Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DNA Tested for Male SIM - Part 3 of 3

Migration Map
In genetic research, they have determined the probably migratory routes our ancestors took based on DNA of different populations in different areas of the world. Above is a map of the probably route our SIM ancestors took. Starting at green circle in central Africa, take orange, blue, green, pink lines north through the middle east, then blue line to Europe and the U. K. 

Males inherit their Y-chromosome from their fathers. The analysis of my brother’s Y-chromosome (which would be the same as my father John SIM, grandfather George SIM, great grandfather John William SIM, 2xgreat grandfather James SIM, -any male in our family with the SIM surname) shows that it belongs to the R-U152 group. This branch is called the Italo-Celtic branch which probably originated in the Alpine regions of Southern Europe during the Bronze and Iron Ages. It is found throughout most of Western Europe, but highest concentration today is found in Northern Italy near the Alps.

The word Celtic in the name of this branch is not in reference to what we normally think of as the Celts of the U.K. Celtic here means the Indo-European people during the Iron and Bronze Ages that had a distinct set of languages and cultures.
Read more about the Celts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celts and https://www.ancient.eu/celt/

Between 500 and 100 B.C., waves of these warring tribes came to Britain directly from Europe or by way of the Iberian Peninsula. The SIM ancestors eventually made their way to Scotland.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

DNA Tested for Male SIM - Part 2 of 3

The results of the LivingDNA test provided information on the specific areas of the United Kingdom that our ancestors lived 10 generations ago (about the early 1700s).  The idea is that people were not likely to move away from their birthplaces and these map regions were secluded allowing them to identify common DNA in each region.

% Area (Autosomal DNA) - maps are included at end of this blog entry
15.2 South England
12.2 Northwest Scotland (includes northern Ireland)
11.1 Southeast England
5.9 Aberdeenshire
4.4 North Yorkshire
3.9 South Yorkshire
3.2 Northumbria
1.6 Orkney Islands
1.2 South Wales

In our family tree research, we have only been able to go back 6 generations for the earliest complete list of ancesters:
Edward SIM married to Mary GALA of Scotland
William GRUER married to Magdelene WHITE of Braemer and Dundee, Scotland
Thomas WALLACE married to Betty DICKIE of Ireland
William HUSTON married to Esther PARK of Balleymoney, Ireland
John F. OTWELL married to Mary TAYLOR of Kentucky, USA (original OTWELLS from Huntington in Southeast England)
William ASH of Ireland
Anna Maria MARKS of Heytesbury, Wiltshire in South England
Robert CHARNOCK married to Margaret BRADLEY of Liverpool, England
Joseph and Mary SCOTT of England

The following map highlights what we know. 

We do not know exact locations of SIM/GALA, WALLACE/DICKIE, TAYLOR, ASH or SCOTT family origins.

For the children of George SIM and Edna OTWELL, we would expect 44% England, 31% Ireland and 25% Scotland based on our family tree research of generation 6.
The DNA results showed 66% England, 34% Scotland/Ireland for generation 10.
  • Some of the Irish families may have originated in England or Scotland and had immigrated to Ireland some time during the 1700s. The Northwest Scotland 12.2% may be some of the Irish line.  It is also likely to be the SIM line since they were part of the Fraser Clan from that same area.  View a map of clans.
  • The remaining Scots 13% is found in Aberdeenshire (10%) and the Orkney Islands (3%).   We know that GRUER/WHITE were from Braemar, Aberdeenshire.  
  • No idea how the Orkney Islands fit into our family- that's a surprise.
  • Nothing found in the Liverpool area - where we know that the CHARNOCK family originated.
  • For the missing families, we should concentrate our research to South England, Southeast England, Yorkshire, Northumbria and South Wales.
Scotland/Ireland Maps


Northwest Scotland (includes northern Ireland)


England Maps
South England

Southeast England
North Yorkshire

South Yorkshire

South Wales

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

DNA Tested for Male SIM - Part 1 of 3

In May 2017, a SIM male (my brother) was gracious enough to donate some of his DNA for genetic testing.  The main objective was to find the origins of the SIM family via the Y-chromosome or male line. 

Why this test was selected: The test purchased was from LivingDNA, a company that claims it can provide information on the specific areas of the United Kingdom/Ireland that your ancestors lived.  It is known that Living DNA test results will show higher percentages of UK ancestors, but that is ok since we are really only trying to find the locations that can help us pinpoint the SIM family. 

Autosomal DNA map
The tests included much more information than needed for the objective:  Autosomal DNA (from both parents), Y-chromosome DNA (paternal line) and mitochondrial DNA (maternal line).  The map above shows the autosomal DNA which includes 50% of the father's DNA (which we know is United Kingdom origins - green color on map) and 50% of the mother's DNA (Western European origins - hot pink color). 

A few surprises showed up with some minute amounts of Scandinavian (rose color, those Vikings got around!) and Basque (purple color) DNA. The Basque DNA was reported only on the mother's line, but was eliminated when they calculated results with more stringent probabilities.  The report stated that Basque would be found in many tests since the Basque population migrated and can be found in most of Europe.

Genealogy Research

The autosomal DNA test is supposed to give information up to 10 generations into the past.  We really don't have a complete record in our family tree research beyond 6 generations. From our research, we know that in the 1700s, the SIM ancestors were in Scotland and Ireland.  Some of the OTWELL ancestors from England had already immigrated to the American colonies.  Other OTWELL ancestors were still in England and Ireland. 

Autosomal DNA

Autosomal DNA includes the DNA from both parents. 50% is from the mother and 50% is from the father, but each individual inherits different portions within that 50%.  Keep in mind that even a sibling of the test subject will show slightly different percentages.

The test subject’s maternal line is European and the paternal line is English/Scottish/Irish. 
Comparing our Family Tree Research and the DNA results:


As expected per online comments about this particular test, the LivingDNA test ran higher than expected for UK origins(58% vs 50% expected).  But, that is pretty close.

In our research, we have about 6% unknown origins.  The original OTWELLs that came to the colonies in the 1600s were from England.  We have had difficulty tracing many of the wives that appear before 1800.  I have assumed they were of English ancestry and the DNA test may have confirmed that. 

What is interesting is the smaller percentage of Irish origins in the DNA results.  The DNA shows 12.2% of the DNA from NW Scotland.  This area includes part of northern Ireland in addition to NW Scotland.  We know that the WALLACE and HUSTON lines were from northern Ireland.  We do not know from which part of Ireland the ASH (or ASHE) line originated.  We also know that the Irish surname WALLACE means "foreigner".  The DNA may indicate that much of the Irish lines originated in England or Scotland as late as the early 1700s.

In Part 2, we will look closer at these specific locations in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Home Sweet Homestead: SIMs in Ontario

Recently, Ontario Genealogy posted records on Ontario pioneers and the location of their homes. In the 1870 list for Cramahe Township, Northumberland, we find a James SIMM at “bf pt 30 t.”

The site location referenced in the pioneer document translates to “broken front concession, part of lot 30, tenant”. A broken front concession is when a lot is on a shore. Tenant indicates that he did not own the property.

We found an old map of Northumberland and located lot 30 – which is on the shore of Lake Ontario. This map also showed the location of the houses on the property. One of these homes is where the SIM family lived.
Lot 30
Black squares show the houses.

Comparing the old map to Google maps, we can see that some of the homes are still there and there are a few foundations left of those that were demolished. Back in 1870, it was a dense cedar forest. Today, most of the area is now part of Victoria Beach, Ontario.  There is a large gravel pit nearby.

Victoria Beach was a famous vacation spot for the wealthy at the turn of the century. The forest was cleared by 1894 and there were numerous hotels. By 1901, James and Elizabeth had moved into their daughter's home in Cramahe Township.  James passed away in 1902 and Elizabeth in 1907. 

Victoria Beach is rated as one of the best beaches in Ontario today.  If you are in the area and can visit, send us some photos and we can post them on this blog.

Read more about the history of Victoria Beach.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Capt. John GARTH's Letter to His Brother in 1813

Edna OTWELL > Edwin > Maurice > John Franklin > Quintilla GARTH > John GARTH

During the War of 1812, Kentucky supplied troops and food to support the militias.  The War was very important to those living in Kentucky since it affected so many.  A few of John GARTH's sons were in the militia and came home with tales of valor and cowardice.  Here, John writes home to his younger brother (Jesse) in Virginia about the latest news from the front.
First is the corrected text that is easier to read followed by images, research notes and original text.

Corrected Letter (for an easier read)

November 5th 1813
Dr. Brother,
We are well except Thomas.  He has lately returned from the army a little sick.  They have given the British and Indians a good whippen with the loss of all their baggage supposed to be worth a million of money.  You may let Mr. Granger FRETWELL know that the British flag no more waves in upper Canady.  JOHNSON's regiment of mounted militia charged on the British regulars and broke their lines.  They then raised their flag, the brave, with fixed bayonets before.  The Indians is as humble as dogs.  I hope soon to hear good news from WILKINSON and HAMPTON.  I hope the Federalists, as you call them, begin to have their eyes opened and join heart and hand in support of the war.  I pray these few lines will find you and your wife and family in health.  Give my love to Richard GAINS and George CRANK and family and Jefs in Devon Port and ask him if he has found my handkerchief.

PROCTER, as you may call him, left his men on horseback, afraid of his life, knowing his conduct had been bad to our prisoners, left his army in our hands.  This shows what PROCTER is.  Tecumseh is killed by Col. JOHNSON.  In coming up to tomahawk JOHNSON after he was shot down, JOHNSON had five balls through him, he killed Tecumseh with his pistol loaded with buck shot, shot about ten feet at him.  Killed him dead on the spot.  I supposed there never was a instance of militia charging on regulars.

It is supposed that JOHNSON will get over his wounds.  I saw a carriage start after him last Saturday.  I hope he will recover.  He lost about twenty men in his charge.  If he should die, he died with honor. Rhodes GARTH is to be married in a few days to a Miss CARRIGAN of Wayne County and will be with her at my house in a few days on his way to the assembly.  Let me know what has become of brother Elijah and all about his concerns.

Your Brother, John Garth


Research Notes

When this letter was written, John GARTH (1762-1835) was living in Kentucky with his 2nd wife, our ancestor, Sarah.  His younger brother, Jessie Winton GARTH (1774-1865), was living in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Jesse was married to Elizabeth BROWN and had 9 children. Jessie was a farmer.

On page 1, John mentions his son from his first wife, Ann Rhodes HARRIS.  Thomas GARTH (1792 - 1850) had recently returned from the War and it is likely he had supplied the war news contained in this letter.  It is unknown who Mr. FRETWELL was; he may have been a relation to their brother-in-law’s family.  “Upper Canady” is the area just north of the Great Lakes.   “Regulars” refer to British foot soldiers.

On page 2, James WILKINSON, the US Major General, was mentioned.  Richard GAINNES was another brother-in-law.  It is unknown who HAMTON, George CRANK or JEFS were. We think that the latter may be "Jefferson of Davenport".

On page 3, the coward, British officer Henry Patrick PROCTER, retreated on horseback leaving the Indians to finish the fight.  (PROCTER was court martialed in December 1814 for this act –ruined his military career.) This retreat resulted in the legendary death of Shawnee War Chief Tecumseh (1768-1413) on 5 October 1813 at the Battle of Thames.  There are several stories about the death of Tecumseh; many people took credit.  John relates the story that he was killed by a severely wounded Col. Richard Mentor JOHNSON of the Kentucky Militia.  True or not, JOHNSON later used the story to advance his own political career.  He became the 9th US Vice President in 1837.

On page 4, John writes of the impending marriage of his eldest son Rhodes (1784 – 1846) (also from his first wife) to Lucinda CARRIGAN on 14 November 1813.  Rhodes was the first lawyer in Wayne County and had also fought in the War of 1812.  Their youngest brother, Elijah (1772-1817) was a farmer in Virginia.

Uncorrected Version

November 5th 1813
Dr Brother we are well Except Thomas he has laitly returned from the arme a little Sick they have given the british and indians a good whipen with the loss of all ther bageg supposed to be worth a
a million of money you may let mr grainger fretwell know that the british flag no mor waves in upper Canady jonsons regiment of mounted melisha Charged on the british regulars and brock ther lines
they then raised ther flag the Brave with fixed bayonets befor the Indians is an umbl as dogs I hop Soon to her good news from Wilkerson and hamton I hope the federalist as you call them begin to have ther eys opend and join hart and hand In Support of the war I pray thes few lins will find you and your wife and famyly in helth give my love to Richard Gainns and Gerg Crank and famyly and
Jefs in Deven port and axe him if he has found my hankechit

practer, as you may call him left his men on hors back afraid of his lif knowing his conduct had been bad to our prisoners left his armey in our hands this shoes what practer is, Tecomse is kild by Col Jonson In coming up to Tamhok Jonson after he was Shot down, Johnson had five balls throw him, he kild tecom-se with pistoll loaded with buck Shot a bout ten feet at him kild him ded on the spot I Supposd ther never was an instance of Melisha charging on regulars It is suposed that jonson will get over his wounds I Saw a Carig Start after him last Saturday I hope he will recover he lost a bout twenty men in his charge if he shold dy he dyed with Oner  

Rouds Garth is to be married in a few days to a Miss Carrigan of wayne County and will be with her at my house in a few Days on his way to the A Semble.  let me know what has becom of Brother Elijah and all a bout his Conserns your Brother John Garth


Special thanks to the library staff at William & Mary College in Virginia for providing a scan of the original document that is part of their collection GARTH Family Papers 1798-1872 and for permission for use in this private family research project.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Known Causes of Death

Ancestors from the Sim Family Tree:

George W. Sim - age 42             Oct. 19, 1941          Aplastic anemia

Mary A. Wallace Sim - age 75     May 2, 1945            Pernicious anemia, cerebral

Mary Huston Wallace - age 79     Sept. 29, 1923        Old age, influenza

William Wallace - age 85              Oct. 22, 1929          Dilated heart, valvolar leakage,
                                                                                    old age

William Huston - age 54               May 16, 1877          Renal affection

John W. Sim - age 83                   July 4, 1954             Coronary thrombosis

James Sim - age 84                      June 27, 1902         General debility (loss of strength)

Elizabeth Gruer Sim - age 75        July 20, 1907          Unknown protracted illness

Ancestors from the Otwell Family Tree:

Edna Otwell Sim - age 71             Sept. 16, 1976        Lung cancer, cervical cancer

Mary Charnock Otwell - age 61    Oct. 18, 1935          Chronic myocarditis

Robert Charnock - age 46            Oct. 31, 1878          Consumption

Elizabeth Scott Charnock              Mar. 25, 1898          Apoplexy  (stroke)
age 67

Edwin J. Otwell - age 48                June 2, 1920           Pernicious anemia
                                                                                       (lack of Vit. B12)

Maurice Otwell - age 69                April 6, 1915            Epilepsy, schizophrenia

Jane Ash Otwell - age 87              Jan. 20, 1938          Pneumonia, general cold, senility

John F. Otwell - age 87                 June 21, 1908         Paralysis acute ascending

Stark Taylor - age 73                    April 24, 1889         Old age, natural death



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Francis (Frank) OTWELL - Died 1839

Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin OTWELL > Maurice OTWELL . John F. OTWELL > William OTWELL > Francis OTWELL

On the Otwell side, Francis was the last ancestor we were able to confirm for our family tree.  From census reports he was born between 1766-1774.  We have found no information on his birth, parents or location of his early years.

We have no record of his marriage.  The Scott County, Kentucky 1810 Census listed six children along with a woman old enough to be his wife.  We believe his wife died some time after this census.  The census records showed many children.  We were able to confirm William, Parker and Mary Ann as his children.

On July 16, 1818 Francis Otwell next married Eleanor Tucker in Bourbon County, Kentucky.  Her maiden name was Berry.  She had a son, Greenberry Tucker, from her previous marriage.  Francis became Greenberry's guardian and he was around the same age as Francis' son, Parker.  Parker and Greenberry became life-long friends.  Parker named "his good friend Greenberry Tucker" as the executor of his will.

Francis Otwell was listed on the 1820 Census in Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky.  He had nine slaves.

In 1827 Eleanor and Francis were involved in a legal dispute over property (Berry vs. Tucker).  They were on opposing sides to Greenberry and other heirs that were involved in the dispute.  We next found Francis on the 1830 Scott County Census.  There is no listing for Eleanor on this census nor is she mentioned in Francis' will in 1839.  We did find Mrs. Otwell's death listed in 1850.  However, she was buried under the name Tucker in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Francis Otwell's estate appraisal was submitted to Scott County Court in January 1839 by his son, Parker Otwell, Administrator.  He had died at his Frank Otwell Farm. The appraisal included a list of his inventory and the value of his possessions.  The first listing was his 16 named slaves valued at $7175.  There were also 37 notes owed to him by family and friends.  Francis' son, William (our ancestor), moved to the Frank Otwell Farm.

Read more about the OTWELL Estates.

This will conclude our research on the Otwell Family.  We will continue researching for new information and will update our blog as it becomes available and verified.