Tag Archives: genealogy brick wall

DNA Paved the Way

I found it coincidental that this week’s prompt from Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series is “DNA,” and that last week’s prompt was “Brick Wall.” Just this morning, I crashed through a brick wall in my pedigree research, using DNA. Bam!


I had seen other trees that listed Reynish as the surname of my 3rd great-grandmother. But they didn’t seem to match up with what I had, as far as dates and places. But with Ancestry’s new “Thru Lines” feature, I discovered at least 5 new DNA matches of people who were descended from Margaret Reynish’s father. That was rather compelling. I realize that you can have a DNA match whose pedigree has a number of names similar to your own pedigree, but that you might not be related to them by those particular people. But this looks promising: the five new DNA matches all descend from three of the brothers and sisters of my 3rd great-grandmother.

This wasn’t my first break-through helped along by DNA data. German and Scottish lines became manifest with the information from some of my relatively distant DNA matches. I’m excited about the DNA input, although I keep in the back of my mind the terse, warning voice of one of the presenters of a DNA live-streamed class at RootsTech: “Be careful!” [Diahan Southard from the class Connecting Your DNA Matches] 

I’ve been going over some of my mom’s old notes, and I’m just blown away by all the corresponding and collaborating she did over a long period of time. All that groundwork has led up to the magical genealogy searching tools we have today, with artsy charts and speed-of-light computer processors, and mammoth data storage capacity.

Lena “Brick Wall” Tripp

You may have guessed that this week’s prompt from Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series is “Brick Wall.”

Although I have about forty source citations for this ancestor, I still don’t know who her parents were.

In the Official Records, her surname is spelled variously Trippe, Trapp, Zipf, Kripp, Cips, Zyph, Sipp, and Heyar, but mostly Tripp. Her given name is sometimes Magdalena, Leina, Linney, and Lenny but mostly Lena. She lived in Erie County, New York, in the mid-1800’s.

I also have some Tripps in my tree from way back in the 1600’s. I found a book that contained a record of the Tripp descendants, and I thought I might enter all those into my tree, from the earliest immigrants to the contemporaries, and see if any found their way to Erie County, New York. And some did, but I still can’t find a link to Lena.

There ought to be some DNA connections, because Lena is only my 2nd-great grandmother, so hopefully I still have a notable percentage of her DNA mixed in with mine. So far I’ve only found one hopeful lead to pursue, a possible name for Lena’s mother only, on another person’s pedigree. But so far that hasn’t turned up anything that can be documented as proof, either.

Lena’s grave marker in Cherry Valley, Illinois