EDIT 23 July 2016: When I published this article, my website CoonWEB located at RootsWeb was still in existence. I have since removed it and am in the process of transitioning the contents to a Coon Family specific blog at http://coongenealogy.wordpress.com.
I have known very little about my 3rd great grandmother Barbara (RADABAUGH) COON‘s life prior to her migration to Indiana. I knew that a Coonrod COON obtained a bond to marry a Barbara ROADABAUGH on 6 May 1822 in Harrison County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Through other research, I determined that these were my 3rd great grandparents. See this blog post from March.
I still don’t have [much of] a lead on who Coonrod’s parents are, but as of today, I may have a good lead on Barbara’s parents.
A year ago, I had my DNA tested via Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder. To broaden my horizons, and with no expectations whatsoever, I recently tested with 23andMe. I was not going for any particular surname matches. I find 23andMe’s interface and website atrocious, but I thought I may be able to pick out a few useful things.
I found a fairly close DNA match with a woman who turns out to be a RADABAUGH descendant and who has led me to non-verified evidence of Barbara’s parents and ancestors! I have to tell you that this is very exciting, because it is becoming increasingly obvious that DNA coupled with traditional genealogical research work together nicely.
What I know about my Barbara comes a little from family records; her Henry County, Indiana, death record; her obituary; and, her son Mark COON‘s death record.
My first year of “this whole DNA thing,” as newbies like to call it, has been frustrating and fascinating. My head spins and I am overwhelmed. I have become even more disorganized with my genealogy, and it is getting to the point that I will implode if I don’t do something soon. So, just like at one time in my life, I got at least a part of my paper records organized (15 years ago), it’s time to get my DNA connections organized as well. And, for the first time in my life, I have what I’ve always wanted – a genealogy room! I even have a cousin who wants to help me set it up.
The New Castle Courier
New Castle, Indiana
29 September 1882
p. 2, col. 4
BABARA [sic] COON
Was born in Harrison county, West Virginia, about the year 1805. Died at her son’s on Duck Creek, September 7, 1882 [Henry county death record gives death date as the 2nd]. Aged, about 77 years. Some thirty years ago she joined the Baptist church; held her connection with the same and lived in the faith till death. Her husband, Coonrod S. Coon, preceded her to the tomb some twenty-one years ago. Since that time she has lived a widow. Her remains were taken to the Harlin [sic] church, on Sugar Creek, in Hancock county, where religions [sic] services were conducted by Seth Stafford, and she was laid to rest in the graveyard near by [sic].
Two days later the infant son of James Coon died and was taken to the same place. S. S.
But I digress.
My first year of the study of genetic genealogy has led me to some really great connections. This one for the RADABAUGHs is divine. It has been a dead end, one that I had lost hope on without some serious West Virginia on-site research. I had put it on the back burner for another time. If I live another 30 years, maybe I could get to it, I told myself.
But then I “met” C last week. C is my apparent RADABAUGH cousin on 23andMe. C has paper research on the RADABAUGHs. And C has found a Barbara in her records who could be MY Barbara!
With C’s family tree, I was able to check on Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder to see how many of my 2nd cousin 1x removed’s (P’s) matches had these newly-discovered surnames. I was able to see that I have matches with them, as well (although obviously not as many as P does).
The magic of the beginnings of a DNA find like this is that even though I don’t know for sure that Barbara “fits” as the daughter of the suggested couple, I do see that as her descendants, we have DNA cousins with surnames that could mean that she is.
So on with the communication with C about the RADABAUGHs, and fingers crossed that someday, we’ll both be able to say that we are cousins not only by DNA, but also on paper.