We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Middlebrook Matrix

Sitting here, nostalgic,  reviewing some of mine and Sandra's first conversations, I am amazed at how much ground we covered in so little time. I first contacted her  January 20, 2012 on 

Our first conversation was an invitation from me to share notes. Little did I know at that time that our tiny match on chromosome 4 suggested a relationship distant enough that under other circumstances could have been realized, but unfortunately ours wasn't a circumstance of that particular convenience. Our ancestors had been slaves.  


I see we match as 5th cousins and you are on DNA tested African Descendants on facebook. Let's compare notes. 
Vickie" I wrote to her on January 20, 2012

That's how it is on 23 and me you must invite your matches to share and submit an introduction. I was eager then and sent out invitations to all the relatives in my Relative Finder in hopes of getting a response, hoping beyond hope that they would know the answers to most or at least some of my puzzles. Under the impression, at the time that the puzzle pieces would just fall into place without much force. How wrong I was! Sandra was one of the first cousin correspondences that I made. 

She responded, Hi Vickie,

Thanks for contacting me here, and for the friend request on Facebook. I accepted. I am looking for you in my Relative Finder, but you are not showing up, and you did not show up when I did a search and I can't see your profile. I do see a Roosevelt Bass in my RF also a 5th cousin. Any relation? 

Sandra January 20, 2012

That's how it began. At first she couldn't even find me amongst her matches and that was frustrating but once that obstacle was surpassed we began the fun part comparing chromosomes.

Hi Vickie,

Okay, I match with you and your dad at the same segment on Chromosome 4. BUT...I show no match for your brother. What's the deal with that?

Comparison Chromosome Start point End point Genetic distance
Roosevelt Bass vs. Sandra Taliaferro 4 90000000 100000000 8.0 cM
# SNPs 1985

Comparison Chromosome Start point End point Genetic distance
Vickie M. Bass vs. Sandra Taliaferro 4 90000000 100000000 7.0 cM # SNPs 1933

She didn't match my brother Marcus now that was weird! He is a full sibling we share both parents. Little did we know at the time how often that occurs it's called recombination. What we soon learned is that my dad Roosevelt, myself, Marcus and Sandra share a matrilineal relationship. Which means we share a maternal line. Once we all uploaded our raw genome data to gedmatch we concluded that Sandra and Marcus did share a match on the same segment which she matched both my dad and myself on and on more than just chromosome 4, she also shared a match to us on the X chromosome, chromosome 23. We didn't see this on 23 and me since 23 and me doesn't capture such minute segments or anything below 7.0 centimorgans. The X chromosome is one of two chromosomes found in humans, females have two X chromosomes while males have one X and one Y, females inherit one X chromosome from their mother and one X chromosome from their father.

Marcus and Sandra's match on chromsome 23:

I replied to Sandra on January 21, 2012,  Hi again Sandra,

"We need to look at the slaveholders and go beyond ourselves and our surnames. My family had been slaves before 1865 and their chosen surnames weren't even recorded anyway. The Slaveholders rarely recorded their first names only counted them as items of property on the slave schedules. I know there was migrations from Georgia/Alabama to Louisiana and before that from North/South Carolina. Louisiana was settled by migrants from these places. What we need to do is find out who the slave owners were who migrated. I was reading your blog about Edward Mobley the slave owner who died in Chester District South Carolina. Did he have a daughter named Mary Mobley or daughter-in-law? I found a woman named Mary Mobley in a book called "Some Slaveholders and Their Slaves Union Parish Louisiana 1839-1865" Harry S.Dill and William But that's all it shows is her name. Could you find out the names of this Edward Mobley's other children maybe some of them left Georgia and South Carolina to come to Louisiana. Women are important because they married and changed their surnames. What was his childrens names? Who did the girls marry?

My mother's family is from South Carolina but they migrated to Washington D.C. in 1940, their pattern of migration was from the Carribean before 1862 to Carolina and they were there for years until my grandfather James left and moved to Washington,DC in the 1940's. My dad's family were migratory, before 1862 they left South/North Carolina went to Alabama/Georgia farther along to Louisiana and even farther to Texas. You and I are related through my father and not my mom. Slaves migrated along with the slaveowners in large caravans like you see in Western movies the difference is in the movies they don't show the slaves. LOL!!

Don't be frustrated cousin we will find our connection.


and all of us match on the X chromosome:

Sandra said, "I think you are probably right about the slaveowner and family. And we need to pay particular attention to the females and maiden names. I searched for a slaveowner for Miles, my 2nd great for a long time. Long story short, turns out he came to the Taliaferro family through the wife who was a Mobley.

With no clues from surnames, the slave holding families seem the next logical step. None of your surnames are in my tree to date. Your Alfred (Bass) whose mother might have been born in GA might be a good candidate.

Here's my rundown:
Paternal (starting with my 2nd great)
Miles Taliaferro (parents unknown; he said both born in NC) mar. Lizzie (parents unknown)
John Wesley Taliaferro mar. Martha Jane Dorsey
John Robert Taliaferro mar. Lillie Bell Favors, the Fannie Mae Lawrence (my grandmother)
John Lawrence Taliaferro & Lillian Middlebrooks (my parents)

Maternal (my mom)
Albert Middlebrooks mar. Malinda Guise, Gill or Hixon/Hickson (father was slaveowner or other family member)
Alexander Middlebrooks mar Sudie Parks
Holsey Middlebrooks mar. Juila Gates
Lillian Middlebrooks (my mother)

My maternal line is south Georgia Meriwether, Harris, Pike counties."

Sandra's maternal line was Middlebrooks my dad's maternal line is Tidwell. The Tidwell's migrated to Arkansas from Georgia.

"Here is a synopsis of my dad's family none of these names match to any of the ones I saw on your list but here goes:

my grandfather: Roosevelt Bass Sr married Neoma Tidwell
great grandfather Peter Bass married Phillis Henry
great-great grandfather Alfred Bass married Silva Lee
*possible great-great-great grandfather Dock Bass married Penny (second wife not Alfred's mother)
*possible great-great-great-great grandfather Jacob Bass married Penny also (probably not first wife) Nancy may have been possible first wife.

Silva Lee (Alfred) unknown parents possibly from Mississippi and Alabama
Phillis Henry (Peter Bass) parents: William Henry and Lucy Belle (or could be Williams)
Neoma Tidwell (Roosevelt Bass Sr) Millard Tidwell and Carrie Elliott
Neoma was from Arkansas Millard Tidwell's father was Andrew T. Tidwell and 
Evaline Faulkner (possibly) her parents William Faulkner and Agnes(unknown maiden)
Lucy Bell parents could be either Anthony Bell and Maria or William Bell and Annie (not certain)

I have a tree on its not open until I can straighten it out but you're welcome to view it.

Vickie," I replied January 21 2012

Sandra had always maintained we were related through her Middlebrook line but we could never find any evidence to confirm it.


  1. Thanks, Vickie, for sharing your correspondence with Sandra in this post. She was such a beloved member of the genealogical community, and she is missed!

    I wasn't aware that the two of you had a DNA match. Hopefully, you will be able to continue the work, and figure it all out, someday.


    1. Thanks Renate. It helps for me to write about the possibilities in hope that it may help someone else and urge others to DNA test to find those divided relatives separated by slavery. We need more relatives from these lines to test to draw a more solid conclusion.

  2. RIP San! She has touched so many of our Hearts, Encouraging Hearts.

  3. Thanks for sharing some of the genetic genealogy journey you shared with Sandra, Victori. Very moving.