Spring 2020 Research Project: Mahala Faulk Fowler

With a global pandemic halting most of our family activities, I decided there was no better time to dig into my Spring 2020 research project. Family Locket also announced a 14-day Research Like a Pro Mini Challenge on Facebook during this time, so I jumped on board.

Well…it’s been 32 days, and I finally finished my research report. Crisis schooling my two young children and an extended stay in Louisiana slowed me down, but I’m still happy with the results. Because I was in Louisiana and deserted cemeteries are a great place to social distance, my father, sons, and I visited the grave of the research subject, my 3x-great-grandmother Mahala Faulk Fowler.

Grave Marker of Mahaley [Mahala] E. Faulk Fowler
(Photographed 22 March 2020 by Jessica Horne Collins.)

Mahala and her husband James S. Fowler arrived in the Brooklin community of Jackson Parish, Louisiana, about 1855. They were likely founding members of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church where Mahala is buried. You can read more about Mahala’s background in the research report at the end of the post. Pleasant Hill Baptist Church still meets in rural Jackson Parish, and it was nice to visit the community where these ancestors lived. It’s just an hour from my hometown, but I’d never been.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in the Brooklin community was organized in 1855. (Photographed by Jessica Horne Collins, 22 Mar 2020.)
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Brooklin, Jackson Parish, Louisiana (Photographed by Jessica Horne Collins, 22 Mar 2020.)

Other researchers probably believe Mahala’s parentage is proven and that she is the daughter of Philip Faulk and Elizabeth Soles. I agree, but there is no direct evidence of this fact. In working on my application for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants through this line, I realized the only evidence linking Mahala to Philip Faulk and Elizabeth Soles was an authored source with no citations. While this authored source was sufficient for another line’s application six years ago, I’m unsure if I’ll run into issues. So my Spring 2020 research project was to study this authored source and determine if any records supported its claims.

Was Mahala the daughter of Philip Faulk and Elizabeth Soles of Pike County, Alabama? I believe so:


Analyzing DNA Auto-Clusters with Pedigree Collapse: Paternal Super Cluster D

This post is my fourth in a series about Genetic Affairs’ auto-cluster tool and using it to analyze my paternal matches at AncestryDNA. It’s been about six weeks since my last post, so here’s a refresher:

I discovered my parental grandparents were closely related when running GEDMatch’s “Are Your Parents Related Tool?” on my father’s DNA kit in 2017. The results showed my father shared 120.7 cM of DNA with himself. Doing the math, my grandparents were likely first cousins, once removed (1C1R). I ran the Genetic Affairs auto-cluster tool on my father’s test at a range of 50 – 250 cM and previously identified four “super clusters”:

Paternal “Super Clusters” as interpreted from results of Genetic Affairs Auto-Cluster Tool, run date of 3 Jan 2019

My earlier posts examined Super Cluster A, Super Cluster B, and Super Cluster C and identified a MRCA — Most Recent Common Ancestor — for each. Today we’ll look at the final grouping, Super Cluster D.

Continue reading Analyzing DNA Auto-Clusters with Pedigree Collapse: Paternal Super Cluster D

John Fowler: Connecting to His Revolutionary War Service at the Library

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is AT THE LIBRARY.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index. 

As both a genealogist and mom of two young boys, I’m always looking for ways to integrate genealogy into our everyday lives. I want my children to have personal connections to history and identify with our ancestors in concrete ways. Clayton Library, my local genealogy center here in Houston, provided an excellent opportunity this past Saturday with DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Day. Representatives from Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) also attended and wore replica soldiers’ uniforms — a great photo op for the kids!

SAR members shared how their ancestors’ Revolutionary War service inspire the types of uniforms they wear. One member even told my four year old the story of Paul Revere’s dog retrieving his forgotten spurs before his famous midnight ride. I wish my boys would have listened more intently, but — well, they’re young boys. We’re working on it.

Seeing the uniforms led to a lunchtime discussion about the eight Patriots we have on my side of the family — four who served as soldiers and four who are recognized for civil and patriotic service. John Fowler, my 5x-great-grandfather, is one of these ancestors. Vital records are lacking for this time period, but his detailed pension records tell much about his life.

Continue reading John Fowler: Connecting to His Revolutionary War Service at the Library