In July I wrote about my AncestryDNA results, showing a previously unknown 14% Eastern European percentage. I still do not know exactly how that fits, but I have a sense that there are some answers lurking on my Grandma Lois' side of the tree.
Her mother, my second-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Hayden Matthews, was the daughter of Martha Jane Free and William Matthews. I know a little about the Matthews family, and that they came to Kentucky from Smith County, Tennessee. I know much less about the Free family. I have a sense that my Eastern European connection maybe found there. This could also be from an earlier branch along the Matthews line.
My speculation is because I know through AncestryDNA's Member Match feature that a distant cousin I've previously corresponded with appeared in the relationship match as 95%, and we share common ancestors in William Matthews and Martha Jane Free (my third-great-grandparents). Her Eastern European percentage is 28%, and I think William and Martha Jane are her great-grandparents. I've reached out to her for more information, so we'll see.
William Matthews was born on 2 August 1836 in Smith County, Tennessee. He was the son of Allen Matthews and Sarah Davis. Allen appears to be the son of Wiley Mathews (born about 1786 in North Carolina, died in Tishomingo County, Mississippi) and Sarah Freeze. I have further research to do on this line.
Another distant cousin who appears to be a match on the Matthews line shows 26% Central European and 7% Eastern European, leading me to believe for now that the Eastern European link is on the Free side and not the Matthews side.
Martha Jane Free was born on 13 December 1843 in Russell County, Kentucky. Her parents were William Free (born about 1819) and Nancy Hayden Clark. I know more about Nancy's family, leading me to think the Eastern European link is with William Free's family. His origins are currently a brick wall. I have a lot more research to do on this side.
If you're reading this and connected to one of these families, I'd love to share and compare information.