I recently connected with a third cousin I hadn’t known of through Ancestry DNA. We knew we were a match, but my cousin’s tree was private. After contacting her, she shared her tree with me and we quickly determined our common ancestors are our 2nd great grandparents, John William and Eliza Jane Fannin Manning. I am descended from their daughter Mary and cousin Bonnie is descended from their other daughter Phoebe. Now that I saw her tree information, the question arose in my mind, what do I do with this new information?
Twenty years ago, I probably would have accepted what Bonnie had in her tree, incorporated it into my tree (duplicating much information), and felt that I had a breakthrough finding lots of new information. Today things are a little different. Instead of accepting her work, I reviewed her sources and citations. Did she have sources I didn’t have? Of course, I expected her to have many things regarding her ancestors before our common ancestor and she did. So, I dutifully made notes of those sources and citations so that I may go through them personally and glean what facts I might.
1870 Mortality Schedule entry for Rachael Mannin
I also reviewed her sources and citations for individuals that we had in common. The vast majority of them were the same as I already had. For example, we both cited the same census records. She did have a couple sources that I didn’t have. One was a US Census Mortality Schedule showing the death of Rachael Fugate Mannin (John William Manning’s grandmother). It provided a cause of death that I didn’t have before. I had the dates for her death from a family bible, but finding collaborating evidence in a census schedule is great. I should have looked for a record in the Mortality Schedule but hadn’t. There were a couple other little things I noticed, for example, she cited John William Manning in the 1850 Census. I hadn’t. I had his father, Enoch, in the census, but hadn’t made an entry in 4-year-old John’s record showing he was living with his mother and father in Bath county, Kentucky and that I had accounted for him in the 1850 census. It is a little thing, but I like to be thorough.
Then, I used my genealogy software to find another ancestor who died during the year preceding the 1870 census. I had one, 3rd great grandfather Stephen Blackhurst. He was in the mortality schedule, which shows he died of dropsy of the bowels (ascites) a new fact regarding another ancestor.I am very happy for the DNA Match with cousin Bonnie and the new facts that sharing information can bring. Thank you Bonnie!
If a person died in the year preceding the 1870 Census, be sure to check for that individual in the mortality schedules.
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.
After my success with the Y-DNA test and close match, I thought I’d try out the autosomal DNA (atDNA), test and see what it brings. I was in one of the first Ancestry Beta test groups and was really excited to take the test and see what I might find out. I received the test in the mail, swabbed my cheek and sent it in. Then I waited, and waited, and waited. Oh did I mention that I waited. After and inexorable amount of time, I received a notification that my sample was inconsistent and needed to be taken later. I had to reapply for a test (no charge) and they sent me a salvia vial. I’ve since learned that they only use the vial any longer for the atDNA test.
After several weeks I received notification that the test was complete. Sadly nothing of interest. No surprises in my genetic ethnicity.
Well, maybe. There has been a family story that my third great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian. If true that would amount to about 3.1% which could make up some of that uncertainty amount. They mention that as time goes on some of the uncertain identifications may become identifiable. So maybe, someday I’ll learn if the legend is true. Better yet, maybe I’ll find someone with a matrilineal ancestry that includes her and can do a Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test.
There were no individuals identifies as first, second, or third cousins. Currently there are 61 people with whom I have a 95% or higher likelihood of being a fourth to sixth cousin with. Although I have had a few close matches, one with the same surname (Fannin) in the Carter County, Kentucky I am yet to find any one with a common ancestor. That means we aren’t fourth cousins, maybe fifth or sixth. I only have my lineage back four generations on that line. None of the other “matches” are even close — disappointing. Of course, I get excited when I have a match that has a common surname of Roberts. None of them have an ancestor which has a common match to my Roberts Notional work. That is not to say that none of the other testers don’t have a match. I’ve emailed several folks that matched but have a private tree who haven’t responded. I’ll probably try again soon and see if I can nudge a few responses.
Generally, I’ve been unimpressed with the Ancestry Autosomal Test results. The test is a lot of money to learn what I already knew or would have supposed. My ancestors are mostly from the “British Isles” (I disagree with calling Ireland “British Isles” as would most Irish) and Central European (although I’ve always thought of France and Germany as Western Europe).