To paraphrase a famous advertisement:  Document gathering – hundreds of dollars. Genealogical research – thousands of dollars. Ancestry DNA –  priceless.

It does work! That is, assuming I and two other Pope descendants have done the research thoroughly.

For years, I’ve believed that my POPE line originated in Bosham in the late 1600s. But I’ve not been able to prove it to my own satisfaction. My three times great-grandfather William POPE married Elizabeth SAVAGE at Westbourne in 1804. My suspicion has been that my William was the same William baptised by Ann HART and William POPE in Bosham, in 1781. The dates work. And Bosham to Westbourne is less than six miles, northwest, as the crow files. But Pope is not an unusual name in that part of Sussex and I’ve hesitated to underscore the presumed relationship.

Several months ago a DNA match appeared with links to the Popes – and the indication that our most recent common ancestors were Thomas POPE and his wife Elizabeth SILVERLOCK. Of Bosham.  If my working theory is correct, then this couple would be my seven times great grandparents. I reached out to this distant cousin but still have received no reply.

A few weeks ago another DNA match showed up – again with links to the Bosham Popes.  Her father’s lineage traces back to – yes, the same Thomas and Elizabeth. While I might doubt one DNA match, I can’t ignore two.

DNA is a funny thing – particularly the further back one traces it. Neither of the two family historians mentioned above are a match for each other. And they do not match my father’s DNA. Which doesn’t mean that we aren’t related. It just means that the DNA segments passed to the two distant cousins are not a ‘match’ to the DNA segments my father inherited.

I have high hopes that, eventually, understanding DNA better will help me find my paternal great-grandmother’s birth family!