Thursday, February 28, 2013

Elijah McCoy - An Inventor

Last weekend I went through the list of keywords people entered into their search engines that brought them to my blog. One person searched for Elijah McCoy and another person (maybe the same person?) also searched for David McCoy. David McCoy was the grandfather of my great-grandmother, so I can understand why they would have landed on my blog after typing that into their search engine. But I don’t have any ancestors that I know of named Elijah McCoy. This prompted me to post the estate files of David McCoy on my blog. You can read about them here.

I figured I would eventually come across an Elijah McCoy in my research and when I did, I would post something about him on my blog. When I was working at the library later in the week I was helping a patron select some juvenile non-fiction books on Sacajawea and on the shelf display was a book about Elijah McCoy! Evidently he was the son of slaves who loved to work on steam engines and even studied as a mechanical engineer in Scotland. However, when he came to Michigan the only job he could get was shoveling coal into the train’s firebox. He didn’t let that discourage him though. He rose above his situation and became an inventor. He invented an oil cup that would oil the train’s engine while it was running!

Monica Kulling’s biography, All Aboard! tells about Elijah McCoy’s invention of the oil cup. This book offers reader between the ages of 6 and 12 a look through pictures and descriptive text into the life of a boy given very little opportunity who makes the best of it. 

You can read more about Elijah McCoy on his Wiki page here.

So, I wonder if the person who entered “Elijah McCoy” into their search box and land on my blog was looking for the young inventor described in this book or were they looking for an ancestor by that same name?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Distribution of Property of David McCoy of Greenville, SC

My great-grandmother, Blanche Kathryne Hill, was the granddaughter of Josephine F Cox and Joseph Watson Hill of Greenville, South Carolina. Josephine and Joseph Hill moved from Greenville, South Carolina to Center Point, Howard County, Arkansas in 1869.

Josephine had been left an orphan at a young age. Her father, Robert Cox, died when she was just 8 years old and her mother, Basheba McCoy Cox, followed a couple of years later in 1852.  Josephine's mother, Basheba McCoy, had also been left without a father at a young age. Her father, David McCoy, had died when Basheba was only 16 years of age. However Basheba and her sisters were already married off with husbands by the time their father passed away.

The following distribution of property from David McCoy's estate file provides a list of names of his 4 daughters - Louisa, Teeley, Shaloma and Basheba in addition to their husbands' names:

Amount of Property Advanced in the lifetime of David McCoy late deceased:

Ezekial Spriggs Husband of his 1st Daughter Louisa
4 Negros $975
and other property to the amount of $55 -- total $1030

Benjamin McKenzie Husband of his 2nd Daughter Teeley
2 Negroes & other property $553 - 2 = $551
deduct $2 for bedsted

Robert Cox Husband of his 3 Daughter Barsheba
2 Negroes & other property to the amt $774

Asa May Husband of his 4 Daughter Shaloma
2 Negroes and other property to the amount $755

Estimated by us this 29th of November 1822

Geo Salmon
Joseph Cobbs
Thos Blyth

David McCoy died around 1822 in Greenville County, South Carolina. No will was found for him in Greenville County. He preceded his wife Susan McCoy in Death (last name unknown). 

His estate was managed by his administrator, Robert Cox (husband of his daughter, Basheba McCoy Cox). David McCoy's estate files were downloaded from the website, "South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964." These records were microfilmed by FamilySearch at the Greenville County Probate Court. David McCoy's estate papers were contained in File no. 339. 

From this page, we learned the following: 

Basheba McCoy married Robert Cox
Louisa McCoy married Ezekial Spriggs
Teeley McCoy married Benjamin McKenzie
Shaloma McCoy married Asa May

I have several Family Finder DNA matches to people with the Cox surname in their family trees. I also am a match to a couple of McKenzies. This might be the connection to them.

Here is my line to my Great-Grandmother Blanche (father's side):
Dad (Tim Smith)
Grandmother (Barbara Binns)
Great-Grandmother (Blanche Hill)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Changes Coming to Your Family Finder Test Results

For the past couple of months, ftDNA has been in the middle of upgrading from build 36 to build 37 in reporting their Family Finder autosomal DNA results. This means they are refining their matching algorithms, specifically based on how the centimorgans values, or the length of DNA shared, are determined and reported. This refinement will reduce the amount of false positives between you and your matches and hopefully result in more accurately predicting relationships between you and your matches.

We are just starting to see the results of these changes come through. But unfortunately, as of ftDNA's announcement on February 24th, 2013, there were some problems with the new build and some kits are having to be re-run.

What does this mean?

If you log in to your account and see a significant decrease in the number of matches it could be for one of two reasons:

1) Their tests are being re-run and when they pass QC will be uploaded back into the database. If they are a true match they will show back up again

2) These matches were refined, identified as false positives, and removed from your results

There is hope!

You may not know this, but at the same time ftDNA is trying to convert to this new build, they are also allowing for test results from other companies such as 23AndMe to be uploaded to their system. This is beneficial because now testers from 23AndMe will be matched up with matches in ftDNA's database and ftDNA testers will receive additional matches from people who took the 23AndMe test. It is a win-win situation for all parties.

In case you are wondering, people who took the 23AndMe test are able to transfer their test results to the ftDNA database for $89.00!!!

Here is a snapshot of my match results for the various tests I manage. I currently manage 6 tests on ftDNA:

#Matches on 2/16
# Matches on 2/25
- 43
My Mom
- 31
- 71
- 52
- 87
Cousin’s Half-Sister
- 75

I’m very excited that our results will be better refined and false positives will be reduced by this new build. I’m equally excited about our match database being opened up to 23AndMe uploads. I’m sure the 23AndMe testers are the most excited as they will now have the advantage of being matched from two databases, not just one. Likewise, integration with the ftDNA database will ensure a much higher success at match interaction and building genealogical connections as these testers did not join for health reasons, like many at 23AndMe did.

What can you do?
I would refrain from spending a lot of time analyzing your chromosome data or looking at your list of In Common Withs until the build has been completed and the 23AndMe data has been uploaded. Continue working with the folks you have been in contact with. Re-run your data after the new build to ensure they are still a match to you, especially if you have not yet found a connection.

Let me know in the comments below how your numbers are progressing. You can look up the number of matches you have by clicking on the chromosome browser. In the list of names, it shows 1 of 10 of ____ total matches.

To Cite This Post:
Ginger R. Smith, "Changes Coming to Your Family Finder Test ResultsGenealogy By Ginger, 25 February 2013, ( : accessed [date])