Ancestry Updated Ethnicity Estimates & DNA Communities

DNA
Roberts-Brown Ancestors
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Ancestry has updated their Ethnicity estimates once again. Ancestry likes to look at your DNA from a world perspective, but I find the “DNA Communities” much more interesting. Besides showing you where ancestors may have settled in the United States, it shows possible ancestors from that place and “featured matches,” people who also are in that group and are DNA matches. In my case, I fit into five DNA Communities.

  • My DNA Communities

    Early Connecticut & New York Settlers

  • Southern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin Settlers
  • Central Appalachia Settlers
  • Delaware Valley, Chesapeake, and Midwest Settlers
  • Lower Michigan & Virginia Settlers.

Looking closer at one of the Communities, “Early Connecticut & New York Settlers – 1700-1975,” all four ancestors suggested are from my tree, and all have entries placing them in the location during the period suggested.

Sarah Blackhurst (1847-1928)

2nd Great-Grandmother – Born in England in 1847, immigrated to New York in 1850, located to Michigan in 1860, where she died.

Nelson Barnes (1816-1884)

2nd Great-Grandfather – Born in New York in 1816, moved to Indiana about 1845, where he died.

Chester Parsons (1799-1887)

4th Great-Grandfather – Born in Massachusetts, moved to New York for a short while, located to Michigan by 1826, where he died.

Madonna Montran (1893-1976)

Grandmother – Born in Michigan, lived in New York on and off during her vaudeville career from 1919 to 1930. She lived in Chicago, Michigan, and Minnesota after 1930; she died in Minnesota.

As I look at these “communities,” I wonder if Ancestry really looked at DNA matches or if they only looked at my tree and grouped various individuals into their community based solely upon my tree entries. Likewise, the “Featured Matches” included only people that have trees with the same people that I have in my tree that I do share at least some DNA with.

I guess the bottom line is that I am not impressed with the DNA Communities. That causes me to circle back to looking at Ancestry Ethnicity Estimates.

I did a Birthplace Chart/Spreadsheet about five years ago because it was “all the rage.” It had the potential to help me see what my ethnicity was. Of my 16 2nd great-grandparents, only one was an immigrant. Two were unknown, and the other 13 were all born in the United States. So, from it, I learned I was at least 6.25% from Great Britain.

I recently had a cousin who asked if I knew exactly what “Heinz 57 Variety” we were. I told him I hadn’t determined that because most of our ancestors have been in the United States for many generations. Looking at my skin tone, I figure I’m of northern European ancestry. But, after texting with my cousin, I thought it might be fun to add another generation to my Birthplace chart/spreadsheet from five years ago and see if anything new pops up after five years of further research.

No changes. I’m still 6.25% English.

My Illinois-born 2nd great-grandparents’ parents came from a mix of Tennessee, Illinois, and Kentucky. My Ohio 2nd great-grandparents’ parents came from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and my Ohio 2nd great-grandparents’ parents came from a mix of New Hampshire, New York, and Michigan. There are still 18% of my ancestors that are unknown, but a whopping 2/3 of my 3rd great-grandparents were born in the United States. So, ethnically, I am definitely an American with a smidgen of English.

My “unknown” ethnicity places are known “brick walls.” My great-grandfather, John Montran, parentage is still unknown. I have a project to watch for all Montran’s I can find and learn more about their locations in hopes I can eventually connect John to immigrant ancestors. Likewise, My 2nd great-grandmother, Elisa Jane Fannin, parents have been elusive. I know she was born in Kentucky; I’ve looked at her several times looking for her parents. I need to do more research to try to find her parentage.

My Ethnicity map per Ancestry 2021

Ancestry indicates my ancestors are between 62 and 100% from England, Belgium, and the Channel Islands. Probably true; I have nothing in my pedigree research to disagree with that assessment. Still, it is always nice to receive confirmation.

 

A Dollar for Spirits? – Timothy Munsell (1745-1798)

Howell-Darling-2017 Research

Darling/Munsell Line
By Don Taylor

IPhoto of Don Taylor with cat Nasi. have often wonder how money worked in the post-colonial period.  I know originally there were 20 shillings in a pound, but the old pounds and shillings worked in comparison with dollars. I’ve read many descriptions that read like a technical journal – “how many grains or grams were in something….” I knew that the early Americans had to have a simple system for day-to-day conversion, but it eluded me until I looked at the probate record of Timothy Munsell.  In the records, there was a list of expenses done in pounds, shillings, and pence and the receipts for payment were done in dollars. Building the casket cost 2 dollars, but was entered as 12 shillings in the ledger.  Likewise, digging the grave cost one dollar, but was entered as 6 shillings in the ledger. Simple. No more confusion on my part.  It is clear, from looking at the ledger, that a pound is 20 shillings and 12 pence makes a shilling.  Again simple.

Receipt – One Dollar for Spirits – Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 for Timothy Munsell – Image 1210.

However, with genealogy, when one thing becomes clear, often something else leaps up and confuses me. In this case, there was an expense for “spirits.” I just don’t understand enough about 18th-century burial practices to know what this really means. Was this the cost of the process to clean and wrap the body and prepare the spirit for its journey? Or was this payment for the booze for a spirited party following the burial?  Either seems possible, but I suspect it was the latter. However, a dollar (6 shillings) doesn’t seem like that much of a party, even in 1798 money. I would love to hear from anyone that had a definitive source for my understanding this conflict.

Howell Darling 2016 – Ancestor #98

List of Grandparents

 

Timothy Munsell (1745-1798)

The Munsell surname is also spelled Munsill, Monsell, and, sometimes, Maunsell. Regardless of record, I have standardized on the Munsell spelling.

Birth

Timothy Munsell was born on 24 Nov 1745 to John and Mary (unknown) Munsell.[i]

Nothing is known of Timothy’s childhood.

Adulthood

Timothy married Eleshiba Smith on 11 Feb 1768 in Lyme, New London, Connecticut Colony.[ii]

There is some confusion regarding the children of Timothy and Eleshiba, their number and their birthdates. I have settled upon the following:

            NAME                                    Birth               Comments

  • William Wescott Munsell     24 Jan 1770
  • James Munsell                        28 Jun 1773
  • Anna Munsell                          07 Sep 1775
  • Timothy Munsell                     16 Apr 1778
  • Sally Ann Munsell             1780              3rd Great Grandmother
  • James Andross Munsell         09 Jul 1781
  • Thomas Munsell                       1784                 “Supposed son”

I suspect that James (b. 1773) probably died before 1781 thus freeing up the given name of James for James Andross in 1781.  James Andross was also known as Andress, Andrus, and Andrew Munsell so it may be that James for James Andross was a confusion in some records. Further investigation is needed to clear up that question.

Some records indicate that Timothy Munsell may have served during the Revolutionary War as a private for Connecticut. However, The Daughters of the American Revolution have provided notice for ancestor #A082980 which states: THIS LINE MAY NOT BE USED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE DAR. It appears there were two Timothy Munsells in Lyme, CT, during the revolutionary war. One was born in 1735 and appears to have served while our Timothy Munsell was born in 1748 and did not serve.

Timothy Munsell died on 26 Oct 1798 in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut.

He was buried before 12 November 1798 in Lyme, New London County, Connecticut.[iii]

His burial cost $2 for the casket, $1 to dig the grave, and $1 for the spirits. [iv]

His land was appraised at £3. His personal property was valued at £12. His wearing apparel was the most valuable, worth £2 12s. His bed and bedding, valued at £2 10s, and a hogg, valued at £1, 17s, 6p, were the top valued items of personal property.[v]

I currently have 23 individuals with the surname Munsell identified and 69 known direct descendants of Timothy and Eleshiba (Smith) Munsell.

Ancestry DNA

Looking at Ancestry DNA, I viewed Shirley’s closest DNA Matches that have trees with the Munsell surname and found the following cousins.

  1. W1 – Shares 61 cM – Common Ancestor Abner and Sally Anne (Munsell) Darling.
  2. M0 – Shares 31 cM – Common Ancestor – Unknown ancestor of William J Munsell?
  3. GS – Shares 25 cM – Common Ancestor Abner and Sally Anne (Munsell) Darling.
  4. SM – Shares 24 cM – Conflict. Sally Ann Munsel with the spouse of Warren Darling.

(Note: For privacy concerns, I only use initials of individuals matched.

 

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Follow-up on children of Timothy Munsell. Did he have two children named James? If so, did the first James died before the second James was born?
  • Learn why Timothy Munsell is no longer accepted as Revolutionary War Ancestor. It appears to relate somehow to John Munsell b. 7-16-1735 Lyme, CT, d. 7-17-1819.[vi]
  • Follow and document the Ancestry DNA descendant lines resolve any conflicts and add linkage into William J. Munsell’s ancestry.

Endnotes

[i] Munsell, Frank, Genealogy of the Munsell family (Munsill, Monsell, Maunsell) in America, Internet Archive, Page 173 – Timothy Munsell born in 1745. https://archive.org/details/genealogyofmunse00muns.

[ii] New London Vital Records – Page 315 – Timothy Munsell.

[iii] Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 (, 2015), Ancestry.com, Timothy Munsell – Image 1206.

[iv] Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999, Ancestry.com, Timothy Munsell – Image 1208.

[v] Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999, Ancestry.com, Timothy Munsell – Image 1204.

[vi] Daughters of the American Revolution – Genealogy Research – Ancestor Search – Munsell, Timothy – Ancestor #: A082980 – http://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search_adb/?action=full&p_id=A082980

Peterson Paternal Project – Anderson-Bishop Branch

Glennis DNA Project

By Don Taylor

Part 3

[Previously, I wrote about my Glennis DNA Project in Not a Grimm Tale – So Far and Hemsworth-Morgan Branch. This is a continuation of that project.] 

My half-sister Glennis has long wondered who her biological father is. Thanks to Ancestry DNA we have a great clue. She has a match with a person, I’ll call M.A., [i] who she shares 201 centimorgans of DNA across 8 segments with. M.A. does not match with me, so we know that the match is on Glennis’ paternal side. Ancestry DNA predicts the relationship to be 2nd to 3rd cousins and Blaine Bettinger’s “Shared CM Project”[ii] suggests they are second cousins. That means that she and M.A. likely share a great grandparent. The really great thing is that M.A. has all of his/her great grandparents identified. If I can take all eight of those great-grandparents and follow their descendants, possibly one of them was in the right place at the right time. If so, I will have a very likely candidate to my Glennis’ biological father.

Background notes: Glennis’s mother was 21 when Glennis was born. I estimate that Glennis’ biological father must have been between 19 and 32, suggesting a birth year from 1920 to 1934. Supposedly his name was Paul, but he went by Phil. Additionally, Glennis was probably conceived in either Minnesota or Michigan.

M.A. provided a skeleton tree showing his eight great-grandparents and included Jeremiah Anderson his wife Parcidia Bishop and the three direct descendants to MA. My goal with this segment of the project was to follow the descendants of Jeremiah and Parcidia to find an individual who potentially was in either Minnesota or Michigan.  I was able to expand my initial knowledge of

Using Ancestry Family Trees and the family tree at Family Search as well as a few census records, I was able to piece together a “notional” family tree showing the basics of Parcidia’s descendants and where they might have lived.  I know it is not perfect and relies on the research of other people, but it does give me a first brush stroke and lets me know of this potential line deserves much more research or not.

Jeremiah died very young, at age 29. His only known children were his four children with Parcidia.  Parcidia had six more children with her second husband, Isaac Lewis Anderson. Her ten children were:

Four with Jeremiah Anderson:

  • Isaiah P. Anderson (25 Jul 1854 – ? | 13 Feb 1931 – ?)
  • Alice Peora Anderson (8 Oct 1856 – ? | 26 Dec 1932 – ?)
  • Isaac Anderson (1857 |  – )
  • Mary Anderson (15 May 1859 – Amelia | 13 Mar 1950 – Ravenswood)

Six with Isaac Lewis Anderson:

  • Irene Evangaline Anderson (1 Mar 1862 – Jackson | 16 Apr 1944 – ?)
  • Ezra Anderson (Sep 1864 – ? |  – )
  • Benton Anderson (1872 – ? |  – )
  • John Crittenden Anderson (25 Aug 1875 – ? |  – )
  • Clifford Oscar Anderson (Jun 1879 – ? |  – )
  • Rena Anderson (1882 – ? |  – )

Using Ancestry Family Trees and the family tree at Family Search as well as a few census records, I was able to expand my list of descendants from an initial 3 to 58 known descendants including the following known surnames:

Anderson
Abels (sometimes Ables)
Maple
Rankin
Shaber
Simmons
Snider

The total number of surnames is relatively short because both Alice and Mary married men with the Abels surname (John William Abels and J. Bruce Ables respectively).  Neither Irene nor Rena appear to have had children.

In my quick research, I found all of Parcidia descendants remained in West Virginia and western Ohio. I found no branches that located to Michigan or Minnesota, thus no potential father for Glennis from this line.

Certainly, it is possible that someone from this like left West Virginia or Ohio and located to Michigan or Minnesota sometime between 1940 and 1953, but I believe researching the Biddle-Wykert line next will be a better course of action.

Tracing these lines is grueling work, but I believe is the most likely way to the ultimate answer to the question, “Who was Glennis’ biological father.”My Peterson Paternal Project Notional Tree is accessible here.  If you do not have an active Ancestry.com account and would like to access the tree, please leave a comment below and I will send you an access link.

———-  DISCLAIMER  ———-

 

Peterson Paternal Project – Hemsworth-Morgan Branch

 By Don Taylor

 [Previously, I wrote about this project in “William George Ables and Nancy Grimm.”]

My half-sister Glennis has long wondered who her biological father is. Thanks to Ancestry DNA we have a great clue. She has a match with a person, I’ll call M.A., [i] who she shares 201 centimorgans of DNA across 8 segments with. M.A. does not match with me, so we know that the match is on Glennis’ paternal side. Ancestry DNA predicts the relationship to be 2nd to 3rd cousins and Blaine Bettinger’s “Shared CM Project”[ii] suggests they are second cousins. That means that she and M.A. likely share a great grandparent. The really great thing is that M.A. has all of his/her great grandparents identified. If I can take all eight of those great-grandparents and follow their descendants, possibly one of them was in the right place at the right time. If so, I will have a very likely candidate to my Glennis’ biological father.

Background notes: Glennis’s mother was 21 when Glennis was born. I estimate that Glennis’ biological father must have been between 19 and 32, suggesting a birth year from 1920 to 1934. Supposedly his name was Paul, but he went by Phil. Additionally, Glennis was probably conceived in either Minnesota or Michigan.

One of second cousin M. A.’s sets of great grandparents was James Luther Hemsworth & Mary D. Morgan, were married on 28 Aug 1881. I’m looking to see if one of their grandchildren was in the right place at the right time. Additionally, the amount of DNA shared could suggest a 2nd cousin once removed, or even a 1st cousin once or twice removed. Basically, that means I need to follow each of the Hemsworth children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to about 1940 to determine if any of them are males born between 1920 and 1934.

James Luther Hemsworth and Mary D Morgan Married 28 Aug 1881.

Stella Belinda Hemsworth (1883-?) Married Joseph Frank Stewart 18 Nov 1906

Mary Naomi Stewart – (1908-? – Married John Clifford Huber 16 Dec 1929.
They had two boys,

JC Huber was born in 1930. He lived in Michigan 1935, 1940, 1988-2001.
RL Huber was born in 1932. He lived in Michigan 1935, 1940, 1987-1998.
Both are potential candidates, Further research to follow.
Ivan Stewart (c.1910-1989) – Married Mary Eloise Not a candidate.

All known children born after 1939.
Harry Stewart (c. 1913-
Franklin James Stewart (1922-2007) – Married Inza Gay Fierce 10 Oct 1942. Unlikely candidate.

Donald Dean Stewart (c. 1925-2012) – Married Joanne Ruark in 1959. Potential Candidate.

R.E. Stewart (c. 1925) Potential Candidate.
Alma Lovelia Hemsworth (1884-?) – Married Thomas J. Morrell (c. 1878) in 1905.

Had two daughters born 1919 and 1921. No male children born before 1934.
M. C. Hemsworth (1887-1887) – Died as an infant

Olive Hemsworth (1890-?) – If a descendent of Olive, M.A. would be a 1st cousin with no generational difference.

Iza A Hemsworth (1892-?) Married Leslie W. Lamp in 1915.

Three children. Son born about 1916 – Probably too old. Unlikely.
Two daughters. Too young to have sons of interest.
Baby Girl Hemsworth (1894-1894) Died as an infant.

Name

Matching Criteria

Candidate

J. C. Huber

Age & Location

Potential

R. L. Huber

Age & Location

Potential

Franklin James Stewart

Age

Unlikely

Donald Dean Stewart

Age

Unlikely but Possible

R.E. Stewart

Age

Unlikely but Possible

I finished my initial analysis of the second of four sets of great grandparents. I think I have found two potential candidates and three unlikely candidates. I have two more sets of great grandparents to look at. Possibly, I will find even better candidates there.

Endnotes

[i] I do not use the full name for living individuals unless I have received their specific permission or are citing them as a source for information.

[ii] Blaine T. Bettinger – The Shared CM Project – Version 2.0 (June 25, 2016) – http://thegeneticgenealogist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Shared-cM-Project-Version-2.pdf

DISCLAIMER ———-

Not a Grimm Tale (So far).

My Glennis DNA Project

By Don Taylor

Now that I have solved my greatest genealogical challenge, (Who was my biological father?) it is time to address my second biggest challenge – Who is my half-sister Glennis’ biological father?

The first step was to have her DNA tested. We used Ancestry DNA as our testing service. Initially, there weren’t any close matches, but a few months later a second to third cousin (I’ll call “MA”) tested and matched.  Glennis and MA share 201cM across eight segments. Looking at Blaine Bettinger’s chart, it is clear that the matched amount fits a second cousin better than a third cousin, although both are within range. If Glennis and MA are second cousins, then they share a common great-grandparent. Then, the exciting bit of information, MA has a tree online with all eight of his great-grandparents identified. So, if I follow all of the descendants of those eight great-grandparents, I could have the name of Glennis’ biological father.  If one of them was in the right place at the right time, I might have a definite candidate to be her biological father.

  • Abels
  • Anderson
  • Biddle
  • Bishop
  • Grimm
  • Hemsworth
  • Morgan
  • Wykert

He also had two more surnames for 2nd great grandparents.

  • HallS
  • Sullivan

    Which I will follow-up with, if I need to.I decided to work on each of the family surnames alphabetically for no real reason, so I began with MA’s great grandparents, George W. Ables and Nancy Grimm, who were living in Jackson County, Virginia, when their son, John W. Ables, was born.

Logo for the West Virginia Culture and HistoryTIP: West Virginia Culture (Virtual Research Records) is one of my favorite websites for vital records. They have Birth, Marriage, and Death registers available for search and include images of the various records. http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/. If you don’t already have it bookmarked, you should. It is a great site for anything West Virginia.

William George Ables and Nancy Grimm

William George Ables was born between 1826 and 1827 in Virginia. His wife, Nancy Grimm was about two years younger having been born between 1828 and 1829 also in Virginia. I suspect they were married about 1848-1849.

Known Children:

  • Julia A Ables (1850-1871) – Never married.
  • James A Ables (1851-?)
  • John W. Ables (1854-1925)
  • Jacob L. Ables (1856-?)
  • Joseph M. Ables (1859-?)
  • Arthur Ables (1867-?)

I also traced John W. Ables’ children. He and his wife, Alice P Anderson appear to have had 12 or 13 children. Also, with William and Nancy’s only daughter passing without a child, it reduces the potential for additional surnames. Finally, it appears that the entire family spent all of their lives in West Virginia. As such, it is less likely that their descendants were in Minnesota in 1953. Consequently, I will set aside research of Ables family descendants for the time being. I will return to the Ables research and examine the further if I need to study their offspring closer.

Next, I’ll look at the James Luther Hemsworth and Mary Belinda Morgan descendants.

Another cousin, 3rd to 4th, has a Mary Morgan in his pedigree chart. Not a descendant, but maybe close enough to a common descendant. Based upon that, I probably should have picked the Morgan line first, but didn’t notice the surname match until after I was well into researching the Ables/Grimm line.

If no success there, I’ll look at Jeremiah Anderson & Parcidia Bishop descendants.

Finally, I’ll research the Samuel Biddle and Francis Wykert descendants.

It is so exciting to be zeroing in on Glennis’ biological father.

Sources:

  • Ancestry DNA Matches (Private)
  • West Virginia Culture & History; Vital Research Records Selection Search; Birth, Marriage, and Death Records. Surname Ables, County Jackson.
  • Family Search, 1850 & 1860, Censuses, Jackson County, Virginia.
  • Family Search; 1870 Census; Jackson County, West Virginia.