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SEARCHING HISTORY OF HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE IN MY FAMILY

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Sun Dec 31 10:34:00 EST 2000


A search of www.google.com for "Huntington's disease" produces
thousands of hits many with valuable information about the disease.
Here is a good source of genetic information:
    http://www.kumc.edu/hospital/huntingtons/genetics.html

It is a single gene, autosomal dominant inheritance.  That means
that if one parent has it, there is a 50-50 chance that any one
child will get it.  It doesn't matter whether the parent is the mother
or the father or whether the child is a boy or a girl, the chances are
still 50-50.  If both parents have it, the chances are 3 in 4 that a
child will get it.

The standard way of doing this type of genealogy is to draw up a
traditional family tree and then mark all the individuals who had
the disease.  You should be able to follow the marks up or down
through the generations tracing just how the line is inherited.
Remember, approximately half the children of any carrier will
have it.  But childhood mortality was common in earlier periods
and the disease usually doesn't show up until the 30's or 40's.
So it may be hard to tell whether children who have died really
carried the disease.  And remember that the chances of having
a son vs. a daughter is also 50-50 but that doesn't mean that
half of all children are sons and half are daughters!  A family
with, say, 4 children may well deviate from the "expected"
two sons and two daughters.  The same is true for inheriting
the disease.


"Dennis White" <dennybop2 at home.com> wrote in message
news:aVu36.208191$U46.6378267 at news1.sttls1.wa.home.com...
>      I am a genealogist that is also trying to solve a family mystery.  I
> have been searching for the course a devestating neurological illness has
> taken through my ancestors.  The illness is known as HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE,
> and many of you may have heard of it.  However, up 'til the mid twentieth
> century it was a very unknown or misundertstood illness.  Many of its'
> victims were shut away in insane asylums, or simply left in misery or
> squalor.  Since I am a genealogist, not a doctor I will leave it to you to
> discover the medical aspect.  I am particularly concerned with finding
> connections of HD to my family, but I'm also interested in hearing how
> others have approached researching a genetic or inherited disease.
>
>      My SHEPARD/SHEPPARD/SHEPHERD, etc. family came to Indiana via
Kentucky.
> They descend from GEORGE SHEPHERD (B. 7 OCT 1716)of SPOTSYLVANIA VA,
through
> his grandson ANDREW SHEPHERD (b.about 1785 Reddies River NC) who had at
> least twenty children with three wives (BARBARY PHILLIPS, PHEBE MASTIN,
> NANCY CUNNINGHAM) the first two having died young. I have included a list
of
> those children at the end of this post*.
>
>       One son of Andrew, CALVIN SHEPARD (b.13 MAR 182) married NANCY
McHENRY
> (b. 3 MAY 1822)  in Wayne Co. KY on 27 FEB 1839.  They emigrated to
Indiana
> at some point in the 1850's.  Calvin died of what his grandson described
> as"general prostration"on 10 JAN 1861 leaving wife Nancy and surving
> children PRESTON W. SHEPARD (b. 5 DEC 1841), JAMES ALFORD SHEPARD (b. 5
OCT
> 1846), ANDREW SHEPARD (b. 4 SEPT 1851), JOHN "JESS"McHENRY SHEPARD (B.4
OCT
> 1859),RICE W. SHEPARD (b. 17 FEB 1855), DELPHIA SHEPARD (b.15 APR 1857),
and
> SARAH EMILY LANCE SHEPARD (b. 5DEC 1841).  For a time Nancy took her
> children to live in Missouri near her relatives, but returned to Spurgeon
IN
> shortly after.   She later married (Unknown) TAYLOR.
>
>       JAMES ALFORD SHEPARD became a merchant in Spurgeon for many years.
He
> married CAROLINE McCLEARY (or McCLARY) (b. 30 MAY 1853).  He and his
family
> seem to have been very close to his brother  P.W. SHEPARD and family.
Their
> brother Andrew died before reaching the age of 30.  James Alford Shepard
had
> several children, many of whom died in infancy and are buried in the
Spugeon
> Cemetary.   JAMES ALFORD SHEPARD died 6 FEB 1908.  He too is buried in the
> Spurgeon Cemetary, though later records indicate he died in an asylum or
> mental hospital elsewhere in Indiana.
>
>       Of the surviving children I am pricipally interested in VIOLA
SHEPARD
> (b.18 MAR 1869) who later married (Unknown) WEBB,  JAMES LUCIUS SHEPARD
> (1882-1967) and my greatgrandfather JOHN N. SHEPARD (sometimes JOHN D.
> SHEPARD) (b.1874 d. about 1925).
>
>      JOHN SHEPARD married CORA DELL MASON (b.) of OAKLAND CITY IN.  I know
> that for a time my greatgrandfather taught at the LEACH SCHOOL in Oakland
> City.  The couple had two surviving sons, CARL MASON SHEPARD (b.19 FEB
1900)
> and FLOYD DAVID SHEPARD who was the only living brother of a twin birth on
> 13 FEB 1903.  They may have moved to Kansas before the death of JOHN
> SHEPARD, but I can not find the evidence to support this.  I do know that
> his widow, Cora, re-married in Norton KS and that my grandfather Floyd
maet
> my grandmother there.
>
>      Somewhere, Huntington's Disease, a debilitating illness of the
nervous
> system, was introduced into this line of Shepards.  I think the most
likely
> possibility is that one of the wives of ANDREW SHEPARD was ill.  It is
still
> unclear who the mother of CALVIN SHEPARD is, and two of Andrew Shepard's
> wives died young, but I do not know their reasons.  It is possible that
> Calvin Shepard inherited this illness from his mother and died before
> symptoms of his illness appeared; or that his family were unaware of or
> hiding the nature of his illness.  In those days having an illness of this
> sort was thought of as shameful.
>
> At any rate I do  know that his son JAMES ALFORD had this illness, and
that
> my greatgrandfather, grandfather and mother and sister also became ill.
> Thank god I do not have this disease, and has not been transferred to
> another generation!  But I do have a keen interest to discover the genesis
> of Huntington's Disease in my ancestors, and am especially interested in
> what became of those poor souls who suffered in the days before modern
> medicine and humane treatment of the ill.  If you have any knowledge of
ANY
> of the individuals or circumstances of this post please contact me at this
> list or at my email address.  I will share all information I have.
>
> Dennis R. White
> dennybop2 at home.com
>
> *  Children of ANDREW SHEPARD and NANCY CUNNINGHAM;  DELPHIA, CALVIN?
>
> Children of ANDREW SHEPARD and PHEOBE MASTIN;  JOHN, SALLY SARAH, ALFRED,
> LEWIS, JAMES MASTIN, SHELTON, PHEBE, THOMAS, CALVIN?
>
> Children of ANDREW SHEPARD and BARBARY PHILLIPS;   PRESTON, IRENE, OLIVIA,
> FRANKLIN, TALITHA, DELPHA, MARTHA ANN, PLEASANT, MILTON, MINERVA, CALVIN?
>
>
>







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