Charles Campbell (c1750-c1825): Unique Y DNA Chips Away at Parental Brick Wall – 52 Ancestors #256

I’ve been struggling for years, decades actually, to identify the father of Charles Campbell of Hawkins County, Tennessee. We’re finally making progress by combining family oral history with traditional records research, Y DNA, and the process of elimination – thanks to a combination of people.

I think you’ll find the twists and turns in this journey interesting. It sure has been enlightening!

Thank Goodness for my Campbell Cousin!

Recently, my Campbell cousin agreed to take a Y DNA test.

He descends from my John Campbell through son William Newton Campbell whose line migrated to Texas. William died in 1908 in Davidson, Oklahoma.

Charles Campbell testers.png

Sadly, both earlier testers from the Charles Campbell line have passed away, so their Y DNA tests can’t be upgraded. My Campbell cousin represented by kit 905207 has been the critical link in what I think might just be a chink in the long-standing brick wall of Charles Campbell.

And if it isn’t THE chink, it’s still chipping away at that wall.

Who Were Charles Campbell’s Parents?

Charles Campbell was in Hawkins County in 1788, in what would become Tennessee in 1796. He may have been in Sullivan County as early as 1783.

The people who settled in this part of eastern Tennessee, and specifically in the neighborhood along Dodson Creek where Charles Campbell owned land and lived most of his life arrived in what is known as the Rockingham migration.

In fact, this 1784 tax list from Rockingham County, VA shows several people who were Charles Campbell’s direct neighbors in Hawkins County, including Michael Roark whose property abutted Charles’. In addition, the Grigsbee (Grigsby) family is found nearby as well as the Kite family whose property is just down the road beside the Louderbacks.

Charles Campbell 1784 Rockingham.png

However, looking on the 1782 tax list for Rockingham County doesn’t show Charles Campbell who was having children as early as 1770, so was assuredly an adult on personal property tax lists, someplace, by 1782, assuming he wasn’t in a wagon on his way to the next frontier.

Note that Lexington, Virginia, now in Rockbridge County, but then in Augusta County, is on the same migration path down the Shenandoah Valley – the only reasonable path from Rockingham County to the area on Dodson Creek just south of Rogersville, Tennessee.

Charles Campbell Rockingham to Rogersville.png

It’s 72 miles from Rockingham to Lexington. You have to go through Rockbridge County, on the main road at that time, to get to east Tennessee from Rockingham County.

We know, from deeds, that Gilbert Campbell lived on the main road, a location at the ferry where travelers would stop to rest, and talk, and discuss the new frontier where land was available for the asking.

This is most likely the path that Charles Campbell traveled in the 1780s. But where did he come from, and who were his parents? Is there any way to make that discovery?

Y DNA Matching

Our Campbell tester matches both of the earlier two descendants of Charles Campbell, as expected, but there’s another person that this group matches as well.

At 111 markers, my cousin matches a descendant of Gilbert Campbell who wrote his will in 1750 and died in 1751 in Rockbridge County, VA.

Charles Campbell match.png

Looking at the Campbell DNA Project, the Campbell men are part of the HUGE group 30, compromised of many, many Campbell descendants. However, look at who kit 81436, a descendant of Charles through son George, matches most closely.

Charles Campbell Gilbert match

Click to enlarge

Yep, Gilbert again.

The Campbell Article

All I can say is that I’m extremely grateful for the Campbell DNA Project at Family Tree DNA, because without this project, and project administrator Kevin Campbell, this brick wall wouldn’t even be threatened.

Kevin along with James A. Campbell wrote an article that was published in the Journal of the Clan Campbell Society (North America) Vol. 43, No. 2, Spring 2016.

To set the stage, two groups of Campbell families settled in Augusta County, VA in the late 1730s as land became available in the Borden tract. Both groups had as their progenitor a man named Duncan Campbell, born in Scotland. No confusion there, right?

One Duncan moved to Ulster County, Ireland and died. His descendants immigrated into Pennsylvania in 1726, then on into Augusta County about 1738, according to the article’s endnotes.

This is the group, shown along the South River where the green arrows point, that our Campbell line matches most closely.

The Tinkling Spring Church, the first formed in the area is shown as well. For many years, the minister baptized children in homes because either a church building didn’t yet exist or was too distant. He baptized Gilbert’s son, Charles, in 1741.

Charles Campbell north and south.png

The second Campbell group, shown in red, settled along the North River in present-day Rockingham County, about 15 miles north of Staunton, then Orange County where we find a description of a deed in 1745. This family’s oral history relates that their ancestor, also Duncan Campbell, never left Scotland before immigrating to the colonies.

The red line is unquestionably not our line.

Gilbert Campbell’s land was located in present day Lexington, further south yet.

In the article, Kevin describes how he determined that the Campbell families of Southwest Virginia, specifically Augusta County, are actually two separate Duncan Campbell lines of Campbell men. This doesn’t mean they are unrelated historically, but it does mean their common ancestor is many generations in the past.

Thankfully, the 2 lines have developed enough mutations over time that patterns exist in both lines that set them apart from each other.

Let me review the relevant portions of the article that are pertinent both geographically and historically, as well as genetically.

This excerpt is indeed exactly how I feel about my Charles Campbell.

“Just looking at land transactions involving Charles Campbell from 1740-1770 in Augusta County and lands just south of Augusta County was disheartening. How many Charles were there? How did they relate? One needed a genealogical chart just to map Charles Campbell.

Who was, or were, Charles Campbell of Augusta County?”

The researcher who said that was Catherine Bushman who reported that there were two Charles Campbells in Augusta County in the 1740s on to past mid-century. One Charles Campbell was found on the North River who held land with Hugh Campbell at Mount Crawford. A second Charles was found on the South Shenandoah River who had multiple, sizeable land holdings. These men lived 20 miles apart.

But neither of these men can be our Charles, because our Charles died about 1825, so he would not have been alive and owning land by 1740.

But still, we have two adult males named Charles who might be the parents or relatives of my Charles. Unfortunately, neither of them appear to live in the green group.

The DNA of the North and South Augusta Campbells

Kevin compared the DNA of several males who are proven to descend from the North and South Augusta County Campbell lines.

On all 10 differentiating markers that form the signatures of the North and South groups, our Charles Campbell men match the South Campbell group, meaning that our Charles Campbell group is more closely related to Duncan Campbell whose descendants lived along the South River – the descendants of “White David” Campbell and his brother Patrick Campbell.

“White David” and Patrick were the sons of John Campbell and Grissel “Grace” Hay, who was reportedly the son of Duncan Campbell and Mary McCoy.

To the best of our knowledge, neither of these families had a Gilbert. Who was Gilbert?

Gilbert Campbell

The descendants of Gilbert Campbell have another defining group of markers that are only found among this group.

Charles Campbell Gilbert markers.png

While all of the testers have tested at marker CDY, only three have tested at markers DYS710 and DYS510. The other two yellow men are deceased, of course, but it’s very likely they would match kit 905207 given their proven line of descent.

The only close Campbell line matches who carry these markers are our three men and the descendant of Gilbert plus an unidentified William born in 1750 in Virginia and died in Alabama. The closest is Gilbert and he’s in the right place at the right time.

So, where did Gilbert Campbell live and what do we know about him?

I reached out to Kevin Campbell again, and he provided what he could. There isn’t much known, but combining what he provided with what I found elsewhere, there is at least something.

Gilbert lived in the right place at the right time, in what is now Lexington, Virginia, located in Rockbridge County.

Gilbert Has a Son, Charles

Perhaps the single most exciting piece of evidence discovered about Gilbert Campbell, in combination with his location, is that he had a son named Charles.

In the book Tinkling Spring, Headwater of Freedom, A Study of the Church and her People 1732-1952 by Howard McKnight Wilson, published in 1954, we discover the following:

Page 73 – The location of this road is shown at strategic points on the original map of Maryland and Virginia made by Colonel Joshua Fry…and Colonel Peter Jefferson…in the year 1751. Leaving Philadelphia, the road went through the present location at Lancaster, PA turned southwest and crossed the Potomac at Williamsferry (now Williamsport, Maryland) and continues south by the present site of Winchester, VA. It kept to the east in the Shenandoah Valley, then down Mill Creek and across North River of the James at Gilbert Campbell’s Ford, and on toward Roanoke, turning southward just west of Tinker’s Creek on the outskirts of the present city of Roanoke.

Page 74 – Orange County, VA court order dated May 23, 1745, the Augusta County people were authorized to make the first improvements upon this road, where it fell within the bounds of the new county. Report of the commissioners is as follows: …Inhabitants between the mountains above Thompson’s Ford and Tinkling Spring do clear the same and the said road continue from Tinkling Spring to Beverley Manor line and that Patrick Campbell, John Buchanan and William Henderson be overseers and that all the inhabitants above Tinkling Spring and Beverley Manor line do clear the same and that the said road continue from Beverley Manor line to Gilbert Campbell’s Ford on the north branch of the James River and…that the road continue from Gilbert Campbell’s Ford to a ford a the Cherry Tree Bottom on the James River…and that a distinct order be given to every gang to clear the same and that it be cleared as it is already blazed and laid off with two notches and a cross…dated April 8, 1745.

Page 471 – Record of Baptisms by Reverend John Craig. Charles Campbell, son of Gilbert Campbell, October 15, 1741, at the house of Gilbert Campbell on the North Branch of the James River.

Woohoooo – look at that!!!

What other records exist for Gilbert and his wife?

In the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia by Lyman Chalkey, Volume 1, page 27, we discover what was surely the high drama soap-opera of the day. Everyone who could possibly attend court would have, and those who couldn’t surely waited anxiously for the sound of hoofbeats upon the road – the first person to return so they could hear what had happened.

Charles Campbell Gilbert 1747.pngCharles Campbell Gilbert 1747 2.png

Of course this begs the question of the identify of Mary Ann Campbell, and was she related to Prudence in some fashion? Unfortunately, Mary Ann is still anonymous, but we do have information on the immediate family members of Gilbert, and she’s not a daughter.

Gilbert Campbell’s Family

The family group sheet provided for Gilbert Campbell by the Clan Campbell Society provides the name of the wife and children of Gilbert. Gilbert’s wife was named Prudence and is reported with a surname spelled both Osran and Puran (Chalkey pages 19 and 22), in Augusta County Court records and elsewhere as Osmun and Ozran. Prudence died before March 16, 1768. The society lists their marriage as having occurred in Pennsylvania, but the source is not mentioned, with information as follows:

Gilbert died before February of 1750 (old date, 1751 new date.)

  • Son James born about 1734 in Ireland, married Elizabeth.
  • Daughter Elizabeth born about 1736 in Ireland, married a Woods.
  • Daughter Prudence born about 1738 in Ireland, married a Hays.
  • Daughter Sarah born about 1740 in Virginia.
  • Son George born October 21, 1740 and died on February 7, 1814, both in Augusta County. Married in 1765 to Agness McClure 1746-1797.
  • Daughter Lettis born in 1743 in Albemarle County married John Woods. (Note that if George was born in Augusta County in 1740, it’s unlikely that Lettis was born in Albemarle.)
  • Charles Campbell born in 1741.

If their date for the birth of Gilbert’s son, James, is accurate, he cannot be the father of our Charles who was born before 1750, based on the dates of the births of his sons. How the society estimated the date of James’ birth is unknown.

Land

In 1742, Gilbert purchased 389 acres of land in the Borden Tract (Forks of the James River, now in Rockbridge County,) from Benjamin Borden for 11 pounds, 13 shillings, and 4 pence. The Crossing of the North Fork of the James (now Murray) River was known as Campbell’s Ferry. Roughly a decade after building his home, Gilbert died. According to Chalkey, persons owning land adjacent to Gilbert’s were John Moore (Chalkley, v3, p263), John Allison (ibid, p. 267-8), Robert Moore (ibit, p. 272) and Joseph Walker (after Gilbert’s death) (ibid, p. 340).

This is interesting because Jane Allison married Robert Campbell, the son of John Campbell and Grissel Hay, in Rockbridge County. Robert wound up in northern Hawkins County, Tennessee and his son James was long believed to be the father of brothers George and John Campbell. I chased this James, and his children for years, and there’s not even a shred of a hint of evidence that he was the father of George and John.

However, there could have been some morsel of truth in that they could have been related.

Gilbert’s Will

The abstract of Gilbert Campbell’s will is found in Lyman Chalkley’s Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Vol. 3, p.19., Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989.

The original is found in Augusta Co. Court, Will Book No. 1, p. 294. The abstract reads as follows, along with additional information:

Page 294: 29th August, 1750. Gilbert Campbell’s will, of Forks of James River, plantationer

  • Wife, Prudence Campbell, alias Osran
  • Son, George (infant)
  • Son Charles (infant)
  • Daughter, Elizabeth Woods, alias Campbell
  • Son, James
  • Daughter, Prudence Hays
  • Daughter, Sarah Campbell
  • Daughter, Lattice Campbell

Executors, James Trimble, Thomas Stuart and Andrew Hays.

Teste: James Thompson, Robert Allison, Alex. McMullen.

Proved, 26 February, 1750 (current 1751), by Thompson and Allison, and probate granted to Andrew Hays.”

Page 308. — 27th February, 1750-51. Andrew Hays’ bond as executor of Gilbert Campbell, with sureties Charles Hays, James Walker.” (Chalkley, v. 3, p. 20).

Page 372. — 23 May 1751. Gilbert Campbell’s appraisement, by Alex. McMullan, Robert Allison, James Thompson, Andrew Hays. (Chalkley, v. 3, p. 22).

Page 373. — 23rd May 1751. Appraisment of goods left by Gilbert Campbell to his wife, Prudence Campbell, alias Puran. (Chalkley, p. 22)

Will Book No. 2. Page 243. — 17th May 1758. George Campbell’s bond (with Robert McElheny, Robt. Moore) as guardian to Lettice Campbell, orphan of Gilbert Campbell.” (Chalkley, v. 3, page 48.)

Chalkley’s Abstracts, Vol 3, p. 102: Will Book No. 4 includes the following statement: “Page 82. . . 16 March 1768. Prudence Campbell’s proven account. . . “

It’s worth noting that James is not mentioned as an infant, meaning he was born before in 1729 or earlier, so the society’s estimate of 1734 is off by several years, unless they have used age 16 as the definition of “not an infant.”

It’s interesting that no guardians were appointed for George or Charles, or those documents haven’t been preserved/discovered/reported.

While Chalkey provides the extract of Gilbert’s will, in an old Rootsweb list posting, Gilbert’s full will is provided by Tim Campbell.

1750 Page 294: 29th August, 1750. Gilbert Campbell’s will, of Forks of James River, plantationer–Wife, Prudence Osran Campbell, alias Osran; son, George Campbell (infant); son, Charles Campbell (infant); daughter, Elizabeth Campbell Woods, alias Campbell; son, James Campbell; daughter, Prudence Campbell Hays; daughter, Sarah Campbell; daughter, Lattice Campbell. Executors, James Trimble, Thomas Stuart and Andrew Hays. Teste: James Thompson, Robert Allison, Alex. McMuIlen. Proved, 26th February, 1751, by Thompson and Allison, and probate granted to Andrew Hays. Augusta County Will Book 1

A copy of this document in is Tim Campbells’ files. Gilbert Campbell left his plantation to wife Prudence until son George came of age, at which time she was to have half, then when son Charles came of age, she was to have just the house and adjacent field, i.e., the 2 boys were to receive parts of the plantation as they came of age. George was to receive the half “next to the river” and Charles was to receive the other half. Children Elizabeth, James and Prudence were to receive one crown apiece. Charles and George were to pay the other 2 siblings, Sarah and Lattice, 2 pounds each and 20 pounds was to be set aside for their well being out of the plantation.

Land Location

Rockbridge County VA Deed book A page 7, April 7, 1778 – Joseph Walker sells to William Graham 291 acres (then in Botetourt, now Rockbridge County), bounded on north by James River, corner Gilbert Campbell’s and John Moore’s.

The part of Rockbridge where Lexington is located appears to have fall into Botetourt County for about a year.

Using Borden’s land grant map located here, along with an index located here, I have been able to locate Gilbert’s land in what is now Lexington, Virginia adjacent a James Campbell who was possibly/probably Gilbert’s brother. One of James’ tracts adjoined Gilberts and another was close by.

Charles Campbell Rockbridge map.png

On the detailed plat maps, here, that can’t be reproduced, tracts 198 and 184 are adjacent, while 172 is a bit more distant on the bend of the river. By searching for the names of Gilbert’s neighbors listed in deeds, you can see that the Moore, Allison and Campbell families all lived adjacent one-another.

Charles Campbell Gilbert google map.png

Looking at Google maps, it’s easy to overlay the approximation of Gilbert’s land, along with that of James. The James who obtained the 434 acres of land in 1756 could have been Gilbert’s son by either age estimation, but he could also have been a brother, other relative, or unrelated. The James obtaining the 175 acres of land adjacent Gilbert’s land in 1768 could have been brother or son, but is likely related.

Charles Campbell Lexington.png

A Campbell researcher descended from Gilbert’s son George tells us the following:

In my visit to the Rockbridge Co Historical Society last year I learned that the town of Lexington is on Gilbert’s plantation of 389 acres. Washington and Lee Univ. sits on top of the hill where Gilbert’s home was located. Gilbert’s ferry was where the waterfall is crossing the now Maury River (renamed from North River.) Has anyone found the marriage for Gilbert and Prudence??? I found in a book at their public library that Gilbert was quite active in the Presbyterian Church. Does anyone know where in Rockbridge he is buried?

Here’s a closer view of that area.

Charles Campbell Gilbert closeup.png

A very, very interesting aspect of this land is that the trail may not go cold with the death of Gilbert. When Gilbert died in 1751, his will dictated that his land descend to his two sons, George and Charles when they came of age.

Additional Charles Campbell Information.

Charles, the son of Gilbert would have come of age in 1762.

Our Charles had sons John and George in about 1770 and 1772, but it’s not known how many other children he might have had, or his wife’s name.

Aside from the names of his sons, the location of his land and neighbors in Hawkins County, the only other firm piece of information that we have about Charles Campbell is that he died sometime before May 31, 1825 when a survey for neighbor Michael Roark mentions the heirs of Charles Campbell. A court record entry says that a deed of sale was to be recorded by Charles’ heirs, but it was never recorded in the deed book, and his heirs names are never given in any Hawkins County record. Nor did he have a will. So frustrating.

In Rockbridge County, formed in 1777 from parts of Augusta and Botetourt County, we find the following records:

  • 1764 John Campbell committed for abusing Henry Filbrick and disrupting the court. Charles Campbell committed for abusing the court.
  • 1764 Charles Campbell qualified as ensign.
  • Vol. 1 March 19, 1765 – John Moore to Charles Campbell, 230 acres in Borden’s track, corner John Houston’s land, Wit William Mann, Archibald Reaugh, Samuel Downey, Delivered to C. Campbell’s executors March 23, 1827.

Note the date in 1827 when this was actually delivered to Charles’ executors.

When I saw this note indicating that Charles Campbell had died by 1827, I became very excited. Is this the same Charles Campbell who had died in Tennessee? Did he still own land, absentee, in Rockbridge County?

John Moore’s land abutted Gilbert Campbell’s. There could be two different John Moores, but this is likely Charles the son of Gilbert.

1765 Page 46.-14th August, 1765. George Campbell, Agness Campbell, his wife, and Prudence Campbell (widow of Gilbert Campbell), his mother, to Andrew McClure, £130,194 acres in Forks of James and in the fork of Wood’s Creek and North Branch of James; corner Joseph Walker. Teste: Jno. McCampbell, Charles Campbell. Delivered: grantee, September 1770. Deed book 12

This 194 acres is probably George’s part of his father’s estate. Note that Charles signs and a John McCampbell does as well, or McCampbell is actually Campbell. Andrew and William McCampbell had grants north of James Campbell who lives on the bend of the river, west of Gilbert.

Of Gilbert’s 389 acre plantation, this leaves 195 acres remaining, plus Prudence Campbell’s house and field.

1766 – Charles Campbell (Borden’s land) appointed appraiser.

Page 137 – May 20, 1766 – Charles Campbell (Borden’s land) appointed Constable.

Page 138 – Charles Campbell – certificate for hemp.

Vol 2 Page 403 – 1767 Charles Campbell listed on Borden land, also noted as a constable.

In 1768, James Campbell also obtained a certificate for hemp. He is also appointed constable.

We know that Gilbert’s son Charles’ brother was James.

Vol 3 Page 484 – May 24, 1769 John Sproul and Margaret to Alexander Wilson, 250 acres in Borden’s tract, corner Andrew Steel and William Alexander, corner Robert Telford, Robert Lowry. Wit Charles Campbell, Thomas Alexander, Robert Wardlaw

April 27, 1769 Thomas Vance and Jenat to John Campbell. 148 acres on the North Branch of James, corner Mr. Thomas Vance, Wit James Cowan, John Alison, Charles Campbell, John Shields Jr.

Given the mention of John Alison and Charles Campbell, this appears to be near Gilbert’s land. The Allisons lived adjacent Gilbert and also directly across the river. There’s a John Campbell involved. He’s not the son of Gilbert – could be be the son of James?

Page 485 – June 15, 1769 Charles Campbell and Margret to Joseph Walker, 199 acres on Woods Creek in Fork of James River, corner Arthur McClure, Joseph Walker’s line, Robert Moore’s line, Wit James Hall, Joseph Walker, Delivered Joseph Walker June 1783

This has to be Charles, the son of Gilbert. The acreage equals exactly that of his share of Gilbert’s land and the neighbors are the same. Joseph Walker was a neighbor of Gilbert Campbell. This is also the timeframe when a Charles Campbell shows up purchasing land in East Tennessee. Did he sell out to move on? The land was sold in 1769, but never “delivered” until 1783.

Between 1768 and 1771, a chancery suite was in process involving Charles Campbell (trustee) for work to be done at the New Providence Meeting House that involved Wardlaw, Houston, Moore, Walker – all familiar names. This church was founded in 1746 on land purchased by the Kennedy family. John Brown, married to Mary Moore, the “Captive of Abbs Valley,” was the pastor for 42 years, resigning in 1794. This church was about 15 miles north of Lexington.

There is a 1773 suit where John is a son of Charles Campbell, so this Charles cannot be ours because his son John was not born until between 1772 and 1775.

Page 196 – Feb. 17, 1778 – Justice in the new Rockbridge County, Charles Campbell. This is likely Gilbert’s son.

1791 – Rockbridge County, VA Deed Book B, p. 340. 11 October 1791, 270 acres from    Robert Harvey and Martha his wife, heirs-at-law to Benjamin Borden dec’d of Botetourt County, VA to Charles Campbell between said Campbell’s plantation and John McCray’s land, Robert Wardlaw’s line. Signed: Robt. Harvey, Martha Harvey, Teste: William Buchanan, William Wardlaw, Wm. Wardlaw, Alexr. Sproul, Jas. Campbell, Delivered Anniel Rodgers per order of Saml. L. Campbell, one of the exors of sd. Chas. Campbell dec’d 26 March 1827.

This deed has a very similar date as the John Moore to Charles Campbell deed in 1765 that was delivered to Charles’ heirs in 1827. This deed goes further though and references Campbell’s plantation. It doesn’t say anything about Charles heirs being in Tennessee, and if this is our Charles, we know for sure that John and George were living in Claiborne County by then, and Charles Campbell was deceased by sometime in 1825 in Hawkins County. Of course, this land could have been owned absentee for all those years by Charles of Hawkins County.

The following deposition was found in the Rockingham County Circuit Court book, page 122:

Mary Greenlee deposes, 10th November, 1806, she and her husband settled in Borden’s Grant in 1737. Her son John was born 4th October, 1738. She, her husband, her father (Emphraim McDowell, then very aged), and her brother, John McDowell, were on their way to Beverley Manor; camped on Linvel’s Creek (the spring before her brother James had raised a crop on South River in Beverley Manor, above Turk’s, near Wood Gap); there Benj. Borden came to their camp and they conducted him to his grant which he had never seen, for which Borden proposed giving 1,000 acres. They went on to the house of John Lewis, near Staunton, who was a relative of Ephraim McDowell. Relates the Milhollin story. They were the first party of white settlers in Borden’s Grant. In two years there were more than 100 settlers. Borden resided with a Mrs. Hunter, whose daughter afterwards married one Guin, to whom he gave the land whereon they lived. Her brother John was killed about Christmas before her son Samuel (first of the name) was born (he was born April, 174xxx). Benj. Borden, Jr., came into the grant in bad plight and seemed to be not much respected by John McDowell’s wife, whom Benj. afterwards married. Jno. Hart had removed to Beverley Manor some time before deponent moved to Borden’s. Joseph Borden had lived with his brother Benj.; went to school, had the smallpox about time of Benj’s. death. When he was about 18 or 19 he left the grant, very much disliked, and dissatisfied with the treatment of his brother’s wife. Beaty was the first surveyor she knew in Borden’s grant. Borden had been in Williamsburg, and there in a frolic Gov. Gooch’s son-in-law, Needler, has given him his interest in the grant. Borden’s executor, Hardin, offered to her brother James all the unsold land for a bottle of wine to anyone who would pay the quit rents, but James refused it because he feared it would run him into jail. This was shortly after Margaret Borden married Jno. Bowyer. John Moore settled in the grant at an early day, where Charles CAMPBELL now lives. Andrew Moore settled where his grandson William now lives. These were also early settlers, viz: Wm. McCandless, Wm. Sawyers, Rob. Campbell, Saml. Wood, John Mathews, Richd. Woods, John Hays and his son Charles Hays, Saml. Walker, John McCraskey. Alexr. Miller was the first blacksmith in the settlement. One Thomas Taylor married Elizabeth Paxton. Taylor was killed by the falling of a tree shortly after the marriage. Miller removed and his land has been in possession of Telford. Deponent’s daughter Mary was born May, 1745. McMullen was also an early settler; he was a school teacher and had a daughter married. John Hays’s was the first mill in the grant. Quit rents were not exacted for 2 years at the instance of Anderson, a preacher.

Wow, talk about a goldmine of historical information!

Given that in 1806 Charles Campbell seems to be still living near where his father lived, by John Moore, this seems to preclude Gilbert from being the father of our Charles Campbell.

However, our Charles could be the son of the early James Campbell, if James was the brother of Gilbert. It’s also possible that our Charles is a grandson of Gilbert through his son, James, who was apparently of age by 1750 when Gilbert wrote his will.

Rockbridge County Tax Lists

Rockbridge County Tax lists are available in some format from 1778 to 1810, so let’s see if we can find a pattern there.

Tax List Name Additional Info Comment
1778 Charles Campbell 2 tithes
Charles Campbell (possible second entry, according to a different source)
George Campbell 2
1782 A (alpha list) Charles Campbell Esq 1 tithe, 2 slaves, Fanny, Dennis, 9 horses, 30 cattle Alexander, John, Henry, Joseph Sr and Jr. Campbell also Crockets
George Campbell 1 tithe 7 horses 12 cattle
George Campbell 1 tithe 6 horses 17 cattle
1783 George 1-0-0-6-14 Tithes, slaves>16, slaves <16, horses cattle,
George 1-0-0-7-9 Joseph, Joseph, John, Alex with note Dougal, Duncan, Henry Campbell
Charles 1-1-1-7-28 Slaves Jenny, Dinnis
1784 George 1-0-0-6-14 Joseph, Hugh, David,
George 1-0-0-6-11
Charles 1-1-1-9-29 Slaves Fanny, Dennis. Other Campbells incl Alexander, Duncan, Henry
1785 George 0-0-0-5-10 John, Joseph, (both no tithes), Joseph, Hugh, Andrew, Duncan, Alex, David, Robert Campbell
George 1-0-0-3-4
Charles 1-1-1-9-28
1786 Charles 1-1-1-11-26 Slaves Fanny and Dennis, other Campbells include Joseph, John (no tithe), Andrew, Henry, Samuel,
1787A George 0-0-0-3-6 Duncan, Henry, Samuel, Robert (no tithes), Alex no white tithes
Charles 1-2-0-11-30
1787B George 0-0-0-3-18 David, John, Joseph, Joseph, Andrew, Hugh
1788 A George 1-0-0-2 Robert, Duncan, Alex, Henry, Samuel,
Charles Campbell, Esq 2-2-0-10
1788B George 0-0-0-4 Andrew, John, Joseph, David, Hugh
1789A George 1-0-0-2 David, Duncan, Alex, Henry, Samuel
Charles 2-2-0-11
1789B George 0-0-0-3 Hugh, John Jr., Andrew, Robert
1790A George 1-0-0-2 Samuel, Henry, Henry Jr, Duncan, Alex, David,
Capt. Charles Campbell 2-2-0-10
George 1-0-0-2
1790B George 1-0-0-4 Alex, Hugh, John, John, Robert
1791A George 1-0-0-2 David, David, Duncan, Henry, Samuel, Alex
George 1-0-0-2
Capt. Charles 3-2-0-10
1791B George 1-0-0-5 John, John, John

I skipped ahead to 1800 and Charles is still on the tax list. He’s easy to recognize because he seems to be wealthier and has more livestock, not to mention slaves.

Given his presence in Rockbridge County, clearly Gilbert isn’t the father of our Charles. But the name Charles clearly runs in Gilbert’s line too.

What About James Campbell?

It’s worth noting that there is no James Campbell on these early tax lists, at all, so the James who owned land in 1756 and 1768 either died or moved on. Could this James be the father of our Charles?

Depending on his age, it’s certainly possible.

The son of Gilbert named James is probably accounted for by an 1804 deed from James Campbell who lives in Kentucky in the suit John McCleland of Rockbridge County vs James Campbell involving the Hays family.

On the muster list of the year 1742 – on Capt. McDowell’s list – Gilbert Camble and James Camble are listed together, so this James was clearly of age then, meaning he could have been the father of Charles Campbell who would have been born in 1750 or earlier.

I need to work on James, in particular land sales, to see if I can figure out what happened to him.

The James Story

The oral history of James Campbell being the father of John and George Campbell took root years ago with an earlier researcher.

Several years ago, Mary Price sent me information titled “Campbell – Dobkins Connections” which she compiled in the 1960s and 1970s before her mother’s death. Unfortunately, Mary was elderly at the time and only sent me the first few pages, although she meant to send the rest and thought she had. I’m hopeful maybe she sent the entire document to another researcher who will be kind enough to share.

Unfortunately, some of the books in Claiborne County (TN) Clerk’s office that Mary accessed were missing by the time I began researching a generation later, and I fear that much of what she found may have gone with her to the grave.

Mary descended from the same John Campbell that I do. All 3 of John’s sons, Jacob, George Washington and William Newton went to Texas.

  • Jacob Campbell was born in 1801 in Claiborne County, TN, had 5 sons and died in Collin County, Texas in 1879/1880.
  • George Washington Campbell was born in 1813 in Claiborne County, died sometime after 1880 and had at one son, John C., born in 1845. In 1860, he’s in Collin County, TX, along with Mary Price’s relatives, in 1870 in Denton County and in 1880, in Cooke County.
  • William Newton Campbell was born in 1817 in Claiborne County and died in 1908 in Davidson, Tillman County, Oklahoma. In 1870, 1880 and 1900, he lived in Denton County, Texas, He had 5 sons, all born in Tennessee and all died in or near either Tilman County, Oklahoma or Ringgold in Montague County, Texas.

Our Documented Campbell Line, According to Mary

Mary Price starts with John Campbell:

John Campbell was probably born in Shenandoah Co., Va. in the 1770s. In the 1950s a descendant of John Campbell interviewed some of his uncles in Texas who were in their eighties as to the name of John’s father. They all said his name was James Campbell as they were told by their grandparents.

That means the uncles would have been born in the 1870s and were probably second-generation Texans.

There is a James on the 1783 tax list for Shenandoah Co., Va. It is not known if he ever moved to Tennessee. Perhaps he did, to Jefferson Co., Tn., however, we have no proof. We researchers have found that there were new numerous Campbell families – all using the same first names – in almost every county searched.

We have been unable to find a will or an estate settlement for this James Campbell.

Claiborne Co., Tn. was formed in 1801 from parts of Grainger and Hawkins Co. We find our John Campbell serving on the jury in 1803. In 1802 our John purchased land in Claiborne Co., Tn. from Alexander Outlaw. Outlaw lived in Jefferson Co., Tn. and was married to a Campbell lady. This Alexander Outlaw also had dealings with our Jacob Dobkins in Jefferson Co., and also with our Dodsons in Jefferson Co., Tn.

Mary’s family was from Tom, Oklahoma, east of that area, but her grandfather, Lazarus Dobkins Dodson, according to Mary, settled in Texas in the 1880s or 1890s near the Campbell relatives. He married in Denton County in 1899 and died in Cass County in 1964.

Charles Campbell Texas.png

Given the proximity, I’d wager that the Campbell men Mary mentions were the ones in Collin County. Given the people involved, they were at least 3, if not 4 generations removed from John Campbell, and of course, they had never lived in Claiborne County. Their grandparents or great-grandparents moved to Texas.

George and John Campbell’s father appears strongly to be Charles Campbell, not a James. There is no James that fits. But Charles, who lives in the neighbor county, on Dodson Creek, down the road from the Dobkins family, sells land to his sons, John and George, who jointly dispose of that land just before arriving in Claiborne County. In Claiborne, they are both married to Dobkins sisters and live very close to Jacob Dobkins, their father-in-law. Furthermore, I match 45 Dobkins descendants who descend through other children of Jacob Dobkins.

It’s not surprising, several generations removed, that Mary’s relatives remembered the name of John’s father incorrectly, but John’s grandfather may indeed have been James.

It’s worth nothing that the name Gilbert never appears in the children of John or George.

John Campbell has children:

  • Jacob (his wife’s father’s name)
  • Elizabeth (his wife’s sister’s name)
  • Elmira
  • Jane
  • Martha
  • Rutha
  • George Washington (George is his brother’s name)
  • William Newton

George Campbell has children:

  • Dorcas (his wife’s mother’s name)
  • Peggy
  • Jenny (his wife’s sister’s name)
  • Charles (his father’s name)
  • James
  • John (his brother’s name)
  • Elizabeth (his wife’s name)

Back to Mary’s Story

The Campbell family, from which our John Campbell descended were originally from Inverary, Argylishire, connected with the famous Campbell clans of the Highlands of Scotland, and emigrated to Ireland near the close of the reign of Queen Elizabeth in about the year 1600. The Northern portion of Ireland received, in that period, large accessions of Scotch Protestants, who proved to be valuable and useful citizens. Here the Campbells continued to live for several generations until at length, the emigrant and progenitor of our Campbell Clan to America, old John Campbell arrived in 1726 in Donegal, Lancaster, Pennsylvania with 10 or 12 children.

Some of his children had already married and had children of their own. It did not take long for them to start making records. Old John Campbell’s son, Patrick who was born in about 1690 was serving as a constable by 1729.

About 1730, old John Campbell along with 3 of his sons, Patrick among them, removed from Pennsylvania to what was then a part of Orange Co., which later became Augusta Co., in the rich Shenandoah Valley of Va.

This Patrick Campbell became the ancestor of the famous General William Campbell and William brother-in-law and first cousin, Arthur Campbell. These two men were prominent men in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee during the time of our Campbell’s there.

Arthur Campbell (1743-1811) lived just over the Claiborne County, TN border in Middlesboro, KY, with his son James transacting business in Claiborne County. I chased this line for years and it’s not ours.

Our line of Campbell (John) was no doubt close kin to them, but so many John Campbells, that I cannot tie him in or document him for sure.  But I do not have any doubt that this is the clan we descend from.

The Campbell family that eventually migrated to Claiborne County Tennessee is first documented with Dugal Campbell in 1490 in Inverary, Argylershire, Scotland and is the Campbell clan. His son Duncan b 1529 had son Patrick b 1550 who had Hugh b 1580 who had Andrew b 1615 who had son Duncan b 1645 who married Mary McCoy in 1672. Duncan and Mary immigrated to America with their children and grandchildren.

Their oldest son, John was born in Drumboden, near Londonderry, Ireland and married Grissel Hay, but died on the boat to America in 1725. However, they already had children, Robert b 1718 in County Down Ireland, died Dec. 24, 1810 in Carters Valley, Hawkins Valley, Tn, Archibald, Colin, William and Catharine. Some researchers show additional children.

Robert Campbell married Letitia Crockett b 1720/30 d abt 1758 in Prince Edward Co, Va. They had James Campbell b 1745/49 died before May 31 1792 in Carters Valley, Hawkins Co, Tn., Alexander b 1747, Elizabeth b 1751, Catharine b 1753, Anna b 1755, Jane b 1757, Martha b 1757, and Robert b 1761.

James and Letitia Allison, a niece of his father’s second wife Jane Allison, had John Campbell b 1772/75 d Sep 22, 1838, Elizabeth and George b 1770. James was killed by the fall of the limb of a tree while at work stocking a plow at his home in Carter’s Valley, 19 miles from Rogersville, Tn. The widow married William Pallett, settling in Warren Co.

Mary states the informatoin about John Campbell who died in 1838, meaning our John, being the son of James Campbell and Letitia Allison as fact, but it was then and is still unproven. She had found a James Campbell and assigned John to him.

I chased the Robert Campbell family too, relentlessly, for more than a decade – researching on site, finding Robert’s land and several cemeteries but not any sons of the James who died there in Carter Valley in 1792. There’s NO evidence that he’s the father of John. Nothing in the court records for orphans at his death. Nothing at all.

Robert Campbell Carter Valley.jpg

The land in Carter Valley is beautiful, and I was sad that I couldn’t find any evidence since Mary had seemed so sure. It was a beautiful wild goose chase:)

Robert Campbell Carter Valley Cemetery.jpg

It is interesting to note though that Robert Campbell settled for some time in Rockbridge County, married an Allison, and is found on tax lists before moving on to Hawkins County. He probably knew Gilbert and may have been related.

However, there is absolutely no connection found between Robert’s son, James, or his widow and her second husband, to Claiborne County or any John or George Campbell. Believe me, I tried.

Given the name of Allison, and the affiliation of Gilbert Campbell with Allisons and Crockets in Rockbridge County, I’m not entirely convinced the Prince Edward County Campbell’s were terribly far removed from the Rockbridge County Campbells. They may have know they were related and may have been relatively closely related, aunt/uncle, first cousins, even undocumented siblings perhaps.

The name of James Campbell may still be important in our search, because Gilbert Campbell’s brother appears to be James, or at least a James is associated with Gilbert in some way, aside from being his son. A William Campbell lives close by too.

Y DNA would not be able to differentiate between brothers and autosomal DNA is too many generations removed. If we knew the names of James Campbell’s wife, meaning the James who was the probable brother of Gilbert, we might be able to use autosomal DNA to determine a connection with her family.

However, without additional actual documentary evidence, such as information about James, his wife or even a definitive surname for Prudence, we’re mired in the mud.

According to Governor David Campbell

The grandson of “White David” Campbell, to differentiate him from his cousin “Black David” due to his fair coloring, not as a racist designation, became governor of Virginia and thankfully recorded a great deal, in his own handwriting, which has been preserved today at Duke University.

Ken Norfleet, perhaps the preeminent Campbell researcher, quotes David as follows after providing an introduction:

THE ANCESTORS OF JOHN CAMPBELL

I have no documentary evidence which substantiates the existance of any of the early generations of Campbells prior to John Campbell (d. 1741), husband of Grace Hay. Hence, mention of these early Campbells should be carefully qualified. The early generations of Campbells shown in this genealogical report are those cited by Governor David Campbell in a note I found among his papers (see below).

NOTE OF GOVERNOR DAVID CAMPBELL OF VA

Governor David Campbell (1779-1859) of VA was a meticulous researcher and it is mainly due to his work that the story of John Campbell and Grace Hay (parents of White David) and their descendants has survived. Governor Campbell’s papers and other documents are part of the Campbell Papers Collection (about 8,000 documents) located at Duke University, Durham NC. A microfilm copy of the Campbell Papers is located at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. In 1996, while reviewing this microfilm copy, I found the following note, in Governor David Campbell’s handwriting, on microfilm reel number 1 (my comments are in brackets):

“Genealogy – The Campbell Family

“The farthest back the Campbell family can be traced is to Duncan Campbell of Inverary, Scotland, the place where the old Duke of Argyle and most of the Scotch [sic] Campbells lived. It was in the latter part of Queen Elizabeth’s reign that Duncan Campbell moved from Inverary to Ireland. Not long afterwards, in the reign of James First, when he had come to the throne, forfeitures were declared at Ulster in 1612, and Duncan Campbell bought a lease of the forfeited land from one of the English officers. One of his sons, Patrick, bought out the lease and estate in remainder, whereby he acquired the [land in] fee simple. How many other sons Duncan may have had is not known.

“Patrick had a son Hugh, and he a son Andrew. The generations from Andrew to our great-grandfather John [husband of Grace Hay] are not stated. It should be to Duncan, father of John Campbell, [who] emigrated to America with his family in the year 1726 and settled in the Sweet Ara river where Lancaster now stands in Pennsylvania. He [meaning John Campbell, husband of Grace Hay] had six sons, Patrick, John, William, James, Robert and David. Three – to wit – John, William and James were never married. John died in in England having gone there with Lord Boyne and became [his] steward.”

LETTER OF GOVERNOR DAVID CAMPBELL TO LYMAN DRAPER

Governor David Campbell (1779-1859), in a letter to Lyman Draper, dated 12 Dec 1840, had this to say concerning the origin of his branch (White David’s) of the Campbell Clan in America (my comments are in brackets):

” … The Campbell family from which I am descended were originally from Inverary in the Highlands of Scotland – came to Ireland in the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth & thence to America. John Campbell [husband of Grace Hay] my great grandfather and the great grandfather of Gen’l William Campbell of the Revolution came from Ireland with a family of ten or twelve children, leaving behind him only one son, and settled near Lancaster in Pennsylvania in the year 1726. His eldest son Patrick was the grandfather of Gen’l William Campbell. His youngest son David [White David] was the father of Col Arthur Campbell and my grandfather. So that Gen’l Campbell and myself were second cousins. The family remained in Pennsylvania but a few years and then removed to the frontiers of Virginia, in that part which afterwards formed the county of Augusta. Here they lived many years. John Campbell (my father) the eldest son of David and Col Arthur Campbell the second son were born, raised and educated in this county. Gen’l William Campbell was also born, raised and educated here. …” [see Draper Manuscripts, Kings Mountain Papers, 10DD6, pages 1 and 2.]

From my own research, I can place these Campbells in Beverley Manor by 1738 – in that year Patrick Campbell acquired 1546 acres of land in the Manor. John Campbell (husband of Grace Hay) died in about 1741 as his estate was appraised/inventoried in that year. In summary, based on my own research among the records of Orange and Augusta Counties VA, Governor David Campbell’s story of the origins of his family in America appear to be entirely reasonable.

E-MAIL MESSAGE OF DIARMID CAMPBELL RE ANCESTORS OF JOHN CAMPBELL

Date:01 January 1998

” …although a number of people have attempted research in Ireland absolutely no further information has appeared about the ancestry of Duncan Campbell who married Mary McCoy.

“Pilcher states quite clearly at one point in her book that her information on those earlier (likely fictitious generations going back to Inverary) were taken by her from an elderly relation who thought she remembered that information. Pilcher had not intended to publish her book and it might have been better had she not, since the misinformation has misled so many and God knows how many family histories have now been published giving her bogus material as their source. Her later material appears to be more sound, although since she often gives no sources or references (as to where material was found), it means that anyone of the descents of those whom she outlines has to re-do the research.

“I have also thought that there might be some connection between the Drumaboden and the 18th century Virginia Campbells. But none has as yet appeared. Two professional research efforts in Ireland have so far been conducted, one just completed and the other in the ’80s.These were conducted by getting a group of descendants to put up some funds each and were coordinated through the Genealogists of the Clan Campbell Society of the time. While both were helpful in clarifying where no information could be found (so making easier any future research efforts), neither produced any clarification on the ancestry of either family going back from Ireland to Scotland.

“If you want the results of the second research effort you could write to the Society Genealogist, Dr.Ruby G. Campbell PhD, 3310 Fairway Drive, Baton Rouge LA 70809 USA, and ask her to let you know what to send her for the photocopying and mailing costs. But the information is not, I seem to remember, directly concerned with Drumaboden. …

” … There are in fact three sets of Northern Irish Campbells who may or may not be connected: Drumaboden, Duncan and his cousin Dugald Campbell, and the 18th century Virginia Campbells descended from one John Campbell who came over to Pennsylvania at a fairly advanced age in the 1720s or 30s.”

What Does This Mean, Exactly?

You may be wondering right about now what all of this means, to me. You might be wondering why I just didn’t stop when I discovered that Gilbert’s son, Charles never left Rockbridge County.

Clearly, my Charles in Hawkins County can’t be Gilbert’s son – so why didn’t I just throw in the towel and call it a day?

Negative evidence isn’t all bad, even though it’s disappointing when we were hoping for something more.

Let me just say that I’m really grateful that I did the extra research NOW, not in Rockbridge County in 3 weeks, because that’s where I was headed.

To be quite clear, it’s still possible that my Campbell line descends from James, Gilbert’s probable brother or possibly Gilbert’s son, James – although that’s much less likely, given his age. I need to find deed records for the earlire James selling his land to determine what happened to him, and if he can potentially be the father of my Charles.

However, even if we don’t know the identity of Charles Campbell’s father, YET, we know one heck of a lot more now than we did before this exercise, such as:

1 – We know that we don’t match the North River Campbells, and I can disregard those lines.

2 – We know that we DO match the following South River line in some way:

  • Duncan Campbell and Mary Ramsey
  • John Campbell (the immigrant) and unknown wife
  • John Campbell (1645) and Mary McCoy
  • John Campbell (1674) and Grace/Grizel Hay, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1726. They had 6 sons. John died in England and James in Ireland, leaving Robert and William who never married, along with Patrick and “White David.”

3 – We know that we match Gilbert’s Y DNA more closely than any other lineage,  represented by descendants of the South River group in Augusta County through John and Grace’s sons David and Patrick Campbell.

4 – We have discovered a unique Y DNA “signature” in our line that will assuredly help us unravel future matches – and may lead to another match that is even more revealing.

5 – We have identified a James Campbell to follow. Given the close geographic proximity of James to Gilbert, as well as the “rumor” of James in our line, in addition to the fact that George named a son James – the James who owned land adjacent to and near Gilbert may in fact still be a good candidate. In fact, right now, he’s our best candidate!

I’d love to discover more about that James Campbell and locate a Y DNA descendant to test.

Seeking James Campbell

Do you descend from a James Campbell found in Orange, Augusta or Rockbridge County, Virginia in the 1740s through 1770s? Did he own land on the James River sometimes after 1756 and before 1782?

We know by 1782 that James wasn’t living in Rockbridge County, because he’s absent from the tax lists.

Do you know the name of the wife of the James Campbell who was associated with Gilbert Campbell?

Do you descend from Gilbert Campbell and his wife, Prudence?

If you descend from the Augusta, Rockingham or Rockbridge County Campbells or from the Lancaster County, PA lineage, have you DNA tested?

I’d love to hear from you.

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23andMe Automatically Creates Tree Using New Technology – Relationship Triangulation

23andMe has introduced a new tree feature that automatically creates a “tree” for you based on your predicted relationships to others and their predicted relationships to each other. 23andMe hasn’t coined a term for this, but I’m calling it Relationship Triangulation.

Let’s look at traditional forms of triangulation and how Relationship Triangulation is different.

Triangulation

Segment Triangulation – In traditional triangulation for genetic genealogists, we match the same (reasonably sized) segments between a minimum of 3 not-closely-related people to assign that segment to a common ancestor. Of course, in this scenario, you need to know who your ancestors are – at least some of them.

Once enough people test and match on that segment, hopefully at least a few will be able to identify a common ancestor or minimally, an ancestral line. You can read about this type of triangulation here and a more detailed article here.

Tree Triangulation – Genealogists use what I refer to as “tree triangulation” when segment data isn’t available, like at Ancestry, or when they are seeking to determine parentage.

Adoptees use this method of triangulation where they look at the trees of their closest matches, hoping to discover a common ancestor in their close matches’ trees – because that points the way to a descendant of those ancestors who is their biological parent.

I’ve described this technique in the article, Identifying Unknown Parents and Individuals Using DNA Matching.

Relationship Triangulation

What 23andMe is doing with relationship triangulation is different yet.

They are using the same techniques used by genetic genealogists manually to try to place their matches in their trees. In essence, we perform the following steps:

  1. Look at the predicted relationship provided by the testing company in order to get an estimation of where that person might fit in our tree – in other words, how far back in the tree the common ancestor will be found. First cousins share grandparents, second cousins share great-grandparents, etc. Additionally, I utilize the relationship table at DNAPainter to view alternative relationships based on total shared DNA.
  2. Look at who we and our match matches in common. For example, if the match also matches my first cousin on my father’s side, there’s a high probability that’s where the person fits on my tree. If they also match with my second and third cousin on my father’s side, especially if they match on the same segment (traditional segment triangulation) then I not only know which “side” they match on, I can push the match back several generations to the common ancestor or ancestral couple I share with the third cousin.
  3. If I also have detailed haplogroup information about the ancestors in my family tree, and my match also has haplogroup information, I can use that to rule out or include lines as potential placements. 23andMe provides haplogroup estimates at a high level, not at a detailed level, but they can still serve to rule out various lineage placements on the tree when compared with other people. For example, if a person’s mitochondrial haplogroup is J1c, they can’t be the child of a female ancestor whose haplogroup is H1a. This is exactly why I have constructed a DNA Pedigree Chart.

What is 23andMe Doing?

I don’t have any inside information about exactly how 23andMe is constructing this tree, but they published the following. The difference, of course, is that they have automated the process and they don’t have customers’ trees to work with.

This information is found on your account at 23andMe under the 3 dots at the upper right-hand side of the tree itself, which I’ll show you how to access in a moment.

23andMe tree options.png

23andMe tree about.png

23andMe tree predicting.png

23andMe will probably provide additional information and make adjustments as this feature comes out of beta – including the ability to modify relationships which are inaccurate – and several are.

Beta is Required

In order to utilize the new tree feature, you must enable Beta for your account, which you can find under your name in the Setting area.

23andMe FamilySearch settings

If you need help, I wrote detailed instructions for enabling Beta in this article.

Accessing Your Tree

You can access the new tree feature in 2 ways.

23andMe DNA Relatives 2.png

At the top, under Ancestry, select DNA Relatives

23andme DNA Relatives selection.png

Scroll to the very bottom.

23andMe Family Tree beta.png

To see your tree, click on the Family Tree link.

The second way to access your tree is under DNA Relatives. When you click on any specific person, if they are in your tree, you’ll see the following:

23andMe tree cousin.png

The “View your Family Tree” button takes you to your family tree.

Your Squiggly Relationship Triangulation Tree

Please click to enlarge this tree in the image below. The font for names is small, but at 23andMe, you can zoom in on various sections.

23andMe tree

Click to enlarge

When you first see your tree, it looks a bit odd and takes a some getting used to because it looks different than the trees genealogists are used to working with.

Here’s what the blue box contents say:

23andMe tree blue.png

23andMe tree blue 2.png

23andMe tree blue 3.png

I tried to see if there was a way to add people in my tree. When you click, the node enlarges, but there isn’t anything to be done yet.

23andMe tree closeup.png

How Is 23andMe Creating Relationship Trees?

23andMe is constructing my family tree based on how I’m related to people, and how they are related to each other as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are also using their basic haplogroup information.

Let’s look at how this works.

My two children have tested. I did not tell 23andMe that they are my children, but because both of their mitochondrial haplogroups are the same, and I’m related to both of them in a parent/child relationship, and they are related to each other as siblings, I have to be their mother. That’s the only combination of relationships that works for the three of us.

If one of them was my parent, they would not be related to each other as siblings.

One could be my parent, and one my child, but then, again, they would not be related to each other as siblings.

Furthermore, my son would carry my mitochondrial haplogroup, but I would not carry my father’s mitochondrial haplogroup, so my relationship to him cannot be that he is my father. It would be very unlikely for a father’s mitochondrial haplogroup to match a child by happenstance although that’s not impossible, especially with only partial haplogroups with no full sequence testing. If you’re interested in the difference, you can read more about that here.

Lastly, my children would be related to a subset of the people I’m related to, but (in general) sharing less DNA, so a generation removed. If one of them was my parent, I would be related to a subset of the people they are related to.

23andMe is also looking at who shares DNA with other relatives.

23andMe tree relatives.png

In this DNA Relatives chart comparing me with cousin Laura, you can see that she and I share a common segment of DNA with my twin and with “J”, meaning we have segment triangulation, although my V4 kit doesn’t count for triangulation because it’s a duplicate. Additionally, Laura and I both match Trista, but Laura, Trista and I don’t share a common DNA segment between the three of us.

Laura, “J,” Trista and my V4 test are all shown in my tree. We’ll analyze those matches momentarily.

My Two Results

You’ll notice that I have two tests at 23andMe. I took a V3 test and another V4 test when it was introduced to see if my results were the same. 23andMe accurately calculated this as a “twin” relationship.

In general, the results are close, but not exactly the same. Interestingly, my V3 tree has 2 more cousins than my V4 tree. Of course, the need to “fit people in” on the tree means the layout looks different between the two trees, so I’m only going to work with one set of results in order to reduce confusion.

It’s confusing to look at both trees side by side, because these trees are auto-generated to “best fit” the branches with the available screen space – so the branches are not in the same place on both trees. As more cousins are added to your tree, the layout will change.

Paths

For each person in your created tree, you can click on the person you match and the path from them to you highlights.

I have to laugh, because there is a quilt pattern named “Drunkard’s Path,” and it’s much straighter than this path from my second cousin, Patricia, to me.

23andMe tree path.png

Of course, today there are no names on these “?” ancestor nodes but I know who they are.

Let’s take a look to see if these placements are accurate.

Identifying Nodes on the Tree

Based on where my matches are placed, I determined the identity of the “connecting couple” nodes on my tree and utilized Snagit to mark up the 23andMe tree, below.

You can see that I’ve labeled my mother and father, based on what I know about the various people that I match. For example, I know where my Ferverda cousins reside on my tree, so those cousins must be on my mother’s side.

Conversely, my Vannoy cousins must be on my father’s side.

In my case, my mother is on the left and my father on the right, which is backwards to the normal genealogist pedigree way of thinking. However, without any tree information at all, 23andMe is flying completely blind.

23andMe tree markup

Click to enlarge

I analyzed each of my 18 matches that 23andMe placed on my tree, of my 1553 total matches at 23andMe.

Accurate Placements

The gold stars indicate accurate placements. There are a total of 7 gold stars, BUT, of those 7, one is my own second kit which clearly is my “identical twin.” Two are my children whose accounts I manage. Of the balance, there are:

  • one 1C1R
  • one second cousin
  • two third cousins

There are a total of 4 accurate placements that are not immediate family members whose kits I manage.

Why might a placement not be accurate? 23andMe says the following:

23andMe unexpected.png

This is exactly why I utilize the DNAPainter segment tool to evaluate different possibilities for the matching total centiMorgans.

Unknown Placements

Green boxes on my tree are people who are unknown, but based on their common matches with known cousins, they are in the right general area of my tree. I wish I could tell more.

With 23andMe’s historic lack of tree support, and few people having added surnames or recently, ancestors through Family Search, it’s impossible to determine how these matches descend from common ancestors. The best I can do based on common matches and shared DNA is to determine and assign “sides” and sometimes roughly how many generations back to the common ancestor.

Hopefully, once people can actually identify ancestors on their trees, this may well improve. I’m concerned that so many years have passed with no tree support that many people aren’t signing in anymore, will never notice the tree feature and won’t add anything. I hope I’m wrong.

There are only 4 people in my tree whose relationship to me is unknown. Perhaps I should send them a message. I do know approximately where they belong on the tree, so I could at least ask some leading questions with surnames I think they might recognize.

Uncertain Placement

The gold box is an uncertain placement. Based on common matches, this person descends from Ollie Bolton’s parents’ line, not from Joel Vannoy and Phebe Crumley. However, Diane also matches Patricia M who descends from my mother’s line, so she could be doubly related to me. Those lines are not even from the same state, so this person is a bit of an anomaly.

This causes me to wonder how 23andMe will handle situations where a match does descend from both sides of a person’s tree.

I should send her a message too.

Inaccurate Placements

The red boxes indicate placements that are known to be incorrect, and why they are incorrect. When the placement needs to be moved to another connecting node couple, I’ve drawn a red arrow.

I’ve numbered the red boxes so we can discuss each one.

In box #1, Cheryl is identified correctly as to her relationship with me, as is “J,” but their relationship to each other is inaccurate. They are half siblings, not first cousins.

In boxes #2 and #3, these people are shown descending from my grandparents, when in reality, they descend from my great-grandparents. Of course, this makes their relationship to me inaccurate too.

In box #4, my half-grand-niece, meaning my half-sister’s granddaughter is shown as descending through another child of my grandparents, when in fact, she descends from my father and his first wife. My father needs another spouse in the chart and the relationship needs to be calculated accordingly.

In box #5, both individuals are actually one more generation further down the tree than they are shown, so the relationship needs to be recalculated.

Summary

How did 23andMe do with their automated Relationship Triangulation tree construction?

23andMe summary.png

  • One third, 33%, are inaccurate..
  • The close family matches, 17%, are accurate, but really don’t count – those were freebies.
  • There are exactly as many unknown as accurate, 22%.
  • 6% are uncertain, meaning I can’t tell if this person is accurately placed or not, because the matches are confusing.
  • Of my total 1553 matches, 1.16% were placed in a tree. I wonder if 23andMe has drawn an arbitrary line at 3rd cousins, at least for now.

Given that this tree was entirely constructed by 23andMe without any genealogical foreknowledge, based only upon genetic relationships to me along with genetic relationships of my matches to each other – this isn’t bad at all. It’s certainly a start.

Adoptees must think they’ve died and gone to the happy hereafter, because all other vendors’ tree support requires you to actually HAVE a tree of some description. Of course, adoptees and people seeking an unknown parent don’t have trees for their unknown parents.

23andMe creates a tree from scratch for you based only on genetic relationships – Relationship Triangulation.

While only one third of these matches are accurately placed today, all were at least on the correct side of the tree, with one confusing possible exception. Genealogists already know that things like pedigree collapse and endogamy will complicate efforts like this.

My mother’s side was accurately identified to appropriate great-grandparents, but my father’s side wasn’t as clean, especially where “half” relationships are involved.

It would be interesting to combine the Leeds Method or Genetic Affairs clustering with the 23andMe technology and see what those results look like.

23andMe would be in a much better position had they never obsoleted tree support years ago. They have never been a “genealogy” company, with their focus always having been on medical genetics. Genealogists, with their incessant need to know were the perfect people to attract to test. 23andMe has always given us “just enough,” but never trees or the heavy duty tools we need.

Perhaps the tide has turned and this is their way of reintroducing a hybrid genetic+genealogy tree.

The Future

In the short-term future, 23andMe is going to add the ability to define and modify relationships on this tree, which will help them refine and improve their machine learning tools. This will also help with their medical research initiatives because clearly, the companies they partner with want to know specifically, not generally, about the heritability of medical traits.

Trees encourage genealogists to provide 23andMe with family information for their medical research, while trees clearly benefit genealogists too.

In the longer term, for genealogists, let’s hope that the marriage of genetics, machine learning, trees and technology produces helpful tools.

This Relationship Triangulation tree is interesting and fascinating, if not yet terribly useful. This technology holds a lot of promise and every innovation begins with a imperfect tenuous first step.

Who knows what the future will bring, either at 23andMe or perhaps as other vendors integrate this same type of technology.

You can’t play if you don’t test and 23andMe does not accept uploads.

If you would like to take the 23andMe genealogy only test, click here or if you want the 23andMe genealogy + health test, click here.

If you have already tested, check your account for your new tree and tell me what you think!

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Superpower: Your Aunts’ and Uncles’ DNA is Your DNA Too – Maximize Those Matches!

Recently a reader, Ian, dropped me a note suggesting that perhaps not everyone understands the 2-fer value of close family members who DNA test.

That’s “two for the price of one.”

Even just one family member like an aunt or uncle, or a great-aunt or great-uncle is a goldmine.

Here’s why.

sibling matching.png

In the chart above, you, in green, obtained 50% of your DNA from each parent. Each of your parents gave you have of thier autosomal DNA.

Your parent shares approximately 50% of their DNA with their full sibling who is your aunt (or uncle,) shown in yellow.

Full siblings each receive half of their parents’ DNA, just not the same exact half. That’s why you need to test your own siblings if your parents aren’t BOTH available for testing.

You share about 25% of your DNA with any aunt or uncle, shown in yellow. Your 25% shared DNA came from your grandparents.

The Important Part

But here’s the really important part:

  • ALL of the DNA that your aunt or uncle carries is your ancestors’ DNA too – even though you only match your aunt/uncle on 25% of their DNA.
  • ALL OF THEIR DNA IS AS RELEVANT TO YOU AS YOUR OWN!
  • The other 75% of the DNA that they have, and you don’t, was inherited from your grandparents. There’s no place else for your full aunt or uncle to receive DNA.

You can utilize the DNA of a full aunt or uncle JUST LIKE YOU UTILIZE YOUR OWN MATCHES.

The 2-Fer

Here’s the 2-fer.

  1. Anyone you match in common with your aunt or uncle is identified to those grandparents or their ancestors. That’s about 25%.
  2. Anyone that your aunt or uncle matches in common with another family member that you don’t match but where you can identify the common ancestor provides you with information you can’t discover from your own DNA.

Their Matches are “Your Matches” Too – ALL OF THEM

Yes, all of them – even the people you don’t match yourself – because ALL of your aunts or uncles ancestors are your ancestors too.

Think about it this way, if you and your aunt both have 4000 matches (as an example) and you share 25% of those – you’ll be able to assign 1000 people to that parent’s side of your tree through common matches with your aunt.

However, your aunt will have another 3000 matches that you don’t share with her. All 3000 of those matches are equally as relevant to you as your own matches.

This is true even if your parent has tested, because your aunt or uncle inherited DNA from your grandparents that your parent didn’t inherit.

So instead of identifying just 1000 of your matches in common, you get the bonus of an additional 3000 of your aunt’s matches that you don’t have, so 4000 total matches of your own plus all 4000 of hers – 3000 of which are different from yours! That’s a total of 7000 unique matches for you to work with, not just your own 4000!

Your Matches 4000
Aunt’s Matches 4000
Common Matches -1000
Total Unique Matches 7000

Moving Back Another Generation

If you’re lucky enough to have a great-aunt or great-uncle, shown in peach, the same situation applies.

You’ll share about 12.5% of your DNA with them, so you’ll only share about 500 of your 4000 matches, BUT, all 4000 of their matches are in essence your matches too because your great-aunt or great-uncle carries only the DNA of your great-grandparents, giving you 7500 unique matches to work with, using our example numbers.

Every aunt or uncle (or great-aunt or great-uncle) will provide you with some matches that other family members don’t have.

Whatever analysis techniques you use for your own DNA – do exactly the same for them – and test them at or transfer their DNA file to every vendor (with their permission of course) – while you can. Here’s an article about DNA testing and transfer strategies to help you understand available options.

Genetic Gold

Their DNA is every bit as valuable as your own – and probably more so because it represents part of your grandparents and/or great-grandparents DNA that your own parents and/or grandparents didn’t inherit. Without aunts and uncles, that DNA may be lost to you forever.

If your parents or grandparents have multiple living siblings  – test all of them. If they have half-siblings, test them too, although only part of half siblings’ matches will be relevant to you, so you can’t treat them exactly the same as full sibling matches.

While you’re testing, be sure to test their Y and mitochondrial DNA lines at Family Tree DNA, the only company to offer this type of testing, if their Y and mitochondrial DNA is different than your own. If you don’t understand about the different kinds of DNA that can be tested, why you’d want to and inheritance paths, here’s a short article that explains.

You can always test yourself, but once other people have passed away, valuable, irreplaceable genetic information goes with them.

Any DNA information that you can recover from earlier generations is genetic gold.

Who do you have to test?

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Family Tree DNA Dashboard Gets a New Skin

I signed into an account at FamilyTreeDNA and a surprise was waiting for me. FamilyTreeDNA molted and the dashboard on everyone’s personal page has a new look and feel.

New dashboard

Click to enlarge

The various tests along with results are at the right, and other information including updates, projects and badges are on the left.

New dashboard 2

Click to enlarge

Additional features, tests, tools and family trees are at the bottom.

New dashboard 3

Click to enlarge

Unfortunately, the tree is now at the very bottom – out of sight which means it will be more out of mind than it already is. We need more people to participate in trees, not fewer☹

But there are lots of improvements. Let’s step through each new feature and take a look.

Tutorial

At the very top of the page, under the gear setting at far right, you’ll see several options.

New dashboard tutorial.png

The first option is “View Tutorial” and that’s where I suggest that you start. The quick tutorial shows you how to rearrange your dashboard and how to add Quick Links – two new features.

Rearranging the Furniture

New dashboard rearrange.png

By clicking on “Rearrange Dashboard” you can move the test blocks around.

New dashboard move

Click to enlarge

When you click on “Rearrange,” the boxes appear with dotted lines around them and all you have to do is click on one and pull it where you want, then click to place and release it.

When finished, click on “Exit Rearrange.” This is easy and you can’t hurt anything, so experiment.

Previous Version

Don’t like the new dashboard at all, click on “View Previous Version,” but please don’t do that yet, because I think you’re going to like what comes next.

New dashboard previous.png

Quick Links

New dashboard quick links.png

At upper left, you can add up to 5 Quick Links, one at a time. These would be the functions you access the most.

New dashboard add quick links.png

Let’s see, what do I do most? That’s easy, Family Finder matches, then linking people in my family tree, then Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA matches, then the Big Y Block Tree.

New dashboard quick links 5

Click to enlarge

Now all I have to do is click on one of these links.

Format Changes

Now, all tools are shown full size on the product tabs. Previously, Advanced Matching, the Matrix and the Data Download were located in small print beneath the feature tabs. They’ve been moved up with the rest where they are much more visible and easy to notice.

New dashboard format

Click to enlarge

The Learning Center is shown as well.

Upgrades

Another feature I like is that it’s easy to see at a glance what level of each test you’ve taken. In the upper right corner of each product where there are different levels, the tests you’ve taken are darkened. In the example above, the tester has taken all of the Y DNA tests. If he had not, the Big Y, for example, would be light gray, as illustrated below, and all he would have to do to order an upgrade is to click on the gray Big Y box.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that says “Upgrade” and I’m concerned that clicked on the greyed out box is not intuitive.

One thing you can’t tell is whether or not you’ve taken the original Big Y, the Big Y-500 or the Big Y-700. Perhaps this change will be made soon, because people are upgrading from the Big Y and the Big Y-500 to the Big Y-700. There’s so much more to learn and the Big Y-700 results have branched many trees.

New dashboard upgrade.png

Tests you haven’t taken aren’t obvious unless you actually click on the shopping cart icon. While you can see tests that offer upgrades, such as the Y DNA, if the person hasn’t taken the Family Finder, it’s not obvious anyplace that this test is available for purchase.

I don’ t know about you, but I really WANT people to upgrade to Family Finder if they’ve taken Y DNA or mitochondrial DNA tests, or to Y DNA or mitochondrial DNA if they’ve taken the Family Finder test. I hope Family Tree DNA adds a visible upgrade button that lists available tests for each tester.

Partner Applications

If you click on Partner Applications, you’ll see Geni. Some people mistakenly think that if you connect with Geni, that somehow feeds your tree at Family Tree DNA. To be very clear, IT DOES NOT. You can connect to Geni, but you still need to either build a tree or upload a Gedcom file to Family Tree DNA.

New dashboard partner apps.png

Public Haplotrees

At the bottom of everyone’s pages, you’ll find Public Haplotrees.

New dashboard public haplotrees.png

Clicking on this link takes you to the wonderful Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA haplotrees, complete with country flags and reports.

New dashboard Y haplotree.png

I wrote about how to use the public Y tree here and the public mitochondrial tree here.

MyFamilyTree

You can access your own tree either at the top of the page, or now at the bottom.

New dashboard myTree.png

New dashboard myTree 2

Click to enlarge

I would like to see the tree icon moved to the top where everyone sees it, since trees are integral and important to all three kinds of DNA tests. Everyone needs trees.

Badges

The haplogroup designations, along with any other badges, are much more visible now, shown on the left-hand side of the page.

New dashboard badges.png

Furthermore, the badge says whether or not the testing has been sufficient to confirm the haplogroup, or if it is predicted.

Projects

Just above badges, we find myProjects. I love that the projects are now displayed in such a prominent place. I hope that people will think to join projects, or look to see what’s available now that it’s in the middle of the page and not just as a link in the top banner.

New dashboard projects.png

Clicking on the project name takes you to the public display.

You can also still access projects from the top as well.

New dashboard projects 2.png

Updates

Another aspect of the new interface that I like is myUpdates.

Found at the top left, just below Quick Links, this new communications box provides the latest information from Family Tree DNA to you.

For my account, I see the following:

New dashboard myUpdates.png

New surveys with this update are the Family Ancestry survey, the Y DNA survey and the mtDNA survey. Of course, I don’t have a Y DNA survey because as a female, I don’t have a Y chromsome.

I want to review the surveys in depth, so I’ll be writing an article very shortly – but in the mean time, you need to know that these answers ARE FINAL, meaning that once you submit them, you can never change them. Please be vigilant and accurate, because these surveys are important so that the resulting science is reliable for all customers.

Security and Privacy

On the previous version of the personal page, your personal information, genealogical questions, privacy and security were located just beneath your profile photo.

New dashboard old.png

Not so now. In fact, they are completely obscured in the down arrow under your name at far right, NOT in the gear showing beneath your name.

New dashboard gear.png

Intuitively, I looked under the gear, above, but that’s not the place. It’s another gear. The Account Settings gear that you see drop down by clicking on your name, shown below, is NOT the same gear as you’re seeing above.

New dashboard account settings.png

Yes, I know this is confusing at first, but it’s not when you realize that there are two separate gears and if one doesn’t show the option you’re looking for, just click on the other one.

Click on the “Account Settings” gear by first clicking on your name to access the following information:

  • Account Information: contact information, beneficiary, password
  • Genealogy: surnames, earliest known ancestors
  • Privacy and Sharing: profile, matching preferences, origins, family trees
  • Project Preferences: sharing and authorizations by project
  • Notification Preferences: e-mail notifications by test and for projects

I hope that things like the surnames and earliest known ancestors will be moved to a much more visible location with prompts for people to complete. It was hard enough before to encourage people to complete this information and now the option to access these tabs is entirely invisible.

The earliest known ancestor and surnames are critical to the matches maps, to the EKA (earliest known ancestor) fields in both the Y and mitochondrial DNA displays and to the surname matching for Family Finder matches. Having testers complete this information means a much more meaningful and productive experience for all testers.

These three functions, in particular, are too important to have “out of sight, out of mind.”

Project Administrators

If you are a project administrator or have written instructions for your family or groups of people about to how to manage pages, change account settings, or join projects – you need to review and update your documents.

Group Project Search

A new group project search function has been added at the bottom of the main Family Tree DNA page, if you are not signed in.

New dashboard group projects.png

You can access the page, here.

New dashboard search page.png

I’m not sure that a potential customer will understand that they are supposed to enter a surname to find a project – or the benefits of doing so. I hope this can be changed to add instructions to enter a surname or topic, and add wording to more closely reflect the search function on the main page.

However, most people will still access the surname search in the center of the main Family Tree DNA page where it does say “search surname.”

New dashboard surname search.png

I would also like to see an “ancestor search” added so that people can see if someone with their ancestors has already tested. This would encourage testing.

Summary

In summary, I like these features of the new dashboard:

  • I like the fact that the icons and features are all the same size in the space for that product – like advanced matching , the matrix and the learning center.
  • I like that the dashboard can be rearranged.
  • I like that the projects are showing clearly at left.
  • I like the new myUpdates section.
  • I like the Quick Links.
  • I like the larger, more noticeable badges that tell testers whether their haplogroup is predicted or confirmed. It might be nice to have a popup explaining how testers can confirm a predicted haplogroup and the associated benefits.
  • I like the fact that testers can see at a glance the level of their testing for each product, which also means they can quickly see if an upgrade is available.
  • I like the fact that this version is much more friendly towards handheld devices such as iPads and phones.

Improvements I recommend are:

  • Add the Account Settings back to the main page.
  • Move the trees from the bottom to the top to encourage user participation.
  • Add back the familiar blue upgrade button. People aren’t going to look in the shopping cart for a menu.
  • Add a feature at the top that shows clearly for the 3 main products, Y DNA, mitochondrial DNA and Family Finder if one of those 3 has not been ordered and is available for the tester to order.
  • Separate Big Y into Big YBig Y-500 and Big Y-700 buttons, providing Big Y and Big Y-500 testers with an upgrade avenue.
  • Add a popup at the top to encourage people to build a tree or upload a Gedcom file.
  • Add a popup at the top to encourage people to test other family members and to link testers in their tree so that they can enjoy phased matches assigned via matches to maternal and paternal family members.
  • Add a popup at the top to coach people to complete the various functions that enhance the user experience including:
    • Earliest Known Ancestor
    • Surnames
    • Matches Map information
    • Sharing
    • Joining projects

The new features are certainly welcome and a great start.

I hope these improvements are added quickly, because I fear that we lose opportunities every day when people don’t understand or don’t add information initially, then never sign in again.

We need to help testers and family members understand not only THAT they need to provide this information, or that they can upgrade their tests, but WHY that’s important and beneficial.

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Hot on the Trail of Elizabeth (c1720 – 1758/1782) Ulrich’s Parents, Thanks to Mitochondrial DNA – 52 Ancestors #255

I’m so close to discovering the identify of Elizabeth Ulrich’s family that I can taste it – but I’m not quite there. Maybe you’re the person who has the critical piece information that solves this puzzle.

I’m looking for several things – and any single one would help:

  • Information about the Heinrich Angle (Henry Angle or Engle) family of Pennsylvania and Maryland in the 1700s. There’s more information about this mystery man later in this article.
  • Information about Mary Elizabeth Angle born about 1740, the wife of Johann Jacob Brumbaugh who was reportedly the daughter of Henry Angle of Washington County, MD.
  • Any descendant of Hans and Christina Berchtol born in Krottelbach Germany and died in either Konken or Steinwenden. The descent needs to be through all females to the current generation which can be male. Their two daughters, other than Susanna Agnes Berchtol who married Johann Michael Mueller, were Ursula born about 1696 and Barbara (Barbel) born about 1693. It’s not known if these sisters survived and there is nothing to suggest they immigrated from Germany. I know this is a long shot, but it’s the best bet to obtain the mitochondrial DNA of Susanna Agnes Berchtol given that she has no proven daughters. I’ve always wondered if Elizabeth Ulrich was actually a Berchtol and the only way to prove or disprove this is through mitochondrial DNA.

berchtol-miller-mtdna

  • There is a suggestion that Susanna Agnes Berchtol and Michael Miller had a daughter, Barbara Miller who married John Garber and died in Shenandoah County, Virginia about 1808. Autosomal DNA suggests this as well, but unfortunately these Brethren families are so heavily intermarried, with several missing wives, that concusions can’t be made based on autosomal matches, at least not yet. I would like to find anyone descended from Barbara through all females as well. If that person’s mitochondrial DNA matches that of Elizabeth Ulrich, that’s a huge piece of evidence. If this is you, please contact me – I have a DNA testing scholarship for you!
  • Direct matrilineal descendants of any of the families mentioned in the History of the Church of the Brethren in the Southern District Pennsylvania that would have founded the York County congregation about 1738 and before 1745 including “Leatherman, Martin, Ulrich (Stephen Sr.), Greib/Gripe/Cripe, Becker, Stutzman, Dierdorff and Bigler.” Two additional Mennonite families in that same vicinity who married into the Miller line were Berchto/Bechtol/Bechtel and Garver/Garber. Direct matrilineal descendants mean through all females to the current generation, which can be males.

We Have Elizabeth Ulrich’s Mitochondrial DNA (YAY!!!)

Recently, a cousin, Craig, found my original article about Elizabeth Ulrich, born about 1720, either in Pennsylvania or Germany. She died after 1758, possibly before 1766 but definately before 1782 when Stephen Ulrich remarried. It’s important to remember that these people didn’t speak English, so Elizabeth would have had to have spoken German to communicate with her husband.

The great news is that Craig is her direct matrilineal descendant through all females, meaning he carries her mitochondrial DNA which is haplogroup U2e1. That’s the key to finding her family!

Craig descends from Elizabeth’s daughter, Hannah Ulrich who married a Puterbaugh and I’m incredibly grateful that he contacted me!

Craig’s Matches

Elizabeth Ulrich’s DNA matches a person whose ancestor is Elizabeth Rench born in 1787, who married Abraham Deeter and died in 1858.

Elizabeth Ulrich mtDNA match.png

Elizabeth Rench was the daughter of Catherine Brumbaugh and Peter Rench born in 1762 in Hagerstown, MD and died in 1818 in Miami County, Ohio.

Johann Jacob Brumbaugh’s wife was reportedly Mary Elizabeth Angle, daughter of Henry Angle of Washington County, MD and who died in 1806 in Bedford County, PA.

Henry Angle’s wife is said to be possibly Elizabeth Diehl.

A second mitochondrial DNA match also descends through Elizabeth Rench although Catherine’s surname is shown in this tree, below, as Clary. This person’s earliest known ancestor is listed as Mary Elizabeth Angle though, so Clary appears to be in error – a phenomenon not uncommon in trees.

Elizabeth Ulrich mtDNA match tree

Click to enlarge

Note the line above Peter Rench – Susanna Ulrich, daughter of Daniel, son of Stephen Ulrich and Elizabeth. These Brethren families were definitely intermarried a couple of generations later.

If you’re thinking to yourself, these are Brethren names and the exact Brethren migration path, from Frederick County, Maryland, through Bedford County, PA and on to Miami County, Ohio – you’re exactly right.

And of course, Elizabeth Ulrich and her family were Brethren and followed that exact same path too.

Where is Elizabeth Ulrich?

Elizabeth married Stephen Ulrich (Jr.) in roughly 1742, the same year he bought land in York County, PA. Based on this marriage date, it stands to reason that Elizabeth’s parents also lived in York County, or nearby, at this time. They were almost assuredly either Brethren or Mennonite.

By 1751, Elizabeth and Stephen Ulrich had moved to Frederick Co., MD, along with a number of other Brethren families, including Michael Miller. Hagerstown, the same place that Catherine Brumbaugh and Peter Rench lived was located in Frederick County at that time.

Washington County, MD whose seat is Hagerstown was formed in 1776 from Frederick County.

Now, we have the same group of Brethren families in the same county in Maryland at the same time.

Mary Elizabeth Angle

FindAGrave shows the following information for Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh.

Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh FindAGrave.png

Of course, we all know to interpret sites like FindAGrave as hints and not confirmation of anything without additional sources. It’s a great hint though!

Brumbaugh History

We find the following informatoin in the North American Family Histories.

Brumbaugh history.png

Brumbaugh history 2.png

I would love to see the 1780 deed mentioned above. It’s not available in the deed books for Frederick County on Family Search unless you’re in a Family History Center.

Getting out my Brethren Encyclopedia, on page 219, we find:

Brumbach Family (Brumbaugh)

Most Brethren members of the family descend from these immigrants. Johann Jacob Brumbach, (arrived Philadelphia, Aug 31, 1750 on the ship Nancy) : Johannes Henrich Brumbach (Philadelphia Sept 30 1754 on the Neptune or the later’s two recorded immigrant sons, Conrad and Johannes (Philadelphia, October 7 1765 on the ship Countess of Sussex). Jacob Brumbach settled in Frederick Co., MD, married Mary Elizbeth Angle, daughter of immigrant Henry Angle, and joined the Brethren. Other principle settlements were in Washington Co., MA, Franklin, Bedford and Huntington Co PA. From these points the family spread westward into Ohio and were among the first settlers in Elkhart and Kosciusko Co, Indiana.

There is a Georg Engel who arrives in Philadelphia in 1737, but of course without significant additional information, there is no way of knowing if he is connected.

Is This a Red Herring?

There is no way of knowing without more information if this is “something” or a red herring. The geography and Brethren connection make me suspect it’s “something,” but we need a lot more than my suspicions combined with circumstantial evidence, no matter how strong. Even with mitochondrial DNA evidence.

We do know that Elizabeth Ulrich, wife of Stephen, was born about 1720, but we don’t know if that occurred in the US or abroad. We know that she was probably married to Stephen in York County, PA about 1742 or so because that’s where her husband’s father, also Stephen Ulrich (Sr.), had purchased land.

Without looking for an Engle, Angle or Diehl, we can’t connect the dots in that region. In the book, History of the Church of the Brethren of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on page 382, we see that there are two Engle men in that area in 1800, so they may have been there earlier too, although the earliest records are incomplete. There is no Diehl mentioned that early, but Mennonite families are not recorded in this book and they did live nearby the Brethren – and intermarried.

It’s also worth noting that present day York County, across the river from Lancaster County, PA is only about 100 miles from Philadelphia, a primary port for immigrant arrivals, along with Baltimore, about 50 miles distant.

Additional Sources

Apparently in the Palmer Papers, Heinerich Engel’s wife was reported as a Diehl.

Heinrich Angle wife.png

Also, in the Brethren Digest V9 Issue 63 where Mary Elizabeth Angle was discussed, according to the note about the wife of Henry Angle. I have sent the person who posted the note a message.

I e-mailed the Fendrick Library who holds the Palmer papers and they have kindly offered to copy the relevant page for me.

I contacted the Brethren Heritage Center where a volunteer asked who published the Brethren Digest. Good question. I’ve been unable to determine the answer, so the name of the publication may possibly be misquoted. If anyone recognizes this or has more information, including the article itself, please contact me.

Henry Angle’s Will

In this document, which is a poor copy I found posted on Ancestry, Heinerich Angle’s 1810 will confirms that he was Brethren, but his daughter appears to be “Mary Brewer,” not Mary Brumbaugh, although this is clearly a transcription of the original. This does call Mary’s identity into question along with Henry as the father of Mary Elizabeth Brumbaugh.

Heinrich Angle 1810 will.png

Furthermore, if Mary was born in 1740, her father would have been born between before 1720, so a will dated in 1810 means that Henry would have been very old – in his 90s. Not impossible, but unlikely. Is this perhaps the wrong Henry Angle?

I tend to think so, because if Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh died in 1806, as shown on her tombstone, then her father would not have mentioned her in a will written in 1810, not to mention by the name Mary Brewer.

The 1790 census isn’t much help, as it shows Henry Angle of Washington County, MD with 3 males over 16, 2 males under 16 and 5 females. This suggests that he’s not an elderly man, but it’s not conclusive. One of the other males over 16 could be an adult son and one of the women could be the son’s wife, so we can’t really get an idea of Henry Angle’s age.

If Mary Elizabeth Angle born 1740 who married Johann Jacob Brumbaugh is the daughter of Henry Angle who died after 1810, then Elizabeth born circa 1725 who married Stephen Ulrich couldn’t have been Mary Elizabeth Angle’s sister. For that to happen, Henry and his wife would have been born in 1700 or before in order to have a daughter born circa 1720/1725 which puts him at 110 years old in 1810. While I’m open to a man dying in his 90s, I’m not buying that he lived to 110.

Therefore, Elizabeth could have been this Henry Angle’s wife’s sister or aunt, but not his daughter – IF Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh’s father is the same Henry Angle that died in 1810. I don’t think that he is, given that he called his daughter Mary Brewer and Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh died in 1806. I suspect this Henry Angle may be the son of the earlier Henry Angle, and therefore the brother of Mary Elizabeth Angle who married Jacob Brumbaugh.

Until proven otherwise, I’ll assume the 1810 will is NOT for the man whose daughter is Mary Elizabeth Angle that married Johann Jacob Brumbaugh. Dang all these “same names” anyway!

Therefore, Elizabeth Ulrich could potentially be the daughter of Henry (Heinrich) Angle and his wife, just not the one who died in or after 1810.

If Mary Elizabeth Angle was Heinrich Angle’s daughter, it’s also unlikely that he had a second daughter named Elizabeth, but without primary documentation of some sort, there’s no way to know Elizabeth’s complete name, or if Mary Elizabeth’s is actually accurate.

Some of my DNA matches on Ancestry show Henry (Heinrich) Angle in their trees, but show a death of March 14, 1780 – however, all without documentation. is wife, Elizabeth Diehl is shown born in 1714 and dying in 1767, also without documentatoin or sources. If this information is accurate, clearly Elizabeth Diehl cannot be the mother of Elizabeth Ulrich who was born in the 1720s and married Stephen Ulrich in about 1742.

Therefore, if Elizabeth Ulrich is related to Elizabeth Diehl, and those dates are remotely accurate, she would have to be her sister, not her daughter. Of course, the dates may not be accurate.

Mary Elizabeth Angle Who Married Johann Jacob Brumbaugh

The Palmer Papers reportedly state that Heinerich Angle’s (also spelled Engle) wife was a Diehl.

If she was a Diehl, and if her sister or daughter was Elizabeth who was to married Stephen Ulrich (Ullery) in about 1742 in York County, PA, then Elizabeth’s Diehl father would have had to have been in that area too. Lots of “ifs.”

Henry Angle pedigree.png

Could this work? Yes.

Does it work? I don’t know.

We need more information.

At the suggestion of a Diehl researcher, I checked the book, “Diehl Families of America,” by E.H. Diehl printed in 1915, with no luck.

Possibilities

What are the possibilities?

  • This is a red herring and the exact full sequence DNA match to another Brethren family in the same time and place is happenstance. I know that’s unlikely, but it’s certainly possible, as much as I’d like to believe that it’s not.
  • Elizabeth, Stephen Ulrich’s wife and Henry Angle’s wife are related, but back in Germany.
  • Heinrich Angle’s wife was a Diehl and finding her parents and family will provide us with the information we need to connect the dots to Elizabeth who married Stephen Ulrich. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true!
  • Heinrich Angle’s wife was not a Diehl after all.
  • Obtaining the mitochondrial DNA of the other Brethren and Mennonite families mentioned at the beginning of this article will rule them in or out. Tests might provide a mitochondrial DNA match with families known to be in the same church, and pietist German immigrant group in York County. Or, conversely, a non-match would rule out those same families. Sometimes negative evidence is quite valuable to rule out possibilities.

Options

  • Perhaps Craig, the mitochondrial descendant of Elizabeth Ulrich has another mitochondrial DNA match that leads someplace – anyplace. I’ve checked the full sequence and lower level matches and no other match leads anyplace useful. They are reflective of German heritage in general but all encounter brick walls in other locations. Rats!
  • Autosomal DNA links to a Diehl family. This is certainly a possibility. Craig has not taken the Family Finder test, but I and many others have. Everyone descended from Elizabeth married to Stephen Ulrich can check their results for any Diehl descendants – especially from Heinrich (Henry) Diehl from Maryland. However, given the level of Brethren intermarriage, finding a Diehl may result from later intermarriage. I have about 75 Diehl matches between Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage and Ancestry, and they are mostly interrelated in my Brethren line in some fashion, many in multiple ways.
  • Wait for more mitochondrial matches. Waiting is not my strong suit, but sometimes we don’t have a choice and one never knows what each new day will bring. After all, it brought Craig!
  • Dig through the relevant records in Frederick and Washington County, Maryland along with York County, PA.
  • Locate the missing records mentioned earlier in this article.
  • Find someone who has actually researched this specific Angle/Diehl family. Is this person you?

Do you have any information on a Diehl line in the Brethren/Mennonite part of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, from the early mid-1700s? How about from Baltimore or Frederick or Washington County, Maryland, the area associated with Heinrich Angle?

Please let me know if you do.

Eventually, we will solve this puzzle! We’re adding evidence piece by piece. I so wish Elizabeth could just tell us the answer.

______________________________________________________________

Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Crossovers: Frequency and Inheritance Statistics – Male Versus Female Matters

Recently, a reader asked if I had any crossover statistics.

They were asking about the number of crossovers, meaning divisions on each chromosome, of the parent’s DNA when a child is created. In other words, how many segments of your maternal and paternal grandparent’s DNA do you inherit from your mother and father – and are those numbers somehow different?

Why would someone ask that question, and how is it relevant for genealogists?

What is a Crossover and Why is it Important?

We know that every child receives half of their autosomal DNA from their father, and half from their mother. Conversely that means that each parent can only give their child half of their own DNA that they received from their parents. Therefore, each parent has to combine some of the DNA from their father’s chromosome and their mother’s chromosome into a new chromosome that they contribute to their child.

Crossovers are breakpoints that are created when the DNA of the person’s parents is divided into pieces before being recombined into a new chromosome and passed on to the person’s child.

I’m going to use the following real-life scenario to illustrate.

Crossover pedigree.png

The colors of the people above are reflected on the chromosome below where the DNA of the blue daughter, and her red and green parents are compared to the DNA of the tester. The tester is shown as the gray background chromosomes in the chromosome browser. The backgroud person is whose results we are looking at.

My granddaughter has tested her DNA, as have her parents and 3 of her 4 grandparents along with 2 great-grandparents, shown as red and green in the diagram above.

Here’s an example utilizing the FamilyTreeDNA chromosome browser.

Crossover example chr 1.png

On my granddaughter’s chromosome 1, on the chromosome brower above, we see two perfect examples of crossovers.

There’s no need to compare her DNA against that of her parent, the son in the chart above, because we already know she matches the full length of every chromosome with both of her parents.

However, when comparing my granddaughter’s DNA against the grandmother (blue) and her grandmother’s parents, the great-grandmother shown in red and great-grandfather shown in green, we can see that the granddaughter received her blue segments from the grandmother.

The grandmother had to receive that entire blue segment from either her mother, in red, or her father, in green. So, every blue segment must have an exactly matching red segment, green segment or combination of both.

The first red box at left shows that the blue segment was inherited partially from the grandmother’s red mother and green father. We know that because the tester matches the red great-grandmother on part of that blue segment and the green great-grandfather on a different part of the entire blue segment that the tester inherited from her blue grandmother.

The middle colored region, not boxed, shows the entire blue segment was inherited from the red great-grandmother and the blue grandmother passed that intact through her son to her granddaughter.

The third larger red boxed area encompassing the entire tested region to the right of the centromere was inherited by the granddaughter from her grandmother (blue segment) but it was originally from the blue grandmother’s red mother and green father.

The Crossover

The areas on this chromosome where the blue is divided between the red and green, meaning where the red and green butt up against each other is called a crossover. It’s literally where the DNA of the blue daughter crosses over between DNA contributed by her red mother and green father.

Crossover segments.png

In other words, the crossover where the DNA divided between the blue grandmother’s parents when the grandmother’s son was created is shown by the dark arrows above. The son gave his daughter that exact same segment from his mother and it’s only by comparing the tester’s DNA against her great-grandparents that we can see the crossover.

Crossover 4 generations.png

What we’re really seeing is that the segments inherited by the grandmother from her parents two different chromosomes were combined into one segment that the grandmother gave to her son. The son inherited the green piece and the red piece on his maternal chromosome, which he gave intact to his daughter, which is why the daughter matches her grandmother on that entire blue segment and matches her great-grandparents on the red and green pieces of their individual DNA.

Inferred Matching Segments

Crossover untested grandfather.png

The entirely uncolored regions are where the tester does not match her blue grandmother and where she would match her grandfather, who has not tested, instead of her blue grandmother.

The testers father only received his DNA from his mother and father, and if his daughter does not match his mother, then she must match his untested father on that segment.

Looking at the Big Inheritance Picture

The tester’s full autosomal match between the blue grandmother, red great-grandmother and green great-grandfather is shown below.

Crossover autosomes.png

In light of the discussion that follows, it’s worth noting that chromosomes 4 and 20 (orange arrows) were passed intact from the blue grandmother to the tester through two meiosis (inheritance) events. We know this because the tester matches the green great-grandfather’s DNA entirely on these two chromosomes that he passed to his blue daughter, her son and then the tester.

Let’s track this for chromosomes 4 and 20:

  • Meiosis 1 –The tester matches her blue grandmother, so we know that there was no crossover on that segment between the father and the tester.
  • Meiosis 2 – The tester matches her green great-grandfather along the entire chromosome, proving that it was passed intact from the grandmother to the tester’s father, her son.
  • What we don’t know is whether there were any crossovers between the green great-grandfather when he passed his parent or parents DNA to the blue grandmother, his daughter. In order to determine that, we would need at least one of the green great-grandfather’s parents, which we don’t have. We don’t know if the green great-grandfather passed on his maternal or paternal copy of his chromosome, or parts of each to the blue great-grandmother, his daughter.

Meiosis Events and the Tree

So let’s look at these meiosis or inheritance events in a different way, beginning at the bottom with the pink tester and counting backwards, or up the tree.

Crossover meiosis events.png

By inference, we know that chromosomes 11, 16 and 22 (purple arrows) were also passed intact, but not from the blue grandmother. The tester’s father passed his father’s chromosome intact to his daughter. That’s the untested grandfather again. We know this because the tester does not match her blue grandmother at all on either of these three chromosomes, so the tester must match her untested grandfather instead, because those are the only two sources of DNA for the tester’s father.

A Blip, or Not?

If you’ve noticed that chromosome 14 looks unusual, in that the tester matches her grandmother’s blue segment, but not either of her great-grandparents, which is impossible, give yourself extra points for your good eye.

In this case, the green great-grandfather’s kit was a transfer kit in which that portion of chromosome 14 was not included or did not read accurately. Given that the red great-grandmother’s kit DID read in that region and does not match the tester, we know that chromosome 14 would actually have a matching green segment exactly the size of the blue segment.

However, in another situation where we didn’t know of an issue with the transfer kit, it is also possible that the granddaughter matched a small segment of the blue grandmother’s DNA where they were identical by chance. In that case, chromosome 14 would actually have been passed to the tester intact from her father’s father, who is untested.

Every Segment has a Story

Looking at this matching pattern and our ability to determine the source of the DNA back several generations, originating from great-grandparents, I hope you’re beginning to get a sense of why understanding crossovers better is important to genealogists.

Every single segment has a story and that story is comprised of crossovers where the DNA of our ancestors is combined in their offspring. Today, we see the evidence of these historical genetic meiosis or division/recombination events in the start and end points of matches to our genetic cousins. Every start and end point represents a crossover sometime in the past.

What else can we tell about these events and how often they occur?

Of the 22 autosomes, not counting the X chromosome which has a unique inheritance pattern, 17 chromosomes experienced at least one crossover.

What does this mean to me as a genealogist and how can I interpret this type of information?

Philip Gammon

You may remember our statistician friend Philip Gammon. Philip and I have collaborated before authoring the following articles where Philip did the heavy lifting.

I discussed crossovers in the article Concepts – DNA Recombination and Crossovers, also in collaboration with Philip, and showed several examples in a Four Generation Inheritance Study.

If you haven’t read those articles, now might be a good time to do so, as they set the stage for understanding the rest of this article.

The frequency of chromosome segment divisions and their resulting crossovers are key to understanding how recombination occurs, which is key to understanding how far back in time a common ancestor between you and a match can expect to be found.

In other words, everything we think we know about relationships, especially more distant relationships, is predicated on the rate that crossovers occur.

The Concepts article references the Chowdhury paper and revealed that females average about 42 crossovers per child and males average about 27 but these quantities refer to the total number of crossovers on all 22 autosomes and reveal nothing about the distribution of the number of crossovers at the individual chromosome level.

Philip Gammon has been taking a closer look at this particular issue and has done some very interesting crossover simulations by chromosome, which are different sizes, as he reports beginning here.

Crossover Statistics by Philip Gammon

For chromosomes there is surprisingly little information available regarding the variation in the number of crossovers experienced during meiosis, the process of cell division that results in the production of ova and sperm cells. In the scientific literature I have been able to find only one reference that provides a table showing a frequency distribution for the number of crossovers by chromosome.

The paper Broad-Scale Recombination Patterns Underlying Proper Disjunction in Humans by Fledel-Alon et al in 2009 contains this information tucked away at the back of the “Supplementary methods, figures, and tables” section. It was likely not produced with genetic genealogists in mind but could be of great interest to some. The columns X0 to X8 refer to the number of crossovers on each chromosome that were measured in parental transmissions. Separate tables are shown for male and female transmissions because the rates between the two sexes differ significantly. Note that it’s the gender of the parent that matters, not the child. The sample size is quite small, containing only 288 occurrences for each gender.

A few years ago I stumbled across a paper titled Escape from crossover interference increases with maternal age by Campbell et al 2015. This study investigated the properties of crossover placement utilising family groups contained within the database of the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe. In total more than 645,000 well-supported crossover events were able to be identified. Although this study didn’t directly report the observed frequency distribution of crossovers per chromosome, it did produce a table of parameters that accurately described the distribution of inter-crossover distances for each chromosome.

By introducing these parameters into a model that I had developed to implement the equations described by Housworth and Stahl in their 2003 paper Crossover Interference in Humans I was able to derive tables depicting the frequency of crossovers. The following results were produced for each chromosome by running 100,000 simulations in my crossover model:

Crossover transmissions from female to child.png

Transmissions from female parent to child, above.

Crossover transmissions male to child.png

Transmissions from male parent to child.

To be sure that we understand what these tables are revealing let’s look at the first row of the female table. The most frequent outcome for chromosome #1 is that there will be three crossovers and this occurs 27% of the time. There were instances when up to 10 crossovers were observed in a single meiosis but these were extremely rare. Cells that are blank recorded no observations in the 100,000 simulations. On average there are 3.36 crossovers observed on chromosome #1 in female to child transmissions i.e. the female chromosome #1 is 3.36 Morgans (336 centimorgans) in genetic length.

Blaine Bettinger has since examined crossover statistics using crowdsourced data in The Recombination Project: Analyzing Recombination Frequencies Using Crowdsourced Data, but only for females. His sample size was 250 maternal transmissions and Table 2 in the report presents the results in the same format as the tables above. There is a remarkable degree of conformity between Blaine’s measurements and the output from my simulation model and also to the earlier Fledel-Alon et al study.

The diagrams below are a typical representation of the chromosomes inherited by a child.

Crossovers inherited from mother.jpg

The red and orange (above) are the set of chromosomes inherited from the mother and the aqua and green (below) from the father. The locations where the colours change identify the crossover points.

It’s worth noting that all chromosomes have a chance of being passed from parent to child without recombination. These probabilities are found in the column for zero crossovers.

In the picture above the mother has passed on two red chromosomes (#14 and #20) without recombination from one of the maternal grandparents. No yellow chromosomes were passed intact.

Similarly, below, the father has passed on a total of five chromosomes that have no crossover points. Blue chromosomes #15, #18 and #21 were passed on intact from one paternal grandparent and green chromosomes #4 and #20 from the other.

Crossovers inherited from father.jpg

It’s quite a rare event for one of the larger chromosomes to be passed on without recombination (only a 1.4% probability for chromosome #1 in female transmissions) but occurs far more frequently in the smaller chromosomes. In fact, the male chromosome #21 is passed on intact more often (50.6% of the time) than containing DNA from both of the father’s parents.

However, there is nothing especially significant about chromosome #21.

The same could be said for any region of similar genetic length on any of the autosomes i.e. the first 52 cM of chromosome #1 or the middle 52 cM of chromosome #10 etc. From my simulations I have observed that on average 2.8 autosomes are passed down from a mother to child without a crossover and an average of 5.1 autosomes from a father to child.

In total (from both parents), 94% of offspring will inherit between 4 and 12 chromosomes containing DNA exclusively from a single grandparent. In the 100,000 simulations the child always inherited at least one chromosome without recombination.

Back to Roberta

If you have 3 generations who have tested, you can view the crossovers in the grandchild as compared to either one or two grandparents.

If the child doesn’t match one grandparent, even if their other grandparent through that parent hasn’t tested, you can certainly infer that any DNA where the grandchild doesn’t match the available grandparent comes from the non-tested “other” grandparent on that side.

Let’s Look at Real-Life Examples

Using the example of my 2 granddaughters, both of their parents and 3 of their 4 grandparents have tested, so I was able to measure the crossovers that my granddaughters experienced from all 4 of their grandparents.

Maternal Crossovers Granddaughter 1 Granddaughter 2 Average
Chromosome 1 6 2 3.36
Chromosome 2 4 2 3.17
Chromosome 3 3 2 2.71
Chromosome 4 2 2 2.59
Chromosome 5 2 1 2.49
Chromosome 6 4 2 2.36
Chromosome 7 3 1 2.23
Chromosome 8 2 2 2.11
Chromosome 9 3 1 1.95
Chromosome 10 4 2 2.08
Chromosome 11 3 0 1.93
Chromosome 12 3 3 2.00
Chromosome 13 1 1 1.52
Chromosome 14 3 1 1.38
Chromosome 15 4 1 1.44
Chromosome 16 2 2 1.58
Chromosome 17 2 2 1.53
Chromosome 18 2 0 1.40
Chromosome 19 2 1 1.18
Chromosome 20 0 1 1.19
Chromosome 21 0 1 0.74
Chromosome 22 1 0 0.78
Total 56 30 41.71

Looking at these results, it’s easy to see just how different inheritance between two full siblings can be. Granddaughter 1 has 56 crossovers through her mother, significantly more than the average of 41.71. Granddaughter 2 has 30, significantly less than average.

The average of the 2 girls is 43, very close to the total average of 41.71.

Note that one child received 2 chromosomes intact from her mother, and the other received 3.

Paternal Crossovers Granddaughter 1 Granddaughter 2 Average
Chromosome 1 2 2 1.98
Chromosome 2 3 2 1.85
Chromosome 3 2 2 1.64
Chromosome 4 0 1 1.46
Chromosome 5 1 2 1.46
Chromosome 6 2 1 1.41
Chromosome 7 1 2 1.36
Chromosome 8 1 1 1.23
Chromosome 9 1 3 1.26
Chromosome 10 3 2 1.30
Chromosome 11 0 1 1.20
Chromosome 12 1 1 1.32
Chromosome 13 2 1 1.02
Chromosome 14 1 0 0.97
Chromosome 15 1 2 1.01
Chromosome 16 0 1 1.02
Chromosome 17 0 0 1.06
Chromosome 18 1 1 0.98
Chromosome 19 1 1 1.00
Chromosome 20 0 0 0.99
Chromosome 21 0 0 0.52
Chromosome 22 0 0 0.63
Total 23 26 26.65

Granddaughter 2 had slightly more paternal crossovers than did granddaughter 1.

One child received 7 chromosomes intact from her father, and the other received 5.

Chromosome Granddaughter 1 Maternal Granddaughter 1 Paternal
Chromosome 1 6 2
Chromosome 2 4 3
Chromosome 3 3 2
Chromosome 4 2 0
Chromosome 5 2 1
Chromosome 6 4 2
Chromosome 7 3 1
Chromosome 8 2 1
Chromosome 9 3 1
Chromosome 10 4 3
Chromosome 11 3 0
Chromosome 12 3 1
Chromosome 13 1 2
Chromosome 14 3 1
Chromosome 15 4 1
Chromosome 16 2 0
Chromosome 17 2 0
Chromosome 18 2 1
Chromosome 19 2 1
Chromosome 20 0 0
Chromosome 21 0 0
Chromosome 22 1 0
Total 56 23

Comparing each child’s maternal and paternal crossovers side by side, we can see that Granddaughter 1 has more than double the number of maternal as compared to paternal crossovers, while Granddaughter 2 only had slightly more.

Chromosome Granddaughter 2 Maternal Granddaughter 2 Paternal
Chromosome 1 2 2
Chromosome 2 2 2
Chromosome 3 2 2
Chromosome 4 2 1
Chromosome 5 1 2
Chromosome 6 2 1
Chromosome 7 1 2
Chromosome 8 2 1
Chromosome 9 1 3
Chromosome 10 2 2
Chromosome 11 0 1
Chromosome 12 3 1
Chromosome 13 1 1
Chromosome 14 1 0
Chromosome 15 1 2
Chromosome 16 2 1
Chromosome 17 2 0
Chromosome 18 0 1
Chromosome 19 1 1
Chromosome 20 1 0
Chromosome 21 1 0
Chromosome 22 0 0
Total 30 26

Granddaughter 2 has closer to the same number of maternal and paternal of crossovers, but about 8% more maternal.

Comparing Maternal and Paternal Crossover Rates

Given that males clearly have a much, much lower crossover rate, according to the Philip’s chart as well as the evidence in just these two individual cases, over time, we would expect to see the DNA segments significantly LESS broken up in male to male transmissions, especially an entire line of male to male transmissions, as compared to female to female linear transmissions. This means we can expect to see larger intact shared segments in a male to male transmission line as compared to a female to female transmission line.

  G1 Mat G2 Mat Mat Avg G1 Pat G2 Pat Pat Avg
Gen 1 56 30 41.71 23 26 26.65
Gen 2 112 60 83.42 46 52 53.30
Gen 3 168 90 125.13 69 78 79.95
Gen 4 224 120 166.84 92 104 106.60

Using the Transmission rates for Granddaughter 1, Granddaughter 2, and the average calculated by Philip, it’s easy to see the cumulative expected average number of crossovers vary dramatically in every generation.

By the 4th generation, the maternal crossovers seen in someone entirely maternally descended at the rate of Grandchild 1 would equal 224 crossovers meaning that the descendant’s DNA would be divided that many times, while the same number of paternal linear divisions at 4 generations would only equal 92.

Yet today, we would never look at 2 people’s DNA, one with 224 crossovers compared to one with 92 crossovers and even consider the possibility that they are both only three generations descended from an ancestor, counting the parents as generation 1.

What Does This Mean?

The number of males and females in a specific line clearly has a direct influence on the number of crossovers experienced, and what we can expect to see as a result in terms of average segment size of inherited segments in a specific number of generations.

Using Granddaughter 1’s maternal crossover rate as an example, in 4 generations, chromosome 1 would have incurred a total of 24 crossovers, so the DNA would be divided into in 25 pieces. At the paternal rate, only 8 crossovers so the DNA would be in 9 pieces.

Chromosome 1 is a total of 267 centimorgans in length, so dividing 267 cM by 25 would mean the average segment would only be 10.68 cM for the maternal transmission, while the average segment divided by 9 would be 29.67 cM in length for the paternal transmission.

Given that the longest matching segment is a portion of the estimated relationship calculation, the difference between a 10.68 cM maternal linear segment match and a 29.67 paternal linear cM segment match is significant.

While I used the highest and lowest maternal and paternal rates of the granddaughters, the average would be 19 and 29, respectively – still a significant difference.

Maternal and Paternal Crossover Average Segment Size

Each person has an autosomal total of 3374 cM on chromosomes 1-22, excluding the X chromosome, that is being compared to other testers. Applying these calculations to all 22 autosomes using the maternal and paternal averages for 4 generations, dividing into the 3374 total we find the following average segment centiMorgan matches:

Crossovers average segment size.png

Keep in mind, of course, that the chart above represents 3 generations in a row of either maternal or paternal crossovers, but even one generation is significant.

The average size segment of a grandparent’s DNA that a child receives from their mother is 80.89 cM where the average segment of a grandparent’s DNA inherited from their father is 1.57 times larger at 126.6 cM.

Keep the maternal versus paternal inheritance path in mind as you evaluate matches to cousins with identified common ancestors, especially if the path is entirely or mostly maternal or paternal which would skew the cumulative average. You can easily tell, for example, that matches who descend paternally from a common ancestor and carry the surname are likely to carry more DNA from that common male ancestor than someone who descends from a mixed or directly maternal line.

For unknown matches, just keep in mind that the average that vendors calculate and use to predict relationships, because they can’t and don’t have “inside knowledge” about the inheritance path, may or may not be either accurate or average. They do the best they can do with the information they have at hand.

______________________________________________________________

Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

MyHeritage LIVE 2019 Day 2 and Party

Let’s start out with some trivia.

Did you know that the Hilton Amsterdam is the home of this famous photo?

MyHeritage Live Beatles

No, well me either. I’m glad someone told me on Sunday. Kind of explains the Beatles themed party Saturday evening.

MyHeritage Live Beatles suite

As for the Beatlemania party, I’ll save those photos for last😊

Please note that I’m still traveling and these photos are rather rough – so please keep that in mind.

MyHeritage LIVE Day 2

There was lots to see and do on Sunday – a DNA track, a genealogy track and also a hands-on lab series.

MyHeritage Live shoe

I floated between several sessions hoping to improve my search skills in the morning. It was difficult to choose, but fortunately, you don’t have to because they are all going to be available shortly at Legacy Tree Webinars.

MyHeritage Live Alon Carmel

I popped into The WorldWide DNA Web by Alon Carmel to learn a bit more about the upcoming ethnicity release.

I also attended Evaluating Your Smart Matches and Record Matches by James Tanner. My phone decided to misbehave and I don’t have any photos of this session. I had never heard James speak before and I encourage you to watch his session when the webinars become available.

I understand from others that his session in the afternoon, Developing Your Own Research Plan at MyHeritage, was excellent, especially for someone just starting out.

The session I found the most interesting from Day 2 of the #MyHeritageLIVE conference was the one dealing with the MyHeritage health test.

MyHeritage Live Yaniv Erlich

First, I found the scientific aspect fascinating as presented by Dr. Yaniv Erlich (PhD, not MD).

MyHeritage Live Gilad audience

Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage CEO, joined us in the audience.

MyHeritage Live vantage

As you probably know, MyHeritage added the Health test earlier this year. I ordered mine and have been waiting to finish writing the article until after this conference.

MyHeritage Live health summary 3

MyHeritage reports on 27 conditions, including 14 diseases and 13 carrier reports.

I feel it’s particularly important that in the US, the test is physician ordered. This means that when you order the test, you answer a few questions that are automatically submitted to PWNHealth where they are reviewed by a physician to determine if a genetic health test is appropriate for you.

The test is then run in a CLIA certified lab – meaning the test is a medical grade test.

Then, the results are reviewed by a physician. If your results are in the high risk range, a second test is performed using a different type of technology to verify the results before they are returned to you – at no charge to you.

If the results are in the high risk range and would be concerning, you are provided with a genetic counseling session – also at no charge.

I feel this is particularly important.

Yaniv provided additional detail which I will include in my upcoming article.

Yaniv said something that I think is particularly relevant – seeing the results in black and white sometimes encourages people to make decisions and act in a different way than simply hearing your physician say to live a healthy lifestyle during your yearly physical.

My Own Experience

I had not told anyone at MyHeritage about my own experience with genetic health testing before the MyHeritage LIVE conference.

The day before the MyHeritage Health Panel discussion, I decided that I was going to tell my own story during the session if the opportunity arose and it was appropriate. I think it’s important, not just to me, but perhaps to you too.

MyHeritage Live health panel

The health panel included Geoff Rasmussen as moderator, at left, Diahan Southard, me and Yaniv Erlich, left to right.

I’m not intimidated by much, but talking about your own health publicly can be daunting. People are very sensitive and often embarrassed by health topics, especially ones like type two diabetes and weight because they are sometimes viewed as character defects, not health issues. In any case, I was a bit nervous.

However, I decided when I launched my blog 7 years ago that I was going to be transparent. I really think stories like mine can help others.

I have two points to make.

  1. Genetics isn’t destiny.

With very few exceptions, genetics isn’t destiny. You may have a genetic predisposition for a disease, but you may also be able to mitigate that disease with lifestyle and environmental changes. You may want to monitor that aspect of your health more closely. You have choices.

Forewarned is forearmed.

  1. Knowledge is power.

My sister had breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy in 1988.

Several years ago, I took a medical genetics health test.

We thought my sister was cancer free and had dodged that bullet. She and her husband were traveling when I received a phone call from my brother-in-law that my sister had experienced a heart attack. She died the next day.

Some years ago, I took a direct-to-consumer medical test focused on health results to see if I too carried a predisposition for breast cancer. I was relieved to discover that I do not, BUT – I discovered something I didn’t expect. I carried an elevated risk for heart disease.

Not in the red (danger) range, but knowing that my sister died of a heart attack in addition to this elevated risk was enough to get my attention in a way that nothing else ever had before.

I knew I had to do something.

I was heavy.

So was my sister.

I was not able to lose weight and keep it off.

Neither was my sister.

I knew I had to do something about this, and I decided after much deliberation to have bariatric surgery to facilitate weight loss. If you’re thinking for one minute that I took the “easy way out,” you’re sorely mistaken. Regardless of the methodology, I was and remain successful and that’s all that matters.

Now, a decade later, I not only lost a significant amount of weight, I’ve kept it off. My BMI is normal, I’m not diabetic and I’m healthier and feel better than I did before the surgery.

My quality of life is greatly improved and the chances of me developing obesity-related diseased are greatly reduced – including heart disease and diabetes, although I don’t have an elevated genetic risk for that.

However, obesity itself is a risk factor for diabetes, without genetics. No risk factors also doesn’t mean you won’t get the disease. It only means there’s not a currently known genetic element.

Yaniv showed a chart that indicated that people at high risk of diabetes are more sensitive to high BMI. Furthermore, if you have high risk of either heart disease or diabetes, you need to and can minimize the risk of the other factor.

These predispositions are not a death sentence, BUT DOING NOTHING IS! Sooner than later.

I will be writing an article shorting detailing my results and including several slides from Yaniv’s session. I want to be sure I fully understand them before publication, so I’ll need to follow up with Yaniv before completing that article.

I know I had made the right decision for me, but seeing the actual data confirmed it.

Furthermore, it’s not just about me. I have a husband, two children and grandchildren and I want to spend as much quality time with them as possible in this lifetime.

There are two critical words there.

Quality and time.

I know that not everyone wants to know about their health predispositions. I understand and it’s a personal decision for everyone.

I hope you’ll consider health testing.

There are more perspectives than mine, and more topics were covered during the panel discussion – such as differing opinions as to whether children should be tested. I hope you’ll view the session when they become available through Legacy Tree Webinars. All panelists had important points worth considering and things I hadn’t thought about.

Party

Now for Beatlemania.

I’m actually not a big party person, but MyHeritage provided props for party-goers and everyone had fun. Some folks danced. Some hung out and others sat in the lobby chatting.

MyHeritage Live Jonny Perl and Evert-Jan Blom.png

Here are Jonny Perl (DNAPainter) and Evert-Jan Blom (Genetic Affairs) talking.

MyHeritage Live Jonny and EJ

And later at the party in their Beatlemania garb.

MyHeritage Live Geoff Rasmussen and Daniel Horowitz.png

Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy Tree Webinars and Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage.

MyHeritage Live Marianne Melcherts

Marianne Melcherts of MyHeritage (who you can find in the MyHeritage Facebook Users’ Group) and me. Yes, we’re both Dutch or have Dutch heritage.

MyHeritage Live Marianne dutch field.png

Here – this is better!

MyHeritage Live Ran Snir

Cheese and tulips. Ran Snir of MyHeritage (right) and someone whose name escapes me at the moment. (Sorry.)

MyHeritage Live Texas couple.png

Everyone was having so much fun! These lovely folks came from Texas.

MyHeritage Live lace hat.png

The folk dancers were amazing. Look at that lace cap.

MyHeritage Live Dutch folk dancers.png

Even the dancers had fun.

What’s Next?

MyHeritage Live Aaron Godfrey.png

Aaron Godfrey provided the closing session.

MyHeritage Live Aaron numbers.png

This event was an amazing success. I can’t wait to see how many people tuned in by livestream.

MyHeritage Live Germany.png

Aaron had one more story for us.

MyHeritage Live Germany father.png

A 99 year old lady DNA tested to find her biological father and found a close match. There was a family rumor…

The family wanted to meet her.

MyHeritage Live reunion

On her birthday.

MyHeritage Live best birthday.png

At a surprise party!

MyHeritage Live 99 and counting.png

I swear, MyHeritage needs to start including boxes of tissues in the goody bags! Don’t wait to DNA test. You never know who’s waiting for you!

I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with me to #MyHeritageLIVE 2019 in Amsterdam.

But wait – there’s one more announcement!

MyHeritage Live 2020.png

Yes, there is going to be a MyHeritage LIVE 2020.

MyHeritage Live Israel.png

The plan is for Israel, although a date won’t be announced until a venue can be finalized.

Lots of conference attendees were very excited and already making plans to attend.

In closing, I hope you’ll do the following:

Start making at least tentative plans for Israel!

Have fun and enjoy your genealogy. More and more records are becoming available every single day and may hold gems for you.

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

MyHeritage LIVE 2019 Amsterdam Day 1

MyHeritage Live goodies

Please forgive the “roughness” of this article. Our days here at MyHeritage LIVE are jam packed.

First, look online for the hashtag #MyHeritageLIVE to see postings of photos on social media by other people.

Don’t forget that the sessions are being livestreamed for free.  The live stream is available on the MyHeritage LIVE website and on the MyHeritage Facebook page, so please tune in from 9:00 a.m. Amsterdam time on September 7th. If you need help calculating the time difference to your local time zone, you can use https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/.

The sessions will also be available at Legacy Tree Webinars soon after the conference.

I’m posting photos from my phone during the conference when I can on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DNAexplain/. To see more photos, check there and like the page, please.

Yesterday afternoon, four of us walked in the old part of the city, visiting a museum and enjoying the atmosphere and cuisine. I promise a nice newsy article soon.

MyHeritage Live 4 musketeers

We had so much fun just hanging out. That’s part of the wonderfulness of conferences and associated reunions. Martin McDowell, right, and Maurice Gleeson, left and I have been in 5 countries together now. Next year, maybe we’ll make it 6 or 7!

MyHeritage Live University of Amsterdam

MyHeritage sponsored a canal tour for all conference attendees.

MyHeritage Live canal tour

We had SO MUCH FUN. Amsterdam is a city of water, canals, boats bridges with flowers, bicycles and old buildings – and this picture has it all. It’s also the land of my ancestors so in essence, I’m coming home.

World Premiere – The Missing Piece

The conference started last evening with a movie and feel-good session about 2 sisters, both adopted having been abandoned in South Korea, discovering each other and reuniting.

MyHeritage live audience

The front row was a veritable who’s who in the (genetic) genealogy community. Everyone was excited about the movie.

MyHeritage live missing piece

Kim and Christine were adopted 47 years ago, one in the US and one in Belgium. It was unknown that they were sisters since they were discovered 6 weeks apart in a train station.

MyHeritage live sisters

The never-before-seen movie follows their emotional journey.

MyHeritage live sisters meeting

They both traveled back to South Korea and met for the first time on the same train platform where they had been discovered.

MyHeritage live sisters hugs

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

MyHeritage live sisters on stage

The sisters joined us. They had not seen the movie before, so they say it for the first time with us as well. We could hear them giggling.

MyHeritage Live sisters with audience

It was very nice for conference attended to be able to talk to Kim and Christine.

Saturday – Conference Day 1

MyHeritage Live 2019 Gilad Japhet

Gilad Japhet with Daniel Horowitz getting ready.

MyHeritage live Gilad welcome

Gilad Japhet opened the conference with a lovely session that started out with a heartwarming story of reunification. Yes, another one.

MyHeritage Live DNAQuest

MyHeritage has contributed 20,000 free tests for adoptes.

MyHeritage Live reunions

Gilad helps people himself, yes, personally.

MyHeritage Live Tribal Quest

Another MyHeritage pro-bono initiative is Tribal Quest. I can’t even begin to tell you how this speaks to my heart.

MyHeritage Live Health

Next, Gilad spoke about MyHeritage Health and the benefits available to people who wish to take control of the factors in their life that they can. For the most part, predisposition is not fate – and we can influence factors to help prevent or screen aggressively for diseases.

MyHeritage Live health summary

MyHeritage will be adding more diseases and expanding their tests.

MyHeritage Live SNPedia

MyHeritage acquired both SNPedia and Promethease.

SNPedia is the wiki of SNPs.

MyHeritage Live Promethease

Promethease is a search engine that searched SNPedia and reports their findings to you based on your DNA tests.

As of today, Promethease is free for the balance of 2019. You can upload your results and see what SNPs are in the database that may affect your results.

Do be aware that some vendors do not clinically verify their results, so false positives are possible and do happen.

In November 2019, two things will happen.

  • People who have uploaded and stored their results to Promethease will have them uploaded into MyHeritage to expand their database by about 10%. If people do not want their results uploaded, they can delete them before November.
  • Europeans affected by GDPR will be given an option to have their results uploaded into MyHeritage.

This will be good for MyHeritage users because the more matches, the more information can be gleaned.

MyHeritage Live education

MyHeritage has formed an education site.

MyHeritage Live education summary

I can’t wait to check this out.

MyHeritage Live Theory of Family Relativity

Gilad reviewed Theory of Family Relativity. He mentioned that soon, they will appear and update spontaneously.

MyHeritage Live TOFR summary

I hope they add a feature allowing us to dismiss incorrect theories and provide documentation as to why.

MyHeritage Live ethnicity estimates

Better ethnicity estimates are on the way, and these are way cool.

MyHeritage Live migrations

Gilad explained that these will be in two parts, and that the regions will provide migration information every 50 years, the top surnames in that regional group, and a new features to be release slightly later that will be “beyond admixture” that will be specific enough to be able to identify Mormons, Mennonites and such.

If this is as good as Gilad thinks it will be, maybe it will actually assist genealogy and end the love-hate relationship genealogists have with ethnicity estimates.

MyHeritage Live ethnicity summary

Gilad says they will be particularly useful for people with European heritage.

MyHeritage Live Dutch football.png

MyHeritage is increasing their visibility in the Netherlands.

MyHeritage Live record collections

They are bringing lots of European records online.

MyHeritage Live free text matching

MyHeritage is introducing new free-text matching technology to provide intelligent matching, not just work matching.

MyHeritage Live Europe books

This was a great opening to kick off the day.

If you have not yet tested your DNA or transferred it to MyHeritage, now is the time.

Here’s a link to the article I wrote with step by step instructions about how to download your data file from other vendors and upload to MyHeritage.

MyHeritage Live Future of DNA panel

Maya Lerner, VP of Product, left, above, offered a session earlier in the day that expanded on the products touched on by Gilad in the opening keynote.

In the afternoon she hosted a panel discussion that included Blaine Bettinger, myself and Yaniv Erlich. Interesting thoughts on the future of DNA. We all talked about better tools. Blaine and I agreed that our hopes are that one day, our DNA will tell us who our ancestors are. Photo is courtesy Yvette Hoitink whose session about finding Dutch records was lovely.

MyHeritage Live Yvette Hoitink

All I can say is that I’m glad she is my own personal Dutch genealogist. Fortunately for others, I don’t employ her full time and she has time for other people too😊

MyHeritage Live Dutch collection

MyHeritage is bringing many Dutch collections online.

MyHeritage Live Dutch resources

Yvette put her presentation online for you along with a handout!

MyHeritage Live Blaine Bettinger

Blaine talked about one of my favorite subjects, mapping chromosomes.

MyHeritage Live chromosome mapping

Any in case you’re wondering, yes, I did get permission for photography from the speakers and from Gilad personally for the conference as a whole.

MyHeritage Live chromosome mapping 3 steps

I hope everyone is mapping their DNA segments to ancestral couples.

Party

And of course the party in the evening. Beatlemania.

MyHeritage Live beatle

Here’s a teaser picture, but the rest will have to wait until the next article. I have to run because I’m missing sessions this morning, but thankfully I can watch them later at Legacy Tree Webinars.

I hope you’re watching the livestreams.

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

MyHeritage LIVE 2019 Sessions to be Live Streamed this Weekend

MyHeritage Live 2019

Great news!

Today, MyHeritage announced that they have once again arranged for the MyHeritage LIVE conference sessions to be live streamed.

While the Friday activities won’t be available online, the regular conference sessions on both Saturday and Sunday, Sept 7 and 8 will be for FREE. Please note that the sessions will begin VERY early in the US.

The live stream will be available on the MyHeritage LIVE website and on the MyHeritage Facebook page, so please tune in from 9:00 a.m. Amsterdam time on September 7th. If you need help calculating the time difference to your local time zone, you can use https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/.

Make sure to visit the conference website to see the full schedule.

I will be blogging about the conference as I can, but you can tune in to see the conference proceedings real time.

There’s an amazing lineup of speakers and I can’t wait!

Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage CEO always makes announcements at conferences. Care to speculate about what might be in store for us?

I hope you can join us online to see for yourself.

Mitochondrial DNA Resources – Everything You Need to Know

Mitochondrial DNA Resources

Recently, I wrote a multi-part series about mitochondrial DNA – start to finish – everything you need to know.

I’ve assembled several articles in one place, and I’ll add any new articles here as well.

Please feel free to share this resource or any of the links to individual articles with friends, genealogy groups or on social media.

What the Difference Between Mitochondrial and Other Types of DNA?

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited directly from your matrilineal line, only, meaning your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother – on up your family tree until you run out of direct line mothers that you’ve identified. The great news is even if you don’t know the identities of those people in your tree, you carry their mitochondrial DNA which can help identify them.

Here’s a short article about the different kinds of DNA that can be used for genealogy.

Why Mitochondrial DNA?

Let’s start out with why someone might want to test their mitochondrial DNA.

After you purchase a DNA test, swab, return the kit and when the lab finishes processing your test, you’ll receive your results on your personal page at FamilyTreeDNA, the only company that tests mitochondrial DNA at the full sequence level and provides matching with tens of thousands of other testers.

What About Those Results?

People want to understand how to use all of the different information provided to testers. These articles provide a step-by-step primer.

Mitochondrial DNA personal page update

Sign in to your Family Tree DNA account and use these articles as a guideline to step through your results on your personal page.

We begin with an overview. What is mitochondrial DNA, how it is inherited and why is it useful for genealogy?

Next, we look at your results and decode what all the numbers mean. It’s easy, really!

Our ancestors lived in clans, and our mitochondrial DNA has its own versions of clans too – called haplogroups. Your full haplogroup can be very informative.

Sometimes there’s more than meets the eye. Here are my own tips and techniques for more than doubling the usefulness of your matches.

You’ll want to wring every possible advantage out of your tests, so be sure to join relevant projects and use them to their fullest extent.

Do you know how to utilize advanced matching? It’s a very powerful tool. If not, you will after these articles.

Mitochondrial DNA Information for Everyone

FamilyTreeDNA maintains an extensive public mitochondrial DNA tree, complete with countries of origin for all branches. You don’t need to have tested to enjoy the public tree.

However, if you have tested, take a look to see where the earliest known ancestors of your haplogroup matches are located based on the country flags.

Mitochondrial resources haplotree

These are mine. Where are yours?

What Can Mitochondrial DNA Do for You?

Some people mistakenly think that mitochondrial DNA isn’t useful for genealogy. I’m here to testify that it’s not only useful, it’s amazing! Here are three stories from my own genealogy about how I’ve used mitochondrial DNA to learn more about my ancestors and in some cases, break right through brick walls.

It’s not only your own mitochondrial DNA that’s important, but other family members too.

My cousin tested her mitochondrial DNA to discover that her direct matrilineal ancestor was Native American, much to her surprise. The great news is that her ancestor is my ancestor too!

Searching for Native American Ancestors?

If you’re searching for Native American or particular ancestors, mitochondrial DNA can tell you specifically if your mitochondrial DNA, or that of your ancestors (if you test a direct matrilineal descendant,) is Native, African, European, Jewish or Asian. Furthermore, your matches provide clues as to what country your ancestor might be from and sometimes which regions too.

Did you know that people from different parts of the world have distinctive haplogroups?

You can discover your ancestors’ origins through their mitochondrial DNA.

You can even utilize autosomal segment information to track back in time to the ancestor you seek. Then you can obtain that ancestor’s mitochondrial DNA by selectively testing their descendants or finding people who have already tested that descend from that ancestor. Here’s how.

You never know what you’re going to discover when you test your mitochondrial DNA. I discovered that although my earliest known matrilineal ancestor is found in Germany, her ancestors were from Scandinavia. My cousin discovered that our common ancestor is Mi’kmaq.

What secrets will your mitochondrial DNA reveal?

You can test or upgrade your mitochondrial DNA by clicking here.

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research