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A New DNA Clue

Anna Petronellia Sherman (1865-1961) was my great-grandmother. She was always known by her middle name, Petronellia, or Pet for short.

This name was unknown in her Sherman family. Where did it come from? Her mother’s side?

We do not know who her mother was, but family lore tells us she was a German or Dutch immigrant named Katherine Stillenbaugh who settled in Indiana. They say she died not long after Petronellia was born. I have found no records to verify any of this.

We do have distant DNA matches to an extended German family named Stilgenbauer/Stillabower who lived south of Indianapolis at the time Petronellia was born. I keep working with the hypothesis that these are my people.

Then this week a DNA match at the 3rd-4th cousin level popped up on My Heritage. This match lives in the Netherlands.

I took a peek at his online tree and was astounded to find that many of the women through the generations were named Petronella. There was no Stillgenbauer surname on this tree. Yet the repetition of the forename makes me wonder if this is the origin of my great-grandmother’s name. We the Stilgenbauers related to these Dutch?

It will take some diligent DNA analysis to see how all these tantalizing clues fit together. Perhaps I can use some of the techniques I learned about at a DNA webinar earlier this month.

I would love to know more about Petronellia’s maternal roots. As more people take DNA tests and I become more proficient at the science, the picture will become clearer.

 

 

One Response to “A New DNA Clue”

  • Heather:

    Let’s hope for great things to come from the upcoming appearances by Blaine Bettinger in late April! Glad we have run onto this event.

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