|Edward F. Matthews' gravestone, Buffalo, WV|
For 200 years, his progeny called him Edward Franklin Matthews. A half dozen family researchers have spent their entire lives trying to find his parents and siblings, tracing census, birth, death, and marriage records; poring over old newspapers and obituaries; connecting with other researchers; and even hiring professional genealogists to go to that part of the world and do original research. NOTHING. Edward was apparently plopped down on the earth with no past and only a future.
Until January. My father agreed during our annual Christmas brunch to take a battery of DNA tests that would provide information on his patrilineal (father's side), matrilineal (mother's side) and autosomal (both parents) genetics. This is something we'd discussed for years and I was excited to see the results.
Most people take these tests and find other researchers who share their same surname. So imagine our shock when we received the test results and discovered there wasn't a single Matthews among them. Not one. Instead, I had a long list of people named CAMERON.
Long story short, we now know that my beloved great-great-great grandfather is the result of a "non-paternity event," as genetic genealogists so inelegantly put it. This means:
- The child was adopted by another family
- The mother had sex with someone named Cameron but the child was raised as a Matthews by her Matthews husband
- The child was conceived out of wedlock and the mother named the child using her own surname
- The child was either formally or informally adopted by a Matthews family.
- There is some other complicated scenario I have not yet discovered
All of this genetic genealogy calls for a new sweater, don't you think? To celebrate my newly found Scottish roots, I'm making a fair isle Cameron Cardigan. As I discussed last time, I'm using "St. Brigid" by fellow Scot John Duncan as color inspiration. My palette relies on less gold and yellow since those colors wash me out.
Happily, the Shetland wool (natch!) came this week and now I'm ready to swatch.
All of this is in preparation for the first meetup of the new More * More group. If you can find your way to Frederick, Maryland, next weekend, please join us! More * More is for more advanced knitters who want to tackle that complicated dream sweater they never seem to get to, but anyone is welcome to join and you may make whatever you wish. We'll be having regular face-to-face meetups in the DC area, but anyone anywhere can join us online. Our first event is:
Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 11 AM to 2 PM
Roy Rogers Meeting Room
301 Ballenger Center Drive
Frederick, MD 21703
We hope you’ll join us. Until then, I'll leave you with this Scottish verse:
Here's to the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather