Category: North Carolina Roots

A 5th Cousin Match

comments Comments Off
By , November 22, 2015 8:02 am

Cousin found! I don’t usually pursue DNA matches beyond 4th cousins because, more often than not, after a few back and forths the search for our common ancestor ends in futility. However, this time I made an exception when a predicted 5th cousin contacted me on 23andme and so glad I did. We found our connection in record time, like 20 minutes, because we each had done the work. Our MRCA are my 4th and his 5th great grandparents Reese Kelso Watkins and Sarah Barber, ancestors of my paternal GF Robert Norris. I am descended from their daughter Nancy who married William Norris; he is descended from their daughter Sarah. The Watkins came from Wales to PA ca. 1700; the Barbers were Scotch-Irish who settled in Craigs Creek, Augusta County, VA. My branch of this family ended up in Wilcox County, AL by way of Craigs Creek then Johnston County, NC then Oglethorpe County, GA. His went to Vermilion Parish, LA.

Like me, my new cousin is African American. Both of us have found white Watkins and Barber cousins but what’s remarkable is that we found our common ancestry through the brick wall imposed by slavery. His 2xGGM was an enslaved woman of Native American ancestry. He still carries her A2 genetic marker. My GF born into slavery in 1861 was the offspring of a mulatto slave and a white Norris. He is the first African American cousin I’ve confirmed who is not a close relative to me. The chances of us finding each other were less than 2%!

I can track my GF’s white ancestors back to their European homelands and their arrival in this country before the Revolution. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to do the same for my enslaved ancestors beyond the generic African designation.

Source: Reposted from Facebook on November 22, 2017,

Shields Family Connection

comments Comments Off
By , June 22, 2014 10:57 am

Forgive my babbling this morning but after a long night of researching I feel I’m so close to finding my paternal GGM. I’ve been looking for her for as long as I’ve been doing genealogy and I keep coming back to a single document shared with me about 15 years ago: an 1848 deed of sale between a William B. Shields and Mary Ann Norris gifting “a Negro girl Julia about twelve years old, and her increase if there shall be any to have and to hold the said Girl Julia and her increase unto her the said Mary Ann and her heirs as aforesaid forever.” I didn’t know it at the time but one of Mary Ann Norris’ sons (or her husband) fathered my GF (since “confirmed” by DNA tests). Last night and into the wee hours this morning, I discovered that Mary Ann’s mother’s maiden name was Shields and like William B. Shields, she was from NC. More research revealed that Nancy Shields had a brother named William Bryant Shields, the same age as William B. Shields. Between Ancestry and Family Search and posts on the AFRIGENEAS SURNAME FORUM between me and a William B. Shields’ descendant dating back to 2004/5, I found a Shields family tree that seemed to link Nancy Shields and William Shields.and there were photos of one of William’s mulatto children (his is a fascinating story that I’ll have to tell another day). To the point: the slave girl Julia would have been 24 or 25 years old when my GF was born in 1861. And, if she was a mulatto like William Shields’ own children, it would explain my GF’s appearance. It’s even possible that Julia was one of Shields’ own children! I’ve always believed that my GF’s mother died in childbirth or when he was very young as she was never mentioned and I haven’t been able to find her in any records so I don’t know how I can prove this but finding the apparent family relationship (there are still some discrepancies in the family trees so haven’t “proved” this yet) between Mary Ann Norris and William B. Shields gives me hope that I am on the right track once again. After I saw her photo, couldn’t help but think that Missouri Shields (William’s daughter) and my GF Robert Norris are related. What do you think?

Robert Norris - Missouri Shields

Source: Originally posted on June 19, 2014 on the AfriGeneas African American Genealogy Community on Facebook,

Panorama Theme by Themocracy