For yDNA, you have to compare direct male descendants. If you can't read the scribbled chart that I used to help me think, here are the highlights:
- Henry and Isaac Maness were brothers, sons of Abednego (possibly a triplet).
- Henry's son Thomas Swain Maness (blue arrow - my suspected great-great grandfather) and Isaac's son Tommy were first cousins.
- We compared yDNA between Tommy's grandson (Mr. Thurman) and my uncle. If Swain is our ancestor, they would be third cousins, once removed, and both direct male descendants.
Here's why I didn't give up:
- The similarities are uncanny. Same name, same age, from the same county. Swain was rumoured to have several wives, including one in Randolph County. Both men were woodcutters by trade. Both were dark-haired or "black-headed" men.
- Most of this genealogical information is from oral history — it seems reliable because it's only second hand. Mr. Thurman lived to be 101, and his father told him this information! However, we have no primary sources for Swain's birth or family.
In the past year, autosomal testing (Family Finder test) has taken off and I learned that we could now test one of Swain's granddaughters. The comparison is supposed to be reliable up to third cousins. If Swain is our ancestor, my uncle and Ms. Lessie would be first cousins, once removed.
New technology is opening up doors to genealogy that didn't exist when I started this blog, much less two decades ago when I started searching for Thomas S. Maness!