Bio-Ancestors – Testing a Line

I am working on the bio-mother of a Target’s grandfather. The grandfather was an orphan or foster child – we have a few family stories but cannot find any of the names in any records (with over 20 years of searching).  In his 1937 Social Security Application the grandfather lists his mother as a RIDENOUR, but she has not been found.

So, a search of the Target’s Matches on the surname RIDENOUR results in over 40 hits which appear to come from one family in the right geography – Western Maryland. But the on-line RIDENOUR families are tangled up [I’ll do a different blogpost on them later], However, there was one Daniel RIDENOUR and Elizabeth BROWN family that had the highest concentration of Matches with the highest shared DNA cMs. But I didn’t want to slog through all of the potential BROWN Matches. So I saw that Elizabeth BROWN’s parents were William BROWN and Anna Elizabeth BUHRMAN. Now BUHRMAN was a unique surname, so I tried that.  For reference here is the a Quick & Dirty Tree:

And here is a Quick & Dirty Outline of the Matches I found:

Note several things.

All the Matches’ Trees fell under John BUHRMAN 1743-1826 & Catharina MARTIN (Outline #1) – this is a very positive sign that these surnames are Ancestral.

Of the 14 Matches, four were from the BROWN/RIDENOUR line (Outline #1C2), and the other ten were spread over different children and grandchildren of John BUHRMAN & Catharina MARTIN – this is also strong information. Ten Matches descend from BUHRMAN/MARTIN, independently, without going through the RINENOUR line. This indicates BUHRMAN and MARTIN are Ancestral surnames of the Target – in their own right.

Matches back to John BURMAN & Catharina MARTIN are at the 5th cousin level. It was nice to find them in such a simple search. And more will be found using other tricks [another blogpost].

The TAKEAWAY: Search on a likely Surname, build a Q&D Tree from the Matches’ Trees. Then test the validity of this Surname as an Ancestor, by also searching on surnames of the spouses. There should be additional, independent Matches on these other surname lines.

Of course there is more work to do… There are other close family to the Target who also have this same Ancestry – a very quick search from their AncestryDNA accounts should show some same and some new Matches under Outline #1. Also, this was a Q&D effort, now I’ll go back and add in census and marriage and Find-A-Grave and etc., etc. I’ve also done this with other surnames and came up with little to nothing – indicating it’s time to try a different surname. Ruling out possibilities is also on the path forward.

[30A] Segment-ology: Bio-Ancestors – Testing a Line by Jim Bartlett 20210420

2 thoughts on “Bio-Ancestors – Testing a Line

  1. As a Reitenaur/Ridenour descendant myself, with a goodly number of brick walls, I read this post with fascination. Thank you for your blog,


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