Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Email to Family...

I know you all want to know what my current passion is, right? OK I am expecting too much. But I am still on my DNA kick. Please read my appeal for someone who is a female descendant of Peter Belew, who is the son of Giles Belew and Judith Chastain. Giles died in 1728 but Judith continued to have children (5 exactly according to early Virginia court records over the next ten years). Maybe she had bodily manifestations from beyond the grave.

One interesting thing is that one of the DNA matches to our five participants is a Pruitt family. A figured that played in one of the Judith's court cases as a benefactor. Our Renny could be in fact a Pruitt, and not a Belew. But then we would know Renny's origin. So this is the current holy/unholy grail I am currently chasing.

I am enjoying the work, or should I say fun, that I am paid for. Something said at my brother Bob's funeral by his son Bill. Bob never contemplated retiring because what he did for a living was so much fun he could not imagine himself wanting to do anything else. And of course, he was lawyering right up until he took his death bed. He was a happy man. That's how I am feeling about my 007 life right now.


Forwarded Message to Mildred...

Subject: Belew Family History & DNA

Mildred. It was nice for me to chat with you on Sunday.

I want to explain a little about what we are trying to do with this DNA testing thing.

Some of us who are descendants of Renny Belew (in Union Co. SC 1769-1799) have been most anxious to learn his origins prior to his arrival in Union County. We suspect he came from Virginia but can not prove it. Some of us even think he may be an offspring of Giles Belew and Judith Chastain. Again we can not find any documentation that would indicate that.

After years of effort, I decided to try DNA testing. The theory behind the DNA testing is that the patterns for certain parts of the Y-chromosome, which comes from the paternal side, do not change, or change very little, from father or son and from one generation to the next. So if you test a living direct-male descendant the DNA values for these particular spots will be the same, or very close to the same, as their gg grandfather.

I and Helen also after much effort recruited three direct male descendants to do the DNA test. We now have their results. Much to our surprise there were also two others already in the Ballew Family Association sponsored DNA database that also matched the three known direct-male descendants of Renny Belew. This suggest that these two also have some connection to Renny Belew's line. We just don't know how.

I am attaching a table showing the results.

First let me say something about the DNA test. The individual orders a kit from the Family Tree DNA Company. The key contains simple instructions, a stick to do the cheek swab, a container that protects the stick with the cheek swab, and a mailer. The container is mailed back to Family Tree DNA. They analyze the results, which produces a set of numbers -- one number for each of say 37 locations or markers on the Y-chromosome that are tested. Each location is given a number that corresponds to the pattern observed. So if one is tested for 37 markers one gets back a set of 37 numbers. These numbers can be compared with the results of other testers. The chance of having 37 markers match some one else accidentally are very small, if they don't share a common ancestor. Especially, if you have other information that suggests a common place and time, or say the same last surname.

The table I am attaching shows a series of columns. The first column is just the numbers 1 through 37 each representing one of the markers tested. The next is a reference number to the particular marker. Then the next five shows the numerical results for the five in our Renny Belue/Belew sample. The last column shows the most representative value of the 5 samples.

What I am looking for is a direct male descendant of Peter Belew who is willing to do the DNA testing. By the way, the test is self-administered and done at the time and place of one's own choosing. It is just brushing the inside the tester's mouth in the cheek area. Then after several weeks the FT DNA company will send the results in the form of 37 numbers. What I want to know is are the numbers of a direct male descendant of Peter similar to those of our Renny descendants or to some other. By the way the Family Tree DNA company also sends the tester any exact or close matches that are already in its database along with an email address for each one. In our case that is how we learned about Troy and Thomas.

Please if you can direct me toward someone who is a known male-descendant of Peter, I would be most appreciative. I am personally willing to pay for the cost of testing. That shows you how desperate or obsessed I am to learn more about my ancestor Renny Belew.

If you have any questions please contact me or my colleague Helen. Her email address [removed] and phone number is [removed]. My phone number is [removed]. Let me warn you Helen is as passionate and obsessed about the DNA project as I am. We often joke, it's like Christmas or New Year's every time we learn something new. It's been wonderful.

In a day or two I will send you a separate email with the web address (URL) for the Ballew Family DNA Project. It has some good explanations and shows the DNA results for about 41 individuals in its data base that have some connection to Ballew or different spellings of Belew.

If your Belew line is not related to Renny's, it may be related to another one of the lines shown. That itself would be wonderful to know.

Have a wonderful week. And please let's keep in touch.