Aub Hood, Itawamba, DNA, and Elvis Presley

The work of a genealogist is a lot of research, some good analysis of facts, and a little serendipity. Well serendipity has struck this genealogist a few times in the search for my great-grandfather, Aub Hood. And recently it struck again in the form of Mona Mills. But I’ll come back to her in a little while.

I have known for some time that my grandmother Ruberta Hood Lane, better known as Ma, was born in Mississippi and that her father’s name was Aub Hood. No matter how hard I tried, I could never find any online records for my grandmother or Aub Hood in Mississippi. I knew that my father came from Lake County, Tennessee so I tried to find census records for that location…nothing for Aub. They say when you don’t find someone in the census records you should search for others in the family. So I searched the 1900 U.S. census for Silas Hood, one of my grandmother’s brothers. Lo and behold, there was the family. I would never have found this record for the family had I searched for my grandmother’s name because she was enumerated as Rupert A. Hood. My great-grandfather was incorrectly enumerated as Tusturu Hood. So I had found my first record for Auburn Hood.

Then serendipity struck again. This time I connected with a third cousin on one of the internet message boards. He was searching for information about Aub Hood as well. He told me that his family had visited his grandparents in Itawamba County, Mississippi during the summers as he was growing up and he had gathered many stories about his family during the visits. Aub Hood was the son of Joshua Hood and Margaret Johnson Hood. Aub had disappeared and no one knew where he went.

So the search turned to Itawamba County, Mississippi. There I found Asburn Hood, age one, living in the family of Joshwa (Joshua) Hood in the 1860 census and Osborn Hood, age eleven, living in the Joshuaway (Joshua) Hood family in 1870. Aub, Asburn, Auburn, Osborn…I was getting confused by all of these conflicting names. And the ages of the child in these census records conflicted with the age of Auburn in the 1900 census. I still had my doubts that I had found the correct family. But then I found an 1878 marriage record for A. Hood and M. I. Pennington. This record tied in perfectly with the birth of their first child Margaret in 1880 so there was hope.

Ferguson, Tonya and Mills, Mona

Mona Mills (L) Tonya Ferguson

In the meantime I had sent in my autosomal DNA to be processed with Family Tree DNA and I had joined the Hood DNA project. Knowing very little about DNA at the time, the head of the study steered me to a DNA-match, Michael Mills. This is where serendipity strikes again. Michael just happens to live in Itawamba County. And Mona is the wife of Michael, and very involved in the history of the county. In fact, both Michael and Mona are published writers and very busy people.

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit Mona in Itawamba County. I can’t think of anything better than spending time doing research with someone who lives in and is heavily involved in the genealogy and history of the area. For two days we discussed the family, searched for and found records in the Court House in Fulton, and visited a portion of the cabin where Joshua Hood lived, and where most likely Aub Hood was born. I found out that Mona’s mother is a Pennington, as was my great-grandmother Amanda Bell Pennington, but our DNA doesn’t match. But that’s a mystery that has to be solved on another day. I am very thankful for Mona’s time and expertise in finding my family.

And what does Elvis Presley have to do with all of this? Well his grandmother, Minnie Mae is the daughter of William Hood, who happened to be the brother of Aub, my great-grandfather. So Elvis and I are third cousins. How’s that for name dropping? For more information on Minnie Mae Hood go to this link.

And watch for an additional post on Aub Hood.