Harry Jackson, Are You to Blame for My Weird DNA Matches?

Harry Jackson, Are You to Blame for My Weird DNA Matches?

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I had my DNA tested with FTDNA about 2 years ago.  I go over my matches regularly.  I can see that my matches have ancestry from Ireland, Wales, England, the Azores, or France.  I don’t know the connections, but it is plausible that we are related.  Other matches make not sense at all.

Then, there are matches like this one.  His roots are in Cuba.  Cuba?  I have quite a few whose roots are from Mexico.  Recently, I matched someone whose entire tree shows Scotland.  There is the match from Argentina as well.

There may be logical reasons for all of this.

  • They may not be real matches at all, known as “identical by state”.  These are small segments shared by populations according to the ISOGG.
  • They may include invaders who made these places their homes.  They mingled with the local population over time.
  • My ancestors might have migrated to places I have yet to discover.  So far it’s America, Australia, the Kingdom of Hawaii, Canada, and Brasil.  Are their more discoveries to be made?
  • Their ancestors might have mingled with mine who were sailors.
Learn more about how DNA and genealogy work together

That brings me to Harry Kenneth Jackson, my great grandfather.  I really don’t know much about Harry before he married my great grandmother in San Francisco, California in 1904.  What I know comes from family lore:

  • He was on of 18 children.  He ran away from home around the age of 9 when his father remarried after his mother’s death.
  • He spent several years on various ships traveling around the world.  His daughter’s say he went around the world 7 times.  Hard to prove, but that’s what they said.
  • He was married before he married my great grandmother.  His daughter, Julie, believed he was divorced.

That completes my knowledge of Harry Kenneth Jackson before he arrived in San Francisco sometime before his marriage in 1904.

Oh Harry, is it possible that while you were traveling the world you might have played hanky panky with a few of the natives?

Did you marry a woman in one of these other countries, have a child with her, and then abandon her?

Did you have a girl in every port?

I simply do not know.

For now, I’ll leave these matches for another time.  Maybe somebody out there will have my missing link.  After all, if there really were 18 children, there must be a heck of a lot of Jackson descendants floating around (maybe in Cuba!)  Perhaps one of Harry’s women left a diary where she noted “Harry Kenneth Jackson is the father of my son.  I have told him so.  Now he has fled.”

Ummm…yeah.  Needle I’d like you to meet the haystack.


Harry Jackson  left and impression, though not a good one.  These article tell his story and why my mom never met him.

What Harry Jackson Did That Estranged Him From His Daughters

52 Ancestors: Give Me a Fresh Start on Harry Jackson

Finding the Jackson House

2 thoughts on “Harry Jackson, Are You to Blame for My Weird DNA Matches?

  1. What a puzzle! So there can be identical DNA and the two people aren’t related at all? I thought that was impossible. Or am I totally misunderstanding that definition of “Identity by State” on the link you shared? Probably the latter, as I have to admit it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I may need to get that book and learn more. But not now. Can’t. Add. One. More. Thing.

    But your ongoing story about Harry Jackson is fascinating. I went back to the other page and read it too. Sounds like the family was well rid of him. Then, as now, people in power protected men who abused their families. He may never have faced arrest for his attempt to burn their house down or any other violence he may have committed against them. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, “But his reputation will be ruined if he’s prosecuted!” Were you able to find any newspaper clippings about the fire itself?

  2. Kathryn, To answer your DNA question, I believe it depends on what type of DNA test you take. The mtDNA and YDNA tests cover a specific lineage (a male’s paternal ancestry or a female’s maternal ancestry). The autosomal test, which is the one I took, covers all lines. I think it is with this test that you get “identity by state” where some DNA is ethnic/regional but not necessary denoted a blood relationship.

    I was never able to find any newspaper clippings about the fire. I’ll keep looking. As newspapers become digitized it gets easier to find articles by name and by address.

    I agree on how abuse tended (tends) to be brushed under the rug. There is the man’s reputation, the family name, not wanting to harm another relative who is usually elderly or in poor health, shame, and so many other factors. We think of these as gentler times. In reality domestic abuse was as prevalent but no one talked about it.

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