Ancestry DNA and My Higdon Family Tree Search 

Ancestry DNA and My Higdon Family Tree Search 

By Charles A. Higdon

Before I had Ancestry do my DNA, I could get my Higdon line back to John Higdon and Nancy Moses. They were married 25 Jul 1810, in Burke County, North Carolina. There is a record for that. To my knowledge, nobody has a record for when this John Higdon was born or who his parents were. There are records for Nancy Moses and her family. They settled along the Tennessee River just downstream at Kelly’s Ferry from Chattanooga, TN. They had their first child Simion in 1821. Then James Blackburn in 1824, Mary Ann (Polly) in 1826, John Riley in 1829, Stephen Decatur in 1833 and Nancy Caroline in 1837. 

When you get your DNA results back from Ancestry, you get an Ethnicity estimate of percentage from regions around the world that make you. Note, your siblings will have different percentages. The DNA we inherit from each parent is completely random, so unless you’re an identical twin, your DNA profile won’t be exactly the same as your sibling’s. So, our cousins will be closely matched or not closely matched--even in the same generation That’s why getting more people in your family tested helps you get a more complete picture of your past and what world regions are included in your family’s DNA. 

Ancestry also gives you a list of other people who have had Ancestry do their DNA. The match list is based on the analyses of the DNA. This list is in descending order of how closely they match your DNA. One’s parents and siblings will be at the top of the list, then first cousins, second and so on. In this list are people who have not loaded a family tree. Then some who have, but have their tree locked so you cannot look in it. Then some who have posted their trees. With some only a few generations back in time to others going back many generations and including as many family members as they can. Each person puts up what they believe is their family tree. They believe it is as accurate as they can make it. But it may have erroneous people or dates or locations. 

When you open their screen, it will show a list of common surnames you both share. If you click each common surname, a new screen appears with a column of their people and a column of your people with this shared last name. The names include any birth and death dates along with the location of these events. So, if you can find close birth dates, but the locations are far away, then these may not be close relations to each other. But sometimes they can be the same person. Then if they are the same person, and if you both have trees from you to this same person or couple, you get a new screen. This new screen is called “Shared Ancestor Hint.” It will show your line up to the common ancestor (s) and back down to the other person’s. 

Working down the list, I reviewed each person’s tree to see how we are related. I do have a first and second cousin that supplied DNA to Ancestry and they are my first matches. Our common ancestors are first and second Great Grandparents. These are grandkids of John and Nancy. As I review further along my list I get a match who has a Higdon much earlier than John and Nancy. This match has Priscilla Brantley b 1738, marrying Daniel Higdon b 1734, in 1754, Chatham County NC. So, now a clue to my Higdon line. 

In the Lucille B Coone book Colonial Higdons and some of their Descendants, there are three family trees. One for Daniel, one for John and one for Richard. I reviewed each of them. I found a spouse with the last name of Brantley on the Daniel tree. The birth dates match up for this couple. 

On the Daniel tree in Mrs. Coone’s book there are 4 children mentioned for this couple. Three of the four have spouses and two have children listed; the other one is female, so the Higdon name goes away on her family. But a Charles b. 1766 doesn’t have a spouse or children mentioned. Then I see in Priscilla’s father’s Will three of these Higdon children are mentioned, including Charles. Priscilla’s father’s name is John Brantley 

So maybe this Charles is our John’s father? I make the connection in Ancestry and the next day I get the “Shared Ancestor Hint” screen with this fourth to sixth cousin—making her my 7th cousin (1x removed) and we share a 7th Great Grandfather Edward Brantley b 1675. Again, this is me making my tree do this and not Ancestry. This is not a census record, birth certificate or any other paper record. But the DNA says this and Ancestry’s confidence is “Good”. Since I made this connection in my family tree on Ancestry, I have another nine more of these “Shared Ancestor Hint” connections of the 65 Higdon connections I have these hints with. I have at least two connections with a line from the Daniel born in 1714. I have other connections that when the other person adds more to their tree, we will get the “Shared Ancestor Hint” connection. 

So, I do believe that John’s father is this Charles b. 1766 to Daniel b. 1734 and Priscilla b. 1738. I will do what else I can to find more proof, but the DNA match means a lot. I can be reached via email at should you want to discuss any of this. 

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