BRICKWALLs with DNA? Mitochondrial Tests may be the Ticket!

So, it’s been seven long years with this NC Jordan work.  I have mapped and built pedigrees for Jordans in all regions of the state. I have close to 100 DNA kits under my belt.  The nc1700sJordans project is really a simple one, if families care enough about their family history to submit a DNA kit through to establish their branch AND anchor their kit by including the Family Finder test.

There is no way to accurately do family history in NC without including genealogical genetic tests.  And these tests may be just the ticket to help break through brickwalls which have plagued family history work for hundreds of years. Along our Jordan side of our pedigree we have nests of Jordans to resolve. And there is a particular mystery along our DUPREE-LOVE-JOHNSON line.  There were no vital records to help.  Several stories have gained wings.  But the truth rests in the DNA of the descendants of Fannie Telfer Love Dupree.  And like the nc1700sJordans work it isn’t difficult work provided there is cooperation.


I could have written about this particular struggle years ago but I earnestly had not anticipated problems!  I planned to simply reach out to actual cousins and work together to quietly solve the mystery of the Daddy for Fannie Telfer “Tel” Love Dupree, a wonderful lady born as our Nation was ripped apart by war.  Every child is a blessing and this researcher has no idea if Great Grandma Fannie told her children about her father. As I worked I felt this was something never mentioned. Maybe it was out of respect. Whoever Dad was, his family history became ever entwined in our family history and for this researcher a brickwall which is interfering with the nc1700sJordans project.

It was easy to isolate the best candidates to solve this mystery.  There were not many candidates still alive!  I needed two kits – one boy and one girl.  The boy was a Jordan and he kindly did a kit.  The other, the girl, was born a Seagroves and ironically wed a Jordan but her husband’s family was not from the South.  Try as I might I have failed to gain any help from her.  And so the glaring hole remains for all to see that Great Grandma Fannie Telfer Love was illegitimate.

My hope was to isolate, establish, and confirm the true surname for Great Grandma Fannie and discover who our Great Great Grandpa was.  For many in NC they are wrestling with the same sort of brick wall.  So I figured it was time to chronicle where I am and put the steps out there.  I was raised to live by the Golden Rule and I have spent years helping others in our state (and a few whose family line pushed off from NC and settled in a different part of the USA).  My hope is maybe by giving this wings, God will make a way for the solution to return to me.

God wanted Fannie here.  She and Great Grandpa Benjamin Franklin Dupree were allowed to have a large family. One of their grandsons was allowed to be a respected Federal Judge.

All any researcher can do is the best God allows for each day.  I fail to see the logic to allow such a mystery to remain when God has allowed the scientific toolset to solve it.   If God allowed the birth, and clearly blessed the family, and provided the scientific toolset isn’t it more in line with His word to work together to build a bridge and fix the glaring hole which broadcasts the fact Fannie was conceived out of wedlock?

I don’t begin to judge Grandma Sarah who was Grandma Fannie’s mom. There was a war and this war marched through our towns over and over again.  North Carolina had men on both sides. We contributed more men to this war than any other state!  So who in the world could ever think anything negative about any innocent little baby born!   Interestingly as I have worked there are many other babies like Grandma Fannie and none of them boy or girl  as they grew seemed to be condemned by their communities. So why pass judgement now? Or place any sort of shame at the feet of that mother or child?

For seven long years the descendants of Fannie Love Dupree, wife of Benjamin Franklin Dupree, both of Angier NC, have not cooperated with me. I have asked and asked for help.  For some strange reason I keep hearing “contact the LOVES”, maybe they can help” or I am promised a phone call, …  I even heard from the best candidate herself during the lone brief phone call I had to let sleeping dogs lie.  Awkward situation, yes.  Seven years of disappointment, absolutely.

Just days ago I tried to track down Fannie Love Dupree’s Bible!  (not our Grandma Fannie Dupree Jordan, her daughter).  I kept hearing that Bible held the answer and it was last known to be in the hands of Alexander Clifton (AC) Dupree who was raised by his aunt, Julia.  Julia Dupree was a daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Fannie Love Dupree.  Julia never married, stayed in the family home and raised her brother Claude Lawrence Dupree’s infant son AC after AC’s mom, Eva Stancil Dupree, died during or shortly after bringing AC into this world.  AC never had any children. He waited until late in life to marry and Miss Kendrick’s people were from Chatham county.  The Great Aunt who supposedly all expected to do all the family history had never reached out to AC about the Bible.  She was raised Mormon and bibles other than “Mrs. Jordan’s” AKA Fannie Dupree Jordan never were on her radar.  I am a Baptist girl and Bibles for me are HUGE.  In my lines Bibles are passed to the eldest living granddaughter.  I have a collection of them.  I also have learned the nephew of the Great Aunt – the very man whom she and her husband sold the Jordan home place- had done genealogy work on the family.  The Jordan who handled Drexel Jordan’s estate never bothered to reach out to this Aunt to pass the information to whom the whole family considered the family historian.  It could be Drexel asked AC about the bible. Most folks never took bibles but copied the information contained inside.  The boxes of information may have just been destroyed when the executrix relocated two years ago.  There is supposed to be a search for them as I write this.

The search for the actual Bible continues, I can’t imagine anyone destroyed a bible in our family on purpose.  But in the meantime, I know DNA can solve the mysteries surrounding Fannie Telfer “Tel” Love, daughter of Sarah A Love.  Tel was born in 1863. Some say she was born in Harnett not far from the city limits of Angiers.  Others say she was born in Wake county somewhere in the Middle Creek township.  She was given the unusual middle name of Telifair or Telfer, depending on which record you read. Could that middle name lend a clue to her father’s identity?  The name was passed onto to some of Tel’s children. No one seems to know where the name originated.

As I investigated that name I found two schools of thought.  Telfer seemed to be a derivation of either the surname Telfair or Tolliver. There is a longstanding argument among Telfair historians regarding kinship with a particular Telifarro family of Richmond (Henrico) VA.  I knew there was a local Johnston doctor who raised his family nearby with the name Telfair but there were no Tollivers in the region at the time Fannie was conceived as far as this researcher could find.  Rumors I have heard include a Yankee sympathizer from around New Bern was the father.  I have heard it was a boy who lived nearby and whom Sarah Love hoped to wed who was killed during the war.  I even heard the name WILSON was the surname of the father!  But so far none of those rumors have led to any true research track.

Fannie wed Benjamin Franklin Dupree and her mother lived with her until her death. When she died, her son-in-law Benjamin Frankin Dupree was the informant.  Sarah was noted as single in all the census reports and on her death certificate.  When her daughter Fannie Telfer Love Dupree died, AC was the informant. He never offered a father for Fannie.  Why?

Rumors have circled the mystery’s solution was recorded in her bible.  And that was supposed to have been available to AC and passed to him when his mom died.  AC died in 1992, eighteen years before I began my family history work on our Jordans.

When I began my work I was told by anyone in our Jordan clan a particular Great aunt had been working on our Jordans since before I was born and she had everything I needed.  Well, she didn’t.  When I reached out to her she was very kind and she had Fannie Dupree Jordan’s bible but she had zero on Fannie Love. The Great Aunt’s focus, like my mother-in-law, had always been her families. In this instance, the Underwoods, Beasleys, … And the Aunt asked me for help with her families during our first phone call! She said she would share information with me IF I helped her with hers. She was stuck at Bartlett Yancey Underwood, a civil war soldier whom I truly believe lived a life worthy of a short story or screenplay. Under the DNA tab titled ” Underwoods of Caswell”  you will find how I used DNA to help her. I also found his grave.

DNA is such a wonderful tool. And when cooperation is found, progress is swift.

The Jordan Cousins and their Dupree, Seagroves, Byrd, and Cates cousins seemed to never get that I’m not chasing down stories. I am actually applying science to our family history to make sure the work is right.  There is a process where mtDNA tests can help families with mysteries surrounding a mother at any generation node. However when using mtDNA it is necessary to come to that test with two or more kits directly from your pedigree!  Without that, there is zero reason to do that test in my opinion.

Right now we have terrific tools for the first through 5-7 generations.  And we have the Ymarker and MtDNA tests to help us with the father’s father’s father’s line and the mother’s mother’s mother’s line.  We needed a girl whose mother’s mother’s line mirrored our JORDAN kit’s pedigree and followed the DUPREE, LOVE, JOHNSON track.

My own continued frustration and brickwall will hopefully serve to demonstrate how important it is for cousins to work together.  There are times when it is necessary while DNA mapping the paternal branch a researcher needs to reach out to a 3th, 4th, 5th, 6st,.. cousin’s line to confirm the branch back to an earlier shared great+ grandpa.

Cooperation is never more needed than when there is a mystery/brickwall!

As I have stated repeatedly on this site –

“Success will be measured by the degree of cooperation received”

Let me be clear the cooperation is 9 times out of 10 needed from actual family, cousins, who carry information from our ancestors forward. So when and if folks reach out, try to realize that even though you may not have grown up with the researcher, the work and effort is for YOUR family and being done by family.

Let’s get down to specifics.  The mtDNA tests provides the mother’s mother’s mother’s line of information for an individual. Either a boy or girl in your family tree can do this test BUT remember it their mother’s mother’s mother’s branch being provided, not necessarily yours!

This test is the THIRD one to use in your family history work. The Y37 or greater marker test must be used to identify and establish the surname of the line you are working – anywhere in your pedigree.  And the man who swabs his cheeks for you should be the eldest living in your direct line you can find.

The second step is the Family Finder test and that test should be included with each kit where the Ymarker test is done. This anchors a particular line of families via a surname AND puts them in specific locations.  This test, if ordered through includes an X chromosome filter.  Ancestry doesn’t. This is another reason to choose as the lab to do ALL of your DNA family history work.  The expression “You can’t get there from here” applies over and over when one chooses to use ONLY’s Family Finder (autosomal test).  When it comes to a mystery parent in one’s pedigree, remembering no genealogical DNA test is a paternity test!, it will take all three – Ymarker, Family Finder, and Mitochondrial tests to fully prove a relationship.  It may be true Ancestry bought several paternity labs databases in the past. But the reality is they only sell Autosomal tests now.  And these tests don’t include X chromosome information.

The third step is to use the mitochondrial test using two people in your family – one boy and one girl to identify and establish the mother’s mother’s mother’s line.  Be sure and anchor all mtDNA kits too. You need to be able to plot each generation node.

You can’t just submit two mtDNA kits and draw a conclusion. The reason many folks are frustrated with DNA testing is because they either use Ancestry or 23andme and those labs do not have proper tests to effectively do family history work.  Or they are under the impression you have to only swab your cheeks, send off a kit and you will receive a package from the lab with everything you ever wanted to know about your family history. That is unrealistic. The reality is each test brings unique information to light.

And if you submit only a Ymarker test you will never be able to put that puzzle piece of information correctly in your work UNLESS you anchor it by including the Family Finder test too for that specific kit. There are some folks who didn’t realize the importance of using their eldest male and there is already a Ymarker test and it would be best to submit a new kit for an older male relative and order only the Family Finder test!  That is fine too.  Some purists believe you need to include a ymarker to link the elder with the younger kit but I feel that is a waste of money!  You can and should include Family Finder tests for your the eldest living females, great aunts, grandma, or great grandmas because each one brings information forward that differs from the boys/males doing most of the anchoring.

There is one instance when these female kits are critical. And that is when there is a surname switch or there is a mystery parent.   For those situations it is vital to get every bit of information with the longest reach you can find!  This is when cousins working together becomes so important.

The only thing any two matching kits will tell you is some relationship information between the two testers. With Ymarker tests you are isolating a branch of an unique family tree and the reach of the test is 26 generations and identifying the actual surname tree involved.  The Y marker test will only give you the branch and perhaps how close you are to each of your matches along a branch. The family finder test will give you the ability to plot your branch back 1-7 generations and an X filter.  The reach of the  mtDNA is 52 generations.  So you have the possibility of 52 possible different surnames. It will take all three tests working similarly to how a Sudoku puzzle works to have enough information to identify a mystery parent.

You must use Y-marker and family finder tests in conjunction with mtDNA tests to properly triangulate – find the proper the generation and specific side, father’s or mother’s, for the match.  The way to do this is to include the brothers and sisters for the generation node.  The generation node is the set of parents. Most of the mysteries in NC exist because of a loss of records.  Families may not have spoken about a bastard child’s parentage or a nefarious ancestor but there was more than likely some sort of paper trail at one time through the courts for events involving the two. There may have been a bastardy bond at one time for our mystery great+ grandpa and our Great Grandma Fannie’s birth!  BUT in the Coastal Plains of North Carolina, and specifically Harnett County where the courthouse burned not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR TIMES, there are few records for wide swaths of time.  Genealogical DNA is a blessing for any Coastal Plains Carolina family researcher!  After each DNA test results populate it is vital you re-examine the paper records.  The information passed down from our ancestors will help us see those paper records with clarity and a more refined focus.


Let’s go through the steps using our own family (here is the reference pedigree chart):

There are a few problems with our JORDANS.   Many families submit Family Finder tests through Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, or 23and me.  I am going to show you why using should be the first and in most cases the only lab one needs to use.

I have submitted three generations of JORDANS.  Each one brings a new mtDNA line to the DNA research table.  Using the above diagram, you can see starting with the home person whose entire maternal side is irrelevant and whose family finder test may shed a bit of light.  His mother’s mother’s mother’s line is as follows:

FURMAN, BYRUM, DOUGHTY (sometimes spelled DOWTY or DOWDY), BELL,…

(c) Can Stock Photo

So he is on the fringe when evaluating Family Finder tests’ results. Remember too, a family finder test is like a net, they capture all of these cousins within a 5-7 generation range.  * Ancestry’s reach is only 1-4 generations.  I don’t understand why anyone would do a kit through Ancestry for that reason alone!  But there is more.  The home person is male so he inherited only one X and it tracks through his maternal side. Because this tester is so far from the mystery he is not a candidate to help solve the mysteries surrounding either Fannie Telfer “Tel” Love Dupree direct family, specifically who her dad was and if her grandma was a JOHNSON by birth.  Of note, does not include X chromosome filters which are vitally important to genealogical work. Yet another reason to use and not or in my opinion.

So using the pedigree chart above, the next generation JORDANs would be the father of the home person, his name was Linwood Jordan. He and his father died long before I was asked by Woody’s first wife to take a look at the Jordans. Following along the DNA kit for Woody’s brother brought a different maternal line into focus:

ADAMS,  STUART, JONES, (WHITTINGTON, BARBER, SPEIGHT, …- past the diagram above)

His Y marker test will simply provide the Father’s father’s father’s information.  The test has the ability to confirm the pedigree work for the home person (and if there are other Jordans who have established their branch, the Ymarker test has the ability to show if, how, and how close each Jordan branch relate).  However when it comes to a mystery parent it is critical to get the exact mother’s branch isolated and confirmed by Y-marker. And anchored by including the Family Finder test. In this case it would take a direct descendant of Sarah A Love’s dad’s Loves.  But this is not the First STEP.

The first step is to isolate two kits specific for descendants of the illegitimate child – one boy and one girl. The reason for the two kits is to be able to isolate information shared by the two.  Boys get one X from their mother’s side.  Their mother gets two, XX – one from their DAD and one from their mom. In our case our Grandma Fannie Dupree Jordan could have passed along the exact X copy BENJAMIN FRANKLIN DUPREE got from his mom.  Or he could have received the X passed down from Fannie Telfer Love Dupree that she received.  The reason for needing as many of the girls as possible is they carry the MOST X information forward.  In our case the brothers of our Fannie Dupree Jordan were all deceased.  And the X information died with them!  They did not pass this information to their children.

The best candidate (not her daughter) was the daughter of Helen Dupree.  She is first cousins with our Great Uncle Jordan.  Helen and our Fannie were sisters and shared the same parents, Benjamin and Fannie Telfer Love Dupree.  Each child received an unique cocktail of autosomal information from each parent.  It is impossible to only submit our Jordan kit and expect to be able to fully read the information alone. WE NEED actual family to help us.

In this particular case we need Fannie Dupree’s sisters’ female children (our great Uncle’s Aunts lines) to help.

Each daughter receives TWO XXs.  Our kit is for the last living child of our Fannie. There are no daughters to test. Eugenia Jordan Wilkerson and Fannie Jordan Brooks died long before this work began.  So we need to go back to the Fannie Dupree Jordan’s sisters.  There is a best candidate who would have received one X from her SEAGROVES branch and one X from her DUPREE side. It is this researchers hope that the two kits because ours is a boy where only a X is passed from the mom’s side will be enough.  It would be even better to have the CATES’ girls to submit Family Finder tests through FTDNA to allow enough X chromosome information to help us isolate Fannie Telfer Love’s X information. Remember she received two X chromosomes. One from the mystery dad and one from Sarah Love, her mom.  It is important to understand autosomal dna dilutes with every generation so the closer to Fannie Telfer Love we get the more clear and abundant the information we have. Another reason why the cooperation by our Seagroves cousin is so critical.

Here are graphics I found online that help to clearly explain how the X information travels. If you want to learn more I suggest you go to his site.  He did a terrific job of explaining the X chromosome. All of the images explaining the X chromosomes comes from his site.  I pulled out a few of his graphs to demonstrate specifically for our mystery how it works.

For our JORDAN KIT (a boy) . The first image shows his mom giving him the exact copy she received from her DAD who got it from HIS mom!  The second image shows his mom giving him a mix of X received from her mom’s side where his mom got a mix from HER mom’s side!  It may sound confusing (partly because for us our Jordan’s mom was named after HER mom! Both Fannie Telfers Duprees, one by birth and one by marriage)

Look at the pedigree chart again.  We reached by one more generation to the home person’s grandparents generation.  Cornelius Cleveland and Fannie Dupree Jordan had a large family.  But only child lives. This brings me to our third (and the first actual kit I submitted) for our eldest living male Jordan.  It is always best to look at your pedigree closely and find the eldest living in each branch and get those kits submitted.  They won’t be here forever and the information they received from their ancestors is so valuable. In our case priceless!

His mother’s mother’s mother’s line is PERFECT –

DUPREE, LOVE, LOVE, JOHNSON? and then it stops.

His Ymarker test will only help to confirm (or DNA map) our specific JORDAN branch. His family finder test includes terrific centimorgans of information but how to evaluate it?  The reach of his kit definitely includes the mystery zone.  Why can’t the Family Finder test alone allow him to solve this mystery?  Two reasons –

First, his paternal branch is broken.  That means he doesn’t know each node back to the 5-7th generations!

Second, he has two mystery maiden names too. His Great Great Great Grandpa Joseph A Jordan married a Rebecca.  Her surname is not known.  And his father, our earliest known JORDAN male, Matthew M (or W) Jordan wed an Abigail but her maiden name too is not know. * there is a marriage bond for a Matthew Jordan and an Abigail Medlin but the dates do not seem to work AND if he did wed this lady it opens the door for a first wife and some of the children considering the second wife as their mother because she raised them.  She may not have given birth to our Joseph, if this is even the same Abigail.

Add those mysteries to the Fannie Love, child of Sarah A Love and there is more DNA required.  It is even more important to gather DNA in such a way to illuminate that particular line.

The logical next step was and is to get a DNA kit from someone in the family whose pedigree would mirror our eldest living Jordan.  There was ONLY one living female and she has so far refused to help as far as this research is aware.  Out of desperation I tried to locate and contact her daughter. Her daughter refused to even call.  Ironically this first cousin to our Jordans wed a man with our same surname.  Her husband though is from outside of NC, so he and his daughter would be irrelevant to the nc1700sJordans work. Great Uncle Jordan’s first cousin could help tremendously resolve the hole in our shared pedigree. Her kit would help ALL the descendants of Fannie Telfer Love Dupree.

I tried for seven years to reach family members who could help me quietly just submit the kits and work the matches and solve this mystery and allow the family history work to continue. The glaring hole in the pedigree work would disappear. is designed to be a researcher’s friend. There are layers of privacy protection.  The information belongs to the owners of the kits.  At Ancestry and 23andme and Gedmatch the information becomes theirs!  FTDNA’s lab can do any of the genealogical DNA tests necessary to help researchers with their work.

I found one person who had submitted DNA through Ancestry who comes through Henrietta Byrd’s line after the Seagroves kit failed.  The kit appears to be for a boy however.

Adding layers of difficulties, whoever the kit owner is has chosen to keep her tree private crippling the ability to even properly work a match via Ancestry’s system and paralyzing my ability to learn of descendants who may be able to help.  I am a stranger to many.  But if I could get help from folks whom the best candidate knew … or gain help along a different Dupree/Byrd track… In my opinion, it isn’t helping anyone on Ancestry to submit the Byrd kit and it should be moved to  It would only cost $19.  So far that hasn’t happened. You will note I sent a message to the owner and so far have not received any reply.

But keep in mind this Byrd Kit may help us but it is outside the best candidate range. For some of the same reasons our Uncle Jordan kit was not the best choice and only provided some information.

Here is how the X chromosome option for the Seagroves cousin (or any of Henrietta’s daughters),  both our Great Uncle Jordan FIRST COUSINs. The first image shows the daughter getting a mix of X passed from her paternal grandma to her son, the daughter’s dad AND a mix of X passed from her maternal side including both grandparents lines.  It is not always this percentage passed to each child. So it is always best to get DNA from all available who follow this relationship range.

The second image shows what is called a nonrecombined X meaning the daughter received an exact copy of passed from the maternal grandfather’s line!

This is critical information for our family and these charts demonstrate the BEST candidates.





S0 the best candidate and line won’t help!  What to do?  Look at the daughters of the child.  And find another second best candidate. We will lose possible terrific X chromosome information but it would help.  Sadly for our Jordans, there were no living
granddaughters of Fannie Telfer “Tel” Dupree!  And one granddaughter had only sons and the other granddaughter had a daughter but she also died and had no daughters.  So we need help from family.   The best our branch could bring to the research table was the single kit done by our eldest living Boy Jordan, a great uncle.

Fannie Love Dupree had several daughters!  All are deceased.

One daughter, Julia Dupree, never wed.  She raised one of her brother Claude Lawrence Dupree’s sons as her own.  Claude’s first wife died during or shortly after delivering Alexander Clifton “AC” Dupree.

The eldest daughter was Henrietta Dupree. She wed Richard Alexander Byrd.  Henrietta has passed on to glory. She had four daughters!

One daughter Clara Retta (possibly Henrietta) died before she reached her second birthday.

Hettie Ann Byrd wed Reece Seagroves and had only sons.

Rosa Tyler Byrd wed Robert Taylor Wells and had only one child, a son.

That leaves Nila Telfair Byrd. Nila wed Frank Fuller Cates and she had a large family including many daughters.  And interestingly Nila’s line even carries that odd middle name which she spells Telfair, not Telfer.

If you look at the Mother’s mother’s mother’s line the pedigree is the same as our Jordan kit.  So if you are reading this and you recognize your family, we are kin.  Please contact me via the CONTACT tab on this site. It is private and it will allow us to work together to finally put this mystery to bed.

If you are a LOVE or a JOHNSON and you can help with the tangle surrounding Fannie Telfer Love and her grandma Sarah Sallie W or M Johnson? Let’s talk.  There may be a different bible somewhere or some line of Johnsons or Loves or Duprees who has a paper record I can use.  You also may be able to help by establishing your branch by submitting a kit via

It is possible to solve a mystery parent.  It is simply a question how much a family wants to work together to solve it. Gone are the days when this has to remain indefinitely for any family!  Our Jordans have done all we can.  I know God is in control and hold fast knowing HE will make a way…