My grandparents told stories about people I never met. Stories about family, like the time Butch Cassidy left silver in the horse feeder when he “borrowed” my Great-Grandfather’s horse. Or the story about how we came to be related to Pretty Boy Floyd.
It started my passion for genealogy. I wanted to know more about the characters that make up my family tree. I’ve researched my family history since I was 15. Not to give away my age, but it’s been 33 years.
I was recently invited to review MyHeritage DNA. They’re the new kids on the block when it comes to DNA testing, with a lot to offer.
My test kit came.
It’s a simple kit. Here’s what’s included.
I followed the directions and swabbed my cheek.
Repeated with the other cheek and then sealed it up and sent it off for processing.
Waiting was the hardest part.
I passed the time reviewing my family tree and making discoveries through MyHeritage.com, a site I have been a member of for years.
An exciting find is my first cousin, three times removed, Andrew Burgess. With 894 patents, he is one of the most prolific firearm inventors the world has ever known (second only to John Browning in the number of firearms patents issued to an American).
It turns out he had many interests. One of them photography.
He photographically documented Reconstruction in the post-Civil War South, as well as documenting the execution of the French-installed Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian in Mexico.
Andrew Burgess is now credited to have taken the famous “Brady’s Lincoln” photograph found on the American five dollar bill.
Andrew Burgess, the man who took Abraham Lincoln’s photo that is now on the $5 bill, is better known for inventing a pump-action folding shotgun.
Burgess established his own company in 1892. The Burgess Gun Company.
According to Mark Lee Garner in “To Hell on a Fast Horse,” Pat Garrett was armed with a Burgess when he was killed on Feb. 29, 1908.
Burgess sold Burgess Gun Co. to Winchester in 1899.
Everything I have read says Andrew Burgess married Eudora Tiffany, grand-daughter of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co New York (though I can’t seem to connect the dots).
There’s also Atha Meeks, the last white man to be murdered by Indians in Indiana territory.
On my mother’s side, I’m related to:
- Stephen van Cortlandt
- Stephen Rensselaer, whose holdings made him the tenth richest American of all time, based on the ratio of his fortune to contemporary GDP.
- Dievendorf–founder of Dutch West Indies Trading Co.
- And the Schuylers (General Philip Schuyler’s daughter, Eliza, married Alexander Hamilton)
Long before the Hamilton musical, I worked at Delta Airlines in Reservations. A call came through one weekend, and the SkyMiles number showed a name, Schuyler ________. When I pronounced her name correctly (Skyler), she questioned how I knew, and I told her, “I’m related to General Philip Schuyler.” It turns out, she is too. Her sister’s name is Rensselaer.
There are so many more stories I could share. I have a pedigree of outlaws, royalty and colorful characters.
MyHeritage DNA was able to confirm many of these lines by matching my DNA, which is exciting!
It also shows me my ethnicity make-up:
I am looking forward to learning more by connecting to those who show a DNA match to me and hearing their stories about our family.
What will your DNA reveal? Go to: www.myheritage.com/dna and use your personal coupon code MHJULEEMORRISON to receive free shipping ($12 US value).