I originally started my genetic research to answer some questions about my paternal family. I got that information, and have since discovered multitudes of Reynolds DNA matches. In fact, they have become so commonplace that I seldom follow up on new ones. I have traced the Reynolds family back to 1530 through DNA matches and several genealogical books written on the Reynolds family. It is a huge, huge family with roots in the Quaker immigrants from England. In fact, I even found out that my 8th great grandfather is my husbands 10th great grandfather on his mother’s mother’s side. So what next? I knew that my maternal grandfather was born in England and I connected with a cousin years ago that gave me several generations information about his family. My maternal grandmother was born in Washington, and her grandparents immigrated from Canada, and have traced them back to Ireland. But there are two mysteries in that family; my great grandmother and 2nd great grandmother. The pictures of my great grandmother haunt me. She looks so sad and lost, that I just feel her crying out to me.
My journey to find the family of my great grandmother, Jenny Canniff has been full of ups and downs. A little review here… My great grandmother was born Lydia Jane Canniff in 1862 and orphaned 6 years later. She was raised from age 9 to 19 with the Isaac Fox family in Hastings, Ontario. There is no record of where she was from age 6 to 9, no birth record and no death record for her parents. I have visited the Family History Library in Utah and came away empty handed after help from their Ontario expert. There just happens to be no birth records for the area for her year, and no death records for when her parents supposedly died. She is presumed to have a brother who was living with another family near the Fox’s in the same years, but there is no proof of a connection between then yet.
I have one solid DNA 2 or 3rd cousin in the Canniff family, and a couple other distant cousins. Charles, my nephew has a few different Canniff matches. I have started a separate Canniff tree based originally on books written on the Canniff family of Ontario, Canada, and adding the genealogical information from my Canniff cousins. I feel like I have made great strides with these efforts, identifying the common ancestors of these different Canniff families as John/Jonas Canniff b. 1723 and Marietje Tietsoort, b. 1726, and narrowed down the next generation to Abraham T. Canniff 1770, and James/Jonas Canniff 1765. Of course, my direct ancestor may be the other brother John 1757.
In tracing all these families down the lines, I have identified other cousins by the names of Flagler and Clapp. The Flagler DNA connections have come back unidentified, and the Clapp, lo and behold showed up in a Reynolds match! This was very discouraging, but I’ve not lost hope. So there is a possibility that these Canniff DNA matches could also be from my Reynolds line and not my great grandmother’s Canniff’s line.
So, what is next? I’m not giving up. I have ordered FTDNA’s Full Sequence mtDNA test. Our maternal haplogroup is passed down from mother to daughter over the generations virually unchanged. This should confirm which side of the family that my Canniff matches exist on. It will at least give me more clues.
I will write later about the presumed brother of Lydia Jane, Jonas Canniff. He has a mysterious past that parallels hers nearly identically, yet there is no real connection between the two.