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June 3, 2010

Genealogy DNA Project Helps Family Tree Builders Trace Roots Back to Northeast Missouri

Thanks to the Missouri Genealogy FARRIS Y-DNA project one family tree with local roots has grown.

Two young boys orphaned at the age of two years and just 2 weeks old, in 1877 started a chain of events that is just now being unraveled.

Lucinda Ellen (Harryman) Harriman-Crandall Farris (original family from the Sand Hill area) who was married to George Farris in or near Saline County Missouri left four boys with no parents. Lucinda had two boys from her marriage to George Crandall; Thomas and Ewing Crandall, who were sent to live with the (Harryman) Harriman family when she married George. Sometime in late 1876 but before February 1877 George wandered away from the home he and Lucinda shared and was never seen again. The two sons; George Washington and Samuel Sterling (Smoot) Farris were, after Lucinda’s death sent to live with the (Harryman) Harriman family as had Lucinda’s first two sons.

“Now it gets complicated,” said Rita Palomo, one of the family members that was instrumental in discovering the local ties. “George Washington Farris was my grandfather and married to Pearl Jane Silvers Farris with three son’s (Neale, Sterling and George) one of them my father.”

But the trail went cold for the family history researchers. Smoot vanished and behind him were very few family stories or information. The researchers knew that Smoot married Elizabeth Minnie Lewis and the couple had four sons; Ross, Cheever, Vess and Cyril. Minnie and Vess died in Baring, Missouri from a typhoid outbreak in 1904 and are buried at the Bible Grove Christian Church Cemetery. Some time before the two deaths in 1904 Smoot too had disappeared from Baring, Missouri and Knox County and never returned similarly to his father. The three remaining boys were taken by Minnie’s mother Lydia Johnson Lewis to live in Minnesota. Within a couple of years Lydia had taken all three boys to an orphanage where they were independently adopted by other Minnesota.

“I have spent the better portion of the last twenty years searching for clues to where my great-grandfather came from and where we went,” said Palomo. “I had no idea that across the U.S. someone else was doing the same thing for the same reason.”

In 2007, Palomo said she stumbled onto the FARRIS Y-DNA Project on the Missouri Genealogy web page. In the process she found a second cousin to provide a DNA sample.

“One year later, I received a letter from the Y-DNA Project Manager, John Farris letting me know that I had been matched to another DNA sample and 45 of 46 markers making this person immediate family,” she said.

The two began to correspond in 2008 and finally on April 21, 2010 the with the same great-grandfather, met for the first time.

On April 28, 2010, at Keith’s Café in Memphis, Missouri Palomo and her four sisters gathered to spend time with their newly discovered cousin, the grandson of Smoot Farris, one of the missing links in Palomo genealogy research.

The sisters Carolyn (St.Charles, MO), Rosalyn (Elsberry, MO), Sara (Downing, MO), Rita (Grand Cayman) and Marilyn Farris (Springhill, KS); are the daughters of Neale Nicholas and Bernice June Norton Farris. They are grandchildren of George Washington and Pearl Jane Silvers Farris formerly of Rutledge, Missouri and great-grandchildren of George and Lucinda Ellen Harriman Crandall Farris.

There cousins are Don and Beth Ann Farris (Sonoma, CA), son of Ross and Ruth Golden Smith Farris. Don is the grandson of Samuel Sterling (Smoot) and Elizabeth Minnie Lewis Farris of Baring, Missouri Knox County and the great-grandson of George and Lucinda Ellen Harriman Crandall Farris.

Joining the sisters in welcoming Don and Beth Ann to the family were Gene Farris (Kirksville, MO), son of Sterling Eugene and Eva Neese Farris, grandson of George Washington and Pearl Jane Silvers Farris and great-grandson of George and Lucinda Ellen Harriman Crandall Farris and his grandson as well as the son and daughter of his brother Carl William Farris (Kirksville, MO), both men from Kirksville, Missouri. At Keith’s Café on April 28, they were also joined by Jewel Norton Brown, the girls’ mother’s sister.

“We shared family time at the home of Royce and Sara Farris Jeffries in Downing, visited Bible Grove, Memphis, Rutledge, Baring and surrounding areas tracing the places our ancestors lived and died,” Palomo reported.

The bulk of the family tree history reported in this article was tied together from the sharing done during the week-long visit of the sisters and their new found cousins.

The family is still searching for more genealogy information in Scotland, Schuyler, Adair, Knox, Howard and Saline Counties in Missouri and hopes that some of the other Farris families in these counties will submit to the DNA project and help further tie together the family tree.


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