Catherine and the Doubtful DNA

In a previous post, I said I was pretty sure my 3rd great-grandmother’s parents were John James and Julia Callaghan. DNA matches, weddings of their children occurring in the same frontier county around the time of Catherine’s wedding to Elliot Bellamy, and a discovery of one of John and Julia’s grandchildren, Jacob Butcher, living very near Catherine in Harrison County, Missouri in 1860 led me to that conclusion.


But since discovering the neighbor cousin, I’ve been trying to gather evidence for their connection. And I can’t.


I searched all of my shared matches with descendants of John and Julia and found inconsistencies. First, most of the descendants of John and Julia James I share DNA with don’t share DNA with each other.

Second, some of the John and Julia descendants share DNA with the Bellamys, Catherine’s children from her first marriage, but they also share DNA with descendants of Jacob and Daniel James, Catherine’s second husband and her brother-in-law, both of whom are my third great-grandfathers. (The Jameses were fond of intermarriage.)

Third, I found that while I had many DNA hits with John James’s parents, I had none with Julia Callaghan’s. Looking at the Thrulines tree, it was just a one-way track from her parents down to me with no branches shooting off. That’s never a good sign when you’re talking about a woman who lived 250 years ago and had many siblings. Now, it’s possible that none of the descendants of Julia’s brothers and sisters have taken DNA tests, but it’s unlikely. The further back a couple lived, the higher the number of descendants there are to match, and Julia was born in the mid-1700s.

This one-sided DNA trail means that I’m likely not a descendant of the couple. Since I share DNA with both of John’s parents though, I am likely a descendant of one of his siblings.

The fact that descendants of Catherine, and Jacob and Daniel James all share DNA with descendants of John James makes me think that the three of them were related. (Yet, another case of the Jameses keeping it in the family.)

I also noticed while looking at DNA matches to descendants of the Bellamy children the abundance of matches to an Obediah Basham, whose father was named Bartlett Angel Basham. Could Catherine’s youngest son, Bartlett Bellamy, be Bartlett Angel Basham’s namesake? Looking through the History of Gallia County book online, I noticed that Angels were founding settlers of Gallia County. They, along with the Bashams, came from Bedford County, Virginia, same as Catherine. So I can place the Jameses, Bellamys, Bashams, and Angels there and prove they traveled together to Gallia County at the same time.

History of Gallia County, H. H. Hardesty, Chicago and Toledo, 1882, page XX; Accessed on Hathi Trust 11 Oct 2020. Click image for link.