Friday, September 5, 2014

Unraveling Grandma's Paternity Dilemma
Using DNA Tests

Richmond Overton

Paternity issues are complicated. My paternity issue is over a hundred years old, which makes it more complicated. One woman, two men and eleven children are involved. I will concentrate on one of the eleven children, my paternal grandmother.

Three years ago I wrote a post concerning my paternal grandmother's paternity dilemma, Who is the Daddy. Grandma Gertrude's mother died when she was 7 years old and the question of her paternity would not be answered by the mother but by speculating family and friends. Two names were given as grandma's father, Richmond Overton and Elijah Usher.

My grandmother Gertrude Overton-Usher Durr was born between 1893-1895 to Jane Furnace.

I am hopeful my 23andMe DNA test will solve grandma's paternity question. I have four matches linked to my grandmother's family and other cousins are promising to test.

Documents and oral history claim Match 1 is a descendant of Jane Furnace and Elijah Usher.

Match 2 is a third great granddaughter of Peggy Demyers, Richmond Overton's grandmother.

Matches 3 and 4, siblings, are the 4th great grandchildren of Peggy Demyers, Richmond Overton's grandmother.

Matches 2, 3 and 4 are not related to Jane but they match with Match 1.

Looking over our family trees, it appears that Elijah Usher may not be the father of Jane's child, Match 1's ancestor. DNA is pointing to Richmond Overton as my ancestor and also the ancestor of Match 1. I am waiting for other cousins to test before putting the question to rest.


  1. Hope it all gets settled! Sounds like you have lots of matches to look at.

  2. Thank goodness for DNA testing! At last it is allowing a chance for mysteries like this one to be solved.

    1. I resisted taking the test but decided it could only enhance my genealogy research.

  3. This is all very interesting--I had no idea how DNA matching worked. One of my friends recently tested to answer questions about her family ancestors.

  4. Cuz Linda, hearing this story makes me less hesitant to have my brother and I do the dna testing for research purposes. Didn't know if it was worth it or if I would be able to get any useful information. Is the test you took different from the one advertised to show African origin? - Cuz Carolyn

  5. Cuzzin Carolyn, I am having fun with my results. It is a lot more difficult to discover how one matches than I anticipated for those unknown to me. I took my test with 23andMe. No surprise, I am 86.2 western African.