I have been working on our Stewart/Steward family line for eons… truly …and I cannot break through this brick wall that ends with John Steward and his wife Minerva. You can see my pedigree over there to the right.
Now I’m not a DNA pro by any means but I get the basics. I have had my DNA (my mom’s and that of my children) floating around on Ancestry, 23andMe, and GEDMatch with positively ZERO hits on our Stewart line. Three years plus and no hits anywhere, no DNA circles, not even the generic email from a possible relative with a match looking for info… just NOTHING. So, recently, I decided to go through our DNA circles again to take a closer look. I have 101 circles with NO Stewart matches and my mom has 25 circles with NO Stewart matches either. (My circles are much larger because my dad’s KY line is huge.) Puzzled… I began to dig deeper into our tree.
See William Henry Stewart over there? He was the one that killed his wife, Esther Archer, and then shot himself. (I’ve written about their story multiple times if you’re interested in searching through past posts.) Esther’s mother was a Wickham, her father an Archer. I have multiple hits on my Wickham DNA so I know I’m at least related DNA wise to my grandmother Esther and her grandparents. However, I have nothing DNA wise to link me to her husband William or his family. Zilch.
The easy answer would be to find more Stewart relatives and test their DNA. But it’s not that simple. William and Esther had two children – Glenn and Dale. Glenn, obviously, had children but my great uncle Dale died unmarried and childless so that’s a no go there. Jumping back a generation, William had several sisters and two brothers. One brother John Jackson Stewart died divorced and childless. His sister Anna May Stewart Barnes died childless as well. Cora Alice Stewart Butz married but had no children. The only Stewart siblings to have had children were Nellie Blanche Stewart Russell and then Charles Isaac Stewart… and I’m just now beginning to track their children to see who is alive and who isn’t to begin an email campaign to reach them about testing.
My only other hope in solving this is getting my great aunt Rosie’s son to take a test. Rosie past away a few months ago before we ever got her tested but her son might be willing but I’m not sure how much that will help. My mom is the oldest living Stewart surviving in our family so having my cousin Darryl tested might not make any difference at all really. If my DNA, my mom’s, and that of my children haven’t hit with the Stewart side already, I’m really left wondering… are we really Stewarts after all? On paper we are, but DNA wise? My gut instinct tells me we’re probably not.
Additionally, I’m always continually wondering why William murdered Esther and trying to understand the events of that day. I think I’ve collected every single document from coroner’s reports to upwards of 25 newspaper clippings from all over Ohio about their murder/suicide. By her brother’s own account, they had a very turbulent marriage chock full of fights and spats where they wouldn’t talk for weeks over the smallest things. What if this was what it was about on that day? What if Glenn wasn’t William’s son? That would be a *gigantic* motivating factor I think for a murder. I think that just might push a man over the edge if he raised a son for seven years only to learn he wasn’t the father. It’s pure speculation on my part, but it’s possible.
So… if you happen to be a Stewart and might be related to the John Steward/Stewart families that bounced between New Castle, Pennsylvania, and Zanesville, Ohio… I would love to hear from you! Got a GEDMatch kit #? Let’s compare!