We here at Genealogy DNA are always looking for DNA Success Stories (read previous post), and this one comes from the ISOGG Newsletter.
Family Finder Success for the Family of North Dakota’s First Democrat Senator
by Joe Fox
For years, I’ve been trying to trace the ancestry of my all-female line great grandmother, Anne Euphemia Roach. All I had was some 1860 census data for Washington, DC, that seemed to identify her family with Edward as the father but gave only the first name for the mother. I had posted this information on Rootsweb but had gotten no replies.
Then, a month ago, I was contacted by a projected 5th cousin in Family Finder. The match was 11.5 cM on the longest block but we had several surnames in common. Turns out that the match is probably in our Cooper ancestry back in Ireland before 1745 – at least 6 generations back. His Coopers had come over later but there were given names and wives surnames that matched.
But, in addition, he had already noted that he had several matches with people who gave Roach as one of their family surnames – even though he had not yet identified a Roach ancestor for himself. So he had been tracing the Roach family back in St. Mary’s County, MD, and in Washington, DC, and was able to give me the name of Edward Roach’s wife, which was Catherine Manning, from Loudoun County, VA. A little snooping around on Google led me to a posting on Ancestry.com that described what appeared to be the same family.
This, in turn led me to look up William Nathaniel Roach, US Senator from North Dakota from 1893 to 1899, who turned out to be Anne Euphemia Roach’s brother. I went back to the Ancestry.com posting, contacted the sender, and now have access to the Manning family tree – which is quite impressive. I’ve also taken my all-female line back another 2 generations to Euphemia Lacy Manning of Paeonian Springs, Loudoun County, VA.
The lesson I get from this is that it pays to follow up on some of these more remote surname connections. No telling what might develop. I also learned why my great aunt, who was my mother’s family genealogist, had failed to document her own mother’s family tree. It seems that William Nathaniel Roach, her uncle, was once the cashier of a bank in Virginia whose funds he was diverting into the stock market for himself. He was rescued by family connections who paid off his losses and he then moved out to North Dakota to start a new life – successful enough to become the first Democrat elected senator from that state.
(Used under CreativeCommons license)