When Genealogy Worlds Collide…

November 11, 2015 in Allied Families, Brick Walls, Bruce's Family, DNA, Hodges, McDowell, Other People's Brick Walls

I had my DNA tested at Ancestry.  It’s been very exciting at times and also very frustrating.  Sometimes I’ve been able to see a paper connection right away, sometimes I’ve had to do the work on the other person’s tree to find the paper connection, sometimes I haven’t been able to find any connection other than DNA results, and a LOT of times I’ve been angry and frustrated because the match is listed as extremely likely, but the other person either has no tree or their tree is private and don’t respond to my messages.

Recently I made a DNA connection with descendants of a Rosa Lucille Hall and George Albert Ludlow.  The Hall connection is exciting because that’s one of my mother’s line that cousins and I have been researching for years and always coming up against a brick wall.  So I started a new tree on Ancestry using the information from this DNA match, which puts me in a “circle” with two other people with DNA matches to this couple.  I’ve been working on it on and off for a little over a week now and just today made great strides.  Unfortunately, the strides have not led me to tearing down my own brick wall, but I did find an extremely close connection to Knapper’s family tree.

Phyllis Wheeler was born to a woman named Louise Knapp and what may or may not have been her husband at the time, Donald Purcell.  As Phyllis was the oldest child of this couple, and they did marry and have 3 more children, it’s probable that Phyllis was a before-marriage pregnancy.  Phyllis was adopted by a family in the area where I now live that had 8 sons and no daughters.  Things went along fine until Phyllis Wheeler met Jack Knapp, also from this area, fell in love and they decided to get married.  The Wheelers knew Phyllis’s birth name was Knapp, and the other Knapp family lived in this same area, though Phyllis was adopted from out of Detroit.  The Wheelers got together with the couple and both Knapp families to try and see if Phyllis and Jack were related.  The surface answer was no, but under the surface, they probably are, though it would be very distant.  So everything was okayed for the couple to marry.

Meanwhile, Phyllis’s biological mother had died, but she’d come from a large family and had an aunt named Daisy Knapp.  Daisy was the sister of Phyllis’s grandfather, George Knapp.  Daisy married a man named Henry Harrison McDowell, but he’d been born Henry Harrison Dowell.  I don’t know when the Mc was added to his surname, but it was either just before or just after he married Daisy Knapp because I’ve been able to trace his family back to a man named Harrison Dowell.  For the sake of confusion, I’m going to refer to him as Henry Dowell instead of McDowell.  Henry was born to John Henry Dowell and his wife, Charlotte Chapman.  He was born in Indiana then moved up here with his family.  Henry Dowell probably met Daisy in Wexford County, Michigan, which is where Henry’s father, John Henry, died in 1902.  The Knapps lived in Wexford County at that time and then moved down here to Montcalm County.

John Henry Dowell and Charlotte had a lot of children.  On the 1910 census, Charlotte said she’d had 15 children and only 9 of them were still living.  I’ve documented 14 of them.  Here are the children involved in this post:

  • Henry Harrison Dowell
  • Charles Dowell
  • John Dowell
  • Ibbie Belle Dowell

I’ve already discussed Henry.  Ibbie is the Dowell that is the source of my DNA connection to the Hall-Ludlow family.  Ibbie married a man named Lincoln Elias Beardslee.  One of their daughters, Norma, married Cecil Ludlow.  Cecil was the son of Rosa Hall and George Ludlow.  It was one of Norma and Cecil’s descendants who had their DNA tested at Ancestry and with whom I matched.   After Lincoln Beardslee died in 1936, Ibbie married a man named David Elias Harris.  I can’t find a marriage record for them, but I was able to find David’s marriage record to a woman named Lulu May Hodges.  Lulu was divorced when she and David married, and her husband had been Ibbie’s brother, John Dowell.  Lulu had a sister, Clara Bell Hodges, who married Ibbie and John’s brother, Charles Dowell.  Isn’t it a small world?

I haven’t been able to convince Knapper to have his DNA tested yet, but I’m sure going to work hard at it now to see if he will match any of Daisy and Henry Harrison Dowell’s descendants.