One of the reasons that I enjoy Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings is that he regularly makes me realize the missing branches I have in my tree leaves have lots more to do on my tree. His recent “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” asked folks to look at their tree and determine the age of death for their male ancestors. (He had done a similar thing for female ancestors the week before.)
Using Heredis, it is really simple to generate such a report. I clicked on myself, then clicked on Documents/Ancestor Report and the system generated the data. Then I went to Report Export, I selected Excel from several options. After the information exported, the Excel spreadsheet opened automatically.
Because the ahnentafel numbers for the individuals are exported, it is easy to select just the male ancestors by deleting all of the odd numbers. I immediately saw that my 3rd great-grandfather, Enoch Mannin, lived the longest – 88 years. The ancestor who died the earliest was my great-grandfather Hugh Ellis Roberts, who died at an extremely young 24 years of age.
Next, I began seeing my gaps. I have three people with a range of dates for their life. For example, my great-grandfather John F. Montran was born sometime between 1860 and 1875 and died sometime before 1911. So, he could have died at 35 or died at 51 years or anywhere in between; I don’t know.
Then, I realized I have six ancestors for whom I have no death dates. More work.
Finally, I realized I have nine ancestors in the past five generations that I know nothing about. No names, let alone birth or death dates. So, Randy’s challenge reminded me of how much more work I still have to do. But the good news is that I have 11 of my male ancestors identified as to their age at death. Even better, I have eight more this year than I would have had last year (all of my Roberts line.). I even have one more than I would have had last week, So things are definitely looking up.
Sarah B Blackhurst is my most recent immigrant ancestor. Sarah was born in England, most likely in Sheffield, Yorkshire, about 1848 (I think Dec 1847). I use the 1900 Census for the basis of birthdates because it indicates the month and year of a person’s birth in addition to his or her age. In Sarah’s case, the Census reports her birth as Dec 1867 but her age as 42, which would place her as born in 1857[i]. Consequently, I only pull the month of her birth from the 1900 Census. I then use the 1850 Census, in which she is two years old, and derive a birth date of December 1847[ii].
The 1920 Census shows Sarah Blackhurst Barber’s arrival in 1850.
The 1850 Census also indicates that she was born in England and living in Detroit at the age 2 indicating an arrival before June 1850. Additionally, the 1920 Census indicates the date of her arrival as 1850[iii], so, I’m fairly sure of that she arrived in 1850. I haven’t found the family arriving in the United States in any immigration documents, so far but will continue searching.
Seventy-year-old Sarah is enumerated in the 1920 Census living in Manhattan, New York, New York[iv]. I have been unsuccessful finding a death record for Sarah thus far.
Find Sarah and family in immigration documents.
[i] 1900 Census (National Archives and Records Administration), Ancestry, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Detroit Ward 4, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T623_748; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 36.
[ii] 1850 United States Federal Census, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst – Auburn county, ward 4, Cayuga, New York, United States; citing family 1389, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Accessed 24 November 2015. https://beta.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCT2-GRX.
[iii] 1920 Census, Ancestry, http://www.Ancestry.com, Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958;
[iv] 1920 Census, Ancestry, http://www.Ancestry.com, Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958; Image:.
Randall J. Seaver, in his blog Genea-Musings, suggested this topic.
Where I am at with my various DNA Projects, October 1st, 2014.
I was mightily disappointed when Ancestry quit support for their Y-DNA testing. I was surprised to see that my results and other information was still on Ancestry, but, of course, there were no new matches.
My Y-DNA Lineage from Ancestry.Com
My plan to follow my closest DNA match from Ancestry up five generations and back down five generations didn’t yield any potential candidates for the “baby daddy.” So, without any further Y-DNA matches possible through Ancestry it appears that further looking into that line is not going to be fruitful.
My Wife’s Y-DNA – Ancestry
My wife’s brother’s Ancestry Y-DNA test results are in the same state. No new matches because Ancestry has stopped supporting Y-DNA. Another promising tool that has ended in a dead end.
I definitely feel that I wasted some money with Ancestry on their Y-DNA tests. As such, I will probably never recommend Ancestry DNA Testing of any kind because of my bad experience with due to their decision to stop support of Y-DNA testing.
My closest hit to my DNA (89% likelihood a common ancestor in 8 generations) still hasn’t answered. So, I emailed him again. I did do a search for him on line and found a person with his name died a couple years ago. Not looking good for the home team. The email address for him in Family Tree DNA is pointing to another person, so it is still possible that I will be able to connect with a relative of his and possibly share information. We will see.
Again, no new connections on Family Tree DNA.
I did not do an upgrade kit for my brother-in-law so there is nothing about any connections to him in Family Tree DNA.
My Friend T-Roy
I’ve been helping a friend, T-Roy, with his genealogy. In particular his paternal side is lost. We know precious little regarding his grandfather and nothing before that. A search for his great grandparents has yielded several potential candidates, however, none are clear. I suggested that a Y-DNA test might help us find someone who is related and then be able to connect the dots from the potential candidates. We’ll see.
My Autosomal Results
There was a new “3rd” cousin identified on Ancestry. Because Ancestry doesn’t tell you anything about the match I have no idea if the match is on my mother’s line or my unknown paternal line. The individual, who is now my closest atDNA match didn’t relate their DNA to a tree so I have no idea about potential surnames. I emailed the individual and hopefully she will share her tree and other information. There were several other new matches, however, they were all 4th cousin and greater. I looked at any family trees that they have and didn’t see anything of interest.
23 and Me has been my most
successful DNA testing company that I have used so far. There are several
reasons for that. First, and foremost, I had both my mother and my DNA Tests
submitted to 23 & Me. That is a big help in determining where matches come
from. My initial plan was to use the tests to be able to discriminate matches
from my unknown father’s side from my known mother’s side of the family.
My mother’s matches:
Looking at my mother’s matches,
the closest match (excluding me) is Ronald M. with 2.3% Shared and 11 segments
in common. I was able to contact the individual and after comparing trees,
found that my mother and Ronald are second cousins, once removed. They share common
ancestors with my mom’s great grandparents (Henry & Marian (Sanford)
The next closest match to my
mother is Rick C. He and my mom share 1.61% and 10 segments. He responded to
some queries and we quickly determined his is a 1st cousin, twice
removed, from my mother. Their common ancestors are my mom’s grandparents
(Arthur D & Mary (Manning) Brown).
The 3rd closest match
is to M. C. this match was really great as it expanded our understand of a line
and broke through a “brick wall.” A review of M. C.’s tree yielded a surname
match on Blackhurst. Further investigation showed that M. C.’s ancestor, William
Stephen Blackhurst, had a sibling named Sarah who was born about the same date
as my mother’s grandmother. Another of the siblings and the father of William
and Sarah died in the same city, Albion, MI, that our Sarah lived. Further
correlation showed me that their William was, indeed, the sibling of our Sarah
and that through this connection we were able to extend the line back another
generation to our common ancestors, Stephen and Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst.
On my paternal side, matches to me and not my
mother, are much less interesting. The closest match is a male with whom I
share only four segments (.91%). I sent him an introduction but he hasn’t
responded. I’ve sent a few other individuals introductions and received no
responses from most of them. The few that have responded I have looked at their
trees, but haven’t found anything of particular interest. When less than 1%
matches, investing much time isn’t very helpful.
I recently sent a DNA kit to my half aunt (my
mother’s half sister). In a phone call last week, she indicated that she
received the kit and registered it. She said she’d have it in the mail later in
the week. They take several weeks to process so that should be interesting. With
some luck, she will have received some different segment from my mother and we
can those differences to potentially find other relatives.
As I write this GEDMatch.com website is
down. This free site has a lot of
potential and is the only place that I know if that allows you to submit your
DNA results from multiple sites. It is
an unaffiliated, volunteer, website and is in need of donations to maintain its
operation. If you use it, please donate
to them so they can keep the site in operation.
They give instructions on how to export your
autosomal DNA test results from Ancestry.Com, Family Tree DNA, and 23&Me and
you import the results into their system. Although their takes a while to process
your data and populate into their system, don’t complain about the speed. Again, did I say donate?
The X Chromosome
I’ve recently been hearing a lot about X
chromosome matching. This has really
gotten me excited and rejuvenated regarding using DNA as a method to find
I’m looking forward to using the GEDMatch
system to look at the X chromosome matches for my mom and my aunt (when her
results are received). Because one of
the X chromosomes comes from the mother
and one from the father, having both my mother and her half sister’s X results
will yield a clear look at their father’s (Clifford) X marker. My mother and my aunt should match the X
completely because the X chromosome is passed down from a person’s father
relatively unchanged. Thus, by testing
two females with the same father we can basically jump a generation. Their father, Clifford, received his X from
his mother, Mary Elizabeth Manning which is a mix of her parents, approximately
50% from each. Mary received her two X
chromosomes from each parent so Clifford has a 50-50 chance to have received
his X from his grandfather (John William Manning) and 50-50 chance from his
grandmother (Eliza Fannin). His grandfather received his X from his great
grandmother (Minerva Tolliver Mannin). If, as family legend says, Minerva was full-blooded
Cherokee, Because Clifford whould have received about 50% of his X DNA from
Minerva, we should be able to see some markers that are in common with Cherokee
people if she was, in fact, Cherokee. The other great thing about this test is
that Clifford should have also received about 25% of his X from Eliza’s parents
both of whom are unknown. It certainly has the potential to open up a whole new
area of investigation.
Using the X isn’t as clearly defining as using
the Y chromosome but it clearly can yield more definitive results than the other
22 chromosomes typically do. I am very excited about pursuing this direction. One of the really cool things about your X Chromosome inheritance is that the potential surnames follow a really clear pattern. In my case the surnames of interest are:
DNA is a helpful tool. It has the potential to break down some brick walls, as it did for my Blackhurst tree. However, it is not likely to magically solve a problem or give answers to difficult questions.
There are a number of utilities that can help understand the matches I’ll look at them in a future blog posting. In the meantime, I’ll continue my searching in this area.