Ancestry’s ThruLines – Part 3 – Asa Ellis Roberts

In previous articles, I’ve considered Ancestry’s new ThruLinestm feature. In Part 1, I looked atThruLinestm in a general manner. In Part 2, I developed a process and decided on some caveats I would use with it.  Here in Part 3, I proof my process/procedure by using it and verify the process holds true in use.  Briefly, the process is:

  1. Confirm the shared DNA amount matches expectations for the relationship.
  2. Confirm the cousin’s descendants from the common ancestor and a known child of the common ancestor.
  3. Analyze the remaining path to the cousin, assuring things make sense.

I used the process focusing on my 2nd great-grandfather’s (Asa Ellis Robert) descendants.

All of the descendants of Asa are 3rd cousins. Asa was married twice, so descendants of Asa and Patience Anna Marshall should be 3rd cousins. Descendants of Asa and Cynthia Minerva Toney would be half third cousins to me. DNA Painter’s Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4 indicates that a 3rd cousin should share between 0 and 217 cM of DNA and half 3rd cousins should share between 0 and 178 cM of DNA.

ThruLinestm indicates I have 18 Cousins that have tested with AncestryDNA.

  1. In all cases, the DNA amount matched matches expectations as suggested in DNAPainter.
  2. In all cases, the individuals are descended from individuals that I had independently identified as children of Asa.
  3. In all cases, the individuals have a pedigree chart that makes sense.

Thanks to ThruLinestm I added 37 new cousins to my chart all descended from Asa Ellis Roberts.

  1. 17 new cousins descended from Rosa Della Roberts.
  2. 2 New cousins descended from Charles W. Roberts.
  3. 10 New half-cousins descended from Sarah A. Roberts.
  4. 8 New half-cousins descended from William T. Roberts.

The process is much faster than any methods I ever used before to verify a person’s relationship to my tree. I’m happy with the process and feel confident that I’m adding valuable information to my tree to better the likelihood of connecting ancestors. ThruLinestm is great for widening your tree to include individuals that are descendants of a known family unit.

If you are a descendant of Asa Ellis Roberts, consider testing with Ancestry DNA; it is a great genealogical resource and can help you broaden your tree too.

Ancestry’s ThruLines

By Don Taylor

One of the many huge announcements made at Roots Tech was Ancestry unveiling of ThruLinestm. Many bloggers have been writing about it, and I thought I’d see what it can do for me and the DNA Kits that I manage on Ancestry.

Immediately upon entering  AncestryDNA®, you now see ThruLines as the right-hand block which used to house DNA Circles.  There is a link in the block to restore DNA Circles if you wish, but I wanted to Explore ThruLines.

ThruLines then presents a block of my ancestors, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., all the way to my 5th great-grandparents. (About the limit of what Autosomal DNA results can predict relationship at.)

As I clicked on my parents, ThruLines presented my half siblings for whom I’ve known about for several years now. The same thing was true when I looked at my grandparents’ entries. Looking at my great-grandparents, Hugh and Clora Scott Robert’s ThruLines yielded a 2nd cousin that I’ve corresponded with before.

Clicking on the 2 down block opens up the names of two individuals from Beth’s tree.

When I looked at my Great Grandparents, Joel Clinton and Marada Alice (Lister) Barnes, the power of ThruLines came alive. Two new lines showed. It showed my paternal grandmother had two sisters — one a half great-aunt to me the other a great-aunt. I had known about Essie’s sisters, Flora and Mabel, but hadn’t traced their descendants down. ThruLines provided links to a half 2nd cousin 1x removed (Beth) and to another 2nd cousin 1x removed (JK). In both cases, I know about their grandparents (Flora & Mable) but I didn’t have descendants for either Flora or Mable. The first one, “Beth” had a tree that provided names, dates, and relationships.  That line should be easy to replicate with sources. The second person, cousin “JK,” had two “Private” individuals between her and my great-aunt Mabel.  I should be able to follow Mable’s descendants to that cousin fairly quickly also. However, because ThruLines shows JK’s mother and grandfather are the pathway to her great-grandmother Mable, JK’s line is clear enough to provide information to be able to ask clear and concise questions regarding JK’s ancestors.

Continuing to look at my great-grandfather Arthur Durwood Brown, I found seven DNA cousins with whom I share Art Brown as a common ancestor. Two of the seven were new to me. That is to say, I knew they were DNA cousins before, but I didn’t know exactly how they were related.  Thanks to ThruLines, it is clear.

One problem I do see with ThruLines is that it relies entirely upon individual’s trees.  That is to say, if someone has a mistake, the mistake takes shape and form throughout the system. As an example, I believe my 2nd great grandfather is William Henry Brown, but many others think that Arthur Durwood Brown’s father was Henry “Mack” Brown. ThruLines won’t show anyone who believes that Henry “Mack” Brown might be the common ancestor because he doesn’t show as an ancestor in my tree. So, if your tree is right, ThruLines will confirm your tree. But if your tree is wrong, then ThruLines will confirm your tree with the wrong trees of someone else.  I think it is a dangerous path to follow.

So, it is essential for you to do your own research to validate any “hints” you receive from anyone and  ThruLines is no exception to that rule. Consider what ThruLine provides as a hint and you’ll be okay.  I like ThruLines much better than I liked DNA Circles. It will be more useful in helping me to quickly develop width to my tree, something that is important in understanding DNA match results.

———- Disclaimer ———-

 

Maine Marriage Records

By Don Taylor

photo of hole in a brick wall
Hole in Brick Wall – Photo by counterclockwise via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I recently had the opportunity to be a Genealogy “brick wall buster,” which is a person who helps someone break through their genealogical brick walls. They say teaching a subject helps the teacher learn the topic even more. Likewise, helping others with their “brick walls” is an amazing process wherein I learn so much more. Anyway, one of my querists wanted to know, How to find marriage records in Maine.

As I thought about how I would approach the question I thought of several Wikis and ask the person if they used the Family Search wiki. She said, “No.” As I went through the day, I realized how few people knew about the two best genealogy wiki sites on the Internet. Everyone I spoke to during the day used Family Search and Ancestry.Com, but none of them ever used either of the two wikis.

I prefer the Family Search wiki. http://familysearch.org/wiki.  It seems to always provide the answer to my research questions.  For example, a search for Maine Marriage Records brings me to a page about the differences in records before 1892, between 1892 and 1922, and since 1922.

The Ancestry Wiki: http://ancestry.com/wiki/ is also a hidden gem – a fountain of information. Many people have subscriptions to Ancestry and many others access Ancestry through their local libraries, but I found few use the Ancestry Wiki. The results received from searching the Ancestry Wiki for “Maine Marriage Records,” was not quite as clear as Family Search but did quickly lead me to a Maine Vital Records page, which also told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Genealogy Network is one of my favorite sites for specifically Maine research. They have many Maine Specific databases, see http://www.mainegenealogy.net/databases.asp for a list of them. There is also a great article about “Finding Maine County Marriage Returns”

http://network.mainegenealogy.net/profiles/blogs/maine-county-marriage-returns, which explains methods to access some of the early Maine marriage records that may exist.

Scarborough Records

For Scarborough Records, the Cumberland County Marriages from 1786 thru 1886 may be browsed on the Family Search site at https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/553508. Look for the camera icon at the bottom right to see the images.

Image of Book Cover - Vital Records of Scarborough Maine.

There is a great book, Vital Records of Scarborough, Maine by James H. Wick published by the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS). The book is currently out of print and unavailable from the MGS, however, Minerva indicates it is available at several libraries in the area, (See https://tinyurl.com/ycb5ga9x) including the Scarborough Public Library. We also have a copy of it at the Scarborough Museum which may be viewed at the museum.

Also at the museum, we have several boxes of microfilm.  As an example, one of the boxes, Number 225, is a reel of “Town Records Births prior to 1891 with some dates to 1908, deaths ca. 1819-1891, intentions of marriage and marriage records 1816-1879.  I need to find a way to get these digitized and available or, better yet, find where someone else has already digitized these records.

Do you know of additional Maine Marriage Record sources available?  If so, please let me know through the comment form below.

Once Again, DNA Provides a Clue – Trumpi

By Don Taylor

A recent experience with Ancestry DNA reminds me that even fifth to eighth cousins on Ancestry DNA can provide a clue, possibly the big clue, to a breakthrough.

I was recently contacted via Ancestry DNA messaging by a 5th-8th cousin of my mother-in-law. She (I’ll call her K.B.) was excited because she had only encountered Trumpe’s[i] before that were known relatives. Her 3rd great grandfather was John Frederick Trumpe and was from the same place, Glarus, Switzerland, as my mother-in-law’s great-grandfather, Bernhard/Bernard/Benard Trümpi. There were some coincidental matches in our two trees. For example, K.B.’s John Frederick named one of his children Bernard and my mother-in-law’s Bernhard named one of his children Frederick. John Frederick Trumpe and his wife Catherine settled in Pittsburgh, PA.

The next piece of the puzzle came from family oral history. My mother-in-law’s grandmother, Bertha Barbara Trumpi, was said to have come to the United States with an aunt and uncle who were living in the States already. It was also family oral history that she came over “above decks” (not steerage). I had long suspected that it was her aunt and uncle, Rachel and Fredolin (Fred) Sigrist, but I had never found any support for that. Rachel and Fredolin had settled in Pittsburgh, PA, and traveled back and forth to Europe often above decks during their many trips but I hadn’t found any evidence of their traveling in 1901-1903 when Bertha came across.

Fritz, Katherine and Bertha Trumpi
Passenger List, S.S. Philadelphia 26 July 1902
Source: Find My Past (See Endnotes)

I revisited Bertha’s immigration and still didn’t find anything on Ancestry.Com, Family Search, or Ellis Island Foundation. Then I searched Find My Past and found a record of Fritz (Frederick) and Katherine (Catherine) Trumpi, who left Southampton on 26 July 1902, aboard the S.S. Philadelphia bound for New York with a 19-year-old spinster, Bertha.[ii] They are listed in the passengers with cabins section of the passenger list. I looked closer and couldn’t find and arrival document on Find My Past. I went back to Ancestry.Com and Ellis Island Foundation websites and looked at the passenger lists for the S.S. Philadelphia arriving in New York on 2 August 1902. Nothing. I browsed the images painstakingly several times and still didn’t find any arrival information. I noticed that the images only included people in third-class (steerage); none of the images included first or second class passengers. That is why I never found them before.

If Fritz Trumpi is John Frederick Trumpe and John Fredrick and Bernhard Trumpi are brothers, then we have a match. All the pieces seem to fit, all the ages are right for Fritz and Katherine to be John Frederick and Catherine. Also, the age for Barbara Bertha Trümpi is correct. With all the circumstantial evidence I have found I am going to tentatively associate John Frederick and Bernhard as siblings. What makes this association even more important is that, when John Frederick Trumpe died in 1917, the informant indicated that his parents were Benhart and Anna Oertli Trumpe.[iii] That information potentially extends the Trumpi line back another generation.

Back to the DNA

If Benhart and Anna Oertli Trumpi from Glarus, Switzerland, are the common ancestor for K.B. and my mother in law they should share, on average, 76cM of DNA. They share 16.8cM of DNA, quite a bit less than average but still within the range for third cousins once removed.[iv]

Is it possible that Benhart and Anna are not the common ancestors? Absolutely. It may be that Benhart’s parents are the common ancestor, or even back another generation. Time and further research will tell, but so many circumstantial bits of evidence fit that between the DNA and the paper trail, I know there is some kind of relationship.

Future Actions:

Visit Ellis Island and see if they have passenger records at Ellis Island that include the above deck passengers for the S.S. Philadelphia that arrived in New York on 2 August 1902.
Research the Trümpi family in Glarus, Switzerland further.
Consider doing a Trumpi family of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and determine additional information regarding potential family members.

ENDNOTES

 

[i] Trumpe, Trumpi, and Trumpy are all forms of the same surname. Often spelled with an umlaut as in Trümpi.
[ii] Find My Past – Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960 – Trumpi http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=tna%2fbt27%2f0390000036%2f00509
[iv] Blaine Bettinger compiled DNA relationship data from more than 6,500 submissions of autosomal DNA test results. See: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/573857177499027891/
———- DISCLAIMER ———-

Finding Family – Ancestry and AncestryDNA provided the tools to determine my biological father and half-siblings.

By Don Taylor


Determining my biological father and discovering new half siblings is, by far, the greatest success I’ve had in my genealogical activities.  Thanks to Ancestry and AncestryDNA, I have been successful in answering lifelong questions regarding my paternity and my ancestry.
Don with step father's 1964 Olds Dynamic 88, the car he learned to drive on.
Don [Matson] Taylor with step-father’s ’64 Olds Dynamic 88
(The car in which I learned how to drive – c.1965)
Note the white sidewall tires — “Budgar” had to have them.
My quest started when I was sixteen and I needed a copy of my birth certificate to get a driver’s license.  That is when I learned that the man I thought was my father not only didn’t die in a car accident when I was a baby, but he wasn’t my father either. I had used his surname (Larson) for 12 years after which I used a new step-father’s name (Matson) for four years. Now, after sixteen years,  I had a completely new identity.  My biological father’s name was completely unknown and the surname on my birth certificate was completely made up. (That’s another story.) I adopted my birth surname then and have lived with it ever since. My mother gave me some hints as to possible friends of my biological father that I might be able to contact and learn my father’s name, but following those leads were never successful. My frustration was high but I’d go back to searching and seeking over and over again.
In 1994, a here-to-unknown half-sister, Glennis Peterson, who had been put up for adoption, found her birth mother and I suddenly had a new half-sister. Glennis didn’t learn she was adopted until she was in her 20s and had been searching for her birth mother (and a known older brother – me) for nearly 20 years. (That is another story but it is her story to tell – I think it will make a great book and she is a writer.) Anyway, her finding her birth family was a major impetus for my expanding my genealogical activities. First, I wanted to support her in learning about her new family (our shared Brown/Montran line), but also her finding us meant that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to figure out who my biological father was. For the next few years, I retraced my previous efforts making sure I hadn’t missed anything. Again, to no avail.
In 2008, Ancestry offered a Y-DNA test and I took it.  Through that test, I learned that my closest Y-DNA matches all had the same surname, “Roberts.”  The problem was all of the matches were many generations away (eight to ten generations or more); there were no close matches. Although I tried, I was unable to find any of these people having a Roberts ancestor who had descendants in the place at the right time as my conception.

In 2011, Ancestry knew they were going to eliminate their Y-DNA testing and concentrate on atDNA testing. They sent me a free “Beta” test package, so I could be included in their atDNA database. My results weren’t very exciting, most matches were known distant relatives on my mother’s side. There were a few paternal matches, but they were very distant and never had any Roberts surnamed individuals.  I was disappointed and frustrated.  I even worked on someone’s tree for a while looking for potential matches on another person’s tree that the three of us shared a segment on the same chromosome.  Still no luck. Then the wall came tumbling down.
In December 2015, I had a new match – 1st to 2nd cousin.  Wow.  And that person had a tree on Ancestry.Com.  I looked at her tree and found her grandfather’s surname was Roberts.  Could it be?  If we were second cousins we would share a great grandparent, so I used Ancestry to learn about her great grandfather’s life.  I then used that information to further understand his children. He had three sons and one of them was in the right place (Detroit, MI) at the right time (Nov. 1949).
I decided to post two stories on my blog about my findings so far.  First, I wrote about “My Paternal Brick Wall and how I believe it to be shattered. A couple weeks later I wrote about Compulsive searching – Bert Allen Roberts (1903-1949).” It was my intent to examine and explore this family line more and more until I knew if it contained my people. 
A couple weeks later, I was contacted by Melody Roberts Jackson. She was Google searching her grandmother’s name and came across my “Compulsive searching…” article. Melody read it and “My Paternal Brick Wall” post and was amazed. These were her people that I was writing about. After exchanging a few emails we chatted at length on the telephone. She said she would contact one of her cousins, someone I suspected might be a half-sister.  The potential half sister, Beverly Roberts, then called me.  And we chatted for a long time. I indicated that the only way we’d know for certain was if she took an atDNA test as also.  She agreed. AncestryDNA sent to test directly to her and she sent it in.
Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts
Photo Courtesy: Tom Roberts
Then the agonizing wait.  AncestryDNA says six to eight weeks, possibly longer.  We were hoping for six weeks, but it took the full eight weeks. When the results came in, we learned that we share 1593 centimorgans of DNA across 58 DNA segments.  The DNA doesn’t say we are half siblings but gives clues to possible relationships.  The only relations we share that much DNA with are grandchild, niece/nephew, aunt/uncle, or a half-sibling.   I am older than BR so I can’t possibly be her grandchild. Her oldest sibling is younger than I am, so I can’t possibly be her nephew. Her (our) grandfather died fourteen months before I was born, so I can’t possibly be her uncle. Simple logic eliminated all potential relationships except one, that of half-sibling.  Which means I finally determined who my biological father was, Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts. From discussions with my mother over the years, I am pretty certain he was never told of my existence.
Sadly, Hugh Eugene “Gene” Roberts died in 1997, so I’ll never have a chance to meet my biological father. However, my new found Roberts family is excited to have a new family member.  I now have five new half-siblings and a passel of new cousins. There is a whole new line to explore genealogically. But best of all, I am looking forward to meeting my new Roberts family in person later this spring and I really feel they are excited to meet me too.

ENDNOTES

———- DISCLAIMER ———-