DNAPainter: Ancestral Trees

Ancestral Tree.png

DNAPainter has introduced a new feature, Ancestral Trees.

Ancestral tree fan.png

You can create a tree by hand or upload a GEDCOM file from your own software or one of the online vendors who support a tree export to a GEDCOM file, such as Ancestry or MyHeritage.

GEDCOM Import

As a longtime genealogist, I wanted to upload my GEDCOM file, because there’s absolutely no reason to recreate the wheel, or the fan, pardon the pun.

I’ve been building my file for decades, so it’s rather large, with over 35,000 people. Not all are ancestors of course.

If the upload process was going to choke on a large file, mine is a good candidate. DNAPainter indicates that files of 50,000 people or less shouldn’t be a problem. My file upload worked fine and took all of a couple minutes.

It’s worth noting that your GEDCOM file itself is not uploaded and retained. Only your direct line ancestors are extracted and uploaded to your DNAPainter account. You can read about options here.

Pedigree

A pedigree version of my direct ancestral tree appeared as soon as the upload completed.

Ancestral tree pedigree.png

By hovering over any person, you can perform a several functions.

You can delete the person, edit their information, add parents or mark them as a genetic ancestor by clicking on that box.

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What, exactly, is a genetic ancestor?

Genetic Ancestors

Genetic ancestors are people in your tree that are confirmed, genetically, to be your ancestors. For example, if you match a full first cousin on your mother’s side, that confirms your maternal grandparents as your grandparents.

Two pieces of independent data confirm that – your paper trail plus the fact that the first cousin matches you in the first cousin range.

Confirming ancestral segments, and therefore ancestors, is what DNAPainter does. DNAPainter creates a visualization of your chromosomes with the DNA segments you inherited from your ancestors painted on the appropriate maternal or paternal chromosomes.

Here’s an example.

Ancestral tree chromosome 22.png

All of the grey matches on my chromosome 22, above, descend from cousins who share ancestors Lazarus Estes and Elizabeth Vannoy with me. In addition, there are other matches painted as well who descend from other ancestors, such as their son, in addition to my painted ethnicity segments.

In the blue, grey and red match trio, we can see that the exact segment was passed from Elijah Vannoy and Lois McNiel to their son Joel Vannoy who married Phoebe Crumley whose daughter Elizabeth Vannoy married Lazarus Estes. We can track that segment back three generations with just this one example, plus the two generations between me and my great-grandparents, Lazarus Estes and Elizabeth Vannoy – for a total of 5 ancestral generations. Pretty cool, huh!

Use the Legend

When you paint chromosomes, you define ancestors to a color as you paint segments attributed to them.

You can view the legend of the ancestors you’ve painted – either all of them or divided into maternal or paternal.

Ancestral tree legend.png

Utilize this legend to mark the appropriate people on your Ancestral Tree as genetic ancestors.

Couple or Person?

You’ll need to make a decision.

Are you going to mark both people of a couple as your genetic ancestors when someone else that you match descends from this same couple, or are you only going to mark your descendant child of that couple?

Using the same example as the grey/blue/red trio on my painted chromosomes, I can see the pedigree descent, below.

Ancestral tree ancestors.png

If my initial match was to a cousin who descended through Lazarus Estes and Elizabeth Vannoy, I wouldn’t know which of those two ancestors actually passed the matching segment to my grandfather, William George Estes, then to my father and me.

Ancestral tree path.png

I know for sure I inherited the segment though William George Estes, but I don’t know if he received it from his father, Lazarus Estes, his mother Elizabeth Vannoy, or parts from both of his parents.

However, given that we are talking about only one segment at a time, it’s likely that the segment actually came from either Lazarus or Elizabeth, not a combination of both. But it’s not certain.

If I match someone on multiple segments, each segment has its own independent history. Multiple segments could have and probably did originate with different ancestors on up the tree.

Do I mark only William George Estes as the confirmed ancestor, or do I mark both Lazarus Estes and Elizabeth Vannoy as the confirmed couple?

Eventually, after I match more people, as shown in the chromosome painting, I’ll have evidence that this segment descends through Elizabeth Vannoy and her father Joel Vannoy.

Ancestral tree line of descent.png

Now I know that the segment descends from Elijah Vannoy and Lois McNiel, but until someone from either the McNiel line or the Vannoy line upstream match me on that same segment, or part of the segment, I won’t know whether that segment descends from Elijah or Lois or maybe a partial contribution from each.

Until then, I need to decide how I’m going to handle the designation of Genetic Ancestor – the couple or their child who is my ancestor. As long as you are consistent in your methodoloy and you understand your strategy, I don’t think there is any specific right or wrong answer.

Displaying Genetic Ancestors

After designating a person in your tree as a genetic ancestor, you’ll be able to select “Show genetic ancestors” from the DNA filters.

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Your pedigree chart will show the black DNA icon for every ancestor that you’ve identified as a genetic ancestor.

Ancestral tree genetic ancestors.png

Next, you can view your Genetic fan chart.

Your Genetic Fan Chart

Ancestral tree fan option.png

By switching from tree to fan, you’ll be able to view your genetic tree in fan format.

Ancestral tree fan genetic ancestors.png

The darkened ancestral “squares” show the people you’ve indicated as genetic ancestors. The lighter colors are people in my tree, but not yet genetically confirmed.

My particularly problematic quadrant is the dark red one that also happens to include my mitochondrial DNA. Why is this line so lacking as compared to the others?

Ancestral tree descent.png

By flying my cursor over the ancestor on the tree that I want to see, DNAPainter tells me that the end of line ancestor in the outer band is Elisabeth Schlicht, born in 1698. I know immediately what the problem is, and why I only have a few generations confirmed.

Barbara Mehlheimer was the immigrant in the 1850s. None of the rest of her family came to America. Few if any of the family in Germany have tested. If they have, I don’t know it because either I don’t match them or they don’t have a tree.

That entire red quadrant beyond the 4th generation is partially identified in the German church records, but not (yet) genetically confirmed.

X and Mitochondrial DNA Paths

Another feature that you can select is to see the X and mitochondrial DNA paths.

Ancestral tree X path.png

The X inheritance path is shown above, and mitochondrial DNA below.

Ancestral tree mtDNA path.png

I discussed X matching here.

X DNA and mitochondrial DNA is NOT the same thing, although they both have a unique inheritance path. I wrote about X matching and mitochondrial DNA and their differences, here.

DNAPainter only shows that inheritance path. The genetic ancestor designation does NOT MEAN that the genetic ancestors on the X path are confirmed by the X chromosome, only that those ancestors are somehow confirmed – by you.

The mitochondrial path does NOT necessarily mean that that line is mitochondrially DNA confirmed – just that the line is autosomally confirmed, or not – depending on whether you checked genetic ancestor.

I, personally, am only using the genetic ancestor designation as autosomal, meaning chromosomes 1-22 AND the X chromosome. When I indicate that Edith Barbara Lore, who is my mitochondrial ancestor, is a genetic ancestor, I’m referring to autosomal confirmation, not mitochondrial.

I’d actually love to see separate Y and mitochondrial DNA confirmations – although I’m afraid it might be confusing to people. On the other hand, it might be a great teaching opportunity about Y and mito.

Another useful feature of DNAPainter is tree completeness.

Tree Completeness

At the upper right, you’ll see the option for tree completeness.

Ancestral tree completeness.png

By clicking, a new box opens with a list of ancestors that appear more than once in your tree – known as pedigree collapse.

Ancestral tree pedigree collapse.png

This was quite interesting. Fifteen are Acadians and 19 are Germans from multiple lines. the commonality is that all of these people hail from villages or geographically isolated regions where there isn’t a lot of population being added during the timeframe in question.

Not one repeat ancestor hails from colonial America, although I’d bet they exist in areas where these families lived in close proximity. Many records have been destroyed and I have lots of brick walls in those lines.

Ancestral tree identified ancestors.png

Scrolling on down the page, we see a report by generation of how many ancestors are identified per generation. I have identified all of my 4th great-grandparents, but only about 3/4th of the next generation. After that, the percentage drops roughly in half every generation.

Of the 4th great-grandparents, who lived 6 generations ago, (counting my parents as generation 1,) born in the mid-1700s, three women don’t have surnames and one is known only by her mitochondrial DNA results. I’m hopeful that one day, those results will lead me to her identity.

The Future

Jonny Perl has indicated that he’s working to integrate the genetic ancestor designation with the chromosome painting function, including colors. That will require more decision-making on the part of the user though, because sometimes the source of the segment isn’t clear, especially when families lived close and there are multiple possible paths of descend from multiple ancestors. And of course, there’s always the possibility of an unexpected parent or adoption thrown into the mix.

What does the user do when they have 10 cousins who match on a segment but conflicting information as to the ancestral source? When that occurs in my tree, I evaluate the evidence of each match on that segment and make an individual decision. Automating this process might be challenging, especially considering the situations of partial segment matches and endogamy.

While I wait, I’ll just revel in the nice dark colors on my ancestry fan tree and see what I can do to darken a few more of those areas by painting more matches.

Have you uploaded your tree and claimed your genetic ancestors? How are you doing?

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

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

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

That’s “two for the price of one.”

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

Here’s why.

sibling matching.png

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

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

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

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

The Important Part

But here’s the really important part:

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

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

The 2-Fer

Here’s the 2-fer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving Back Another Generation

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

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

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

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

Genetic Gold

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

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

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

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

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

Who do you have to test?

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Family Tree DNA Dashboard Gets a New Skin

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

New dashboard

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

New dashboard 2

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

New dashboard 3

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

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

Tutorial

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

New dashboard tutorial.png

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

Rearranging the Furniture

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

New dashboard move

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

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

Previous Version

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

New dashboard previous.png

Quick Links

New dashboard quick links.png

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

New dashboard add quick links.png

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

New dashboard quick links 5

Click to enlarge

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

Format Changes

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

New dashboard format

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The Learning Center is shown as well.

Upgrades

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

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

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

New dashboard upgrade.png

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

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

Partner Applications

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

New dashboard partner apps.png

Public Haplotrees

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

New dashboard public haplotrees.png

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

New dashboard Y haplotree.png

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

MyFamilyTree

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

New dashboard myTree.png

New dashboard myTree 2

Click to enlarge

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

Badges

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

New dashboard badges.png

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

Projects

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

New dashboard projects.png

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

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

New dashboard projects 2.png

Updates

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

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

For my account, I see the following:

New dashboard myUpdates.png

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

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

Security and Privacy

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

New dashboard old.png

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

New dashboard gear.png

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

New dashboard account settings.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project Administrators

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

Group Project Search

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

New dashboard group projects.png

You can access the page, here.

New dashboard search page.png

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

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

New dashboard surname search.png

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

Summary

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

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

Improvements I recommend are:

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

The new features are certainly welcome and a great start.

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

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

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

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

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

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

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

berchtol-miller-mtdna

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

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

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

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

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

Craig’s Matches

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

Elizabeth Ulrich mtDNA match.png

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Ulrich mtDNA match tree

Click to enlarge

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

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

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

Where is Elizabeth Ulrich?

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

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

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

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

Mary Elizabeth Angle

FindAGrave shows the following information for Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh.

Mary Elizabeth Angle Brumbaugh FindAGrave.png

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

Brumbaugh History

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

Brumbaugh history.png

Brumbaugh history 2.png

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

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

Brumbach Family (Brumbaugh)

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

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

Is This a Red Herring?

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

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

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

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

Additional Sources

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

Heinrich Angle wife.png

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

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

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

Henry Angle’s Will

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

Heinrich Angle 1810 will.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Elizabeth Angle Who Married Johann Jacob Brumbaugh

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

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

Henry Angle pedigree.png

Could this work? Yes.

Does it work? I don’t know.

We need more information.

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

Possibilities

What are the possibilities?

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

Options

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

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

Please let me know if you do.

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

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Mitochondrial DNA Resources – Everything You Need to Know

Mitochondrial DNA Resources

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

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

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

What the Difference Between Mitochondrial and Other Types of DNA?

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

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

Why Mitochondrial DNA?

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

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

What About Those Results?

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

Mitochondrial DNA personal page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mitochondrial DNA Information for Everyone

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

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

Mitochondrial resources haplotree

These are mine. Where are yours?

What Can Mitochondrial DNA Do for You?

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

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

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

Searching for Native American Ancestors?

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

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

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

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

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

What secrets will your mitochondrial DNA reveal?

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

______________________________________________________________

Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Native American & Minority Ancestors Identified Using DNAPainter Plus Ethnicity Segments

Ethnicity is always a ticklish subject. On one hand we say to be leery of ethnicity estimates, but on the other hand, we all want to know who our ancestors were and where they came from. Many people hope to prove or disprove specific theories or stories about distant ancestors.

Reasons to be cautious about ethnicity estimates include:

  • Within continents, like Europe, it’s very difficult to discern ethnicity at the “country” level because of thousands of years of migration across regions where borders exist today. Ethnicity estimates within Europe can be significantly different than known and proven genealogy.
  • “Countries,” in Europe, political constructs, are the same size as many states in the US – and differentiation between those populations is almost impossible to accurately discern. Think of trying to figure out the difference between the populations of Indiana and Illinois, for example. Yet we want to be able to tell the difference between ancestors that came from France and Germany, for example.

Ethnicity states over Europe

  • All small amounts of ethnicity, even at the continental level, under 2-5%, can be noise and might be incorrect. That’s particularly true of trace amounts, 1% or less. However, that’s not always the case – which is why companies provide those small percentages. When hunting ancestors in the distant past, that small amount of ethnicity may be the only clue we have as to where they reside at detectable levels in our genome.

Noise in this case is defined as:

  • A statistical anomaly
  • A chance combination of your DNA from both parents that matches a reference population
  • Issues with the reference population itself, specifically admixture
  • Perhaps combinations of the above

You can read about the challenges with ethnicity here and here.

On the Other Hand

Having restated the appropriate caveats, on the other hand, we can utilize legitimate segments of our DNA to identify where our ancestors came from – at the continental level.

I’m actually specifically referring to Native American admixture which is the example I’ll be using, but this process applies equally as well to other minority or continental level admixture as well. Minority, in this sense means minority ethnicity to you.

Native American ethnicity shows distinctly differently from African and European. Sometimes some segments of DNA that we inherit from Native American ancestors are reported as Asian, specifically Siberian, Northern or Eastern Asian.

Remember that the Native American people arrived as a small group via Beringia, a now flooded land bridge that once connected Siberia with Alaska.

beringia map

By Erika Tamm et al – Tamm E, Kivisild T, Reidla M, Metspalu M, Smith DG, et al. (2007) Beringian Standstill and Spread of Native American Founders. PLoS ONE 2(9): e829. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000829. Also available from PubMed Central., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16975303

After that time, the Native American/First Nations peoples were isolated from Asia, for the most part, and entirely from Europe until European exploration resulted in the beginning of sustained European settlement, and admixture beginning in the late 1400s and 1500s in the Americas.

Family Inheritance

Testing multiple family members is extremely useful when working with your own personal minority heritage. This approach assumes that you’d like to identify your matches that share that genetic heritage because they share the same minority DNA that you do. Of course, that means you two share the same ancestor at some time in the past. Their genealogy, or your combined information, may hold the clue to identifying your ancestor.

In my family, my daughter has Native American segments that she inherited from me that I inherited from my mother.

Finding the same segment identified as Native American in several successive generations eliminates the possibility that the chance combination of DNA from your father and mother is “appearing” as Native, when it isn’t.

We can use segment information to our benefit, especially if we don’t know exactly who contributed that DNA – meaning which ancestor.

We need to find a way to utilize those Native or other minority segments genealogically.

23andMe

Today, the only DNA testing vendor that provides consumers with a segment identification of our ethnicity predictions is 23andMe.

If you have tested at 23andMe, sign in and click on Ancestry on the top tab, then select Ancestry Composition.

Minority ethnicity ancestry composition.png

Scroll down until you see your painted chromosomes.

Minority ethnicity chromosome painting.png

By clicking on the region at left that you want to see, the rest of the regions are greyed out and only that region is displayed on your chromosomes, at right.

Minority ethnicity Native.png

According to 23andMe, I have two Native segments, one each on chromosomes 1 and 2. They show these segments on opposite chromosomes, meaning one (the top for example) would be maternal or paternal, and the bottom one would be the opposite. But 23andMe apparently could not tell for sure because neither my mother nor father have tested there. This placement also turned out to be incorrect. The above image was my initial V3 test at 23andMe. My later V4 results were different.

Versions May Differ

Please note that your ethnicity predictions may be different based on which test you took which is dictated by when you took the test. The image above is my V3 test that was in use at 23andMe between 2010 and November 2013, and the image below is my V4 test in use between November 2013 and August 2017.

23andMe apparently does not correct original errors involving what is known as “strand swap” where the maternal and paternal segments are inverted during analysis. My V4 test results are shown below, where the strands are correctly portrayed.

Minority ethnicity Native V4.png

Note that both Native segments are now on the lower chromosome “side” of the pair and the position on the chromosome 1 segment has shifted visually.

Minority ethnicity sides.png

I have not tested at 23andMe on the current V5 GSA chip, in use since August 9, 2017, but perhaps I should. The results might be different yet, with the concept being that each version offers an improvement over earlier versions as science advances.

If your parents have tested, 23andMe makes adjustments to your ethnicity estimates accordingly.

Although my mother can’t test at 23andMe, I happen to already know that these Native segments descend from my mother based on genealogical and genetic analysis, combined. I’m going to walk you through the process.

I can utilize my genealogy to confirm or refute information shown by 23andMe. For example, if one of those segments comes from known ancestors who were living in Germany, it’s clearly not Native, and it’s noise of some type.

We’re going to utilize DNAPainter to determine which ancestors contributed your minority segments, but first you’ll need to download your ethnicity segments from 23andMe.

Downloading Ethnicity Segment Data

Downloading your ethnicity segments is NOT THE SAME as downloading your raw DNA results to transfer to another vendor. Those are two entirely different files and different procedures.

To download the locations of your ethnicity segments at 23andMe, scroll down below your painted ethnicity segments in your Ancestry Composition section to “View Scientific Details.”

MInority ethnicity scientific details.png

Click on View Scientific Details and scroll down to near the bottom and then click on “Download Raw Data.” I leave mine at the 50% confidence level.

Minority ethnicity download raw data.png

Save this spreadsheet to your computer in a known location.

In the spreadsheet, you’ll see columns that provide the name of the segment, the chromosome copy number (1 or 2) and the chromosome number with start and end locations.

Minority ethnicity download.png

You really don’t care about this information directly, but DNAPainter does and you’ll care a lot about what DNAPainter does for you.

DNAPainter

I wrote introductory articles about DNAPainter:

If you’re not familiar with DNAPainter, you might want to read these articles first and then come back to this point in this article.

Go ahead – I’ll wait!

Getting Started

If you don’t have a DNAPainter account, you’ll need to create one for free. Some features, such as having multiple profiles are subscription based, but the functionality you’ll need for one profile is free.

I’ve named this example profile “Ethnicity Demo.” You’ll see your name where mine says “Ethnicity Demo.”

Minority ethnicity DNAPainter.png

Click on “Import 23andme ancestry composition.”

You will copy and paste all the spreadsheet rows in the entire downloaded 23andMe ethnicity spreadsheet into the DNAPainter text box and make your selection, below. The great news is that if you discover that your assumption about copy 1 being maternal or paternal is incorrect, it’s easy to delete the ethnicity segments entirely and simply repaint later. Ditto if 23andMe changes your estimate over time, like they have mine.

Minority ethnicity DNAPainter sides.png

I happen to know that “copy 2” is maternal, so I’ve made that selection.

You can then see your ethnicity chromosome segments painted, and you can expand each one to see the detail. Click on “Save Segments.”

MInority ethnicity DNAPainter Native painting

Click to enlarge

In this example, you can see my Native segments, called by various names at different confidence levels at 23andMe, on chromosome 1.

Depending on the confidence level, these segments are called some mixture of:

  • East Asian & Native American
  • North Asian & Native American
  • Native American
  • Broadly East Asian & Native American

It’s exactly the same segment, so you don’t really care what it’s called. DNAPainter paints all of the different descriptions provided by 23andMe, at all confidence levels as you can see above.

The DNAPainter colors are different from 23andMe colors and are system-selected. You can’t assign the colors for ethnicity segments.

Now, I’m moving to my own profile that I paint with my ancestral segments. To date, I have 78% of my segments painted by identifying cousins with known common ancestors.

On chromosomes 1 and 2, copy 2, which I’ve determined to be my mother’s “side,” these segments track back to specific ancestors.

Minority ethnicity maternal side

Click to enlarge

Chromosome 1 segments, above, track back to the Lore family, descended from Antoine (Anthony) Lore (Lord) who married Rachel Hill. Antoine Lore was Acadian.

Minority ethnicity chromosome 1.png

Clicking on the green segment bar shows me the ancestors I assigned when I painted the match with my Lore family member whose name is blurred, but whose birth surname was Lore.

The Chromosome 2 segment, below, tracks back to the same family through a match to Fred.

Minority ethnicity chromosome 2.png

My common ancestors with Fred are Honore Lore and Marie Lafaille who are the parents of Antoine Lore.

Minority ethnicity common ancestor.png

There are additional matches on both chromosomes who also match on portions of the Native segments.

Now that I have a pointer in the ancestral direction that these Native American segments arrived from, what can traditional genealogy and other DNA information tell me?

Traditional Genealogy Research

The Acadian people were a mixture of English, French and Native American. The Acadians settled on the island of Nova Scotia in 1609 and lived there until being driven out by the English in 1755, roughly 6 or 7 generations later.

Minority ethnicity Acadian map.png

The Acadians intermarried with the Mi’kmaq people.

It had been reported by two very qualified genealogists that Philippe Mius, born in 1660, married two Native American women from the Mi’kmaq tribe given the name Marie.

The French were fond of giving the first name of Marie to Native women when they were baptized in the Catholic faith which was required before the French men were allowed to marry the Native women. There were many Native women named Marie who married European men.

Minority ethnicity Native mitochondrial tree

Click to enlarge

This Mius lineage is ancestral to Antoine Lore (Lord) as shown on my pedigree, above.

Mitochondrial DNA has revealed that descendants from one of Philippe Mius’s wives, Marie, carry haplogroup A2f1a.

However, mitochondrial tests of other descendants of “Marie,” his first wife, carry haplogroup X2a2, also Native American.

Confusion has historically existed over which Marie is the mother of my ancestor, Francoise.

Karen Theroit Reader, another professional genealogist, shows Francoise Mius as the last child born to the first Native wife before her death sometime after 1684 and before about 1687 when Philippe remarried.

However, relative to the source of Native American segments, whether Francoise descends from the first or second wife doesn’t matter in this instance because both are Native and are proven so by their mitochondrial DNA haplogroups.

Additionally, on Antoine’s mother’s side, we find a Doucet male, although there are two genetic male Doucet lines, one of European origin, haplogroup R-L21, and one, surprisingly, of Native origin, haplogroup C-P39. Both are proven by their respective haplogroups but confusion exists genealogically over who descends from which lineage.

On Antoine’s mother’s side, there are several unidentified lineages, any one or multiples of which could also be Native. As you can see, there are large gaps in my tree.

We do know that these Native segments arrived through Antoine Lore and his parents, Honore Lore and Marie LaFaille. We don’t know exactly who upstream contributed these segments – at least not yet. Painting additional matches attributable to specific ancestral couples will eventually narrow the candidates and allow me to walk these segments back in time to their rightful contributor.

Segments, Traditional Research and DNAPainter

These three tools together, when using continent-level segments in combination with painting the DNA segments of known cousins that match specific lineages create a triangulated ethnicity segment.

When that segment just happens to be genealogically important, this combination can point the researchers in the right direction knowing which lines to search for that minority ancestor.

If your cousins who match you on this segment have also tested with 23andMe, they should also be identified as Native on this same segment. This process does not apply to intracontinental segments, meaning within Europe, because the admixture is too great and the ethnicity predictions are much less reliable.

When identifying minority admixture at the continental level, adding Y and mitochondrial DNA testing to the mix in order to positively identify each individual ancestor’s Y and mitochondrial DNA is very important in both eliminating and confirming what autosomal DNA and genealogy records alone can’t do. The base haplogroup as assigned at 23andMe is a good start, but it’s not enough alone. Plus, we only carry one line of mitochondrial DNA and only males carry Y DNA, and only their direct paternal line.

We need Y and mitochondrial DNA matching at FamilyTreeDNA to verify the specific lineage. Additionally, we very well may need the Y and mitochondrial DNA information that we don’t directly carry – but other cousins do. You can read about Y and mitochondrial DNA testing, here.

I wrote about creating a personal DNA pedigree chart including your ancestors’ Y and mitochondrial DNA here. In order to find people descended from a specific ancestor who have DNA tested, I utilize:

  • WikiTree resources and trees
  • Geni trees
  • FamilySearch trees
  • FamilyTreeDNA autosomal matches with trees
  • AncestryDNA autosomal matches and their associated trees
  • Ancestry trees in general, meaning without knowing if they are related to a DNA match
  • MyHeritage autosomal matches and their trees
  • MyHeritage trees in general

At both MyHeritage and Ancestry, you can view the trees of your matches, but you can also search for ancestors in other people’s trees to see who might descend appropriately to provide a Y or mitochondrial DNA sample. You will probably need a subscription to maximize these efforts. My Heritage offers a free trial subscription here.

If you find people appropriately descended through WikiTree, Geni or FamilySearch, you’ll need to discuss DNA testing with them. They may have already tested someplace.

If you find people who have DNA tested through your DNA matches with trees at Ancestry and MyHeritage, you’ll need to offer a Y or mitochondrial DNA test to them if they haven’t already tested at FamilyTreeDNA.

FamilyTreeDNA is the only vendor who provides the Y DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests at the higher resolution level, beyond base haplogroups, required for matching and for a complete haplogroup designation.

If the person has taken the Family Finder autosomal test at FamilyTreeDNA, they may have already tested their Y DNA and mtDNA, or you can offer to upgrade their test.

Projects

Checking projects at FamilyTreeDNA can be particularly useful when trying to discover if anyone from a specific lineage has already tested. There are many, special interest projects such as the Acadian AmerIndian Ancestry project, the American Indian project, haplogroup projects, surname projects and more.

You can view projects alphabetically here or you can click here to scroll down to enter the surname or topic you are seeking.

Minority ethnicity project search.png

If the topic isn’t listed, check the alphabetic index under Geographical Projects.

23andMe Maternal and Paternal Sides

If possible, you’ll want to determine which “side” of your family your minority segments originate come from, unless they come from both. you’ll want to determine whether chromosome side one 1 or 2 is maternal, because the other one will be paternal.

23andMe doesn’t offer tree functionality in the same way as other vendors, so you won’t be able to identify people there descended from your ancestors without contacting each person or doing other sleuthing.

Recently, 23andMe added a link to FamilySearch that creates a list of your ancestors from their mega-shared tree for 7 generations, but there is no tree matching or search functionality. You can read about the FamilySearch connection functionality here.

So, how do you figure out which “side” is which?

Minority ethnicity minority segment.png

The chart above represents the portion of your chromosomes that contains your minority ancestry. Initially, you don’t know if the minority segment is your mother’s pink chromosome or your father’s blue chromosome. You have one chromosome from each parent with the exact same addresses or locations, so it’s impossible to tell which side is which without additional information. Either the pink or the blue segment is minority, but how can you tell?

In my case, the family oral history regarding Native American ancestry was from my father’s line, but the actual Native segments wound up being from my mother, not my father. Had I made an assumption, it would have been incorrect.

Fortunately, in our example, you have both a maternal and paternal aunt who have tested at 23andMe. You match both aunts on that exact same segment location – one from your father’s side, blue, and one from your mother’s side, pink.

You compare your match with your maternal aunt and verify that indeed, you do match her on that segment.

You’ll want to determine if 23andMe has flagged that segment as Native American for your maternal aunt too.

You can view your aunt’s Ancestry Composition by selecting your aunt from the “Your Connections” dropdown list above your own ethnicity chromosome painting.

Minority ethnicity relative connections.png

You can see on your aunt’s chromosomes that indeed, those locations on her chromosomes are Native as well.

Minority ethnicity relative minority segments.png

Now you’ve identified your minority segment as originating on your maternal side.

Minority ethnicity Native side.png

Let’s say you have another match, Match 1, on that same segment. You can easily tell which “side” Match 1 is from. Since you know that you match your maternal aunt on that minority segment, if Match 1 matches both you and your maternal aunt, then you know that’s the side the match is from – AND that person also shares that minority segment.

You can also view that person’s Ancestry Composition as well, but shared matching is more reliable,especially when dealing with small amounts of minority admixture.

Another person, Match 2, matches you on that same segment, but this time, the person matches you and your paternal aunt, so they don’t share your minority segment.

Minority ethnicity match side.png

Even if your paternal aunt had not tested, because Match 2 does not match you AND your maternal aunt, you know Match 2 doesn’t share your minority segment which you can confirm by checking their Ancestry Composition.

Download All of Your Matches

Rather than go through your matches one by one, it’s easiest to download your entire match list so you can see which people match you on those chromosome locations.

Minority ethnicity download aggregate data.png

You can click on “Download Aggregate Data” at 23andMe, at the bottom of your DNA Relatives match list to obtain all of your matches who are sharing with you. 23andMe limits your matches to 2000 or less, the actual number being your highest 2000 matches minus the people who aren’t sharing. I have 1465 matches showing and that number decreases regularly as new testers at 23andMe are focused on health and not genealogy, meaning lower matches get pushed off the list of 2000 match candidates.

You can quickly sort the spreadsheet to see who matches you on specific segments. Then, you can check each match in the system to see if that person matches you and another known relative on the minority segments or you can check their Ancestry Composition, or both.

If they share your minority segment, then you can check their tree link if they have one, included in the download, their Family Search information if included on their account, or reach out to them to see if you might share a known ancestor.

The key to making your ethnicity segment work for you is to identify ancestors and paint known matches.

Paint Those Matches

When searching for matches whose DNA you can attribute to specific ancestors, be sure to check at all 4 places that provide segment information that you can paint:

At GedMatch, you’ll find some people who have tested at the other various vendors, including Ancestry, but unfortunately not everyone uploads. Ancestry doesn’t provide segment information, so you won’t be able to paint those matches directly from Ancestry.

If your Ancestry matches transfer to GedMatch, FamilyTreeDNA or MyHeritage you can view your match and paint your common segments. At GedMatch, Ancestry kit numbers begin with an A. I use my Ancestry kit matches at GedMatch to attempt to figure out who that match is at Ancestry in order to attempt to figure out the common ancestor.

To Paint, You Must Test

Of course, in order to paint your matches that you find in various databases, you need to be in those data bases, meaning you either need to test there or transfer your DNA file.

Transfers

If you’d like to test your DNA at one vendor and download the file to transfer to another vendor, or GedMatch, that’s possible with both FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage who both accept uploads.

You can transfer kits from Ancestry and 23andMe to both FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage for free, although the chromosome browsers, advanced tools and ethnicity require an unlock fee (or alternatively a subscription at MyHeritage). Still, the free transfer and unlock for $19 at FamilyTreeDNA or $29 at MyHeritage is less than the cost of testing.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet.

DNA vendor transfer cheat sheet 2019

From time to time, as vendor file formats change, the ability to transfer is temporarily interrupted, but it costs nothing to try a transfer to either MyHeritage or FamilyTreeDNA, or better yet, both.

In each of these articles, I wrote about how to download your data from a specific vendor and how to upload from other vendors if they accept uploads.

Summary Steps

In order to use your minority ethnicity segments in your genealogy, you need to:

  1. Test at 23andMe
  2. Identify which parental side your minority ethnicity segments are from, if possible
  3. Download your ethnicity segments
  4. Establish a DNAPainter account
  5. Upload your ethnicity segments to DNAPainter
  6. Paint matches of people with whom you share known common ancestors utilizing segment information from 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and AncestryDNA matches who have uploaded to GedMatch
  7. If you have not tested at either MyHeritage or FamilyTreeDNA, upload your 23andMe file to either vendor for matching, along with GedMatch
  8. Focus on those minority segments to determine which ancestral line they descend through in order to identify the ancestor(s) who provided your minority admixture.

Have fun!

______________________________________________________________

Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

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Genealogy Research

Mary Rice (c 1723 – c 1778/81), Are You Really Your Sister? – 52 Ancestors #251

Dearest Great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Mary,

I’d wager that you were born in Hanover County, Virginia given that Amelia County hadn’t been settled yet when you were born. In fact, there wasn’t much out there even a few years later, in 1751 when the Fry-Jefferson map was drawn. Most of the settlement was along the James and other major rivers. Amelia was the hinterlands!

Mary Rice Amelia in 1751.png

You were probably a late teen or even in your early 20s when your family lumbered along in the wagon, moving the homestead, all the family and probably several animals to what was then the frontier on the slow-flowing emerald green waters of the Sandy River in Amelia County.

You said goodbye to most everything that was familiar, but some of the neighbors and at least a few family members made that same journey to the new frontier.

That must have been some trip!

Bang – crash! Another hole in the trail, carved by the line of wagons moving westward. Another rut. Another broken wagon wheel.

What an adventure!

Your uncle, Matthew Rice, had purchased land and probably lived in Amelia County since 1741, but your father, Joseph didn’t purchase land until 1746. Maybe he wanted to see how Matthew did living past the edge of civilization. Maybe Matthew’s letters back home talked about cheap land and opportunity.

Your father was last mentioned in a merchant’s account book in 1743 and again in 1744-45. It’s possible that you and James Moore were courting or married about this time.

Of course, it’s also possible that you met young James and were smitten after you both arrived in Amelia County.

Your family could have lived with your uncle Matthew for awhile until your Dad decided which land to purchase. Or, your family could have been “sizing up” the land for farmability by living there.

In any case, in 1746, your Dad, Joseph Rice, put down roots in Amelia County and he would never move again.

I think your first son, James, named after your husband of course, was born about 1746. It could have been a little later, but not a lot later based on the fact that in 1767, your son James was listed on the poll tax list with your husband. That means young James was at least 16 years of age. Sometimes the age was “misremembered” to avoid taxes for an extra year or two, so James could have been as old as 20 or 21 that year instead of 16. If James actually was 16, then he would have been born in 1750 or 1751.

Your next two oldest children, Lydia and William Moore were born about this time as well – probably before or right near 1750.

We know you had a child as late as 1767 and may have had two more children after that.

Based on these brackets, your birth year was probably about 1723, give or take a year or two in either direction. I’d say we’d be safe saying 1720-1725.

Given that “you” signed a deed relinquishing your dower right in property sold in 1769 and 1778, but not in property sold in 1781 and later, you probably died about that time. Your youngest children wouldn’t have yet been adults.

I wonder what happened.

But more than anything, I wonder who you were.

Ironically, we know who your father was, but we don’t really know who you were.

In fact, you might just have been your sister.

You, of course, know the answer to this puzzle, but we’re quite confused.

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Your father, Joseph Rice died in 1766 and wrote his will on December 14, a few days before Christmas in the winter of 1765. That must have been a terrible Christmas, knowing his death was imminent.

He clearly knew his days were numbered, because at that time, men didn’t write a will until they felt it was necessary. His will was probated on June 16, 1766, about 6 months later, so he was probably in declining health for the last several months of his 66 years on this earth.

In his will, he left 100 acres to your husband, James Moore, stating that James is his son-in-law.

Thank you Joseph! All’s well.

Your Dad then left land to your brothers, all 5 of them.

Still all good.

But then your Dad says a really confounding thing.

“To my well beloved daughter Mary Rice one feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf.”

What the heck?

Your name is NOT Mary Rice. At least not in 1766. The wife of James Moore, if named Mary, would be Mary Moore, not Rice.

So, is your name something else, and your sister, Mary Rice was unmarried in 1766? That’s certainly what Joseph Rice’s will strongly suggests.

Your Dad wrote this will 6 months before he died, so it’s not like he was literally on his death bed. He wasn’t.

The 1769 Deed

On Decmeber 19, 1769, you and James sold all 136 acres of your land to David Lewis in prepartion for moving to Halifax County.

One part was the land inherited from Joseph Rice, ” and is to be in a four square between William Rice and Noel Waddil” and the second part being 36 acres purchased from Noel Waddill and Abraham Womack.

That deed was witnessed by Joseph Brown, Francis Drinhard or Frinkard, Henry (his mark) Nelson and Thomas Sadler.

There are NO records of you in Prince Edward County – not a single one. When you and James sold land, you never signed to release your dower right.

Furthermore, there is no record of you and James Moore selling the 100 acres that your father left James, nor the other 36 acres you and James owned.

You and James both signed with your marks, and you separately released your dower rights.

James Moore 1769 Deed Prince Edward page 1.png

James Moore 1769 Deed Prince Edward.png

James Moore 1769 Deed Prince Edward page 3.png

This is why have genealogists have assigned Mary Rice as the wife of James Moore? But was Mary Rice married to James Moore in 1766 when Joseph Rice died, or was James Moore, at that time married to another Rice sister?

Onward to Halifax County

By 1770, James Moore and Mary had moved to Halifax County where he proceeded to buy land. Lots of it.

In 1774, James sold land twice, and again in 1778 and Mary Moore, his wife, relinquished her dower rights. However, in 1781 when James sold land, there was no Mary, nor does she ever appear in records again.

The only wife’s name we have for James is Mary.

And of course Joseph Rice left one feather bed, furniture along with a cow and calf to daughter Mary Rice in 1766, not Mary Moore.

So, here’s the question.

We know for sure that James Moore’s wife was the daughter of Joseph Rice. There’s no doubt about that because I and some of your other descendants match descendants of your siblings and Joseph Rice states such in his will.

So, are you really Mary Rice and your father was having a senior moment when he wrote his will and didn’t refer to you by your married name? I don’t think so, because by leaving you property without your husband implies that he didn’t approve of your husband and that clearly was not the case because he left James Moore 100 acres of land.

Were you dead already by the time your father died? I don’t think that’s the case either because your father would have left the land to your children and a guardian would have been appointed for them as your heirs. That didn’t happen either.

So, you were apparently alive in December of 1765, and probably in June of 1766.

James Moore, along with your oldest son, James, was on the tax list in Prince Edward County in 1767 – so you had been married to James a minimum of 15 years by 1765.

If you aren’t Mary Rice,then you had died by December 1769 when James Moore and his wife Mary sold their land.

Your family was in Halifax County by 1770.

But the question is, were you with them?

If you are Mary, you were you still alive in 1774, 8 years later when Mary Moore signed as James Moore’s wife?

Was your father really was having a senior moment and your name really is Mary Rice Moore.

If you died, before 1769, was your death part of the reason that your heartbroken husband picked up and left Prince Edward County?

Could be, but if so, he had remarried to a woman named Mary. Marriage records exist for Prince Edward County, but marriages of dissenters might have not been registered.

If you died before 1769, you’re not buried in Halifax County, but someplace in Prince Edward County – likely in the same location as your father. In a little cemetery on his land now long forgotten.

And oh, another question too.

Why didn’t you and James name any children Joseph? Or Rachel? Or wasn’t Rachel your mother?

Or, did you have those children and they died? There are several unexplained multi-year gaps between your children that silently whisper of death.

You also didn’t name any of your children John, Charles or David after your brothers? You did name a daughter Mary and a son William, but then again, William Moore in Prince Edward County was probably your brother-in-law and if Mary wasn’t your name, then your named your daughter after your sister, Mary.

Is the Mary who was married to James Moore in 1769 your sister, Mary Rice? Did James Moore marry your sister after both your father and then you died?

Am I way out on a limb here?

Why the heck were there no marriage documents filed? Oh, yea, that’s right, you were dissenters.

OK, since we can’t tell for sure who you are, aside from being Joseph Rice’s daughter, let’s at least look at where you and your family lived in Prince Edward County after it separated from Amelia.

That much we can do!

The Lay of the Land

Did you know that a century after you left this land that just a mile down the road, in what is now the Sailor’s Creek State Park, the decisive battle of the Civil War took place? Of course, the battle, more of a massacre actually, raged all over that area, including on your land.

I know that you and James Moore didn’t own slaves, and neither did your father – so you might have been pleased that your land was involved in the battle that swung the victory for the north, resulting in freeing the slaves.

Sadly, almost 8000 men died that April 6th, 1865 when half of Lee’s Army was either killed or captured. You can read more about that here, here and here. Were you watching from the great beyond that day?

I know you thought I never would, but I found your land using DeedMapper.

Let’s start with the land you and James Moore owned before your father died.

Mary Rice Sailor Creek land.png

Look Mary, there it is, outlined in purple. It might not be positioned perfectly, but it’s close. You and James owned the upper part of the purple square which was originally Abraham Womack’s land. William Womack was your neighbor too.

Your Dad, Joseph Rice’s land is shown with the green arrow, and the village of Rice today, Rice’s Depot in the 1800s and Rice’s Station during the Civil War is located where the purple arrow points.

Right beside your Dad’s land is Samuel Goode’s land. Somehow Samuel descends from John Goode and Frances Mackerness. I think they might have been his grandparents. In any case, the Mackness first name in Virginia is tied to this family and the Rowlett family. John Rowlett born about 1705 in Henrico County is reported to have been married to Elizabeth Goode, although I have never seen any documentation for that and don’t know if it’s supposition based on the fact that John Rowlett named a son who was born in Prince Edward County, Mackness. John Rowlett’s father, William was married to Frances Worsham. Of course, those Henrico families all moved to the part of Amelia County that became Prince Edward.

Did I mention to you that our DNA strongly suggests that we are relate to the Womack family? Would you mind telling me how?

By the time these families arrived in Amelia County in the 1740s, they had been intermarrying for 4 or 5 generations. Lord help us ever straighten this out! Maybe you can assist.

Samuel Goode sold his land to Charles Rice, your brother, in 1761. Your son, Mackness Moore was born in 1765 or earlier. I know there’s a connection. There has to be. What is it?

Is this family somehow connected to your parents or your husband’s parents? How?

By the way, who were your husband’s parents?

Who was your mother?

And were you actually your sister?

I need answers, Mary!

Brother-in-Law

I found your brother-in-law’s land too – or at least I think William Moore is your husband’s brother.

Mary Rice William Moore land.png

In 1752 William Craddock sold this 148 acre tract outlined in purple to William Moore who lived not far from your father (upper left) and adjacent your uncle, Matthew Rice whose land also abutted yours. Your own land is noted upper right with Womack. Everyone lived in close proximity and lent helping hands whenever necessary.

Not only that, another common bond was probably that you were all dissenters – meaning not members of the Anglican church. Your uncle David Rice’s son, the Reverend David Rice, was a Presbyterian minister known as the “Apostle of Kentucky” and your own father built a dissenting meeting house on his property in 1759.

By the time your father died in 1766 and you moved to Halifax County by 1770, your brother-in-law, William Moore, was getting up there in years. William’s son, William Jr. came of age in about 1762, according to the tax list, so William Sr. appears to be older than James Sr. In 1774, William Moore and his wife Margaret sold part of his land to Thomas Vaughan and by 1782, William disappeared from the tax lists. In 1784, he sold more land, except 13 acres. I’d say that William moved on or died about this time. You wouldn’t have heard about this in Halifax County until a letter could have arrived.

You and James must have been close to your brother-in-law William, because you named your eldest son James and your second son, William. Since William was older than James, this makes me wonder if their father’s name was also William.

The Old Neighborhood

The family names of those old patents and deeds on the map look so warmly familiar don’t they? There’s the Certain land and the Richee land too. They weren’t just names to you – you knew these people and were probably related to many.

The Spradling land is just east of the Certain land. These families moved to Halifax County when you and James Moore packed up and left. In Halifax County, James Moore bought his land from James Spradling and another James Spradling lived with you for 2 years in 1774 and 1775 before he enlisted to serve in the Revolutionary War. There’s surely a family connection someplace.

And look, the green arrows below approximate your father’s land. Of course, your Dad owned more than this. Eventually he bought the Atwood land above his original land too.

Mary Rice Joseph Rice land.png

Here’s the approximate land on Google maps today.

Mary Rice Joseph Rice aerial.png

I think, based on the Civil War map that the mill branch was just about where the red star is placed. Did you and James own a mill?

Mary Rice Sailor Creek aerial.png

Here’s the land you and James owned.

Mary Rice Sailor Creek map.png

Looks pretty boring here, but if you look at the Civil War map, you can see the mill and the millpond.

Mary Rice Civil War map.png

You can even see the subtle roads from the mill going north and south. Those roads aren’t visible today, but the Mill Branch is mentioned in the 1760 deed where you sold 75 acres to Noel Waddill on Sailor’s Creek, part of the tract that you and James purchased from Abraham Womack, bounded by Ryan, Matthew Rice, and the Mill Branch.

Sailor’s Creek old road is mentioned too in the tax descriptions. In fact, the 1759 description says that your land is between Ligon’s Rolling Road, Sailor’s Creek Old Road, Sailor’s Creek and Sandy River.

James was clearing land in 1745 with the Ligon men who owned land on the south and west of your father. In fact, your Dad’s land abutted theirs.

Mary Rice Joseph Rice 1746.png

It’s ironic that there are two cemeteries on your Dad’s land today. Of course, 100 acres of this 400 would become yours. We just don’t know which hundred other than it abutted your brother William’s land.

One cemetery is located at the Pisgah Baptist Church and another on the west side of the property, on Highway 460, in green. That cemetery looks to be new, but I wonder about the history of the Pisgah Baptist Church Cemetery. Is that your original family cemetery where your Mom and Dad are buried? It looks too perfectly square, but you never know. I wonder where the dissenting meeting house was located that your Dad built in 1759. I’d wager the cemetery is someplace close to that.

Mary Rice Pisgah cemetery.png

Now that I think of it, if you died in Prince Edward County, you’re probably buried someplace on this land as well.

Your Dad left one fourth of this land to you and James, although we don’t really know which fourth other than it was not the eastern portion that William inherited.

Your brothers, John, William and Charles owned the other 300 acres and your mother lived there, probably with Charles, judging from the way the will is constructed. On the other hand, in 1767, John is listed as living with Rachel Rice – probably because he was underage but 16 or over, so taxable.

On the Civil War map, we can see several houses on your dad’s land.

Mary Rice houses.png

I’d wager that your father’s house was at Rice’s Station, in the present-day village of Rice. That makes sense since he built a church here. A nice crossroads would have delivered travelers perhaps for a bit of a business. This was the main road at the time.

Did you and James live in one of those houses too? I’d bet that you did. We know your brother inherited the east part of the land, and your other brother’s land abutted yours. I’d almost bet that you had the north portion.

Mary Rice Rice's Station.png

The Battle of Rice’s Station took place here the same morning as the infamous Battle of Saylor’s Creek.

Mary Rice Battle Rice's Station.jpg

This map shows the battlefield area, right where your family lived – exactly 100 years earlier.

Rice

A few years ago, I visited Rice, quite by accident actually. I remember at the time thinking that this was somehow significant. Too much to be happenstance. I didn’t really realize just how significant at the time, or that I was literally on Joseph Rice’s land.

I guess he summoned me home.

Actually it wasn’t just Joseph’s, but also yours and James’ land.

Let’s drive along the old Rolling Road headed north out of Rice.

Rolling Road

This looks like it could well be the old Ligon Rolling Road referred to in the deed – in fact, the locals told me it was called the Rolling Road. I thought it was named that because of the rolling hills, but it was because these roads were used to roll tobacco hogsheads, or casks, to the docks for shipping downriver.

Mary Rice Rolling Road house.jpg

This very old building was being restored. The owners told me that it dated from before the Revolution. This is on the property that would either have been Joseph Rice’s or just north of his land.

Mary Rice Rolling Road house 2.jpg

Did you or a family member live here? You surely would have been familiar with this house and probably visited. Maybe another family member lived here, because it appears that the Rice and Moore families owned this entire region.

Mary Rice Rolling Road outbuildings.jpg

The outbuilding.

Mary Rice fields

Looking across the fields.

Mary Rice old building.jpg

This old building is or was at the Rice crossroads with Prince Edward Highway. It was pretty dilapidated years ago and appears to be gone today. It wouldn’t have existed in the 1700s, but I had to wonder about the history of this structure.

Unfortunately, Google Street View doesn’t include any of the roads in this area except for what is today Prince Edward Highway. Ironically, the road then would have been dirt and much smaller, but it too was probably the equivalent of a colonial highway – bring people into and out of Prince Edward County.

Today, Prince Edward Highway circumvents the sleepy village of Rice, which is probably the manifestation of Joseph Rice’s plantation.

Google maps shows Rice to be above the highway, but it isn’t. The center of Rice is the location of the old depot, near the Post Office today. At upper right, Saylor’s Creek Road reaches towards your old homestead. You and James would have traveled this road, now named Gully Tavern Road, many, many times to visit your parents and attend church on your father’s property. Of course, except when you were in “child bed.”

Mary Rice Rice.png

It’s about two and a half miles distant using today’s Gully Tavern Road, County Road 619.

Mary Rice Sailor Creek road.png

Today Gully Tavern Road just looks like typical farm country.

Mary Rice Gully Tavern Road.png

Here’s the old split, with Saylor’s Creek Road, now Gully Tavern, to the right. You probably knew this well, as did your horses.

Mary Rice road split.png

Did you marry at your father’s house, taking this road to your new home as a bride?

On down Sailor’s Creek Road, it looks like the old mill branch and pond would have been here, with the mill too of course, but nothing remains today. Was this where your house was located before you and James lived on your father’s land?

Mary Rice Mill pond.png

Looks like current Sunshine Lane might have been the old road, or near to it, with the mill pond below.

Mary Rice Sunshine Lane.png

We know that by the time your father died, in 1766, you and James lived on his land because in his will, he said, “To my son-in-law James Moore 100 acres land whereon he now lives to be divided from the tract I live on by a line that was run by Robert Farguson to him and his heirs forever.”

Today, the road out of Rice, leading away from your father’s land, down Saylor Creek Road looks like this, punctuated by the ever-present Dollar General store.

Mary Rice intersection.png

The road to the left leads right onto the plantation from the east, but of course, that’s gone today.

Mary Rice road Prince Edward highway.png

Driving west across your Dad’s land.

Mary Rice highway 2.png

Not widely cleared today.

Mary Rice Highway 3.png

The old road into Rice on the left. Of course, this “new road” we’re driving on didn’t exist then.

Mary Rice highway 4.png

The old train track is now a hiking trail. It’s probably thanks to the railroad going through Rice that the name was preserved.

Mary Rice highway 5.png

A typical Virginia byway. I wonder, was this more cleared when you lived here, or has this really never been entirely cleared?

Mary Rice highway aerial.png

The Exxon Station today marks the old road as well.

Mary Rice Exxon station.png

I guess you’ll have to think of this as our current livery stable for our gasoline horses.

Mary Rice highway 6.png

To the west, there’s some cleared land peeking through, but it doesn’t look like this was very great farm land. It’s hilly, swampy and wooded. Maybe that’s why you chose to leave for Halifax County after your father died. I’d bet your Mom died shortly thereafter.

This must have been a very sad time for you, especially if you also buried children named Joseph and Rachel. Somehow, I’m guessing that you did.

Mary Rice Trinity Gardens.png

Towards the western edge of your Dad’s land, today, we find the Trinity Memorial Gardens. Of course, when you lived on this land, there was a cemetery someplace too. Today, your family cemetery is lost to time.

You probably went back to the family cemetery one last time, visiting the graves of your parents and perhaps those of some of your babies as well, before leaving that final time for Halifax County. You would have been about 47 years old then.

There weren’t gravestones except for field stones, but you didn’t need stones with names. Who could ever forget where their parents are buried.

Once gone, you probably never went back. What today is a day trip in a car was a week’s journey, one way, for you, over badly rutted roads – if you can even call them that.

Nope, the ticket to Halifax County was one way.

Halifax County

By far, the largest portion of your life was spent in Prince Edward County. In fact, I wonder whatever possessed you to leave.

What happened after your father’s death?

Did your husband marry your sister, Mary Rice?

Or are you Mary Rice?

If not, what was your first name?

If you made it to Halifax County, the landscape wouldn’t have looked a lot different, with the exception that the hills seem to be steeper and you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. It’s not too far until you begin to climb upward in the foothills. Some would consider these ridges the foothills.

This is your land in Halifax County, although it was probably much more wooded then, at least until James Moore and your sons cleared it.

Mary Rice Halifax Blue Ridge.jpg

As you can see, it’s very hilly. In fact, a place on the main road just northwest of your land is called “Top of the World” because you can see straight to the Peaks of Otter some 50 miles away.

Those mountains in the distance aren’t good farming area, so you wouldn’t have wanted to move that far west. Although several of your children would do just that.

They crossed those mountains to the next frontier of Tennessee. They too had a one-way ticket, but I don’t think any of them left until after you passed away. You didn’t have to wave goodbye to them as the horses strained to start the heavy wagon on it’s journey.

It seems that the Womack family once again preceded you to the ever westward-shifting frontier – this time in Halifax County. In fact, you and James bought land in Halifax County from James Spradling in 1770, but he had obtained the land patent from Isham Womack. Of course, both men were Prince Edward County neighbors.

It seems that a subset of the Amelia and Prince Edward families moved together – and kept moving together.

They probably all attended the dissenting church on Joseph Rice’s property. Maybe these are the neighbors who constructed the old Moore Meeting House where your son William would begin preaching in Halifax County before 1775.

Your son, the Reverend William Moore must have made you proud, because he became a Methodist minister, as did your son Rice Moore. Even your daughters were known as incredible exhorters in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

I wonder if the process of changing dissenting religions, probably Presbyterian in Prince Edward County to Methodist in Halifax was smooth or fraught with heartache. Could this be part of the reason why your family along with a few others moved away?

I sure wish I had answers Mary.

I am going to leave you here, in the peaceful Henderson Cemetery that almost no one knows about, located on your original land in Halifax County.

Mary Rice Halifax cemetery.jpg

Of course, the Mary Moore buried here by James Moore in an unmarked grave might not be you. Or maybe it is.

Was your grave the first one dug in this cemetery as your family gathered ’round?

Are you the Mary Moore that was married to James Moore when he lived here?

Are you Mary Rice Moore?

Or are you really Mary Rice’s sister whose name we don’t know?

Mary Rice Moore’s Daughters

Whatever your actual name, I’m calling you Mary Rice.

That’s what all of the family trees say, and it’s entirely possible that Mary Rice indeed was married to James Moore as his only wife. It’s a given that James Moore’s first wife was Joseph Rice’s daughter. Not only do we know that because of Joseph Rice’s will, but also because your descendants match Joseph Rice’s siblings’ descendants DNA too.

It’s also entirely possible that James just happened to marry a woman named Mary as his second wife after you died sometime after your father in 1766 and before December 1769.

Given that Joseph Rice could have told us the name of James Moore’s wife that was his daughter, the joke’s on us these 253 years later because all we can do now is to speculate. There’s no way to ever confirm either way, short of finding a long-lost letter or Bible. Regardless of what James Moore’s Rice wife’s first name was, she was a daughter of Joseph Rice – that’s much is for sure. So the older genealogy is intact either way.

Some people have wondered if Joseph Rice’s wife at his death, Rachel was his first or second wife, and that perhaps both of his wives named a daughter Mary. It sounds improbable, but it wouldn’t be the first time that two children had the same name from two different wives.

One way or another, for genealogy, it really doesn’t matter because James Moore’s wife’s parents were the same regardless of whether she was Mary Rice or her sister.

Mary Rice Moore’s Mitochondrial DNA

I’d love to be able to document the mitochondrial DNA line of James Moore’s wife, referred to as Mary Rice Moore.

Her mitochondrial DNA would have been passed through her daughters to the current generation, if any descendants matching that description exist.

  • Lydia Moore, wife of Edward Henderson, is almost unquestionably a Moore and was born about 1762. Edward Henderson has a lifelong relationship with the Moore family and owns land which is sold to him by James and abuts both James and William Moore’s land. Edward and Lydia named a child Rice Henderson. Daughters were named:
    • Sally (1796-1870) married William Shelton and had daughters Elizabeth Shelton (1822-1900), Frances Fuqua Shelton (1829-1901) and Jemima Ruth Shelton (1837-?)
    • Peggy (c1786-1840) married Thomas Clark
    • Oney (c1782-after 1860) married William Frederick Ferrell and had daughters Emilia Mildred Ferrell born in 1815, Margaret Ferrell born in 1820 and Susan Jane Ferrell born in 1822
    • Mary (c1804-?) marred William Clark
  • Sally (Sarah) Moore was born about 1767 and married Martin Stubblefield in October 1788 with James Rice as surety. This family migrated to Grainger Co., TN, naming their daughters:
    • Nancy Stubblefield (1794-1836) married James Lebow
    • Rebecca Stubblefield (1798-1862) married Abel Wilson
    • Mary Stubblefield (1806-1888) married Henry Countz (Counts)
    • Elizabeth Ann (1807-1885) married William Chaen (Chain) Jr.
  • Mary Moore, probably born before 1769 was married to Richard Thompson in February 1789 by the Rev. William Moore with Edward Henderson as surety. The Richard Thompson family is found in Grainger Co. with the other Moore siblings. Their daughters were named:
    • Mary Thompson
    • Frances “Fanny” Thompson

If you descend from any of these women to the current generation through all females, I have a free DNA testing scholarship for you. The current generation can be male, because females contribute their mitochondrial DNA to all of their children, but only females pass it on.

Are you a direct maternal descendant of Mary Rice Moore, or whatever her name is? If so, your DNA may hold the key to the next breakthrough! I’d love to hear from you!

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Your Mitochondrial DNA Journey – Free New Video at Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA released a cool new video for everyone who has taken the full sequence mitochondrial DNA test.

I signed in today and discovered this nice little gift.

mtDNA journey link.png

I clicked, and the first thing you do is to answer a few questions to generate your video.

After selecting a drawing of an avatar, you’ll move on to a couple of questions. Note that you cannot change your answers, so if you eventually want to share on social media, be sure the names and location is something you’ll be comfortable with.

mtDNA journey info.png

After you click submit, your video takes a few minutes to generate.

mtDNA journey generate.png

You’ll receive an e-mail when the video is ready.

mtDNA journey email.png

Now, just click on the very same link on your account.

mtDNA journey link

My video was 4 minutes+ in length and began by showing me how mitochondrial DNA is inherited.

mtDNA journey parents.png

Next, the video explains the concept of our ancestor, Mitochondrial Eve.

mtDNA journey mitochondrial eve.png

I must say, the speech is synthetic, and I chuckled every time I heard it say mitochondrial.

mtDNA journey haplogroup map.png

The video does a good job of describing the concept of a haplogroup, then proceeds to explain your base haplogroup – J in my case.

mtDNA journey haplogroup source.png

Next, your specific haplogroup, J1c2f for me, and where it’s found in the world.

mtDNA journey haplogroup specific.png

Hapogroup frequency is shown as well as the range, on a map.

mtDNA journey haplogroup range.png

One cool stop on your journey is your relationship to a notable figure, even if it’s distant.

mtdna journey notable.png

King Richard III, whose skeleton was found under a parking lot, also descends from haplogroup J. Who knew!!!

mtdna journey matches.png

The video provides some quick examples of how to understand your matches and explains mutations. My Swedish matches were really unexpected, given that my ancestor was found in Germany. There’s a story there waiting to be told!

mtDNA journey new match.png

Next, the video encourages people to sign in to view their matches when they receive match notification e-mails. Each match holds the promise of a new discovery.

mtDNA journey share.png

Last, you have an option to share your video with family and friends on social media.

mtDNA journey social media.png

Here I am on Facebook.

mtDNA journey on Facebook.png

Pretty cool.

The Great Thing About Mitochondrial DNA

The great thing about mitochondrial DNA is that results apply to several people in your family. You, your siblings, your mother and your mother’s siblings all share your maternal grandmother’s mitochondrial DNA – so the information is something that pertains to lots of people – not just you. Unlike autosomal tests, one of you can take a mitochondrial DNA test to represent everyone, so it’s a great value.

  • If you have taken the full sequence mitochondrial DNA test, just click here to sign in and generate your video.
  • If you’ve taken the HVR1 or HVR2 lower resolution test, you can upgrade to the full sequence by clicking on the upgrade button in your account and you’ll receive your video automatically when your full sequence results are ready.
  • If you haven’t yet tested your mitochondrial DNA, it’s the story of your matrilineal line – and it’s a great time to order your mitochondrial DNA test. Mine held surprises I’d never have guessed. Just recently I matched someone from the neighboring village to where my oldest known ancestor in that line lived in Germany in the 1600s. Her genealogy may help identify my ancestors too.

Click here to order.

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

Mitochondrial DNA: Part 4 – Techniques for Doubling Your Useful Matches

This article is Part 4 of a series about mitochondrial DNA. I suggest you read these earlier articles in order before reading this one:

This article builds on the information presented in parts 1, 2 and 3.

Hellooooo – Is Anyone Home?

One of the most common complaints about ALL DNA matches is the lack of responses. When using Y DNA, which follows the paternal line directly, passed from father to son, hopefully along with the surname, you can often discern hints from your matches’ surnames.

Not so with mitochondrial DNA because the surname changes with each generation when the female marries. In fact, I often hear people say, “but I don’t recognize those names.” You won’t unless the match is from very recent generations and you know who the daughters married to the present generation.

Therefore, genealogists really depend on information from other genealogists when working with mitochondrial DNA.

Recently, I experimented at Family Tree DNA  to see what I could do to improve the information available. Family Tree DNA is the only vendor that provides full sequence testing combined with matching.

This exercise is focused on mitochondrial DNA matches, but you can use the same techniques for Y DNA as well. These are easy step-by-step instructions!

Let’s get started and see what you can do. You’ll be surprised. I was!

Your Personal Page at Family Tree DNA

mitochondrial personal page

On your personal page, under mtDNA, click on Matches.

Matches

You’ll be viewing your match list of the people who match you at some level.

You’ll see several fields on your match list that you’ll want to use. Many of the bullet points in this article refer to the fields boxed in red or red arrows.

mitochondrial matches

You can click this image to enlarge.

Let’s review why each piece of information is important.

  • Be sure you’re using viewing your matches for the HVR1, HVR2 and Coding region in the red box at the top. Those are your most relevant matches. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also view your HVR1+HVR2 matches, and your HVR1 matches, because you literally never know what might be there. However, start with the HVR1+HVR2+Coding Region.
  • Focus on your Genetic Distance of 0 matches. Those are exact matches, meaning you have no mutations that don’t match each other. A genetic distance of 1 means that you have one mutation that doesn’t match each other. You can read about Genetic Distance here.
  • Be sure you’re looking at the match results for the entire data base or the project you want to be viewing. For example, if I’m a member of the Acadian AmerIndian project and have Acadian ancestry on my direct matrilineal line, knowing who I match within that project may be extremely beneficial, especially if I need to narrow my results to known Acadian families.
  • Look at the earliest known ancestor (EKA) information. Don’t just let your eyes gloss over it, really look at it. There may be secrets hidden here that are critical for solving your puzzle. The mother of Lydia Brown was discovered by a cousin recently after I had (embarrassingly) ignored an EKA in plain sight for years. You can read about that discovery here.
  • Click on the little blue pedigree icon on your match to view trees that go hand in hand with the earliest known ancestor (EKA) information. Some people provide more information in either the EKA or the tree, so be sure to look at both for hints.

mitochondrial tree

  • If your match’s pedigree icon is grey, they haven’t uploaded their tree. You can always drop them an email explaining how useful trees are and ask them if they will upload theirs.

Utilizing Other Resources

Many people don’t have both trees and an EKA at Family Tree DNA. Don’t hesitate to check Ancestry, MyHeritage or FamilySearch trees with the earliest known ancestor information your match provides if they don’t have a tree, or even if they do to expand their tree. We think nothing of building out trees for autosomal matches – do the same for your matches’ mitochondrial lines.

Finding additional information about someone’s ancestor is also a great ice-breaker for an email conversation. I mean, what genealogist doesn’t want information about their ancestors?

For example, if you match me and I’ve only listed my earliest known ancestor as Ellenore “Nora” Kirsch, you can go to Ancestry and search for her name where you will find several trees, including mine that includes several more generations. Most genealogists don’t limit themselves to one resource, testing company or tree repository.

mitochondrial ancestry tree

WikiTree includes a descendants link for each ancestor that provides a list of people who have DNA tested, including mtDNA. Here’s an example for my ancestor, Curtis B. Lore.

mitochondrial wiki tree

Unfortunately, no one from that line has tested their mitochondrial DNA, but looking at the descendants may provide me with some candidates that descend from his sisters through all females to the current generation, which can be male.

You can do that same type of thing at Geni if you have a tree by viewing that ancestor and clicking on “view a list of living people.”

mitochondrial Geni

While trees at FamilySearch, Ancestry and MyHeritage don’t tell you which lines could be tested for mitochondrial DNA, it’s not difficult to discern. Mitochondrial DNA is passed on by females to the current generation where males can test too – because they received their mitochondrial DNA from their mother.

Family Tree DNA Matches Profiles

Your matches’ profiles are a little used resource as many people don’t realize that additional information may be provided there. You can click on your match’s name to show their profile card.

mitochondrial profile

Be sure to check their “about me” section where I typed “test” as well as their email address which may give you a clue about where the match lives based on the extension. For example, .de is Germany and .se is Sweden.

You can also google their email address which may lead to old Rootsweb listings among other useful genealogical information.

Matches Map

mitochondrial matches map

Next, click on your Matches Map. Your match may have entered a geographical location for their earliest known ancestor. Beware of male names because sometimes people don’t realize the system isn’t literally asking for the earliest known ancestor of ANY line or the oldest ancestor on their mother’s side. The system is asking for the most distant known ancestor on the matrilineal line. A male name entered in this field invalidates the data, of course.

My Matches Map is incredibly interesting, especially since my EKA is from Germany in 1655.

mitochondrial Scandinavia

The white pin shows the location of my ancestor in Germany. The red pins are exact matches, orange are genetic distance of 1, yellow of 2 and so forth.

Note that the majority of my matches are in Scandinavia.

The first question you should be asking is if I’m positive of my genealogical research – and I am. I have proofs for every single generation. The question of paternity is not relevant to mitochondrial DNA, since the identity of the mother is readily apparent, especially in small villages of a few hundred people where babies are baptized by clergy who knows the families well.

Adoptions might be another matter of course, but adoptions as we know them have only taken place in the past hundred years or so. Generally, the child was still baptized with the parents’ names given before the 1900s. Who raised the child was another matter entirely.

Important Note: Your matches map location does NOT feed from your tree. You must go to the Matches Map page and enter that information at the bottom of that page. Otherwise your matches map location won’t show when viewed by your matches, and if they don’t do the same, theirs won’t show on your map.

mitochondrial ancestor location

Email

I KNOW nobody really wants to do this, but you may just have to email as a last resort. The little letter icon on your match’s profile sends an email, or you can find their email in their profile as well.

DON’T email an entire group of people at once as that’s perceived as spam and is unlikely to receive a response from anyone.

Compose a friendly email with a title something like “Mitochondrial DNA Match at Family Tree DNA to Susan Smith.” Many people manage several kits and if you provide identifying information in the title, you’re more likely to receive a response

I always provide my matches with some information too, instead of just asking for theirs.

Advanced Matching

mitochondrial advanced matches

Click on the advanced matching link at the bottom right of the mtDNA area on your personal page.

The Advanced Matches tool allows you to compare multiple types of tests. When looking at your match list, notice if your matches have also taken a Family Finder (FF) test. If so, then the advanced matching tool will show you who matches you on multiple types of tests, assuming you’ve taken the Family Finder test as well or transferred autosomal results to Family Tree DNA.

For example, Advanced Matches will show you who matches you on BOTH the mtDNA and the Family Finder tests. This is an important tool to help determine how closely you might be related to someone who matches you on a mitochondrial DNA test – although here is no guarantee that your autosomal match is through the same ancestor as your mitochondrial DNA match.

mitochondrial advanced matches filter

On the advanced matching page, select the tests you want to view, together, meaning you only want to see results for people who match you on BOTH TESTS. In this case, I’ve selected the full mitochondrial sequence (FMS) and the Family Finder, requested to show only people I match on both tests, and for the entire database. I could select a specific project that I’ve joined if I want to narrow the matches.

Note that if you don’t click the “yes” button you’ll see everyone you match on both tests INDIVIDUALLY, not together. So if you match 50 people on mtDNA and 1000 on Family Finder, you would show 1050 people, not the people who match you on BOTH tests, which is what you want. You might match a few or none on both tests.

Note that if you select “all mtDNA” that means you must match the person on the HVR1, HVR2 and coding region, all 3. That may not be at all what you want either. I select each one separately and run the report. So first, FMS and Family Finder, then HVR2 and Family Finder, etc.

When you’ve made your selection, click on the red button to run the report.

Family Finder Surnames

Another hint you might overlook is Family Finder surnames.

mitochondrial family finder surnames

Go to your Family Finder match list and enter the surname of your matches EKA in the search box to see if you match anyone with that same ancestor. Of course, if it’s Smith or Jones, I’m sorry.

mitochondrial family finder surname results

Entering Kirsch in my Family Finder match list resulting in discovering a match that has Kirsh from Germany in their surname list, but no tree. Using the ICW (in common with) tool, I can then look to see if they match known cousins from the Kirsch line in common with me.

Putting Information to Work

OK, now we’ve talked about what to do, so let’s apply this knowledge.

Your challenge is to go to your Full Sequence match page in the lower right hand corner and download your match list into a spreadsheet by clicking the CSV button.

mitochondrial csv

Column headings when downloaded will be:

  • Genetic Distance
  • Full Name
  • First Name
  • Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Earliest Known Ancestor
  • mtDNA Haplogroup
  • Match Date

I added the following columns:

  • Country
  • Location (meaning within the country)
  • Ancestral Surname
  • Year (meaning their ancestor’s birth/death year)
  • Map (meaning do they have an entry on the matches map)
  • Tree (do they have a tree)
  • Profile (did I check their profile and what did it say)
  • Comment (anything I can add)

This spreadsheet is now a useful tool.

Our goal is to expand this information in a meaningful way.

Data Mining Steps

Here are the steps in checklist format that you’ll complete for each match to fill in additional information on your spreadsheet.

  • EKA (earliest known ancestor)
  • Matches Map
  • Tree
  • Profile
  • Advanced matching
  • Family Finder surname list
  • Email, as a last resort
  • Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, WikiTree, Geni to search for information about their EKA

Doubling My Match Information

I began with 32 full sequence matches. Of those, 13 had an entry on the Matches Map and another 6 had something in the EKA field, but not on the Matches Map.

32 matches Map Additional EKA Nothing Useful
Begin 13 on Matches Map 6 but not mapped 13
End 29 remapped on Google 5 improved info 3

When I finished this exercise, only 3 people had no usable information (white rows), 29 could be mapped, and of the original 13 (red rows), 5 had improved information (yellow cells.)

mitochondrial spreadsheet

Please note that I have removed the names of my matches for privacy reasons, but they appear as a column on my original spreadsheet instead of the Person number.

Google Maps

I remapped my matches from the spreadsheet using free Google Maps.

mitochondrial Google maps

Purple is my ancestor. Red are the original Matches Map ancestors of my matches. Green are the new people that I can map as a result of the information gleaned.

The Scandinavian clustering is even more mystifying and stronger than ever.

Add History

Of course, there’s a story here to be told, but what is that story? My family records are found in Germany in 1655, and before that, there are no records, at least not where my ancestors were living.

Clearly, from this map and also from comparing the mutations of my matches that answered my emails, it’s evident that the migration path was from Scandinavia to Germany and not vice-versa.

How did my ancestor get from Scandinavia to Germany?

When and why?

Looking at German history, there’s a huge hint – the Thirty Years’ War which occurred from 1618-1648. During that war, much of Germany was entirely depopulated, especially the Palatinate.

Looking at where my ancestor was found in 1655 (purple pin), and looking at the Swedish troop movements, we see what may be a correlation.

mitochondrial Swedish troop movements

In the first few generations of church records, there were several illegitimate births and the mother was referred to as a servant woman.

It’s possible that my Scandinavian ancestor came along with the Swedish army and she was somehow left behind or captured.

The Challenge!

Now, it’s your turn. Using this article as a guideline, what can you find? Let me know in a comment. If you utilize additional resources I haven’t found, please mention those too!

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Disclosure

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

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

County Formation Petitions Resolve Long-Standing Mystery: Which William Crumley Got Married? – 52 Ancestors #244

Recently, I became aware of petitions in the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), by county, when reading this article by Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist. If you have ancestors in Tennessee, check this resource.

Between 1840 and 1850, several of my ancestors lived in the area of Claiborne and Hawkins County, Tennessee that would become Hancock County in 1848 when the Tennessee Supreme Court overruled attempts to block the formation of the new county.

This process of forming Hancock County was not straightforward and resulted in numerous petitions being filed, which was probably terribly frustrating at the time and probably divisive within the community. However, the petitions are a goldmine of information now. Not only can we discover how our ancestors felt about the county’s formation but even more importantly, signatures are found on the petitions.

In order to sign a petition, one must be a registered voter. I know for sure that voters had to be white and male, but they may have also been required to be landowners although I have some doubt about that.

Some signatures appear to be original, and others appear to be transcribed from a list.

I ordered the petitions from the Tennessee State Archives and they arrived a couple weeks later.

Who Lived in Hancock County, Tennessee?

My ancestors who lived in this region between 1840 and 1850 included the following men who were old enough to sign the petitions in the 1840s.

Ancestor 1840 County 1850 County Signs Petitions
Joel Vannoy 1813-1895 Claiborne, the part that became Hancock Moved to Little Sycamore Community in Claiborne County Yes 1841 (2), 1843 (2)
Elijah Vannoy c 1784->1850 Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock County Yes 1841 (2), 1843 (2)
William Crumley III 1788-c1852 Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock County, on Blackwater, the portion that was previously Hawkins Yes 1841 (second petition), 1843 (2)
Joseph Preston Bolton (1816-1887) Giles, VA but received at Thompson Settlement Church in 1842 by experience, suggesting he is living in what would become Hancock by this time Hancock County, on 4 Mile Creek No
William Herrell (c1789-1859) Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock on Powell River No
Michael McDowell Claiborne, part that became Hancock Lived on Powell River, died before 1850, may have died before petitions No
Fairwick Claxton/Clarkson (c1799-1874) Claiborne, part that became Hancock Hancock on Powell River No

The Crumley and Vannoy families intermarried, and the Bolton, Herrell, McDowell and Clarkson families lived adjacent on the Powell River very near the Virginia border and intermarried as well. The Crumley/Vannoy group signed the petitions, and the Bolton/Herrell/McDowell/Claxton/Clarkson group did not.

I’m sure there was some underlying reason for how these two groups of residents felt, that that information has not trickled down to us today.

There is a very unexpected surprise involving the signature of William Crumley on this petition.

First, let’s look at the petitions themselves.

The Petitions

In total, 6 petitions existed between 1839 and 1844. In 1848, the Tennessee Supreme Court finally decided the fate of Hancock County and since it exists today, we know that they voted in favor of the county formation.

On these petitions, the introductory paragraphs stated the purpose of the petition, followed by the signers. Not all petitions had signature pages nor were productive, so I’ve included the petition pages that included names of my ancestors.

Petition 2

TSLA Summary:

Claiborne County petition from 311 signatures from Hawkins and Claiborne Counties asking they be allowed to form a new county. (Hancock County)

  • Roll – 16
  • Year – 1841
  • Petition – 122a

Detail from actual petition:

On September 2, 1841, residents petitioned for the following, the verbiage extracted.

“Petition as a result of the inconveniences under which we labor traveling some 25 miles over large cragged mountains to serve as jurors or in other cases and at great expense and trouble, we heretofore employed a surveyor to run out the boundary of a new county composed of the parts, Hawkins and Claiborne. He returned 389 square miles in said bounds, which is 30 square miles over and above the constitutional number of square miles prescribed for any new county.”

This first petition was not granted. However, there were six total pages of signatures that appear to be the original signatures, not a transcribed list, dated September 2, 1841.

Hancock petition 1841

Elijah Vannoy is signature #5

Hancock petition 1841-5

Joel Vannoy’s signature is #99.

Petition 3

TSLA petition summary:

Claiborne County – new county  –  Petition from certain citizens of Claiborne County asking they be permitted to form a new county.

  • Roll – 16
  • Year – 1841
  • Petition – 85

From the petition signed Dec. 22, 1841, submitted on Dec. 31, 1841, heard on January 25, 1842.

“Petitioners of Claiborne County secondly petition your honorable body that we are a people far remote from the county cits (seats) Tazewell and that we employed a surveyor will qualified and after being duly sworn…”

Followed by a description of the proposed county bounds and signatures of petitioners within the pounds of the territory of the county” that appear to be original. They state they have 160 qualified voter signatures and ask if the petition is not granted, “if the ballot box says we have, let us hear it and if not, let us not trouble your honors further.” They state they have an overwhelming majority and a constitutional right to establish a new county.

Only 93 signatures are included.

Hancock petition 1841 second

William Crumley signed at #21 and his son John Crumley at #23.

Hancock petition 1841 second 2

Joel Vannoy signed at #73, his father Elijah Vannoy Sr. at #92 and Joel’s brother, Elijah Vannoy Jr. at #93.

Petition 4

TSLA Summary:

Claiborne County  –  Petition from 246 citizens Claiborne and Hawkins Counties to form a new county to be known as Hancock County. Map of proposed county and statement of Richard Mitchell, deputy surveyor, included in the folder.

  • Roll – 16
  • Year – 1843
  • Petition – 61

From the petition:

November 1843 – Petitioners of Hawkins and Claiborne County living at a remote distance from the seat of justice of each county and often having to attend as jurors and in other business, over cragged mountains and high waters, we pray your honorable body to grand unto us a new county composed in the parts of Hawkins and Claiborne. We have not approached closer than 12 miles to the existing county seats. We have  at least 600 qualified voters in the bounds of the new contemplated county and this being our third petition…”

Hancock petition 1843

Joel Vannoy signed at #12 and Elijah Vannoy at #33.

Hancock petition 1843 2

E Vannoy signs at #69, but either this one or the signature at #33 would be Jr. Many of these signatures look very similar, causing me to wonder if some of the signatures were transcribed from an original list, not actually signed on this document.

Hancock petition 1843 3

William Crumley signs at #202, but it matches the rest and does not appear to be an original signature. William’s son, Aaron F. Crumley signs at #194.

This document is followed by the survey dated by the surveyor as to its accuracy November 11, 1843. I wonder if some of the signature papers were lost, although at the end of the signature section there were 34 more that said “signed over legend” which I presume means people who signed with an X witnessed by another individual.

That does not equate to the 600 mentioned, but perhaps this is in addition to an earlier petition.

Petition 5

TSLA Summary:

Claiborne County – new county – Petition from 106 citizens of Claiborne County asking they be allowed to form a new county.

  • Roll – 17
  • Year – 1843
  • Petition – 146

From the petition:

Nov 25, 1843 – Petitioners of Claiborne County who reside in the part in the bounds and in favor of a new county.

Hancock petition 1843 second

William Crumly signed at #14, with son Aaron F. Crumley at #13, son John Crumley at #19 and Elijah Vanoy at #18. Of course, we don’t know the order of the homes of the people involved, but Elijah’s son, Joel married William’s daughter, Phoebe, in 1845.

Some of these signatures appear to be original, but the Aaron and William Crumley signatures appear to be the same.

Hancock petition 1843 second 2

Elijah Vanoy Sr. or Jr. signed at #28 and Elijah Sr.’s son, Joel signed at #85.

There were a total of 106 signatures on 3 pages. Only the people in the affected area needed to sign one way or another.

William Crumley’s Signature Solves a Mystery

With 4 William Crumleys in successive generations, keeping them straight has been a challenge, to put it mildly.

In the article about William Crumley (the third born 1788), son of William Crumley (the second born 1767/8), I discussed the fact that both men lived in Greene County, TN, and one of them married Elizabeth Johnson in October 1817.

For a very long time, it was presumed, based on her probable age, if Elizabeth was who we thought she was, that she had married the younger William Crumley, and that his wife, Lydia Brown had died shortly after giving birth to a child in April of 1817. Speedy remarriages weren’t uncommon in that time and place.

The only somewhat unusual circumstance is that Elizabeth Johnson would have gotten pregnant in June, because the next child born to William Crumley (the third) and his wife was my ancestor Phoebe who arrived in March of 1818. It was also a little unusual that Lydia Brown’s mother’s name was Phoebe Cole and Elizabeth named her first child Phoebe. But then again, the Johnsons and Browns were intermarried too or maybe Elizabeth was just incredibly generous.

Or, maybe Lydia didn’t die after all and Elizabeth married a different William Crumley and was not the mother of Phoebe.

By testing the mitochondrial DNA of the descendants of the child born in April of 1817, Phoebe’s descendants along with the descendants of the next child, Malinda, born in 1820, we confirmed that their mitochondrial DNA was identical. Now granted, this could happen if the two women, Lydia and Elizabeth shared a common matrilineal ancestor.

That’s rather unlikely since Phoebe Cole was from New Jersey and Elizabeth Johnson’s father, Zopher, was from Pennsylvania – but with genealogy you never know for sure. Stranger things have happened.

However, William Crumley’s signature on this petition is corroborating data for the mitochondrial evidence.

William Crumley who married in 1817 has a different signature than two other documents signed in Greene County by a William Crumley as well.

William Crumley the third would have been called Jr. in Greene County, given that William Crumley (the first) was already long deceased by 1817, so William Crumley the second would have been William Crumley Sr. in Green County.

I had to make a chart to keep all of the Williams and their signatures straight.

Who In Greene County, TN Signed What
William Crumley I, 1735/6-1793 Never in Greene County, TN Nothing in Greene County
William Crumley II, 1767/8-c 1839 Sr. 1796 court order in the Territory South of the Ohio, possibly 1807 marriage document for William III, possibly 1817 marriage document.
William Crumley III, 1788-1859 Jr. Married in 1807 as Jr., signed War of 1812 affidavit in 1814, marriage of Aaron Crumley in 1814 and signs as William Jr., 1816 marriage for Isaac Crumley where he signs as Jr.
William Crumley IV, 1811-1864 Married in 1840 in Greene Co.

We don’t know which William Crumley married in 1817. What I really NEED to know if if William the third married in 1817, because my ancestor, Phoebe, was born in 1818.

We know unquestionably that the 1796 document was signed by William Crumley II because the older William Crumley was dead by then, and the younger one still a minor. This does of course assume the signature is actually Williams.

William Crumley 1796 signatureA comparison of the various signatures, assembled by researcher Stevie Hughes some years ago shows us the following variations.

Crumley signature comparisons

The next signature is William Crumley from the 1841 petition and looks to be nearly an exact match to the 1816 signature but NOT to the 1817 marriage signature.

Hancock County 1841 Crumley signature

The signature from William Crumley’s 1814 power of attorney having to do with his War of 1812 service is shown below. This signature looks to be identical to the 1814 signature, again, assuming this is his actual signature and the clerk did not transcribe it. the clerk would have been the same person if these signatures are transcribed, so the signatures would “match.” No wonder I’m confused.

william-crumley-poa 1814

We know that William Crumley in 1807 is in fact the man who married Lydia Brown and that signature does not match the man who signed the 1796 document just a decade earlier. What we don’t know for sure, at least without further analysis, is that the first bondsman in 1807 was the groom and not the groom’s father.

The signature in 1807 and 1817 looks more alike than the other two signatures, who also resemble each other. This 1807/1817 resemblance is what led researchers for years to assume that the William who married Lydia Brown is the same William that married Elizabeth Johnson.

The surnames look very similar, but the Ws look different. The W in 1817 looks a bit wobbly.

William Crumley Lydia Brown marriage

Jotham Brown was Lydia’s brother, and William Crumley Sr. would have been the father of William Crumley Jr. who married Lydia Brown. How do we know that?

William Crumley who married in 1807 was underage, so his father had to sign for him. He could not sign for himself. So clearly, there is some confusion about who is being called Jr. and Sr. and who is marrying who in 1817.

What we still don’t know positively is if the man in 1817 who married Elizabeth Johnson was William the second or third.

The signature on the petition in Hancock County matches exactly to that of William Crumley the third (Jr. in Greene County, born 1788) and not that of the man who married Elizabeth Johnson in 1817.

We know the man who signed the Hancock County petition in 1841 was William the third born in 1788 (Jr. in Greene County) because this William died between 1837 and 1840 in Lee County, VA, right across the county line from Hancock County, TN.

My Unexpected Gift

When I requested this petition, I thought I might learn something interesting about my ancestors and the history of the region where they lived, generally.

I never expected to solve a long-standing mystery. I didn’t even realize what I had, at first, and then the light bulb clicked on and I retrieved the various signatures for comparison.

We now have two important independent pieces of evidence that point to the same conclusion. We have full sequence mitochondrial DNA results from Family Tree DNA that match, strongly suggesting that Phoebe Crumley had the same mother as both her older sister who was born in 1817 before William Crumley married Elizabeth Johnson and Phoebe’s younger sister born in 1820. Furthermore, we have a signature for William Crumley (born in 1788) in Hancock County in 1841 which is not the signature of the William Crumley who married in Greene County in 1817.

William Crumley (the older of the two men in 1817) would have been 50 years old, marrying for the second time, and did not need a separate bondman. He had enough money to be his own bondsman while his son who had been a minor in 1807 did not. William Crumley born in 1788, the younger of the two William’s would also have been marrying for the second time, and he wouldn’t have needed a secondary bondsman either in 1817.

Regardless of the signatures, given the question about originality, I’m extremely grateful for the mitochondrial DNA test results.

You just never know what one single signature, DNA test or piece of information will do for you and more information is always better.

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