Coomer: New Lessons Learned in DNA

Right to the point…don’t submit more than 1 test at a time.

So, here’s what happened to me this past week. I’ve come to my wit’s end on the brick walls surrounding Edward Coomer and Darthulia Tarter. My sister-in-law bought DNA tests some years ago for her parents and I decided it was time to reach out to her and ask for access to the results. But alas, it was so long ago that she has lost the user credentials for that account. They were with a testing site that I am not familiar with anyway.

All of the testing companies were having summer sales, so I got up the nerve to ask my in-laws for new DNA samples to submit with my favorite DNA testing site. I even threw in a Y-DNA test for my husband’s maternal uncle.

What did I learn from submitting three tests all at once? NEVER do that again.

I have a bad case of DNA ADD. The two autosomal DNA results were completed on the same day and I am just going mad with glee combing through the results. But I am probably not using my time very wisely.

In any case, I am very excited on the Coomer front. I have identified two DNA matches that confirm my hypothesis that Edward Coomer (see also Possible Relations of Edward Coomer) is biologically related to two men from my short list of probable relatives.

  1. I suspect Andrew Coomer (who lived in Edward’s 1860 household) was a brother. My father-in-law has a DNA match to a confirmed descendent of Andrew.
  2. I suspect Edward is the son of one of three candidates, Ammon, Amos, or Bryson. My father-in-law has a DNA match to a descendant of James M. Coomer. Several different men of that name were born within five years of each other; one of them is a confirmed son of Ammon Coomer, and a second is a confirmed son of Bryson Coomer.

Unfortunately, these early results don’t confirm WHO Edward’s father is, but they do confirm that the Coomer’s living near each other in Wayne and Pulaski Counties, Kentucky were definitely biological relatives. And they narrow down my father candidates from three to two. This is boosting my confidence in what my paper trail analysis is telling me.

On the Tarter front

The Coomer DNA sample has matched several Doater’s. There is a family story (from another Tarter researcher) that the name was originally Doater from Ireland. At some point after immigrating to the United States, two brothers lived nearby and one decided to change his surname to Tarter to differentiate his family from his brother’s. I don’t know what it is about Virginia and Kentucky pioneers but it seems to me that a lot of southern families have similar stories. I’ve never come across these types of stories on my northern Rhoades and Aleck research. That lot was happy to associate with the extended family. But then the other difference is, the Rhoades and Alecks moved so far away from their siblings in each generation that they probably never felt they had to do such a thing. The Coomer and associated families, on the other hand, rarely left Kentucky after 1840. Which is why it is so painful to pick through them all. They’re soooo prolific!

Anyway, Edward and Darthulia used Doater as a middle name for one of their sons, even though Darthulia was specifically linked to the Tarter line. Interesting…

I suspect that Darthulia was the sister of Andrew Coomer’s wife, Eliza. Eliza named her father Peter C. Tarter. I suspect Peter C. Tarter is the son of Revolution War patriot Peter Tarter who was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Virginia as a young boy (with his father), fought with the Virginia Militia, and settled in southern Kentucky after the war. My father-in-law has a DNA match to a Tarter who claims an ancestor that also came from Pennsylvania, through Virginia, and into the same county in Kentucky as Peter Tarter. If his research is sound, his identified ancestor is possibly a brother or cousin of Peter Tarter.

More research is need, of course. I mean, when is research ever really completed? Right?

I have only been perusing my mother-in-law’s DNA, but since I am not as familiar with her deep line as I am with the Coomer’s, I am just skimming around. My purpose in testing her and her brother (the Y-DNA test) is because she is stuck on her paternal line and her brother’s Y-DNA test will be key to that goal. I plan to use her atDNA results more for triangulation when/if needed.

The Fascination with Deep Origins

All of my DNA sample origins are fascinating to me. I would have expected their admixture to be similar to each other. They are all descended from European settlers and Europe is pretty much a melting pot in and of itself. But, and I will say it again, their origins are just fascinating … from a cultural and sociological perspective.

They are all 100%, or very close to, European. No surprise there. But despite having ancestors that could be traced to the same core counties before immigration to the US, everyones admixtures are varied.

My father is mostly Central Europe (Germanic and Danish), less than half British Isles, and a smidge of Scandinavian. His brother is flip-flopped, mostly British Isles, less than half Central European, and low enough to possibly be false-positive from the Middle East. Their mother appears to be the contributor of the low Middle East probability and has trace elements of Southern Europe (Italy, Greece, Balkans). And it is her lineage that gives my uncle the higher British Isles origins (and even a possible false-positive from Ireland).

My father-in-law is very heavily British Isles with a smidge of Scandinavian and Irish admixture. And my mother-in-law is about 50/50 British Isles and Irish! Both have traces of Magyar (Eastern Europe – Hungarians from Transylvania).
From listening to studies in ancient history through Great Courses, it would appear that my father-in-law’s lack of Central Europe admixture implies he is heavily of old Britain – not even Norman stock – but then, with 5% Scandinavian is that Norman Danes who assimilated to French cultures (aka Vikings), or earlier Northman Danes who conquered the British Isles (aka Vikings)? Boring, I know, but just so darn fascinating.

My apologies to all. And now Saturday is nearing its close with nothing to show for it, but genealogy. So much for laying down tile and mowing.

2 thoughts on “Coomer: New Lessons Learned in DNA

  1. One of the things I love about genealogy is that researching to find answers often leads of partial answers and … more research! Frustrating sometimes, but what else are we going to do with our time?!?!

    I recently asked 2 of my mother’s half-siblings to submit DNA for an Ancestry test – which they did – and their results were great. Their father (my mum’s stepfather) is from southern Germany/Austria and it was fascinating to see the differences between their results and my mother’s. It makes the parts she inherited from *her* father much more clear. My DNA mystery is unpicking her shared results to see where the Adams Family (haha) came from – but 2 brothers married 2 sisters, so a lot of shared matches are descendants of the *other* family group. Quite irritating!!

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