DNA and Brick Walls...

+7 votes
I did Ancestry DNA and uploaded it to Gedmatch and FTDNA.

It feels like the vast majority of trees I look at on Ancestry, FTDNA, Gedmatch and even here on Wiki have people I don't know or recognize at all.  I have a DNA match to a person here who lives in Australia, and none of his tree names ring a bell.

I think this is because I have too many Brick Walls.  (My tree here doesn't represent the true Brick Walls, although I have categorized my TRUE brick walls as such.  I have a larger tree that I am still verifying.  Most of my ancestors I have at least the 6th generation back to Germany and beyond.)

These 4 Brick walls all end in the USA, they are all 5th generation, they are all paternal, and I need a place to start...I am sure some of you have some good ideas on how to approach this problem.
asked in Genealogy Help by Wendy Fromme G2G6 Mach 2 (21.6k points)

3 Answers

+8 votes

Hi Wendy,  I am not sure I understand your question, but this is how I use my autosomal DNA test:


Also, I recommend DNAPainter.com to tack your matching segments.

answered by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (471k points)
Thanks for answering Kitty. I read your article, it was great.

The problem is the amount of trees that have NO familiar surname.  None, Nada, Zip.
+3 votes
I currently have a similar issue with the name Cullom in my tree, no idea where it fits and very confused.  So I found the party they all seemed to have in common - which is Francis Tilman Cullom(or a variety of names) and I'm working my way down from him as time allow until I can find places where his descendants seem to pair with my tree.

So far I haven't found the magic clue, but I'm starting to think I've getting a false positive for the "projected" relationship, based on potential lines crossing in the Deep South -  And I've been working on triangulation to prove the lines up .. which is a pain in some places like DeKalb Tennessee as finding a "pure line" is so hard in some cases..

It appears I've got them in Common with a paternal grandmother's cousin, but in the tree just found his descendants married into my paternal grandfather's line.  

As for the Australia, that may be a red herring, I'm in Canada, my son was born in California and he's now moved to Australia and had my first grandchild.

With our current Global moving around, people who are stationed in various military bases around the world that I'd focus on those brick walls - as I think this mystery line will solve mine.. it's just linking him to one of of the 4 that I think he might -
answered by Kristina Wheeler G2G6 (7.8k points)
Hello: I have Francis Tilman Cullom in my direct line (via his daughter Fanny Cullom McDermid). My GED Match number is A003901 if you would like to see if we match. I manage my uncle's  as well so he would be a generation earlier if we do not match let me know and I can get his GED number. I have a tree on ancestry as well.

I have read Francis Tilman Cullom's will from 1810 where he mentions the dates he had set for the freedom of his slaves, I suspect there may be some children that are not mentioned/recognized in his will which may muddy things.

Happy Hunting!
Hi Carol, if you could email me.. I've narrowed it down to my Roberts Line - Matlock Roberts and his wife Zilpha (who was supposed to be a bane, but that is debatable).  They ended up in DeKalb County Tennessee - but came Matlock came from the Cumberland Kentucky area etc.

I've found  a line for the Sandlins who married into the Cullums - the Sandlins are also tied into the Roberts/Crooks/Drivers etc of DeKalb County.

I'm thinking that it may be Zilpah's line as I am an X match to this person and so it can't be from Matlock to James Henry.

That link is from Nancy Cullum - Mary Hooten - William Mcclain who married Willlie Sandlin which I'm working on connecting in wikitree tonight then to see how that ties to me in a marriage way .. if I can make the leaps.. lol
I just ran across Francis Tilmon Cullom on my wife's family tree on another site. I had been researching her Owen family tree. Francis and his wife Susannah Northcraft had a daughter named Abigail who married John Wesley Owen Jr.. Five generations later Mary Agnes Owen was born and was my wife's mother. She married James Milburn Harper and my wife was her youngest child.Francis Cullom came from Frederick, Maryland but died in Clark, Kentucky. He and Susannah had 3 sons and 5 daughters.
I've been working on his tree down some more - I look forward to seeing how his entire line pans out in the end.. If you haven't already if you could do at least a rough line "up  to him" linking her it would be appreciated..

I've just done DNA confirmation on her husband tying him to one of his believed siblings and this person doesn't match the Cullum line so more then sure it's Zilpha now..
+5 votes
Start doing DNApainter.com so that you can assign matching segments to particular subsections of your tree.  Then when you get a match that you don't know how you connect to them, you can at least limit it to a subsection of your tree.  Also find as many known close cousins as possible and get them DNA tested to support this.  Finally, use yDNA and mtDNA for your paternal and maternal direct lines.
answered by William Foster G2G6 Mach 6 (68.8k points)

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