Episode 331 - Family Storytelling with Amy Johnson Crow / Family Discovers Their Original African / CeCe Moore on New “Genetic Detective” EpisodeJun 07, 2020
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David begins by talking about his experience with the first virtual family history conference he’s ever been a part of. Is this the wave of the future? David has also immersed himself in the new History series “Grant,” about our 18th president. In Family Histoire News, someone tried to recycle a Civil War cannonball! It did not go well. Hear the details. Another cold case has been solved in Cincinnati because someone wanted to learn about their ethnicity. Then, since we’re all craving eating at restaurants again, David discusses an article about when the first restaurants came into being. You will be shocked at when that happened!
Fisher next visits with Amy Johnson Crow, a noted genealogist and podcaster from Ohio. Amy and Fisher talk family stories, and exchange a series of them, illustrating that stories is what makes family history fun and interesting.
Then, a Michigan woman, Linda Williams Bowie, chats with Fisher about the unusual fact that her African-American family has identified the original African in their line dating back over 300 years. Hear this fascinating account and the history of the subsequent generations.
CeCe Moore then returns to the show to talk about the next episode in her new ABC Series “The Genetic Detective.” It airs Tuesday nights at 10pm ET and PT, 9pm CT and MT. CeCe’s program is a boon to educating America on the process of genetic genealogy.
David Lambert returns for Ask Us Anything, fielding a question about touring ancestral homes.
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Transcript of Episode 331
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 331
Fisher: Hello Genies and welcome to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Well, it’s great to have you along. If you’re new to the show, this is the program where we share with you techniques on how to find your ancestral stories, on how to trace back your lines wherever they may lead you. And today we’re going to do something of a story-fest. This is really kind of fun. We’ve got Amy Johnson Crow, the renowned genealogist out of Ohio on the show today. She and I are going to exchange some of the more unique stories from our past with you, and then later in the show we’re going to talk to Linda Williams Bowie. She has a family line out of New Jersey that’s fascinating because she had an early ancestor. She’s traced her ancestry all the way back to the original African. He came over as a slave, was freed early and then created quite a line of history all the way down to Linda. She’s going to tell you the story and how it all came about. Plus, later in the show, CeCe Moore will be back. She’s going to be talking about episode 2 of her brand new ABC-TV series called The Genetic Detective. So, you can look forward to that. And of course, David Allen Lambert is always here to help us out as we begin the show with Ask Us Anything. David’s in Stoughton, Massachusetts in social isolation. How are you doing my friend?
David: I am always looking forward to talking to you. That way, I’m not just talking to my ancestors.
Fisher: Oh, I understand.
Fisher: You’ll be wanting to talk to anybody at this point, right? [Laughs] Well, it’s great to have you David. What have you been up to?
David: Well, let’s see. Last week I attended my first national conference virtually and now as the NEHGS, the National Genealogical Society, we’re supposed to have the conference in Salt Lake City last week. However, it went virtual and the first part of it were lectures by two people that we have often on the show, Blaine Bettinger and Judy Russell, and also two very well-known genealogists, Elizabeth Shown Mills and Tom Jones and it was really good. They had a Q&A session after the lectures and I thought it went pretty flawlessly.
Fisher: Wow, that’s amazing. I think we’re all going to have to get used to this concept for some time, unless they come up with that magic vaccine. But they’re talking about maybe a dozen different possibilities that are in the line right now. And maybe we could have something, maybe by the end of the year, but we’ll see what happens. What else have you been doing?
David: I’ve also been watching Grant on the History Channel, and that’s on Ulysses S. Grant, our great 18th President and well, maybe not so great 18th president.
David: But an amazing general during the Civil War. And I actually got over 200 re-tweets on a post I did within like twelve hours, and thousands of people commenting and liking it, so I was quite surprised. An interesting thing about Grant, he has a Mayflower line. He is a descendant of Richard Warren. And if your listeners out there have a Richard Warren line, you can call U.S. Grant your cousin. But I also debunked the story. In his own autobiography he mentions that his grandfather, after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, served in a Connecticut company, who was at the Battle of Bunker Hill. There’s no record of his grandfather at Bunker Hill.
David: In fact, he’s in the Connecticut Continental Army in 1778 and 1779, but that’s about it. Everybody got a pension so, tall tales and stories. So, cite your sources before you put it in a book. [Laughs]
Fisher: Isn’t that interesting? And that was the book he wrote to actually support his family shortly before he died.
David: That’s very true. A two-volume set and it was published in 1885, the year he had died. You know, it is interesting that the first story for Family Histoire News is, as Anna Grant, related Civil War Era Ammunition. Now, maybe this was fired by one of the Union forces or one of the Confederates. But if you cannot find Civil War ammunition, don’t recycle it.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs]
David: [Laughs] Yeah, especially if it’s still considered live. Now, I don’t know all the details of the inside of a cannon ball and how it could still be live. Must have some black powder into it in some respect. But yeah, the State of Michigan have their bomb squad take care of the antique weapons, but this is not the first time. This apparently occurred in early in November last year when a person fishing found a World War I grenade in the Grand River.
Fisher: Oh wow! Yeah, this happens more often than you know and I guess things become unstable within these armaments and that’s what they worry about. They actually had to evacuate the area where the recycling was being done in Michigan, as if they don’t have problems enough.
David: I think it wasn’t too long ago that we talked about a bomb found in the streets of London that had not detonated from the Blitz. [Laughs]
Fisher: That’s right. You are right. We did have that story.
David: So, make sure what you buy on eBay is not live ammunition.
David: You know, I’m really excited that CeCe Moore has her own TV show. She’s been a great friend of Extreme Genes for so long and ABC premiered her show this past week the “Genetic Detective.” The work that she does is really, you know, few and far between a recent news story from Cincinnati, Ohio where they arrested a 62-year-old man who has eleven sexual assault because of DNA. One of his cousins had done a DNA test and law enforcement matched them.
Fisher: Wow! That was the one they were waiting for. And that’s the thing you know. Even when you do your own genetic genealogy, that one match that you’re looking for could come along years from now or next week or this afternoon. You just never know.
David: That’s very true. You know, I really love the story on Extreme Genes, “When did people start eating in restaurants?”
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, this is from history.com. I love it.
David: Yeah, it’s great for so many of us who want to go back and eat in restaurants. We’re doing so much takeout food. But when did it start? Well, a lot of people think it started in the 18th century in Paris, in some Parisian café. Six hundred years before in China. The stories of Chinese having restaurants date back to the 12th century. In fact, the 1120s in one Chinese downtown resembled a 21st century city of a tourist district. So, people would go there and sample all sorts of different delights and they would sit down and eat it. It wasn’t just take-it- away from a cart. Well, when you’re sitting at home and you have nothing else to do, why don’t you try American Ancestors? And if you like it after signing up as a guest member, you can save $20 on a full membership by using the coupon code “Extreme” at check out. That’s about what I have for this week, but I’ll be back for Ask Us Anything with you in just a few.
Fisher: All right David, thank you so much and boy, we’ve got a loaded show today. We’re doing a little story-fest. Amy Johnson Crow is coming up next. We’re going to exchange some really fun stories. Linda Williams Bowie later on in the show talking about her free black ancestor. Yes, she has traced back to the original African and CeCe Moore talking about her new show and the next episode in her season series on ABC coming up in about 25 minutes.
Segment 2 Episode 331
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Amy Johnson Crow
Fisher: Back at it on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and one of the great joys in this whole field is getting to know other genealogists and sharing stories with them. And that’s why so many of them become podcasters as well. One of those people is my good friend Amy Johnson Crow. She’s got her own podcast through AmyJohnsonCrow.com. And Amy, it’s great to have you back on the show. We’ve got stories to share today.
Amy: Well, hey Scott. Thanks for having me back on the show. Always enjoy talking with you.
Fisher: You know, off the air we talk a lot and we love to exchange little ditties that we’ve picked up along the way, and it’s fun to instruct on how to find certain things for yourself but it’s also great to share the tales that we’ve got. And I know you’ve got a couple about your grandparents.
Amy: Yeah. [Laughs] I think in every family there’s sort of the cannon of family stories that no matter when you get together, it’s holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, whatever, there are the same stories that keep getting repeated over and over. It’s like it isn’t an official family gathering until somebody tells this story.
Amy: Well, one of those in my family has to do with my grandma. Now, I have to preface this story with, this is the woman who actually got me started in family history. She was the one who told me the family stories. She was the one who kept the family bible. The woman labeled photographs. Okay?
Fisher: Oh wow. Bless her.
Amy: Yeah. I know, right? She was a saint. But she was a saint but she was also a little geographically challenged. So, we live in Ohio, actually you know, the middle part of Ohio, fairly squarely right in the middle of Ohio. Well, my aunt and uncle were going to go to I believe it was a bowling tournament in Northern Kentucky.
Fisher: Northern Kentucky. That’s not that far. Now, wait a minute. I lived in Cincinnati at one time. And Cincinnati is right across the river from Northern Kentucky. So, Ohio and Kentucky are right next door.
Amy: Right. In fact, the Cincinnati airport is in Northern Kentucky.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s right. [Laughs]
Amy: Yeah. Right. So, that’s all the further away that my aunt and uncle were going to go, not very far. Well, grandma had the bright idea that while my aunt and uncle were in Northern Kentucky, while they were there, they should go visit my uncle who lived in South Florida.
Fisher: And the reason was because?
Amy: I guess because Kentucky and Florida are both southern states?
Amy: Never mind it would take them a day to drive between Northern Kentucky and Southern Florida. I don’t know, but she thought that they would just be in the neighborhood.
Fisher: Right, because the south is so small. [Laughs]
Amy: Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, grandma was great. She was awesome for getting me started in family history, but geography was not her strong point.
Fisher: Not so good. Not so good.
Amy: Not so good. No.
Fisher: You know, there are so many stories and this is great, to have a little storytelling festival today. We haven’t done this kind of thing in a long time and it’s great to do it with you because you’re a great storyteller. My wife’s grandfather had a sister who was dating a guy in Indiana named Newt Kelsey. And Newt would come calling on her in his horse and wagon, but he would have a problem when he would come across this stream. This was in Montgomery County, Indiana. The horse wouldn’t want to forward the stream. So, he tried to urge him on. No such luck. And it was always a problem. So, he was talking to one of his ranching friends about the horse and he says, “Well, there is a way to make this work. “ And he says, “All you need is a corncob and then dip that in turpentine, and then insert that in the backside of the horse and the horse will move along. And he thought, “Uh huh! Fantastic.”
Amy: I bet.
Fisher: Well, who wouldn’t, right? I mean, come on.
Fisher: So, he got to that stream. The horse wouldn’t move, and so he took care of business and off the horse went, right across the water, down the street, right past the house of my wife’s great aunt, who was waiting on the stoop for her date to come pick her up. Well, he’s just going right by and he says, “I’ll come get you in a little bit.” And the horse went around and around the village four times before it finally stopped and he was able to pick her up and take her on the date.
Amy: [Laughs] Okay.
Fisher: That’s a picture in my mind.
Amy: That is. That is a picture. Not something that you easily put onto a family group sheet or an ancestor chart, but what a great story.
Fisher: Right. [Laughs] You can just put “corncob” in parenthesis next to the name. [Laughs]
Amy: Yeah. Exactly. So, as I’m thinking about the story of my grandma who apparently doesn’t realize how far apart Florida and Kentucky are, I just realized that I have geographically challenged people on both sides of my family.
Fisher: Oh dear. Oh dear.
Amy: Yeah, because that grandma was on dad’s side. My grandpa on mom’s side, he apparently also was a bit challenged by geography. Back in the early 50s, grandpa and my mom left from Southern Ohio and they were going to go down to Alabama to pick up my mom’s cousin who was getting out of the Navy. So, along the way they stopped at this roadside park. And some travel tourism agency is doing one of those roadside surveys.
Amy: So, you know, they go up to grandpa and you know, “Hey, what’s your name? Where are you traveling to? Where are you from?” Well, keep in mind my grandpa lived his entire life in or around this little teeny tiny town called Glenford, Ohio.
Fisher: Okay. That’s the trawling metropolis. [Laughs]
Amy: Yeah, of about 200 maybe 300 people. It is a small town. So, the tourism guy asks grandpa, “Where are you from?” And grandpa, without missing a beat goes, “Thornville, Ohio.”
Amy: Grandpa never lived a day in his life in Thornville. I don’t think he ever even worked in Thornville. And after the tourism guy left, mom turns to grandpa you know, turns to her dad and says, “Why in the world did you tell him that you’re from Thornville?” And grandpa goes, “Well, I didn’t think he’d ever heard of Glenford.
Fisher: [Laughs] So, Thornville was the big booming metropolis, hey?
Amy: Exactly. Thornville that has about 500 people you know, with these trawling metropolis that he thought that this random guy from the South had actually heard of. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] You know, it is really fun when you think back on our parents and they’re all gone now for many of us. And my mother was in the movies back in the 1940s and she was only in it for like a year and a half and she had bit parts in these various flicks. And I can actually find some of them on YouTube. But she got a lifetime of mileage out of the stories she had from behind the scenes. You would have thought she’d won an academy award with all the tales she told.
Fisher: And one of them was that she was on a set with Ronald Reagan back in his acting days and he was sitting in his actor’s star chair there, and she was standing a little bit in front of him. And the way my mother stood was kind of like Mary Poppins, not quite as extreme, you know, Mary Poppins was like 180 degrees. Mom was about 90.
Fisher: So, she stood there with her feet out like that and her arms folded, and in between takes Ronald Reagan looks at her and says, “You know, I once had a horse that stood like that.” [Laughs]
Fisher: She told that story and always got a laugh because it was like imagine that the president would speak to her like that.
Amy: Yeah. [Laughs] Isn’t it amazing the stories that parents would come up with? Well, my dad, so thankful he’s still with us and still tells stories. My dad has always been a bit of a practical joker. So, before he retired he had a service station for 50 some years. Well, back in the day when everybody used styrofoam coffee cups.
Amy: Yeah, remember way back when they used styrofoam cups?
Fisher: Yeah, yeah, like last week. Okay. [Laughs]
Amy: Yeah. [Laughs] So, his thing, when a new guy would start at the station, dad would be working on a car and he would turn to the new guy and say, “Hey, you know, I need just a little bit of gasoline to help me work on this engine.” And he would hand the guy a styrofoam coffee cup.
Fisher: Oh boy. [Laughs]
Amy: And say, “Hey Zeke, go out to the pump there. I just need just about half a cup of gasoline.” So, the new guy, he’d take that styrofoam coffee cup. He’d go out to the pump. He’d hit the nozzle, and the gas didn’t even slow down. As soon as it hit that styrofoam, it just disintegrated. It just absolutely dissolved.
Fisher: Gone. [Laughs]
Amy: So yeah, that was dad’s right of an initiation for all the new guys.
Fisher: It sounds like it. You know, it’s interesting that most of the funny stories are from very recent generations because they are kind of passed down through oral tradition.
Amy: Um hmm.
Fisher: And the funny stories from further back are a lot harder to retrieve or even to have still in your family unless they were written down somewhere. But I found a newspaper account of my great grandfather Fisher and he was named one day as the president of a veteran Firemen’s Association in New York City. And he had replaced this one fellow who had been in office for some time. And the day after he was voted in, it was the day of the firemen’s ball. This was in 1888, and I found this all in the newspaper, the full account of it. And so, the night of the ball everybody is having a grand old time, and the liquor is flowing. And finally, at three in the morning, the outgoing president was rather upset with my Andrew. First of all, Andrew was not his choice as the successor. Number two, Andrew was on the floor committee to oversee the rules of how people will conduct themselves during the ball. And one of the rules was that you were not to wear a hat while dancing the quadrille. And so, wouldn’t you know, the outgoing president’s wife had been wearing this hat. And so, Andrew stepped up to her and asked her to remove her hat in keeping with the rules of the dance to the quadrille. And he didn’t realize that a hatpin went in a hat for a woman to keep it on her head. So, he’s trying to pull the hat off of her head. That did not work well. By three in the morning this guy had got himself all worked up and said, “You fiend, you have insulted my wife. It’s like Snidely Whiplash.” That was the quote.
Fisher: Yeah, and so he hauled off and belted my great grandfather who went to the ground. They said his jaw swelled up to twice its size. A general malaise followed between the old firemen that sided with Andrew or sided with this other guy and he wound up in court having to face the judge. [Laughs]
Amy: Oh, no. [Laughs] Yeah, it’s amazing those little tidbits that you would find in those newspapers. It was almost like Facebook is today.
Fisher: [Laughs] It very much is. Amy, great talking with you. Great trading stories. I know how much everybody loves hearing these tales. How we find them quite often is helpful as well. So, thanks for joining me. You can follow Amy Johnson Crow at amyjohnsoncrow.com. Catch her podcast. Talk to you again soon my friend.
Amy: Thanks Scott.
Fisher: You know, not a lot of African American families can trace back to the original African, but this one family can. You’ll hear the story from Linda Williams Bowie coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 331
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Linda Williams Bowie
Fisher: And welcome back to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and it is always so much fun to connect with other people who are into their family history and my next guest is out of Southfield, Michigan. She is Linda Williams Bowie. And she says she’s a newbie but that’s not really so, is it Linda? You started a long time ago.
Linda: Well, I did start a long time ago actually. I’m a lifelong friend of Karen Bachelor who you’ve interviewed.
Linda: And she’s the first African American member of the DAR.
Linda: But subsequent to that, my grandmother had a trunk full of wonderful old photographs and albums and things, and I didn’t look at it because I moved away and I was gone for like 20 years and when I came back in the ‘90s there was a flood in my mother’s basement. I went down to the basement and there were all these boxes with all these beautiful photographs and albums and things that I had seen years earlier. And it was from there that I began to think about, well, who are these people and where did they come from? [Laughs] They were all my distant ancestors, so that’s actually when I joined Ancestry.com and started really trying to figure out my family tree.
Fisher: And you’ve done a lot of work here too because you’ve come up with a story here that I think is absolutely fascinating because in my conversations with Dr. Henry Louis Gates and others, it’s not that common to take African American lines and go back much beyond 1870, 1860, but you’re back into the early 1700s.
Linda: Well, yes, I am because I’ve discovered with some distant cousins who had been doing genealogy themselves, our African, his name was Aree Von Guinea from Guiana.
Fisher: Uh huh.
Linda: And he apparently was born in Dutch Guiana, Africa in the late 1600s. Slave hunters captured him and sold him into bondage in New York City. But somehow, by 1705 Aree and his wife Jora had gained their freedom and were documented members of the German Lutheran Church in New York.
Fisher: So, he’s African. He’s kidnapped and brought to New York. He’s given a Dutch name, right? Because Aree Von Guinea is very typical of the Dutch names at that time, and then he winds up in a German church?
Linda: Yes, German Lutheran Church in New York that has the records.
Linda: We’ve seen they have those records. Aree and his wife moved to New Jersey and he owned property there. In 1714, he actually donated the land to the Zionist Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldwick, New Jersey.
Linda: And as fate would have it, in the summer of 2014 the church had their 300th anniversary. Many of my family members because we had that connection and we understood that, were able to go and celebrate their anniversary and there we found church records that actually documented Aree Von Guinea, and the actual first church service was held in his home on August 1st 1714.
Fisher: So, you actually found records then that are not online by going to his church?
Linda: Yes. Some of them were not, but there are some baptismal records that you can pull up. I’ve actually been able to pull them up on Ancestry.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Linda: But Aree was my seventh great grandfather.
Linda: And we come from there. Now, they stayed in Jersey. He had sons and they had a son. And it was Jacob, my fifth great grandfather who moved from New Jersey with his family to Seneca County, New York by 1820 and, that was I guess where there were jobs working on the Erie Canal. In 1827 Jacob left New York with his family and moved to Michigan.
Linda: And that became the home of the Underground Railroad here in Michigan.
Fisher: So, were your ancestors involved in that process at the time?
Linda: Absolutely, because Jacob’s son Asher Aray has been documented as one of the major conductors on the Underground Railroad in Michigan.
Linda: And he moved his precious cargo from Pittsfield Township which is Ypsilanti Michigan, near Ann Arbor, to freedom in Detroit and Canada. That’s where he moved his cargo.
Fisher: Wow! And that’s quite a history. And you think about the people who were involved in that, black and white, the risks that they took to do this.
Fisher: And what a story and legacy he has left you.
Linda: Yes. And Asher Aray, there are quite a few documents and you can look him up online. He’s been very well documented for his work on the Underground Railroad. And it was his son Eglon, and he is my maternal second great grandfather. Alice Hardy and Eglon are my maternal second great grandparents and their oldest daughter Evangeline Aray is my maternal great grandmother who lived with my mother. When I was born she was she was still alive.
Linda: And I knew her till I was two years old. But it was her trunk that had all of these materials in it.
Fisher: So what is the most treasured item that you obtained from that trunk?
Linda: Well, two things. There is the clasp that actually has the name of her mother in law engraved on it and that’s Emaline Chafers.
Linda: And she was married to the third branch of my family.
Fisher: Oh boy. Wow.
Linda: There are three branches of slaves on our African Americans who ended up in Michigan and Emaline Chafers was here in Detroit till 1904 and she had 11 children.
Fisher: And you come from that?
Linda: One son survived to have three children, and that was my grandfather, my mother’s father.
Fisher: So, among all these slaves that were freed through the Underground Railroad that your ancestor was involved in, do you find any intermarriage between that branch of the family that helped on the railroad and those that they rescued?
Linda: Well, I think probably there was intermarriage and that’s what I have to understand because William Henry Louis escaped from slavery in Kentucky in 1853.
Linda: And I believe he was a part of the slaves that escaped from Kentucky that included 28 other slaves and that too has been well documented.
Linda: They all made it from Kentucky through Ohio to Michigan, and I believe he ended up marrying Aray. And I’m not sure that it was the Underground Railroad where they met all those people. It’s complicated because there’s so many branches of it.
Fisher: Oh yeah. Sure.
Linda: And it’s very exciting to me, I’ve been able to document it on an entry that I have shared which will be in a booklet published by the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society here in Detroit. You know, there’s so many different branches that it’s hard to follow it.
Linda: But I have it in my mind and I have it on the tree. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, that’s the important thing and you know that’s the beauty of genealogy too. I mean, you talked to me early on about being a newbie and I don’t think Linda we would call you that.
Fisher: But the reality is that these stories take a long time to develop, sometimes decades and the work you’re doing will carry on for generations more.
Linda: And I haven’t even followed my father’s side of the family. I’ve been working all these years. I’m finally retired so now I can actually dig in.
Linda: But I’m happy to know all these opportunities to discuss and talk are very exciting.
Fisher: Well, it’s quite a history and it’s a rare history to know that know that much from that branch of your line. So, congratulations on that and all the work you’re doing and all the things I’m sure you’re going to find here in the not too distant future because there’s just so much more information becoming available. She’s Linda Williams Bowie. She’s from Southfield, Michigan. She calls herself a newbie genealogist, I don’t think so.
Fisher: [Laughs] Linda thanks for your time. Thanks for a great story. We enjoyed it.
Linda: Thanks Scott. I know there was a whole lot to take in and I’m not sure if it would be clear to everyone but I hope so. [Laughs]
Fisher: Amazing research, Amazing history. And speaking of which, CeCe Moore is coming up for you next. She is the star of the brand new ABC TV series called The Genetic Detective. And CeCe has agreed to come on the show every week to tell us in advance about each new episode that’s coming up. So, what’s coming up this Tuesday night 10:00 Eastern? She’ll tell you. Plus, we’ve got another edition of Ask Us Anything coming up at the back end of the show with David Allen Lambert. So stick around, it’s all coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 331
Host: Scott Fisher with guest CeCe Moore
Fisher: And we're back on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my friend, the Genetic Detective, its CeCe Moore. And her brand new show, The Genetic Detective, just debuted on ABC last week. And we've got Episode 2 coming up this week. CeCe, tell us about the case.
CeCe: This was a really complicated case, because it involved multiple crimes and multiple jurisdictions. And they didn't necessarily even have the same M.O. They were all quite different types of victims and even different types of crimes, involve sexual assault and murders. There was a mother daughter that was a double homicide. Devastating. And then there was a woman who was also murdered in Greenville, South Carolina, and then there were some related rapes with, you know, unknown victims of course.
CeCe: So all these have been tied together to one DNA profile and they had been unable to identify him obviously through law enforcement databases.
Fisher: What time period are we talking about here?
CeCe: The first known murder at that point was 1990 and then the share murders were, I think were mid '90s, '96.
Fisher: Okay. So, this is a long period of time. This guy was at large for a long period. That's a long stretch.
CeCe: Yeah. So, I strongly believe as does law enforcement that he still has unknown crimes out there and unknown victims.
Fisher: Um hm.
CeCe: And so, it was really important for me to tell this story and get the story out to the public, because this is a previously unknown serial killer. I think more cold cases can be closed if people are made aware of the different areas he was living. He really moved around, and when I was working the case, I made a pretty in depth timeline of the different places he was at different times. And I found a newspaper article that he had also committed a similar crime in Florida earlier and had done some time, but as happened a lot back then, he had an early release and then that resulted in him being free and able to victimize more people.
Fisher: So how long did it take you to crack this case once you got the kid? And I assume it was up on GEDmatch or was it up on Family Tree DNA?
CeCe: It was just GEDmatch. At this time, I didn't have access to Family Tree DNA's database for criminal cases, so all of these cases were solved through GEDmatch matches.
CeCe: This case had pretty good matches, which you'll see in the show, but there were some complications as always, because there were some double relationships.
Fisher: Oh boy!
CeCe: Double cousins in there, yeah. So, it wasn't as straightforward as it looked when I first saw the case and assessed it. I was super excited, thinking this was going to be quite straightforward, but it wasn't. [Laughs]
Fisher: No. It rarely is, right? There's always some twist.
CeCe: Yeah, you're totally right. Almost always, no matter how straightforward a case may look upon, you know, first review, I almost always run into something. And so that was true in this case.
Fisher: So, CeCe, what was the most important record that you found in this?
CeCe: Well, as genealogists, I think we all know how valuable obituaries are to our work.
CeCe: So I have to say, there was a first in this case, and that is that I found two separate obituaries for the same person more than a decade apart.
Fisher: What?! [Laughs]
CeCe: And I thought I'd seen everything.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
CeCe: It appears he faked his death years earlier and then resurfaced. And that's another reason I think there could be additional crimes much earlier on.
Fisher: Wow I have never run into that either! I've never even heard of anybody who's run into that.
CeCe: Isn't that crazy! [Laughs]
CeCe: I couldn’t believe it. But that made me say, "Wait a minute! DING! DING! DING! Something's wrong here." [Laughs]
Fisher: Yes, no kidding. She's CeCe Moore. She's the star of the new ABC series, The Genetic Detective. You can watch it Tuesday night 10 O’clock Eastern and Pacific, 9 O’clock Central and Mountain. CeCe, we'll talk to you again next week about the next episode. Looking forward to it.
CeCe: Thanks so much for having me. Hope you enjoy the show.
Fisher: And coming up next, another edition of Ask Us Anything with David Allen Lambert in three minutes when we return on Extreme Genes.
Segment 5 Episode 331
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, back at it for our final segment this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth back with David Allen Lambert in his post in Massachusetts, socially distancing at home as a good do-bee would do. And it’s time once again for Ask Us Anything. And David, we have an interesting question directed to you. It’s from Tara in Huntsville, Alabama and she writes, "David, I heard you talk about visiting an ancestral home where your ancestor died in the hall." I remember that.
David: Oh, yeah, my great grandmother.
Fisher: "Do you have any advice on how to approach home owners to let us tour the house like that?"
David: Well, I would not do it during COVID.
David: That's probably not a good time to go around.
David: Just to let you know, Tara, I did it kind of by just knocking on the door. I contacted somebody via phone, but the number had been disconnected, because the old house was now a business. And I went up on the porch, rang the buzzer, didn't get anything. I went out and crossed the street to take a picture and somebody came out for a smoke, and I'm like, "Hi. Do you live here?" He goes, "Oh, this is my office. Why? What's up?" And I said, "My great grandmother died between the kitchen and the living room in your house." "Oh, come on in!" And he gave me a tour from top to bottom. Yeah, I would say, if you know the address, Tara, the best thing to do really is to drop them a letter and explain, maybe send them a copy of an obituary or some census that says that your family actually lived there and that you're doing genealogy and maybe then do a follow up with a phone call, just so they know you're not just somebody stalking their property to break in.
Fisher: That's a good point.
David: And virtually, well, I wouldn't say stalk, lurk if you will, at the property if it’s on Zillow. I mean, my mother's house that she lived in, in the 1940s, I've only been on the outside, but I have interior pictures. By using Zillow, I was able to see the exact same rooms that we were in 75 years ago.
Fisher: That is absolutely true. In fact, I can see the house my dad grew up in, in the 1920s and '30 in New Jersey, because it’s been for sale a couple of times over the last decade. And those interior pictures and many exterior pictures are available there as well. I mean, think of it, Zillow for your family history research. It’s a great way to go. And in fact, I'm in the middle of a move right now and there are pictures of the interior of the house I'm moving into that are online as well. So it’s actually helping me kind of plan out where I'm going to put what when I get down there.
David: [Laughs] That's great.
David: Well, I wish you all the best with that. Changing from one place to another means you can normally have yard sales.
Fisher: Yeah, not this time.
David: It might be a little tough. Seriously Tara, I would think you definitely don't want to miss that opportunity, because especially if the house still looks kind of the same as it did when your family lived there, you don't want to find out that somebody new bought it and has stripped everything back to the beams and has done it all into the 21st century as happened to a house that my third great grandfather died in, in 1853 in Boston. His house had a little bit of a fire. Well, I couldn’t get the owners before the fire to let me in, and then the new one, well, I saw what was done to it, stripped right to the bricks and there's nothing inside that resembles anything in 1853, just the exterior is all.
Fisher: Oh, that's painful.
Fisher: The house I grew up in, I've seen pictures of it from when it was for sale and they've completely modernized the place. Everything is now white, including brick and wood, which really kind of surprised me, but nonetheless, it’s a great way to do it. You can virtually tour your ancestor's homes using Zillow and other real estate sites.
David: And of course Google Earth works well.
David: You can plug in an address and go right to the street view and move that yellow fellow right onto the map and there he is.
David: I mean, sometimes the roads are pretty obscure, you don't get that view, but you can still zoom in and kind of get an aerial shot if you will. And if that doesn't work, always buy a drone and stand on the street. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Bad advice, David, bad, bad David!
David: Bad advice.
Fisher: All right, Buddy, thank you so much. And thank you also to you, Tara for the question. And if you have a question for Ask Us Anything, you can always email us at [email protected]. Thanks so much, David. Talk to you next week!
David: Always a pleasure.
Fisher: And that's our show for this week. Thank you so much for joining us. Hey, I'm Fish, I'll see you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!