Concepts – Segment Size, Legitimate and False Matches

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!

One of the questions I often receive about autosomal DNA is, “What, EXACTLY, is a match?”  The answer at first glance seems evident, meaning when you and someone else are shown on each other’s match lists, but it really isn’t that simple.

What I’d like to discuss today is what actually constitutes a match – and the difference between legitimate or real matches and false matches, also called false positives.

Let’s look at a few definitions before we go any further.

Definitions

  • A Match – when you and another person are found on each other’s match lists at a testing vendor. You may match that person on one or more segments of DNA.
  • Matching Segment – when a particular segment of DNA on a particular chromosome matches to another person. You may have multiple segment matches with someone, if they are closely related, or only one segment match if they are more distantly related.
  • False Match – also known as a false positive match. This occurs when you match someone that is not identical by descent (IBD), but identical by chance (IBC), meaning that your DNA and theirs just happened to match, as a happenstance function of your mother and father’s DNA aligning in such a way that you match the other person, but neither your mother or father match that person on that segment.
  • Legitimate Match – meaning a match that is a result of the DNA that you inherited from one of your parents. This is the opposite of a false positive match.  Legitimate matches are identical by descent (IBD.)  Some IBD matches are considered to be identical by population, (IBP) because they are a result of a particular DNA segment being present in a significant portion of a given population from which you and your match both descend. Ideally, legitimate matches are not IBP and are instead indicative of a more recent genealogical ancestor that can (potentially) be identified.

You can read about Identical by Descent and Identical by Chance here.

  • Endogamy – an occurrence in which people intermarry repeatedly with others in a closed community, effectively passing the same DNA around and around in descendants without introducing different/new DNA from non-related individuals. People from endogamous communities, such as Jewish and Amish groups, will share more DNA and more small segments of DNA than people who are not from endogamous communities.  Fully endogamous individuals have about three times as many autosomal matches as non-endogamous individuals.
  • False Negative Match – a situation where someone doesn’t match that should. False negatives are very difficult to discern.  We most often see them when a match is hovering at a match threshold and by lowing the threshold slightly, the match is then exposed.  False negative segments can sometimes be detected when comparing DNA of close relatives and can be caused by read errors that break a segment in two, resulting in two segments that are too small to be reported individually as a match.  False negatives can also be caused by population phasing which strips out segments that are deemed to be “too matchy” by Ancestry’s Timber algorithm.
  • Parental or Family Phasing – utilizing the DNA of your parents or other close family members to determine which side of the family a match derives from. Actual phasing means to determine which parts of your DNA come from which parent by comparing your DNA to at least one, if not both parents.  The results of phasing are that we can identify matches to family groups such as the Phased Family Finder results at Family Tree DNA that designate matches as maternal or paternal based on phased results for you and family members, up to third cousins.
  • Population Based Phasing – In another context, phasing can refer to academic phasing where some DNA that is population based is removed from an individual’s results before matching to others. Ancestry does this with their Timber program, effectively segmenting results and sometimes removing valid IBD segments.  This is not the type of phasing that we will be referring to in this article and parental/family phasing should not be confused with population/academic phasing.

IBD and IBC Match Examples

It’s important to understand the definitions of Identical by Descent and Identical by Chance.

I’ve created some easy examples.

Let’s say that a match is defined as any 10 DNA locations in a row that match.  To keep this comparison simple, I’m only showing 10 locations.

In the examples below, you are the first person, on the left, and your DNA strands are showing.  You have a pink strand that you inherited from Mom and a blue strand inherited from Dad.  Mom’s 10 locations are all filled with A and Dad’s locations are all filled with T.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t keep your Mom’s and Dad’s strands on one side or the other, so their DNA is mixed together in you.  In other words, you can’t tell which parts of your DNA are whose.  However, for our example, we’re keeping them separate because it’s easier to understand that way.

Legitimate Match – Identical by Descent from Mother

matches-ibd-mom

In the example above, Person B, your match, has all As.  They will match you and your mother, both, meaning the match between you and person B is identical by descent.  This means you match them because you inherited the matching DNA from your mother. The matching DNA is bordered in black.

Legitimate Match – Identical by Descent from Father

In this second example, Person C has all T’s and matches both you and your Dad, meaning the match is identical by descent from your father’s side.

matches-ibd-dad

You can clearly see that you can have two different people match you on the same exact segment location, but not match each other.  Person B and Person C both match you on the same location, but they very clearly do not match each other because Person B carries your mother’s DNA and Person C carries your father’s DNA.  These three people (you, Person B and Person C) do NOT triangulate, because B and C do not match each other.  The article, “Concepts – Match Groups and Triangulation” provides more details on triangulation.

Triangulation is how we prove that individuals descend from a common ancestor.

If Person B and Person C both descended from your mother’s side and matched you, then they would both carry all As in those locations, and they would match you, your mother and each other.  In this case, they would triangulate with you and your mother.

False Positive or Identical by Chance Match

This third example shows that Person D does technically match you, because they have all As and Ts, but they match you by zigzagging back and forth between your Mom’s and Dad’s DNA strands.  Of course, there is no way for you to know this without matching Person D against both of your parents to see if they match either parent.  If your match does not match either parent, the match is a false positive, meaning it is not a legitimate match.  The match is identical by chance (IBC.)

matches-ibc

One clue as to whether a match is IBC or IBD, even without your parents, is whether the person matches you and other close relatives on this same segment.  If not, then the match may be IBC. If the match also matches close relatives on this segment, then the match is very likely IBD.  Of course, the segment size matters too, which we’ll discuss momentarily.

If a person triangulates with 2 or more relatives who descend from the same ancestor, then the match is identical by descent, and not identical by chance.

False Negative Match

This last example shows a false negative.  The DNA of Person E had a read error at location 5, meaning that there are not 10 locations in a row that match.  This causes you and Person E to NOT be shown as a match, creating a false negative situation, because you actually do match if Person E hadn’t had the read error.

matches-false-negative

Of course, false negatives are by definition very hard to identify, because you can’t see them.

Comparisons to Your Parents

Legitimate matches will phase to your parents – meaning that you will match Person B on the same amount of a specific segment, or a smaller portion of that segment, as one of your parents.

False matches mean that you match the person, but neither of your parents matches that person, meaning that the segment in question is identical by chance, not by descent.

Comparing your matches to both of your parents is the easiest litmus paper test of whether your matches are legitimate or not.  Of course, the caveat is that you must have both of your parents available to fully phase your results.

Many of us don’t have both parents available to test, so let’s take a look at how often false positive matches really do occur.

False Positive Matches

How often do false matches really happen?

The answer to that question depends on the size of the segments you are comparing.

Very small segments, say at 1cM, are very likely to match randomly, because they are so small.  You can read more about SNPs and centiMorgans (cM) here.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the matching segment as measured in cM, with more SNPs in that segment:

  • The stronger the match is considered to be
  • The more likely the match is to be IBD and not IBC
  • The closer in time the common ancestor, facilitating the identification of said ancestor

Just in case we forget sometimes, identifying ancestors IS the purpose of genetic genealogy, although it seems like we sometimes get all geeked out by the science itself and process of matching!  (I can hear you thinking, “speak for yourself, Roberta.”)

It’s Just a Phase!!!

Let’s look at an example of phasing a child’s matches against those of their parents.

In our example, we have a non-endogamous female child (so they inherit an X chromosome from both parents) whose matches are being compared to her parents.

I’m utilizing files from Family Tree DNA. Ancestry does not provide segment data, so Ancestry files can’t be used.  At 23andMe, coordinating the security surrounding 3 individuals results and trying to make sure that the child and both parents all have access to the same individuals through sharing would be a nightmare, so the only vendor’s results you can reasonably utilize for phasing is Family Tree DNA.

You can download the matches for each person by chromosome segment by selecting the chromosome browser and the “Download All Matches to Excel (CSV Format)” at the top right above chromosome 1.

matches-chromosomr-browser

All segment matches 1cM and above will be downloaded into a CSV file, which I then save as an Excel spreadsheet.

I downloaded the files for both parents and the child. I deleted segments below 3cM.

About 75% of the rows in the files were segments below 3cM. In part, I deleted these segments due to the sheer size and the fact that the segment matching was a manual process.  In part, I did this because I already knew that segments below 3 cM weren’t terribly useful.

Rows Father Mother Child
Total 26,887 20,395 23,681
< 3 cM removed 20,461 15,025 17,784
Total Processed 6,426 5,370 5,897

Because I have the ability to phase these matches against both parents, I wanted to see how many of the matches in each category were indeed legitimate matches and how many were false positives, meaning identical by chance.

How does one go about doing that, exactly?

Downloading the Files

Let’s talk about how to make this process easy, at least as easy as possible.

Step one is downloading the chromosome browser matches for all 3 individuals, the child and both parents.

First, I downloaded the child’s chromosome browser match file and opened the spreadsheet.

Second, I downloaded the mother’s file, colored all of her rows pink, then appended the mother’s rows into the child’s spreadsheet.

Third, I did the same with the father’s file, coloring his rows blue.

After I had all three files in one spreadsheet, I sorted the columns by segment size and removed the segments below 3cM.

Next, I sorted the remaining items on the spreadsheet, in order, by column, as follows:

  • End
  • Start
  • Chromosome
  • Matchname

matches-both-parents

My resulting spreadsheet looked like this.  Sorting in the order prescribed provides you with the matches to each person in chromosome and segment order, facilitating easy (OK, relatively easy) visual comparison for matching segments.

I then colored all of the child’s NON-matching segments green so that I could see (and eventually filter the matchname column by) the green color indicating that they were NOT matches.  Do this only for the child, or the white (non-colored) rows.  The child’s matchname only gets colored green if there is no corresponding match to a parent for that same person on that same chromosome segment.

matches-child-some-parents

All of the child’s matches that DON’T have a corresponding parent match in pink or blue for that same person on that same segment will be colored green.  I’ve boxed the matches so you can see that they do match, and that they aren’t colored green.

In the above example, Donald and Gaff don’t match either parent, so they are all green.  Mess does match the father on some segments, so those segments are boxed, but the rest of Mess doesn’t match a parent, so is colored green.  Sarah doesn’t match any parent, so she is entirely green.

Yes, you do manually have to go through every row on this combined spreadsheet.

If you’re going to phase your matches against your parent or parents, you’ll want to know what to expect.  Just because you’ve seen one match does not mean you’ve seen them all.

What is a Match?

So, finally, the answer to the original question, “What is a Match?”  Yes, I know this was the long way around the block.

In the exercise above, we weren’t evaluating matches, we were just determining whether or not the child’s match also matched the parent on the same segment, but sometimes it’s not clear whether they do or do not match.

matches-child-mess

In the case of the second match with Mess on chromosome 11, above, the starting and ending locations, and the number of cM and segments are exactly the same, so it’s easy to determine that Mess matches both the child and the father on chromosome 11. All matches aren’t so straightforward.

Typical Match

matches-typical

This looks like your typical match for one person, in this case, Cecelia.  The child (white rows) matches Cecelia on three segments that don’t also match the child’s mother (pink rows.)  Those non-matching child’s rows are colored green in the match column.  The child matches Cecelia on two segments that also match the mother, on chromosome 20 and the X chromosome.  Those matching segments are boxed in black.

The segments in both of these matches have exact overlaps, meaning they start and end in exactly the same location, but that’s not always the case.

And for the record, matches that begin and/or end in the same location are NOT more likely to be legitimate matches than those that start and end in different locations.  Vendors use small buckets for matching, and if you fall into any part of the bucket, even if your match doesn’t entirely fill the bucket, the bucket is considered occupied.  So what you’re seeing are the “fuzzy” bucket boundaries.

(Over)Hanging Chad

matches-overhanging

In this case, Chad’s match overhangs on each end.  You can see that Chad’s match to the child begins at 52,722,923 before the mother’s match at 53,176,407.

At the end location, the child’s matching segment also extends beyond the mother’s, meaning the child matches Chad on a longer segment than the mother.  This means that the segment sections before 53,176,407 and after 61,495,890 are false negative matches, because Chad does not also match the child’s mother of these portions of the segment.

This segment still counts as a match though, because on the majority of the segment, Chad does match both the child and the mother.

Nested Match

matches-nested

This example shows a nested match, where the parent’s match to Randy begins before the child’s and ends after the child’s, meaning that the child’s matching DNA segment to Randy is entirely nested within the mother’s.  In other words, pieces got shaved off of both ends of this segment when the child was inheriting from her mother.

No Common Matches

matches-no-common

Sometimes, the child and the parent will both match the same person, but there are no common segments.  Don’t read more into this than what it is.  The child’s matches to Mary are false matches.  We have no way to judge the mother’s matches, except for segment size probability, which we’ll discuss shortly.

Look Ma, No Parents

matches-no-parents

In this case, the child matches Don on 5 segments, including a reasonably large segment on chromosome 9, but there are no matches between Don and either parent.  I went back and looked at this to be sure I hadn’t missed something.

This could, possibly, be an instance of an unseen a false negative, meaning perhaps there is a read issue in the parent’s file on chromosome 9, precluding a match.  However, in this case, since Family Tree DNA does report matches down to 1cM, it would have to be an awfully large read error for that to occur.  Family Tree DNA does have quality control standards in place and each file must pass the quality threshold to be put into the matching data base.  So, in this case, I doubt that the problem is a false negative.

Just because there are multiple IBC matches to Don doesn’t mean any of those are incorrect.  It’s just the way that the DNA is inherited and it’s why this type of a match is called identical by chance – the key word being chance.

Split Match

matches-split

This split match is very interesting.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that Diane matches Mom on the entire segment on chromosome 12, but the child’s match is broken into two.  However, the number of SNPs adds up to the same, and the number of cM is close.  This suggests that there is a read error in the child’s file forcing the child’s match to Diane into two pieces.

If the segments broken apart were smaller, under the match threshold, and there were no other higher matches on other segments, this match would not be shown and would fall into the False Negative category.  However, since that’s not the case, it’s a legitimate match and just falls into the “interesting” category.

The Deceptive Match

matches-surname

Don’t be fooled by seeing a family name in the match column and deciding it’s a legitimate match.  Harrold is a family surname and Mr. Harrold does not match either of the child’s parents, on any segment.  So not a legitimate match, no matter how much you want it to be!

Suspicious Match – Probably not Real

matches-suspicious

This technically is a match, because part of the DNA that Daryl matches between Mom and the child does overlap, from 111,236,840 to 113,275,838.  However, if you look at the entire match, you’ll notice that not a lot of that segment overlaps, and the number of cMs is already low in the child’s match.  There is no way to calculate the number of cMs and SNPs in the overlapping part of the segment, but suffice it to say that it’s smaller, and probably substantially smaller, than the 3.32 total match for the child.

It’s up to you whether you actually count this as a match or not.  I just hope this isn’t one of those matches you REALLY need.  However, in this case, the Mom’s match at 15.46 cM is 99% likely to be a legitimate match, so you really don’t need the child’s match at all!!!

So, Judge Judy, What’s the Verdict?

How did our parental phasing turn out?  What did we learn?  How many segments matched both the child and a parent, and how many were false matches?

In each cM Size category below, I’ve included the total number of child’s match rows found in that category, the number of parent/child matches, the percent of parent/child matches, the number of matches to the child that did NOT match the parent, and the percent of non-matches. A non-match means a false match.

So, what the verdict?

matches-parent-child-phased-segment-match-chart

It’s interesting to note that we just approach the 50% mark for phased matches in the 7-7.99 cM bracket.

The bracket just beneath that, 6-6.99 shows only a 30% parent/child match rate, as does 5-5.99.  At 3 cM and 4 cM few matches phase to the parents, but some do, and could potentially be useful in groups of people descended from a known common ancestor and in conjunction with larger matches on other segments. Certainly segments at 3 cM and 4 cM alone aren’t very reliable or useful, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t potentially be used in other contexts, nor are they always wrong. The smaller the segment, the less confidence we can have based on that segment alone, at least below 9-15cM.

Above the 50% match level, we quickly reach the 90th percentile in the 9-9.99 cM bracket, and above 10 cM, we’re virtually assured of a phased match, but not quite 100% of the time.

It isn’t until we reach the 16cM category that we actually reach the 100% bracket, and there is still an outlier found in the 18-18.99 cM group.

I went back and checked all of the 10 cM and over non-matches to verify that I had not made an error.  If I made errors, they were likely counting too many as NON-matches, and not the reverse, meaning I failed to visually identify matches.  However, with almost 6000 spreadsheet rows for the child, a few errors wouldn’t affect the totals significantly or even noticeably.

I hope that other people in non-endogamous populations will do the same type of double parent phasing and report on their results in the same type of format.  This experiment took about 2 days.

Furthermore, I would love to see this same type of experiment for endogamous families as well.

Summary

If you can phase your matches to either or both of your parents, absolutely, do.  This this exercise shows why, if you have only one parent to match against, you can’t just assume that anyone who doesn’t match you on your one parent’s side automatically matches you from the other parent. At least, not below about 15 cM.

Whether you can phase against your parent or not, this exercise should help you analyze your segment matches with an eye towards determining whether or not they are valid, and what different kinds of matches mean to your genealogy.

If nothing else, at least we can quantify the relatively likelihood, based on the size of the matching segment, in a non-endogamous population, a match would match a parent, if we had one to match against, meaning that they are a legitimate match.  Did you get all that?

In a nutshell, we can look at the Parent/Child Phased Match Chart produced by this exercise and say that our 8.5 cM match has about a 66% chance of being a legitimate match, and our 10.5 cM match has a 95% change of being a legitimate match.

You’re welcome.

Enjoy!!

My Son in Vietnam – The Story of Bob and Nahn

Have you ever seen a “birth” announcement for a 48 year old child’s arrival? No? Well, you have now.

nhan-birth

Meet Nahn, son of Bob Thedford. You see, Bob never knew that Nahn existed, and Nahn didn’t know how to find his father.

For 48 years, Nahn dreamed and Bob had no idea…and then one day…that all changed, thanks to a DNA test at Family Tree DNA.

I became peripherally involved in Bob and Nahn’s story in 2013 when Bob’s wife, Louise, contacted me, in shock.

Bob, Nahn and Louise’s story is a bittersweet mix of sorrow and joy. I want to let Louise tell the story. After Nahn’s discovery, Louise created a document chronicling what happened so she didn’t have to write the same information over and over again to various people who wanted to know “what happened.”

Bob’s DNA Story

I want to relate a DNA story that happen in our family that added an unexpected branch to our family tree.

I took my first mtDNA test with Family Tree DNA in early 2006 and received my mitochondrial results in June 2006. In July 2010, I received results from a Family Finder DNA test. Then in March of 2012, I received results mt Full Sequence test.

When I was ordering my mt Full Sequence upgrade, I mentioned to my husband what I was doing. He said, “I want to take a DNA test. Can you order me a kit?”  So I placed an order for him for a Family Finder kit. We both received our results in March of 2012. At that time we had no idea of the life changing experience that was in store for us.

A few months later I ordered a kit for my son, our daughter and Bob’s mother. It was worked out between all of us that I would be the administrator of all kits. Checking on matches, following up on e-mails, contacting matchings. Anything that needed to be done to connect with distant cousins.

In September of 2013 we discovered that my husband had a Skin Cancer. It was caught in the early stages and we had hope that with proper treatment he could be cured.

Toward the end of September 2013, I went on-line to check all the FTDNA profiles for new matches. I have to login into each profile one at a time.

I would always check my profile first. On this night I has a few new matches but nothing that really caught my eye at the time.

Next I logged into my husband’s profile. He had a new match near the top of his match list just under our daughter and his mother.  I sat there and stared at the screen for a couple of minutes trying to comprehend what I was seeing.

The name on the screen was one I had never heard in the past. But the shared centiMorgans between my husband and this person was in the parent / child relationship range.

Our daughter shared 3,380 centiMorgans with her father. And this person shared 3,384 centiMorgans with my husband. I kept staring at the screen and the thought that was running through my head, the lab has made a mistake!!

nhan-match

I decided to contact Roberta Estes who writes a DNA Blog.  I explained to Roberta my findings. I said, “I think I already know the answer, but could there be a mistake by FTDNA in interpreting Vo Hun Nhan’s results?”

Her reply to me was, “I have never seen the lab make a mistake of the kind it would take for this to be in error.  Having said that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, but the entire process is automated via the tag on the vials.  I can’t even imagine how it would happen.”

I had checked our daughter and my mother-in-law’s profile, finding the same name with large amounts of matching centiMorgans. I began to think that the lab had not made a mistake.

After lot of investigation and e-mails to several people, we confirmed that Vo Huu Nhan is my husband’s 48 year old biological son. Without the DNA test we would never know of his existence. My husband had no idea that he had a son.

On October, 15, 2013, Bob reached out to Nahn’s contact, asking how to contact Nahn. Bob served in the Vietnam War from March 1968 to March 1969. Nhan was born in August 1969.

After my husband returned to the States he had 8 months left on his tour of duty. He was sent to Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama to finish out his tour. Huntsville is my home and that is where we first came to know each other.

Bob’s tour of duty was over in December 1969 and he returned back home to Fort Worth, Texas. It was not long after he returned back to Texas, that me and my 5 year old son moved to Fort Worth.

Four days after Bob reached out to Nahn’s contact, we received this letter about what Nahn said when he was told that they had found his father.

“I just received a message from Nhan’s best friend (Son Tran who introduced Nhan to me and asked me to give Nhan a chance to have a DNA test) that Nhan was very happy about the news… He said that “he would not be happier if someone gave him a million dollar than give him a father!!”

The results of the DNA test were bittersweet. All of the family was overly excited to have found Nhan but were sad to find out that for all these years we did not know of his existence. Nhan lives in South Vietnam in the Mekong Delta, he doesn’t speak English and does not own a computer.

All Nhan had been told about his father was that he was an American G.I. and his name was Bob. That was after he came home crying and asking his grandmother “Why the kid’s made fun of him and why did he look different compared to everyone else.” He looks more like Bob’s father than looks like Bob. Another thing we couldn’t deny after seeing a picture of him.

How Nhan came to know about the DNA test was through a childhood friend that lives in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). His friend Dang Van Son had heard that DNA kits were being brought to Saigon and that they were looking for “Children Left Behind” to come and take the test.

nhan-with-friend

Nahn and his friend, Son, in Vietnam. Son arranged for Nahn’s DNA test.

Son contacted Nhan and told him he should come and take the test. They only had 80 test kits to go around. I don’t know how many came for the test but Nhan was able to be tested.

After we confirmed that all was legit. Son began to e-mail us and send pictures of Nhan and his family as well as send messages from Nhan.  Nhan has 5 children, 1 son and 4 daughters.

nhan-with-children

Nahn has 3 grand-children by two daughters. This added 9 new family members to my Family Tree. Nhan has been married twice. One marriage ended in divorce and his second wife died of liver cancer about 2008.

Nhan had several jobs in Vietnam so I was told by his friend Son. Porter in market, rescue diver, worked on a floating market boat.

nhan-working

On Christmas morning of 2013 we received a call from Vietnam. It was Nhan calling to wish us a Merry Christmas. His friend Son’s daughter translated. Then we received an e-mail picture of the family. We were able to Skype with him one time before my husband passed away.

In 2014, Louise and Bob discovered how difficult Nahn’s life had been. Nahn’s friend, Son, sent them the following:

nhan-letter-2

You can learn about the lives of mixed American and Vietnamese children in this YouTube video, along with information about Trista Goldberg who founded Operation Reunite and partnered with Family Tree DNA to reunite these families.

Louise continues:

On April 17, 2015 before Bob passed away a few days later on April 26, the Washington Post published an article “Legacies of War” Forty years after the fall of Saigon, soldiers’ children are still left behind. They profiled 5 children still looking for their father’s. The lead story was about my husband and Nhan.

There is a picture in the article where they are sitting in front of the computer. The reporter is Skyping with our daughter Amanda for the story. That is Amanda on the screen. The second story is about Nhan’s childhood friend Dang Van Son that has been such a help to us and Nhan with keeping us in touch with each other.

nhan-skyping

Amanda and Nahn Skyping.

On the day Bob passed away, our local paper, the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s front page story was the story about my husband and Nhan from the Washington Post, Legacies of war connect Vietnam, Tarrant County.

It was so surreal to be walking to the coffee shop and pass all the newspaper’s boxes and see Bob and Nhan’s picture in the window of the boxes. Bob was in hospice at the hospital and we knew it was a matter of time, and shortly he would not be with us anymore.

By the time these articles were published my husband was to the point of non-communication. The Washington Post had wanted to Skype with me and Bob but it was not possible. Bob passed away on Sunday night, April 26, 2015.

I knew that Bob was critically ill, then Louise informed me that Bob had passed away. I was just heartsick that Bob and Nhan never had the opportunity to meet in person. It seemed that a dream for both Bob and Nahn, so close, finally within reach, had just slipped away. I thought, at that time, that this was the end of the story, and certainly not the ending any of us wanted – but it wasn’t the end after all.

Twenty-one months later, I heard from Louise again, this time with very unexpected news.

A Visa for Nahn

Again, from Louise:

In October of 2015 we received an e-mail from Trista Goldburg the person with “Operation Reunite” who bought kits from Family Tree DNA and took them to Saigon for testing.

She had received an e-mail from Franc Shelton, Country Fraud Prevention Coordinator, Mission Vietnam FPU, U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Dear Trista,

I hope you are well.  I would like to  encourage you to reach out to the family of Robert Thedford and urge the daughter of Mr. Thedford to consider undergoing another DNA collection, and to pay for a collection here at the consulate for Mr. Vo, at one of the approved labs from the list I sent you.

We just had a case in which we were able to close out because the parties involved proceeded in the manner which I discussed with you—in that case, the American father is practically indigent, but fortunately there were Viet Khieu benefactors in California who generously paid for the testing.  I moved that case to the front of the line and expedited all our procedures-we collected the alleged son’s sample here on 30 September and had the results back 2 weeks later (99.99%).  I hand-carried the results to the immigrant visa unit and strongly encouraged them to expedite their own processes (I have no control over that however).

Amanda was going to take a second test and we would pay for the test. The lab closest on the AABB Accredited Relationship (DNA) Testing Facilities list was, University of North Texas, Fort Worth, Texas.

When Amanda contacted them she was told they no longer did DNA testing. She replied back to Trista and let her know what she found. There were a few more letters exchanged. Amanda never did take a second test. We did not hear anything more for several months until July of this year when we received and e-mail from Nhan with a copy of his and his daughters Immigration Visa’s.

Nahn’s Letters

I have to share with you two letters Nhan sent to me. I feel sure his friend Son wrote the letter as Nhan dictated them. They are so sweet.

DEAR  MU USA  MUM,

ALLOW  ME  TO CALL    YOU  AS  MY USA  MUM.

IAM HAPPY THAT I HAVE  TWO  MUM  IN THE WORLD

  1. USA  MUM,
  2. VIETNAMSE MUM,

HAVE  GOOD MORNING MY USA MUM.

MAY GOD BLESS US

MY WARMEST REGARDS  TO YOU AND THE FAMILY,

STEP SON OF  LOVED HUSBAND  OF YOU.

VO HUU  NHAN.

1/JULY 2016 DEAR  MY USA MOTHER,

And another letter.

I DO  THANK  TO EVERY-ONE  WHO HELPED  ME  IN DNA  TESTING RESULLT,  AND BASING ON DNA TEST RESULT  I  KNOW  YOUR HUSBAND  IS  MY  BIOLOGCAL FATHER,

  DEAR  MY USA  MOTHER WITH YOUR  HELP  TODAY  I   WILL  OWN  FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE  TO HELP ME,

I WILL  WORK  TO BE COME  AN US CITIZEN AS SOON AS I CAN,

I ALWAYS  AM  PROUD  OF MY US FATHER

I PRAY FOR HIM  DAILY   AND NOW HE HAS HIS LIFE  ON THE HEAVEN IT IS  THE BEST LIFE FOR HIS SOUL

AND I THINK HIS SOUL  ALWAYS  SHOW ME  THE WAY TO GO TO ——–

THANK   US MOTHER!

APPLICANT: VO HUU  NHAN

 11/JULY/2016

A Christmas Surprise

As these events unfolded, I was pulling for Louise and Bob, and rooting for Nahn, but without understanding the immigration process, there was little I could do to help. In fact, I didn’t think there was much anyone could do to help Nahn.

When Louise’s update e-mail arrived a few days after Christmas in 2016, it was with pictures – of Nahn – here – with her in the US. I was amazed, to put it mildly. A miracle had happened.

nhan-with-louise

Nahn and his American Mom, Louise

Not only that, but Nahn arrived with his mother and his youngest daughter – and not just to visit, but to live in the US permanently.

nhan-mother-daughter

Nahn, his Vietnamese mother and daughter in Texas, a few days after arrival, visiting Louise.

I asked Louise how Nahn’s arrival felt, for her and Amanda, given that Bob was gone and had so much wanted to meet Nahn. In a very real way, they were living Bob’s dream for him.

Yes it was a bittersweet reunion without Bob being here to enjoy it with us. Our daughter, Amanda, was excited about the meeting. She is my and Bob’s only child and now she has two half brothers.

nhan-with-amanda

Nahn and Amanda, half-siblings, meeting for the first time in Texas.  I love their smiles.  They look so happy!

Amanda has lived such a different life than Nhan. Nothing extravagant, her father has a hard-working police officer and worked a second part time job for 23 years to allow me to stay home with Amanda. Amanda earned her own way through college, but had so many more opportunities than Nahn. It’s so sad that Bob never knew Nahn existed.

Nhan has been able to prove he has an American father. Nhan, his youngest daughter, 12 year’s old, and his mother have been granted immigration visa’s. Nhan, his mother and daughter arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Tuesday night December 20th, 2016, thirty-six hours after leaving Vietnam.

I thought that Nahn and his family came for a visit, but that’s not the case, according to Louise.

My understanding is that Nhan, his mother and daughter plan to make Texas their new home. Currently they are living in Dallas, which is an hour or so from where I live. I am in contact with their Refugee Resettlement Case Worker at Refugee Services of Texas.

The case worker told me the night they arrived it was very cold, they came with one small bag of clothes and the clothes they had on. Clearly they weren’t prepared for winter. The next day, helping them settle in, she took them to a Walmart and said they walked in and their eyes got big and they said “WOW”!!!!!!!!!

Their case worker said her next goal is to help Nahn find a job. She will also help him learn how to ride a bus for transportation.

Nahn and his family have so many obstacles to overcome living here. The major one is the language barrier. None of them know any English except “Thank You, Hello” and “WOW” although they are already taking English classes.

nhan-with-daughter

Nahn and his daughter – their first Christmas in Texas, a few days after arrival.

In many ways, Nahn, his mother and daughter represent the journey of so many of our ancestors who arrived with the hope of making better lives for themselves and their children. They too arrived without knowing the language and with few, if any, belongings. The difference is that they often arrived in a group of other immigrants from the same country – so they had extended family and help – and others who could speak the language. Nahn and his small family arrived in a group of just 3.

I can only think how difficult the life they left must have been to warrant this kind of foray, really a leap of incredible faith, into an totally unknown world where an entirely uncertain future is more attractive than one’s current life. Nahn, his mother and daughter are incredibly brave. At some level, they must certainly be unspeakably frightened too.

I would be terrified, wondering how I would eat, how I would live, where I would live and would I be able to find work to provide for myself, my mother and a daughter with special needs.

One thing is for sure, Bob would be busting-the-buttons-off-his-shirt proud of Nhan.

How to Help

Knowing my blog readers, I know your next question will be how you can help Nahn and his family. I’m not sure what they will need from day to day, and what has already been taken care of. Please feel free to contact Nhan’s case worker, below, if you know of a job or want to help in another way.

Kate Beamon at Refugee Services of Texas
9696 Skillman, Suite 320 Dallas, TX 75243

Phone, (214) 821-4883
e-mail, kbeamon@rstx.org
http://www.rstx.org/about-us.html

Acknowledgements

A heartfelt thank you to Louise for sharing this very personal story of her family’s journey.

Louise conveys a special thank you from her family to Bennett Greenspan at Family Tree DNA.

2016 Genetic Genealogy Retrospective

In past years, I’ve written a “best of” article about genetic genealogy happenings throughout the year. For several years, the genetic genealogy industry was relatively new, and there were lots of new tools being announced by the testing vendors and others as well.

This year is a bit different. I’ve noticed a leveling off – there have been very few announcements of new tools by vendors, with only a few exceptions.  I think genetic genealogy is maturing and has perhaps begun a new chapter.  Let’s take a look.

Vendors

Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA leads the pack this year with their new Phased Family Matches which utilizes close relatives, up to third cousins, to assign your matches to either maternal or paternal buckets, or both if the individual is related on both sides of your tree.

Both Buckets

They are the first and remain the only vendor to offer this kind of feature.

Phased FF2

Phased Family Matching is extremely useful in terms of identifying which side of your family tree your matches are from. This tool, in addition to Family Tree DNA’s nine other autosomal tools helps identify common ancestors by showing you who is related to whom.

Family Tree DNA has also added other features such as a revamped tree with the ability to connect DNA results to family members.  DNA results connected to the tree is the foundation for the new Phased Family Matching.

The new Ancient Origins feature, released in November, was developed collaboratively with Dr. Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona Hammer Lab.

Ancient European Origins is based on the full genome sequencing work now being performed in the academic realm on ancient remains. These European results fall into three primary groups of categories based on age and culture.  Customer’s DNA is compared to the ancient remains to determine how much of the customer’s European DNA came from which group.  This exciting new feature allows us to understand more about our ancestors, long before the advent of surnames and paper or parchment records. Ancient DNA is redefining what we know, or thought we knew, about population migration.

2016-ancient-origins

You can view Dr. Hammer’s presentation given at the Family Tree DNA Conference in conjunction with the announcement of the new Ancient Origins feature here.

Family Tree DNA maintains its leadership position among the three primary vendors relative to Y DNA testing, mtDNA testing and autosomal tools.

Ancestry

In May of 2016, Ancestry changed the chip utilized by their tests, removing about 300,000 of their previous 682,000 SNPs and replacing them with medically optimized SNPs. The rather immediate effect was that due to the chip incompatibility, Ancestry V2 test files created on the new chip cannot be uploaded to Family Tree DNA, but they can be uploaded to GedMatch.  Family Tree DNA is working on a resolution to this problem.

I tested on the new Ancestry V2 chip, and while there is a difference in how much matching DNA I share with my matches as compared to the V1 chip, it’s not as pronounced as I expected. There is no need for people who tested on the earlier chip to retest.

Unfortunately, Ancestry has remained steadfast in their refusal to implement a chromosome browser, instead focusing on sales by advertising the ethnicity “self-discovery” aspect of DNA testing.

Ancestry does have the largest autosomal data base but many people tested only for ethnicity, don’t have trees or have private trees.  In my case, about half of my matches fall into that category.

Ancestry maintains its leadership position relative to DNA tree matching, known as a Shared Ancestor Hint, identifying common ancestors in the trees of people whose DNA matches.

ancestry-common-ancestors

23andMe

23andMe struggled for most of the year to meet a November 2015 deadline, which is now more than a year past, to transition its customers to the 23andMe “New Experience” which includes a new customer interface. I was finally transitioned in September 2016, and the experience has been very frustrating and extremely disappointing, and that’s putting it mildly. Some customers, specifically international customers, are still not transitioned, nor is it clear if or when they will be.

I tested on the 23andMe older V3 chip as well as their newer V4 chip. After my transition to the New Experience, I compared the results of the two tests. The new security rules incorporated into the New Experience meant that I was only able to view about 25% of my matches (400 of 1651(V3) matches or 1700 (V4) matches). 23andMe has, in essence, relegated themselves into the non-player status for genetic genealogy, except perhaps for adoptees who need to swim in every pool – but only then as a last place candidate. And those adoptees had better pray that if they have a close match, that match falls into the 25% of their matches that are useful.

In December, 23andMe began providing segment information for ethnicity segments, except the parental phasing portion does not function accurately, calling into question the overall accuracy of the 23andme ethnicity information. Ironically, up until now, while 23andMe slipped in every other area, they had been viewed at the best, meaning most accurate, in terms of ethnicity estimates.

New Kids on the Block

MyHeritage

In May of 2016, MyHeritage began encouraging people who have tested at other vendors to upload their results. I was initially very hesitant, because aside from GedMatch that has a plethora of genetic genealogy tools, I have seen no benefit to the participant to upload their DNA anyplace, other than Family Tree DNA (available for V3 23andMe and V1 Ancestry only).

Any serious genealogist is going to test at least at Family Tree DNA and Ancestry, both, and upload to GedMatch. My Heritage was “just another upload site” with no tools, not even matching initially.

However, in September, MyHeritage implemented matching, although they have had a series of what I hope are “startup issues,” with numerous invalid matches, apparently resulting from their usage of imputation.

Imputation is when a vendor infers what they think your DNA will look like in regions where other vendors test, and your vendor doesn’t. The best example would be the 300,000 or so Ancestry locations that are unique to the Ancestry V2 chip. Imputation would result in a vendor “inferring” or imputing your results for these 300,000 locations based on…well, we don’t exactly know based on what. But we do know it cannot be accurate.  It’s not your DNA.

In the midst of this, in October, 23andMe announced on their forum that they had severed a previous business relationship with MyHeritage where 23andMe allowed customers to link to MyHeritage trees in lieu of having customer trees directly on the 23andMe site.  This approach had been problematic because customers are only allowed 250 individuals in their tree for free, and anything above that requires a MyHeritage subscription.  Currently 23andMe has no tree capability.

It appears that MyHeritage refined their DNA matching routines at least somewhat, because many of the bogus matches were gone in November when they announced that their beta was complete and that they were going to sell their own autosomal DNA tests. However, matching issues have not disappeared or been entirely resolved.

While Family Tree DNA’s lab will be processing the MyHeritage autosomal tests, the results will NOT be automatically placed in the Family Tree DNA data base.

MyHeritage will be doing their own matching within their own database. There are no comparison tools, tree matching or ethnicity estimates today, but My Heritage says they will develop a chromosome browser and ethnicity estimates. However, it is NOT clear whether these will be available for free to individuals who have transferred their results into MyHeritage or if they will only be available to people who tested through MyHeritage.

2016-myheritage-matches

For the record, I have 28 matches today at MyHeritage.

2016-myheritage-second-match

I found that my second closest match at MyHeritage is also at Ancestry.

2016-myheritage-at-ancestry

At MyHeritage, they report that I match this individual on a total of 64.1 cM, across 7 segments, with the largest segment being 14.9 cM.

Ancestry reports this same match at 8.3 cM total across 1 segment, which of course means that the longest segment is also 8.3 cM.

Ancestry estimates the relationship as 5th to 8th cousin, and MyHeritage estimates it as 2nd to 4th.

While I think Ancestry’s Timber strips out too much DNA, there is clearly a HUGE difference in the reported results and the majority of this issue likely lies with the MyHeritage DNA imputation and matching routines.

I uploaded my Family Tree DNA autosomal file to MyHeritage, so MyHeritage is imputing at least 300,000 SNPs for me – almost half of the SNPs needed to match to Ancestry files.  They are probably imputing that many for my match’s file too, so that we have an equal number of SNPs for comparison.  Combined, this would mean that my match and I are comparing 382,000 actual SNPs that we both tested, and roughly 600,000 SNPs that we did not test and were imputed.  No wonder the MyHeritage numbers are so “off.”

My Heritage has a long way to go before they are a real player in this arena. However, My Heritage has potential, as they have a large subscriber base in Europe, where we desperately need additional testers – so I’m hopeful that they can attract additional genealogists that are willing to test from areas that are under-represented to date.

My Heritage got off to a bit of a rocky start by requiring users to relinquish the rights to their DNA, but then changed their terms in May, according to Judy Russell’s blog.

All vendors can change their terms at any time, in a positive or negative direction, so I would strongly encourage all individuals considering utilizing any testing company or upload service to closely read all the legal language, including Terms and Conditions and any links found in the Terms and Conditions.

Please note that MyHeritage is a subscription genealogy site, similar to Ancestry.  MyHeritage also owns Geni.com.  One site, MyHeritage, allows individual trees and the other, Geni, embraces the “one world tree” model.  For a comparison of the two, check out Judy Russell’s articles, here and here.  Geni has also embraced DNA by allowing uploads from Family Tree DNA of Y, mitochondrial and autosomal, but the benefits and possible benefits are much less clear.

If the MyHeritage story sounds like a confusing soap opera, it is.  Let’s hope that 2017 brings both clarity and improvements.

Living DNA

Living DNA is a company out of the British Isles with a new test that purports to provide you with a breakdown of your ethnicity and the locations of your ancestral lines within 21 regions in the British Isles.  Truthfully, I’m very skeptical, but open minded.

They have had my kit for several weeks now, and testing has yet to begin.  I’ll write about the results when I receive them.  So far, I don’t know of anyone who has received results.

2016-living-dna

Genos

I debated whether or not I should include Genos, because they are not a test for genealogy and are medically focused. However, I am including them because they have launched a new model for genetic testing wherein your full exome is tested, you receive the results along with information on the SNPs where mutations are found. You can then choose to be involved with research programs in the future, if you wish, or not.

That’s a vastly different model that the current approach taken by 23andMe and Ancestry where you relinquish your rights to the sale of your DNA when you sign up to test.  I like this new approach with complete transparency, allowing the customer to decide the fate of their DNA. I wrote about the Genos test and the results, here.

Third Parties

Individuals sometimes create and introduce new tools to assist genealogists with genetic genealogy and analysis.

I have covered these extensively over the years.

GedMatch, WikiTree, DNAGedcom.com and Kitty Cooper’s tools remain my favorites.

I love Kitty’s Ancestor Chromosome Mapper which maps the segments identified with your ancestors on your chromosomes. I just love seeing which ancestors’ DNA I carry on which chromosomes.  Somehow, this makes me feel closer to them.  They’re not really gone, because they still exist in me and other descendants as well.

Roberta's ancestor map2

In order to use Kitty’s tool, you’ll have to have mapped at least some of your autosomal DNA to ancestors.

The Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer written by Don Worth and available at DNAGedcom is still one of my favorite tools for quick, visual and easy to understand segment matching results.

ADSA Crumley cluster

GedMatch has offered a triangulation tool for some time now, but recently introduced a new Triangulation Groups tool.

2016-gedmatch-triangulation-groups

I have not utilized this tool extensively but it looks very interesting. Unfortunately, there is no explanation or help function available for what this tool is displaying or how to understand and interpret the results. Hopefully, that will be added soon, as I think it would be possible to misinterpret the output without educational material.

GedMatch also introduced their “Evil Twin” tool, which made me laugh when I saw the name.  Using parental phasing, you can phase your DNA to your parent or parents at GedMatch, creating kits that only have your mother’s half of your DNA, or your father’s half.  These phased kits allow you to see your matches that come from that parent, only.  However, the “Evil Twin” feature creates a kit made up of the DNA that you DIDN’T receive from that parent – so in essence it’s your other half, your evil twin – you know, that person who got blamed for everything you “didn’t do.”  In any case, this allows you to see the matches to the other half of your parent’s DNA that do not show up as your matches.

Truthfully, the Evil Twin tool is interesting, but since you have to have that parent’s DNA to phase against in the first place, it’s just as easy to look at your parent’s matches – at least for me.

One new tool of note this year is the Double Match Triangulator by Louis Kessler.

dmt Cheryl to Bill status

The Double Match Triangulator utilizes chromosome browser match lists from Family Tree DNA, so you must have access to the matches of cousins, for example. This tool shows you with whom you and your cousin(s) mathematically triangulate. Of course, it still takes genealogy to discover your common ancestor, but triangulation goes a long way in terms of labeling segments as to where they came from in your tree.

I must say, most of the third-party tools mentioned above are for seasoned genetic genealogists who are serious about wringing every piece of information available from their DNA and their matches from various vendors.

Others offer unique tools that are a bit different.

DNAadoption.com offers tools, search and research techniques, especially for adoptees and those looking to identify a parent or grandparents, but perhaps even more important, they offer genetic genealogy classes including basic and introductory.

I send all adoptees in their direction, but I encourage everyone to utilize their classes.

WikiTree has continued to develop and enhance their DNA offerings.  While WikiTree is not a testing service nor do they offer autosomal data tools like Family Tree DNA and GedMatch, they do allow individuals to discover whether anyone in their ancestral line has tested their Y, mitochondrial or autosomal DNA.

Specifically, you can identify the haplogroup of any male or female ancestor if another individual from that direct lineage has tested and provided that information for that ancestor on WikiTree.  While I am generally not a fan of the “one world tree” types of implementations, I am a fan of WikiTree because of their far-sighted DNA comparisons, the fact that they actively engage their customers, they listen and they expend a significant amount of effort making sure they “get it right,” relative to DNA. Check out WikiTree’s article,  Putting DNA Results Into Action, for how to utilize their DNA Features.

2016-wikitree-peter-roberts

Thanks particularly to Chris Whitten at WikiTree and Peter Roberts for their tireless efforts.  WikiTree is the only vendor to offer the ability to discover the Y and mtDNA haplogroups of ancestors by searching trees.

All of the people creating the tools mentioned above, to the best of my knowledge, are primarily volunteers, although GedMatch does charge a small subscription service for their high end tools, including the triangulation and evil twin tools.  DNAGedcom does as well.  Wikitree generates some revenue for the site through ads on pages of non-members. DNAAdoption charges nominally for classes but they do have need-based scholarships. Kitty has a donation link on her website and all of these folks would gladly accept donations, I’m sure.  Websites and everything that goes along with them aren’t free.  Donations are a nice way to say thank you.

What Defined 2016

I have noticed two trends in the genetic genealogy industry in 2016, and they are intertwined – ethnicity and education.

First, there is an avalanche of new testers, many of whom are not genetic genealogists.

Why would one test if they weren’t a genetic genealogist?

The answer is simple…

Ethnicity.

Or more specifically, the targeted marketing of ethnicity.  Ethnicity testing looks like an easy, quick answer to a basic human question, and it sells kits.

Ethnicity

“Kim just wanted to know who she was.”

I have to tell you, these commercials absolutely make me CRINGE.

Yes, they do bring additional testers into the community, BUT carrying significantly misset expectations. If you’re wondering about WHY I would suggest that ethnicity results really cannot tell you “who you are,” check out this article about ethnicity estimates.

And yes, that’s what they are, estimates – very interesting estimates, but estimates just the same.  Estimates that provide important and valid hints and clues, but not definitive answers.

ESTIMATES.

Nothing more.

Estimates based on proprietary vendor algorithms that tend to be fairly accurate at the continental level, and not so much within continents – in particular, not terribly accurate within Europe. Not all of this can be laid a the vendor’s feet.  For example, DNA testing is illegal in France.  Not to mention, genetic genealogy and population genetics is still a new and emerging field.  We’re on the frontier, folks.

The ethnicity results one receives from the 3 major vendors (Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe) and the various tools at GedMatch don’t and won’t agree – because they use different reference populations, different matching routines, etc.  Not to mention people and populations move around and have moved around.

The next thing that happens, after these people receive their results, is that we find them on the Facebook groups asking questions like, “Why doesn’t my full blooded Native American grandmother show up?” and “I just got my Ancestry results back. What do I do?”  They mean that question quite literally.

I’m not making fun of these people, or light of the situation. Their level of frustration and confusion is evident. I feel sorry for them…but the genetic genealogy community and the rest of us are left with applying ointment and Band-Aids.  Truthfully, we’re out-numbered.

Because of the expectations, people who test today don’t realize that genetic testing is a TOOL, it’s not an ANSWER. It’s only part of the story. Oh, and did I mention, ethnicity is only an ESTIMATE!!!

But an estimate isn’t what these folks are expecting. They are expecting “the answer,” their own personal answer, which is very, very unfortunate, because eventually they are either unhappy or blissfully unaware.

Many become unhappy because they perceive the results to be in error without understanding anything about the technology or what information can reasonably be delivered, or they swallow “the answer” lock stock and barrel, again, without understanding anything about the technology.

Ethnicity is fun, it isn’t “bad” but the results need to be evaluated in context with other information, such as Y and mitochondrial haplogroups, genealogical records and ethnicity results from the other major testing companies.

Fortunately, we can recruit some of the ethnicity testers to become genealogists, but that requires education and encouragement. Let’s hope that those DNA ethnicity results light the fires of curiosity and that we can fan those flames!

Education

The genetic genealogy community desperately needs educational resources, in part as a result of the avalanche of new testers – approximately 1 million a year, and that estimate may be low. Thankfully, we do have several education options – but we can always use more.  Unfortunately, the learning curve is rather steep.

My blog offers just shy of 800 articles, all key word searchable, but one has to first find the blog and want to search and learn, as opposed to being handed “the answer.”

Of course, the “Help” link is always a good place to start as are these articles, DNA Testing for Genealogy 101 and Autosomal DNA Testing 101.  These two articles should be “must reads” for everyone who has DNA tested, or wants to, for that matter.  Tips and Tricks for Contact Success is another article that is immensely helpful to people just beginning to reach out.

In order to address the need for basic understanding of autosomal DNA principles, tools and how to utilize them, I began the “Concepts” series in February 2016. To date I offer the following 15 articles about genetic genealogy concepts. To be clear, DNA testing is only the genetic part of genetic genealogy, the genealogical research part being the second half of the equation.

The Concepts Series

Concepts – How Your Autosomal DNA Identifies Your Ancestors

Concepts – Identical By Descent, State, Population and Chance

Concepts – CentiMorgans, SNPs and Pickin’ Crab

Concepts – Parental Phasing

Concepts – Y DNA Matching and Connecting With Your Paternal Ancestor

Concepts – Downloading Autosomal Data From Family Tree DNA

Concepts – Managing Autosomal DNA Matches – Step 1 – Assigning Parental Sides

Concepts – Genetic Distance

Concepts – Relationship Predictions

Concepts – Match Groups and Triangulation

Concepts – Sorting Spreadsheets for Autosomal DNA

Concepts – Managing Autosomal DNA Matches – Step 2 – Updating Matching Spreadsheets, Bucketed Family Finder Matches and Pileups

Concepts – Why DNA Testing the Oldest Family Members Is Critically Important

Concepts – Undocumented Adoptions Versus Untested Y Lines

My blog isn’t the only resource of course.

Kelly Wheaton provides 19 free lessons in her Beginners Guide to Genetic Genealogy.

Other blogs I highly recommend include:

Excellent books in print that should be in every genetic genealogist’s library:

And of course, the ISOGG Wiki.

Online Conference Resources

The good news and bad news is that I’m constantly seeing a genetic genealogy seminar, webinar or symposium hosted by a group someplace that is online, and often free. When I see names I recognize as being reputable, I am delighted that there is so much available to people who want to learn.

And for the record, I think that includes everyone. Even professional genetic genealogists watch these sessions, because you just never know what wonderful tidbit you’re going to pick up.  Learning, in this fast moving field, is an everyday event.

The bad news is that I can’t keep track of everything available, so I don’t mean to slight any resource.  Please feel free to post additional resources in the comments.

You would be hard pressed to find any genealogy conference, anyplace, today that didn’t include at least a few sessions about genetic genealogy. However, genetic genealogy has come of age and has its own dedicated conferences.

Dr. Maurice Gleeson, the gentleman who coordinates Genetic Genealogy Ireland films the sessions at the conference and then makes them available, for free, on YouTube. This link provides a list of the various sessions from 2016 and past years as well. Well worth your time!  A big thank you to Maurice!!!

The 19 video series from the I4GG Conference this fall is now available for $99. This series is an excellent opportunity for genetic genealogy education.

As always, I encourage project administrators to attend the Family Tree DNA International Conference on Genetic Genealogy. The sessions are not filmed, but the slides are made available after the conference, courtesy of the presenters and Family Tree DNA. You can view the presentations from 2015 and 2016 at this link.

Jennifer Zinck attended the conference and published her excellent notes here and here, if you want to read what she had to say about the sessions she attended. Thankfully, she can type much faster and more accurately than I can! Thank you so much Jennifer.

If you’d like to read about the unique lifetime achievement awards presented at the conference this year to Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld, the founders of Family Tree DNA, click here. They were quite surprised!  This article also documents the history of genetic genealogy from the beginning – a walk down memory lane.

The 13th annual Family Tree DNA conference which will be held November 10-12, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency North Houston. Registration is always limited due to facility size, so mark your calendars now, watch for the announcement and be sure to register in time.

Summary

2016 has been an extremely busy year. I think my blog has had more views, more comments and by far, more questions, than ever before.

I’ve noticed that the membership in the ISOGG Facebook group, dedicated to genetic genealogy, has increased by about 50% in the past year, from roughly 8,000 members to just under 12,000. Other social media groups have been formed as well, some focused on specific aspects of genetic genealogy, such as specific surnames, adoption search, Native American or African American heritage and research.

The genetic aspect of genealogy has become “normal” today, with most genealogists not only accepting DNA testing, but embracing the various tools and what they can do for us in terms of understanding our ancestors, tracking them, and verifying that they are indeed who we think they are.

I may have to explain the three basic kinds of DNA testing and how they are used today, but no longer do I have to explain THAT DNA testing for genealogy exists and that it’s legitimate.

I hope that each of us can become an ambassador for genetic genealogy, encouraging others to test, with appropriate expectations, and helping to educate, enlighten and encourage. After all, the more people who test and are excited about the results, the better for everyone else.

Genetic genealogy is and can only be a collaborative team sport.

Here’s wishing you many new cousins and discoveries in 2017.

Happy New Year!!!

New Family Tree DNA Holiday Coupons – And the 12 Myths of Family Finder

It’s Monday coupon day – so I’m listing this week’s coupons and also discussing the Family Finder test this week.

Family Finder, Family Tree DNA’s autosomal test is one of the most popular DNA tests, for good reason.

First, like the name implies, it finds your family members on multiple lines of your family – not just the direct Y line (paternal, for males) or the matrilineal line (for both genders.)

Second, Family Finder provides you with an ethnicity estimate which is quite reliable at the continent level for the past 5 or 6 generations.  All ethnicity tests should be taken with somewhat of a grain of salt, because we are still on the frontier of this science.  But let’s face it, this is fun!

myorigins

Furthermore, Family Tree DNA just added a new function titled Ancient Origins that reaches further back in time. Where were your ancestors from?

ancient-origins

12 Myths of Family Finder

Since it’s the holiday season, and the “12 Days of Christmas” is playing in the background, let’s do the “12 Myths of Family Finder.”

1. Since I’ve taken an autosomal test elsewhere, I don’t need to take one at Family Tree DNA too.

You might want to rethink that strategy, and here’s why. Different people test at different companies. Only a few of us nut-cases test at all companies – so you don’t know which matches you’ll be missing if you’re not in all of the data bases. You know how Murphy’s Law works, your best match will be at the last place you test.

2. I already have a tree elsewhere, so I don’t need to upload or create a family tree at Family Tree DNA too.

You definitely need a tree, and here’s why. Family Tree DNA allows you to connect yourself and your relatives on your tree, utilizing phased matches to multiple people to assign your matches to either your maternal or paternal side of the tree, or both.  You can see the blue paternal, red maternal and purple “both” icons on the screen shot below.  No other vendor has this feature, and it requires a tree.

Phased FF2

Furthermore, your matches want to view your tree because Family Tree DNA also provides an ancestral surname matching function. And believe me, if you have one of my surnames AND our DNA matches, I want to see your tree! You’ll want to see mine too! So upload a Gedcom file or create a tree and connect DNA tests to the appropriate people in your tree. You’ll be very glad you did!

You can see an example of several people who have tested and are linked to their proper location in my tree.  My mother and myself are on the left, and three people from my father’s line are shown on the right.  This is how Family Tree DNA assigns matches to maternal and paternal sides of your family

ftdna-linked-tree

3. Autosomal testing doesn’t show anything about the paternal line or the maternal line.

This is probably a misunderstanding, and here’s why. This statement is probably an artifact of the fact that Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA are a separate kind of DNA that ONLY provides information about the direct paternal and direct maternal lines. However, autosomal DNA provides autosomal information from all ancestral lines, including the direct paternal and matrilineal lines too. You can read more about the different kinds of DNA testing and what they provide here.

4. Autosomal DNA testing will find my Native, African (or other small amounts of your admixture) no matter how far back that ancestor lived.

Not true, and here’s why. Autosomal DNA is pretty good at finding admixture in amounts over about 1%. However, each generation loses 50% of the DNA in the preceding generation. You carry about 1% of your ancestors’ DNA back 5 or 6 generations ago – which is about 150 years. Beyond that, it’s the luck of the roll of the dice as to whether fate has smiled on you and you carry a large enough ancestral segment to be found. However, Y and mitochondrial DNA DO reach infinitely back into time for just the direct paternal and direct matrilineal lines, so consider those tests as well.

5. If my sibling has already tested, I don’t need to.

That’s a myth most of the time, but not always. You and your full sibling both inherited half of each of your parents’ DNA, but not the same half. In reality, you share about half of the same DNA with your full sibling, meaning the other half is different. So you and your siblings will each have some of the same autosomal DNA matches, and some different. You’ll want to test every sibling, full and half – that is unless both parents have tested (full siblings) or the common parent has tested for half-siblings.

6. If I’ve tested, I don’t need to test my parents. That’s duplication.

In this case, duplication can be a good thing. Testing your parents will automatically divide your matches effectively in half for you – so long as you connect their test to your tree. If you have only one parent, that’s fine too. Family Tree DNA assigns maternal or paternal sides for phased matches to each parent for you. By the way, if you have grandparents, great-grandparents or the siblings of those people, you’ll definitely want to test the members of the oldest generation in your family. And don’t wait – you never know when it will be too late.  And not to be morbid, but Family Tree DNA will overnight kits to funeral homes if you perhaps waited a bit too long.

7. I don’t have full siblings, I only have half-siblings, so there is no need to test them.

This is right part of the time, but not always.  Don’t you just love these “it depends” answers!

If you have a half sibling and your shared parent is living, then you’re right, you don’t need to test the half-siblings because the parent is available. If that parent isn’t available, then a half-sibling can be even MORE useful than a full sibling, since you immediately know which side anyone who matches you and that sibling come from – your shared parent’s line.

8. I tested elsewhere and uploaded into GedMatch, so I don’t need to test anyplace else.

Nope, and here’s why. Family Tree DNA began DNA testing people 16 years ago. Many people who have tested at Family Tree DNA are now deceased or their kits are being managed by another family member. Suffice it to say that not everyone uploads their results to GedMatch for various reasons, so if you want to be sure to catch all of your matches, you’ll want to test at Family Tree DNA and be in their data base too.

9. I’ll upload my results from 23andMe or Ancestry to Family Tree DNA instead of retesting. It costs less.

That’s a good idea, up to a point, and that point is the point in time that 23andMe moved to their V3 chip and Ancestry moved to their V2 chip. Both of those chips have significantly less markers than their prior chips, making them incompatible with some of the locations on the Family Tree DNA chip. Those dates are approximately November 2013 for 23andMe and roughly May of 2016 for Ancestry. If you tested before those dates, then by all means, upload for the $39 unlock fee. That’s a great value. If you tested after that, it’s a no go, at least not now. You’ll need to retest.

10. I’ll just wait until Family Tree DNA accepts uploads from 23and Me and Ancestry again.

Family Tree DNA has indicated they are working towards that goal, but with the current Family Finder test price at $59 for the full 700,000 locations, compared to the transfer price of $39, it makes more sense to take the Family Finder test for the additional locations tested, even if Family Tree DNA were to make the transfer available today. In some cases, only about half of the locations are compatible which will clearly affect matching at some level. The only time waiting to transfer would be a preferred option would be if the person who took the original test is no longer available to retest.

11. I don’t want to test, because I can’t spit that much. Or substitute “because I am afraid of needles.”

Good news for you. The Family Tree DNA test kit is a swab kit, like a Q-Tip to scrape the inside of your cheek. No spitting, blood or needles involved.

12. I would like to upgrade my family member’s kit, but I can’t because they died.

All is not lost. If you have authorization to upgrade the kit, and they previously tested at Family Tree DNA, you can easily order that upgrade today if enough DNA remains.

Family Tree DNA archives DNA for 25 years. If you have your family member’s account number and password, assuming they gave you administrative privileges for their account, you can order an upgrade for your deceased relative the same as any other account. If you don’t have permission or full access to the account (kit number and password), or they didn’t designate you as DNA beneficiary on their account, you’ll need to obtain permission from the family first. Over time, DNA does degrade, so your best bet for upgrade success is with a sample that has been at the lab for less than 5 years. If in doubt, call Family Tree DNA and they will help you.

I upgraded my mother’s account to Family Finder after she passed away, and that’s one of the best gifts she ever gave me!  It’s a wonderful legacy that gifts me over and over again every day.

This Weeks Coupons

This week’s holiday discounts coupon codes are shown below and they include a few for Family Finder which can be used on top of the $59 sale price. At these prices, I’m offering upgrades to several family members who have previously tested.

Click here to redeem these coupons, or to see how much your own discount code is this week. If you don’t want to use your discount code, feel free to post in the blog comments for others to share.

Coupon # Good for What
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John Iron Moccasin, The Story of a Sioux Man

Occasionally, the project administrators of the American Indian project are presented with a rare opportunity to test an individual who is either full-blooded Native or nearly so. Recently, a Native Sioux man, John Iron Moccasin, born Earl White Weasel, stepped forward.

In order to facilitate testing, project members and others contributed funds with the agreement that we could publish John’s results and story. Now that the original tests are complete and we are publishing his results, we would like to upgrade John’s Y markers to 111 (from 37) and add the Big Y test – so if you’re inclined to contribute to the American Indian Project for this advanced testing – you can do so by clicking here.

But first, perhaps you’d like to hear John’s story. The results of the research into John’s history, both genealogically and genetically are fascinating. I hope you’ll get a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this journey. Come along – we’re going on an adventure to South Dakota and we’ll be visiting the Sioux people!

In the Beginning…

A few months ago, John Iron Moccasin was talking to his friend and told her that he would like to share not only his oral history, but his genealogy and genetic history, with his daughter. He didn’t know how to go about doing either, but that friend, Pam, did, and she turned to me.

John was born as Earl White Weasel on Eagle Butte Reservation in South Dakota. He then lived at Cherry Creek Reservation in South Dakota. After adoption, he relocated to Pine Ridge Reservation, Kyle Reservation and then Oglala Reservation.

Unlike many adoptees, John always knew the identity of his birth parents and has given permission to use both his birth and adopted surnames. He takes pride in both, as well as his heritage. However, since John’s genetic genealogy is connected only with his biological parents, that’s where this article will focus.

Both of John’s biological parents belonged to the Cheyenne Sioux tribe. His birth father was Timothy Urban White Weasel and his birth mother was Martha Hale.

John is tribally enrolled with the Cheyenne Sioux based on his birth parents. John’s card shows his “degree of blood” to be at least 15/16ths.

Let’s take a look at tracking both John’s maternal and paternal ancestry. Many people ask how to work with Native records, and this article will follow my step-by-journey with both John’s traditional genealogy as well as his genetic genealogy, tracking each line back in time. But first, let’s look at the history of the Sioux people.

The Sioux

The Sioux are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation’s many language dialects. The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota.

The Santee Dakota reside in the extreme east of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Iowa. The Yankton and Yanktonai Dakota reside in the Minnesota River area. They are considered to be the middle Sioux, and have in the past been erroneously classified as Nakota. The actual Nakota are the Assiniboine and Stoney of Western Canada and Montana. The Lakota, also called Teton are the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture.

The Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 established the Great Sioux Reservation, shown below, much of which has been whittled away today.

Today, the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations, communities, and reserves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana in the United States; and Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada.

sioux-map-today

By User:Nikater – Own work by Nikater, submitted to the public domain. Background map courtesy of Demis, http://www.demis.nl., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2309029

The Dakota are first recorded to have resided at the source of the Mississippi River during the seventeenth century. The source of the Mississippi trickled out of Lake Itasca in present day South Clearwater, Minnesota. On the map below, you can see that location as well as Eagle Butte, to the west (larger white circle in South Dakota), some 300 or more miles as the crow flies, where John Iron Moccasin was born. The third location, Wilsall, Montana, on further west (red balloon), is where the remains of the 12,500 year old Anzick Child were found with Clovis tools.

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By 1700 some Sioux had migrated to present-day South Dakota. John’s Native ancestors were born in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and reportedly, Canada.

Late in the 17th century, the Dakota entered into an alliance with French merchants. The French were trying to gain advantage in the struggle for the North American fur trade against the English, who had recently established the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The first recorded encounter between the Sioux and the French occurred when Radisson and Groseilliers reached what is now Wisconsin during the winter of 1659-60. Later visiting French traders and missionaries included Claude-Jean Allouez, Daniel Greysolon Duluth, and Pierre-Charles Le Sueur who wintered with Dakota bands in early 1700. In 1736 a group of Sioux killed Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye and twenty other men on an island in Lake of the Woods. However, trade with the French continued until after the French gave up North America in 1763.

For the most part, Sioux contact with Europeans was very limited until in the 1800s, and then, it turned deadly in a series of “wars” as the Sioux tried to protect their land and way of life. Europeans were equally as determined to eradicate the Indians, take their land and eliminate their way of life – and ultimately – they succeeded by containing the Sioux on reservations.

Records, other than oral history in the Sioux tongue, didn’t begin until Europeans began keeping them, so our earliest genealogical records of the Sioux only reach back into the 1800s. Thankfully, genetic records can reach back infinitely into time.

Let’s visit John Iron Moccasin’s ancestors, beginning with John’s paternal line.

The White Weasel Line

John’s father was Timothy Urban White Weasel, born August 1, 1939 to Oscar White Weasel and his wife, Esther (also called Estella) Ward. Timothy died March 28, 2004 in Eagle Butte, Dewey County, SD, the same location where he was born.

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John’s grandfather, Oscar White Weasel is listed as a farmer in the 1930 census in Ziebach County, South Dakota, in Township 8, district 59 as a full blood Sioux male with a note “74-5,” speaking Sioux, as is his wife, Esther, age 24. They have been married 5 years and have two children, Margie age 4 & 9/12 and Beatrice, age 2 & 5/12th. Oscar is a veteran.

Please note that you can click to enlarge any graphic.

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This means John’s grandfather was born about 1898 and his grandmother about 1906. It should be noted that many traditional Native people have only a general idea of when they were born.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs Death File shows that Oscar Weasel was born on Feb. 22, 1898 and died on February 12, 1979. His military service was from March 28, 1917 to May 12, 1919.

The 1940 census from the same location shows Oscar J. White Weasel, age 42, wife Esther M., age 38, both Indian, both born in South Dakota, both educated through 7th grade, with 5 children including baby Urban J. White Weasel, age 7/12th. They live in Cherry Creek in Ziebach County, SD in the same place they lived in 1935.

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The Rapid City, SD obituary index shows that two obituaries for Oscar exist.

Weasel, Oscar J. 80 12 Feb 1979 Fort Meade, SD BHN 14 Feb 1979 p.31

16 Feb 1979 p.5

BHN means that Oscar is buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery. Find-A-Grave shows that he is buried in Section C, site 455 and that he was a PFC in WWI.

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im-black-hillsThe Social Security Claims Index shows that Oscar’s wife was Esther Ward and their child that filed the claim is Beatrice Louise Janis.

The 1927 Indian Census of the Cheyenne River Sioux Agency provides a little more information.

Joseph, also known as Oscar White Weasel is listed as born in 1898 and with two numbers instead of an English name. 322986 and 328110. I suspect these are the governmental identification numbers assigned to his parents when they were paid from the settlement fund – although one of those numbers could he his. His wife is listed as born in 1903 and as Mrs. Joseph White Weasel, nee Esther Ward, and she has one number listed in place of English name, 359087. Their daughter Margie is listed as born in 1925 and has no number listed by her name. There are no additional White Weasel individuals listed.

The 1925 Indian Census (below) shows us that he is listed as Joseph with Oscar penciled in above the name, with the number 322986 beside his name – which is evidently his number.

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The numbers probably related to the numbers assigned to Indians on the Dawes Rolls resulting from the Dawes Act of 1887 which allotted tribal lands in severalty to individual tribal members in exchange for Native Americans becoming US citizens and giving up some forms of tribal self-government.

In the South Dakota 1925 census, Joseph White Weasel is listed as married in 1924 and as Catholic. The South Dakota Marriages lists them as having married on October 18, 1924 in Cherry Creek.

im-white-weasel-marriage

Many of the Native people were “converted” to Catholicism by missionaries. The French were Catholic and the traders in this region and throughout the Great Lakes were French.

The 1900 federal census (below) lists Joseph White Weasel, born in 1898 as the son of Charley White Weasel born in April of 1866 in South Dakota. They are living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, district 48 in Dewey, County, South Dakota. Joseph’s mother is “Follows” and she was born in July of 1869 in Montana, as were both children. They have been married 12 years, had 5 children, and 2 are living. Joseph’s older brother is Wakes (probably Makes) Believe his (probably he’s) Running. Charley is listed as “Indian Police” and Follows is listed as “Ration Indian.” They have not attended school, cannot read or write and do not speak English.

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The bottom of the census document includes an area called “special inquiries relating to Indians.”

im-1900-census-special-inquiries-white-weasel

This entire family is listed as Sioux, with no white blood. The mother and father of both Charley and Follows are listed as Sioux as well. They are not polygamous and they lived in a fixed, as opposed to moveable, structure. In other words, a “house” of some sort, not a teepee.

Polygamy was considered a grave sin by most Christian religions, and clearly someone still practicing the Native ways, which includes both polygamy and living in teepees, was highly encouraged to abandon those practices.

Note in the Indian census as late as 1902, some households are still listed with wife 1 and wife 2. It’s impossible to tell which child was born to which wife.

im-1902-2-wives

Also note that the Native name and English name may have nothing to do with each other. They are not always literal translations. Please also note that Follows Him, above, is not the same person as Follows.

Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, along with “civility,” meant taking English names and living in established locations in structures. These behaviors were strongly encouraged and then forced upon the Native people with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 when their children were sent to “boarding schools” to learn the white ways, renamed, and it became illegal to practice the Native ways, including spiritual practices, powwows and speaking their own language. These restrictions lasted until the Native American Languages Act of 1990 which once again allowed Native people to speak their own language and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act allowing Native people once again to hold events such as powwows and practice their own belief system.  Unfortunately, the half century plus between 1924 and 1978/1990 successfully eroded and destroyed much of the Native cultural heritage.

Follows continues to be listed in the Indian census documents. 1895 is shown below.

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The 1897 Indian census (below) shows Follows and White Weasel with Makes Believe he is Running and a new child, aged 2. This child is not yet named, which makes sense in the Indian culture because children are not named until they “earn” a name of some sort. In some tribes, names are changed as new names are earned.

im-1897-census-white-weasel

The family is also shown in the Indian Census of 1899 (below) where Joseph has been named, in 1900, in 1902 when Lucy has been born, in 1903, in 1904, in 1906 when Lucy is no longer with them, and in 1907.

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The June 30, 1909 Indian Census shows Follows, age 40, but White Weasel is gone and she is shown with both sons, below.

im-1909-census-white-weasel

The 1910 federal census shows a Louise Weasel on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, with sons Peter age 17 and Oscar, age 11. I don’t know if this is the same family with white names, or this is a different family. I suspect that Follows has been “renamed” Louise for the federal census document.

im-1910-census-white-weasel

The 1910 Indian census shows Follows with both boys again as well as in 1911, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917.  In 1918, Follows is shown with only Joseph.

I cannot find either Follows or Joseph (Oscar) White Weasel in the 1920 census, although he was clearly living because he married in 1924. It’s unclear when Follows died.

The Ward Line

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John’s grandmother, Esther Ward is listed as Esther White Weasel born in 1904 on the 1945 South Dakota Census, with both of her parents born in South Dakota.

On the 1910 federal census, Esther Ward is 6 years old living with her father, Alfred Ward, age 32, married 13 years, and his wife Nellie age 28. They have another daughter, Mary, age 12 and (apparently) a son, Alec Chasing Hawk, age 2. Alec’s father is listed as having been born in Montana and mother South Dakota, white everyone else and their parents are listed as born in South Dakota – so Alec is a bit of an enigma. They also live with a man I would presume to be Alfred Ward’s’s father, although he could be Nellie’s father, as he is listed only as “father” but generally that is the relationship to the head of the household. Jerome Chasing Hawk, age 78, so born in about 1832, widowed, Sioux, a Ration Indian. However, we later discover that Alfred Ward’s father is Clarence “Roan Bear” Ward and his mother is Estella DuPris, so the identity of Jerome Chasing Hawk is quite a mystery.

Ration Indian means that they are receiving rations from the Bureau of Indian affairs, often in exchange for land traded by the tribe.

Alfred raises stock and both Alfred and Nellie can read and write, but Jerome cannot.

im-1910-census-ward

In the special inquiries section, Alfred Ward is listed as ¾ Indian and ¼ white, married once, not living in polygamy, received an allotment in 1908 and is living on his own land.

Nellie is listed as full Indian, received an allotment in 1909 and has been married once.

Jerome Chasing Hawk is listed as full, married twice, not living in polygamy, and received an allotment in 1903. He is not living on his own land.

The 1900 federal census shows Chasing Hawk, a widower, as the father-in-law of Dirt Kettle, whose wife is Woman Eagle. Chasing Hawk is 68 and was born in May of 1832 in South Dakota. His father was born in an unknown location and his mother was born in North Dakota. He is a Ration Indian and does not read, write or speak English. In the special inquiries section, Chasing Hawk is noted with other name as “Cetan, unknown” and that he is full Native.

im-1900-census-chasing-hawk

I did not solve the mystery of Chasing Hawk’s relationship to this family.

If Alfred Ward is indeed ¼ white, then John Iron Moccasin is 1/32nd white, assuming all other ancestors were full Native.

The 1900 federal census shows Alfred Ward, age 22, with wife Pretty Voice, age 16 and daughter Irelia Ward, age 1.

Pretty Voice appears to be Nellie’s Native name.

im-1900-census-ward

In the special inquiries section, Alfred is listed with both parents being Sioux, but listed as half white. Pretty Voice is listed as Sioux, all Indian with no white. He can speak English, she cannot. Alfred is shown in the photo below.

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On the 1925 Indian Census Roll, Alfred and Pretty Voice are both shown. He has number 246235 or 246285 next to his name and she has 248261 beside her name. They have 3 children.

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On the 1931 Indian Census Roll, Joseph White Weasel is listed with his wife, Esther, with their roll numbers and the identification numbers of their allotment, annuity and identification numbers.

im-1931-census-white-weasel

On the 1895 Indian census, Pretty Voice is listed as the child of Hump and White Calf is listed as Hump’s wife, although we will see in a minute why that may not mean that White Calf is Pretty Voice’s mother.

im-1895-census-hump

This is a very interesting development, because Hump and White Calf are also in John Iron Moccasin’s mother’s line, as are Clarence Ward and Estella DuPris.

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The 1886 Indian Census shows Hump, age 45, with wife Beautiful Hail, age 26, and daughter Pretty Voice age 3 and Her Voice, age 2. This strongly suggests that Pretty Voice’s mother was Beautiful Hail and not White Calf.

im-1886-census-hump

The 1891 Indian Census labeled “Sioux of different bands” shows Hump, age 43, his wife designated only as “Mrs.” age 21, With Pretty Voice, age 9, Sun age 6 and Hope or Hoop age 2.

The 1892 Indian Census shows that Hump, age 42, married to White Calf, with daughter Pretty Voice, age 11, Sun age 8 and Hope age 2. Her Voice is not with the family, so presumably has died.

im-1892-census-hump

Pretty Voice is reported on another tree maintained by YanktonSiouxTribe, who indicates they are a professional genealogist, to be the daughter of Chief Hump, friend and mentor to Crazy Horse. YanktonSiouxTribe reports that Pretty Voice married Alfred Ward, son of Roan Bear also known as Clarence Ward and Estella Dupris, the daughter of Fred Dupris and Good Elk Woman whose photo is shown below.

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Good Elk Woman

In the 1895 Indian Census, Alfred Ward is shown living with his parents, Clarence Ward and Estelle Ward, ages 44 and 40, respectively. They would have been born in 1851 and 1855. Clarence and Estelle’s youngest son, Willie, is also John’s ancestor through his mother’s line, having married Hope (Dora) Hump.

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It’s interesting to note in reviewing the Indian census records that in the mid-1890s, many Native people did not have an English name. Some had both, but far less than half in this tribe. However, by the 1920 federal census, they all had white names.

The 1900 census shows us that Clarence Ward was born in July of 1850 in Nebraska and his parents were both born in South Dakota. He is listed as Missionary R and his wife is listed as a Ration Indian. The “R” is noted beside a number of occupations, so I would presume he is a missionary and the R may indicate “ration Indian” as well. They have been married 21 years and she has had 5 children, 4 of whom are living.

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In the special inquiries section, Clarence is listed as Sioux, as are his parents. Estella and her parents are also listed as Sioux, but she is listed as one half Native.

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In 1920, Clarence Ward was living, age 67, no occupation, wife Stella, age 64. Both were born in South Dakota and are living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in SD.

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Clarence is reported to have died in 1933.

Stella, or Estella DuPris, was born in August 1854 to Frederick DuPris and Good Elk Woman and died on July 6, 1927. Stella married Clarence Ward (shown below), who was born in 1851 in Nebraska.

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In the 1886 Indian Census, Clarence is shown as 35, Estelle as 31 and Alfred as 9.

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The 1900 Federal census shows Clarence as a Missionary, Estelle as born in South Dakota, her father born in France and her mother born in South Dakota.

DuPris Line

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Stella’s father, Frederick Dupris, was born in 1813 in Quebec City, Quebec and died in 1898. He had 10 children with Good Elk Woman between 1845 and 1870. He died on June 16, 1898 in South Dakota. Good Elk Woman, also known as Mary Ann DuPris, died on February 13, 1900.

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Photo of Fred DuPris and his wife, Good Elk Woman and Son, Xavier Dupris, courtesy, South Dakota Historical Society.

In case there is any question about whether Fred DuPris was 100% white, the 1900 census lists his son, Fred Dupris as Sioux, father white, mother Sioux and he being one half Native. This, of course, indicates that Fred Sr. was all white.

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In the Indian Census of 1894, Good Elk Woman is listed as age 68 and is living with her daughter.

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Good Elk Woman was the daughter of One Iron Horn born about 1805 in South Dakota and Red Dressing born about 1810. Good Elk Woman was originally married to hereditary chief, Henry Makes Room and had a son, Henry Makes Room Junior.

The following information was provided by Calvin Dupree.

“The First Dupree Into South Dakota”

Frederick Dupuis came from Longueil, Quebec to Kaskaskia, Illinois and from there to the Cheyenne River area. One Dupuis brother, Pierre (known as Peter), went on up into Montana where he married an Assiniboin Sioux woman.

A French-Canadian, Fred Dupuis arrived at Fort Pierre in 1838 and was in employee of the American Fur Company under Pierre Choteau, Jr. Letters from the winter of 1861 were written to Charles Primeau from Fred Dupuis by M. C. Rousseau at the mouth of Cherry Creek. The letters were concerned with reports of the Indian bands and the number of buffalo robes Fred was sending in and a list of the materials he needed for trading and maintaining his small outpost at the mouth of Cherry Creek. The trader (Fred) was concerned that the buffalo were becoming scarce and that the Indians and their horses were “poor”.

By 1860, we must assume that Fred was married and busy with the affairs of a husband and father. He married a Minniconjou, Good Elk Woman, who became Mary Ann Dupuis. She had one son, Henry Makes Room, from a previous marriage who was adopted by Fred. Mary was the daughter of One Iron Horn and Red Dressing. Some elders in the family remember that Mary was from Cherry Creek. Mary and Fred had nine children. They were: Peter; Maggie (Fisherman); Esther (Ward); Edward; David Xavier; Alma (Blue Eyes); Fred, Jr.; Josephine (Vollin); Vetal; and Marcella (Carlin). “Not one of whom could speak English, with the exception of Edward, who was a student at Hampton, Va.”

After being an independent trader for some time (and probably as the buffalo dwindled and the Indians were put on reservations) Fred became a stock grower. He built the family home in a beautiful wooded flat on the north side of the Cheyenne River, thirty-five miles west of where it emptied into the Missouri. The patriarchal home was described as being 20 feet by 60 feet, and built of cottonwood logs. As each son or daughter married, a new small log house (called a tipi by the family) was built. These homes had dirt floor and gumbo roofs and were placed in a row near the main house. In addition there were usually a dozen tipis nearby, pitched by the full blood relatives of Mary Dupuis. The living arrangement was truly communal; the women had a large vegetable garden; the men worked the stock; all the cooking and eating was done in one cabin. One of the women baked all the bread, another cooked the meat and vegetables, and another made coffee and served the food. Three times a day 52 people ate together, along with any strangers or friends who might happen along.

The Dupuis home was known as a place for sharing good times and good food in the true Indian way. This was the era of government ration dispensing and all 52 of the family members collected their share which was hauled home in wagons from Fort Bennett, even though Old Fred was reputed to be wealthy with “several thousand head of cattle and 500 horses, a small herd of domesticated buffalo and a large amount of other property.”

The marriage of Marcella Dupuis, Old Fred’s youngest daughter, to Douglas F. Carlin, a non-Indian, of Pierre must have been a noteworthy event since newspapers from Deadwood and Pierre covered the event. Mr. Carlin was noted as the issue clerk at Cheyenne Agency. The ceremony was performed at the Dupuis home on the Cheyenne River with many important persons from the city, including the Pierre City Council, and unknown numbers of Sioux present. Forty fat steers were to be roasted. All the wedding gifts were put on exhibition after the supper, the most impressive being five hundred head of cattle and fifty ponies from Old Fred, father of the bride, and a decorated buffalo robe from sisters of the bride. The Sioux dancing continued for three days with the only interruption being a pause for more eating every three hours.

The Dupuis family’s contribution to saving the buffalo.

In 1883 (or possibly earlier) Old Fred and some of his sons and possibly Basil Clement (Claymore) went on a hunt for some buffalo calves in order to start a herd. By this time the great “surrounds” of the past were over and I can imagine that the desire to preserve at least a few of these animals, so necessary and so sacred to the Indian people, was strong. The group headed northwest from the Cheyenne River and was gone for many months and in Montana, or near Slim Buttes (reports differ), they located a small herd. They finally secured five calves (one report says nine), which were loaded into wagons brought along for that purpose. The calves were taken back to Cheyenne River.

By 1888 from this small start the Dupuis had nine pure-blood buffaloes. By the time of Old Fred’s death in 1898 the herd had grown considerably, and was purchased by James (Scotty) Philip of Fort Pierre. By 1918 (the herd) had increased to approximately 500 head. The State of South Dakota purchased 46 of these buffalo and transferred them to the State Game Park in Fall River County. Hearsay has it that Scotty Philip sold buffalo to other states and parks also, spreading the original Dupuis stock back into many areas where the buffalo once roamed free by the millions.

Old Fred died in 1898 at about age 80. Then, as now, a death was the occasion for sharing through a Give-Away of all the deceased’s belongings. From Aunt Molly Dupris Annis Rivers, Old Fred’s grand-daughter, I have heard the colorful story of how some of the Dupuis wealth was distributed. It is said that according to Lakota custom, any one who happened by was entitled to a gift and this even included a group of Crow Indians, traditional enemies of the Sioux since anyone can remember. The Crows were invited to join the other guests as they filed by a horse whose saddle bags had been filled with silver dollars. Each person took a silver dollar until they were gone; the next person in line was given the saddle, and the last person received the horse. And in this way, and probably by several other methods, Old Fred’s money and property were shared with the people. None of his oft mentioned wealth was inherited by any of his family.

Records indicate that Good Elk Woman, Mary Dupuis, died in 1900 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Tom (Alma) Blue Eyes. One can only wonder about her life after Old Fred died, just as one wonders about her years of living, first as a child at Cherry Creek, then as a young wife of Makes Room and finally as Mary Ann Dupuis, mother of nine half French and half Lakota children. No stories about Mary have come down to me. Her life during the early time of tragedy and defeat for the Indian people cannot have been an easy one.

Old Fred and Mary, and many of their descendants, are buried in the Dupuis Cemetery on the hill above the river flat where their family home once was. Nearby is the old ”Buffalo Church”.

Old Fred and Mary may be gone, but South Dakota will not forget them. Dupree Creek runs into Rudy Creek and then into the Cheyenne River near the old home site, and the (town) of Dupree is located about 40 miles north of Cherry Creek where Old Fred carried on his fur trading. Just west of the Dupuis cemetery and the old church, in a draw filled with wild plums and chokecherries, the Dupree Spring (called the Circle P Spring, or Garrett Spring today) still furnishes clear, sweet water.

Imagine the hundreds of trips made to this spring, winter and summer, to haul water for the Dupuis family living down the hill by the river in the 1800’s.

The name, though changed from Dupuis to Dupris and in some cases to Dupree, has been carried all over South Dakota and to probably every state in the U.S. by their hundreds of descendants.

Calvin Dupree is the son of Adelia Fielder and Jonas E. Dupris; son of Sarah Red Horse and Frank Dupris; son of Harriet Cadotte and Xavier (David) Dupuis; son of Mary Ann Good Elk Woman and Frederick Dupuis. Calvin Dupree is presently a member of the faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

According to Suzanne DuPree, a descendant, Fred DuPris (in later generations spelled DePree), and Good Elk Woman are buried in the DuPris Memorial Cemetery on the hill above the river flat where their family one was once location, near the old “Buffalo Church.”

FindAGrave lists Fred DuPris’s birth date as September 5, 1819 and his death as July 16, 1898. His wife, Mary Ann, born as Good Elk Woman, is shown as being born in 1824 and passing over on February 13, 1900. The maps below are from FindAGrave.

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The Sioux Chief, Hump’s Line

John descends from Chief Hump twice, apparently through two different wives; Beautiful Hail and White Calf. John Iron Moccasin’s family information indicates that Hump had 4 wives: Good Voice/Good Woman, Brings Her, Stands As A Woman and Bessie/White Calf Woman. The census provides information about Beautiful Hail and White Calf, but we have no further information about Humps’s other two wives.

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Hump, also known as Thomas Hump, lived until December 11, 1908 where he died in Cherry Creek, SD.

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Photo courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society

Born in Montana, Hump became a leader of the Cherry Creek Band of Minneconjou Sioux. In 1876 he fought in the Battle of the Rosebud against Gen. Crook, shown below in the wood engraving below depicting the Sioux charging Colonel Royall’s attachment on June 17th.

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Hump also fought on Calhoun Hill in the Battle of the Little Big Horn with Crazy Horse, Gall and others against Custer and the 7th Calvary on June 25th where he received a bullet wound in his leg, according to the National Park Service.

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The Lakota Museum and Cultural Center tells us the following about Hump.

Etokeah, a Minniconjou Lakota war chief, was a great leader. He is especially known for his skills during the 19th Century Lakota-US Government battles. His exact birth date and facts of parentage were not recorded. However, he first came into public notice in 1866. Then, he led the charge against Captain William Fetterman’s soldiers outside Fort Phil Kearney in Wyoming.

Hump did not sign the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1866. Because of his action, he was deemed a hostile or “non-treaty” chief by the US Government. He was a comrade-in-arms of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and other great Sioux chiefs of the period. In 1876, he led his warriors into battle against Generals George Crook and George Custer.

After the defeat of the Sioux in the 1880s, he briefly lived in Canada. He eventually returned to the United States but remained hostile to the whites. In company with most of the Sioux, his band was intrigued by the Ghost Dance religion, which culminated in the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.

Although Hump seems never to have become a true believer, he did lead his people in the Ghost Dance raids until early December of 1890. The US Army was alarmed by the Ghost Dance, and they sent emissaries to all of the major chiefs.

Captain Ezra Ewers – an old friend – was sent to speak with Hump. Ewers convinced Hump of the futility in armed resistance. At this point, Hump separated his band from the Dancers and led them to the Pine Ridge Agency.

As Hump was breaking camp, refugees from Sitting Bull’s group arrived and related how their leader had been killed during an arrest attempt. Sitting Bull’s people were eager to find allies as they sought revenge. Hump refused to help, and the refugees set out to join Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek.

After the infamous massacre and subsequent events in 1890, Hump and several other Sioux chiefs went to Washington, D.C. They pleaded for fair treatment of their people.

Some of their requests were honored; however, the chiefs failed to gain concessions in other important areas. Reservation confinement continued, effectively ending the old way of life.

Hump died at Cherry Creek, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in December 1908 at the age of 70. He is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery near there.

According to records provided by John Iron Moccasin’s family, Hump’s father was Iron Bull “TaTankaMaza”, and his mother was Ziti “Yellow Lodge”. Hump was born about 1848 when his father was 28 and his mother was 21.

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This photo was taken ca. 1879 by photographer by L.A. Huffman. The notation is that the photo is of Hump and his favorite wives. One of these women could well have been Beautiful Hail given that she appears to have had children in both 1882 and 1883 with Hump. He does look to be significantly older than the women.

Hump is shown with other Sioux leaders in this 1891 photograph.

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1891 Sioux Delegation LA-NA-DA-Kota

Front Row Seated; L to R: High Hawk, Fire Lightning, Little Wound, Two Strike, Young Man Afraid of His Horses, Spotted Elk (Oglala), Big Road; (2nd row standing) F.D. Lewis, He Dog, Spotted Horse, American Horse, Maj Gen Sword, Louis Shangreaux, Bat Pourier; (3rd row, standing) Dave Zephier, Hump, High Pipe, Fast Thunder, Rev. Charles Cook, and P.T. Johnson. Denver Public Library

In the 1900 federal census of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, district 48 in Sterling County, SD, the last census in which Hump was alive, he is shown on the census as having been married 20 years, born in April 1850 in Montana, with both of his parents born in the same place. He is a Ration Indian and he does not read, write or speak English. In the special inquiries section, he is listed as Sioux, his father as Sioux Cheyenne and his mother as Sioux. He is listed as entirely Native and in this census, is not listed as polygamous.

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His wife is listed on the next page as White Calf to whom he has been married for 20 years, so dating back to 1880. Of course, as suggested by the picture taken circa 1879 and the 1886 census in which Hump is married to 26 year old Beautiful Hail, White Calf was not his only wife. Given that Pretty Voice appeared in the census in 1876 with Beautiful Hail as a young child, I would presume that Beautiful Hail is Pretty Voice’s mother.

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Dora, who was born in 1891, is not shown living with Hump. I cannot find her elsewhere on the census. However, remember that Native people changed their names. Hope is listed as being born in July of 1889 in Montana.

In the 1917 Indian Census, Hope Hump is also listed as Dora, age 26, married to Willie Ward who was born in 1889. This shows us that Dora is Hope or Hoop Hump on the earlier census records.

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According to the 1900 census, Hope was born in July of 1889 in Montana, as were both of her parents. She does not read, write or speak English. She is 100% Sioux.

The following information was provided by http://files.usgwarchives.org/sd/ziebach/history/chap16-2.txt

Born in Montana in 1848 or 1850, Hump became a leader of the Cherry Creek band of Minneconjou Sioux.   In 1876 he fought in the Battle of the Rose bud against General George Crook and in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

He later joined Sitting Bull’s band and other exiles in Canada.  Being considered American Indians, the exiles received no rations from the Canadian government. By 1881 the buffalo and other game were disappearing and the exiles returned to Fort Buford where they surrendered. They were taken to Fort Yates by steamboat. Later the Minneconjou under Hump and Fool Heart and the Sans Arc, led by Spotted Eagle and Circle Bear, were taken down the Missouri River to the Cheyenne River Agency, near their traditional camping grounds along the Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River.  They arrived at the Cheyenne River by May of 1882 and many of the Minneconjou settled near Cherry Creek, 50 miles west of the agency.

Hump and Big Foot became the most influential men on the Cheyenne River.  The Cherry Creek/Hump Band greatly opposed the land agreements of 1888 and 1889.  In 1890, the Ghost Dance found its greatest following in the Cherry Creek camps.

After Sitting Bull was killed on the Grand River, many of his followers fled south and camped a few miles above the junction of the Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River.  When the army at Fort Bennett moved to suppress the Ghost Dancing, Hump used his influence against the Ghost Dance. In the dead of winter he rode with two men from the garrison and two other scouts, 40 miles to persuade the Sitting Bull camp to surrender and move to Fort Bennett.  Those who did not surrender joined Spotted Elk, also known as Big Foot. When his band later fled toward Pine Ridge, they were met by the Army at Wounded Knee.

Hump was given 500 heifers for his service to the United States Government. These he turned loose, to share with his people. The heifers wandered near Leslie and many died of pinkeye.

Hump continued to work for his tribe until his death in 1908. He is buried in Cherry Creek.

HUMP

Told by John Hump

Hump (Thomas) was born in 1850 to Mashes His Nails/Iron Bull and Ziti/Mrs. Iron Bull (1827-1917) in Montana.

Hump’s brother, Little Crow, had been born in 1844. Hump’s sister, White Cow, married Fish (d. 1919) and had a son, James Fish (b. 1889) and a daughter. They lived on Rosebud.

Hump grew up in Montana. He had three or four wives, some of whom lived in Montana and were Crow.

While the Indians still roved in bands, he started to gather them together, to settle down and become ‘civilized’. Hump came down the Missouri River when the Army brought them to the Cheyenne River on boats. Their stock were driven over land.  Bertha Lyman Hump’s mother’s family came from Montana with Hump’s band.

Hump even joined the Army to work toward settling down. He was a scout from December of 1890 until June of 1891. He was discharged at Fort Bennett.

There were three Hump Flats. One east of Bridger, one by Iron Lightning and one across from Cherry Creek. All are so named because he lived on them. On the way to Montana for a visit, Hump camped with Iron Lightning on the Moreau River. At that time they chose their allotments. Iron Lightning community was later named for Iron Lightning after he moved there.

Hump had several wives. His son, by Good Voice/Good Woman, was Samuel Helper/ Stand by of Oglala, born in 1876.

Hump’s wife, White Calf/Bessie (d. 1915) was the mother of Pretty Voice/Nellie (b. 1882: Mrs. Alfred Ward); Important Woman/Sarah (b.1884: Mrs. Silas Yellow Owl); Spotted Bear who died in infancy; Dora (b.1891: Mrs. William Ward); Didn’t Drop/Nelson Hump, born in 1898 (no issue); William Miles Hump, born in 1900 and died in 1917 at Dupree, (no issue); and John Hump, born in 1904.

JOHN HUMP

John Hump was born at Cherry Creek, four years before his father’s death in 1908. Hump is buried at the Episcopal Cemetery in Cherry Creek.  John went to Carson Day School, Pierre Indian School and Rapid City Indian School.  In 1935 or 1936, he married Bertha Lyman, daughter of Ed Lyman. John transferred his heir ship lands from the Moreau River to Red Scaffold.

John and Bertha lived on the flat south of the (Cherry) creek, on her folks’ allotments. In 1954/1957 they moved north to their present home.  John went into the cattle business on the Rehab program. John and

Bertha’s sons, Duane and Darrell, now run the ranch.

Darrell is married to Alvina Runs After and Duane is married to Doris Halfred.

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The 1910 census taken at Cherry Creek station shows us that White Calf’s mother was Roan Hair, age 72, so born about 1838. She shows the birth of only one child.

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The special inquiries section tells us that she is Teton Sioux, full Native, married once, not polygamous, lived in an aboriginal dwelling and received her allotment in 1903.

Roan Hair is shown in the Indian census of the Cheyenne River Sioux in 1896 as the wife of Ragged, both age 56.

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Four years later, in 1901, they are shown again.

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Hump died on December 10, 1908 and is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery in Cherry Creek, SD.

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Hump’s Memorial at FindAGrave adds some additional information not found elsewhere.

Native American Chief. Sioux name “Etokeah.” Although very little is known about Hump’s early life, he eventually rose to become a Chief among the Miniconjou Sioux and was an active participant in the Red Cloud war. With Crazy Horse at the Rosebud Battle against George Crook, Hump led his Miniconjou Sioux, helping stop the column in their trek to meet Custer prior to the Little Big Horn. At the Little Big Horn, when the alarm was sounded, Hump jumped onto an unknown mount, and it which threw him to the ground. Hump rushed, mounted another horse and charged toward the soldiers. His horse was shot from under him and a bullet entered above the horse’s knee and went further into Hump’s hip. Hump was strained there due to the wound and did not participate in the main battle. Later, Hump went to Canada, and his band returned to the United States, the last of all the bands to return. On the reservation when other tribes had adopted white dress and housing, Hump’s band settled at Cherry Creek in South Dakota and maintained the old ways using lodges and traditional clothing. On the reservation when the authority of other chiefs wained, Hump continued to assert leadership over his band. Some said that Hump was feared by the whites even more than Sitting Bull. When the Ghost Dance religion surfaced among the Sioux, the military did not dare arrest Hump. Instead, they reassigned Captain Ezra Ewers, a trusted friend of the chief, to Fort Bennet in South Dakota. Ewers rode the 60 miles to Hump’s camp at Cherry Creek. Impressed with Ewer’s courage, Hump listened to his message and avoided the Ghost Dance religion. After the Wounded Knee Massacre, Hump along with other prominent Sioux went to Washington, DC pleading for a peaceful end to the tragedy. Interestingly enough, it was also Hump who taught the basic lessons of warfare to his better-known student, Crazy Horse. His grave is located on the west edge of the town of Cherry Creek.

This photo of Cherry Creek, probably in the early 1900s, shows both traditional teepees and more stationary buildings. This lends understanding to the special inquiries section of the census, and shows us what “fixed” dwellings look like as compared to “moveable.”

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The Hale Line

John’s mother was the daughter of Isabelle Ward and Robert Hale.

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South Dakota Marriage records show that Robert Clifford Hale, age 23, married Isabel Ward on May 3, 1946. Both lived in Cherry Creek, SD.

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Robert died on August 1, 2008. His photo and obituary are shown below.

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Death: Aug. 1, 2008 Sturgis Meade County South Dakota, USA
Robert “Bob” Clifford Hale, who lived in Cherry Creek, had the Lakota name Min A’ Kyan, which translates to Flies Over the Sea. While he may not have flown over the sea, he did ride the sea as a sailor in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Bob, at age 85, died Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, at the Fort Meade Veterans Hospital near Sturgis. He is survived by Larry (Delia) Hale, Theresa Hale, Herbert Hale and Cleo Hale, all of Cherry Creek, Martha (Erick) Hernandez of Chicago, Ill., Richard Hale of Rapid City, Connie (James) Bear Stops of Red Scaffold and Lavinia Hale-Eagle Chasing of Eagle Butte; grandchildren, Maude Hale, Denise and Richard Crow Ghost, Dawn Kills Crow, Angelic and Willard Demery of Cherry Creek, Amber and Alton Blacktail Deer Sr. of Manderson, Timothy Jr., Earl and Mary Iron Moccasin of Rosebud, Teno, Taun and Krista Bear Stops of Red Scaffold, Rhiana, Richard Jr. and Joshua Hale of Cherry Creek, Angel Prendergast and Aberham White Weasel of Rapid City, Maxine Flying By, Marsha Eagle Chasing of Eagle Butte, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mark and Posey Garter of Albuquerque, N.M., and Clinton and Kyle Harrison of Takini. Also surviving are his great great grandchildren, Morgan and Jasmine Hale, Eric Jarvis and Dewey Kills Crow, Kyra, Danieal and Alyssa Hayes, Adrienne and Royce Jr. Marrow Bone, Eric, Jarvis, Dewey, Drake and Autumn Kills Crow, Shantay Crow Ghost, Alton Blacktail Deer Jr., La’tia, Tyree and Lashae Bear Stops, D’Nica Ducheneaux, Tretyn Red Elk, Sage Bowker, Sarah Patryas, Jordan and Sierra Iron Moccasin, and Kleigh, Dawnelle and Deaconn Garter. Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ellen Hale; sisters, Claira Hale-Fritz, Myrtle Hale-Little Shield, Don’ta Black Tail Bear, Drazen Black Tail Bear, Mary Isabbella Kills Crow, Clifford Merle Hale; brothers, Martin and Wilson Hale; one daughter, Charmaine Hale Harrison; and his paternal grandparents. Funeral services for Robert were Saturday, Aug. 9, at the new Community Building in Cherry Creek. Ted Knife, Erick Hernandez and Elmer Zimmerman officiated. Hernandez read Matthew 7:7. Special music was provided by Buzzy Yellow Hawk, Daryl Whipple, the Tiospaye Singers, Michelle White Wolf and the Mennonite Singers. Harvey Eagle Horse played the Honor Song. Casketbearers were Bob’s grandsons, Joshua Hale, Taun Bear Stops, Timothy White Weasel Hr., Clinton Harrison, Posey Garter, Maris Reindall, Richard Hale Jr., Teno Bear Stops, Eric V. Kills Crow, Kyle Harrison, Mark Garter and Danny Hayes Sr. Honorary bears included all military veterans and all Bob’s other friends and relatives. Burial was at the UCC Cemetery in Cherry Creek under the direction of Oster Funeral home of Mobridge. Mobridge Tribune Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs BIRLS Death File lists Robert Hale’s birth and death dates and his service branch as Navy from July 24, 1942 to November 27, 1942.

The Social Security death index shows that Robert was born on Sept. 7, 1922.

I cannot find this family in 1920, 1930 or 1940 in the census, nor in the Indian census. It’s possible that the parents and siblings names are incorrect or nicknames.

Robert’s parents were given as Joseph Hale and Ellen in his obituary. John’s mother reports that Joseph Hale’s name was Joseph “Blows on Himself” and that this is the end of that line because they migrated from Canada on “the big trail.” I found nothing about this family at Ancestry or utilizing Google. It’s possible that the family was not living as a nuclear family as a recognizable unit.

The 1940 census shows a Joseph Hale, age 48, widowed, an Indian, as an inmate in the Davison County, South Dakota Jail, but we don’t know if this is the same Joseph Hale.  However, this is the only Joseph Hale in South Dakota, or for that matter, in that part of the country.

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This Joseph was widowed, an Indian and born on an Indian Reservation, so it may well be the correct Joseph. It would be interesting to see if any court records still exist relative to this case.

I found scanty information on the following individuals from the obituary listing them as siblings of Robert Clifford Hale.

  • Claira Hale – married Elmer Fritz on February 27, 1962 , born about 1926.
  • Mytrle Hale – Myrtle Faye Hale married Theophil Little Shield and died in SD at age 65.
  • Don’ta Black Tail Bear – nothing
  • Drazen Black Tail Bear – nothing
  • Mary Isabella Hale Kills Crow – nothing
  • Clifford Merle Hale – nothing
  • Martin Hale – if the same Martin, died in 1935 of appendicitis, age 20.
  • Wilson Hale born about 1921 married Eunice Eagle Horse. He died in 1950 in Ziebach County. In the 1940 census he is living with the Straight Head family which would make sense if his mother was deceased and his father was in jail.

The Second Ward Line

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John Iron Moccasin’s grandmother on his mother’s side was Isabella Ward, born in 1925 or 1927.

The 1930 Federal census shows Isabella Ward, age 5, living with her parents in Ziebach County, SD. Her mother, Dora is listed as a full blood and her father, William, a mixed blood, all born in South Dakota and Sioux.

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Her father is listed as a farmer.

We’ve already met Dora (Hope) Hump, daughter of Chief Hump and probably White Calf and William Ward, son of Clarence “Roan Bear” Ward and Estella Dupris.

DNA Results

Now for the most exciting part – the DNA results. Do John’s DNA results bear out his genealogy?

John’s tribal card says that he is at least 15/16th Native. That is accurate, given that he is 1/16th French on both his mother and father’s sides, from the same ancestor.

In percentages, for autosomal DNA, that translates into 6.25% white and 93.75% Native.

When I’m working with descendants of tribes located east of the Mississippi, I understand that they are very likely heavily admixed with (primarily) European males, and significantly so prior to 1800 and in most cases, prior to 1700. However, the Sioux are somewhat different. Except for occasional traders and missionaries, they essentially escaped the widespread influence of Europeans until the 1800s. With few exceptions, I would not expect to find earlier mixing with Europeans, meaning English, French or Spanish, or Africans.

Because of the history of the Sioux tribe, the sheer number of Sioux across a wide geography, and the lack of early European admixture, John’s DNA represents an opportunity to obtain a genetic view of a people not significantly admixed.

Endogamy

We know from John’s family tree that he shares at least 3 ancestors and possibly 4 on both his mother’s and father’s side of the family. Those ancestors are 4 generations up the tree from John.

im-white-weasel

In most cases, one’s great-great-grandparents would each contribute, on average, 6.25% of your DNA. In John’s case, he received a double dose of the DNA of each of those ancestors. If John received the exact same DNA from those ancestors, from both sides, he would still only have 6.25 % of their DNA. This is very unlikely, because normally siblings share part of their parent’s DNA, but not all of it. Conversely, it would be very unlikely for John to inherit none of the same DNA from that ancestor from both lines. Therefore, it’s most likely that instead of 6.25% of the DNA from that each ancestor who is found twice at 4 generations, he would carry about 9.38% of their DNA, or about half a generation closer than one would expect.

And that goes for all 3 common ancestors. We’re not sure which of Hump’s wives gave birth to which children, so this could also apply to Hump’s wife, a 4th ancestor.

Furthermore, these individuals in the tribes are likely already very heavily inter-married and related to each other, long before any records. There were only a limited number of people to select as mates, and all of those people also descended from the same ancestors, who were part of a very small foundation population that migrated from Asia some 10,000 to 25,000 years ago, depending on which model you subscribe to.

Therefore, endogamy and pedigree collapse where one shares common known ancestors would be a phenomenon that has occurred since the time of Anzick Child, and before.

John’s Tests

We tested John’s DNA at Family Tree DNA where his Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA was tested. John’s Y DNA shows us the deep ancestry of the White Weasel line. The mitochondrial shows us the deep ancestry of Dora (Hope or Hoop) Hump, daughter of Hump, presumably through wife, White Calf.

John’s autosomal DNA shows us an overall ethnicity view, plus matches to autosomal cousins. Let’s see what we have.

Autosomal Results

John’s myOrigins results show that he is roughly 17% European and the rest a combination of Native and Asian that together represents 84%.

im-myorigins

One of the aspects that I find most interesting is that the portion of Europe that shows a genetic link is Finland, not France where 6.25% of John’s paper trail ancestry is from.

Finland is particularly interesting in light of the result of the Clovis Anzick Child burial found in Montana that dates from about 12,500 years ago. We have the Anzick Child’s results in the Family Tree DNA data base, compliments of both Felix Immanuel and Family Tree DNA.

The Anzick child’s myOrigins results are shown below.

im-anzick-myorigins

The Anzick Child’s DNA ethnic results are very similar to John’s. Anzick Child matches the reference population for Finland at 11%, where John matches at 17%.

Furthermore, John Iron Moccasin is one of 110 people in the data base today that actually match the Anzick Child’s DNA at contemporary levels.

The match threshold at Family Tree DNA today is:

  • No minimum number of shared cM required, but if the cM total is less than 20, then at least one segment must be 9cM or larger.
  • If the longest block of shared DNA is greater than 9cM, the match will show regardless of total shared cM or the number of matching segments.

Lowering the match threshold to 3cM, we can see several small segments that match between John and the Anzick Child.

im-anzick-browser-5cm

I downloaded their common matching segments.

Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 4282649 5290332 2.56 500
2 98863262 101324606 1.69 600
2 112439588 114460466 1.71 500
2 169362301 170609544 2.27 500
3 8964806 10632877 3.03 600
3 14230971 16121247 2.83 600
3 46655067 53174054 1.28 1000
4 12866760 14721835 1.85 500
5 78642903 80323930 1.64 500
5 158757557 162829228 3.82 1000
6 34609507 36812814 2.88 600
6 127839067 130105402 2 500
7 76597648 78055762 2.84 500
7 99319352 101758792 2.05 600
8 10455449 12975017 2.68 700
8 30301880 34206702 3.45 799
9 26018352 27374204 2.37 500
9 104470303 106854637 3.76 777
10 71258510 72644677 1.46 600
10 102514460 106018240 2.65 800
10 110936823 113553555 3.83 700
11 32265994 34530393 3.35 700
11 91619854 94670011 3.71 800
11 102068510 103853340 1.76 500
12 27332778 29165805 1.66 500
12 96875639 99784589 2.74 700
13 55048728 58723000 1.66 600
13 78707414 80906921 1.34 500
14 22564888 24752111 3.59 800
14 68418807 70225737 1.65 500
14 76767325 78038237 1.71 500
16 12528330 14375990 5.49 659
18 33126219 35069488 1.37 500
19 8284870 13355259 7.87 1278
20 45913972 47494552 3.17 500

Their largest matching segments are on chromosome 19 for 7.87 cM and on 16 for 5.49 cM.

The genetic connection between the Anzick Child and John Iron Moccasin is evident. John’s tribe is descended from the same people as the Anzick Child who was buried in present day Montana. John’s ancestors, Hump, Roan Hair and Follows were all born in Montana, and the Sioux homelands stretched across this entire region.

This begs the question of whether John is simply lucky to have inherited these segments, or if they are found widely in the Native, particularly Sioux, population as a whole.

To help answer this question, I looked at John’s closest 4 matches along with the Anzick Child in the chromosome browser, compared to John’s DNA.

im-anzick-match-compare

At 5cM there is no overlap with John’s closest matches and the Anzick Child, whose DNA is shown in green, above. However, dropping the threshold to 3, below, shows overlap with Thomas’s closest match on chromosome 19 at 4.98 cM and other chromosomes in smaller amounts. This would suggest that perhaps the DNA that is the same as the Anzick Child’s does not repose in the entire tribal population.

im-match-compare-3cm

Let’s take a look another way.

John and the Anzick Child at GedMatch

At GedMatch, John matches the Anzick Child on slightly different segments than at Family Tree DNA. It’s not unusual for different vendors to produce slightly different results. In this case, the match on chromosome 16 is absent altogether, and there are larger segment matches on chromosomes 8 and 14 using a 5cM and 500 SNP threshold.  Chromosome 22 shows a match not present at Family Tree DNA.

im-anzick-gedmatch

I was curious to see how many people matched John on his segments shared with the Anzick Child.

John matches a total of 2119 people at GedMatch at 5cM and 500 SNPs.

John’s results for his two largest segments, chromosome 16 (at FTDNA) and 19 were different. Chromosome 16, the smaller match, was generally unremarkable, but his chromosome 19 was a different story, carrying many names and surnames that I recognize.

Let’s take a look at the triangulation tool and see what we find there. We are looking for anyone who triangulates with both John and Anzick Child. This tool reports every triangulated match in excess of 5cM.

im-chr-16

Using the triangulation tool, no one triangulates, meaning matches both John and the Anzick child, on either chromosome 16 or 19. This suggests that all of John’s matches showing are on the “other” chromosome and that this chromosome segment is fairly rare.

If one of John’s parents were to test, we could identify which of John’s parents was matching Anzick, so we would know which side of John’s family these individuals are matching on these segments, assuming these matches are not identical by chance.

Out of curiosity, I triangulated Anzick Child’s kit to see if there were any triangulated groups. There were, but none that included John.

At GedMatch, let’s use the “Are Your Parents Related?” utility. We know that John’s parents are related, but are any of the segments that came from both parents the same segment that is found in John’s Anzick match? The match threshold at GedMatch for this tool is 7cM and 700 SNPs, so the only segment that would qualify would be this segment on chromosome 19, shown above in green.

19 8284870 13355259 7.87 1278

The “Are Your Parents Related?” tool at GedMatch shows the following results.

im-parents-related

im-parents-related-2

im-parents-related-3

im-parents-related-4

According to GedMatch, this segment of chromosome 19 was not contributed by both of John’s parents, so this portion of the Anzick DNA is not found universally in the entire Native population in that region.

One last look at John’s DNA by comparing to the Ancient group contributed at GedMatch shows no segments 4cM or above that match with any ancient specimen other than the Clovis (Anzick) Child, including no match to the Paleo Eskimo in Greenland from 4,000 years ago and no match to Kennewick Man. The tiny orange bars represent matching segments at 400 SNPs and 4cM.

im-ancient

John’s Mitochondrial DNA

John’s mitochondrial DNA comes directly from his matrilineal line, meaning from his mother, her mother, her mother, on up the tree until you run out of direct line mothers.

im-white-weasel

In this case, that person winds up being Hump’s wife. We think that person is probably  White Calf, but it could be one of Hump’s other wives. We just don’t know for sure given that Hump was polygamous.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed intact in each generation, doesn’t get combined with the father’s DNA so it’s a direct line back in time.

Johns’s mitochondrial haplogroup is clearly Native, C4c1.

im-y-hap-q

Haplogroup C4c1 was originally reported in the Suswap by Ripan Malhi; in the Chippewa Creek and in Jasper House, Alberta Canada, in 2015 by Roberta Estes from the American Indian project.

At the HVR1 level, John has 62 exact matches, but he has no matches at the HVR2 or full sequence levels. This means that of the people who have tested at that level, he has more than 4 differences at the full sequence level. Translated, this means they don’t share common ancestors in hundreds to thousands of years.

Only 8 of John’s HVR1 matches have tested at the full sequence level, unfortunately.

Of those, the earliest ancestors are Spanish, indicating that they are probably from either the American southwest, or further south, and their haplogroup C ancestor was eventually associated with the Spanish. One is from New Mexico. One is from Michigan.

Few of John’s matches have entered the location of their most distant ancestor, but those who have provided that information are shown below at the HVR1 level, understanding that a common ancestor at that level could predate the migration into the Americas.

im-mtdna-match-map

Utilizing the information provided through the Genographic project, we find the following information about haplogroup C4c1.

im-c4c1-geno

This provides very interesting geographic distribution information, but it also begs the question of how haplogroup C4c1 was found in Germany or Sweden. Of course, we are relying on participant-reported information and it’s certainly possible that two individuals misunderstood the directions. It’s also possible that one or both are legitimate. I have wondered for a long time about a link between the northern Scandinavian populations, especially subarctic, and the Native subarctic populations in North America.

According to Dr. Doron Behar in the supplement to his paper titled, “A Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” haplogroup C4c1 was born about 10,095 years ago with a standard deviation of 4550 years, meaning the range of time in which C4c1 was born in likely 5,545 to 14,645 years ago. Clearly, there is enough latitude in this date range for some C4c1 to be found in either Asia or Europe, and C4c1 to be found in the Americas as well. If this is indeed the case, one would expect for the variants of C4c1 found on the differing continents to contain a significant difference in mutations, exceeding the 4 mutations allowed for genealogical matching purposes at Family Tree DNA.

To date, there has been no ancient DNA recovered bearing this haplogroup.

Other Mitochondrial Results

Individuals descending from several of John’s maternal lines would be perfect candidates to test for the mitochondrial DNA of those lines. One must descend from these women through all females to the current generation:

  • Follows
  • Esther Ward – Nellie “Pretty Voice” – Beautiful Hail or White Calf
  • Ellen (wife of Joseph Hale)

Testing a female descended through Pretty Voice, mother of Esther Ward, would determine whether or not White Calf was the mother of Pretty Voice, or if it was another woman, probably Beautiful Hail.

John’s Y DNA

John inherited his Y DNA chromosome from Charley White Weasel.

im-white-weasel

John’s Y haplogroup is Q-M242, a Native haplogroup.

im-y-hap-q

John tested to the 67 marker level, but has no matches at 67 markers. At 12, 25 and 37 markers, he matches a gentleman whose ancestor was from Fort Thomson, SD who also tested at 67 markers. That is John’s only match, so apparently John carries some unusual mutations in his Y DNA as well that are probably isolated to people from the Sioux tribe or their ancestors in the past a few hundred to thousands of years.

im-y-matches-map

On the map above, John’s match is shown and on the map below, John’s white balloon is shown where he was born in relation to that of his red balloon match.

im-y-matches-map-2

To obtain additional information about John’s Y DNA haplogroup, the Big Y test would need to be run on his sample. By running the Big Y, we could obtain a more granular haplogroup, meaning further down the tree, and we could also see who matches him more distantly, meaning further back in time. That information could well provide us with information indicating which groups of Native people John is most closely related to. That suggests a migration route or pathway and tells us about social interactions at some level hundreds to thousands of years in the past.

Anzick Child’s Y DNA haplogroup is Q-L54, a subgroup of Q-M242, shown on the haplotree below. You can also see that many subgroups below L54 have been discovered.

im-hap-q-tree

I strongly suspect that John’s haplogroup would be Q-L54 or a subgroup further downstream. I’m betting on a subgroup, meaning that mutations have occurred in John’s line that define a newer, younger haplogroup since the time that Anzick Child and John shared a common ancestor.

Other Y Line Results

I was hopeful that I would find results for John’s Ward or Hale line in the projects at Family Tree DNA, but I did not. I checked in the American Indian project for Hump, with the hope that one of his descendants has tested as well, but did not find that Hump is yet represented in the data base. Of course, anyone paternally descended from Hump’s father, Iron Bull or his father, Black Buffalo would carry the same Y DNA.

If anyone descends from these direct Y lines, please do let us know.

Summary

What we have been able to discover about John’s ancestry both through traditional genealogy and genetic genealogy has been both amazing and fascinating.

John now knows that he is connected to the Anzick Child, the Ancient One. John’s ancestors and Anzick’s were one and the same. Some 12,500 years later, John was born on the same land where his ancestors have literally lived “forever.”

Anzick has given John a wonderful gift, and John has given that gift to the rest of us. We continue to learn through both John and Anzick’s contributions. Thank you to both.

What’s Next?

I would very much like to upgrade John’s Y DNA to 111 markers and order a Big Y test while the holiday sale is in effect. If you would like to contribute to these tests of discovery, please donate to the American Indian project general fund at this link. If we raise more than we need for John’s tests, we have implemented an application process for other Native people. Every donation helps, and helps to build our knowledge base – so please contribute if you can.

Acknowledgements

My gratitude to the following people:

John Iron Moccasin for testing, providing family information and allowing us to work with and publish his results.

John’s mother, Martha Hale, for providing the original genealogical information, below.

im-original-pedigree

Johns’ friend, Pam, for bringing us this opportunity.

John’s wife, Carolyn, for coordinating information.

Family Tree DNA for testing and facilitating the Ancient DNA Project, the American Indian Project and various Native American haplogroup projects.

nat-geo-logoThe National Geographic Society Genographic Project for providing data base access to the project administrators of the American Indian Project as Affiliate Researchers

Project members and others for contributions to facilitate John’s testing.

My American Indian project co-administrators, Marie Rundquist and Dr. David Pike for their never-failing support.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Your family is your very best genealogy resource, in many ways.

comet

With the holidays approaching, this is the perfect time to talk to your family about family history. Often, we think about family history in the sense of genealogy, meaning names, birth dates and death dates. But there is more to the story – a lot more. Or maybe better said, there are many stories to flesh out your genealogy.

It’s those stories that you want to hear and the holidays when family is gathered provide perfect opportunities. You just have to get the ball rolling!

I discovered over the years that people react better to questions that are open ended and encourage them, and others in the room, to talk and reminisce.

Questions I asked my mother that produced very interesting answers were questions like:

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your lifetime?

For mother, it was electricity in her home. It had never occurred to me that she had lived in a home without electricity before that conversation. The discussion then progressed to things like, “how did you preserve food without electricity,” “how did you have light in the evenings,” and “how did your parents heat the house,” especially since I don’t remember a fireplace in my grandmother’s home. The discussions that followed were very interesting and would never have happened without that single topic-opening question.

For example, I learned that the bedrooms weren’t heated, and the “bathroom” didn’t need to be heated since it was the outhouse.  That means bathing was with a cloth out of a wash basin or tub with water heated on the wood stove.

Another question that might produce some wonderful stories is to ask about “once in a lifetime events.”

My mother recalled a family trip to the 1933 World’s Fair in an old Model T Ford to see her grandmother, Nora Kirsch Lore McCormick’s quilt displayed in the Sears Pavilion.

nora-1933-quilt

In my case, one of those (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime events forever seared in my memory is the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado which cut a wide and devastating swath through central Indiana.  I didn’t realize what I was seeing, but I saw that tornado move across the southern part of the city where I lived.  A tree fell on the house and in an instant my mother grabbed me and we ran for the basement – her half dragging me all the way.

Another time, Mother, my daughter and I were in a van in Illinois one beastly hot June day and after watching a wall cloud overtake us, a tornado picked the van up and moved it some 20-30 feet off the road, sitting it back down right side up, amazingly enough. We were all fine that day, albeit terrified, but others weren’t so lucky.

Another very memorable and somewhat surreal event, as an adult, was unexpectedly seeing the Hale-Bopp Comet from an airplane.

A humorous episode occurred when mother’s uncle died in the middle of a paralyzing blizzard and they put his body in my grandfather’s garage. That was the family joke for years, ribbing my grandfather, but what else were they going to do?

“Remember when” stories like these may never surface if you don’t prompt with questions – and the answers in terms of your family and also in terms of what was happening in society – like radio, TV, electricity and the space race – at that time in history are all part of your family story. Those things would clearly have affected everyone one way or another but the personal stories of how they directly affected people in your family will never emerge unless you ask those leading questions – and record them for posterity.

DNA

Of course, it goes without saying that you might want to take some DNA kits along to family gatherings, just in case.  I always have a swab kit in my purse or in the car, or both.

Your family is also your best resource for genetic genealogy as well. Different family members can provide haplogroup information for ancestors whose haplogroups you don’t carry.

Family members often can and will gladly provide this genetic information for the family, but they don’t realize they carry these genealogy gems, gifts directly from the ancestors passed down the direct paternal and direct matrilineal lines. For example, your father and his siblings can provide the mitochondrial haplogroup of your paternal grandmother (red circles on the chart below), something you don’t carry.  Of course, the blue squares on the chart below represent the direct patrilineal line for males which is both the path of the Y chromosome and the traditional way surnames are inherited.  Your father will carry the family surname and Y DNA, but your mother’s father or brothers will carry the Y of her birth surname.  There’s lots to be discovered!

DNA Pedigree

If you’d like to see an example of how to build a DNA pedigree chart, above, by collecting the haplogroup information from all of your ancestral lines, click here.

Let’s face it, both Y and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups are the only direct line periscope we have back in time more than the few generations provided by autosomal testing. Autosomal DNA is divided in half in each generation, but Y and mitochondrial DNA is not, and is passed intact, except for mutations that might occur, generation to generation – making Y and mtDNA extremely valuable resources to the genealogist.

Haplogroups, discovered through Y and mitochondrial DNA testing, are invaluable historical resources revealing your deep ancestry and not utilized nearly enough. We simply don’t know what we don’t know and testing the right people is the only way to find out.

In terms of autosomal DNA testing, anyone that is a third cousin or closer is used in Family Tree DNA’s phased family matching to indicate which side of your family your matches originate from, as shown by the little blue male, pink female and purple “both” icons shown beside matches, below.

Phased FF2

The only way to divide your matches into maternal and paternal sides, without both parents, is by testing other relatives.  If you’re lucky enough to have both parents, that’s wonderful, but the only way to divide your parents’ results is by testing other relatives as well.

Right now, you can purchase the DNA kits on sale and save them until you need them. You can fill in the name of the tester when you determine who is going to take the test, but be sure to let Family Tree DNA know the correct gender at the time the test is submitted if it is different than the gender indicated when you purchased the kit. The actual swab kit is the same for both genders, but gender verification is part of quality assurance for the various tests.  Listing the wrong gender will delay your test results – and no one wants that!

When I find a willing candidate, I have them swab right then and there, on the spot, and I mail the kit back to Family Tree DNA myself. That way, I know the swabbing gets done and the kit doesn’t take up residence in their junk drawer or under the front seat of the car forever!  In one case, family members found a used swab kit in the glove box three years later, after the person died – and amazingly – it was still good!  However, mailing the kit back yourself avoids these situations.

Enjoy your holidays, take DNA kits along, and ask leading questions. You don’t know what you don’t know and you’ll never find out if you don’t ask those questions and DNA test your relatives.

Concepts – Managing Autosomal DNA Matches – Step 2 – Updating Match Spreadsheets, Bucketed Family Finder Matches and Pileups

We’re going to do three things in this article.

  1. Updating Your DNA Master Spreadsheet With New Matches
  2. Labeling Known Pileup Areas
  3. Utilizing Phased Family Finder Matches

You must do item one above, before you can do item three…just in case you are thinking about taking a “shortcut” and jumping to three. Word to the wise. Don’t.

OK, let’s get started! I promise, after we get the housework done, you’ll have a LOT of fun! Well, fun for a genetic genealogist anyway!

Updating Your Chromosome Browser Spreadsheet

If you haven’t updated your chromosome browser spreadsheet at Family Tree DNA since you originally downloaded your matches, it’s time to do that. You need to do this update so that your DNA Master Spreadsheet is in sync with your current matches before you can add the Family Finder bucketed matches to your master spreadsheet. Just trust me on this and understand that I found out the hard way. You don’t have to traipse through that same mud puddle because I already did and I’m warning you not to.

Let’s get started updating our DNA Master spreadsheet with our latest matches.  It’s a multi-step process and you’re going to be working with three different files:

  • File 1 – Your DNA Master Matches spreadsheet that you have created. This is the file you will be updating with information from the other two files, below.
  • File 2 – A current download of all of your chromosome browser file matches.
  • File 3 – A current download of a list of your matches.

The steps you will take, are as follows:

  1. Download a new Chromosome Browser Spreadsheet, but DO NOT overwrite your existing DNA Master spreadsheet, or you’ll be swearing, guaranteed. This chromosome browser spreadsheet is downloaded from the Family Finder chromosome browser page. Label it with a date and save it as an Excel file.
  2. Download a new Matches spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is downloaded from the bottom of your matches page. Label it with the same date and save it as an Excel file too.
  3. Update your Master DNA Matches spreadsheet utilizing the instructions provided below.

If you need a refresher about downloading spreadsheet information from Family Tree DNA, click here.

Your Matches spreadsheet will include a column labeled “Match Date.”

concepts2-match-date

On your Matches spreadsheet, sort the Match Date column in reverse order (sort Z to A) and print the list of matches that occurred since your last update date – meaning the date you last updated your DNA Master Spreadsheet.

If you need a refresher about how to sort spreadsheets, click here.

concepts2-match-list

This list will be your “picklist” from the new chromosome browser match spreadsheet you downloaded. I removed the middle and last names the matches, above, to protect their privacy, but you’ll have their full name to work with.

After your spreadsheet is sorted by match date, with the most current date at the top, you’ll have a list of the most recent matches, meaning those that happened since your last file download/update. Remember, I told you to record on a secondary page in your DNA Master Spreadsheet the history of the file, including the date you do things? This is why.  You need to know when you last downloaded your matches so that you don’t duplicate existing matches in your spreadsheet.

Why don’t you just want to download a new spreadsheet and start over?

concepts2-headers

Remember the color coding and those pink columns we’ve been adding, at right, above, so you can indicate which side that match is from, if the segment is triangulated, how you are related, the most recent common ancestor, the ancestral line, and other notes? If you overwrite your current DNA Master spreadsheet, all of that research information will be gone and you’ll have to start over. So as inconvenient as it is, you’ll need to go to the trouble of adding only your new matches to your DNA Master spreadsheet and only add new matches.

Utilizing the new Chromosome Browser match spreadsheet, you are going to scroll down (or Ctl+F) and find the names of the people you want to add to your master spreadsheet. Those are the people on your Matches spreadsheet whose test date is since you last downloaded the chromosome browser information.

When you find the person’s name (Amy in this example) on the Chromosome Browser Match spreadsheet, highlight the cells and right click to copy the contents of those cells so that you can paste them at the bottom of your DNA Master Spreadsheet.

concepts2-pick-list

Next, open your Master DNA Spreadsheet, and right click to paste the cells at the very bottom of the spreadsheet, positioning the cursor in the first cell of the first row where you want to paste, shown below.

concepts2-paste

Then click on Paste to paste the cells.

concepts2-paste-position

Repeat this process for every new match, copy/pasting all of their information into your DNA Master Spreadsheet.  I try to remember to do this about once a month.

Housekeeping note – If you’re wondering why some graphics in this article are the spreadsheet itself, and some are pictures of my screen (taken with my handy iPhone,) like the example above, it’s because when you do a screen capture, the screen capture action removes the drop down box that I want you to see in the pictures above. Yes, I know these pictures aren’t wonderful – but they are sufficient for you to see what I’m doing and that’s the goal.

Combined Spreadsheets

In my case, if you recall, I have a combined master spreadsheet with my matches and my mother’s matches in one spreadsheet. You may have this same situation with parents and grandparents or your full siblings if your parents are missing.

You will need to repeat this process for each family member whose entire match list resides in your DNA Master spreadsheet.

I know, I groaned too. And just in case you’re wondering, I’ve commenced begging at Family Tree DNA for a download by date function – but apparently I did not commence begging soon enough, because as of the date of this article, it hasn’t happened yet – although I’m hopeful, very hopeful.

After your spreadsheet is updated, we have a short one-time housekeeping assignment, then we’ll move on to something much more fun.

Known Pileup Regions

I want you to add the following segments into your DNA Master spreadsheet. These are known pileup regions in the human genome, also known as excess IBD (identical by descent) regions. This means that you may well phase against your parents, but the match is not necessarily genealogical in nature, because many individuals match in these areas, by virtue of being human. Having said that, close relationships may match you in these regions. Hopefully they will also match you in other regions as well, because it’s very difficult to tell if matches in these regions are by virtue of descent genealogically or because so many people match in these regions by virtue of being human.

concepts2-known-pileup-regions

You can color code these rows in your spreadsheet so you will notice them.  If you do, be sure to use a color that you’re not using for something else.

I have used several sources for this information, including the ISOGG wiki phasing page and Sue Griffith’s great Genealogy Junkie blog article titled Chromosome Maps Showing Centromeres, Excess IBD Regions and HLA Region. The HLA region on chromosome 6 is the most pronounced. Tim Janzen states that he has seen as many as 2000 SNP segments in this region that are identical by population, or at least they do not appear to be identical by descent, meaning he cannot find the common ancestor. His personal HLA region boundaries are a bit larger too, from 25,000,000 to 35,000,000. Regardless of the exact boundaries that you use, be aware of this very “matchy” region when you are evaluating your matches.  This is exactly why you’re entering these into your DNA Master spreadsheet – so you don’t have to “remember.”.

By the way, Family Tree DNA and GedMatch use Build 36, but eventually they will move to Build 37 of the human genome, so you might as well enter this information now so it will be there when you need it. If your next question is about how that transition will be handled, the answer is that I don’t know, and we will deal with it at that time.

I do not enter the SNP poor regions, because Family Tree DNA does not utilize those regions at all, and they are the greyed out regions of your chromosome map, shown below.

concepts2-snp-poor-regions

On my own spreadsheet, I have a few other things too.

I have indicated chromosomal regions where I carry minority ancestry.  For both my mother and me, chromosome 2 has significant Native admixture.  This Native heritage is also confirmed by mitochondrial and Y DNA tests on relevant family members.

concepts2-native-segments

If you carry any Native American or other minority admixture, where minority is defined as not your majority ethnicity, as determined by any of the testing companies, you can utilize GedMatch ethnicity tools to isolate the segments where your specific admixture occurs. I described how to do this here as part of The Autosomal Me series. I would suggest that you use multiple tools and look for areas that consistently show with that same minority admixture in all or at least most of the tools. Note that some tools are focused towards a specific ethnicity and omit others, so avoid those tools if the ethnicity you seek is not in line with the goals of that specific tool.

Ok, now that our housekeeping is done, we can have fun.

Adding Phased Family Finder Matches to your Spreadsheet

I love the new Family Tree DNA phased Family Finder matches that assign maternal or paternal “sides” to matches based on your matches to either a parent or close relative. If you would like a refresher on parental phasing, click here.

We’re going to utilize that Match spreadsheet you just downloaded once again.

In this case, we’re going to do something a bit different.

This time, we’re going to sort by the last column, “Matching Bucket.” (Please note you can enlarge any image by clicking or double clicking on it.)

concepts2-match-bucket

When you’re done sorting the “Matching Bucket” column , you will have four groups of matches, as follows:

  • Both
  • Maternal
  • N/A
  • Paternal

I delete the N/A rows, which means “not applicable” – in other words, the match did not meet the criterial to be assigned to a “side.” You can read about the criteria for phased Family Finder matches here and here. If you don’t want to delete these rows, you can just ignore them.

The next thing I do is to add a column before the first column on the spreadsheet, so before “Full Name.”

In this case, you can highlight either the entire column or just the column heading, and right click to insert an entire column to the left.

concepts2-insert-column

If these are your matches, add your name in the “Who” column. If these are your parents’ or full siblings’ matches, add their names in this column. When you have a combined spreadsheet, it’s critical to know whose matches are whose.

Then select colors for the maternal, paternal and both buckets, and color the rows on your spreadsheet accordingly.

I use pink and blue, appropriately, but not exactly the same pink and blue I use for the mother and father spreadsheet rows in my DNA Master spreadsheet. I used a slightly darker pink and slightly darker blue so I can see the difference at a glance. The yellow, or gold in this case, indicates a match to both sides.

concepts2-bucket-colors

You’re only going to actually utilize the first two columns of information.

Highlight and copy the first two columns, without the header, as shown below.

concepts2-bucket-columns

Then open your master spreadsheet and paste this information at the very bottom of your spreadsheet in the first two columns.

concepts2-bucket-paste

After the paste, your spreadsheet will look like this.

concepts2-bucket-rows

Next, sort your spreadsheet by match name, this case, RVH is the match (white row).

concepts2-bucket-match-sort

Be still my heart. Look what happens. By color, you can see who matches you on which sides, for those who are assigned to parental buckets.  Now my white RVH match row is accompanied by a gold row as well telling me that RVH matches me on both my maternal and paternal sides.

Let’s look at another example. In the case of Cheryl, she is my mother’s first cousin. Since I have combined both my mother’s and my spreadsheets, you can see that Cheryl matches both me and my mother on chromosome 19 and 20 below. Mother’s match rows are pink and my rows are white.

concepts2-bucket-match-maternal

In this example, you can see that indeed, Cheryl is assigned on my maternal side by Family Tree DNA, based on the dark pink match row that we just added. Indeed, by looking at the spreadsheet itself, you can confirm that Cheryl is a match on my mother’s side. I am only showing chromosome 19 and 20 as examples, but we match on several different locations.

I don’t have as many paternal side matches, because my father is not in the system, but I do have several cousins to phase against.

concepts2-bucket-match-paternal

Here’s my cousin, Buster, assigned paternally, which is accurate. In Buster’s case, I already have him assigned on my Dad’s side, but if I hadn’t already made this assignment, I could make that with confidence now, based on Family Tree DNA’s assignment.  The blessing here is that the usefulness of Buster’s assignment paternally doesn’t end there, but his results, and mine, together will be used to assign other matches to buckets as well.  Cousin matching is the gift that keeps on giving.

Because my DNA Master spreadsheet includes my mother’s information as well, we need to add her phased Family Finder matches too.

Mother’s Family Finder Matches

Because I have my mother’s and my results combined into one DNA Master spreadsheet, I repeat the same process for my mother, except I type her name in the first column I added with the title of “Who.”

concepts2-mother

Continue with the same “Adding Phased Family Finder Matches” instructions above, and when you are finished, you will have a Master DNA Spreadsheet that includes your information, your parent’s information, and anyone who is phased for either of you maternally, paternally or to both sides will be noted in your spreadsheet by match and color coded as well.

Let’s take a look at cousin Cheryl’s matches to both mother and I on our spreadsheet now with our maternal and paternal buckets assigned.

concepts2-cheryl-to-mother

As you can see, my results are the white row, and my Family Finder phased matches indicate that Cheryl is a match on my mother’s side, which is accurate.

Looking at my mother, Barbara’s matches, the pink rows, and then at Barbara’s Family Finder phased match information, it shows us that Cheryl matches mother on the blue, or paternal side, which is also accurate, per the pedigree chart below.

Margaret Lentz chart

You can see that Barbara and Cheryl are in the same generation, first cousins, and Barbara matches Cheryl on her paternal line which is reflected in the Family Finder bucketing.

I have updated the “Side” column to reflect the Family Finder bucketing information, although in this case, I already had the sides assigned based on previous family knowledge.

concepts2-bucket-matching-blended

In this example of viewing my mother and my combined spreadsheet matches, you are seeing the following information:

  • Cheryl matches me – white rows
  • Cheryl matches me on my maternal side – dark pink row imported from Match spreadsheet
  • Cheryl matches mother (Barbara) – light pink rows
  • Cheryl matches mother on her father’s side – blue row imported from Match spreadsheet

I find this combined spreadsheet with the color coding very visual and easy to follow.  Better yet, when other people match mother, Cheryl and I on this same segment, they fall right into this grouping on my DNA Master spreadsheet, so the relationship is impossible to miss.  That’s the beauty of a combined spreadsheet.

You can do a combined spreadsheet with individuals whose DNA is “yours” and they don’t share DNA with anyone that you don’t. Those individuals would be:

  • Either or both parents
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and Uncles
  • Full siblings
  • Great-aunts and great-uncles

Why not half siblings or half aunts-uncles? Those people have DNA from someone who is not your ancestor. In other words, your half siblings have the DNA from only one of your parents, and you don’t want their matches from their other parent in your spreadsheet. You only want matches that positively descend from your ancestors.

While your grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, parents, aunts and uncles will have matches that you don’t, those matches may be critically important to you, because they have DNA from your ancestors that you didn’t inherit. So your combined DNA Master spreadsheet represents your DNA and the DNA of your ancestors found in your relatives who descend directly ONLY from your ancestors. Those relatives have DNA from your ancestors that has washed out by the time it gets to you.

Why can’t your cousins be included in your DNA Master spreadsheet?

I want you to take a minute and think about the answer to this question.

Thinking…..thinking….thinking…. (can you hear the Jeopardy music?)

And the answer is….

If you answered, “Because my aunt or uncle married someone with whom they had children, so my cousins have DNA that is not from an ancestor of mine,” you would be exactly right!!!

The great news is that between a combined spreadsheet and the new Family Finder bucketed matches, you can determine a huge amount about your matches.

After discovering which matches are bucketed, you can then use the other tools at Family Tree DNA, like “in common with” to see who else matches you and your match. The difference between bucketing and ICW is that bucketing means that you match that person (and one of your proven relatives who has DNA tested) on the same segment(s) above the 9cM bucketing threshold.  You can still match on the same segments, but not be reported as a bucketed match because the segments fall below the threshold.  “In common with” means that you both match someone else, but not necessarily on the same segments.

Here’s a nice article about utilizing the 9 tools provided by Family Tree DNA for autosomal matching.

The Beauty of the Beast

The absolutely wonderful aspect of phased Family Finder Matching is that while you do need to know some third cousins or closer, and the more the better, who have DNA tested, you do NOT need access to their family information, their tree or the DNA of your matches. If your matches provide that information, that’s wonderful, but your DNA plus that of your known relatives linked to your tree is doing the heavy lifting for you.

How well does this really work? Let’s take a look and see.

On the chart below, I’ve “bucketed” my information (pardon the pun.) Keep in mind that I do have my mother’s autosomal DNA, but not my fathers. His side is represented by 8 more distant relatives, the closest of which are my half-sister’s granddaughter and my father’s brother’s granddaughter – both of which are the genetic equivalent of 1st cousins once removed. My mother’s side is represented by mother and two first cousins.

Total Matches Maternal Side Bucket Paternal Side Bucket Both Sides Bucket Percent Assigned
Mother 865 13 106 2 14
Me 1585 356 361 3 23

Mother has the above 106 paternal bucketed matches without me doing anything at all except linking the DNA tests of mother to her two first cousins in her tree.  In my case, the combination of mother’s DNA and her two first cousins generated 356 maternal side bucketed matches, just by linking mother and her two first cousins to my tree.

concepts2-tree

Mother does have one third cousin on her mother’s side who generated 13 maternal bucketed matches.  So, while third cousins are distant, they can be very useful in terms of bucketed “sides” to matches.

It’s ironic that even though I have my mother’s DNA tested, I have slightly more paternal matches, without my father, than maternal matches, with my mother. Of course, in my case, that is at least partly a result of the fact that my mother has so many fewer matches herself due to her very recent old world heritage on several lines. Don’t think though, for one minute, that you have to have parents or siblings tested for Family Finder bucketed matching to be useful. You don’t. Even second and third cousins are useful and generate bucketed maternal and paternal matches. My 361 paternal matches, all generated from 8 cousins, are testimony to that fact.

The very best thing you can do for yourself is to test the following relatives that will be used to assign your resulting matches with other people to maternal and paternal sides.

  • Your parents
  • If your parents are not both available, all of your full and half siblings
  • Your grandparents
  • Your aunts and uncles
  • Your great-aunts and great-uncles
  • All first, second and third cousins unless they are children of aunts and uncles who have already tested

The new permanent price of $79 for the Family Finder test will hopefully encourage people to test as many family members as they can find! For autosomal genetic genealogy, it’s absolutely the best gift you can give yourself – after testing yourself of course.