Review – DNA Painter

Tech Tuesday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Last fall, Blaine Bettinger mentioned in his Facebook group, “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” an introduction video was available on YouTube for DNA Painter. I respect Blaine’s opinions, so I knew that I wanted to give it a try. It took a while for me to get to it and I’m glad I finally did. Wow, great program.

DNA Painter helps you understand exactly where your DNA came from. With it you can determine if a segment of your DNA you have may have come from your great grandmother on your maternal grandmother’s side or from another ancestor.  You can paint with common DNA information from GEDMatch, Family Finder (Family Tree DNA), or 23&Me. Sadly, Ancestry doesn’t provide DNA segment matching data, so it can’t be used. However, the raw data from Ancestry may be exported by the DNA owner and then imported into GEDMatch or Family Finder where you may export the data for use in DNA Painter.

The DNA Painter video was great. I only needed to watch it once and I was confident I understood the tool enough to use it for DNA painting. I was right; the tool is very easy to use.

I am fortunate because I have had my mother tested and I have her results. So, if my mother has a DNA Segment and I have it, I know it came from her. All the other DNA that I received from my biological father, who passed away before autosomal DNA testing became available.

I began doing the DNA painting, copying the data about matching segments of DNA from various cousins. When I looked at the matches from my half-aunt and myself, I could see exactly which DNA segments came from my maternal grandfather (and his ancestors). I compared with a known third cousin and saw which DNA came from our common second great-grandparents.

Image of Note: Chromosome 3 has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Image of Chromosome 3 has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and a one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.

I could see where bits of DNA came from.  In another example, I received a nice 141cM chunk of DNA from my father on Chromosome 3. Based upon other DNA matches, of that fragment of DNA a 21cM piece of it and another 17cM piece of was inherited from Asa Roberts. He also had a sizeable 47cM chunk of DNA inherited from another ancestor that apparently was not Asa. I don’t know who it was yet, but additional samples should show its source. It was fun to do, but I couldn’t see a substantial genealogical reason for doing it. How could I use this tool?

Image of DNA Painter - AHW match on C13
DNA Painter shows three DNA segments match on C. 13 for Glennis.

Then, I thought about my half-sister Glennis, so I started a new profile and began painting her DNA. We share a common mother, so, once again, I was able to copy that information into her profile and have all of her maternal DNA. Then, I could focus entirely on her unknown paternal side.  I began finding any of her biological cousins that do not contain our mom’s DNA. That is when I started to see a pattern.  There were segments that were shared by a common ancestor of multiple individuals. That proved, to me, that these segments were from a common ancestor. Their trees indicated that they shared a known ancestor, so I know that Glennis shares either the same common ancestor or an ancestor of that individual. Furthermore, if the individual is more genetically distant than a second cousin, I know that the descendants below the person’s second great-grandparent cannot be a direct line. That can save me considerable research disproving a potential family line.

DNA Painter is a great tool that can help identify likely genetic ancestors and help identify unlikely descendant lines. I like it.



Don’t give up communicating with that match

DNA – Roberts

FTDNA Chromosome Browser Results

In 2016, my number 3 match In Family Finder (Family Tree DNA) was a 2nd to a 4th cousin with whom I shared 100cM of DNA. We shared a couple big chunks on Chromosome 3; there was another nice match on chromosome 12, and a small piece on Chromosome 11. I emailed him in November 2016 and waited.

During the ensuing months, I found two more cousins with whom I shared DNA but I still wondered about that first one. I wondered about him and I emailed him again in May 2017 hoping to figure out how we were related.

I emailed him again mostly as a follow-up in November 2017. And wow. A response. A nice response with enough information to show exactly how we are related. I came to learn that he is the 2nd great-grandson of my 2nd great-grandfather, Asa Ellis Roberts. In other words, he is my half 3rd cousin (we have different great-grandmothers). Asa had 16 children, 12 with his first wife, Cynthia Minerva Toney and 4 with his second wife, Patience Anna Marshall. (My line follows Patience’s children.)

If you are working to fill in the descendants of your ancestors and to connect with distant cousins, it is great to have a first contact message (email) and then remember to follow-up every few months. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive a response. Just keep working at it and, hopefully, you will eventually receive the answer which will show a new line of cousins.


Top 10 Surnames in my Roberts-Brown Research

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun
Surname Saturday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.In a recent “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun,” Randy Seaver suggested we look at our surname list. My Roberts-Brown tree has 6,084 individuals. I manage the tree using Family Tree Maker 2017.  A Surname Report is available under person reports. Two clicks and the report is done is less than a second. The first click was to include all individuals in my file, not just the immediate family. The second click was to sort by surname count. It doesn’t provide a total of the number of unique surnames. But, again a couple clicks do it easily. A click on Share then select export to CSV.  The system asks where you want the report, you save it, then the system asks if you would like to open the Exported Report. I did and my computer launched Microsoft Excel. Entries are every other line. The last surname on the list was line 2801.  Subtract 3 for the three lines of header and divide 2798 by two and I learned I have 1,399 unique surnames in my tree.

I was surprised by the some of the results.

  Surname Count
1 Mannin 424
2 Roberts 243
3 Raidt 183
4 Brown 147
5 Krafve 120
6 Bryant 109
7 Warner 98
8 Wolcott 95
9 Unknown 75
10 Manning 70


Raidt is the surname of my son’s maternal grandfather. I have done quite a bit of research on him, but I didn’t realize it was that extensive. For my Raidt research to be number 3 was quite a shock. I should, probably, break this research into a separate project.

Even more shocking was the Krafve surname.  Hildur Krafve was my step-grandmother and is the grandmother of two of my siblings. I didn’t think I researched that family much and was surprised that I have done so much research on that line. I have followed that family name through six generations. With all the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, there were many names. That it rated high makes sense, but I was still surprised.

I was also surprised by Wolcott. My 5th great-grandmother was Mary Wolcott Parsons.  I have tentatively followed her ancestry back seven more generations to my earliest known ancestor, back in the 1500s.  But still, I had no idea that I had that many known Wolcotts.

Not Surprised

Before I knew who my biological father was, I did a lot of research on the Roberts surname. I was looking for and following potential connections based upon Y-DNA results and other people’s trees. Most of these Roberts entries are not related to me in any meaningful way. That I have over 200 individuals with the Roberts surname didn’t surprise me.
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My number one surname was Mannin and that my number 10 surname was Manning didn’t surprise me much. Mary Elizabeth Manning was my great-grandmother and I have done a lot of research in her ancestry. Her husband was Arthur Durrwood Brown. Seeing Brown, and the related surnames if Bryant and Warner, wasn’t much of a surprise either.

Sadly, my number 9 surname, “Unknown,” highlights mistakes in my tree. For a while I used “unknown” when I didn’t know an ancestor’s surname. For married women, whose maiden name don’t know, I’ve begun using their husband’s surname in brackets instead of “LNU” or “unknown.”  That gives me a better idea of where they fit in the tree without needing to see all the other details of the individual. That I have 75 individuals for whom I’ve entered their surname as “unknown” suggests that I need to so some cleanup.  Certainly, “unknown” could be the appropriate entry on occasion, but rarely is it the best entry. As an example, “Ann Laurie Unknown” doesn’t tell me as much as “Ann Laurie [Fannin].”  As long as I remain consistent, I think I’m okay using bracketed names in an unconventional manner.


I enjoy Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night suggestions. They make you think about your family tree in different ways.  In this case, looking at the surnames in this exercise reminded me that I need to be consistent in how I handle unknown surnames.

Military Discharge of Asa E. Roberts

Amanuensis Monday

Military Discharge of Asa E. Roberts
Military Discharge of Asa E. Roberts


To all whom it may concern:

Know Ye, that Asa Roberts a Private of Captain ??mon’s Company (I) 31st thirty-first Regiment of Illinois Vols who was enrolled on the 15th fifteenth day of August one thousand eight hundred and sixty one to serve three years, is hereby Discharged from the service of the United States this 26th twenty sixth day of July 1862 at Cairo, Illinois by reason of Chronic peritonitis and he is perfectly unfit for service.

Said Asa Roberts was born in Roane in the state of Tennessee is 26 twenty six years of age, five feet eight inches high fair complexion grey eyes dark hair and by occupation when enlisted a farmer.

Given at Cairo this 26 day of July 1862.

Wm K Strong

Brig Genl ??? Dist of Cairo.


  • Asa Roberts enlisted 15 Aug 1861 for 3 years into Company I, 31st Regiment, Illinois Volunteers.
  • He was discharged 26 July 1862 at Cairo Illinois due to Chronic Peritonitis.
  • Born in Roane, Tennessee about 1836
  • Description: 5’8”, fair complexion, Grey eyes, dark hair.
  • Occupation before enlistment: Farmer

Biography – Patience Anna Marshall (1845-1919)

Patience Anna Marshall Dean Roberts (1845-1919)

Roberts/Brown #17

By Don Taylor

Patience Anna Marshall’s childhood appears to be pretty much non-existent. Evidence indicates her father died before she was six years old. She was married at 13 years-old, had a child, possibly two, and was widowed by 18.  She married a second time, while she was still only 18, and was widowed a second time at 41 years of age.

Photo of Patience Anna (Marshall} Roberts
Patience Anna (Marshall} Roberts

Late in life, she lived alone. At 71, she suffered a stroke which left her outdoors, lying in water, overnight, until someone noticed her the following day. After her death, she received no marker—no memorial—to commemorate her life.

List of Grandparents

  • Grand Parent: Bert Allen Roberts
  • 1st Great: Hugh Ellis Roberts
  • 2nd Great: Patience Anna Marshall


Patience Anna Marshall was born on 30 December 1845.  That is the date she indicated as her birthdate when she wanted an increase in her pension payment in 1917. This date is confirmed by the 1900 census which indicates she was born in December 1845.

I suspect she had a difficult childhood. She first shows up in the 1850 Census.[1] There, six-year-old, Patience is living with her mother, Jane Marshall, and apparently a younger brother of Jane, Thomas Lawson, and his new wife Susanna.  Thomas was 21, but Susanna was only 14; the census indicates that Thomas and Susanna were married in the past year. Jane was 30 and there is no evidence of her husband in that household. One interesting note about the 1850 Census, it indicates that both Patience and her mother were born in Tennessee. In all subsequent records Patience is always shown as having been born in Illinois, however, it is possible that she was born in Tennessee, like her parents. Further research is needed on Jane (Lawson) Marshall to clear up this conflict.

Marriage #1

On 7 August 1859, Patience married Thomas Dean.[2] According to the 1860 Census[3], she and Thomas had been married less than a year and Patience was 17 years old.  In reality, Patience was only 14 years old at the 1960 Census time. She had been only 13 years old when she married Thomas Dean.

Patience Anna (Marshall) Roberts
Patience Anna (Marshall) Roberts

On 3 February 1863, Thomas Dean died at the home of Thomas and Susan (Mendenhall) Lawson at Ewing, IL. [4] This appears to be the same Thomas and Susanna that she was living with during the 1850 census and is likely Patience’s uncle.

Elnora Dean, the only known child of Patience and Thomas was born on 26 March 1863, seven weeks after Thomas’ death.[5]

I did a thorough search looking for Patience and/or Elnora Dean in the 1870 Census records without success. Anyone who found them, I’d love feedback below.

Marriage #2

Meanwhile, Asa Robert’s first wife, Elizabeth Minerva Toney, died on 26 May 1872 leaving Asa a widower with several children[6]. Three months later, on 25 August 1872, Asa and Patience were married in Jefferson County.[7]

Eleven months later, Patience’s first child with Asa, Charles Wilson Roberts, was born.

Rosa Della Roberts was born on 26 May 1875.

Florence Elizabeth Roberts was born on 21 Jan 1880.

The 1880 Census shows none of the children of Asa’s first wife’s family still living with him. Only he, Patience, their children together (Charles, Della, and Florence) and Patience’s daughter from her previous marriage (Elnora Dean) are living in Elk Prairie, Jefferson County, Illinois as a household.[8]

On 2 July 1884, great-grandfather Hugh Ellis Roberts was born. Patience would have been 41 years old.

Asa Roberts died on 5 October 1886 and Patience immediately applied for a widow’s pension and was granted it.  I have several documents from her widow’s pension application that need to be transcribed, (They are difficult to read and may need to be electronically enhanced.) which may shed further light onto Asa and Patience’s lives.

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The 1900 Census finds (Patience) Anna Roberts living with her two youngest children, Florence and Hugh and a granddaughter. Although Florence is listed in the census as single, the granddaughter is Florence’s child, Nellie.[9]

In 1908, Patience’s youngest child, my great-grandfather, Hugh Ellis Roberts died from consumption at the age of 24.[10]

The 1910 Census show the widow Patience A Roberts loving alone. She owned her own farm near Barren, Franklin County, Illinois.[11]


The Mt. Vernon Register, dated April 4, 1917, reports a very sad story about Patience Roberts:[12]

“Aunt” Patience Roberts, aged 73 [sic s/b 71] of Ina, who is visiting with the family of James Derrington, [her daughter Rosa Della Roberts Derrington’s home] suffered a stroke of paralysis last Friday evening and the stroke came upon her as she was on her way to the home of a neighbor, about dusk.

She fell heavily to the ground and where she fell there was a sort of a branch and in it considerable water, but fortunately the old lady did not fall on her face and so escaped being drowned.

She was not a great distance from the place where she had started and saw the folks when they went to the barn that evening to milk but could not make an outcry sufficient to attract their attention and she was compelled to lie in the water all night.

The next morning her plight was slightly improved but she could not make herself heard and children playing near the place saw something unusual moving in the depression and it frightened them. They rushed to the house and told their parents what they had discovered and within a very short time kind hands had removed the old lady to more comfortable quarters. Her condition at this time shows much improvement.

In any event, having a stroke and lying in a water puddle all night is a sad event.  It is events like this that remind us of the importance of watching out for our senior citizens. The story also makes me wonder why her daughter, Rosa, didn’t notice that her mother was missing.

Search Military Records - Fold3Death

Patience died on 26 July 1919 in Sesser, Franklin County, Illinois. She was buried on 30 July 1919 at the New Hope Cemetery near Ina, Spring Garden Township, Jefferson County, Illinois.[13] She has no marker.[14]

Future Actions

  • Process/translate Patience Anna Roberts widow pension application and incorporate new information.
  • Search further for Patience and/or her daughter in the 1870 Census.
  • Extend research to second level sources.
  • When I win the lottery, have a marker made and placed to memorialize the life of Patience Anna Marshall, Dean, Roberts.

Thank You

I would like to thank second cousin Chris H. Bailey for sharing his photos, sources, and research regarding Patience Anna Marshall Dean Roberts. Without his sharing, this article would have been much less complete.

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