A McCubbin DNA Success Story
Submitted By: Ronald Rick McCubbin
Bardstown, Kentucky, USA
March 20th, 2008
With modern technology and the advancement of DNA those of us who are serious, yet amateur, genealogists are finding more people paying the price to have their DNA tested in order to confirm lineage, find missing ancestors, or to simply locate every possible cousin that may exist. The latter is the reason that I decided to have my DNA compared to others in order to fill in any gaps in my family tree. Though my tree is rather complete with great certainty, I wanted to corroborate each piece of the puzzle that I could. Perhaps twenty years as a law enforcement officer puts me in the position of facts, not hear say evidence, so I paid the price and have not regretted it since.
I am a member of Ancestry.Com and have diligently researched my line of McCubbins for many years. I was blessed to know my 90 year old great grandmother, who died in 1980, but before her death would always take time to regale me with stories of the past. Though married into the McCubbin family, she knew most of the history of my lineage and is probably the main reason that I am now the family historian for my paternal side. What she did not pass along I have since located and have filled in many gaps that existed with the help of on line research such as Ancestry.Com and Family Tree.Com. The DNA story that is the center of attention is about my great grandmothers son, Robert E. McCubbin. Her other son, Richard Curtis, was my grandfather.
As a young boy I was always interested in my family history and knowing everyone and how they were related, however, there was a picture of a man who was displayed in the front room of the house at 321 East Kentucky Street in Louisville. When I asked about this strange man whom I had never met but realized he was somebody important since he had an entire wall to himself, my great grandmother sat me down and told me that this was her son, my great uncle, Robert E. McCubbin. She told of him going to war in 1943 and eventually died in 1944 after his famous unit, the 29th Infantry, hit Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. At this point, she had my undivided attention.
Granny, as she was called, went on to tell me that my grandfather, who did not die until 1984, almost joined his brother Robert, but due to a slight disability was rejected and always felt the pain of loosing a brother in a war that he could be a part of, if for no other reason but to be with Robert. She told me that they were both very close and could almost be best friends. When I spoke to my grandfather about Robert his emotion would show and he often spoke out against draft dodgers and others who did not go to war, yet his brother did and paid the ultimate sacrifice. He went on to tell me that Robert was never married, actually he laughed that he was the better looking McCubbin and had so many girls chasing him that he could never decide which one he liked best.that may be an added version from my grandfathers point of view!! So at age 32, Robert died in Normandy, unmarried, with no children, and my grandfather told me that his biggest fear was that Robert would be forgotten and his service to our nation unsung simply because he left no one to carry on his name. At that point, in 1978, I decided that no, Robert would be NOT be forgotten and that it was up to me and my father, Roberts nephew, to carry on his legacy within our family.
When my great grandmother realized that I was sincere and had a passion for genealogy and our familys history she called me over one day and had me reach an old, dusty box at the top of a closet and told me to take it, that it was mine to do with what I wanted, but mostly she knew it would be taken care of since I was the one in the family who had this interest. When I opened the box I found it full of Roberts items from the war; the flag that draped his coffin, letters from elected officials, his Purple Heart, all of the V-mail that she had received from him, and even his wallet that the Army returned after confirming his death. I hit the lottery! I could now write and learn about this war hero from his own words in his letters home. Today, that flag and Purple Heart are still in a display box in my front room in my home in Kentucky.
Many years have passed since I began my research and just last year I completed a page on Robert in my on-line Tree complete with pictures and information about his death. As I continued adding more McCubbin information that I had located I began to read about people having their DNA tested in order to scientifically confirm lineage. I read it with great interest not only because of the genealogical perspective, but when I started my law enforcement career, DNA was something of the future, and now, here we are using it for pleasure, not just to solve crimes. This past January I decided for my birthday I would give myself a present; order the DNA kit. What a gift it has been!!
I ordered the biggest test that was available at Ancestry.Com with the opinion of doing it right, not half witted, and sent the check. After receiving and complying, I sent my kit to the listed lab and waited, not knowing what if anything would come out of my investment. After all, I could only be compared if other men had submitted their DNA, but I took the chance. When I received an e-mail from Ancestry that my results were now available and on the web site I immediately opened it to find that I had been matched with 4 other men, none of which were McCubbins. Ancestry.Com offers a contact email through their system so I sent all of the men a message that we were matched, though none of us had the same last name, and to please contact me in order to locate who our common ancestors might be.
The first man contacted me and we still do not know our common link but of course, are still searching. He is located in Southern California and his reason was to confirm something questionable regarding his grandfather. The second e-mail that I received was on March 6th, 2008 from a man named Peter Vickery. Peter, who is in England, went on to write that he was not necessarily researching his Tree as most of us were, but that recently, at his fathers death, he was told that his father was not his biological father and that he submitted his DNA as a gamble to locate any information on who his biological father was. He said that his mother, who is well into her 80s, told him that his real father was an American soldier named Robert, in his 30s, was stationed in England and was deployed to Normandy. He was about 63, an airman and that when she realized that she was pregnant, attempted to contact him but spoke with a commanding officer who advised her that Robert was injured and had been sent back to the states. He ended, tongue in cheek, jokingly stating that if I knew anyone in my family who fits this, to let him know. At this point, I nearly fell from my chair!
I immediately e-mailed Peter back and said not only do I think I can help, I think I can solve this one! I told him about my great uncle who not only fit the description, but DNA has scientifically stated that SOMEONE in my family was his father. I told him more, asked him for more, and we went back and forth that day on Robert. I asked him to email me pictures of himself and I sent him pictures of Robert; no doubt, Peter had that McCubbin forehead, as I told him, and he emailed back that yes, he could certainly see a resemblance. One picture that he sent of himself as a baby looked so much like my fathers baby picture that THEY could almost have the same father!
We continued, but cautiously, because there is always that question of is this real? Is it too good to be true? This man, in his 60s is searching for his biological father and on a gamble submits his DNA, and I, thousands of miles away in America, in Kentucky, had an uncle that fit every aspect of what he was told about his father; almost surreal. For several days we continued to compare pictures, descriptions, and information in order to rule out any doubt. The main tool, DNA is hard to argue; science doesnt lie. There were simply so many matches that we knew we had solved it; Robert E. McCubbin, a country boy from Hart County, Kentucky, who died in the famous Invasion of Normandy, was Peters father. We had one more confirmation up our sleeve; Peters mother.
Peter came up with the idea to print off one of the many pictures that I had emailed him, take it to his mother, who he said may or may not be of mind to remember, but why not try as that would certainly be a confirmation, as if we needed it with the DNA result. Last week, Peter did this and yes, she confirmed it as well. Peter said that when he went to his mother and showed her the picture and that when he did, her face lit up and she confirmed this was his father. She went on to talk about Robert and what she remembered of him; he loved eating fish and chips, loved looking at the old buildings in England, and was deep thinker ( that one did not necessarily trickle down to ALL of us McCubbin men!!..ha) . Lastly, Peter said that his mother asked him to leave the pictures of Robert for perhaps a trip down memory lane for her, but closure for Peter Vickery.
Now that I have a cousin in England, my father Ron is excited that he has a 1st cousin as there are only 3 descendants alive from that immediate line. We hope to meet with Peter and his wife sometime in the very near future. We have invited them to Kentucky where they will be treated like royalty, no English pun intended, as we are excited to uncover this mystery perhaps not as much as Peter, but close. Peter has not said if he will or will not ever come over and meet his new family and of course, we will respect whatever he decides. To find out that my grandfathers worry that Robert had no children to carry on his name and that I have done so for many years is resolved. I will continue to do as I have and Peter is one more generation of McCubbin and though nothing will necessarily change for him, it is closure for us to know that Robert did not die childless.
This story of success has inspired me to submit another DNA through Family Tree and submit the results to the McCubbin DNA Project and I encourage everyone to do the same. What a great feeling it is to not only confirm lineage, but who knows..you just might find a McCousin that you didnt know!! It is truly beyond words.
McCubbin Family DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/McCubbin/
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