DNA

I have been trying to learn about DNA and using it as a tool in genealogical research. I enrolled at 23andme.com and sent them my DNA sample. In return they genotype my DNA. What that means is that they test and determine which genetic variants I possess.  Once the testing had been done I received the results on line. At 23andme.com. Part of the results concerned health issues and showed me what health risks I had inherited which was interesting.

But the part I am enjoying the most is the relative finder.  I have been conversing with a few new cousins and trying to find out how we are related. Some of them are so organized in how they share information and some are new like me.

It has gotten me back into research. I started working on the Ligon line. My most recent Ligon ancestor was Sarah Ligon (1776- ?), my 4th great grandmother.  She was married to John Cook (1780-1830). The Ligon line is well researched and it connections are traced back to the 13th century. On HeritageQuest.com, the 998 page book entitlled, “The Ligon Family and Connections,” by William D. Ligon, published in 1947 is available, and I have been reading through it the last few days and adding information to my family tree. Of course as usually the case, Sarah’s line is not as well documented as some others.

But, the book is full of early Virginia history,  The immigrant and patriarch of the family in America was Colonel Thomas Ligon (1624-1676) of Madresfield, Worcestershire, England. He was a grandson of a second son and had little chance of inheriting much. At age 16 he  came to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1641, with is near kinsman, Sir William Berkeley, Royal Governor of Virginia. In the various records of the counties of Virginia, in reference to Colonel Thomas Ligon and his descendants, the name Ligon is spelled Lygon, Lyggon, Liggon, Liggan, Liggin, Ligon, and Leagan.

He married Mary Harris, the daughter of Capt. Thomas Harris, and they were the parents of 7 children. He was a member of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown,  where he was a member of “ye Committee for private Causes.”  He was a justice for Charles City County 1 August 1657,  a militia colonel, and county surveyor from 1667 to his death in 1675.

The Story Tellers: We Are The Chosen Ones

My feelings are that in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called as it were, by our genes.

Those who have gone before cry out to us. Tell our story! So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, “You have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us!” How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference, and saying I can’t let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. (For we without them cannot be made perfect.)

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.

That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

By: Della M. Cummings Wright ~ Rewritten by her granddaughter, Della JoAnn McGinnis Johnson ~ Edited and reworded by: Tom Dunn

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