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Questionable MtDNA Reference Sources For "Jesse James" Exhumation
Posted by: Betty Dorsett Duke (ID *****4377) Date: February 26, 2010 at 22:38:15
In Reply to: Professor James E. Starrs Admits To Dissembling About Missouri Law by Betty Dorsett Duke of 46485

"The DNA Reference Sources:

After Starrs elected to not exhume Zerelda as a DNA reference source he chose Robert Jackson and Mark Nikkel. They claim to be directly descended from Zerelda through a direct maternal line allegedly sharing the exact mtDNA sequence as Jesse James. Starrs said there may be nothing more important to the final results than his (Jackson’s) blood sample.

It is imperative that Jackson and Nikkel are valid DNA reference sources because if they aren’t the DNA findings of the 1995 exhumation would be totally worthless. Actually, they already are worthless because Starrs used no chain of custody guidelines. Yet if Jackson and Nikkel are valid descendants it would provide absolute proof that Jesse James was buried in the questioned grave in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, that is if the remains submitted for DNA testing had actually been retrieved from that grave.
Robert Jackson and Mark Nikkel claim the following line of descent:

•       Zerelda Cole James Simms Samuel
•       Susan James Parmer
•       Feta Parmer Rose
•       Dorothy Rose Jackson
•       Robert Jackson and Sally Anne Jackson, mother of Mark Nikkel.

There’s a problem with Dorothy Rose Jackson because genealogical records indicate that she may not be Feta’s child, and if she isn’t Robert Jackson and Mark Nikkel are not valid DNA reference sources. Keep in mind that the above listed line of descent can not be broken for Jackson and Nikkel to be considered valid DNA reference sources. They may very well be valid but one can not base a matter of such historical importance on questionable genealogical records, and that’s just what Starrs did.

Dorothy Rose’s birth mother may actually be a woman named Katie instead of Feta Parmer Rose. If this proves true the line of descent is broken, automatically invalidating Jackson and Nikkel. Feta’s husband, Bertram “Bert” A. Rose, was married to Katie first. Dorothy Rose Jackson’s birth certificate, application for a social security card, a 1920 federal census record, and a posting on the Rose Family Genealogy Forum indicate that her year of birth is highly questionable indicating that Feta may not have been her mother.

The 1920 census for the Bert A. and Feta Rose household lists Dellie Parmer Rose as their son, age 16, and lists Dorothy Ann Rose as their daughter, age 15. If Dorothy’s age is listed correctly on that census she was born in 1905. If the census is correct she could not have been Bert and Feta’s child unless she was illegitimate because they didn’t marry until 1912. Bert was married to Katie in 1910, but I haven’t located the year they were married. Starrs justifies this discrepancy by saying, “The census taker must have erred here since Feta's age and her living with Allen Parmer in 1910 insure that Dorothy Ann on January 8, 1920 was five, not 15, years of age." Sounds reasonable, but it’s not that simple. Starrs never mentioned Dorothy’s birth certificate in his report, 'The James Family Mitochondrial DNA Tree: Proving the Validity of the Reference Sample', and from the lack of information found on it I can see why.

Dorothy’s original birth certificate is very strange because it lists no year of birth. Her amended birth record shows the 26th of May as the day of birth, a birth year and name were added at the request of Feta A. Rose. The amendment was made in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on November 4, 1971.

There are several possibilities as to why this birth certificate was amended:

•       Maybe Dorothy was Katie’s daughter and needed a birth certificate. Feta may have been her step-mother and provided one that may have belonged to one of her children who may have been stillborn, or lived just a short while after birth;
•       Robert Jackson related that Bert and Feta had another daughter, Martha Louise Rose, born on 12/ 23/ 1923 and died on 11/16/ 1927. Her death date checks out but I haven’t located her birth record. Could this child’s birth record have been passed off as Dorothy’s?
•       Feta may have had Dorothy out of wedlock;
•       Dellie and Dorothy may have actually been Parmer’s but were adopted by Bert Rose;
A professional genealogist said that one cannot tell if a child was adopted by its birth certificate -- the adoptive mother is listed as the birth mother; or
•       Dorothy was Feta’s child and the hospital erred by not entering a birth year.
Dorothy’s application for a Social Security number also indicates a questionable year of birth. The Social Security Administration crossed through 1914, the year of birth Dorothy entered.

The following revealing post on the Rose Family Genealogy Forum indicating that Katie was Dorothy’s mother:

'I'm looking for an Unknown Rose who was married to Kathryn Porter of Coleville, TX. Kathryn spent a good portion of her youth in Ardmore, OK, and her first child was a daughter named Dorothy, born between 1908 & 1915. Kathryn went back to Fort Worth, TX with Dorothy and possibly Unknown Rose in tow, then later went as far west as Kermit/Monahans, TX before returning to the Fort Worth area.
Sorry for the sketchiness of the "details"...any help would be greatly appreciated.'

Fort Worth City, Tarrant County, Texas school records show that Dorothy and Allen, (Dellie?), Rose were seven and eight during the 1921 – 1922 school year. Checking the 1923 Ft. Worth City directories only Bert and Feta are listed as residing at 1907 Harman. (There is a James H. Rose at 1716 Harman also.) In 1925 Bertram and Feta are living at 3005 Hemphill. In 1930 J. Allen and Dorothy A. are listed along with Bert and Feta. (There is also a Virginia Rose listed in 1930 at 1716 Harman)

There is definitely a preponderance of evidence showing that Dorothy Ann Rose’s birth mother is highly questionable. Robert Jackson and Mark Nikkel should be willing to submit new DNA samples, taken under strict chain of custody guidelines. Then their sequences need to be compared to Sue Laura Hale's mtDNA sequence in order to provide unquestionable proof of their lineage."
Copyright Betty Dorsett Duke 2007



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