Growing my roots:

Interlocked and Interwoven by common ancestry & DNA

Restoring My Moore Line: The Power in Using DNA for Genetic Genealogy

After a long hiatus, I am back (sort of).

If you have followed my blog in the past, I am sure you have read my ravings about how DNA testing can really enhance your genealogy research. You also have read my frustration with people who take these tests and focus on the most unhelpful part: the ethnicity estimates. These same people will see an unknown close relation and never wonder how they connect but bitch and moan about not having ethnicty results reflecting a particular group without understanding history, migration, and scientific affinity. Well, folks, you are selling yourselves short and wasting a 100 bucks if you never look back at your DNA matches and reach out to that unknown third cousin (and sometimes closer). Mapping a scientifically accurate genetic tree and speaking to relatives with information can tell you a lot more about who you came from than seeing a label on a screen.

Recently, DNA has restored a whole branch of my family that I have been searching for about fifteen years. Before ever taking a genetic genealogy test, I used oral history and whatever paper documentation that I could find. I did not grow up knowing extended family, and trying to get accurate information from them when I did make contact was very hard. They treated the information as if it was classified. For the longest time, I had my paternal great grandparents listed as Berry Louie (1884–1964) and Nora (1888-unknown). No matter how hard I tried, I could not figure out Nora’s maiden name. Let it be known, I was also doing genealogy on a fixed budget. (Genealogy can eventually be an expensive endeavor!) So, any money devoted to it had to be planned. Over the years, I would work on another line but always go back to Nora. Getting information on Berry was not much better. I remember thinking how easy my research would be if Allen, Berry’s brother, was my great grandfather because finding information on him seemed much easier. In 2013, I sent for my grandfather’s (John Louie; b. 1912–1968) original social security application. On these documents parents’ names are usually listed. I had sent for it before, but state agencies only release certain information such as parents’ names after a certain amount of time for living-persons’ privacy reasons. So, I did get the application but with black marker blotting out the parents’ names.

A year later, when the “wait” time was over, I re-sent for the document. When I received the application, it read father: Allen Louie Sr. (1879-1975) and mother: Mamie Louie (née Moore; 1886-unknown), it just listed their names and not the parenthetical.  This made me very excited, because there was a lot of information for Allen online: obituaries, census records, draft papers, etc. Once again, I was facing the same problem I had with Mamie that I had with Nora. Other than knowing that Mamie’s last name was Moore that was revealed off of Allen’s obituary, there was not much that I could find on her. Around the same time, my brother and I received a very close match on 23andMe. This young man had family from my father’s hometown of Lexington, MS. in Holmes county. He gave a few names and they were unrecognizable to me. The names I knew were unrecognizable to him. I tried encouragng him and letting him know that DNA is more solid evidence than surnames, but he was not having it. So, again, this line went cold.

In hindsight, I now see that I did not give Mamie the scrutiny that she deserved since finding out that it was she and not Nora who was my second great grandmother. I spent so much time trying to figure out Nora’s parentage (which I still do not know and is still important) and then having so much information streaming in on Allen, I was sort of confused about my bearings on the line. This was also during the time that my mom was extremely sick and I was nearing finishing up graduate school.  Things were in a state of flux.

Until four months ago, I really did not think too much about the line. Then, my brother and I received an “Extremely High Match” on AncestryDNA. I, honestly, was not excited. I have written high DNA matches before to receive no response, or, even worse, a disbelief in the scientific test that they had paid for. I really did not think this time would be any different. This match had a tree filled with folks from Lexington, MS. I wrote her, and a day later she had written back. She was very excited to hear from me. We exchanged information. She had not heard of my Louies or Collinses (my go to when discussing my Lexington branch). About three days later she wrote me and said she had looked at my tree and found the connection. Mamie Moore was the daughter of her great grandparents Anderson Moore (1862-1939) and Malinda Baker (1864-1943), making them my 2nd great grandparents. I looked at my tree and my saved census records and right next door to Anderson and Malinda are my great grandparents Allen and Mamie Louie. If I would have given Mamie the proper attention she deserved, I would have seen that Mamie was living right next door to a Moore and in a neighborhood filled with Moores. (Keep in mind, I am no beginner at this. So this was really a silly oversight.)

I called my paternal aunt whom I had not spoken to in 10 years or so. I needed information and wanted to explain that I am not doing anything nefarious with the family information and that it does not need to be guarded like it was in Fort Knox. She was surprisingly very chatty. She knew of Anderson and Malinda and their connection before I even began mentioning what I had found through the DNA connection or mentioning their names at all. I just said “I have been really thinking about Mamie’s parents, and.” Well, that was all I needed to say before she brought up Anderson’s farm and how he owned land.

Using certain tools available to those of us who use genetic genealogy in our research, I was able to reach out to other common matches sharing the exact same segment as me and my cousin to let them know how we are related. That is so much more rewarding than a label on a page.

(L to R) Anderson Moore (1862-1939); Malinda Baker Moore (1865-1943);(bottom) their gravesite.

DNA Kit Giveaway

Because I really think that DNA testing can open up a lot of doors that need to be opened about our past, I will once again offer to pay for (as I can afford) DNA tests for people who stumble upon my blog. There is a caveat this time.

I am looking for people who can prove that they truly think they descend from the following couples.

Whylie Wilson (abt 1833) and Abie/Ibby Tilgman (abt 1843) lived in the Mississippi counties of Claiborne and Jefferson

Effie Wilson (1872-1925) and Howard Pearl (abt 1862) lived in the Mississippi counties of Claiborne, Jefferson, and Bolivar.

Webb Roberson/Robinson (abt 1863) and Mariah Quarles (1868) lived in the Mississippi counties of Scott and Bolivar. Webb may have also had another wife by the name of Frances (abt 1870) Bolivar, MS

Willie Roberson/Robinson (abt 1900) Missisissippi counties of Scott and Bolivar, and Fannie Mae Pearl/Shorter/Washington (1906-1988) Mississippi counties of Claiborne, Leflore, and Bolivar

Ben Moorehead/Mohead (abt 1893) and Inez Lott (abt 1898) of the Mississippi counties of Carroll, Leflore, and Holmes

Gary/Gray Lott Sr. (abt 1838) and Francis Holman or Francis Turner (abt 1860) of Carroll county, MS

Esther  (abt 1839) and Sam Holman (abt 1812) of Carroll County, MS

Simon Theophilus Turner (1809-1891) and Martha Ann Eddins (1814-1892) of Denmark, TN, and Carroll County, MS

Mamie Moore (1886-) and Allen Louie Sr. (1879-1975) of Lexington, Holmes county, MS

Anderson Moore (1862-1939) and Malinda Baker (1864-1943) of Lexington, Holmes county, MS

John Louie (abt 1834) and Sarah/Sallie Collins/Collum (abt 1840) of Lexington, Holmes county, MS

You must email me at with a detailed message of whom you think you descend from and why. I am only able to offer a kit as I have the spare funds to do so.


June 18, 2017 Posted by | 23andme, ancestrydna, Baker, Collins, Dad, DNA results, Eddins, Holman, Lexington, Holmes County, Mississippi, Lott, Louie, Moore, Moorehead, Pearl, Quarles, Roberson, Turner, Wilson | 2 Comments

23andMe Chromosome Comparison

I am using an illustration between me and my (half) sisters to show what one actually sees when they agree to share (or more accurately, compare) genomes on 23andMe. All you are doing is visually seeing exact what chromosomes and segments shared between you and the other person. It is quite harmless.

23andMe Genome Compare

June 14, 2014 Posted by | DNA results | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNA genealogy should not be a parlor trick. This is real and serious stuff.

It has been a while since my last post. Well I have graduated, and a new chapter begins. I don’t have any new discoveries—only thoughts.

I notice that many newer people who have gotten into DNA genealogy are only interested in the most uncertain and ever-changing aspect of it, the ethnicity mix. (Heck, I even initially was swept up in it and posted my and my sibling’s results in a post.) These are the same people who refuse to believe the more concrete and never-changing part of the science, the matches. After a certain percentage of centimorgans of DNA shared, the odds of it being a false positive is null.

There are not many African Americans into genealogy, and this is a shame. We could really help each other piece things together. (Genealogists helping fellow genealogists is also a problem that I will bring back up later.) Many African Americans who cross over to DNA genealogy and not part of the people in the above paragraph usually have a one-tracked mind. They see a population that their DNA shows an affinity with and make an assumption that they are part that population. An example is that AncestryDNA shows I have a small percentage of Finno-Russian. I may very well have Finno-Russian. It is also may be Native American. The area that is now made up of the countries of Finland and Russia has been proven by peer reviewed science papers to be an area where some Native American tribes actually came from. (Believe me; I am not chasing that Indian princess relative that so many who take these tests are interested in. I am just looking for the real ancestors that made me.) Basically, I am saying a little knowledge of history should be accompanied when interpreting your results. That was just one example of hitching on to one aspect of one’s results and not investigating further.

Many people, not just African Americans, get hung up on a surname not showing or a place not appearing among their matches. I have said it before and will say it until I lose my ability to speak: DNA trumps oral history and recorded documents. (I have not much more to add to that. You either believe it or you don’t.)

A huge dose of genetic science by all should be attempted to be understood when interpreting your results. This is mainly the companies’ fault though. They advertise in such a way that leads consumers to believe that once you receive your results all your genealogical and ancestral questions will be answered. This is not the case. You have to work very hard to figure out what the DNA is telling you. I always provide my matches with a link to Kelly Wheaton’s Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy.

I visit many DNA-genealogy based groups, forums, communities, and message boards, and the snobbery among those who feel like someone else has nothing to offer them (because of lack of family knowledge, small pedigrees, or not coming from the “right” branch) is disheartening. I get that people want to give just as much as they can get, but many people lack family knowledge for legitimate reasons. Simply not being told, being adopted, not having funds to spend on documents, and or not having the luxury to travel to ancestral homes or genealogical databases are all valid reasons. These people are still as much related to those ancestors as the “hoarding” genealogists are. I, myself, do this in hopes that I can freely share what I discover with anyone who will listen.

The last thing that I really think genealogy, specifically genetic genealogy can benefit from is a standard that all companies, geneticists, and casual dabblers should adhere by—an internationally recognized board, if you will. And this is where I may turn those who deem themselves “citizen genetic scientists” off. This board needs to be filled with equal parts citizen genetic scientists and actual degree-holding geneticists. How can you discuss genealogy without a genealogist? On the same hand, how can you discuss genetics without a geneticist? On these aforementioned forums, I see a lot of well-respected folks saying opposite things or with agenda and company loyalty. That is not a standard.

In other news, I bought a better Web site that I was going to migrate to. It is much more complicated than I had anticipated.

June 7, 2014 Posted by | DNA results, The journey | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More powerful than science, stronger than belief…it is truth!

I am glad to see the sea between genealogist who use DNA as a valuable tool and strict paper genealogists is drying up. Paper genealogy got me back to the early 1800s on a few of my lines. For black Americans that is pretty far back.

I have always been a lover of stories, fiction, nonfiction, science fiction etc… . In my mid-20s I realized that I had no family stories of my own. Most of my friends had and conveyed them without even knowing they were doing so. My many siblings and I could only say that our mom was from Mississippi and still had family in Mississippi. I grew up not knowing my dad, so that was even more stories unrelayed.

Science fiction for a good decade was my fiction reading of choice. I have been fascinated by science, itself, but some smart science fiction that dealt with the biology of humans, human existence, and genetics made science more understandable for me. So when I heard of people using DNA in assisting with genealogy (history and science combined), I was excited. Problem was that initial tests were $1000 or more. Me producing that much money for a test would have been a work of fiction, for real.

In 2011 DNA testing became more affordable and the prices have since dropped. Therefore, I have gotten my autosomal DNA tested at three companies, five of my sisters’ austosomal tested at one, one brother’s tested at two, had mybrother’s and my mitochondrial DNA tested at two,  and my brother’s paternal (in essence, my father’s) paternal Y-DNA tested at two. Yes, you can call me a DNA junkie.

What is it that I hope to learn and how does it tie into genealogy—my story

Although the paper trail, documentation, and oral history have guided me back further than most people expected I could go, many lines still have gaps. Even those lines that go back to the early 1800s have a chance of getting back to the 1700s or 1600s or beyond. One of my hopes is that DNA will help me bridge the gaps and blaze a trail as far back as I can go.

Before testing, the certainties that I could tell you about my family was that we were mainly from Mississippi, we were mainly of African descent, we were mainly of slave descent, and, because of the nature of slavery, we probably had some European blood. After testing I can tell you that many of my DNA matches are mainly from North Carolina, therefore my family was probably there before being enslaved in Mississippi, we have matches to Nigeria and Ghana, my DNA matches seven modern-day African areas (with Cameroon,/Congo, C’ote d’Ivoire/Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria being the top regions), we range from 13% to 25% European and my DNA matches six European areas, one suspected black ancestor successfully made it to Canada before the end of slavery, two suspected European ancestors were brought over as slaves (one English and one Irish), and my father’s father’s father’s father’s line leads to Belgium. Now, some of this knowledge came from collaborating with my DNA matches on what they knew of their own history. Without the DNA, I would not have been led to these clues.

Another important thing that I am getting from DNA genealogy is proof that oral history or written documents cannot provide. DNA autocorrects the mistakes or “mis-leads” that have been left from the past. It does not give instant answers, afterall it is a tool that you have to work hard at. It challenges what you have been told or even what you have seen some times. This can be quite scary for some. But it is so exhilarating when you actually confirm that you were on the right track with your paper trail and in your oral history.

For me, knowing that an ancestor passed down a piece of themself that made me is something more powerful than science or belief. It is mystical and mesmerizing. It pushes me on with my genealogy because I want to discover who they were, every good, bad, or ugly detail.

All of my siblings only share one parent with me. Below is exactly what segments on the chromosome that we match.


November 20, 2013 Posted by | DNA results | , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in the blood?

I started researching my family in 2012. I am one of twelve siblings on my mom’s side and one of seven on my dad’s side. I grew up only knowing my maternal siblings. I did not interact with extended family, alhough my mother hails from a big family from Shelby, Missississippi. My father hails from Lexington, Missississippi. The last that I saw him, I was five. My parents are both deceased now.

Here is my direct line lineage surnames and places:

Maternal: Wilson, Roberson, Pearl, Shorter, Tilman/Tilgman, Roberson, Robinson from the Mississippi counties of Bolivar, Claiborne, Leflore, and Jefferson

Paternal: Louie, Mohead/Morehead, Lott, Holman, and possibly Willis, Davis, and Howard. They are from the Mississippi counties of Holmes, Leflore, and Carroll.

Below are the results from a few DNA that myself and siblings have taken. It is what makes us us.

Shirese (me)


Maternal haplogroup: L3f1b3

Paternal haplogroup: R-M269/R-U106/R-Z306/R1b1a2a1a1a3a1(brother tested)

ShireseCrop DNA

Maternal haplogroup: does not offer

Paternal haplogroup: does not offer


Juvelle (paternal half brother)


Maternal haplogroup: L1b1a

Paternal haplogroup: R-M269/R-U106/R-Z306/R1b1a2a1a1a3a1



Brenda (matenal half sister)


Maternal haplogroup: L3f1b3


Lynn (matenal half sister)



Ruth (matenal half sister)


Maternal haplogroup: L3f1b3


Ruby (matenal half sister)


Maternal haplogroup: L3f1b3


Mildred (matenal half sister)


Maternal haplogroup: L3f1b3


September 25, 2012 Posted by | DNA results | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment