The SAR Magazine

Spring 2018

The SAR MAGAZINE is the official quarterly publication of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution published quarterly.

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SPRING 2018 13 SPRING 2018 21 brother and sister born of the same parents, Forrest Burns and LaVerne Owen. I had been told I was the son of Janetta Quick and Forrest Burns. FTDNA confirmed that Eddy and I should be tested for Y-DNA, so we ordered and sent back 67-marker tests. Eddy's results came back weeks before mine arrived. The waiting was awful. Comparing our Y test results showed that 65 of 67 Y markers were the same, but two were different. The conclusion was that it is highly probable Eddy and I share a common ancestor somewhere on our patrilineal line. Soon after, Glenn B. Murdock II, the brother I had grown up with, did a Y test and took an autosomal DNA test (called Family Finder); I also added an autosomal test. When our results were compared, Glenn did not match me on Y-DNA, showing we are not related on our fathers' sides and confirming that I am not genetically a Murdock. In the autosomal test results, however, Glenn and I shared about 29 precent of our DNA, indicating we are half-siblings. Furthermore, we matched on the X chromosome, which indicates we are maternally related, since men receive X-DNA only from their mothers. Glenn was confirmed as my maternal half-brother, and Eddy and Cheri were convinced of our relationship. Cheri relayed to me as much information as she knew about the Burns family. T en years earlier, on Nov. 13, 2006, I had become a member of the Gov. Isaac Shelby Chapter, SAR. In spite of my mother's deathbed confession, the only proof I had of my parentage then was my birth certificate, which listed Cecil Murdock as my father. I was unaware of any options for proving otherwise and uncertain if I should believe my mother's claim. So I entered SAR as a descendent of a Murdock (female) Patriot. Given my recent discovery, though, I wondered what course of action I should take to resolve my paternal lineage with regards to my SAR membership. After all, I have been a volunteer at SAR headquarters since my acceptance into the organization. I spoke to one of the newer staff genealogists, Debra Renard, who also happens to be a specialist in genetic genealogy and one of the leaders of the DNA interest group I had been attending. I had many questions! Would the lineage proof entail a lot more testing? She reiterated that the Y-DNA test from FTDNA for me and my half-brothers would be critical evidence for proving my new lineage. Those results should be included as documentation on the first and second generations of my new SAR application. Of course, I also had to find a Revolutionary War Patriot from whom I descend. So the next course of action was to do genealogy research to find my real bloodline—the Burns lineage and its documentation. After 16 months of research, I found proof of the lineage, as well as the service of an ancestor named Phillip Burns, a soldier in the North Carolina Continental Line. I completed my application and submitted it to Chapter Registrar Larry Selby for approval. Larry then sent it to the state registrar, who mailed it to SAR Headquarters. R ecently, I have been volunteering my time, working in the genealogy vault to help the SAR genealogy staff better organize documentation files. While I was there, Leslie Miller, one of the SAR supplemental genealogists and current KSDAR State Regent, approached me and said that my story was quite interesting and should be featured in The SAR Magazine. My new application was in the queue at headquarters but had not yet been reviewed. A request to expedite my application was approved and handled by Renard. Shortly after reviewing the results, Debra told me something had been overlooked in my application evidence. She reminded me that Y-DNA results can prove only that two people are somehow related on their patrilineal line but cannot tell them specifically how or where. Since no other documents supporting the change in birth father were available, Debra explained more DNA testing was needed, specifically a Family Finder autosomal test for Eddy to precisely prove our relationship. I asked Eddy for permission to add this test on the stored sample he had already submitted for the Y test, which he granted. I ordered the Family Finder test for him from FTDNA, and about 30 days later, the results were viewable. The DNA results showed that Eddy and I share about 28 percent of our autosomal DNA and, in combination with the Y-DNA results, confirmed our relationship as paternal half-brothers. This information was passed on to Debra for review. She printed the results to add to my application's documentation, making notes and corrections. Given all of the DNA results, Eddy's birth certificate and the rest of the documentation showing our father's descendancy from the Patriot, my lineage was proven. My application on my Patriot Ancestor Phillip Burns Sr. was approved Jan. 26, 2018. Debra has continued to teach me more about DNA, thus helping me to have better skills in genealogy, as well as in using DNA tests as evidence. W hile learning such news about their parentage would be devastating to most people, Junior Murdock said the experience made him feel better. "It brought things to light and explained many things," he said. "The siblings I was raised with and I were so, so different with hardly anything in common." The Burness, once they accepted the relationship, were quick to say something Junior had never heard before: "You know, you look so much like your father." Editor's note: Debra Renard and Denise Hall of the SAR Headquarters staff contributed to this article. Junior Murdock, right, with SAR staff genealogist Debra Renard

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