Saturday, November 2, 2013


A month ago, my cousin Kelly was in Denver for business again. I'd seen him check in on Facebook previously and sent him a note that he should let me know his next time through and we'd get together. 

For the first time in our lives. 

Kelly had tracked me down five years ago based on this post. 

We linked up on Facebook, along with his younger brother Andy, but with Kelly in California., Andy in Texas, and me in Colorado it wasn't exactly a family reunion. We share the same great grandparents in John and Lessie Saltsman.

It was a little surreal to walk into Rootdown and see Kelly standing in front of me, in the flesh, a relative not so far removed and yet a complete stranger. We talked over dinner about the results of his genetic testing done through 23andMe, and how odd it was that the results of his DNA testing were almost entirely British and Irish descent. This didn't jive with the lineage provided us by our great-great uncle Dan who'd hand written the account that the above post was based upon. There should definitely be some German and Dutch showing up. 

Quick recap of the history: William Saltsman came to America in 1751 from the Rhine River Valley, his youngest son Phillip fought under George Washington, and Phillip's youngest son Daniel was born in 1812.

It's this Daniel that supposedly married Miss Mary Fables, who had just come from the Netherlands and barely spoke English, after she took up "work at a restaurant in Montgomery, where one Daniel Saltsman often visited when his boat pulled into port." 

Then, the story goes, they had two children before he up and left her, marrying Haney Kennedy and starting a new family.

At dinner, Kelly mentioned that he'd been able to arrange some comparative testing with Jason Saltsman, descended from the "second" wife Haney Kennedy, whose marriage records to Daniel are substantiated. He could find no marriage records or any records whatsoever for our GGG Grandmother Mary Fables before she turns up as a single mother buying property in Tallapoosa County after the Civil War. 

The results of that comparison are in: Kelly and Jason are not related. 0% match.

I don't suppose Miss Mary could have conceived of a world in which her lie could be proven definitively, but Daniel Saltsman was most certainly not the baby-daddy of Louis Frederick. 

She may well have furtively believed him to be the father. We'll never know. But Kelly's theory is that Mary was a poor immigrant (no birth records of her on American soil) and her work to support herself, while it might have included waitressing, may well have also included some upstairs work, aka The Fortune Club. 

It certainly does cast younger uncle Dan's sentence in a new light, no?

The only way to track down Louis Frederick's father, and thus discover the last name we've never known, will likely be far into the future, when enough DNA samples are collected by interested parties and we (the royal we) stumble upon the match. 

For now, Sammi can tear up her Daughters of the Revolution application and the both of us will have to stop blaming the size of our hips on German ancestry that does not exist. Dang.


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