Not Thelma and Louise. Celia and Louise.
Genealogy involves time-consuming research – hunting for citations and stories and references. And you’ve heard me bemoan the brick wall.
But sometimes you just get lucky. And I did. Twice.
In September 2017, we were staying at a quaint inn on the coast of Maine. Daytime walks along the rocky coast and great seafood (and lobster) dinners. And we started each day in the cozy breakfast room.
That’s where we met John and Margaret Hughes, from Keyham, England. We hit it off, and had several nice chats about travel, beer, politics, hometowns, and my frustrating search for English ancestors. John and Margaret mentioned they had a genealogist friend, and they’d be glad to put me in touch.
We parted ways and exchanged an email or two. Several months passed, and my frustrating search continued. In spring 2018, I inquired about the Hughes’ friend.
That’s when I was introduced to my genealogical angel – Celia Cotton.
I sent my Elizabeth assumptions to Celia. She offered to take a look. Maybe she could help me get started.
Thus began an intensive research effort for Celia and me. For a year, we worked almost daily, researching and sharing and writing. That effort continues today, albeit a much slower pace.
We’ll talk more about these efforts in the next few posts.
Louise Jervis Longworth
My son Joe sparked my original interest in genealogy. And it was Joe who always pushed DNA testing. “It’s the genealogical gift that will keep on giving.”
In 2017 Joe had taken a Y-DNA test. Y-DNA traces the paternal line – Jarvis. Joe manually searched for matches on several DNA sites and discovered a match with an Eric Jervis in England. Eric’s test was administered by Louise Jervis Longworth.
Joe wrote to Louise in 2017. Louise wrote back that she had no time to devote to genealogy due to her husband George’s medical condition.
At Joe’s suggestion, I took a complete series of Y-DNA tests at FamilyTreeDNA in 2018, the same site where Joe had found the Eric Jervis match.
As expected, I also matched Eric Jervis / Louise Longworth.
In fact, it looked like we might find our common ancestor around 12 generations ago (12 generations x 25 years per generation = 300 years or circa 1600s). And we could clinch the deal if we could get back to 1500s.
I wrote to Louise:
Hi Louise Longworth,
I recently did FamilyTreeDNA testing. My results show you as a match.
It looks like we share a common male ancestor some 10-12+ generations ago. I believe you corresponded with my son Joseph Jarvis some months ago, after he found a match on his DNA with Eric Jervis.
I writing to ask if you are willing to correspond about our common ancestry. I have done traditional genealogy research on my Jarvis line back about 7 generations. That oldest ancestor came to Pennsylvania from England around 1680.
Looking forward to your reply,
Louise replied. She was excited to meet American cousins. But she still needed to devote her time to George’s care.
Louise had done a lot of genealogy research in earlier years, and she provided that to us. But she had hit her family’s brick wall somewhere in the 1800s.
The Keys to the Kingdom
These two lucky events turned out to be the keys that unlocked the stories of our Jarvis ancestors.
- Celia had extensive knowledge and experience in English history, culture, genealogy and research techniques.
- We didn’t know where Elizabeth Jarvis was from in England, but Louise knew where her ancestors had lived.
So if Celia could break through Louise’s brick wall and trace her line back to our common ancestor, then we might possibly find Elizabeth and our Jarvis line.
- Mark Jarvis and Eric Jervis – DNA Match – FamilyTreeDNA – https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Jarvis?iframe=yresults
- Maine photo – Mark Jarvis – September 2017
- Image of Angel Statue – St. John XXIII Church – Tamaqua, Pennsylvania – https://www.sj23tamaqua.org/funerals-cemeteries-genealogy.html