Report from Steve Mashburn
In mid-November, Rebecca Shealey Schmidt popped up on my AncestryDNA as a 1st cousin match. I looked at her tree and NO surnames matched any of my lines.
DNA does not lie but sometimes the interpretation can be off by a generation or so. Since I know who my first cousins are (the grandchildren of Ira and Bessie SMITH MASHBURN), I assumed that Rebecca was a 2nd cousin, then looked at her other DNA matches to see if we shared my father’s MASHBURN genes or my mother’s LONG genes.
No LONG DNA matches were found but many, very many, MASHBURN DNA matches were found. Surprisingly, even more SMITH DNA matches were also found. This indicated that Rebecca and I were indeed 1st cousins.
My grandparents, Ira and Bessie Mashburn, had three sons, Melvin, Quillion Bryon “QB”, and Allen (my father). They were not choirboys, so any of them could have been Rebecca’s father.
I contacted Rebecca and she told me that she was born in 1957 in Atlanta, GA. She also said that she knew her father and mother, Jimmie Shealey and Frances Wilson, but her mother was illegitimate and never knew her father’s name.
Well, I thought, maybe we are 2nd or 3rd cousins after all. I researched her mother’s line for 100 years back. They lived in southwest Georgia hundreds of miles from my Mashburn family. I could find no evidence that explained how one of my Mashburns could have been father of Rebecca’s mother.
(By the way, the south Georgia Mashburns are not closely related to the north Georgia Mashburns, each branch descends from different sons of Edward Mashborne b. 1676).
However, the Atlanta City Directory proved there one exception where Rebecca family and mine intersected — In the mid 1950’s Melvin and his wife Louise lived 9/10’s of a mile from where Jimmie and Frances lived. Melvin was a press operator at The Ruralist Press and Jimmie was a truck driver for General Chemical Company. (Rebecca later told me that Jimmie was on the road. away from home, for long periods of time.)
So we have three pieces of evidence:
- DNA – the AncestryDNA test gave a 1st Cousin Relationship at the highest level of confidence.
- Proximity – Melvin was in the right place at the right time.
- Physical Resemblance – A comparison of pictures of Rebecca and Melvin’s known children show an uncanny resemblance to Rebecca who says they look more like her than the brothers and sisters she grew up with.
Rebecca is overjoyed to learn her true heritage.
When one does genealogical research, one has to accept whatever the evidence shows you. People are people and that most wrong doing is usually a misguided attempt to find love, acceptance or a better life. It is not for us to judge.