Sunday, December 29, 2013

Osborne, Osborn, or Osbourne from Barbados to New York

It’s possible that I could I be related to Ozzie Osbourne who wrote the song “Road to Nowhere”; he’s from across the pond where my ancestors are from.   I am just kidding, but you never know. 

Take your pick of either spelling: Osborn, Osborne, or Osbourne.  My DNA match is a 4th to 6th cousin with 95% confidence from Ancestry.  The connection starts in Barbados with the family names Rebecca V. Farnum and husband Joseph R. Osborne.  When the Osbornes came from Barbados to the states it was around 1928 to Brooklyn, NY.  There is no connection to my relatives from the states I know about; Virginia and South Carolina.

Several months ago I made contact with a branch of the Osbornes, with the Barbados tie, but they do not know much other than when the family came over.   After exchanging info about our families, we remained stuck in Brooklyn, NY. 
I am soliciting help to found out who is the connection for our relationship.  Is there anyone out there in genealogy-land who is related to this branch of Osbornes or who can give me some help?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

His Westmoreland DNA Solved A Laurens County, SC Mystery

I met him five months ago when I visited his mom in the hospital here in Baltimore.  We talked for about an hour.  Within that hour we spoke about how we are connected (his great-grandfather and my grandfather were brothers) and that I got myself DNA tested.  He seemed excited and stated that he would have his DNA tested too.

On September 28, 2013, my Baltimore cousin emailed to let me know that he got the results of his DNA test.  He showed up as a match for my uncle and me.  While speaking with one of my matches from Alabama, I mentioned that I received a new match; I called out his “handle”.  She immediately stated that the handle sounds familiar.  She scrolled down her list of matches and there he was, our Baltimore cousin.   My Alabama match and I had been talking for some time trying to figure out which side of the family connected us.  I told her it was my dad’s side because she looks just like two cousins of mine; I even emailed her a picture to confirm the connection.  My Baltimore cousin’s DNA set us both (actually me) on the right path!
Remember my post “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way”?  This is where my North Carolina DNA relative gets tied in too.  We talked on the phone about three times.  She called me on Christmas Eve since she had a little down time.  I believe she was just as anxious as me to know how we are connected since we are listed as 2nd to 3rd cousins.  She started going down her list of matches; she called out my uncle’s handle, my PA cousin’s handle, and then the Pièce de résistance; she called out my Baltimore cousin’s handle!!!  We are connected through the Westmoreland’s of South Carolina.

Much thanks to my Baltimore cousin for catching the vision and valuing family and the ties that bind.

Just got my dad tested…cannot wait to see what his DNA brings to the table!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Where There's A Will, There's A Way to a Westmoreland and Jeter Connection

I was desperate today!  I have been waiting to hear from a DNA match who is listed as my 2nd to 3rd cousin.  The last time she was on was October 22, 2013; I just missed her.  I sent her an email on 10/22/13, then again on 11/29/13 because she had not been on since October.  I was anxious to hear from her, but NOTHING.

On today, the detective in me said that there has to be a way to contact her.  I used her “handle” from to send her an email thru the major email servers (Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail); in the subject line I typed “DNA match.”  I got a hit!  When I got home from work I checked my email and there she was asking me to call her on her cell. 

We talked for a good forty-five minutes, trying to figure out how we are connected.  She is a newbie, so I felt compelled to give her some pointers and encouraged her to just stay focused so that she would not become overwhelmed with all the info.  Our connection is in the ballpark of Greenville, South Carolina; we will meet again on the phone when she gets back to North Carolina!
We do not share any common surnames, so we have our work cut out for us and we are up for the challenge.  We are addressing the names Westmoreland, Pilgrim, Jeter, Edwards, and Day; all from Greenville.
Now I can relax a bit!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Discovering the Towles and Dabneys of Goochland Co., VA

When I search for my relatives, I feel like a detective.  No, there is no badge, no stylish suit or uniform, not even an office bearing my name, but I am doing detective work.

We researchers seem to have that hound dog mentality.  We pick up a trail and do not stop until will get what we are looking for.  The available resources are plentiful so listen as others talk about how they come across their information. makes available to us all kinds of information about our relatives, like school year books, obituaries, residents over the years, etc.  As I probed some information I had on my great-great grandfather on my father’s side, I ogled a document connected to him.  His name was Beverly Towles, Sr. and the deceased relative his name was attached to was Adeline Towles Hardman born 1913 in West Virginia.  She was my great grandmother’s sister.  She died in 2011.

As I inspected the new found document, I came across, in the “survived by” section, two names of people who live in my state.  Well, being the detective that I am, I followed up on a trusted lead.  I was a member of  I tried the woman’s name first; nothing.  Put in the male’s name (Towles) and BINGO!  The listing gave me his phone number, date of birth, address, people connected to him, the works.

I called him the same day I found the info; told him what I was doing and he asked if my paternal grandmother had sisters.  I told him the names and he said, “You are my cousin.”  He had been in my city for the past fifty years; I drove past his street at least once a week for the past twenty or so years!

The private investigator in me had some questions for my new lead so I asked if I could come by his house the following Saturday.  As I looked at the evidence my senses told me that my Towles cousin is the family historian.  He had photos of my great-great grandparents (Beverly and Mahala Towles of Goochland, Virginia), a binder full of obituaries; he called it his “dead book” and most important a document with my grandmother’s name as beneficiary of property in Virginia that was sold and the proceeds split among a few relatives.

To bring this case to a close I introduced my dad and his brother to their cousin.  The sister in the obituary was at her brother's house too.  We chatted for two hours or so.  Before they would let us leave, they told us that they had cooked for us.  Talk about food, it was a spread!  Mind you they are both in their eighties.  The feast led to another two hours of getting to know each other and meeting more relatives who stopped by.

Remember, as detectives we can leave no stone unturned.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Never Disregard What They Have to Say...I learned from a Pilgrim of Laurens Co., SC

If I had a $dollar$ for every time I have heard, “they do not know anything about the family”, I would be rich, or at least close to it!

We assume that our family members cannot help us in our efforts to piece together our tree.  We assume that since our relatives have not talked about the family, they know nothing.   Back in 2008, the year my beautiful mother passed on, I started out with one sheet of paper with a few names.  It was my grandfather Westmoreland’s family.  Later, relatives gave me obituaries, photographs, and I took notes from conversations, no matter how small the detail.  I came by this info because I asked questions, lots of them!

Before I go on, I want to look at how useful obituaries are.  I use to collect them whenever I would go to a funeral; I saw them as souvenirs; something you tuck away and pull out when you are sorting through old papers.  One day it struck me, I had gold nuggets in my possession.  Obituaries tell us where our relatives were born, lived and where their parents are from.  I took those obits and began my search on
It was scary at times when I would find, yes find, what I was looking for.  The information that is so readily available overwhelmed me!
As I mentioned, my mom died in 2008.  I got wind from an eighty something year old Westmoreland cousin that I had a great aunt, sister to my grandfather Westmoreland, who was still alive.  She was the last child living of fifteen.  She was from the first marriage of my great grandfather.  She was ninety-two or so at that time.  I got her daughter’s phone number, called her up and told her what I was doing.  Keep in mind that I had never met this relative.  As our conversation began to wind down, she said, “Delores, if you ever want to come for a visit let me know.”  I immediately asked if I could come down the next weekend.   She gladly said yes to my request.  My mother never knew about her and looking at her age, I did not want to chance that she would pass on me; I trekked down to Norfolk, Virginia.
Armed with my brand new camera (with video capabilities) from a good friend who had no clue that she was going to be a vital part of my research ventures, I headed to Virginia to pick my great aunt’s brain.  Oh yeah, I was dying to meet her, but she was a link to my Westmoreland past and future!   She told stories of my grandfather’s life in Laurens, South Carolina.  She talked about her cousin Drusilla Pilgrim.  Pilgrim was the maiden name of my great grandmother.  I did not discover this until I got home and started reviewing the video and researching.
Today, I have an information book for each grandparent!  This all happened because I asked questions.  SO, get to asking.