Color Clustering Technique

Dana Leeds recently had a couple posts on her blog site, “The Enthusiastic Genealogist,” about using color clustering to identify common surnames in genealogy. I thought I’d try using her technique to see if the process would shed new light onto two old problems.

Montran-Barber Line

First, my grandmother’s line, Montran and Barber.  My mother tested on 23&Me and so did my mother’s half-sister, Barbara. Having half-siblings in the tree makes DNA tracking a lot easier. In my mother’s case, if a person has a DNA match with my mother and her half-sister, we know that the match comes from my mother’s paternal side.  If the person matches with my mother and not her half-sister, I know that the match comes from my mother’s maternal side.

The process is pretty straight forward, enter the name, and a color for the connection using a different color if the individual is not related to the previous people. Once you have the colors determined, add if the individual has a tree available. If so, enter the surnames for that line into a chart.

I entered the individual’s name, amount of DNA shared, and blue, if there was a match with Aunt Barbara and another color is the match was not with Aunt Barbara. In my mother’s case, the first 50 matches all matched with Aunt Barbara. With no diversity I couldn’t find anyone that might potentially have Montran or Barber ancestors. So, it didn’t work for my mother.

Peterson Paternal Project

Next, I went to work on my half-sister’s paternal project. If she and I are a common match to an individual, we know that the connection is on our common mother’s side. If an individual matches Glennis and not me, I know that the match is on her unknown paternal side.

Ignoring matches with me (the Brown/Montran line), and using the Enthusiastic Genealogist’s technique showed four trees. All of which have some relationship with another.

Trees relating to Peterson Paternity Project

A review of the surnames found in the trees available showed only one surname was repeated in two trees, Hemsworth. More exciting though, I learned that, although tree 271 above, didn’t have a Hemsworth in it, my previous research found a Hemsworth one generation further back than 271’s tree showed. With three DNA matches all having Hemsworth in their trees, it is time to speculate a possible connection.

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