I received very quick responses from three of my four 2nd-4th cousins. Jennifer Harrison never did respond. Months later, I still have not heard from her although I sent a tentative second email after three months.
Cecilia Williams and Jacqueline Rhodes sent me lovely emails. They informed me that I was showing as one of their closest matches too. Each of them were adoptees seeking their genetic roots. One was in South Carolina, one was in New York. I was their first Australian match. Neither of them matched each other and they matched me on very different chromosomes. One of them shared matches with several of my 3rd-5th matches. The other is an isolate and I have no common matches with her segment even now. They eagerly awaited anything I might learn but I wasn’t going to learn it from them.
Which left me with John Samuelson,and with him I shared one name – the name McLeod.
The name McLeod appears on my mother’s side. My maternal grandfather was a Dunstall. His grandfather was James Dunstall born in South Australia in 1842. In 1866 James Dunstall married Annie McLeod who at her marriage gave her father’s name as ‘Kennis’.
In the 1850s there was a mass exodus of McLeods from Harris, Inverness-shire, Scotland to South Australia. Many hundreds of McLeods arrived each year. It looks to me as if it was mandatory for a McLeod family to have a daughter called Annie, because just about every family did. At one time I began researching every Annie McLeod I found arriving in South Australia to see if they were mine. After about 12 of them I gave up. Annie was a brick wall.
James and Annie died of tuberculosis along with their older children. Annie’s death record told us nothing because only children survived to inform the officials. Her will was full of her concern for those future orphans, but gave no clue about other family. I couldn’t even be sure of her birth country because there were McLeods turning up from everywhere.
My Annie McLeod was born in 1844. John Samuelson’s ancestor John McLeod was born 1846. John McLeod was married in 1871 in the same little village that my James and Annie Dunstall had their son in 1869. We had a name, we had a location. It looked really good. But, John told me, he had researched his ancestor quite thoroughly and he had no sister called Anne. The connection, we surmised, was one generation further back. But I was very much stumped with my Annie and saw no way to get her a generation back.
So on that rather dissatisfying note, I was forced to leave my four closest matches.