Genealogy research

I've been working on my genealogy as well as for relatives and friends for 40 years. I started with the goal of finding how my ancestors got to North America. Little did I know that all my ancestors arrived before 1850, most in the 1600s and 1700s. I also hoped that there were some interesting relatives in my history, the Indian princess or maybe an African American. Alas, I didn't find any and the DNA genealogy has made my north west European roots pretty clear.

My Smith line has been traced back to Clark Smith born 1780, probably in Massachusetts but maybe in New York. I've traced every male descendant of Clark and can not find any Smiths that I'm related to other than my brother. Clark was in Madison county New Yor in 1810. In 1840 they lived in Lake county Ohio. Then in 1850 they purchased a farm north of Durand Illinois where they stayed until the 1960s.

My paternal grandmother was Hazel Becker. Her grandfather Jacob Becker moved from Germany in 1847 with his parents and siblings, settling in Stephenson county Illinois. Around 1880 the Becker family moved to Durand Illinois. My great grandfather Oscar Becker killed himself by jumping into the Pecatonica river, apparently distraught over some finacial problems.

My mother's father was Otho Ports. The Ports probably came from Germany to Pennsylvania before 1750. By the late 1700s they were in Boonsboro county Maryland. Michael Ports wrote a series of articles about the Ports family in the Marlyland Historical Society magazine of which copies are in the Newberry Library. Otho Port's great grandfather David Ports was in Maryland while his father and other family members were already in Ogle county Illinois in 1850. They sent a series of letter to David begging him to come. He saved the letters which are called the Pioneer Letters. A copy is in the Abraham Lincoln library in Springfield Illlinois.

My maternal grandmother was Inez Garman. The Garmans were Pennsylvania Dutch and in the US by 1750. It is rumoured that Michael Garman was in the revolutionary war, captured and spent the rest of the war on a prison ship. The Garmans moved to Ogle county Illinois around 1844 and many still remain in the area today.

The next graphic shows how I'm doing on my original genealogy goal. I've got over 4000 names in my family tree but I've only identified a little over 40% of the connections to the old world.

The next graphic is from 23andme's Ancestry Composition. From a DNA test they try to predict where all of your DNA comes from. It is interesting but far from perfect. Every few years the views change as they test more people and have better analysis programs. What this shows is that I should have a lot more British Isles relatives and I've got a few percent from southern and eastern Europe which is surprising.