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Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going...

The title of this entry is perhaps a bit misleading as I'm not so disoriented as it may lead you to believe, however I must confess that for a few years I have been knocked off balance by the truth of DNA evidence.

A few years ago, I was nearly finished with the family lineage all the way back to the late 1600s in Scotland when it came to my attention that new DNA evidence pointed to the fact that William Ewing (b. 1768 or 1770, purchased land in Jackson County Georgia in 1807, and somewhere along the way married Hannah Whaley) was in fact NOT related to the John Ewing of Cumberland County Pennsylvania. This William Ewing family brought forth the Ewings of Gwinnett County Georgia as well as other branches, notably the Green Berry Ewing family who continued west as Native American land was made available.

For many years we followed and counted on the amazing work of Margaret Ewing Fife, who without the benefit of technology traveled all over the country to unravel the numerous Ewing lines in America with a great amount of success. Mrs. Fife's work provided momentum for many Ewing family groups to gain a firm and accurate understanding of their history and lineage. However, as well researched as her own family was, a fatal flaw was found in the research when yDNA technology came along, casting doubt on all prior assumptions before 1768.

At this point, I must pause and give a little background about myself. I am Stewart Ewing, a businessman and avid historian and amateur genealogist. I am the son of Thomas H. Ewing of Gwinnett County, noted researcher of many families in the Gwinnett County area, including Ewing, Aderhold, Brownlee, Peeples, Snell, and others, also past volunteer at the Gwinnett County Historical Society, past President of the Snellville Historical Society, Author of numerous articles in Genealogical and Historical publications over the years, and Author of Snellville Consolidated School, a history of one of the first schools in Georgia to unite one-room school houses into a single school. He was the source for much of Margaret Ewing Fife's research on the family from William Ewing (b 1768 or 1770) forward. I give a lot of credit to my father for giving me the history and genealogy "bug".

I have been working the family history off and on for about 25 years, particularly through the 1990s when I took a number of road trips to follow Margaret's tracks. It was amazing to be browsing through some dusty old source document in some old obscure library in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania or Ohio or Maryland, and suddenly run across one of her business cards. My expertise has always been researching the backdrop of history surrounding the family in our lineage, which provides much-needed color and interest to what would otherwise be just a mundane list of names, dates, and places. I put a great deal of work into this and was on the cusp of writing a companion book to Margaret's work Ewing in Early America, which would tell a real and true story of our family from the old country through the 20th century with the backdrop of history.

With all the work my father and I had done, you can imagine the let-down when the DNA evidence derailed us. I have been off the rails now for about 10 years. But there have been numerous other personal and professional challenges that have prevented me from being in the game, from my wife working through and surviving cancer, to achieving my Masters Degree, to getting two daughters through high school and college and other activities, to just life in general.

So now I'm caught up. And I'm about to get the train back on the tracks and into the game again. The first question I've had to answer is which direction to go... where to start...

About six months ago I saw an article in the Ewing Family Journal (formerly Clan Ewing), which mentioned very vaguely some possible linkage between our William Ewing and another known family of Ewings. I have been unable to reach the writer of that article for details, but have seen enough clues in that direction that I have decided to go of the offensive with my own DNA research. I had previously performed a 37-marker test through FamilyDNA and it pointed to families at least close the the Cecil County folks, so I've now ordered detailed kits (67-marker yDNA and Mitecondrial) from FamilyDNA (used by Ewing Family Association), and My hope is that these might reveal some specific linkages to some families to narrow my conventional research.

I suspect I'm about to embark on some road trips to Maryland and Virginia as I suspect we will be affiliated if not directly related to one of the several William Ewing's that Margaret mentioned in those areas for which she had little information. I have my suspicions, but I will withhold them for now.

Stewart Ewing

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