Posts Tagged ‘DNA’

Oh boy! The last few days when I’ve had a chance, I’ve been working in Gedmatch and figuring out how to triangulate my DNA+Gedcom matches. After finding several articles on Google – notably from Roberta Estes of DNAeXplained (Triangulation for Autosomal DNA) and a few others, I figured out my own system.

I am attempting to figure out which chromosome each of the matches correspond as well as how many of my other matches on the same chromosome match each other. Then I go in to each gedcom to look for shared ancestors.

Here is my step by step guide – just in case this system might be something you would like to try.

  1. Upload your raw DNA from Ancestry, 23andMe, Family Tree, or any of the others, to Gedmatch.com. Make sure your raw data is in a .zip file. (Gedmatch is FREE!!)
  2. After doing that, upload your gedcom file preferably with BOTH maternal and paternal pedigree lines. (My personal note: There have been so many matches I’ve found where one or the other side is not part of the gedcom – kind of hard to figure out a match if you don’t put the whole thing up there!)
  3. On the Gedmatch home screen, you will want to click on Gedcom+DNA matches. gedmatch1_1
  4. On the next screen you will input your DNA Kit number (which you will receive upon uploading your raw DNA data).gedmatch2
  5. The results page will show a spreadsheet type of chart that will include the following information for your matches: the DNA kit number, the different types of shared & etc. cMs (centimorgans – DNA language!), the Gedcom ID, DNA name, Gedcom name, and an email address of your match. Do NOT start emailing your matches or use the emails in a batch file. Abuse of emails is not what Gedmatch users want, need, or expect. (I have “sanitized” my results example.)gedmatch3
  6. Now – open a new spreadsheet on your computer (I used Excel). I input the chromosome number from #1 all the way to #22 (the X-Chromosome – #23 – is a whole different ballgame so for this instruction, I’m not going to mention it).
  7. Go back to your Gedmatch results page and click on the first kit number (left hand side) of your first match. This brings up the autosomal comparison. What you are looking for is the chromosome with a lot of blue.gedmatch3_1
  8. Once you find that chromosome (or more), open your snipping tool and snip that entire line. Instead of saving that as a .jpg, just right click directly on that snipped image of the chromosome and “copy”. Switch back to your spreadsheet and “paste” it in the correct chromosome position. Now go back to the autosomal comparison and snip the information box above the chromosome you snipped (it should have the chromosome number, start location, end location, centimorgans, and SNPs). Do the same to copy that box and then paste it on the same line as the copy of the chromosome string. Do that however many times you need (if there are more than one matching chromosome). Before you finish, you will want to go to the top of the autosomal comparison and copy and paste the information for the DNA kit number and name of the person you match. Then paste that to the side of your chromosome string in your spreadsheet.gedmatch5
  9. Now the really tedious part is clicking on the Gedcom ID for the match you were just working on. gedmatch3_2A new tab (or window) will open with the Individual detail. At the top of that, click on pedigree. The default is 5 generations (shown at the top left). gedmatch6_1Unless you can automatically see who the shared ancestor could be, I suggest entering 10 in the box for the number of generations and click submit. (Personal note: I’ve been entering 15 generations). Once that very lengthy pedigree chart opens, carefully go through it to find your shared ancestors.gedmatch7 If you are lucky and find them, go back to your spreadsheet and enter the names of the shared ancestors under where you have pasted the DNA kit number and name. It also helps if you list if the ancestors are on your paternal or maternal side.gedmatch8_1
  10. Now the fun begins – do that with every single one of your matches. Pretty soon, you will see some chromosomes that appear to be shared between your matches. In order to see if they really do share DNA with each other (as well as you), go back to the Gedmatch Home screen (I usually have several tabs open so I don’t lose my Gedcom kit match screen). Under DNA raw data, click on “One-to-One compare”. On the next screen, you will enter the DNA kit number from one of the matches and another kit number to compare (you will have to refer to your spreadsheet for this information). Before you click “submit” – make sure you have clicked on “Yes” for “show graphic bar for each chromosome.” When the results appear, check if the two that matches you – also match each other. They may not. If they do, you will want to create some sort of key on your spreadsheet in order to see at a glance that they match. I do this by changing the color of the font over the name/kit number. Gedmatch9_chrom1Notice above that the first three rows of my Chromosome #1 are all close to the same cMs. Those three also match each other as well as matching me (I have colored the names/kit numbers blue). My biggest problem – not finding a shared ancestor in any of them! The graphic below shows four matches to me on Chromosome #2. gedmatch9_chrom2Even though the bottom two appear to be close to the same string and cMs – they do not match each other – nor do they match the top string – and I can’t find shared ancestors on any of them! Then the following graphic for Chromosome #10 shows three matches to me and all three match each other. I did find the shared ancestors of Richard Lyman and Sarah Osborne on all three! gedmatch9_chrom10
  11. How this can help you is if two of your matches do not match each other but are for the same cMs, one could be on the paternal part of that chromosome and the other the maternal part.

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist. I am not very literate when it comes to DNA and triangulation. I do not have the answers. I am still scratching my head about some of the matches – same string, different shared ancestors. I do not know who many of my 3rd-4th great-grandparents are and therefore am sure that it’s not that I can not find the matches, but I just don’t know who to be looking for! Just because you “find” the shared ancestor(s), does not mean their (or your) Gedcom is accurate. A wrong spouse’s name, wrong parents’ names, or wrong dates can throw you off as well.

What I have discovered: I found matches on people that up until now were only relatives because they “adopted” or “fostered” an ancestor so I’m left wondering if there really was a familial connection to begin with or I’m just missing something. I’m also finding many matches that are in parts of the country where I can’t place my ancestors. I have many more matches on the paternal side of my family than on my mom’s side but I think the reason is because not many people on the maternal side have A) Not taken a DNA test, B) Not uploaded their raw DNA data to Gedmatch or C) Have not uploaded a Gedcom even if uploading raw DNA data.

I hope this helps some of you who are curious about “what else you can do” with your DNA information. It’s been very eye-opening and interesting and fun for me!


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When I run across amazing blog posts or articles, I want to share with my readers. Most of the time the articles I find may not be from just the week of my Follow Friday post, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go “back in time” to read them or perhaps find a new-to-you blog! So without further ado –

Broughton Images has two new posts from this past month (including one celebrating Memorial Day): Just Follow the Flags and Bonham Heritage Day Festival. The photographer truly captures the atmosphere and stirs emotions whether it’s photos of a Veterans Memorial surrounded by flags from each branch of military or Bonham’s courthouse on the square during the annual festival.

Becky Jamison has caught the Trello bug! She has started to use Trello to organize many items pertaining to her genealogy research. So please visit her Grace and Glory website and read what happened when she Brought Hidden Emails to Light.

And if you need something else to “spark” your creativity, visit Amy Johnson Crow’s site and read Creating Family History Videos Easily for Free using Adobe Spark. On top of that article, you’ll also want to read Amy’s suggestions for researching the new Indiana Vital records that Ancestry recently added. You can find that informative article here: Indiana Vital Records on Ancestry: Good & Bad. As I spent some time yesterday going through these records, I know of what Amy speaks!

The other day I had 28 New Ancestor Discoveries on Ancestry. Yesterday it dwindled to six. I knew why after I read Roberta Estes’ article on her DNAeXplained blog: Ancestry Refines New Ancestor Discoveries (NADs). Perhaps her explanation will help you in what has perplexed many researchers.

Do you find it difficult to organize everything you need in order to be more productive at research (whether it is for family history, work/school project, or to run a household)? Diane Haddad at the Genealogy Insider shares some tips with her article The Big Picture: Using Mind Mapping to Organize Research Ideas. See if it helps you!

These are just some of my favorite articles lately! What are you reading?

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A few weeks ago, I received the results of my AncestryDNA test. Some of the information was just as I expected – more than 50% Great Britain and quite a bit from Western Europe. Knowing the amount of ancestors that came from England as well as Germany led me to realize that the test was pretty accurate. Then there was that 12% Scandinavian. Scandi-what? I couldn’t quite figure where that DNA came from unless it was so far back in history when the tribes from that part of the world went out to the area of Great Britain and Germany. The other explanation was that it came from those few brick wall ancestors that I had yet to go further back in time past the early to mid-1800s.

Comparing my tree with those people who were a DNA match resulted in quite a bit of Scandinavian surnames. Who are these people and how did we match? I was at a complete loss. Until Saturday. Yes, that explosion you heard coming from Mid-Missouri was a brick wall that imploded, tumbled down, and shook the earth with a magnitude large enough that it would have finally shaken California from its roots.

My brick wall ancestors include my 2nd great-grandfather’s (William Amore) parents. I have no names for them except that William had listed on the 1880 census that his father was born in England and his mother in New York. Then there is my great-grandmother, Frances V. Ogan (or Foster – depending on which census is used) who was married to James Emory House (parents of my paternal grandmother). Reports are that Frances was left on a doorstep. She was raised by Evan and Susannah (Fritter) Ogan who were old enough to be her grandparents. Then there is Abel Lewis (who I learned is a Jr) and his wife, Nancy (or Ann) Johnson (or Johnston).

Within the last six months, I have found enough documentation that Abel and Nancy Lewis were my 2nd great-grandparents. Their daughter, Julia Ann Lewis, was married to Florus Allen House and became parents to my great-grandfather, James Emory House. However, information for Abel Lewis was sketchy at best. Luckily, I found someone else who had been researching this particular Lewis family and contacted him. Not only has he provided more information and documentation but as soon as he did that, other doors opened.

Nancy Johns(t)on, Abel Lewis Jr’s wife, was the daughter of James Johns(t)on and Catherine See. I had come across the See surname in several of the trees of people who were a DNA match. It was beginning to make sense. Catherine See, my 4th great-grandmother, was the daughter of Johann Frederick Michael See (or Zeh) and Catherine Margaret Vanderpool. Going back one more generation, Catherine was the daughter of Wynant Malgertsel Vanderpool (or Van der Poel) and Catherine de Hooges – both born in New York in the 1650s. But in the 1600s, the area was New Netherland – a Dutch colony.

New Netherland map

Wait a minute, Dutch? As in Holland? Amsterdam? The Netherlands? Okay, that is Western Europe. Still not finding any Scandinavian ancestors. So let’s just keep moving back further. Catherine de Hooges was the daughter of Johannes de Hooges and Margarita Post. Johannes was the son of Anthony de Hooges and Eva Albertse Bradt – both born in North Holland and both died in New Netherland. Eva was the daughter of Albert Andriessen Bradt and Annetje Barents Von Rottmer. Annetje was born in Germany but Albert was born in – wait a minute – Fredrikstad, Norway! He was also an early settler of New Netherland; arriving with his wife and two children (one was my ancestor, Eva) at New Amsterdam (now tip of Manhattan) on March 4, 1637.

Albert’s parents, Andries Arentse Bradt and Eva Kinetis, were also born in Norway (and for those following along, Andries and Eva are my 10th great-grandparents!). I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg for me. The door has now been opened to my Scandinavian ancestors. So much has been written about some of these men who sailed from the Old World to the unknown of the New World in the 1600s. They were men who helped shaped what would become New York City, Albany, and the state of New York. They were businessmen and farmers. Their friends were the Van Rensselaers and other prominent Dutch upper middle class to upper class settlers.

For further reading, I urge you to plug in some of these names into Google and see what fascinating people they were!

(Images: both images from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

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scientific testing photo from pexels

Oh happy day! Happy dance! I can’t stop gushing about a DNA match I discovered yesterday – less than one hour after I received my AncestryDNA results! A match that more than proved what I have assumed for many years – that Charlotte Reed is most definitely my 2nd great-grandmother!

If you remember, I offered up corroborating evidence in my blog post, Is This My Charlotte? but haven’t found enough documentation to say proof-positive that is the person I thought she was. But yesterday all of that changed when I discovered a DNA match that went directly to Lucy Minerva Imus (apparently the person’s tree didn’t go one generation further to Matilda Reed – Lucy’s mother). That means that I am related to the person who descends from Charlotte’s niece! The person I match is my 4th cousin!

Reed DNA Match Chart

Confirming that Charlotte is my 2nd great-grandmother confirms that Zachariah Reed born about 1793 in Maryland is my 3rd great-grandfather. So, who was his wife – my 3rd time great-grandmother?

Booya! One brick wall torn down! On to the next!

(Top photograph: free at Pexels.com)

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In April of this year, one of my distant relatives (by blood – close by choice!), sent me an email to let me know that she had ordered a 67-marker DNA test from Family Tree so that her first cousin (again, a distant cousin to me) could take it in order to get some information on the ancestors of our ancestor – Jacob Johnson born December 11, 1787 in New Jersey.  Johnson, according to Wikipedia, is the 2nd most common surname in the United States.  Good Grief! At least it’s not Smith!  My cousin told me that the Johnson project had 1000 members!

At the end of May, I received another communication from my cousin. She reported that the common 12 marker test showed that we belonged in Hapologroup R1b1a2 – common to Europe, the United Kingdom. That didn’t surprise me. The variation showed R1b1a2a1a1a – the country is “unidentified.” Good Grief!

Fast forward another month and a half to July, and more information came back – including the names of some other men who “matched” my distant cousin.  Several emails have been traded back and forth and family information has been shared. However, there aren’t any known relationship between their ancestors and our Jacob Johnson. We did see that there are a lot of the same given names: Jacob, John, James, and William. But then again, those names are almost as commonplace as Johnson!  Good Grief!

I have tons of information to try to sort out – I think I have finally straightened out all the emails so I have a way to read all of them without resorting to different folders in my email. Now, I just need to decide on a good way to sort out all of this information.

I do feel that I’m not “pulling my weight” as far as research right now.  The gal who started the ball rolling on this DNA project and one of our other cousins, have been digging into tax lists, land records, and other types of documents to glean as much as they can out of them while I have been reading and feeling pretty overwhelmed!  Perhaps once I am able to sort names, places, and dates, I’ll have a better handle on what still needs to be done!

Source: Family Tree DNA image from www.familytreedna.com, 2001-2012 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. 28 July 2012.

Source: Emails from Virginia Nuta: April 10, 2012; May 24, 2012; July 2, 2012. 

Source: Johnson surname rank – Wikipedia.

Blog post copyright 2012 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog.

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Each Saturday evening, Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings posts Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – a little game for all the geneabloggers. Unfortunately due to my recent schedule I haven’t been able to play as often as I’d like. But when I saw this post on Your Paternal Grandmother’s Patrileneal Line”, I couldn’t resist. So what if I’m a couple days late!

What was your father’s mother’s maiden name?
My paternal grandmother was Ella Maria HOUSE.  She was born June 22, 1882 and died on July 3, 1946 in Coshocton, Ohio.

What was your father’s mother’s father’s name?
Ella’s father was James Emory HOUSE.  I wrote a biography that you can find here.  He was born May 2, 1842 and died October 1, 1924 in Coshocton, Ohio.

What is your father’s mother’s father’s patrilineal line? That is, his father’s father’s father’s … back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?
The father of James Emory HOUSE was Florus Allen House born January 5, 1813 in New York and died June 25, 1891 in Coshocton, Ohio.

The father of Florus was Allen HOUSE born June 13, 1791 in Hartford County, Connecticut and died September 1, 1845 in Milford, Michigan.

Allen’s father was Lazarus HOUSE born April 14, 1748 and died after 1817 in Hartford County, Connecticut.

Lazarus’ father was William HOUSE born September 9, 1713 and died March 20, 1788 in Hartford County, Connecticut.

William’s father was also William HOUSE born abt. 1684 and died in 1742 in Hartford County, Connecticut.

William’s father was another William HOUSE born in 1642 and died 1703/1704 in Hartford County, Connecticut.  He may have been born either in Connecticut or England.  It is thought that he traveled from England to America as a crewmember on board ship.  Very little is documented about this man.

William’s father was John HOUSE (HOWSE) born about 1610 in Somersetshire, England and died in 1644 in Connecticut.  This informaton is still speculation and has never been documented.

Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father’s mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.
Ella had six brothers and one half-brother (through her father). 

Her half-brother, Edward HOUSE had one son, Waldo, who died in 1966.  Waldo has two sons – still believed to be living – Richard and Donald and Donald has one son – Dan.

Ella’s oldest full brother, Florus (named after his grandfather), had 3 sons.  It is believed there are still several male descendents still living.

Brother, John, had one son who died in 1983.  I don’t know if he had any male descendents.

Brother, Alford Elmer, died at age 4.

Brother, James, had two sons – Raymond and Wilbur.  The latter died at age 1.  I have no further information on Raymond.

Brother, Charles, died at age 12 in a farming accident.

Brother, Alva Lester (see Part One and Part Two of his biography), had three sons.  Arthur died at age 2 months from pneumonia.  His last child, an unnamed male, was stillborn.  His fourth child, Jarold, had four sons – all presumed to still be living.  Jarold died in 1980.

The conclusion is that there are still several males to do a Y-DNA test on – however, I’ve never actually met any of these men so the odds of the test being done are slim to none!

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