Until a few months ago, I was under the impression that I was related to a branch of the American Woolard Family through my English-born Grandmother [Mary Elizabeth (Cissie) Cain]. It would seem, however, from more recent investigations resulting from my Ancestry DNA test, that that is not the case - for I could not establish any Woolard connections with any of the list of close match “cousins” sent to me by Ancestry.
Initially, the earliest Woolards I had found, was a John Woolard, who grew up in Fort Valley, in Shenandoah Co in WV in the early 1750's. I traced the family from WV to Ohio - through Henry W. Woolard (1787-1878), to Isaac (1811-1867), to James Albert Woolard Snr (1868-1922) to James Albert Woolard Jnr (1885-1964) and it is he, who met up with my Grandmother in Nov/Dec 1922. He married Cissie Cain in Feb 1923 as she was pregnant with my Mother.
My Grandmother had emigrated from England to Canada in November 1919 (aged 20) and worked as a Domestic in Montreal for various families. I have managed to track her down almost month by month whilst in Canada by using the 1920 Canadian Census and City Directories, annotated photographs etc etc. In March 1922 she decided to emigrate from Canada to the US, and before leaving Canada she went sightseeing from April to November. Once her emigration documents were finally processed, she crossed into the US in late Nov 1922 - and once there, Cissie soon met up with a certain James Albert Woolard.
What I've recently found out is that she was already pregnant before she left Canada, and probably became pregnant (sometime in September) during her sightseeing venture. I believe that probably James Woolard was actually tricked into believing the baby was his. Cissie Cain and James Albert got married in Feb 1923 and my Mother was born in Philadelphia in July 1923. Between the birth in July and my Mother's Baptism in February 1924, the marriage - unsurprisingly - broke down. Soon after the Baptism in Philadelphia, my Mother was brought to England by Cissie - where she grew up, married, had me etc etc. My Grandmother returned to the States in November 1924 - leaving my Mother to be looked after by her Aunts and her Grandmother in England. My Grandmother never saw my Mother again - she met someone else on her return to the US - had 3 more children and died in December 1935 in Cincinnati.
As my Mother grew up, she was told untrue stories about her “Father” and why she’d been left here in England. My Mother died in 2006 - never knowing the “truth” of what had taken place in 1922/3/4.
My DNA Test with Ancestry revealed that I seem to have quite a few 3rd and 4th Cousins - and on GEDmatch quite a few more. I’ve been in contact with some of them over the past few months, and the names that keep cropping up in their family trees seem to be Hatfield, Lowe, Owens, Sanders, Holloway and Whitt. On looking at my closest Ancestry 3rd Cousins (the closest share as many as 179 Centimorgans across 7 segments, the next 175 cms across 7 segments, and the next 167 cms across 8 segments with me) I’ve been able to establish a Most Recent Common Ancestor with most of them - the MRCA is a George Hatfield (1804-1883) who was married to Nancy Jane Whitt. I’ve done extensive research on him and his descendants - unfortunately the Hatfields often had as many as 10 - 15 children !!
Has anyone any thoughts as to how I might establish who my birth grandfather might be ?