tested descendants of Thomas Kirk's sons.|
What were the odds that two more men - much sought-after descendants of two of Thomas' sons - would both contribute to the Y-DNA research project on the same day? And my birthday to boot! It felt rather serendipitous. As a genealogist, I couldn't ask for a better gift, and I can't help but wonder if my grandmother had a hand in it.
My focus is now on Thomas' last remaining son. William Kirk, you're next!