DNA Discovery of Unknown Relative

Many have taken the DNA test not only at our request, but in the interest of enhancing one’s own understanding of their heritage. As a result of these tests, some family connections have been made and understandings have grown regarding the makeup and background of this Ratliff family.

Recently I was contacted by an individual who had taken the DNA test. Their DNA results indicated we had a relationship that would be 2nd to 4th cousin. A search was made and they found the Howard Hazlewood/Betty Ratliff Carson book published in 1988. In that history, they found Zachariah Ratliff migrating from Anson County, North Carolina through Stewart County, Tennessee, ultimately found in Washington County, Alabama.

This person had an old family hymnal that had some information penciled in the pages of the hymnal. The information mentioned a Jane Ratliff born 21 January 1809 in Stewart County, Tennessee. Jane married McClellan Carson in 1827 in Washington County, Alabama. The handwritten information further revealed that Jane was married in the home of her father, Zachariah. Those notes are provided below for your review and for confirmation of the information provided.

Jane Notes

As many of you know, Zachariah Ratliff and family did leave Anson County, North Carolina on or shortly after 1800 and was found in Stewart County, Tennessee along with the Denson family. They remained in Stewart County until sometime between 1815 and 1820 when the family migrated and settled in Washington County, Alabama.

This handwritten notation in the family hymnal sounded too familiar although we have no information regarding Zachariah Ratliff & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff having a 6th child, much less one a daughter named Jane. There was no discovery of an additional Zachariah in either Stewart County, Tennessee or Washington County, Alabama during the time mentioned in those hymnal notes. So this sounded like a good “possibility” of Jane Ratliff being the 6th child of Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff. The record of the birth of each of their children will be shown at the bottom of this post.

A record of the marriage was requested and it was emailed to me and is shown below.

Ratliff Carson Marriage

So, maybe there was a 6th child of Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff. The next effort was to determine if McClellan Carson owned any land in either Washington County, Alabama or Madison County, Mississippi. In checking with the “HistoryGeo” database, no McClellan Carson owned any land in Washington County, Alabama. Another Carson did own some land but it wasn’t McClellan. (As Washington County was divided into Choctaw County is 1847, you would need to examine the Choctaw County, Alabama records to find this information). Also, you can see from the marriage notation that McClellan Carson was from Madison County, Mississippi so he was already in the Mississippi area at the time of their marriage.

We next examined the Madison County, Mississippi land records and found the Ratliff family (Zachariah, William & John) purchasing land in Madison County as early as 1827 with most of the acquisition occurring after 1830. Also found purchasing land in Madison County after 1830 was the Carson family (McClellan, Robert, Armstrong, Joseph). The time frame seems to fit with the marriage of Jane & McClellan (1827). You will also find McClellan Carson family in Madison County, Mississippi Federal Census for 1830, 1840, etc.

Therefore, it would seem appropriate to add the name Jane Ratliff as the 6th child of Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff. Proof points:

Family notation of birth & marriage date in family hymnal

  1. Marriage record of Jane & McClellan Carson
  2. Land ownership in Madison County, Mississippi
  3. No other Zachariah Ratliff’s found in Stewart County, Tennessee or Washington County, Alabama from 1800 to 1830.
  4. Then the DNA seems to confirm that this individual and I are 2nd – 4th cousins.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks go to my new found relative. As this revelation may be new to some of you and you may have Family Group Sheets for Zachariah & Elizabeth Thomas Ratliff that only reflect 5 children, you will find revised Family Group Sheets below. For those of you who are keeping your Hazlewood/Carson book as the current family information, you may wish to add a copy of this revised Family Group Sheet to your book.

Oh, some of you may ask. Betty Ratliff Carson and the McClellan Carson family are not related. Betty’s husband Lee Carson’s family took a completely different migration route so there was no connection to this new found relative.

As this is one indication of a good result from taking the DNA test, each one is encouraged to do so. You may access information and apply for the test at the following links: ancestryDNA.com & FTDNA.com. If you do register, please let me know so I can help you with the results once they are known.

Zachariah FG #1

Zachariah FG #2Carson Children #1

Carson Children #2

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