In the past I’ve approached the Elmers as a cross over family. I’ve worked for a few years under the assumption that my Thompsons were likely crossed over with the Elmer family in New Jersey in the 1700s. Since the division in my Thompson family is much closer to home, I got serious about where the Elmers were in 1924 (the year before my grandfather was born) and in the 1890s when my great grandfather was born.
Given the autosomal and Y DNA evidence, either my grandfather or my great grandfather would be genetically unrelated to the Thompsons. This being the case then either Ray Thompson was adopted into the Thompson family (since there is no autosomal match to his brother at all) or my grandfather is not Ray’s son (since we do match my grandfather’s maternal Finks family).
I found several candidate families of Elmers and Elmores. Some were immediate dead ends and I couldn’t follow their paper trails. Others played out pretty well. One of my criteria is that the family should (to everyone’s best knowledge) meet up with Edward Elmer who came over on the Lyon and was one of the founders of Hartford Connecticut.
The Most Apparent Possibilities
Targeting my great grandfather as the NPE left me with families that were likely in the Madison Indiana area in the late 1890s. So looking for men born around 1870 who carried the name Elmore or Elmer in Indiana.
I came up with several men born in the 1870s.
- Edgar Elmore born 1871 son of Permelia Cahom. Dead end.
- William Elmore son of Henry Clay Elmore and Lydia Nolen – Runs to Mathias Elmore from New, Garden Guilford NC. Some trees connect him to the New Jersey Elmer family, others to Peter Elmore from Virginia.
- Edward Elmer 1875 Indiana: Dead End, lived in Fall Creek, Madison IN in 1900.
- Edward Elmore 1878 Indiana son of Albert Elmore and Sarah Jay – runs to Elmores from England in the 1740s.
Targeting my grandfather as the NPE left me with families from either Peoria Illinois or Northern Lower Michigan. His Finks family moves around quite a bit from 1924 – 25. That is a lot of ground to cover.
- Athel Elmore son of Robert Elmore and Robert Talley. Runs back to Peter Elmore from Virginia. Athel lives right in Peoria, his family looks very familiar because of all our genetic matches in Kentucky.
- Vardis Elmore son of Henry Clay and Surdelia Griffin or Griffis runs back to Peter Elmore from Virginia.
- The many sons of James Walworth Elmore who moves to Peoria Illinois from Peru New York. Multiple possibilities in Peoria stemming from James. Family tree points to Edward Elmer of connecticut.
- Forrest Elmer from Michigan son of Myron Elmer and Theresa Martin. This line also runs through New York meeting up with the line of James Walworth Elmore at Edward Elmer’s grandson Hezekiah from his son Edward 2.
Narrowing things down
The Thompsons are great people and they would probably adopt in the 1800s. Ida Williamson’s dad was bound out as a child and Ida grew up with half siblings from her mother’s side, so the family seems to blend well. Ray could really be adopted, but I have no evidence for that.
The odd circumstances surrounding my grandfather’s birth and location and the Finks family moves make me think it’s more likely that my grandfather is the NPE (even though he looks like his dad I’ve been told).
Focusing then on my grandfather, I have two good leads that go back to Edward Elmer in their trees. I cannot say that Peter Elmore is unrelated but I’ve seen (only one) Y DNA signature assigned to him and it does not match the Edward Elmer line. So the focus now is on James Walworth Elmore and Forrest Elmer.
Now it’s time to recruit male descendants of these men to see which match me the closest on the Y.
Beginning with Forrest Elmer, cold calling living descendants gave only two men. One refused testing and the other was adopted and could not help us.
Moving on the James W Elmore, I focused on his son Halsey because he had the most male descendants in Peoria. Cold calling living Elmore men produced two contacts, both refused to answer whether they would test or not, so dead end there.
Zero good contacts
Taking a different track, we started contacting people who were directly related to these two families on Ancestry.com. Our thought was that people on Ancestry already had some interest in family history and they would have seen lots of ads for DNA testing so it would not be alien to them.
This produced two contacts.
First, a man who is a few generations back and over from Forrest Elmer who had already had autosomal testing done AND he is an Elmer so his Y line could be expected to meet up with others in the group (specifically the family of Halsey Elmore) at Hezekiah Elmer and then Edward 2.
Second a woman who was related to Halsey Elmore (a second great granddaughter) who was willing to run an autosomal test.
Autosomal analysis for the First contact was immediate. No matches to anyone in the group, including my dad. If we were related to Forrest Elmer, the autosomal results would have met up in 1792 with Obed Clyde Elmer. A person close enough that you could expect some results. No match doesn’t say a whole lot, other than that we share no segments in common. We do have maternal cousins in that date range who do show up in our genetic results so if there was a relationship, I would expect to see something, but that does not have to be the case.YDNA analysis is in the works for the First contact. Although the test was returned in October, issues at FTDNA are keeping the results delayed, so we have no idea yet whether this contact is a good Y match for the group let alone my family.
In layers of expectations, I would expect them to be a good match to the other tested Elmer branches. I would hope that they might share one of my variations from the Elmer “norm”.
So we wait.
Autosomal analysis for the Second contact took a long..long time. We went through Ancestry.com which was a first for me. Once the results were in, we uploaded to Gedmatch.com for comparison and the second contact was an autosomal match to my dad on two segments.
In layers of expectations, hoping to find a match to Halsey Elmore as my dad’s possible great grandfather and this match’s second great grandfather, I would think there would be some autosomal match at all. Which there was.
I would expect that the match would be fairly “large” maybe three or four segments and a total above 50cM.
The match was “big” for my dad. Two segments and in the mid 30s for total cM. A match that appears near the top of his list at Gedmatch certainly, but more in line with matches who share his third great grandparents rather than a second great grandparent type of match. That could mean that my target family is a bit off and the match is more likely with one of Halsey’s brothers.
I would hope that all the segments would be categorized as “Paternal” meaning they were overlapped but did not match a known maternal relative.
One of the segments was definitely paternal, matching with a single family from Butler PA (a bit disturbing), but the other was unknown. Managing to fall exactly in the 15 or so cM between two maternal matches. It falls on one of two unknown sides, neither of which I have family trees for.
So there is a connection, but there is the opportunity that the second contact could be related to both sides of my dad’s family (as several two segment matches are). The results are hopeful and pointing in the right direction, but ambiguous and a bit fuzzy around the edges.