Was Grandma stepping out, or what?

Morning, Aunt Elsie. How you doing today? Good, I'm glad to hear it. You got a minute? OK, well, the DNA results are in. I know, it did seem like it was gonna take forever. Uhm...well...the news ain't great. Yep, you guessed it--no matches to anyone in the TURNER surname group. Yeah, I was disappointed too. But listen, we do have some matches...uhm...outside the TURNER group.

Murphy's Law Applied

From the beginning, the TURNER branch has represented a challenge for us. Missing marriage records, no recorded wills, contradictory data stemming from the records that do exist...In other words, name the problem, and we've probably encountered it. That's why we enlisted the help of my uncle H. To make a long story short, however, let's just say, whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and H. TURNER is now a member of the MILLS surname group.

Naturally, the first thing I did was contact the representatives of Uncle H's exact matches, but they can't explain it any better than we can. So, instead of the answers we were hoping for, we're left with yet another question.

Nothing But the Truth

Uncle H is the 5th of 6 children born to John Crisenbery TURNER (1895-1958) and his second wife Mattie Helen CRADDOCK (1903-1966).

John is the 2nd of 3 children born to William Lee TURNER (1840-1896) and his (much younger) second wife Genarie T. CHANDLER (1873-1930).

William is the 1st of 5 children born to Eli TURNER (~1819-1902) and his (by all but one account, older) first wife Mary WILLIAMS (~1815-1878). In my inexpert opinion, and based on reasons I won't go into right now, William's birth presents what I consider the first real opportunity for a non-paternity event.

Eli is probably the son of John TURNER (~1789-?). Aside from circumstantial evidence that favors John, there's nothing to say Eli couldn't be the son of a MILLS. Let's face it, I wasn't trying to build that case, and even though I try to keep an open mind in these matters, I could've missed something.

And John is our true mystery man. We don't know who his parents were or what part of North Carolina he was born in, and if he has a connection to any other TURNER, thus far, it has gone undetected. My bet is on him.

Where To From Here

Now that I've recovered from the initial shock, my next step is to thoroughly examine the information our newly discovered cousins have been kind enough to share. Although at first glance, our two families appear to have nothing in common, not even a location, further study could find the answer lurking in there somewhere. And after that...well...I simply don't know.


    You mentioned your family doesn't have Wills. Do you realize that when someone dies with property there has to be action taken to divide it? Without a will it is called intestate and an administrater is selected, and probated. If you haven't already seek a probate file from the County Clerk-probably through the Circuit Court. Do you live in a "burn county?"

    Great post, Lee! Good to have you back.

    Mary Beth, that is an excellent suggestion! Unfortunately, there was no property to be divided when these men died. Tax records suggest John might have owned land in the early 1800s, but we can't find any record that proves it.

    Congratulations on your new blog!

    Thank you and thank you again, Craig! It is so good to be back! I've really missed being a part of the geneablogging community.

    BTW, your recent contributions to the genealogy community are invaluable! I look forward to every installment.


    Excellent post and a curious conundrum. What a shock to discover your family is Mills and not Turner. Have any Turner cousins, close and distant been tested? Have you considered there was a legal name change somewhere along the line?


    Hi Janice, and thank you!

    It's funny you should mention the name change possibility. There is a family tale that when the Turners "came over on the big boat," they changed their name. I don't know if there is any truth to this, and if there is, I can't imagine why MILLS to TURNER, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

    Unfortunately I don't know of any other living Turner males, outside of those in our line of course. Don't think I won't be keeping my eyes open for one, or more, though! :-)

    Having spent thousands of hours on family genealogy, there are 2 instantly apparent possibilities which I see (but I know nothing about your case). I'll just run them by, in case:
    1. William Lee TURNER (1840-1896) has a much younger second wife- this usually means he was married before-did you find a first wife?

    2. William born to Eli TURNER (~1819-1902) and his "older" first wife Mary WILLIAMS --often means that the first wife was married previously and is a widow perhaps with a child. Sometimes she married under her maiden and sometimes with her married name. What if her married name was Mills?

    Remember these southern men married as many as 4 times and had as many as 35 children! The south seems to have produced many living children compared to the north. I was wondering if it was because the south was warmer and the children better able to survive, despite malaria and yellow fever.
    Susan Aldridge