Saturday, April 21, 2012

A to Z April Challenge: S is for Slade DNA

This is day 19 of the A to Z April Challenge.

is for Slade.

In 2005, I bought the Family Tree Y-DNA kit, swabbed my father’s cheek and joined the Slade Surname DNA Project.

Over the years, we’ve had a few hits, but nothing that materialized into anything.  Some of the matches indicate a 27% chance of sharing a common ancestor 4 generations back.  Most are under 9%. 

But a couple weeks ago we had our first hopeful hit – a man whose last name is Calhoun has a 67% chance of sharing a common ancestor with my dad.   Within a couple emails, we were both stymied, unable to figure out a connection.  I had to confess my suspicion that my dad’s grandfather might not have been a Slade after all, that perhaps his grandfather’s MOTHER was a Slade who did not marry the father of her children.

What I’m sure of:  Daddy’s grandfather Stephen F. Slade was born in Florida and came to Virginia with his mother and younger sister, both named Julia. 

Here is a family in Florida that SOUNDS like they should be mine:

1850 Madison Co, FL

Stephen F. Slade  34  [my 3G grandfather?? – he has the same name as my great-grandfather]
Mary Slade 30 
James M. 19   
Mary  17  
Joseph  13  
Peter  11  
William  9  
Andrew  7 
Julia  5   [my 2G grandmother??]
Cabell 2 

1860 Lafayette Co, FL

Stephen Slade 43  [my 3G grandfather??]
Wife Margaret 45
Pilester 22   
Julia  14 [my 2G grandmother??]
Louiza  11
Stephen  5   [there’s that name again – must be popular!]        

1870  Lafayette Co, FL

Stephen Slade  age 55  [my 3G grandfather??]
Peggy   age 50 
Julia  23  [my 2G grandmother??]
Cabel 21
Luther born Dec 1869 

But where were Julia and her 9-year old son Stephen in 1880?  I can’t find them.  By 1900, my Stephen was married and his “widowed” mother was living in his household. 

Now, I have no absolute proof that this is my family or that my 2G grandmother did not marry the father of her children.  But let’s get back to Mr. Calhoun who contacted me about the DNA match.

He traces his Calhouns to Georgia, a hop, skip, and cheek swab away from the Slades in Florida.  PLUS -  and this is the best of the coincidences – in 1860, just 2 doors away from the Slades is one John C. Calhoun.  Mr. Calhoun believes John is one of his people.  I’ve tried tracing him through the census records, but his name is too common and I don’t have enough context to narrow the possibilities. 

So for now, on my To-Do list is to order a death record for my Stephen Slade to see if there is a father named. 

Slip on over to the A to Z April Challenge for more Scintillating Selections.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I find that kit really interesting. It's amazing what they can do!

    I hope you get your answer soon. :)

  2. I've never done anything with DNA, but I have found that by working backwards you get to recognise 'family' names, since they were often passed down the family from one generation to the next. That's enabled me to sort out which was 'my' family several times.

  3. Wow that is pretty cool. Isn't there a TV show where celebs trace their ancestors or something like that. I think it's brilliant, and I do hope you are able to find what you are looking for, good luck!!

    Happy A to Z-ing!!

  4. WoW...I didn't even know about the DNA thing. Cool...I might have to look into that :)

  5. I am hoping the death certificate has the much needed information!