mtDNA Success Story
by Imogene Bennett
The Brick Wall
Strong indirect evidence suggests that David Wood’s wife Jane was in fact Jane Currey and she was the daughter of Ezekiel Currey and Elizabeth Brownlee, but no documented proof has been found to date. A number of us have been researching this for quite a few years. I personally have pursued this challenge for the past 15 years.
David Wood and wife Jane Currey headstones
Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, Providence Township, Randolph, North Carolina
For many years I had suspected there was a connection of Jane to the Currey family since she named one of their sons Robert Brownle (as spelled in the family bible). Then when I really began digging into David and Jane’s children, I found many grandchildren with middle names of Currie and Curry. I also saw a pattern of children named John, Ezekiel, Sibbel, and Elizabeth in several generations. This background encouraged me to begin looking for a female mtDNA lineage from Jane on down. I thought it best to begin with Jane’s side to find this all-female line because the possibilities of success were slim since there were only five girls out of their 14 children. So if I found someone on this side I was more confident in finding someone from Elizabeth Brownlee through one of her other daughters (8 girls out of 13 children). So I approached the toughest lineage first.
A Possible Genetic Link
The Kenning name is a bit unusual so I decided to follow-up with Michael to see if he knew Kathryn Kenning. After contacting Michael he confirmed his mother is indeed Kathryn Kenning (Stephenson). Michael’s family tree is on Ancestry.com (Stephenson Family Tree).
Two all-female lines back to Elizabeth Brownlee
mtDNA Test Results
The mtDNA Full Sequence test provides data in three regions: HVR1, HVR2, and Coding Region. These results are presented in the form of comparisons to the Reconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence. An example below shows what the variances might look like in each region.
Courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA
Michael’s Kit Number (395121) and Stephanie’s Kit Number (211040) results show there were no differences in the three regions; that is they both had the same identical variances in each of the three regions. So the probability that they share a Common Ancestor within the 9 generations back to Elizabeth Brownlee is close to 70% and increases as the number of generations increases.
Courtesy of FamilyTreeDNA
So combining the genealogical ancestral trees with this mtDNA test result we can make a very strong claim that Jane Currey is indeed the daughter of Ezekiel Currey and Elizabeth Brownlee and also that Susan Hendrix is the daughter of Thomas Hendrix and Henrietta Wood.
Additional notes on Jane Currey’s birth date vs Ezekiel and Elizabeth’s marriage date
Of course, in the back of my mind was always the down side that Ezekiel and Elizabeth were married only six months prior to Jane’s birth. They were married Nov 6, 1759 and Jane was born June 1, 1760. Who knows what the circumstances were in the winter of 1759 in Pennsylvania. Had they made their intentions known in their local community, but the weather was so terrible they couldn’t get to a minister? Was Jane born a little later than she thought she was? There is the possibility Jane was premature, but not THAT premature. Who knows what the record 100 years from now on my own parents will look like with the facts not known. My sister, Virginia, who will be 99 in September, 2016, was born exactly 8 months after my parents were married. A home delivery, of course, and she weighed 3 pounds. The doctor put Virginia aside and said “let’s work on the mother”. My dad’s sister, Aunt Lula, took Virginia, kept her in hot towels, and put her in a shoebox. Obviously, Aunt Lula saved her life. That won’t be showing up in records my descendants will be looking for, so they will likely giggle and think things have always been the same.