What Is a Sibling Anyway? Full, Half, Three-Quarters, Step, Adopted, Donor-Conceived & Twins

I’ve seen the term sibling used many different ways, sometimes incorrectly.

When referring to their own siblings, people usually use the term brother or sister, regardless of whether they are talking about a full, half or step-sibling. It’s a term of heart or description. It’s often genealogists who are focused on which type of sibling. As far as I’m concerned, my brother is my brother, regardless of which type of brother. But in terms of genetics, and genealogy, there’s a huge difference. How we feel about our sibling(s) and how we are biologically related are two different things.

Let’s cover the various types of siblingship and how to determine which type is which.

  • Full Siblings – Share both parents
  • Half-Siblings – Share only one parent
  • Three-Quarter Siblings – It’s complicated
  • Adopted Siblings
  • Donor-Conceived
  • Step-Siblings – Share no biological parent
  • Twins – Fraternal and Identical

Full Siblings

Full siblings share both parents and share approximately 50% of their DNA with each other.

You can tell if you are full siblings with a match in various ways.

  1. You share the same fairly close matches on both parents’ sides. For example, aunts or uncles or their descendants.

Why do I say close matches? You could share one parent and another more distant relative on the other parent’s side. Matching with close relatives like aunts, uncles or first cousins at the appropriate level is an excellent indicator unless your parents or grandparents are available for testing. If you are comparing to grandparents, be sure to confirm matches to BOTH grandparents on each side.

  1. Full siblings will share in the ballpark of 2600 cM, according to DNAPainter’s Shared cM Tool.

Keep in mind that you can share more or less DNA, hence the range. It’s also worth noting that some people who reported themselves as full siblings in the Shared cM project were probably half siblings and didn’t realize it.

  1. Full siblings will share a significant amount of fully identical regions (FIR) of DNA with each other, meaning they share DNA at the same DNA address from both parents, as illustrated above. Shared DNA with each other inherited from Mom and Dad are blocked in green. The fully identical regions, shared with both parents, are bracketed in purple. You can’t make this determination at FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage or Ancestry, but you can at both 23andMe and GEDmatch.

At GEDmatch, the large fully green areas in the chromosome browser “graphics and positions” display indicates full siblings, where DNA is shared from both parents at that location.

I wrote about the details of how to view fully identical regions (FIR) versus half identical regions (HIR) in the article, DNA: In Search of…Full and Half-Siblings.

  1. If your parents/grandparents have tested, you and your full sibling will both match both parents/grandparents. Yes, I know this sounds intuitive, but sometimes it’s easy to miss the obvious.

At FamilyTreeDNA, you can use the matrix tool to see who matches each other in a group of people that you can select. In this case, both siblings are compared to the father, but if the father isn’t available, a close paternal relative could substitute. Remember that all people who are 2nd cousins or closer will match.

  1. At Ancestry, full siblings will be identified as either “brother” or “sister,” while half-siblings do not indicate siblingship. Half-siblings are called “close family” and a range of possible relationships is given. Yes, Ancestry, is looking under the hood at FIR/HIR regions. I have never seen a full sibling misidentified as anything else at Ancestry. Unfortunately, Ancestry does not give customers access to their matching chromosome segment location data.
  2. Y-DNA of males who are full siblings will match but may have some slight differences. Y-DNA alone cannot prove a specific relationship, with very rare exceptions, but can easily disprove a relationship if two males do not match. Y-DNA should be used in conjunction with autosomal DNA for specific relationship prediction when Y-DNA matches.
  3. Y-DNA testing is available only through FamilyTreeDNA, but high-level haplogroup-only estimates are available through 23andMe. Widely divergent haplogroups, such as E versus R, can be considered a confirmed non-match. Different haplogroups within the same base haplogroup, such as R, but obtained from different vendors or different testing levels may still be a match if they test at the Big Y-700 level at FamilyTreeDNA.
  4. Mitochondrial DNA, inherited matrilineally from the mother, will match for full siblings (barring unusual mutations such as heteroplasmies) but cannot be used in relationship verification other than to confirm nonmatches. For both Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA, it’s possible to have a lineage match that is not the result of a direct parental relationship.
  5. Mitochondrial DNA testing is available only through FamilyTreeDNA, but haplogroup-only estimates are included at 23andMe. Different base haplogroups such as H and J can be considered a non-match.
  6. A difference in ethnicity is NOT a reliable indicator of half versus full siblings.

Half-Siblings

Half-siblings share only one parent, but not both, and usually share about 25% of their DNA with each other.

You will share as much DNA with a half-sibling as you do some other close matches, so it’s not always possible for DNA testing companies to determine the exact relationship.

Referencing the MyHeritage cM Explainer tool, you can see that people who share 1700 cM of DNA could be related in several ways. I wrote about using the cM Explainer tool here.

Hints that you are only half-siblings include:

  1. At testing vendors, including Ancestry, a half-sibling will not be identified as a sibling but as another type of close match.
  2. If your parents or grandparents have tested, you will only match one parent or one set of grandparents or their descendants.
  3. You will not have shared matches on one parent’s side. If you know that specific, close relatives have tested on one parent’s side, and you don’t match them, but your other family members do, that’s a very big hint. Please note that you need more than one reference point, because it’s always possible that the other person has an unknown parentage situation.
  4. At 23andMe, you will not show fully identical regions (FIR).
  5. At GEDmatch, you will show only very minimal FIR.

Scattered, very small green FIR locations are normal based on random recombination. Long runs of green indicate that significant amounts of DNA was inherited from both parents. The example above is from half-siblings.

  1. At FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe, most men who share a mother will also share an X chromosome match since men only inherit their X chromosome from their mother. However, it is possible for the mother to give one son her entire X chromosome from her father, and give the other son her entire X chromosome from her mother. Therefore, two men who do share a mother but don’t have an X chromosome match could still be siblings. The X is not an entirely reliable relationship predictor. However, if two men share an entire X chromosome match, it’s very likely that they are siblings on their mother’s side, or that their mothers are very close relatives.

Three-Quarter Siblings

This gets a little more complicated.

Three-quarter siblings occur when one parent is the same, and the other parents are siblings to each other.

Let’s use a real-life example.

A couple marries and has children. The mother dies, and the father marries the mother’s sister and has additional children. Those children are actually less than full siblings, but more than half-siblings.

Conversely, a woman has children by two brothers and those children are three-quarter siblings.

These were common situations in earlier times when a man needed a female companion to raise children and women needed a male companion to work on the farm. Neither one could perform both childcare and the chores necessary to earn a living in an agricultural society, and your deceased spouse’s family members were already people you knew. They already loved your children too.

Neither of these situations is historically unusual, but both are very difficult to determine using genetics alone, even in the current generation.

Neither X-DNA nor mitochondrial DNA will be helpful, and Y-DNA will generally not be either.

Unfortunately, three-quarter siblings’ autosomal DNA will fall in the range of both half and full siblings, although not at the bottom of the half-sibling range, nor at the top of the full sibling range – but that leaves a lot of middle ground.

I’ve found it almost impossible to prove this scenario without prior knowledge, and equally as impossible to determine which of multiple brothers is the father unless there is a very strong half-sibling match in addition.

The DNA-Sci blog discusses this phenomenon, but I can’t utilize comparison screenshots according to their terms of service.

Clearly, what we need are more known three-quarter siblings to submit data to be studied in order to (possibly) facilitate easier determination, probably based on the percentage frequency distribution of FIR/HIR segments. Regardless, it’s never going to be 100% without secondary genealogical information.

Three-quarter siblings aren’t very common today, but they do exist. If you suspect something of this nature, really need the answer, and have exhausted all other possibilities, I recommend engaging a very experienced genetic genealogist with experience in this type of situation. However, given the random nature of recombination in humans, we may never be able to confirm using any methodology, with one possible exception.

There’s one possibility using Y-DNA if the parents in question are two brothers. If one brother has a Y-DNA SNP mutation that the other does not have, and this can be verified by testing either the brothers who are father candidates or their other known sons via the Big Y-700 test – the father of the siblings could then be identified by this SNP mutation as well. Yes, it’s a long shot.

Three-quarter sibling situations are very challenging.

Step-siblings, on the other hand, are easy.

Step-Siblings

Step-siblings don’t share either parent, so their DNA will not match to each other unless their parents are somehow related to each other. Please note that this means either of their parents, not just the parents who marry each other.

One child’s parent marries the other child’s parent, resulting in a blended family. The children then become step-siblings to each other.

The terms step-sibling and half-sibling are often used interchangeably, and they are definitely NOT the same.

Adopted Siblings

Adopted siblings may not know they are adopted and believe, until DNA testing, that they are biological siblings.

Sometimes adopted siblings are either half-siblings or are otherwise related to each other but may not be related to either of their adoptive parents. Conversely, adopted siblings, one or both, may be related to one of their adoptive parents.

The same full and half-sibling relationship genetic clues apply to adopted siblings, as well as the tools and techniques in the In Search of Unknown Family series of articles.

Donor-Conceived Siblings

Donor-conceived siblings could be:

  • Half-siblings if the donor is the same father but a different mother.
  • Half-siblings if they share an egg donor but not a father.
  • Full siblings if they are full biological siblings to each other, meaning both donors are the same but not related to the woman into whom the fertilized egg was implanted, nor to her partner, their legal parents.
  • Not biologically related to each other or either legal parent.
  • Biologically related to one or both legal parents when a family member is either an egg or sperm donor.

Did I cover all of the possible scenarios? The essence is that we literally know nothing and should assume nothing.

I have known of situations where the brother (or brothers) of the father was the sperm donor, so the resulting child or children appear to be full or three-quarters siblings to each other. They are related to their legal father who is the mother’s partner. In other words, in this situation, the mother’s husband was infertile, and his brother(s) donated sperm resulting in multiple births. The children from this family who were conceived through different brothers and had very close (half-sibling) matches to their “uncles'” children were very confused until they spoke with their parents about their DNA results.

The same techniques to ascertain relationships would be used with donor-conceived situations. Additionally, if it appears that a biological relationship exists, but it’s not a full or half-sibling relationship, I recommend utilizing other techniques described in the In Search of Unknown Family series.

Twins or Multiple Birth Siblings

Two types of twin or multiple birth scenarios exist outside of assisted fertilization.

Fraternal twins – With fraternal or dizygotic twins, two eggs are fertilized independently by separate sperm. Just view this as one pregnancy with two siblings occupying the same space for the same 9 months of gestation. Fraternal twins can be male, female or one of each sex.

Fraternal twins are simply siblings that happen to gestate together and will match in the same way that full siblings match.

Please note that it’s possible for two of a woman’s eggs to be fertilized at different times during the same ovulation cycle, potentially by different men, resulting in twins who are actually half-siblings.

A difference in ethnicity is NOT a reliable indicator of fraternal or identical twins. Submitting your own DNA twice often results in slightly different ethnicity results.

Identical twins – Identical or monozygotic twins occur when one egg is fertilized by one sperm and then divides into multiple embryos that develop into different children. Those children are genetically identical since they were both developed from the same egg and sperm.

Two of the most famous identical twins are astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly.

Identical twins are the same sex and will look the same because they have the same DNA, except for epigenetic changes, but of course external factors such as haircuts, clothes and weight can make identical twins physically distinguishable from each other.

DNA testing companies will either identify identical twins as “self,” “identical twin” or “parent/child” due to the highest possible shared cM count plus fully matching FIR regions.

For identical twins, checking the FIR versus HIR is a positive identification as indicated above at GEDmatch with completely solid green FIR regions. Do not assume twins that look alike are identical twins.

Siblings

Whoever thought there would be so many kinds of siblings!

If you observe the need to educate about either sibling terminology or DNA identification methodologies, feel free to share this article. When identifying relationships, never assume anything, and verify everything through multiple avenues.

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So, You Want to Become a Professional Genetic Genealogist

I get asked quite often about what is required to become a professional genetic genealogist.

That’s actually two separate questions.

  • What is required to become a professional genealogist?
  • Then, what is required to specialize as a genetic genealogist?

What It’s Not

Before we have this discussion, I need to make sure that you understand that I’m NOT talking about forensics, meaning IGG, or investigative genetic genealogy in this article.

  • This is NOT forensics (IGG)
  • This is also not a specialty in finding missing parents for adoptees and others searching for unknown parents.

Both IGG and adoption searches utilize the same methodology, a subset of genetic genealogy. I wrote about that in Identifying Unknown Parents and Individuals Using DNA Matching.

The difference between genetic genealogy more broadly and IGG is:

  • What you’re searching for
  • The perspective
  • The methods utilized.

Essentially, the functional difference is that genealogists know who they are and have some information about their ancestors. For example, they know who their parents are and probably at least their grandparents. Genealogists are using both DNA testing and traditional genealogical paper trail research methods to focus and make discoveries going backwards in time.

Both IGG and unknown parent research uses DNA and (sometimes some) paper trail genealogy to find ways to connect the closest matches to the DNA tester (or DNA sample) together to each other to identify either living or recently living people. For example, two people who are are first cousins to the tester should both have the same grandparents if they are related to the tester through the same parent.

If two people who are related to the tester as first cousins do not share the same grandparent(s), then they are related to the tester through different parents of the tester.

The commonality is that DNA testing and some types of records are used for:

  • IGG where you’re searching for the identity of the tester or DNA sample
  • Unknown parent(s) searches where you are searching for the identity of the parent(s)
  • Genetic genealogy

However, the search methodology is different for IGG and unknown parents than for genealogy.

With IGG and unknown parent searches, you’re looking for your closest matches, then attempting to connect them together to identify either currently living or recently living people.

This article focuses specifically on genealogy and genetic genealogy, meaning looking backwards in time to identify ancestors.

I wrote about the techniques used for both IGG and parental searching in the article, Identifying Unknown Parents and Individuals Using DNA Matching.

What Do Genealogists Do?

Genealogy is the study of family history and the descent of a person or a family. Genealogists use a variety of sources and methods to discover and show the ancestry of their subjects and in doing so, create the family trees that are familiar to all of us.

Genealogists use different sources and methods to find and show the descent and kinship of their subjects.

Traditional sources include but are not limited to the following record types:

  • Vital records (birth, marriage, and death certificates)
  • Census
  • Military
  • Immigration
  • Land and tax records
  • Wills and probate
  • Church records
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Published and online books
  • Oral histories
  • Genealogy databases
  • And more

Of course, today the four types of DNA can be added to that list.

A professional genealogist needs to know how and where to find these types of records in the target area, any unique cultural or regional factors affecting those records, and how to interpret them both individually and together.

For example, in a deed record in colonial Virginia, why would, or wouldn’t a female release her dower right? What is dower right, and why is it important? How might that record, or lack thereof, affect future probate for that woman/couple? In what type of historical or court record book might one look for these types of records?

Genealogists also need to know how to weigh different types of information in terms of potential accuracy and how to interpret primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources are those that were created at or near the time of an event by someone who was present at the event or who had first-hand knowledge of it. Examples of primary sources include birth certificates, marriage licenses, and census records, although census records are far more likely to be inaccurate or incomplete than a birth certificate or marriage record. Genealogists need to understand why, and where to look for corroboration. Primary sources are considered to be most accurate.

Secondary sources are those that were created later by someone who did not have first-hand knowledge of the event. Examples of secondary sources include family histories and genealogies, published biographies, and sometimes, newspaper articles.

The genealogists “go to” source for understanding and interpreting evidence is Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, available here.

Of course, DNA understanding and analysis needs to be added to this list and has become an important resource in genealogy. Additionally, genetic genealogy has become a specialty within the broader field of genealogy, as has IGG.

Put another way, a genealogist should have expertise and a specialty in some area. Maybe Italian records, or Native American genealogy, or New England records, in addition to the basic skills. At one time, a genealogist didn’t necessarily HAVE TO have expertise in genetic genealogy as well, but that has changed in the past few years. A professional genealogist should MINIMALLY understand the basics of genetic genealogy and when/how it can be useful. They may or may not have ready access to a genetic genealogist within the company where they work.

Being an independent genealogist, unless you specialize only in a specific area, like Dutch genealogy, is much more challenging because you’ll need to be proficient in BOTH Dutch genealogy AND genetic genealogy. It’s tough keeping up with one specialty, let alone two, although in this case, Yvette does an amazing job. However, her primary specialty is Dutch genealogy, and genetic genealogy is the booster rocket when appropriate. Genetic genealogy is not always needed for traditional genealogy, which is why genetic genealogy is a specialty skill.

In addition to all that, you also need to be proficient and comfortable with technology and a good communicator. Walking on water is also helpful:)

Job Description

So, what does the job description for a genealogist look like?

I reached out to Legacy Tree Genealogists because they are one of the largest, if not the largest genealogy research company, and they partner with 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage. Legacy Tree has specialists in many regions and languages, in addition to six genetic genealogists on staff.

Fortunately, they have a job listing posted right now, here, with an excellent description of what is expected.

If you’re interested or wish to sign up for notifications, click here.

Understanding that this job description won’t be posted forever, I reached out to the owner, Jessica Dalley Taylor, and asked if she would send me a sample description to include in this article.

Here you go, courtesy of Jessica:

About You

It’s not easy to make each client’s experience the very best it can possibly be, and it means we can only hire an exceptional genealogist for this position. You will be a great fit if:

    • You are fluent in English and can explain your genealogy discoveries in a way that clients connect with and understand
    • You have taken at least one genetic genealogy test or administered the test of a relative
    • You have introductory genetic genealogy abilities
    • You have at least intermediate traditional genealogical research experience in any geographic locality
    • You are familiar with the repositories of the areas for which you claim expertise and have worked with them to obtain documents
    • You are passionate about genealogy and are a creative problem solver
    • You are great at working independently and hitting deadlines (please don’t overlook this line about deadlines)
    • You are comfortable with Microsoft Office suite
    • You’re familiar with genealogical technology such as pedigree software
    • You have a quiet place to work without distractions, a computer, and great internet
    • You have a strong desire to work as a professional genetic genealogist

Even better if:

    • You have a basic understanding of genetic inheritance and its application to genealogy
    • You have beginning experience with interpretation and use of genetic genealogy test results
    • You have intermediate-level genetic genealogy abilities

What you’ll be doing at Legacy Tree:

    • You’ll be learning how to use genetic testing in identifying family
    • You’ll be learning how to create high-quality research reports
    • You’ll be reading and formatting reports by professional researchers
    • You’ll be assisting with researching and writing genealogy reports
    • You’ll be performing genetic genealogy analysis under the direction of professional mentors
    • You’ll be developing advanced-level genetic genealogy skills and abilities
    • With your input, you’ll do other things as opportunities and needs arise

Please note that Legacy Tree offers both traditional genealogy services, combined with genetic genealogy, along with adoption and unknown parent searches.

As a measure of fundamental basic genetic genealogy skills, you should be able to create and teach a class like First Steps When Your DNA Results Are Ready – Sticking Your Toe in the Genealogy Water.

You should also be able to read and fully comprehend the articles on this blog, as well as explain the content to others. A very wise person once told me that if you can’t explain or teach a topic, you don’t understand it.

As luck would have it, Ancestry also posted a job opening for a genealogist as I was finishing this article. Here’s part of the job requirements.

Contractor or Employee

Please note that many companies have shifted their primary hiring strategy to utilizing contractors for not more than half time, especially now that working remotely has become the norm.

This may or may not be good news for you.

It allows the company to avoid paying benefits like insurance, vacation, leave, and retirement programs which reduces their costs. You may not need these benefits, and it may represent an opportunity for you. For others who need those benefits, it’s a deal-breaker.

Contracting may provide the ability to work part-time, but contracting probably means you need to have business management skills not required when you work for someone else. Let’s just say that I make quarterly estimated tax payments and my annual CPA bill is in the $2,000 range.

Compensation

Pay, either as an employee or contractor for a company, is a sticky wicket in this field.

First, there’s a consumer mindset, although not universal, that genealogy “should be” free. In part, this is due to search angels and a history of well-intentioned people making things free. I’m one of them – guilty as charged – this blog is free. My hourly work, however, when I accepted clients (which I DO NOT now,) was not free.

However, that “should be free” mindset makes it difficult to shift to a “pay to play” mentality when people can go on social media and get what they want for free.

Professional services are not and should not be free.

Professionals should be able to earn a respectable living. The full-time Ancestry job, posted above, with those credentials, nets out to $21.63 per hour for a 40-hour week, with a graduate degree preferred. For comparison, google other jobs and professions.

If you doubt for one second whether professional services should or should not be free, especially ones that require a bachelor’s degree or master’s, just think about what your CPA would do if you asked them to do your taxes because they have the ability, for free. Same for a doctor, lawyer, or any other professional.

People are often shocked at the rates paid to employees versus the rates charged to prospective customers. This discussion has recently gotten spicy on social media, so I’m not going to comment other than to say that when I did take private clients, which I DO NOT ANYMORE, I found it much more beneficial to operate independently than to work for a company.

However, I also had a readily recognizable specialty and an avenue to reach potential clients.

I also already had a business structure set up, and a CPA, and perhaps more important than either of those – I had medical insurance already in place.

The need for benefits is what drives many people to work for companies, which I fully understand. It’s also a big factor in why there are more female genealogists than male genealogists. Married women in the US are eligible to be covered by their spouse’s insurance, assuming the spouse has insurance through their employer.

My very strong recommendation to you is to weigh all of the factors and NEVER to find yourself without medical insurance or coverage.

If you’re going to be “self-employed,” set up a company. If you’re going to set up a company, do it properly, understand the tax ramifications of the various types of corporations and engage a competent CPA to shepherd you through the process from day 1 through taxes. They are worth every penny.

Look at various jobs in the market, review at the associated pay, get a quote for genealogy services of the type you would be providing from the various companies – and decide if this profession is really for you.

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, just a realist.

Training and Certification

Now for the good news and the bad news.

  • There is professional training for genealogy
  • There are certifications for genealogy
  • There is no “one place” for either
  • There is no certification for genetic genealogy
  • There’s a LOT of misunderstanding and misinformation about genetic genealogy
  • Genetic genealogy changes often

You need to view your education for genealogy/genetic genealogy in the same way you’d view obtaining a college degree – plus continuing education to maintain your education and skills at a current and functional level.

And yes, all of that costs money. If you decide to work for a company, be sure to ask if continuing ed is on their dime and time, or yours.

Genealogy Training

The Board for Certification of Genealogists, BCG, allows graduates to append CG, for Certified Genealogist after their name. BCG is focused on certification of skills and is not a training platform, although they do provide some webinars, etc. It’s not a college curriculum though. Certification is the “end game” for many. Candidates must submit a portfolio for evaluation, complete in a specific timeframe, and must reapply every five years to maintain their certification.

Not all genealogists are certified by BCG, and BCG only lists references of BCG members.

In the field of Genetic Genealogy, that can be problematic because many competent and well-known people are not BCG certified. BCG does not have a genetic genealogy certification.

Lack of BCG certification does not mean that someone is not qualified, and BCG certification certainly does NOT mean or imply that the individual is competent in genetic genealogy, which has more and more become a part of almost every genealogical puzzle. If not for initial discovery, for confirmation.

There are many avenues for genealogical training, including, but not limited to:

  • Brigham Young University Family History Degree
  • NGS Home Study Course
  • Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)
  • Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)
  • Boston University Certificate program
  • Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed)
  • Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR)
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Dundee
  • Major Conferences, including RootsTech and NGS, among others
  • Specialty conferences such as the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy (IAJGS)
  • Online conferences and conference proceedings such as Rootstech who maintains a free library of their virtual and recorded conference sessions.
  • Legacy Family Tree Webinars
  • Videos produced by major genealogy companies such as MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA and Ancestry, often available through their website, Youtube or both
  • Blogs and learning/help centers of the major genealogy companies

Genetic Genealogy Training

Genetic genealogy training is more challenging because there is no specific program, curriculum, or certification.

Many genetic genealogists obtained their experience as a part of genealogy over 15 or 20 years and have focused on the genetic aspect of genealogy. Several of us had a scientific background that meshed well with this field and is part of why we discovered that our passion is here.

Before I provide this resource list, I need to emphatically state that probably 95% of answers that I see provided on social media platforms in response to questions asked by people are either entirely incorrect, partially incorrect in a way that makes me want to say, “well, not exactly,” or are incomplete in a way that makes a significant difference.

I chose and choose to focus on creating educational tools and making explanations available for everyone, in one place, not one question at a time.

I began publishing my blog in 2012 as an educational tool and I’m dumbstruck by how many people just want a yes or no answer instead of learning. If one doesn’t take the time to learn, they have no idea if the answers they receive are valid, or if there’s more to the story that they are missing.

Social media can mislead you badly if you don’t have the ability to discern between accurate answers, partially accurate answers, and incorrect answers. Furthermore, opinions differ widely on some topics.

Unfortunately, because there is no genetic genealogy credentialling, there is also no “post-nominal letters,” such as CG for certified genealogist. Therefore, a novice has absolutely no idea how to discern between an expert and another overly helpful novice who is unintentionally providing incorrect or partial information.

Many of us who at one time reliably answered questions have simply gotten burned out at the same question being asked over and over, and no longer regularly engage. Burnout is real. Another issue is that askers often don’t provide enough, or accurate, information, so a significant amount of time is spent in clarifying the information around a question. Furthermore, your CPA, lawyer, and physician don’t answer questions online for free, and neither do most people who are busy earning a living in this field.

DNA educational opportunities, some of which are contained within larger conference agendas, include:

There are other blogs, of course, some of which were launched by well-known genetic genealogists but are no longer maintained. Blogging is quite time-consuming.

I’ve covered all kinds of genetic genealogy topics in my blog articles. They are a good source of information, education and hands-on training. I attempt to publish two articles weekly, and there are over 1600 available for your enjoyment.

In addition to the initial learning period, you’ll need to make time to stay engaged and maintain your genealogy and genetic genealogy skills.

Apprenticeship

In addition to training, I think you’d need at least a year interning or working at a junior learning level, minimum. Think of it as your genealogy residency.

  • You could choose to work for a vendor in their help center.
  • You could choose to work for a genealogy company. I’ve mentioned the largest ones, but there are others as well.
  • You could choose to work on your own case studies and those of your friends and family, but if you do, be aware that you won’t have anyone reviewing your work. If you make a mistake or should have approached something differently, and you’re working alone, there’s no one to tell you.
  • You could work as a search angel for others. I have mixed emotions about this, in part due to the lack of review and oversight. But also, in part because “free search angels” perpetuate the idea that genealogy “should be” free.

If you want to work in IGG, after training, an internship under an established mentor is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for a minimum of 100 or so successful closures.

Genealogists and genetic genealogists have the ethical responsibility to NOT MAKE MISTAKES when working on other people’s family. You need to know what you know, what you don’t know, when to get help, from where and with whom.

Networking Opportunity

A Facebook group named “Genealogy Jobs” has been established to discuss opportunities and all of the topics surrounding this subject.

There’s a Genealogy Career Day event on April 22nd where you can interact with professionals including authors, freelance genealogists, certified genealogists, business owners, and an investigative genetic genealogist. Take a look at the topics. If you’re considering whether or not you want to go pro, you’ll be interested. You can sign up here.

The sessions will be uploaded to their YouTube channel, here, after the event.

I hope you’ve found this article useful and helps you decide if this profession is for you. If so, create a plan and execute.

If you decide you do want to go pro, I wish you the best and welcome you to the fast-paced world of professional genealogy or its specialty, genetic genealogy.

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Who is Peter Johnson’s Ancestor – Peter Jochimsson (Yocum) or Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt? Or Neither? – 52 Ancestors #391

Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) is making me crazy. To refresh your memory, Peter’s early life, including his parents, are shrouded in mystery. I wrote about him here and here. My ancestor is Dorcas Johnson who married Jacob Dobkins. I strongly believe Dorcas to be Peter Johnson’s daughter, for a myriad of reasons, supported by evidence of various types, including paper-trail and genetic, but I’m still seeking that elusive nail in the coffin – pardon the pun. I wrote about Dorcas here and here.

I’m comfortable with assigning Peter Johnson as Dorcas’s father, although I’d love just one conclusive piece of proof. However, Peter’s parents are another matter entirely and one very tough nut.

I’ve been digging like a dog with a bone, and so far, I’ve unearthed conflicting evidence. So now I have two bones and no idea which one is accurate. Wasn’t counting on that – but it sure makes for an interesting article!

I did, however, discover an absolutely WONDERFUL book in Salt Lake City recently. My husband scanned the entire book for me. Let’s start with the 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware.

1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware

According to the 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware authored in 1993 and published by Peter Stebbins Craig, J.D., between 1637 and 1655, Sweden equipped thirteen passenger voyages for the South Delaware River, with about 800 prospective settlers. Eleven ships with 600 passengers actually arrived.

The first ship deposited 24 men at Fort Christina, now Wilmington, Delaware. The second and third expeditions brought families. In 1644, Sweden and Denmark were at war, so immigration was suspended until 1647.

In 1651, the Dutch erected a fortified town and fort Casimir at present day New Castle, and the Swedes were disgusted. Several returned to Sweden and others left for neighboring Maryland.

In 1653, 22 Swedes presented a petition to the Swedish Governor Johan Printz, complaining of his aristocratic rule. One Peeter Jochim and one Claes Johansson were among the petitioners. The descendants of Claes, according to Peter Craig, use the Johnson surname in Pennsylvania, and Classon in Delaware and Maryland. Nothing confusing here!

Printz accused the petitioners of mutiny and returned in a huff to Sweden, but a new governor was soon dispatched, along with more settlers. Sailing into the Delaware River, the new Governor, Johan Rising, demanded that the Dutch Fort Casimir surrender – which it did because it had no gunpowder.

The Dutch at Fort Trinity (Fort Casimir, now New Castle) returned north to New Netherlands, but more Swedes moved to Maryland. You can read about Fort Trinity/Fort Casimir archaeology excavations, here.

Craig estimates that about 300 people, including wives and children, remained in New Sweden in 1655 when the Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant sailed up the Delaware with 7 armed ships and 317 soldiers. The 50 Swedish solders were divided between two fortresses. Both Fort Trinity and Fort Christina (now Wilmington) surrendered on September 15, 1655. You can see a reconstructed Swedish village, here.

At this point, a few Swedes returned to the old country, but most remained, influenced strongly by Peter Stuyvesant’s conciliatory attitude. In a surprise move, he offered to return the colony to Governor Rising, but would retain Fort Casimir (New Castle). Governor Rising declined and left, but Stuyvesant made the same offer to the remaining settlers, offering them the opportunity to govern themselves by a court of their own choosing, continue their religion, have their own militia, continue trading with the Indians and retain their land. In return, they had to pledge loyalty to New Netherlands and Stuyvesant reserved the right to approve their officers. That seemed like a pretty good deal, all things considered, so the Swedes accepted, although they remained stubbornly independent.

Another voyage was already underway though, and in March of 1656, an additional 106 people arrived from the province of Varmland, Sweden, sailing out of Gothenburg.

The new “Swedish Nation” was formed in August 1656, with two courts. One was “Upland,” north of New Castle, and the other functioned on the other side of the Cristina River. The Delaware River was the highway and transportation was primarily by dugout canoe, exactly like the Native people. Hunting was achieved using Native paths. Some farming was undertaken, but mostly, only enough to feed families.

By 1680, life was changing for the Swedish families along the Delaware and many Englishmen were settling in the region. In 1681, William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania, quickly followed by 23 ships from England carrying his Quaker followers. The three “lower counties” of Pennsylvania were present-day Delaware. By 1682, no longer holding a majority, the Swedish courts were no longer in session.

Penn was very complimentary of the Swedes, said they were welcoming and helpful to the English, got along very well with the Native people, and “strong of body…they have fine children, and almost every house full; rare to find one of them without 3 or 4 boys and as many girls; some six, seven and eight sons.”

By this time, given that 40+ years had elapsed since the first Swedes settled in New Sweden, the third generation was beginning – grandchildren of those original settlers were being born.

One of their English neighbors described the Swedes as ingenious, speaking English, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and Indian. He described their efficiency, stating that one man could cut down a tree, two would quickly rend the tree into planks using only an ax and wooden wedges. No iron. The women spun linen and wove it into clothe and then made clothes. Swedish families ate rye instead of white bread.

The Swedes introduced log cabins to the colony – structures that would sustain pioneers on the ever-westward-moving frontiers for centuries to come.

The Nothnagle cabin,above, in Gibbstown, NJ, built in 1638 (attached to a 1738 structure) is reputed to be the oldest house in New Jersey.

The cabin is a few miles downstream from present-day Philadelphia, across the river from Tinicum Island, about four miles northeast of Raccoon Creek. This is important because it tell us where Swedes were living at the early date.

After William Penn obtained his charter, he cultivated the friendship of the Swedes to help his English settlers. Among others, Peter Petersson Yocum served as an interpreter, assisting Penn when purchasing land from the Indians.

Unfortunately, the Swedes had already purchased this land, as attested to by depositions from 7 “Antient Swedes” stating that they had purchased and occupied that land since 1638. Eventually, the Swedes provided Penn with the land that would become Philadelphia.

Given that Finland was part of Sweden at this time, no differentiation was made between Swedes and Finns, and both were included. Craig says that if the term Finns was used, it was specifically referring to people who spoke primarily Finnish. People who spoke primarily Swedish were not called Finns. Spelling was not standardized, but neither was it for English. This seems to be a politically challenging time in Scandinavia and results in confusion when looking back and trying to unravel New Sweden’s settlers. Additionally, patronymics, followed by the gradual adoption of surnames make both history and genealogy exceedingly difficult.

In 1693, a “census” of the Swedes was taken, thankfully, and appended to a letter. In 1693, the Swedes were still living below the fall line. In later years, they would settle in tracts granted to them by Penn in Upper Merions Township in Montgomery County, PA and Manatawny, present day Amity Township in Berks County.

Some Swedes settled at Sahakitko, a trading center for the Susquehanna (Minquas) Indians located at the head of the Elk River, now Elkton, Maryland. These traders traveled extensively, hunting, trapping, moving among and trading with various Indian tribes.

Peter Craig spent his retirement visiting these locations, along with archives and universities in Sweden and Finland, ferreting out information about these families. To him, we owe a massive debt of gratitude, because without his work we would be left with only shreds to try to reweave back into a piece of whole cloth. I’ll spare you the details about the mistakes with early 1693 census publications, but suffice it to say that Craig located and reassembled the information. The order of recording is important as well and provided information about where the families lived. The area was called “New Sweden in Pennsylvania on the Delaware River” and in 1693, the number of people in each household was recorded.

By 1693, not everyone was Swedish or Finnish. Dutch, English and German immigrants had intermarried with the Swedish colonists. Conversely, some of the Swedes were found in Maryland and no longer associated with the Swedish churches. Both of the Swedish churches were without pastors and had requested replacements. A 1697 list of parishioners includes people not listed in 1693 and a population estimate of about 1200.

The total 1693 census was 972 individuals, and within the Swedes community, our Peter Johnson’s ancestor is found – someplace.

Peter Craig listed the Swedes along with the number of souls shown in the census, but due to the changing nature of patronymics, it’s very difficult, without additional information to move further than this.

Thankfully, in the remainder of the book, Craig fleshed out each family, as best he could based on documents retrieved from many locations.

By now, you’re probably wondering why I’ve provided all this background.

Peter Johnson (c1720-1790)

I wrote about “my” Peter Johnson, here and here. We know some things, unquestionably, about Peter Johnson (c1720-1790.)

There is absolutely NO question that Peter Johnson’s descendants are related to the descendants of BOTH Jacob Dobkins who married Dorcas (Darkus) Johnson and Evan Dobkins who married Margaret Johnson.

Three distinct types of genetic evidence come into play.

Genetic Evidence

The mitochondrial DNA descendants of both Dorcas Johnson and Margaret Johnson match each other, confirming that they indeed descend from a common maternal ancestor. Mitochondrial DNA can’t prove actual parentage, but it can certainly rule it out. An exact match is strong evidence. Multiple pieces of evidence point to Darcus/Dorcas and Margaret being sisters. I wrote about this family and their challenges, here.

Even stronger evidence would be to find a mitochondrial DNA descendant of Peter Johnson’s wife, reportedly Mary Polly Philips, through another daughter, descending through all females to the current generation which can be male or female. If the descendant of Mary’s other daughter through all females to the current generation, which can be male, matches both Dorcas and Margaret’s descendants’ mitochondrial DNA, we’ve added another very important piece of evidence that Dorcas and Margaret are daughters of Peter Johnson and his wife. I’m offering a fully paid DNA testing scholarship for a qualifying person.

Using autosomal DNA, descendants of Peter Johnson through multiple other children match dozens of people descended from both Dobkins/Johnson couples.

Click to enlarge

Here’s one example using Ancestry’s ThruLines. How could I match descendants of six of Peter’s other children if I wasn’t descended through Peter or his ancestral line? By ancestral line, I mean that this same phenomenon could happen if I was descended from, say, Peter’s sibling.

Let’s look at another example from the perspective of someone descended from one of Peter Johnson’s other children.

Click to enlarge

This confirmed descendant of Peter Johnson through son James matches several descendants through Peter’s other children, plus 4 through Dorcas Johnson and Jacob Dobkins, plus 21 through Margaret Johnson and Evan Dobkins. How could this person who is descended through Peter’s son James match 25 people descended through Dorcas and Margaret who married the Dobkins boys if Dorcas and Margaret weren’t Peter’s daughters or blood relatives?

Jacob Dobkins and Evan Dobkins are confirmed brothers through John Dobkins and wife Elizabeth, and Dorcas Johnson and Margaret Johnson are believed to be sisters. The Bible of Peter Johnson’s son, Solomon, records two of his sisters marrying Dobkins men. It’s important to note that this record comes from descendants of Peter, through another branch of Peter Johnson’s family, and not from descendants of those two Dobkins/Johnson couples.

A third piece of genetic evidence is the Y-DNA of Peter Johnson.

Several men who descend from Peter and other Johnson males have tested and match each other, including three Big Y-700 testers.

I’ve spent an incredible amount of time recently evaluating Y-DNA and autosomal DNA matches, from tests taken by both Johnson and Yokum testers, or similarly spelled surnames. Some men have completely different Y-DNA, but claim to descend from the same lines. Clearly, we have conflicting evidence to resolve.

Another piece of information of which I’m confident is that our Peter Johnson’s ancestors were indeed Swedish, and I agree with Eric and other Johnson researchers who believe Peter descended from one of the founders of the early Swedish Colony along the Delaware River in the 1600s. Now you know exactly why I’ve shared this information from Peter Craig’s book.

Before we review additional DNA information, I’d like to continue with information about both the Johnson and Yocum lines, extracted from Peter’s comprehensive book. I’ve provided map locations which will aid with locations and proximity.

Peter Petersson Yocum

Page 25-26: Peter Yocum was a member of the Wicaco church when on the last day of May in 1693, 26 members of the Swedish congregation gathered at the log church to sign the letter to Sweden requesting new ministers.

The church faced the Delaware River at the present location of Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church in Philadelphia and had originally been built in 1677 to serve the Swedes living above the Schuylkill River, with the 1646 church at Tinicum Island continuing to serve members located between the Schuylkill and Marcus Hook.

When Tinicum Island passed out of Swedish ownership in 1683, the church at Tinicum was abandoned. By 1693, the Wicaco congregation embraced 102 Swedish households extending from Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County to Marcus Hook, on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, and from Pennsauken Creek in Burlington County to the southern boundary of Gloucester County (Oldmans Creek) on the New Jersey side of the river.

Identification of the 554 Swedish church members living within this area is facilitated by the fact that in 1697 the new Wicaco minister, Andreas Rudman, made a house-by-house enumeration of his congregation, which was later copied and preserved. This chapter focused on the first 37 Wicaco households listed in the 1693 census. The household’s location is shown as evidenced by contemporary land records. Additionally, the value or size of each property is shown in pounds or acres as reported in contemporary tax records.

Page 43, person #35* – Peter Petersson Yocum (Aronameck, 100 pounds): Peter was born in New Sweden about 1652. His father, a soldier named Peter Jochimsson from Schlesvig in Holsstein, had arrived in New Sweden on the Swan in 1643 and became a freeman on November 1, 1652. He was one of the 22 freemen signing the 1653 complaint against Governor Printz. In the summer of 1654, Governor Rising chose him to go to New Amsterdam (now Manhattan in New York City) on a diplomatic and spying mission to deliver a letter. Peter Jochimsson died there. Thereafter, his widow, aged 20 with 2 children at his death, known in 1693 as Ella Steelman, (#54), married Hans Mansson who raised Peter Petersson as his own son. Peter Petersson who adopted the surname Jochim (Yocum) about 1675 married Judith, daughter of Jonas Nilsson (322), and had seven children by May of 1693: Peter born 1677, Mans born 1678, Catharine born 1681, Charles born 1682, Sven born 1685, Julia born 1687, and Jonas born in 1689. Peter Petersson Yocum who had been prominent as an Indian trader and as an Indian interpreter for William Penn died in 1702. His widow thereafter moved with her younger sons to Manatawny (Berks County) where she died in 1727. Their descendants used the surname of Yocum or Yocom.

Craig provides the following footnote: Subsequent children: Anders (Craig’s ancestor) born 1693, John born 1696 and Maria. For additional references to Peter’s father, Peter Jochimson, see Huygen, 63, MGB 23, 78; Rising 93, 107, 111, 112, 163, 165, 183, 195. Peter Jochimsson also had a daughter, Elisabeth born about 1654 who married an English soldier, John Ogle. Yocum, 270, n24; Stille, 147-149.

*Please note that Craig’s numbers, such as #35, reference their position on the 1693 census. Peter is recorded as “Petter Yocomb – 9” meaning 9 people in the family as of that date.

Mathias Hutt Jönsson

Raccoon Creek is about two miles north of Oldmans Creek, shown at the top of the map below.

Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt, living someplace on or near Salem Creek in New Jersey (upper red arrow,) fell under the Crane Hook Congregation across the river on the Pennsylvania side in what is now Wilmington.

Click to enlarge

His son, Oliver, and possibly other sons would eventually live in the Indian trading village of Sahakitko at Head of Elk, now Elkton, Maryland.

Craig tells us that the migration of families from New Castle County across the Delaware River to Penn’s Neck in Salem County began in 1671. By the time of the 1693 census, the Crane Hook Church counted 130 members living on “the other side” of the Delaware.

Penn’s Neck was bounded by the Delaware River on the west and extended from Oldmans Creek on the north to Salem Creek on the south. The eastern boundary was also Salem Creek to its northern bend, then extending overland northeast to Oldman’s Creek. It derived its name from the fact that William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, also acquired proprietorship of this area in 1683 from its first English claimant, John Fenwick. The church census identifies the households in Penn’s Neck beginning at its northernmost settlement.

Page 104, footnote 58 on Olle Thomasson #113 – partially reads: On August 25, 1685, “Wooley Thomason of Pennsylvania” (which then included Delaware,) and Wooley Peterson of Boughttown (#80) were named co-administrators of the estate of “Matthias Unson” of Salem Creek in Penn’s Neck. NJA, 23:474. The deceased whose full name was Matthias Jönsson alias Hutt, directed that his son Michael should live with Wooley Thompson. Salem Co. wills, 2:16-17, NJA 23:474; 1730 accounting by William Peterson, surviving executor, Salem County probate records 503Q, NJA, 23:263-64.

This next portion loops in another Jönsson family and is confusing. I apologize in advance.

The Jönsson or Halton Family – The probable progenitor of the Halton family was Jons Jönsson, a Finn from Letstigen, Varmland, who was listed in October 1655 as about to go to New Sweden on the Mercurius with his wife and 6 children. Later records disclose the presence of Olle, Peter and Mans Jönsson whose patronymic was later replaced by Halton. Along with Nils Larsson France (see #85), Olle Rawson (#135) and their associated, Olle Jönsson (also known as “Carringa Olle”) was licensed by the New Jersey governor in 1668 to buy Indian lands on the east side of the Delaware River. The subsequent purchase agreement, executed Nov. 15, 1676, conveyed the lands to Hans Hoffman and Peter Jönsson. In 1684, Peter Jönsson moved to Penn’s Neck, Salen County, dying in 1692. He called himself Peter Halton in his will, naming his wife as Mary and his children as Frederick, Andrew and Brita.

Page 79 #78 – Lasse Halton (Raccoon Creek, 100 acres): Born about 1668, Lasse Halton was the eldest son of Olle Jönsson (“Carringa Olle”) and in 1693 was probably residing with his brother Hans and Carl Halton. Lasse later married a daughter of Matthias Jönsson of Penn’s Neck. The names of their children, if any, are uncertain. He moved to Piles Grove, Salem County, around 1707, after selling his Raccoon Creek Plantation to his brother Hans.

The 100 acres occupied by Lasse Halton was taxed to his mother, “Madlen Janson” in 1687. Her name was replaced with his on the 1690 and 1694 tax lists.

The final accounting of the estate of Matthias Jönsson, filed in 1730, showed a payment to Lausy Halton for his wife’s filial portion NJA, 21:263-264. He had picked out his grave site at Raccoon church in 1724. RPN, 27.

Carl (Charles) Halton married Maria, daughter of Matthias Jönsson (NJA, 23:263-64) and following her death, Gunnilla Fransson. Charles Halton died at Penn’s Neck in 1738.

Page 148, #173 Anders Anderson Weinam (150 aces): (The first portion regarding his name omitted.)

It is uncertain whether Anders Andersson Weinam was a son of a settler or New Sweden named Anders or whether he was among the 1663-1664 arrivals under Dutch rule. Anders was fined 50 guilders in the 1669 Long Finn Rebellion. By 1677 he had moved to Crane Hook. In 1679, he joined Matthias Jönsson, Lars Corneliusson (see #174-75) and widow Annika Hendricks (see #176) in obtaining the original 600 acre grant at Chestnut Neck between Parting Creek and Bastowe (sauna) Creek. In 1690 Nicholas Philpot purchased 50 acres from Anders Andersson’s original 150 acres. Meanwhile, in partnership with Peter Bilderback, Anderson acquired a nearby tract of 100 acres from William Penn. In 1697 Anders Weinam pledged 18 shillings for the new church at Christina and in 1699 both Anders Vinam and his wife were assigned pews at Holy Trinity. The will of Anders Andersson of Penn’s Neck, dated July 9, 1719, gave his entire estate to his wife Anna. Her will, proved the following year, made her brother Henery Boasman (Hendrick Batsman), sold heir, which identifies her as the daughter of Joran Joransson Batsman (see #151.) She and Anders had no children. Their household of four probably included two of the children of Matthias Jönsson Hutt.

Matthias Jönsson alias Hutt had been granted a patent for 100 acres at Feren Hook in 1669. Fined in 1675 in the dike rebellion, he remained at that location until 1679 when he moved to Chestnut Neck. When he died in 1685, he left nine orphan children. The two youngest of his sons, Eric and Eskil Jönsson or Johnson, also known as Erik and Eskil Hutton or Hotton, remained in Penn’s Neck and probably were members of Anders Andersson’s household in 1693.

Will – 1684-5 Feb. 14 – Unson, Mathias, of Castiana Neck on Fenwick’s River alias Salem Greek, Salem Tenth, planter; will of. Gives real and personal estate to his nine children, of whom only the following names are given; Woola Matheson, who is to live with Lause Powleson, Michael, the third son, to live with Wooley Thompson, the fourth son, Erick, to live with Andrea Anderson. Witnesses – Peeter Billderbeck and William Wilkinson. Proved August 11, 1685

1730 <no date> – Johnson, Mathias, of Pen’s Neck, Salem Co., yeoman. Account of the estate of £75.9, by the surviving executor, William Peterson, who has paid to Lausey Halton £8.5 in full of his wife’s filial portion, to Mary, wife of Chas. Halton £6 as her portion, to Samuel Walcott and wife Katharine £8.5, the filial portion of Erick Johnson, said Katherine’s former husband, to Oliver Johnson £6.3, to Eskell Johnson £6.3, to Michael Johnson £4.17.6, to Henry Johnson £6.3, Margaret Johnson £6.3, all filial portions. [No will on record or on file.]

Footnote 46 – DYR, 137, NYHM, 20:22; 21:104; NCR, 1:160, 163; NJA, 21:544, 568, 574; will of Matthis Unson of Castiana Neck on Salem Creek, dated Feb 14, 1684/5 and proved May 11 1685, Salem County wills, 2:16, and final accounting of estate of Matthias Johnson by William Peterson, surviving executor, filed 1730, Salem County wills, 503-Q. The eldest son, Olle, later known as Oliver, was to stay with Lars Palsson Kampe (#147), Henrick with Lars’ father Pal Larsson and Michael with Olle Thompson (#113). They all died at Sahakitko (Elkton), Cecil County. See, e.g., MCW, 7:219. Eric was to live with Anders Andersson and Eskil was unassigned. Eric and Eskil Hutton or Hotten both pledged money and contributed labor for the building of Holy Trinity Church and were assigned pews in that church in 1699. Eric as Eric Jansson or Johnson married Catharine Gillijohnson and died at Penn’s Neck in 1719. Eskil as Ezekiel Jansson or Johnson worked on the glebe house for Penn’s Neck church in 1721 and died intestate in Penn’s Neck in 1726. According to the accounting, one daughter married Lars Halton (#78), another, Maria, married Lars Halton’s brother Charles Halton. A third was named Margaret Johnson in the account. The fourth, Catherine Johnson and her newborn child were maintained by Olle (William) Peterson of Gloucester County (#80) for 13 months.

Information for Lars Palsson Kampe (#147) (Sahakitko): This man’s father, Pal Larsson had been granted a patent at Feren Hook in 1668, was fined 100 guilders in the 1669 Long Finn Rebellion and 20 guilders in the 1675 dike rebellion. The will of Paul Larson dated March 7, 1685, witnessed by Olle Palsson and Eskil Andersson, left his “house and lands whereon I now live” to his wife Magdalena for life, then to his daughters – unnamed. He left to his sons Lawrence and Matthias “my land which is now in Elk River, which is 200 acres,” with directions that Lawrence keep and maintain Matthias. On October 20, 1685, Paul sold his 200-acre home plantation at Feren Hook to Justa Andersson and apparently moved to Elk River, Cecil County where his will was proved June 3, 1692. His eldest son, Lars Palsson chose the surname Kampe, warrior in Swedish, as illustrated in this census. In 1693 his household included his wife (name unknown,) their first children and perhaps his brother Matthias. Lars had three children who later moved to Gloucester County: John, Paul and Brigitta Kampe, also written as Camp.

These families were neighbors and eventually, related. Their lives were intertwined and the survival of the colony depended on the cooperation of many.

In Peter Stebbins Craig’s book, 1671 Census of the Delaware, he states that Feren Hook, meaning Pink Hook, appears to have been settled in 1663 by Swedes and Finns arriving from Sweden via Christiania (now Oslo,) Norway, and Amsterdam in the time of d’Hinojossa. Transcription here.

The Quandary

Now, of course, the quandary.

My Johnson cousins Y-DNA matches a few other Johnson men and one Yocum male.

The Yokum male shows his ancestor as Peter Jochimsson born in 1620 and died in 1702. That, of course would be the father of Peter Petersson Yocum.

At first glance, this looks like a slam dunk, meaning our Johnson line is Yocum, descended from Peter Jochimsson, but it isn’t.

Eric Johnson, who is descended from “our” Peter Johnson who was born circa 1720 and died in 1790 in Allegheny County, PA, worked with Dr. Peter Craig before his death who provided Eric with information suggesting that our Peter Johnson is descended from Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt, through his son Oliver (Olle) who had son Peter in 1720 in Cecil County, MD, near Head of Elk, now Elkton.

I found a record in 1740 in Cecil County, MD for 3 Johnson men, Oliver, Simon and Peter, members of the foot company militia under the command of Capt. Zebulon Hollingsworth. Is this “our” Peter as a young man, or a different Peter. I don’t know.

Also in Cecil County, one Peter Johnson’s will is probated in 1747, and we know that our Peter had moved to the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland by 1742, near Hagerstown. Later deeds tie Peter in Allegheny County, PA to the Peter in Franklin Co., PA.

The records for Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) begin in April of 1742 when he obtained land in Lancaster County, PA, the portion that became Cumberland County in 1750, then Franklin County in 1784. If he was born in 1720, he would only have been 22 at the time, which isn’t impossible but young based on the customs of the time. This land was actually on or very near the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, just above Frederick County, MD, close to Hagerstown.

Hence, the suggestion that our Peter Johnson descended from Elkton in Cecil County seems reasonable.

One thing is certain. Our Johnson and Yocum men DO share a common ancestor as confirmed by Big Y-700 DNA testing.

The question is, of course, whether the Yocum male has documentation confirming that he descends from Peter Jochimsson, the father of Peter Petersson Yocum (#35) or if that was an assumption by someone based on the Yocum surname? If not, what type of source information exists and is it conclusive and incontrovertible?

What are the Possibilities?

Unfortunately, we now have some contradictory evidence to resolve.

  • It’s possible that the Yocum male who matches our Johnson line very closely does have solid, confirmed genealogy descending from Peter Jochimsson. If that’s the case, can each successive generation be confirmed? How strong is the evidence?
  • If our Yocum male’s line can be confirmed, then our ancestor is also very likely Peter Jochimsson.

However, there’s a plot twist.

  • There’s another group of about 10 Yocum men who match each other, two of who claim to descend from Peter Jochimsson as well. These men do not match “our Yocum” male, nor do they match any Johnsons. Their haplogroup is in an entirely different branch of the tree.

These groups of men cannot BOTH be directly paternally descended from Peter Jochimsson.

  • It’s possible that our Johnson/Yokum line is indeed descended from Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt. If that’s the case, then someplace, Jönsson became Yokum several generations back in time for at least one male whose descendant tested today, while the rest remained or became Johnson/Johnston.
  • Its not possible for our Johnson line to descend from Mathias Jönsson/Hutt and the Yokum man who matches the Johnson Y-DNA to descend from Peter Jochimsson, unless of course these ancestral men were closely related to each other, sharing a common paternal ancestor.

Peter Jochimsson and Mathias Jönsson/Hutt sharing a common paternal ancestor is certainly not impossible, but in New Sweden, they don’t live very close to each other. Initially, they were about 40 miles distant. So, if they were related, it’s either in the first generation or two, before 1702, or reaches back to the old country. However, that isn’t what the Y-DNA suggests.

Craig says that Mathias Jochimsson came from Schlesvig in Holsstein, the northern portion of Germany that abuts Denmark, and the settlers in Feren Hook were from near Oslo. Of course, that’s not absolute given that Craig never found a specific origin for Mathias Jönsson/Hutt.

We also don’t know when Mathias Johnsson/Hutt arrived, or where he came from. We know for sure a group of settlers arrived in 1656. According to Amandus Johnson in The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664, a final group of Finnish families from Sweden landed in Holland in 1664, en route for New Sweden, but it’s unclear whether they were allowed to proceed to the colonies. We know for sure that Mathias Jönsson/Hutt was in Feren Hook by 1669.

It’s worth noting that little is known about Peter Jochimsson, the original settler, aside from his one son, Peter Petersson Yocum and a daughter reported by Craig. He was either unmarried upon arrival and didn’t marry until he gained his freedom in 1652, or he had more children that died, or he had more children that we don’t know about. Craig reports his widow to have been 20 at his death, with two children which opens the possibility that she was a second wife.

It’s also worth noting that we have the other Otto Jönsson “Carringa Olle” who reportedly took the surname Halton. That line also contains a Peter.

The Y DNA

Two Johnson men and the Yocum tester have taken the Big Y-700 test which has a very distinct aging ability. They have the same haplogroup which is shown on the public Discover haplotree, here.

The most recent common ancestor of these men is estimated to have been born about 1750, which would be roughly the generation of our Peter Johnson who was born before 1720 and died in 1790. Given that we don’t know for sure who Peter’s father was, it’s very likely that our Peter Johnson (possibly the son of Oliver) had siblings and uncles, so Johnson becoming phonetically spelled Yocum or vice versa wouldn’t be the least bit surprising in that era, or in the generation(s) prior.

The confidence range and associated dates suggest that the common ancestor of these Johnson/Yokum men was born in New Sweden. If that is accurate, that means that both the Yocum and Johnson testers are either descended from one ancestor in New Sweden, meaning either Peter Jochimsson or Mathias Johnson alias Hutt (assuming the ancestor is one of those two men.) It likely removes the possibility that those two men were related in the old country, especially given that Craig identified Jochimsson’s origins in Schleswig-Holsstein and suggests that Mathias Jönsson/Hutt may have originated near Oslo.

It may be worth mentioning at this point that, according to the mitochondrial DNA matches of Dorcas Johnson and Margaret Johnson, the daughter of Peter Johnson and his wife, Mary Polly Phillips (if that was her name,) their closest matches are clustered in Finland.

That, of course, strongly suggests that Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) probably married the daughter of one of the settler families wherever he was living in the early 1740s when he would have been marrying.

Let’s hope we find that someone descended from another daughter of Peter Johnson and Mary Polly Philips, through all females to the current generation, which can be male or female, to take a mitochondrial DNA test. That match would solidify the relationship of Dorcas and Margaret to Peter Johnson and Mary.

Now, to determine Peter’s ancestors…

Research Activities

Recently, I extracted records for Maryland and Virginia Counties when I visited the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City. Why Maryland and Virginia? John Dobkins, the father of Jacob and Evan Dobkins is first found in the Monocacy Valley of Maryland before migrating in the early 1730s to what was at that time Frederick County, VA with Jost Hite, one of the early land speculators. Frederick County became Augusta and Dunmore, which eventually became Shenandoah County. John Dobkins lived in Dunmore which is where both Darcus Johnson married Jacob Dobkins and Margaret Johnson married Evan Dobkins in 1775. The Dobkins family is connected with (and probably related to) the Riley Moore family who was found in Prince George’s County, MD, adjacent to Cecil County. Frederick County, MD was once part of Prince George’s County, and Frederick County MD is where Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) is found owning land, on the border with Pennsylvania – Josh Hite’s stomping ground.

Frederick County, VA is chocked full of settlers from Cecil County, Prince George’s County and Frederick County, MD. Furthermore, many New Jersey Quakers moved to Frederick County, VA and established the Hopewell Meeting House. It would make sense that Peter Johnson’s family, perhaps him or maybe his siblings and uncles would make their way down that same path leading to land on the next frontier.

I was tracking Johnsons by the first names we’re familiar with, plus Isaac Johnson who is found associated with John Dobkins in Shenandoah County, VA, as was John Johnson. I found two other records for Isaac Johnson in Frederick County, one in 1751 as a witness to the will of Adam Warner, and one in 1769 as a legatee of Ralph Thompson who also had a son named Isaac. Additionally, there’s an Isaac Johnson in Cumberland County, PA but there’s nothing to suggest that these are the same man. John Johnson was a very common name and I ran out of time.

Somehow, Peter Johnson HAD to be in the Dunmore County neighborhood in 1775 for his two daughters to marry John Dobkins’ sons. There is no record of Peter in Dunmore County in 1775, but the existing records are incomplete. In 1778, Dunmore became Shenandoah.

Was Peter related to either Isaac or John Johnson who were associated with John Dobkins? I wish I had the answer to that. Two of one’s daughters did not marry two sons of a family you weren’t acquainted with, in a location where you weren’t living. Courting required proximity. Of course, the Revolutionary War was interfering with just about everything, so who knows why Peter Johnson might have been in Virginia in 1775. The county records are incomplete during this time, and the entire country was in an uproar.

Peter Johnson sold his land on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border in 1769 and 1770 although his adult son Richard (Derrick) remained in that location, at least for a while. Peter’s Brethren neighbors in Maryland moved to Holman Creek in Dunmore/Shenandoah County, directly adjacent John Dobkins, becoming his neighbors.

One Peter Johnson is found in Bedford County, PA in 1772, but it’s doubtful that this is the same man since he’s listed as a single freeman. Other than that, Peter’s entirely missing from 1773 when he’s found in Rostravener Township, PA, which is all of SW Pennsylvania, until 1783 when he’s found again in the same location. Part of Rostravener became Allegheny County in 1780, where Peter Johnson eventually settled and died a decade later.

In 1776, one Peter Johnson swears an oath of allegiance in Cumberland Co., PA, but our Peter had already left. Peter Johnson is not a terribly unusual name.

One of the earlier Johnson books states that Peter came from Winchester, VA which is found in Frederick Co., VA where there is an early mention of a Peter Johnson. In 1773, according to Eric Johnson, one Richard and Priscilla Johnson mention their son Peter in a deed, although that may well be a younger man. I do not have that record, nor know where they lived.

In other words, the very best clue we have as to where Peter Johnson was found in 1775 is where his two daughters were married to Dobkins men.

In addition to these recent research activities, I have a friend who has been helping me search for tidbits high and low. I’m still processing the information she has sent. Maybe there’s something more hidden there.

Followup

I’ve written to the matches of my Johnson cousins asking if they will share their genealogy, or at least as much as they know.

I’d surely love to see additional Johnson and Yokum men take Y-DNA tests, and those who match our line upgrade to the Big Y-700. Perhaps, between more refined time tree placement in addition to jointly working on genealogy and sharing resources, we can isolate one lineage and eliminate the other. That alone would be a victory!

I’m still chiseling at this brick wall, bit by bit!

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Relatives at RootsTech – How to Use & Connect with DNA

Relatives at RootsTech is back and I’m so very glad to see it.

Let me show you how to use this wonderful tool, including tips for how to get even more out of the experience.

It’s important to start now to accumulate your cousins, because there’s a display limit of 300 in each category, so you’ll want to begin recording your findings so that as more people sign up and are added to your list, you don’t “lose” the earlier relatives.

Let’s start with my link. Click here.

You’ll be prompted to sign in to your FamilySearch account, or create one. If you don’t have an account, create one now.

Right now, the number of participants is doubling every few days.

Let’s take a look at how Relatives at RootsTech works and how it can benefit you.

Surnames

At first glance, the surname tool doesn’t look terribly exciting, but there’s a hidden gem, especially for newer genealogists.

I entered my surname and one other, knowing there is probably no common locations other than the US. Kvochick is very rare and unique.

The results show two interesting things. First, the genesis of the surname, and second, the total number of people in the FamilySearch tree in both of the common locations for both surnames.

Be sure to try variant spellings too.

After you sign in, you’ll be asked to update your profile which is how you join in on the fun. If you signed up for Relatives at RootsTech last year, that doesn’t count for this year. You need to opt-in for this year’s festivities.

RootsTech Relatives

After you sign in, you’ll see how many of your relatives have joined.

Of the 60,461 total who have joined, according to the FamilySearch tree, I’m related to about 15% of them. That sure gives new perspective to how many people we’re related to. And just think if those brick walls didn’t exist. We’d be related to just about everyone. Far enough back, we’re all related, literally.

Your Relatives at RootsTech are displayed in three ways.

By location, ancestor or family line.

Relatives by Location

Your first view will be by all locations (including people who did not select a location,) but displayed in closest to most distant relationship order. For me, that’s the most interesting part.

These people, my closest relatives, are the people most likely to have critical pieces of information that I don’t have or know about. Like family stories, or photos, for example.

I know one of these people, but not the rest. I’m dying to know who they are and how we are related.

For me, the map itself isn’t terribly useful, but it would be if some members of your family were from distinct locations.

Not everyone opts in to have their location displayed. The “173” in the center is the people who generically selected United States.

Relatives by Family Line

The Family Line display shows you the number of people by parent or grandparent. Unfortunately, you can only view 300 of your matches in each line, which is disappointing.

However, there’s a better way to view your relatives.

Relatives by Ancestor

For me, the best way to view relatives is by ancestor. This also circumvents the 300 limit to some extent, unless you have more than 300 relatives for any one ancestor.

I have two relatives who also descend from Curtis Benjamin Lore. It’s Jen and Jill again, my closest relatives.

I’m quite interested in these people, because Curtis is my great-grandfather and he was a very interesting man. I know Jen and Jill are interested in genealogy too, or they would not have signed up for RootsTech Relatives, this year, in the past few days. This is not a stale list.

I’ll be messaging them as soon as I’m finished with this article!!!

Please note that FamilySearch does not label half-relationships accurately.

Jen and Jill are my HALF second cousins twice removed, which will affect the expected amount of shared DNA. Their ancestors, Edith and Maude were half-sisters through their father, not full sisters. One of the reasons I’m so interested in communicating with Jen and Jill is because I’m not at all sure that those half-sisters knew each other existed.

Maintaining Contact

For each relative found, you can view your relationship, message them, or add them to your contact list. Be aware – your contact list “saves” this person, but it does not tell you how you’re related. That’s where either a Word document, with screen shots of how you’re related, or a spreadsheet where you can detail that information is important.

If you have messaged people in the past, those messages are still in your message box in the upper right-hand corner.

I generally provide my email address when I message relatives.

Displaying the Relationship

If you click on the “Relationship” button, you’ll see how FamilySearch believes you’re related to each match.

My relationship with an Acadian cousin, beginning with our common ancestor, is shown above. Grab a screen shot so you can remember. I drop them into a spreadsheet or Word document.

These matches are based on FamilySearch’s one world type of tree. I don’t have to tell you to be cautious because, like any tree, there are erroneous connections. This connection, at least on my side (left hand,) seems to be accurate. I don’t have Jeanne Chebrat’s second marriage to Jehan Piorier in my file, so I’ll need to check that out. Many times FamilySearch, WikiTree, Ancestry, or MyHeritage has connected documents or sources. In this case, here’s the WikiTree entry for Jeanne.

See, I’ve found something interesting already.

Search for People

On the toolbar, if you click on the right arrow, you’ll notice there’s one more option – Search.

If you think one your cousins might be attending, either virtually or in person, you can search by surname. I entered Estes out of curiosity.

This is quite interesting, because some other poor soul is also named Roberta Estes. You KNOW I’ll be messaging her. I’m pretty sure I know who this is, because we’ve been getting mixed up for years. Unless, of course there are actually three of us interested in genealogy.

However, where this Search option really shines is if you’re looking for males who descend from a particular line as candidates for Y-DNA testing.

Bingo!

I suggest doing this name search for each surname in your tree.

The Share Button is Critically Important

Sharing is the key to encouraging people to participate.

This button on the main page is how I generated the link for you to use to see if we’re related.

There’s a “Share” button in several locations. However, you’ll want to be sure you know exactly what you’re sharing. In some cases, it will be the surname comparison information or other information that you’re viewing. 

However, on the bottom of your Relatives pages, Share will generate a message link to/through several programs or apps so people can sign in to see if they are related to you.

You can also just copy the link and send it to someone in a text message or otherwise.

If you generate a message to share, you’ll see what will be posted, so you’ll know for sure exactly what you’re sharing. I wanted to post the link for my friends on Facebook to see if we are related, and that’s exactly what was generated.

If you follow the link to see if we are related, be sure to tell me, or anyone else whose link you follow.

Next, Connect with DNA

Relatives for RootsTech is a wonderful segway into DNA testing.

Remember, with the 300-relative limit, different searches will produce different results including people that won’t be included due to the 300 limit in other searches. Be creative and search in multiple ways. Add your relatives to your spreadsheet or Word document, then record whether they’ve DNA tested, at which vendor(s) and if you match there.

There are various ways to utilize Relatives at RootsTech for DNA.

  • Y-DNA candidates for the direct paternal line for males – The Search by surname can provide you with Y-DNA testing candidates. They may already have tested their Y-DNA with FamilyTreeDNA or their autosomal DNA with at least one vendor, so just message them and ask. Tell them which databases you’re in. Viewing Relatives by Ancestor can be very useful for this same purpose, especially if you have multiple unrelated lines with the same surname.
  • Mitochondrial DNA – the Relatives by Ancestor tool is very useful for locating mitochondrial DNA testing candidates, especially since you can easily see how they are descended from your common ancestor. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from women through all females to the current generation, which can be male or female. Any of your cousins, of either sex, are candidates so long as they descend from your target ancestor through all females.
  • DNA Pedigree Chart – If you’re building your own DNA Pedigree Chart with the Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA of each ancestral line, consider offering a DNA testing scholarship to people who carry those lines that are missing in your DNA Pedigree Chart.
  • Testing Candidates – Anyone is a good candidate for autosomal testing. No second cousin or closer has ever not matched. Ask your cousins if they have tested and tell them which DNA databases you are in. Furthermore, suggest that they upload their DNA to FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage for free to utilize their tools and find matches that aren’t in the other databases. GEDmatch isn’t a testing company, but is another free database where you may find people who tested at Ancestry. Unfortunately, Ancestry does not provide segment information for matching or painting, so hopefully you’ll be able to find your Ancestry matches elsewhere.
  • Databases – Be sure you’re in all of the databases (Ancestry, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage and GEDmatch) so you can be found and you can find your relatives.
  • DNAPainter – If you’re painting your segments at DNAPainter, you can paint your matching segments from 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage or GEDmatch. Ancestry is the only vendor that does not provide matching segment information for their customers.
  • DNA Search – If your cousin has used their actual name when registering at FamilySearch, sort by ancestor, then search your DNA matches at the various vendors for that cousin’s name. The beauty of Relatives at RootsTech is that the relationship is already sorted by ancestor, so that piece of the puzzle has already been assembled for you, which is exactly the opposite of most DNA matches. Of course, this does not preclude errors or connections through multiple ancestors.

Limited Time – March 31 is the End

If I had a FamilySearch genie and could get one wish, it would be that they would leave Relatives for RootsTech up and available until the next RootsTech. I need time to work on these relationships.

However, that’s not the case, and Relatives for RootsTech ends on March 31st.

Therefore, it’s important to begin building your spreadsheet, or however you’re going to record your relatives, NOW. Check your list often so none of those precious matches will roll off of your list and become unavailable. Access to the complete relative match list, meaning no 300 limit would be my second wish from the FamilySearch genie.

To preserve the ability to communicate with your relatives, message them now or at least add them to your contact list – WITH A NOTE IN YOUR SPREADSHEET AS TO HOW YOU’RE RELATED. Otherwise, that information will not be available after March 31st.

You’ll want to use the same spreadsheet from year to year, as some of the relatives signing up this year probably did last year too.

Ready, Set, Relatives at RootsTech

Have fun. Be sure to let me know if we’re related and how!!!

____________________________________________________________

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Concepts: Your Matches on the Same Segment are NOT Necessarily Related to Each Other

Just because two (or more) people match you on the same segment does NOT mean they are related to each other.

This is a fundamental concept of DNA matching and of using a chromosome browser.

I want to make this concept crystal clear.

This past week, I’ve had two people contact me with the same question that’s based up on a critical misunderstanding, or maybe just lack of understanding.

It’s not intuitive – in fact, it’s counter-intuitive. I understand why they don’t understand.

It seems logical that if two or more people show up as a match to you on the chromosome browser, on the same segment, you’ve hit a home run and all you need to do is to identify their common ancestor who will also be your common ancestor, or at least related. Right?

NOT SO FAST!

Let’s walk through this, step-by-step. Once you “get it,” you’ll never forget it, and you can use this to help other people understand too. Please notice there are lots of links here to other articles I’ve written if you need refreshers or help with terms.

Yay! – I’ve Got Matches

OK, so you’ve just discovered that you have a close match with three people, on the same segment. You’re thrilled! Maybe you’re trying to identify your grandparent, so first or second cousin matches are VERY exciting for you.

They are also close enough matches with large enough segments that you don’t need to worry about false positive matches, meaning identical by chance.

Let’s take a look. I’m using FamilyTreeDNA because that’s where the majority of my family has tested, plus they have a nice chromosome browser and their unique matrix tool.

We have three nice-sized matches to people estimated to be my first or second cousins. I’ve selected all three and compared them in the chromosome browser. The large red match is 87 cM and the blue and teal matches are 39 cM each, and completely within the 87 cM segment, so completely overlapping.

I’ve hit the mother-lode, right?

All I need to do is identify THEIR common ancestor and I’ll surely find mine.

Right???

Nope

Just because they all three match ME on this same segment does NOT mean they all match each other and are from the same side of my family. All three people DO NOT NECESSARILY have the same ancestor. From this information alone, we cannot tell.

I know this seems counterintuitive, especially since you’re seeing them all on MY chromosomes – which are the background pallet.

However, remember that I have two chromosomes. One from my father and one from my mother.

These matches are ALWAYS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE TESTER.

So, I’m going to see matches in exactly the same location – matches on my mother’s chromosome and matches on my father’s chromosomes – painted on the same segment locations of my chromosome.

Let’s prove that in the simplest of ways.

Mom and Dad

This is my kit, compared with my Dad and Mom.

I only took a screen shot of my first several chromosomes, but you can see that I match both of my parents on the full length of each chromosome – on the same exact segments.

I am the background – the pallet upon which my matches are painted.

First, my father is painted, then my mother – their match to me displayed on my chromosomes.

I assure you, my father and mother are NOT related to each other. I’ll prove it.

I could simply select one parent, then look for the other parent on the shared matches list.

Or, I could use the Matrix tool, especially if I wanted to see if a group of people are related to me and also to each other.

The Matrix

The Matrix tool is available under “See More,” in the Autosomal DNA Results & Tools section.

The Matrix allows you to select 10 or fewer matches to see if they are matches to each other. We already know they are matches to you.

I added my parents into the matrix.

My parents do not match each other, meaning they are not genetically related, because their intersecting cell is not blue.

Next, let’s select those three other people I match and see if they match each other.

Yes indeed, we can see that Cheryl and Donald match each other, but Amos matches NEITHER Cheryl nor Don. Yet, the segments of Cheryl and Donald, who had the 39 cM blue and teal segments on the chromosome browser fall entirely within Amos’s 87 cM segment.

Therefore, if Cheryl and Donald do not match Amos, that means that Cheryl and Donald are from one side of my family, and Amos is from the other. This is absolutely true in this instance because we are comparing the exact same segment on my DNA, so everyone has to match me maternally or paternally, or by chance (IBC.) The segment size alone removes the possibility of IBC.

Each parent gave me one copy of chromosome 4, so everyone who matches me on chromosome 4 must match one or the other parent on that chromosome segment.

I’ve added my parents back into the comparison, at the bottom, with the three matches on chromosome 4. Now you can see that same segment again, and everyone matches me, parents included, of course.

There’s no way to tell the difference whether the blue, red and teal match is on my mother’s or father’s side without additional information.

Again, let’s prove it.

Everybody, Let’s Dance

I added my Mom and Dad back into the matrix.

You can see that Mom and Cheryl and Donald all match each other, plus me of course, by inference because these are my matches.

You can see that Amos and my Dad match each other, and me of course, but not the other people.

Settled

So, we’ve settled that, right.

In my case, I could provide this great example, because I do in fact have parental tests to use for comparison.

You can see when I remove my Dad and Amos that Cheryl and Donald and my Mom all match each other. If I were to remove my Mom, Cheryl and Donald would match each other.

If I remove Mom, Donald and Cheryl, Dad and Amos match each other.

Of course, you may not have either of your parents’ DNA to use as an anchor for matching. You may, in fact, be searching for a parent or close relative.

If you do have “anchor people,” by all means, use them. In fact, upload or create a tree, link your anchor people and as many others as possible to their profiles in your tree at FamilyTreeDNA so your matches will be automatically bucketed, meaning assigned maternally or paternally. FamilyTreeDNA is the only company that offers linking and triangulated bucketing.

But, if you’re searching for your parents or know nothing about your family, you won’t have an anchor point, so what’s next?

What’s Next?

Using a combination of matching, shared matches and the matrix, you can create your own grouping of matches.

My suggestion is to start with your 10 closest matches.

Pull all 10 into the matrix.

Remember, you will match these people across your chromosomes. The only question the matrix answers is “do my matches match each other,” and a “yes” doesn’t’ necessarily mean they match each other on the same line you match either or both of them on.

I’ve noted how each person is related to me.

You can see that there’s a large block of matches on my paternal side. Some are labeled “Father- both.” These people are related both maternally and paternally to my father, because either the families intermarried, or they are descendants of my paternal grandparents.

Three, Donald, Dennis and Cheryl are related on my mother’s side, but it’s worth noting that Dennis doesn’t match Cheryl or Donald. That doesn’t mean he’s not on my mother’s side, it simply means he descends through her maternal line, not the paternal line like Donald and Cheryl. Remember, we’re not comparing people who match on the same chromosome this time – we’re comparing my closest matches across all chromosomes, so it makes sense that my mother’s maternal matches won’t match her paternal matches, but they would both match Mom if she were in the matrix. Clearly they all match me or they would not be in my match list in the first place.

You could also run a Genetic Affairs AutoCluster or AutoTree to cluster your matches for you into groups, although you can’t select specifically which individuals to include, except by upper and lower thresholds.

Regardless of the method you select, you still need to do the homework to figure out the common ancestors, but it’s a lot easier knowing who also match each other.

Circling Back to the Beginning

Now, when you see those two or three or more people all matching you on the same segment on the chromosome browser, you KNOW that you can’t immediately assume they match you and therefore are all related to each other. It’s possible, and even probable that some of them will match you because they match your mother’s chromosome and some will match your father’s chromosome – so they are from different sides of your family.

The Matrix tool shows you, for groups of 10 or less, who also matches each other.

What you are doing by determining if multiple people share common segments and match each other is triangulation. I wrote about triangulation at each company in the articles below:

Unfortunately, Ancestry does not provide a chromosome browser, so triangulation is not possible, but Ancestry does provide shared matching with some caveats. However, some Ancestry customers do upload their DNA file to FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage or GEDmatch. You can find step-by-step download/upload instructions for all vendors, here.

Additional Resources

You’ve probably noticed there are lots of links in this article to other articles that I’ve written. You might want to go back and take a look at those if you’re in the process of educating yourself or need help wrapping your head around the “same segment address – two parents – your matches are not created equal” phenomenon.

Here are a couple of additional articles that will help you understand matching on both parents’ sides, and how to get the most out of matching, segments, triangulation and chromosome browsers.

I prepared a triangulation resource summary article, here:

Enjoy!!
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Y DNA Genealogy Case Study: SNPs, STRs & Autosomal – Why the Big Y-700 Rocks!

An expanded version of this article, including the genealogical aspects written for the Speak family, is available here. There is significantly more DNA information and analysis in this article, including STR values and autosomal analysis which can sometimes augment Y DNA results.

In 2004, 18 years ago, I founded the Speak(e)(s) Family DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA in collaboration with the Speaks Family Association (SFA).

The goal of the Association broadly was to share research and to determine if, and how, the various Speak lines in America were related. The “rumor” was that the family was from England, but no one knew for sure. We didn’t even know who was actually “in” the family, or how many different families there might be.

The good news is that to answer these types of questions, you don’t need a huge study, and with today’s tools, you certainly don’t need 18 years. Don’t let that part scare you. In fact, any Speak(e)(s) man who takes a Y-DNA test today will have the answer plopped into his lap thanks to earlier testers.

When I established the Speaks DNA Project, our goal was stated, in part, as follows:

This project was begun to determine the various Speak(e)(s) lines around the world. According to family legend, the original ancestor came to England with William the Conqueror and his last name then was L’Espec. It was later spelled Speke and then the derivatives of Speake, Speak, Speakes, and Speaks carried by descendants today.

We knew there was a Thomas Speak (c1634-1681) who settled in St. Mary’s County, MD by 1661 and had two sons, John the InnKeeper or InnHolder (1665-1731) and Bowling (c1674-1755), named after his mother’s birth surname.

Fast forwarding two or three generations, my ancestor, Nicholas Speak or Speaks was born about 1782 and was first found in Washington County, Virginia in 1804 when he married Sarah Faires. That’s a long way from Maryland. Who was Nicholas? Who were his parents? How did Nicholas get to Washington County, Virginia? There aren’t any other Speaks men, or women, in Washington County. Was he dropped fully grown by the stork?

In 2005, I attended my first Speaks Family Association Convention and gave an introductory talk about Y-DNA. Speaks males volunteered to test.

By the 2006 Convention, we had 8 Y-DNA testers.

At first, everything was fine. Two testers each from Thomas the Immigrant through sons John and Bowling.

  • Thomas, Bowling and then two different sons. They matched.
  • Thomas, John, and his son Richard. They matched too.
  • All four men above match each other.

Everything’s good, right?

Not so fast…

Then, a father/son pair tested who were also supposed to descend from the Thomas, Bowling, and Thomas line. Thankfully, they matched each other, but they did NOT match the other descendants of Thomas the Immigrant.

Because we had multiple men through both of Thomas the Immigrant’s sons, we had confirmed the Y-DNA STR marker signature of Thomas – which means that the father/son pair had experienced a genetic disconnect, or, they were actually descended from a different Speak line.

That wasn’t all though. Two more men tested who believed they descended from Thomas the Immigrant through John and then Richard. They didn’t match each other, nor any of the other men either.

This was a difficult, painful situation, and not what was anticipated. Of course, I reviewed the results privately with the men involved before presenting them at the convention, and only did so with their permission.

In an effort to identify their genealogical lines, we discovered seven other mentions of early colonial Speak immigrants, including one named Thomas.

Over time, we would discover additional Y-DNA genetic Speak lines.

Bonus Cousin

Y-DNA also revealed an amazing new cousin, Henry, who didn’t know who his father was, but thanks to DNA, discovered he is a genetic Speaks AND identified his father.

In 2006, our Y-DNA haplogroup was known only as I1b1. We knew it was fairly rare and found in the rough Dinaric Alps border region between Bosnia and Croatia.

We weren’t wrong. We were just early. Our ancestors didn’t stop in the Alps.

Haplogroups have come a long way since that time.

Today, using the new maps in the Discover tool, the migration path into Europe-proper looks like this.

By the 2009 Convention, more Speaks men were taking Y-DNA tests, but we still had no idea where the Speaks line originated overseas.

The Holy Grail

The Holy Grail of Y-DNA testing is often a match with a man either from the “old country,” wherever that is, or someone who unquestionably knows where their ancestor is from. Through a match with them, other testers get to jump the pond too.

In early 2010, a man in New Zealand was interested in taking a Y-DNA test and knew where, in England, his ancestors originated.

A few weeks later, the New Zealand tester matched our Thomas Speaks, the Immigrant, line, which meant our ancestors might be from where his ancestors were from. Where was that?

Gisburn.

Gisburn? Where the heck was Gisburn?

Gisburn

Gisburn is a tiny, ancient village in Lancashire, England located in the Ribble Valley on the old Roman road. It appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Ghiseburne and is believed to have been established in the 9th century.

This was no longer speculation or unsourced oral history, but actual genetic evidence.

We knew that Thomas Speake, the Immigrant, was Catholic. Maryland was a safe haven for Catholics hoping to escape persecution in England.

Thomas was rumored to have been born to a John, but we had no idea where that rumor arose.

Was our Thomas born in Gisburn too?

Shortly, we discovered that St. Mary’s Church in Gisburn held 50 marked Speaks burials in addition to many unmarked graves.

Next, we discovered that the records of St. Mary’s and All Saints Church in Whalley, eleven miles from Gisburn, held pages and pages of Speak family records. The earliest Speak burial there was in 1540.

In 2011, the SFA Convention was held near Thomas and Bowlng Speak’s land in Charles County, Maryland. My Convention presentation contained a surprise – the information about our Gisburn match, and what we had found. A Y-DNA match, plus church records, and graves. How could that get better?

I showed this cemetery map from St. Mary’s Church in Gisburn, where our New Zealand cousin’s family was buried.

It felt like we were so excruciatingly close, but still so far away.

We knew unquestionably that we were in the neighborhood, but where was our Thomas born?

Who was his family?

I closed with this photo of St. Mary’s in Gisburn and famously said, “I don’t know about you, but I want to stand there.”

It was a throw-away comment, or so I thought, but as it turned out, it wasn’t.

2013 – The Trip Home

Gisburn

Two years later, our Convention was held in Lancashire, and indeed, I got to stand there.

So did our Speak cousin from New Zealand whose Y-DNA test bulldozed this brick wall for us. To be clear, had this ONE PERSON not tested, we would NOT have known where to dig for records, or where to visit.

St. Mary’s Church was surrounded by the cemetery, with many Speak stones. The church itself was built as a defensive structure sometime before 1135 with built-in arrowslits for archers in many locations, including the tower. Our family history was thick and rich here.

St. Mary’s Church in Whalley

Our next stop was St. Mary’s Church in Whalley, where Henry Speke was granted a lease in 1540.

This church is ancient, built in the 1200s, replacing an earlier church in the same location, and stunningly beautiful.

The little green men carved into the wooden choir seats are a wink and a nod to an earlier pagan era. Our ancestors would have known that era too.

In addition to the churches in Gisburn and Whalley, we visited St. Leonard’s Church in Downham which is a chapelry of the church in Whalley.

Downham

This church, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, proved to be quite important to our hunt for family.

Downham, on the north side of Pendle Hill was small then, and remains a crossroad village today with a population of about 150 people, including Twiston.

Twiston is located less than 3 miles away, yet it’s extremely remote, at the foot or perhaps on the side of Pendle Hill.

During our visit, Lord Clitheroe provided us with a transcription of the Downham church records wherein one Thomas Speak was baptized on January 1, 1633/34, born to Joannis, the Latin form of John, in nearby Twiston.

Is this Thomas our Thomas the Immigrant who was born about that same time? We still don’t know. There are clues but they are inconclusive and some conflict with each other.

Records in this area are incomplete. A substantial battle was fought in Whalley in 1643. Churches were often used for quartering soldiers and horses. Minister’s notes could well have been displaced, or books destroyed entirely. There could easily have been more than one Thomas born about this time.

Probate files show that in 1615, “John Speake of Twiston, husbandman” mentions his son William and William’s children, including John who was the administrator of his will. For John to be an administrator, he had to be age 21 or over, so born in 1594 or earlier. Some John Speak married Elizabeth Biesley at Whalley in 1622 and is believed to be the John Speak Sr. recorded in Downham Parish Registers.

The Whalley, Gisburn, and Twiston Speake families are closely connected. The difference may well be that our Thomas’s line remained secretly Catholic, so preferred the “uninhabited” areas of the remote Twiston countryside. Even today, Gisburn is described as being “rural, surrounded by hilly and relatively unpopulated areas.” And that’s Gisburn, with more than 500 residents. Downham is much smaller, about 20% of the size of Gisburn.

What do we know about Twiston?

Twiston

Twiston is too small to even be called a hamlet. The original farm and corn mill was owned originally by Whalley Abbey at least since the 1300s and stands near an old lime kiln, probably in use since Roman times.

This is where you know the earth holds the DNA of your ancestors, and their blood watered the landscape.

When the Speak family lived here, it was considered a “wild and lawless region” by local authorities, probably due in part to its remoteness – not to mention the (ahem) rebellious nature of the inhabitants.

If you were a Catholic, living in a hotbed of “recussants,” and trying to be invisible, Twiston, nestled at the base of Pendle Hill would be a location where you might be able to successfully disappear among those of like mind.

Yes, of course, you’d show up, hold your nose, and baptize your baby in the Anglican church because you needed to, but then you would retreat into the deep hillside woodlands until another mandatory church appearance was required.

The road to Twiston was twisty, rock-lined, and extremely narrow, with rock walls on both sides. If only these ancient buildings and stone walls could speak, share their stories, and reveal their secrets.

Old documents, however, do provide some insight.

This document, originally penned in Latin, was provided by the Lancashire archives.

John Speak, in 1609, was a farmer, with a house (messauge), garden, orchard, 10 acres of farmland, 5 of meadow, and 10 acres of pasture.

Indeed, Twiston is where John Speak lived. If the Thomas born in Twiston to Joannis, Latin for John, in 1633 and baptized on January 1, 1633/34 in old St. Leonard’s Church in Downham is our Thomas, this is his birth location.

For our family, this is, indeed, hallowed ground.

Local Testers

Prior to our visit, we published small ads in local newspapers and contacted historical societies. We found several Speak(e)(s) families and invited them to dinner where the after-dinner speaker explained all about DNA testing. You probably can’t see them clearly, but there are numerous DNA kits lying on the table, just waiting for people to have a swab party.

Our guests brought their family histories, and one of those families traced their line to…you guessed it…Twiston.

Five men from separate Speak families tested. None of them knew of any connection between their families, and all presumed they were not related.

I carried those men’s DNA tests back in my hand luggage like the gold that they were.

They were wrong. All five men matched each other’s Y-DNA and our Thomas Speake line. We got busy connecting the dots genealogically, as best we could given the paucity of extant records.

  • Two of our men descended from Henry Speak born in 1650 who married Alice Hill and lived in Downham/Twiston.
  • Two of our men descended from John Speak born about 1540 who married Elina Singleton and lived in Whalley.
  • Two of our men, including our New Zealand tester, descend from John born sometime around 1700, probably in Gisburn where his son, James, was born about 1745.

We indeed confirmed that we had found our way “home” and that our Speake family has lived there a long time. But how long?

2022 DNA Analysis

Today, the Speaks family DNA Project has 146 members comprised of:

  • 105 autosomal testers
  • 32 Speak Y-DNA testers
  • 24 of whom are Thomas the Immigrant descendants
  • 8 Big Y testers

Over the years, we’ve added another goal. We need to determine HOW a man named Aaron Lucky Speaks is related to the rest of us.

Autosomal DNA confirms that Aaron Luckey is related, but we need more information.

Aaron Lucky is first found in 1787 purchasing land and on the 1790 Iredell County, NC census. We finally located a Y-DNA tester and confirmed that his paternal line is indeed the Lancashire Speaks line, but how?

After discovering that all 5 Lancashire Speaks men descend from the same family as Thomas the Immigrant, we spent a great deal of time trying to both sort them out, and tie the family lines together using STR 25-111 markers, with very limited success.

Can Y-DNA make that connection for us, even though the records can’t?

Yes, but we needed to upgrade several testers, preferably multiple people from each line to the Big Y-700 test.

The Y-DNA Block Tree

When men take or upgrade to a Big Y-700 DNA test, they receive the most detailed information possible, including all available (700+) STR markers plus the most refined haplogroup, including newly discovered mutations in their own test, placing them as a leaf on the very tip of their branch of the tree of mankind.

The only other men “in that branch neighborhood” are their closest relatives. Sometimes they match exactly and are sometimes separated by a single or few mutations. Testers with 30 or fewer mutations difference are shown on the Block Tree by name. Eight Speaks men have taken or upgraded to the Big Y test, providing information via matching that we desperately needed.

This Big Y block tree view shown below is from the perspective of a descendant of Nicholas Speaks (b1782) and includes the various mutations that define branches, shown as building blocks. Each person shown on the Block Tree is a match to the tester with 30 or fewer mutations difference.

Think of haplogroups as umbrellas. Each umbrella shelters and includes everything beneath it.

At the top of this block tree, we have one solid blue block that forms an umbrella over all three branches beneath it. The top mutation name is I-BY14004, which is the haplogroup name associated with that block.

We have determined that all of the Speak men descended from the Lancashire line are members of haplogroup I-BY14004 and therefore, fall under that umbrella. The other haplogroup names in the same block mean that as other men test, a new branch may split off beneath the I-BY14004 branch.

Next, let’s look at the blue block at far left.

The Lancashire men, meaning those who live there, plus our New Zealand tester, also carry additional mutations that define haplogroup I-BY14009, which means that our Thomas the Immigrant line split off from theirs before that mutation was formed.

They all have that mutation, and Thomas didn’t, but he has a mutation that they don’t. This is how the tree forms branches.

Thomas the Immigrant’s line has the mutation defining haplogroup I-FTA21638, forming an umbrella over both of Thomas the Immigrant’s sons – meaning descendants of both sons carry this mutation.

Bowling’s line is defined by haplogroup I-BY215064, but John’s line does not carry this mutation, so John’s descendants are NOT members of this haplogroup, which turns out to be quite important.

We are very fortunate that one of Thomas’s sons, Bowling, developed a mutation, because it allows us to differentiate between Bowling and his brother, John’s, descendants easily if testers take the Big Y test.

Those teal Private Variants are haplogroups-in-waiting, meaning that when someone else tests, and matches that variant, it will be named and become a haplogroup, splitting the tree in that location by forming a new branch.

Aaron Luckey Speak

As you can see, the descendants of Aaron Lucky Speak, bracketed in blue above, carry the Bowling line mutation, so Aaron Luckey descends from one of Bowling’s sons. That makes sense, especially since two of Bowling’s grandsons are also found in Iredell County during the same timeframe and are candidates to be Aaron Luckey’s father.

Here’s a different view of the Big Y testers along with STR Y-DNA testers in a spreadsheet that I maintain.

Thomas the Immigrant (tan band top row) is shown with son, Bowling, who carries haplogroup BY215064. Bowling’s descendants are tan too, near the bottom.

Thomas’s son, John the InnKeeper, shown in the blue bar does NOT have the BY215064 mutation that defines Bowling’s group.

However, the bright green Aaron Lucky line, disconnected at far right, does have the Bowling mutation, BY215064, so this places Aaron Luckey someplace beneath Bowling, meaning his descendant. We just don’t know where he fits yet. The key word is yet.

Can STR Markers Be Utilized for Lineage Grouping?

Sometimes we can utilize STR marker mutations for subgrouping within haplogroups, but in this case, we cannot because STR mutations in this family have:

  • Occurred independently in different lines
  • Potentially back mutated

Between both of these issues, STR mutations are inconsistent and, therefore, in this case, entirely unreliable. I have found this phenomenon repeatedly in DNA projects that I manage where the genealogy line of descent is known and documented.

Let’s analyze the STR mutations.

I’ve created a table based on our 26 Y-DNA testers. However, not everyone tested at 111 markers, so there is a mix.

You can view the Speak DNA Project results, here.

I’ve divided the testers into the same groupings indicated by genealogy combined with the Big Y SNP mutations, which do agree with each other. Those groups are:

  • The Lancaster men that never left, except for the New Zealand tester whose ancestor left just two generations ago. They all share a defining SNP which provides them with an identifying haplogroup that the American line does not have.
  • The Thomas the Immigrant line through son Bowling.
    • The Aaron Luckey line who descends, somehow, from Bowling.
  • The Thomas the Immigrant line through son John the InnKeeper.
  • Two men who have provided no genealogy

We already know that Aaron Luckey descends from Bowling, somehow, but I’m keeping them separate just in case STR values can be helpful.

Let’s look at a total of five STR markers where multiple descendants have experienced mutations and see if we can discern any message. The mutations in the bright yellow Lancashire groups on the project page are summarized and analyzed in the chart, below.

You read the chart below, as follows:

  • For marker DYS-19, the testers who have a value of 16 – then the numbers indicated the number of testers in that group with that value. The Lancaster group has 5, the Bowling group has 7, the Aaron Luckey group has 4, and so forth.
  • The next row, colored the same, shows the value of 17 for marker DYS19.
  • Rows for values of the same marker are colored the same.

This chart does not include several markers where there are one-offs, meaning one mutation in the entire group, or one in each of two different groups that are different from each other. This chart includes markers with mutations that occur in multiple descendants only.

If these mutations were predictive and could be used for lineage assignment, we would expect to see the same mutation only within one of the lines, descended from a common ancestor, consistently, and not scattered across multiple lines.

Let’s start our analysis with the only marker that may be consistently predictive in this group. Marker DYS389ii has an ancestral value of 28, We know this because that value is consistently found in all of the Speaks descendants. A value of 29 is ONLY found in the 4 descendants of Aaron Luckey, and the value of 29 is consistently found in all of his known descendants who have tested. Therefore, it could be predictive.

However, given the nature of STR mutations, it’s difficult to place a lot of confidence in STR-based lineage predictions. Let’s look at the other four markers.

  • Marker DYS19 has a value of 16 in every line, which would be the ancestral value. However, we also find a mutation of 17 in 1 of Bowling’s children, and in 2 of John the InnKeeper’s descendants. That can’t be lineage-defining.
  • Looking at the CDY a/b marker, we find one instance of 35/36, which is a one-off. I wouldn’t have included it if I wasn’t using the other two combinations as examples. The values of 36/36 are found in every line except for the one with no genealogy and only one person has tested at 111 markers. A value of 36/37 is found in only the Bowling line, but not the Aaron Luckey line. The MRCA, or most recent common ancestor between the Bowling descendants is his son, Thomas of Zachia. The best candidates for Aaron Luckey’s father are two of Thomas of Zachia’s sons, but his descendants have a hodgepodge mixture of the two values, so this, again, cannot be a lineage-defining marker.
  • Looking at DYS534, we see a 15 in one of Bowling’s descendants and in 4 of John the InnKeeper’s descendants. Obviously not lineage-specific. There’s a value of 16 in every line which would be ancestral.
  • A value of 33 at DYS710 is found in every lineage, so would be the ancestral value. The value of 34 is found once in each line except for Bowling, which precludes it from being lineage-defining.

Inconsistent lineage results is one of the best reasons to purchase or upgrade to the Big Y-700 test.

Unfortunately, STR placement and lineage determination can be very deceptive and lead genealogists astray. At one time, we didn’t have advanced tools like the Big Y, but today we do.

STR Tests Are Useful When…

To be clear, STR marker tests, meaning the 37 and 111 marker tests available for purchase today, ARE very useful for:

  • Matching other testers
  • Identifying surnames of interest
  • Ruling out a connection, meaning determining that you don’t match a particular line
  • Introductory testing with limited funds that provides matching, a high-level haplogroup, and additional tools. You can always upgrade to the Big Y-700 test.

However, the Big Y-700 is necessary to place groups of people reliably into lineages and determine relationships accurately.

In some cases, autosomal DNA is useful, but in this case, autosomal doesn’t augment Y-DNA due, in part, to record loss and incomplete genealogy in the generations following Thomas of Zachia.

Family Finder Autosomal Analysis

In total, we have the following total Family Finder testers whose genealogy is confirmed:

  • 8 Aaron Luckey
  • 6 Lancashire testers
  • 15 John the InnKeeper testers
  • 33 Bowling testers

An autosomal analysis shows that Aaron Luckey Speak’s descendants match each other (green to green) most closely than they match either of Thomas the Immigrant’s sons, Bowling (tan) or John’s (blue) descendants. We would expect Aaron Luckey’s descendants to match each other the most closely, of course.

The numbers in the cells are total matching centiMorgans/longest segment cM match.

Click on any image to enlarge

Aaron Luckey’s descendants don’t collectively match John or Bowling’s descendants more closely than the other group using centiMorgans as the comparison. Although they match more of Bowling’s descendants (21%) than John’s (13%). This too would be expected since we know Aaron Luckey descends from Bowling’s line, not John’s.

At best, Aaron Luckey’s descendants are 8 or 9 generations removed from a common ancestor with other descendants of Thomas of Zachia, making them 6th or 7th cousins, plus another couple of generations back to Thomas the Immigrant. We can’t differentiate genetically between sibling ancestors or cousin lines at this distance.

Furthermore, we have a large gap in known descendants beneath Thomas of Zachia, other than Charles Beckworth Speak’s son Nicholas’s line. We have at least that many other testers in the project who don’t can’t confirm their Speaks ancestral lineage.

Combining genetic and genealogy information, we know that both Charles Beckworth Speak and Thomas Bowling Speak, in yellow, are found in Iredell County, NC. The children of Thomas of Zachia, shown in purple, are born in the 1730s and any one of them could potentially be the father of Aaron Luckey.

The men in green, including William, Bowling’s other son, are also candidates to be Aaron Luckey’s ancestor, although the two yellow men are more likely due to geographic proximity. They are both found in Iredell County.

We don’t know anything about William’s children, if any, nor much about Edward. John settled in Kentucky. Nicholas (green) stayed in Maryland.

There may be an additional generation between Charles Beckworth Speak (yellow) and Nicholas (born 1782), also named Charles. There’s a lot of uncertainty in this part of the tree.

It seems that Aaron’s middle name of Lucky is likely to be very significant. Aaron Luckey’s descendants may be able to search their autosomal matches for a Luckey family, found in both Iredell County AND Maryland, which may assist with further identification and may help identify Aaron’s father.

If all of the Speak men who took STR tests would upgrade to the Big Y, it’s probable that more branches would be discovered through those Private Variants, and it’s very likely that Aaron Luckey could be much more accurately placed on the tree. Another Aaron Luckey Speak Big Y-700 DNA tester would be useful too.

Connecting the Genetic Dots in England

What can we discern about the Speak family in the US and in Lancashire?

Reaching back in time, before Thomas the Immigrant was born about 1633, what can we tell about the Speak family, how they are connected, and when?

The recently introduced Discover tool allows us to view Y-DNA haplogroups and when they were born, meaning when the haplogroup-defining mutation occurred.

The Time Tree shows the haplogroups, in black above the profile dots. The scientifically calculated approximate dates of when those haplogroups were “born,” meaning when those mutations occurred, are found across the top.

I’ve added genealogical information, in red, at right.

  • Reading from the bottom red dot, Bowling’s haplogroup was born about the year 1660. Bowling was indeed born in 1674, so that’s VERY close
  • Moving back in time, Thomas’s haplogroup was born about 1617, and Thomas himself was born about 1633, but his birth certainly could have been a few years earlier.
  • The Lancashire testers’ common haplogroup was born about 1636, and the earliest known ancestor of those men is Henry, born in Twiston in 1650.
  • The common Speak ancestor of BOTH the Lancashire line and the Thomas the Immigrant line was born about 1334. The earliest record of any Speak was Henry Speke, of Whalley, born before 1520.

The lines of Thomas the Immigrant and the Lancashire men diverged sometime between about 1334, when the umbrella mutation for all Speaks lines was born, and about 1617 when we know the mutation defining the Thomas the Immigrant line formed and split off from the Lancashire line.

But that’s not all.

Surprise!

As I panned out and viewed the block tree more broadly, I noticed something.

This is quite small and difficult to read, so let me explain. At far left is the branch for our Speaks men. The common ancestor of that group was born about 1334 CE, meaning “current era,” as we’ve discussed.

Continuing up the tree, we see that the next haplogroup umbrella occurs about 1009 CE, then the year 850 at the top is the next umbrella, encompassing everything beneath.

Looking to the right, the farthest right blocks date to 1109 CE, then 1318 CE, then progressing on down the tree branch to the bottom, I see one surname in three separate blocks.

What is that name?

Here, let me enlarge the chart for you!

Standish.

The name is Standish, as in Myles Standish, the Pilgrim.

Miles is our relative, and even though he has a different surname, we share a common ancestor, probably before surnames were adopted. Our genetic branches divided about the year 1000.

The Discover tool also provides Notable Connections for each haplogroup, so I entered one of the Speaks haplogroups, and sure enough, the closest Speak Notable Connection is Myles Standish 1584-1656.

And look, there’s the Standish Pew in Chorley, another church that we visited during our Lancashire trip because family members of Thomas Speake’s Catholic wife, Elizabeth Bowling, are found in the Chorley church records.

Our common ancestor with the Standish line was born in about the year 850. Our line split off, as did the Standish line about the year 1000. That’s about 1000 years ago, or 30-40 generations.

Our family names are still found in the Chorley church records

Ancient Connections

The Discover tool also provides Ancient Connections from archaeological digs, by haplogroup.

Sure enough, there’s an ancient sample on the Time Tree named Heslerton 20641.

Checking the Discover Ancient Connections, the man named Heslerton 20641 is found in West Heslerton, Yorkshire, and lived about the year 450-650, based on carbon dating.

The mutation identifying the common ancestor between the Speak/Standish men and Heslerton occurred about 2450 BCE, or 4500 years ago. Twiston and West Heslerton are only 83 miles apart.

Where Are We?

What have we learned from the information discovered through genealogy combined with Big Y testing?

  • We found a Speek family in Whalley in 1385.
  • One of our Lancashire testers descends from a John born about 1540 in Whalley.
  • One of our Lancashire testers descends from Henry born about 1650 in Downham/Twiston
  • Thomas Speake was baptized in Downham and born in Twiston in 1733.
  • Our New Zealand tester’s ancestor was found in Gisburn, born about 1745.

All of these locations are within 15 miles of each other.

  • Chorley, where the Standish family is found in the 1500s is located 17 miles South of Whalley. Thomas Speake’s wife, Elizabeth Bowlings’ family is found in the Chorley church records.

What about the L’Espec origin myth?

  • The Speak family clearly did not arrive in 1066 with the Normans.
  • We have no Scandinavian DNA matches.
  • No place is the surname spelled L’Espec in any Lancashire regional records.
  • The Speak family is in the Whalley/Chorley area by 1000 when the Speak/Standish lines diverged
  • The common ancestor with the Standish family lived about the year 850, although that could have occurred elsewhere. Clearly, their common ancestor was in the Chorley/Whalley area by 1000 when their lines diverged.

The cemetery at Whalley includes Anglo-Saxon burials, circa 800-900. The Speak men, with no surname back then, greeted William the Conqueror and lived to tell the tale, along with their Standish cousins, of course. This, in essence, tells us that they were useful peasants, working the land and performing other labor tasks, and not landed gentry.

Little is known of Lancashire during this time, but we do know more generally that the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic people, arrived in the 5th century when there was little else in this region.

Are our ancestors buried in these and other early Anglo-Saxon graves? I’d wager that the answer is yes. We are likely related one way or another to every family who lived in this region over many centuries.

Y-DNA connected the dots between recent cousins, connected them to their primary line in America, provided a lifeline back to Twiston, Whalley, and Gisburn, and then to the Anglo-Saxons – long before surnames.

Aaron Luckey Speak’s descendants now know that he descends, somehow, from Bowling, likely through one of two sons of Thomas of Zachia. They don’t have the entire answer yet, but they are within two generations, a lot closer than they were before.

And this, all of this, was a result of Big-Y DNA tests. We could not have accomplished any of this without Y-DNA testing.

Our ancestors are indeed speaking across the ages.

We found the road home, that path revealed by the DNA of our ancestors. You can find your road home too.

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In Search of…How Am I Related to That Close Match?

My friend recently reached out to me for some help with a close match at Ancestry. Which vendor doesn’t matter – the process for figuring out who my friend is related to her match would be essentially the same at any vendor.

My friend has no idea who the match is, nor how they are related. That match has not replied, nor is any of her information recognizable, such as an account name or photo. She has no tree, so there are literally no clues provided by the match.

We need to turn to science and old-fashioned sleuthing.

This eighth article in the “In Search of…” series steps you through the process I’m stepping my friend through.

This process isn’t difficult, per se, but there are several logical, sequential steps. I strongly recommend you read through this (at least) once, then come back and work through the process if you’re trying to solve a similar mystery.

The “In Search of…” Series

Please note that I’ve written an entire series of “In Search of…” articles that will step you through the search process and help you understand how to unravel your results. If you’re new, reading these, in order, before proceeding, would be a good idea.

  • I introduced the “In Search of” series in the article, DNA: In Search of…New Series Launches.
  • In the second article, DNA: In Search of…What Do You Mean I’m Not Related to My Family? – and What Comes Next? we discussed the discovery that something was amiss when you don’t match a family member that you expect to match, then how to make sure a vial or upload mix-up didn’t happen. Next, I covered the basics of the four kinds of DNA tests you’ll be able to use to solve your mystery.
  • In the third article, In Search of…Vendor Features, Strengths, and Testing Strategies, we discussed testing goals and strategies, including testing with and uploading to multiple autosomal DNA vendors, Y DNA, and mitochondrial DNA testing. We reviewed the vendor’s strengths and the benefits of combining vendor information and resources.
  • In the fourth article, DNA: In Search of…Signs of Endogamy, we discussed the signs of endogamy and various ways to determine if you or your recent ancestors descend from an endogamous population.
  • In the fifth article, DNA: In Search of…Full and Half-Siblings we discussed how to determine if you have a sibling match, if they are a half or full sibling, and how to discern the difference.
  • In the sixth article, Connect Your DNA test, and Others, to Your Tree, I explained how to optimize your DNA tests in order to take advantage of the features offered by each our primary DNA testing vendors.
  • In the seventh article, How to Share DNA Results and Tree Access at Ancestry, I wrote step-by-step instructions for providing access to another person to allow them to view your DNA results, AND to share your tree – which are two different things. If you have a mystery match, and they are willing to allow you access, in essence “to drive,” you can just send them the link to this article that provides detailed instructions. Note that Ancestry has changed the user interface slightly with the rollout of their new “sides” matches, but I can’t provide the new interface screenshots yet because my account has not been upgraded.

Sarah – The Mystery Match

My friend, who I’ll be calling the Tester, matches Sarah (not her name) at 554 cM. At that close level, you don’t have to worry about segments being removed by Timber at Ancestry, so that is an actual cM match level. Timber only removes segments when the match is under 90 cM. Other vendors don’t remove cMs at all.

Ancestry shows the possible relationships at that level as follows:

Some of these relationships can be immediately dismissed in this situation. For example, the Tester knows that Sarah is not her grandchild or great-grandchild.

Our tester does not have any full siblings, or any known half-siblings, but like many genealogists, she is always open-minded. Both of her parents are living, and her father has already tested. Sarah does not match her father. So, this match is on her mother’s side.

It’s obvious that Sarah is not a full sibling, nor is she a half-sibling, based on the cM values, but she might be a child, or grandchild of a maternal half-sibling.

Let’s begin with observations and questions that will help our Tester determine how she and Sarah are related.

  1. It’s clear that IF this is a half-sibling descendant match, it’s on her mother’s side, because Sarah does not match our Tester’s father.
  2. The tester’s mother has six siblings, none of whom have tested directly, but three of whom have children or grandchildren who have tested.
  3. By viewing shared matches, Sarah matches known relatives of BOTH the maternal grandmother AND maternal grandfather of our tester, which means Sarah is NOT the product of an unknown half-sibling of her mother. Remember, Ancestry does not display shared matches of less than 20 cM. Other vendors do not restrict your shared matches.
  4. Ancestry does not provide mitochondrial DNA information, so that cannot be utilized, but could be utilized if this match was at FamilyTreeDNA, and partially utilized in an exclusionary manner if the match was at 23andMe.

DNAPainter

DNAPainter’s Shared cM Tool provides a nice visual display of possible relationships, so I entered the matching cM amount

The returned relationships are similar to Ancestry’s possible relationships.

The grid display shows the possible relationships. Relationships that fall outside of this probability range are muted.

The color shading is by generation, meaning dark grey is through great-great-grandparents, apricot is through great-grandparents, green is through grandparents, grey is through one or both parents, and blue are your own descendants.

Based on known factors, I put a red X in the boxes that can’t apply to Sarah and our Tester after evaluating each relationship. I bracketed the statistically most likely relationships in red, although I must loudly say, “do not ignore those other possibilities.”

Let’s step through the logic which will be different for everyone’s own situation, of course.

  • Age alone eliminates the great and half-great grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They are all deceased and would be well over 100 years old if they were living.
  • The green half relationships are eliminated because we know via shared matches that Sarah matches BOTH of the Tester’s maternal grandparent’s sides.
  • We know that Sarah is not a second cousin because second cousins match only ONE maternal grandparent’s ancestor’s descendants, and Sarah matches both of the tester’s maternal grandparents through their descendants. In other words, Sarah and our Tester both match people who descend from both of the Tester’s maternal grandmother AND grandfather’s lines, which, unless they are related, means Sarah’s closest common ancestor (MCRA – most recent common ancestor) with our Tester are either her maternal grandparents, or her mother.
  • Therefore, we know that Sarah cannot be any of the apricot-colored relationships because she matches BOTH of our Tester’s maternal grandparents. She would only be related through one of the Tester’s maternal grandparents to be related on the apricot level.
  • Sarah cannot be a full great-niece or nephew, or great or great-great niece or nephew because the Tester has no full siblings, confirmed by the fact that Sarah does not match the Tester’s father.
  • We know that Sarah is not the great-grandchild of the Tester, in part due to age, but the definitive scientific ax to that possibility is that Sarah does not match our Tester’s father. (Yes, our Tester does match her father at the appropriate level.)

We know that Sarah is somehow a descendant of BOTH of Tester’s maternal grandparents, so must be in either the green band of relationships, the grey half-relationships, or the blue direct relationships. All of these relationships would be descended from the Tester’s maternal grandparents (plural.)

We’ve eliminated the blue direct relationship because Sarah does not match the Tester’s father. This removes the possibility that the Tester’s children have an unknown great-grandchild, although in this case, age removes that possibility anyway.

This process-of-elimination leaves as possible relationships:

  • Grey band half niece/nephew and half great-niece/nephew, meaning that the Tester has an unknown half-sibling on their mother’s side whose child or grandchild has tested.
  • Green band first cousin which means that the tester descends from one of the Tester’s maternal aunts or uncles. Given that Sarah is not a known child of any of the Tester’s six aunts and uncles, that opens the possibility that her mother’s sibling has a previously unknown child. Three of the Tester’s mother’s siblings are females, and three are males.
  • Green band first cousin once removed is one generation further down the tree, meaning a child of a first cousin.

Using facts we know, we’ve already restricted the possible relationships to four.

Hypothesis and Shared Matches

In situations like this, I use a spreadsheet, create hypothesis scenarios and look for eliminators.

I worked with the Tester to assemble an easy spreadsheet with each of her mother’s siblings in a column, along with their year of birth. All names have been changed.

The hypothesis we are working with is that the Tester’s mother has a previously unknown child and that Sarah is that person’s child or grandchild.

Across the top of our spreadsheet, which you could also simply create as a chart, I’ve written the names of the maternal grandparents.

The Tester’s mother, Susie, is shown in the boxes that are colored red, and her siblings are listed in their birth order. Siblings who have anyone in their line who has tested are shown by colored boxes.

The Tester is shown in red beneath her mother, Susie, and a potential mystery half-sibling is shown beneath Susie.

This is importantthe relationships shown are FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE TESTER.

This means, at far left, with the red arrow, these people at the top, meaning the mother’s siblings are the Tester’s aunts and uncles.

The next generation down are the Tester’s first cousins, followed by the next row, with 1C1R. The cell colors in that column correspond to the DNAPainter generation columns.

In the red “Mother” group, you’ll see that I’ve included that mystery half-sibling and beneath, the relationships that could exist at that same generation level. So, if the mystery half-sibling had a child, that person would be the half-niece/nephew of the Tester.

The cM value pointed to by the arrows, is the cM value at which the TESTER matches that person.

In this case, Ginger’s son, Jacob matches our Tester at 946 cM, which is exactly normal for a first cousin. Ginger’s son, Aaron, has not tested, but his daughter, Crystal, has and matches our Tester at 445 cM.

Three of the Tester’s aunts/uncles, John, Jim, and Elsie are not represented in this matrix, because no one from their line has yet tested. The Tester has contacted members of those families asking if they will accept a testing scholarship.

Analysis Grids

Some of the children of our Tester’s aunts/uncles have tested, and their matches to Sarah are shown in the bottom row in yellow, on the chart below.

Of course, obtaining Sarah’s matching cM information required the Tester to contact her aunts/uncles and cousins to ask them to look at their match to Sarah at Ancestry.

For each set of relationships with Sarah, I’ve prepared a mini-relationship grid below Sarah’s matches with one of the Tester’s aunts/uncles’ descendants.

  • If Sarah is related to the Tester through an unknown half-sibling, Sarah will match the tester more closely than she will match any of the children of the Tester’s aunts and uncles.
  • If Sarah descends through one of the Tester’s aunts’ or uncles’ lines, Sarah will match someone in those lines more closely than our Tester, but we may need to compensate for generations in our analysis.

I pasted the DNAPainter image in the spreadsheet in a convenient place to remind myself of which relationships are possible between our Tester and Sarah, then I created a small grid beneath the Tester’s match to Sarah, who is the yellow row.

Let me explain, beginning with our Tester’s match to Sarah.

Tester’s Match to Sarah

The Tester matches Sarah at 554 cM, which can potentially be a number of different relationships. I’ve listed the possible relationships with the most likely, at 87%, at the top. I have not listed any relationships we’ve positively eliminated, even though they would be scientifically possible.

I can’t do this for our Tester’s Uncle David, because the Tester has not yet heard back from David’s son, Gary, as to how many cMs he shares with Sarah.

Our tester’s aunts, Ginger and Barbara do have descendants who have tested, so let’s evaluate those relationships.

Ginger and Sarah

We know less about Ginger and Sarah than we do about our Tester and Sarah. However, many of the same relationship constraints remain constant.

  • For example, we know that Sarah matches both of Ginger’s grandparents, because Ginger is our tester’s aunt, Susie’s full sibling.
  • Our tester and all of the other family members who have tested match on both maternal grandparents’ sides.
  • Therefore, we also know that the 2C relationships won’t work either because Sarah matches both maternal grandparents.
  • Based on ages, it’s very unlikely that Sarah is a great-grandchild of Ginger’s children, in part, because I’m operating under the assumption that Sarah is old enough to purchase her own test, so not a child. Ancestry’s terms of service require testers to be 18 years of age to purchase or activate a DNA test. Also, Sarah’s test is not managed by someone else.
  • We don’t know about great-nieces and nephews though, because if one of Ginger’s sibling’s children had an unknown child, that person could be Sarah or Sarah’s parent.

Ginger’s son Jacob

Using the closest match in Ginger’s line, her son Jacob, we find the following possibilities using Jacob’s match to Sarah of 284cM.

The DNAPainter grid shows the more distant relationship clearly.

You can quickly determine that Sarah probably does not descend from Ginger’s line, but let’s add this to our spreadsheet for completeness.

You can see that the MOST likely relationship, of the possible relationships based on our known factors, is 1C2R, which is the least likely relationship between our Tester and Sarah. It’s important to note that our Tester and Jacob are in the same generation, so we don’t need to do any compensating for a generational difference.

Comparing those relationships, you can see that the least likely relationship between Sarah and Jacob is much more likely between Sarah and our Tester.

Therefore, we can rule out Ginger’s line as a candidate. Sarah is not a descendant of Ginger.

Let’s move on to Barbara’s line.

Barbara’s Daughter Cindy

This time, we’re going to do a bit of inferring because we do have a generational difference.

Barbara’s granddaughter, Mary, has tested and matches Sarah at 230 cM. While we know that Sarah probably wouldn’t match Mary’s mother, Cindy, at exactly double that, 460 cM, it would certainly be close.

So, for purposes of this comparison, I’m using 460 cM for Sarah to match Cindy.

That makes this comparison in the same generation as Ginger and our Tester to Sarah. We are comparing apples to apples and not apples to half an apple (an apple once removed, technically, but I digress.) 😊

You can see that this analysis is MUCH closer to the cM amounts and relationship possibilities of Sarah and our Tester.

Here are the possible relationships of Sarah and Cindy, with the most likely being boxed in red.

Where Are We?

Here is my completed spreadsheet, so far, less the two DNAPainter graphs for Ginger and Barbara’s lines.

To date, we’ve eliminated Ginger as Sarah’s ancestor.

Both Susie, the mother of our Tester, and Susie’s sister Barbara are still candidates to have an unknown child based on DNA, or one of their children possibly having an unknown child.

Of course, we still have one more sister, Elsie, and those three silent brothers sitting over there. It’s much easier for a male to have an unknown child than a female. By unknown, in this situation, I mean truly unknown, not hidden.

What’s Needed?

Of course, what we really need is tests from each of Susie’s siblings, but that’s not going to happen. What can we potentially do with what we have, how, and why?

Our Tester can refine these results in a number of ways.

  • Talk to living siblings or other family members and tactfully ask what they know about the four women during their reproductive years. Were they missing, off at school, visiting “aunts” in another location, separated from a spouse, etc.?
  • Check to see if Sarah shared her ethnicity results (View match, then click on “Ethnicity.”) If Sarah has a significant ethnicity that is impossible to confuse, this might be significant. For example, if Sarah is 50% Korean, and one of Susie’s brothers served in Korea, that makes him a prime candidate.
  • If possible, ask John, David, Jim, Ginger, Barbara, and Elsie to take DNA tests themselves. The best test is ALWAYS the oldest generation because their DNA is not yet divided in subsequent generations.
  • If that’s not possible, find a child or grandchild of Elsie, Jim, and John to test.
  • The Tester needs to find out how closely David’s son, Gary matches Sarah, then perform the same analysis that we stepped through above.
  • Ask Ginger’s son, Jacob to see if Sarah also shares matches with the closest family members of the known father of Ginger’s children. One of Ginger’s children could have had an unknown child. This is unlikely, based on what we’ve already determined about Sarah’s match level to Jacob, but it’s worth asking.
  • Ask Barbara’s granddaughter, Mary, to see if she and Sarah share matches with the closest family members of the known father of Barbara’s children. This scenario is much more likely.
  • If the answer is yes to either of the last two questions, we have identified which line Sarah descends from, because she can only descend from both Barbara AND the father of her children if Sarah descends from that couple.
  • If the answer is no, we’ve only eliminated full siblings to Ginger and Barbara’s children, not half-siblings.
  • If our Tester can make contact with Gary, ask him if he and Sarah share matches with David’s wife’s line. One of David’s children could have an unknown child.
  • If our Tester can actually make contact with Sarah, and if Sarah is willing and interested, our Tester can create a list of people to look for in her matches – for example, the spouses’ lines of all of Susie’s siblings. If Sarah matches NONE of the spouses’ lines, then one of Susie’s siblings (our Tester’s aunts/uncles,) or Susie’s mother, has an unknown child. However, if Sarah is a novice tester or genealogist, she might well be quite overwhelmed with understanding how to perform these searches. She may already be overwhelmed by discovering that she doesn’t match who she expected to match. Or, she may already know the answer to this question.
  • It would be easier if Sarah granted our Tester access to her DNA results to sort through all of these possibilities, but that’s not something I would expect a stranger to do, especially if this result is something Sarah wasn’t expecting.

I wrote instructions for providing access to DNA results in the article, How to Share DNA Results and Tree Access at Ancestry.

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Seriously, Addie Browning (1909-1996) is NOT my Father’s Wife – 52 Ancestors #365

Those of you who have followed the escapades and stories about my father know quite well that he was…well…how do I put this graciously? Let’s just say a “ladies man.”

Are you sitting down?

He was married a stunning 13 times. Well, I guess I should put “married” in quotes, because he was not legally married to at least three of those women, and there is at least one more he claimed to have been married to, but no evidence of a marriage has emerged, at least not yet.

My father wasn’t the only player, though, because of the 5 children he believed were his, at least one wasn’t and another one is doubtful:

In this composite photo, my Dad is shown at different ages. Edna and I are positively my father’s children.

  • The first child, Lee Devine, born in 1920 probably was his child, but is long-deceased and had no children, so that can’t be confirmed. I’m left looking for resemblances in photographs. I think I look like Lee.
  • The second and fifth children, my sister Edna and I are my father’s children, as confirmed by DNA.

  • The third child, Violet, was probably not his child, given that I know unquestionably where he was for the first 5-6 weeks of her mother’s pregnancy. And yes, I do mean positively. Unless Violet was born several weeks early, she was almost assuredly not my father’s biological child. The challenge for me is that I have only one very grainy photo and I think she resembles my father more than I do. She looks a great deal like Edna. An artist was kind enough to restore this photo, as best could be achieved without knowing what she looked like.
  • The fourth child, Dave, sadly, was not my father’s son, also proven by DNA. He’s still my brother nonetheless.

I keep watching DNA matches for more potential children, or their children, and now maybe their grandchildren.

All Things Considered…

All things considered…given what I just told you…I wasn’t exactly surprised when another “wife” surfaced a few years back.

Mind you, it was only in trees, so I was pretty dismissive at first.

My initial reaction was, “No, that can’t be right, that’s not my Dad,” but then I remembered just who I was dealing with.

Still, I glanced at the tree and presumed that someone had made a same-name error. It’s easy enough to do.

However, as I began to gather wives for my father like flowers for a bouquet of a dozen roses, one by one, I realized that maybe, just maybe he had more wives, and more children, just waiting to be discovered. And maybe Addie Browning was one of them.

I began to hope, actually. I’d love to have another sibling. It’s nothing short of amazing that given his propensity for getting married that there were only 5 children attributed to him.

Harlan County, Kentucky

The roads from Tennessee to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan were well-traveled. Many southern families moved north in the early 1900s to work. My grandparents were tenant farmers in Indiana beginning in about 1912 – going back “home” as needed to Tennessee.

A few years later, my grandparents divorced and my father joined the military, his ticket “out,” although “out” was only to Michigan.

Over time, for reasons unknown, my father not only traveled back to Claiborne County and eastern Tennessee, he continued his travels on South, to Georgia and Florida, among other places.

Still, he always returned to his parents’ homes.

His mother, Ollie Bolton had moved to Chicago when he was a teenager where she lived until her death in 1955.

His father, William George Estes, had moved back south and settled in Harlan County, Kentucky a few years later, not terribly far from the Cumberland Gap. He and his new bride lived up on Black Mountain, the highest and most remote mountain peak in Kentucky, nestled up against the Virginia border and not far, as the crow flies, from Tennessee.

By iLoveMountains.org – Kentucky Side of Black MountainUploaded by LongLiveRock, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24273071

Black Mountain was rugged, rough, coal mining country. The residents were clannish. Many if not most of the people who lived there were related to one another.

1920

By 1920, my father had been in the Army since 1917 and his first two children, Lee and Edna were on the way. No, they weren’t twins. Two different women were pregnant, and their children were born 3 months apart. Lots of drama in his life!

His father, my grandfather, Will, had remarried to a woman 21 years his junior who just happened to be his first wife’s cousin. According to the census, they were living in Claiborne County, Tennessee, and had an 18-month-old baby.

In the 1930 census, Will had divorced, remarried again, to his second wife’s cousin, taken up moonshining, and was living in a shack high up on Black Mountain with his third wife and their two young children. The census taker managed to miss several of the most remote residences. I’m guessing that no government official was welcome on that part of Black Mountain. In the 1920s, Harlan County had the highest murder rate of any place in the country, fueled by a lethal combination of anger and moonshine.

We know Will was living in Harlan County as early as 1925 when his daughter was born.

Given that William George Estes, my grandfather was well known on Black Mountain and among the Harlan County miners, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to presume that a younger William Estes, a miner, found in the same county, might be his son by the same name.

Yes, there’s that dangerous word – presume.

That’s exactly what I found and has been perpetuating and spawning itself through online trees.

We need evidence. Facts. Trees are not evidence but some trees may contain valuable hints and sources.

Evidence

Ok, what actual evidence do we have? Let’s start with the census.

You can see that on the 1930 census, one William Estes, age 28, so born about 1902, was a coal miner in Harlan County and married to Addie. They had recently married, since their last birthdays in November, and children had not yet blessed their marriage. At least, no children are listed as living with them.

Then a decade later, in the 1940 census, they are still married and have children who were supposedly 12 (but absent in the 1930 census,) 7, 5, 3, and 6 months.

These children were born in approximately 1928, 1933, 1935, 1937, and 1939.

In 1950, the census shows us that William is still working in the coal mine and they had three more children.

The newest children were born about 1943, 1944, and 1949.

These dates are important.

My Father

My father’s first name was William and he was known as Bill. He was born about 1902, sometime between 1901 and 1903, depending on which document you reference and what suited his fancy at the time. The only consistent part is the date, October 1.

Addie’s William was born about the same time, also in Tennessee.

I can certainly understand why someone attached the wrong William to poor Addie.

I really scrutinized these records closely, because my father was married to more than one woman at a time, at least twice. Yea, I know, that sounds like a country song doesn’t it!

Apparently, he came and went and was home long enough to not arouse “enough” suspicion, at least not initially, and of course long enough to have children. Just because he was married to someone else, living someplace else, didn’t mean he wasn’t also married and living elsewhere. How did he even begin to keep all that straight? Normally, he got caught pretty quickly and moved on to the next lucky wife.

Was the William Estes who was married to Addie my father?

I really had to know. I’d love to dismiss this out of hand, but I just can’t.

Let’s look at the evidence and compare what we know, side by side.

1925-1930

Even though William and Addie appear in the 1930 census together and were recently married, based on later records, they already had a child born three years earlier on April 9, 1927. The conception date would have been on or about July 17, 1926.

In the late 1920s, my father was in Michigan and Illinois. He enlisted in the Army for a third term in 1926, but in 1927 got himself into trouble and spent some time in the brig in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then in Michigan. He was released on June 29, 1928.

Violet, his third child, was born on February 5, 1929, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Her date of conception, assuming a typical 40-week pregnancy, would have been on May 15, 1928, almost 6 weeks before he was released from jail, in another county. He needed to have the opportunity to meet Violet’s mother in Muskegon. Even if it was love at first sight – Violet’s mother appeared to have been at least 6 weeks pregnant by the time she met my father.

However, he was in hot water for another reason in 1928.

He had married Cora Edmonds on August 6th, 1927, in Benton Harbor, Michigan under an assumed name. Cora filed for divorce on March 27, 1929, and he went to jail, again, a few days later – unrelated to the divorce. I’m guessing the divorce was related to his relationship with Violet’s mother. He believed that Violet was his child. Both then and years later.

In case you’re wondering how this all happened, my father was an alcoholic. He was, given alcohol as a child to quell hunger pangs when they had no food, and enable sleep, as were his siblings who also became alcoholics.

My father carried that addiction into his adult life and made some exceedingly poor decisions. While those decisions clearly affected his life, dramatically, and those around him, he was, in the words of Virgie, both his first and last love, “not all bad.”

He was a tortured soul, abandoned by his parents when he was about 13, along with his younger brother. His indiscretions for the most part had to do with drinking, having sex, and getting married, sometimes without benefit of divorce. That’s not an excuse for his behavior, but perhaps an explanation and an aid to understanding.

In April 1930, when William Estes appeared in the census with Addie in Harlan County, TN, my father was enumerated in the census in jail, in Michigan, where he had been since 1929. My dad was crafty, but even he wasn’t that good. There is no way he was incarcerated in Michigan at the same time he was enumerated in the census in Kentucky, teleporting back and forth.

Then, I thought, what if he really wasn’t in Harlan County and he was simply reported as living there. People do that.

Let’s Dig Deeper

While the William Estes in Harlan County, married to Addie, was having children in 1928, 1933, 1935, and 1939, my father was still indisposed. In other words, he could not have been having children with Addie.

My father is missing in the 1940 census, although based on letters he wrote to a judge, it appears that he remained indisposed until March of 1942.

Addie had children in 1943, 1944, and 1949.

In 1943, my father was living in Muncie, Indiana, and then Chicago, Illinois.

In 1944, he was married to Dortha or Dorothy Kilpatrick (although I don’t know where) and began working at the Eastern State Mental Hospital in Knoxville, TN, in late December. He gave his voting address as Claiborne Co., TN, where most of his family lived, and his residence as Harlan County, KY where his father was living.

In 1945, he traveled to Georgia where he remained until 1948 when he returned to Chicago. In 1949 he married Ellen Billings Copak in Chicago.

In the 1950 census, he is shown living with Ellen and her daughters in Chicago, working in a furniture store, while Addie’s husband is living in Harlan County, with her, still working in the coal mines – just like he has been reliably doing ever since they married in 1930.

Addie and William had their last baby in 1949

Delayed Birth Certificates

Both men were born at home in Tennessee and had to obtain delayed birth certificates.

My father’s middle name was Sterling. He obtained his birth certificate in April 1952, showing his birth location as Hancock County, just up the road from Estes Holler and where his mother’s parents lived.

His address was Fort Wayne, Indiana where my brother, Dave, would be born three years later. Ellen, his wife, lived in Fort Wayne for the rest of her life.

On the back of his birth certificate, his father, William George Estes signed the document and gave his address as Lynch, Kentucky, the closest town to his home.

The William Estes married to Addie Browning obtained his delayed birth certificate 7 years earlier, in 1945.

He was born in Claiborne County, TN, probably in Estes Holler.

His father signed his certificate as Theo Estes, with his mark.

What about death records?

My father died in 1963, in Indiana, listing his wife and father.

The William Estes in Harlan County died in 1975.

The Kentucky death index is shown above.

The Social Security Death Index shows the same death date and a specific location, Cawood in Harlan County.

What about military records?

Addie’s husband served in the Army from 1920-1923 according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

My father’s three enlistment dates are shown together on the back of the application submitted for a military headstone.

And finally, if that wasn’t enough, the William Estes in Harlan County registered for the draft in February of 1942, providing his wife’s name, employer, birth date, and location.

It’s interesting that the men looked different too. There would have been no mistaking them in person.

The William Estes married to Addie seemed to be a small man.

My father registered for the draft as well, on March 20th, giving his mother’s Chicago address.

My father was 5’11”, 172 pounds, brown eyes, black hair, and dark complected.

Addie’s husband was 5’4”, 138 pounds with blue eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. Clearly not the same man.

Not the Same Man

No one, but no one, after seeing all of this compiled evidence together could ever reasonably conclude that these two men are the same. Nor is Addie’s husband my father.

But, and here’s the complicating part – the two William Esteses are kin to each other.

And, the DNA of their descendants could and probably would match each other.

WHAT???

Nothing, but nothing is ever easy in my family.

Remember way back at the beginning of this article I mentioned that many if not most people in areas like this are related to each other. That’s true in this case too.

While the William Estes who lived in Cawood and was married to Addie is NOT the son of William George Estes who lived up on Black Mountain above Lynch, they are related.

First, I’d like to note that while they lived in the same county, the additional information we’ve discovered has provided us with more specific locations. Cawood, where William and Addie lived near the Crummies mine is about 45 miles and an hour away (today, on paved roads) from where William George Estes lived, “up above” Lynch.

In this case, the same county name does not indicate close proximity or the same community.

Estes Hollow, where both men were born or once lived is a fair distance from both. About 70 miles for William George if he crossed on over Black Mountain and about the same distance for William Estes who lived in Cawood.

The mines were big employers and many men from Appalachia migrated to the area. One of William George Estes’s sons, Estel, joined his father in the bootlegging business and worked in the coalmines before he went north for easier work and the promise of a better future.

Who is the William Estes Married to Addie?

As it turned out, I already had the William Estes who married Addie Browning in my genealogy software, but without his wife or children. Most of this information was provided by Uncle George Estes back in the 1980s. George was born in 1911 and knew these people. According to Uncle George, William’s middle initial was “T”, probably for Theo, and he was called Willie, while my Dad was called Bill and William George Estes was called Will.

William T. Estes, Addie’s husband, was the second cousin once removed (2C1R) of William George Estes. He was third cousins with my father. Their fathers assuredly knew each other and probably grew up as playmates in Estes Holler. Theo and William George were probably born within sight of each other’s cabins.

John R. Estes settled in Estes Holler, which is how it received its name. His descendants obtained land grants, bought land and cleared it, and continue to farm there today.

Estes Holler includes everything on either side of the road between the Springdale Lodge and the red star indicating the land where Jechonias Estes lived. John Y. Estes, his brother lived to the left of the star, a little higher up on the mountainside.

Everyone in these hollows knew each other. William T. Estes and William George Estes unquestionably did too. I’d wager that my father knew William T. Estes who was married to Addie as well.

Both of those men would probably get a chuckle that they are now being conflated into one man, my father, online.

Willie probably wouldn’t be any too happy about that.

A Great Bad Example

This is a great example of why one cannot do same-name associations without a LOT of corroborating evidence that the assigned identities are correct.

It’s also an example of why “just DNA matching” with someone is not confirmation of HOW you’re related to that person.

Today, I would probably match several of the children of Willie Estes and Addie.

According to the DNAPainter Shared cM Tool, the range for 4th cousins could be anyplace from 0-139 cM, with an average of 35.

Looking at the entire 139 cM range of possible relationships, at first glance, one might assume a closer relationship.

This is the perfect example of “don’t’ glance and assume.” Assuming is just so tempting and we’ve all done it! Here’s the argument that you’d hear from someone who has committed the great assume sin.

Their names are the same, William’s father lived in the same county, and their descendants’ DNA matches, so OF COURSE this is the right man. William Estes married to Addie has to be the son of William George Estes.

While these first three individual points are accurate, combined, they do NOT prove that the William married to Addie is the son of William George Estes, nor that the William Estes married to Addie is my father.

In order to bring the full picture into focus, one must consider the rest of the evidence, meaning following that paper trail and documentation for both men, tieing them to their parents, and accounting for their locations at various critical junctures. That, along with the actual matching cM amount and where it falls in the range of possible relationships.

No place is 139 cMs, the highest possible match in the 4C range, equivalent to half-siblings, half-niece/nephew, or even half-great-niece/nephew.

“I match, therefore I am,” is not a thing. It’s more like, “I match, therefore I might be, somehow.”

DNA matching is a launching pad, not a conclusion. Same with trees.

In Summary

If I had any residual doubt in my mind about this relationship, I could attempt to recruit one of William and Addie’s children or grandchildren to test. While I may well match them, I certainly won’t match them at the high level I’d expect of a half-sibling.

I would encourage anyone who marries my Dad to Addie in a tree and is a descendant to take a DNA test and see if we match at a half-sibling level or at 4th cousin level. Of course, we may not match at all which is possible for 4th cousins, but not for half-siblings, half-niece/nephews, or even half-great-niece/nephews.

In the meantime, I’m going to nicely provide this article link to anyone who marries Addie to my Dad in their trees, hoping they will be pleased to receive accurate information and we can stop the propagation of errors.

It would be nice to stop receiving “tree hints” about my father and Addie.

Heaven knows, Dad has more than enough wives already! He doesn’t need an accidental one.

_____________________________________________________________

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Barbara Sing, Seng or Sang (1645-1686), Childbirth Claimed Her – 52 Ancestors #364

Barbara Sing, Seng or Sang was born in Endersbach, Germany in 1645 to Hans Sing/Sang and Barbara Eckardt.

She was surely baptized in the church there, but records don’t exist from the period of the Thirty Years’ War.

Endersbach is just a mile and a quarter up the road from Beutelsbach.

There seemed to be a lot of interaction and intermarriage occurring between Beutelsbach and Endersbach families.

It’s interesting that while, according to the local heritage book, her father, Hans Sang was born in Endersbach, Barbara was the only one of her siblings born there.

Her mother, Barbara Eckardt was born in Beutelsbach, so clearly, the couple chose to live there after their marriage.

The fact that only one child was born in Endersbach, and that birth was during the 30 Years War makes me wonder if the family had to seek refuge in Endersbach during that timeframe.

The Beutelsbach records resume in 1646. We find Barbara’s younger sibling born in Beutelsbach on March 6, 1648. It’s possible that Barbara had a sibling born between 1645 and 1648 in Endersbach or elsewhere.

During the war, record-keeping either wasn’t possible or didn’t bubble up to the top of the priority list when simple survival was a struggle. The people had been brutalized by marauding armies and soldiers for, literally, 30 years – more than a generation. Farms, villages, and entire cities were burned, and their fields ruined. Food was scarce and no one was ever safe.

We know that Barbara was raised in Beutelsbach from 1648 forward, so from the time she was about three years old.

Martin Goll, historian and Beutelsbach resident tells us that Barbara was the daughter of Hans Sang who was a butcher and quite wealthy, at least comparatively, after the Thirty Years War.

8 Marktplatz

The Hans Sang home and butcher shop was located at 8 Marktplatz in Beutelsbach which still exists today, adjacent the fortified gate of the Beutelsbach church.

The home of Barbara’s beau and future husband, Hans Lenz, the son of another wealthy merchant was only 100 feet or so distant at Stiftstrasse 17..

The church, of course, was both the center of Beutelsbach and the center of the community. Having a shop near the church assured that parishioners would pass by your door several times a week.

Having the shop right next to the steps of the fortified tower entrance to the church assured that no one would forget to purchase meats. Today, someone would be out front giving samples and coupons to hungry parishioners after Sunday services😊.

In this photo of the church and tower, the building connected to the tower on the right, directly in front of the white automobile, is the Sing home, 8 Marktplatz.

We are fortunate to have a drawing of Beutelsbach from 1760.

The round fortified tower is visible to the right of the road, with the first house attached to that tower being the Sang home, pointed out by the yellow arrow. The Lenz home is the red arrow, as best I can tell.

This postcard from 1916 shows the gate, church, and adjacent buildings as well. I wonder if the drawing was from an earlier era.

Literally, everyone going to church passed by the door of the butcher shop.

Most villages only had one person practicing any profession, so Hans Sang was probably the only game in town anyway. I hope he did the actual butchering elsewhere, or at least not during church services.

Perhaps the good smells from the Lenz bakery a few feet away helped to overcome the odors emanating from the butcher’s shop which would have been attached to their home. Yes indeed, much more desirable to be the baker’s child.

Marriage

Barbara Sing married Hans Lenz on February 23, 1669, in Beutelsbach, in the church right next to her home.

Sharon Hockensmith took this photo inside the church when she was visiting. I don’t know how much of the interior was the same in 1669, but we can rest assured that the primary structure didn’t change. The choir loft, organ, and windows are likely original.

We don’t know if the custom of the time was to be married in the church proper, or in the adjacent parsonage. Regardless, Barbara and Hans would have attended this church every Sunday during their marriage, except when war, danger, childbirth, or illness interfered.

They probably saw this exact same scene hundreds of times, only with people dressed in clothing of their period.

Children

Barbara’s parents and in-laws were apparently both wealthy, but money can’t buy everything. In fact, it can’t purchase the things we cherish most in life.

Barbara and Hans had 11 children, beginning with their first child who was born in the late fall of 1669.

  • Anna Katharina Lenz was born on November 19, 1669, and married Simon Dendler, a widower from Schnait, on November 30, 1693, in Beutelsbach. However, Martin found no children in the church records. We don’t know what happened to Anna Katharina. They could have moved away and had children elsewhere.
  • Margaretha Lenz was born on January 24, 1671, and died July 13, 1678, in Beutelsbach, only 7 years old.
  • Barbara Lenz was born on March 10, 1672, and died July 11, 1678, two days before her sister, Margaretha. She was 6 years old.

These two sisters passing away two days apart tell us that either there was a communicable illness being passed around, or there was an outbreak of dysentery or something similar. As the only non-infant girls in the family, they probably slept together.

It may not have been a coincidence that the next year, 1679, saw a massive outbreak of plague. We know that malaria was present in Europe in 1678, having arrived on ships from Africa, but Beutelsbach is not a port city. I can’t help but wonder who else in the family was ill, and how many more Beutelsbach residents died in the summer of 1678.

Barbara, four months pregnant at the time, must have been heartbroken, losing her two little girls just two days apart.

  • Johann Georg Lenz was born on February 21, 1674, and died on April 2, 1758, in Beutelsbach of old age at 84. He married Sibilla Muller on February 2, 1698, also in Beutelsbach. After his parents passed away, he and Sibilla lived in the home place, continuing the vinedresser and vintner profession. Unfortunately, Johann George’s back was injured by falling stones. They had 8 children, 3 or 4 of whom lived to adulthood. Johann George and Sibilla are my ancestors.
  • Daniel Lenz was born November 14, 1675, and died November 7, 1758, seven months after his older brother. He married Anna Katharina Lang in 1702 and they had 8 children, 3 of whom lived to adulthood. Daniel was a vintner as well, but was described as having “stupid eyes” which likely meant he was either partially blind or cross-eyed. He did field work, fell down from an apple tree, and nearly died another time from choking on his own blood. Daniel couldn’t read but was an avid churchgoer and seemed to have a good life in spite of having “stupid eyes.”
  • Elisabetha Lenz was born July 27, 1677, and no death or marriage records are found for her, nor are any children’s baptismal records. She likely died young. I wonder if she died in the same outbreak that took her two sisters in July of 1678.
  • Anna Maria Lenz was born December 19, 1678, and died May 5, 1721, in Beutelsbach from a tumor. I’d love to know what kind of a tumor. She married Hans Jakob Bechtel about 1698. He was a baker, then a judge, and eventually, mayor. They had 12 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.
  • Johann Jakob Lenz, a vinedresser and vintner, was born April 19, 1680, and died on May 6, 1744, in Beutelsbach of “high-temperature gastric fever” which was probably dysentery, also known as “bloody flux.” He married Anna Katharina Knodler in 1717 in Grunbach. They had 8 children, of which two lived to adulthood. Two others died as young adults before marrying. Their last child was listed as “simple” at his baptism and likely did not survive.
  • Philip Lenz was born on November 2, 1681, and died September 24, 1737, in Beutelsbach at 56 years of age of melancholy. He was a vintner and married Justina Bohringer in 1716. They had 5 children, of whom 2 lived to adulthood and one died as a young adult of heatstroke.
  • Martin Lenz was born November 11, 1683, and died a few days later on November 27th.
  • Barbara Lenz, the last child, probably named for her mother, was born July 2, 1686. She died 25 days later, on July 27th, 17 days after her mother. Clearly, complications of childbirth took both mother and child.

Of the 41 grandchildren we know were born to Barbara, only 16 or 17 survived to adulthood. That’s a 61% mortality rate, meaning almost two-thirds of the children didn’t live to marriage age.

The Grim Reaper

The Grim Reaper is merciless.

Barbara Sing died on July 10, 1686. We don’t know why, other than it was assuredly something to do with childbirth. It could have been Puerperal Fever, also known as childbed fever, which can lead to blood poisoning. However, her death could also have been a result of a hemorrhage, internal damage, or loss of a large amount of blood.

Given that the child died too, I’d be inclined to think that perhaps childbed fever was the culprit as a result of a long labor. The long labor could have caused the child’s death as well, especially if something went wrong, such as a breach birth.

Regardless, Barbara was gone. She was only 40 or 41 years old, and left several children behind.

  • Katherina was 17
  • Johann George was 12
  • Daniel was 10
  • Elisabetha, if she was living, would have turned 9 on the day her new sister, Barbara, died
  • Anna Maria was 7
  • Johann Jakob was 6
  • Philipp was 4

Barbara had to wonder, as she was desperately ill, who would raise her children?

Who would kiss their boo-boos?

Who would take care of them?

Fix their favorite foods?

Hold and comfort them?

Who would love them the way she loved them?

Would they remember her?

What about her newborn baby? Would she survive? How, without her mother’s milk?

And what was her husband, Hans, to do?

How could he possibly tend the vineyards, press the grapes, produce wine and maintain his business selling wines while looking after 7 or 8 children?

He couldn’t exactly take all the children to the fields with him, especially not a baby.

Those questions cross the mind of every mother from time to time. However, in Barbara’s case, this was very real and pressing – not an abstract thought.

Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper visited all too often in the days before antibiotics and modern medicine.

The good news, or bad news, or both, was that there were others in the same situation. Joining forces made sense.

A Step-Mother for Barbara’s Children

Barbara didn’t exactly get to select her successor – the woman who would raise her children after she could no longer do so.

Hans waited a respectable amount of time before remarrying, 12 months to be exact. The banns had to be posted for 3 weeks, and the minister would have posted and read the marriage banns on the first Sunday following the 1-year anniversary of Barbara’s death, inviting anyone who had any knowledge of why the couple shouldn’t marry to come forth.

On August 2, 1687, Hans married Barbara Roller(in) who was the widow of Sebastian Heubach from Endersbach. Barbara was born in 1748, so she would have been 39 years old when she married Hans. However, we find no children born to them, nor do I find any record of children born from her first marriage either, which occurred in 1672.

If Barbara already had children, she and Hans joined their families when they wed. If not, then perhaps Barbara welcomed the opportunity to become a mother and love the first Barbara Lenz’s children.

Step-parents are the parents who choose us.

Mitochondrial DNA Candidates

Mitochondrial DNA is a special type of DNA passed from mothers to their children, but only passed on by daughters. It’s never admixed with the DNA of the father, so it is passed on essentially unchanged, except for an occasional small mutation, for thousands of years. Those small mutations are what make this DNA both genealogically useful and provide a key to the past.

By looking at Barbara’s mitochondrial DNA, we can tell where her ancestors came from by evaluating information provided by the trail of tiny mutations.

Only one of Barbara’s daughters, Anna Maria who married Hans Jakob Bechtel (Bechthold,) is known to have lived to have children. Although, if two other daughters lived, it’s possible that either Anna Katharina (born 1669) or Elisabetha (born 1677) married and had children elsewhere.

Anna Maria Lenz Bechtel had two daughters who lived to adulthood, but only one married.

  • Anna Maria Bechtel was born in 1715 and married Jakob Siebold/Seybold of Grunbach. Their children were all born in Remshalden.
    • Anna Maria Seybold was born  in 1737 and married Johann Jacob Lenz in 1761, children unknown
    • Regina Dorothea Seybold was born in 1741, married Johann Wolfgang Bassler in 1765, and had one known daughter.
      • Johanna Bassler was born in 1785, married Johannes Wacker in 1814, and had three daughters, Johanna Elisabetha (1818), Dorothea Catharina (1822), and Carolina Friederica (1825.)
    • Anna Catharina Seybold born in 1751 married Johann Leonhard Wacker in 1813 in Remshalden. No known daughters.
    • Elisabeth Seybold born in 1752 married Johann Michael Weyhmuller in 1780 in Remshalden and had three daughters who lived to adulthood, married, and had daughters.
      • Anna Maria Weyhmuller born 1785, married Eberhard Sigmund Escher from Esslingen in 1807, but children are unknown.
      • Regina Dorothea Weyhmueller born 1787 and married Salomo Dautel in 1814 in Remshaulden. They immigrated to America in 1817, location and children unknown.
      • Elisabetha Weyhmueller born in 1792 and had daughter Jakobine Hottmann in 1819 with Daniel Hottmann. She then married Wilhelm Friedrich Espenlaub and had Josephina Friederika Espenlaub in 1830. Children unknown.

For anyone who descends from Barbara Sing through all females to the current generation, which can be male, I have a DNA testing scholarship for you.

Please reach out! Let’s see what we can discover about Barbara together!

_____________________________________________________________

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FamilyTreeDNA DISCOVER™ Launches – Including Y DNA Haplogroup Ages

FamilyTreeDNA just released an amazing new group of public Y DNA tools.

Yes, a group of tools – not just one.

The new Discover tools, which you can access here, aren’t just for people who have tested at FamilyTreeDNA . You don’t need an account and it’s free for everyone. All you need is a Y DNA haplogroup – from any source.

I’m going to introduce each tool briefly because you’re going to want to run right over and try Discover for yourself. In fact, you might follow along with this article.

Y DNA Haplogroup Aging

The new Discover page provides seven beta tools, including Y DNA haplogroup aging.

Haplogroup aging is THE single most requested feature – and it’s here!

Discover also scales for mobile devices.

Free Beta Tool

Beta means that FamilyTreeDNA is seeking your feedback to determine which of these tools will be incorporated into their regular product, so expect a survey.

If you’d like changes or something additional, please let FamilyTreeDNA know via the survey, their support line, email or Chat function.

OK, let’s get started!

Enter Your Haplogroup

Enter your Y DNA haplogroup, or the haplogroup you’re interested in viewing.

If you’re a male who has tested with FamilyTreeDNA , sign on to your home page and locate your haplogroup badge at the lower right corner.

If you’re a female, you may be able to test a male relative or find a haplogroup relevant to your genealogy by visiting your surname group project page to locate the haplogroup for your ancestor.

I’ll use one of my genealogy lines as an example.

In this case, several Y DNA testers appear under my ancestor, James Crumley, in the Crumley DNA project.

Within this group of testers, we have two different Big Y haplogroups, and several estimated haplogroups from testers who have not upgraded to the Big Y.

If you’re a male who has tested at either 23andMe or LivingDNA, you can enter your Y DNA haplogroup from that source as well. Those vendors provide high-level haplogroups.

The great thing about the new Discover tool is that no matter what haplogroup you enter, there’s something for you to enjoy.

I’m going to use haplogroup I-FT272214, the haplogroup of my ancestor, James Crumley, confirmed through multiple descendants. His son John’s descendants carry haplogroup I-BY165368 in addition to I-FT272214, which is why there are two detailed haplogroups displayed for this grouping within the Crumley haplogroup project, in addition to the less-refined I-M223.

Getting Started

When you click on Discover, you’ll be asked to register briefly, agree to terms, and provide your email address.

Click “View my report” and your haplogroup report will appear.

Y DNA Haplogroup Report

For any haplogroup you enter, you’ll receive a haplogroup report that includes 7 separate pages, shown by tabs at the top of your report.

Click any image to enlarge

The first page you’ll see is the Haplogroup Report.

On the first page, you’ll find Haplogroup aging. The TMRCA (time to most recent common ancestor) is provided, plus more!

The report says that haplogroup I-FT272214 was “born,” meaning the mutation that defines this haplogroup, occurred about 300 years ago, plus or minus 150 years.

James Crumley was born about 1710. We know his sons carry haplogroup I-FT272214, but we don’t know when that mutation occurred because we don’t have upstream testers. We don’t know who his parents were.

Three hundred years before the birth of our Crumley tester would be about 1670, so roughly James Crumley’s father’s generation, which makes sense.

James’ son John’s descendants have an additional mutation, so that makes sense too. SNP mutations are known to occur approximately every 80 years, on average. Of course, you know what average means…may not fit any specific situation exactly.

The next upstream haplogroup is I-BY100549 which occurred roughly 500 years ago, plus or minus 150 years. (Hint – if you want to view a haplogroup report for this upstream haplogroup, just click on the haplogroup name.)

There are 5 SNP confirmed descendants of haplogroup I-FT272214 claiming origins in England, all of whom are in the Crumley DNA project.

Haplogroup descendants mean this haplogroup and any other haplogroups formed on the tree beneath this haplogroup.

Share

If you scroll down a bit, you can see the share button on each page. If you think this is fun, you can share through a variety of social media resources, email, or copy the link.

Sharing is a good way to get family members and others interested in both genealogy and genetic genealogy. Light the spark!

I’m going to be sharing with collaborative family genealogy groups on Facebook and Twitter. I can also share with people who may not be genealogists, but who will think these findings are interesting.

If you keep scrolling under the share button or click on “Discover More” you can order Y DNA tests if you’re a biological male and haven’t already taken one. The more refined your haplogroup, the more relevant your information will be on the Discover page as well as on your personal page.

Scrolling even further down provides information about methods and sources.

Country Frequency

The next tab is Country Frequency showing the locations where testers with this haplogroup indicate that their earliest known ancestors are found.

The Crumley haplogroup has only 5 people, which is less than 1% of the people with ancestors from England.

However, taking a look at haplogroup R-M222 with many more testers, we see something a bit different.

Ireland is where R-M222 is found most frequently. 17% of the men who report their ancestors are from Ireland belong to haplogroup R-M222.

Note that this percentage also includes haplogroups downstream of haplogroup R-M222.

Mousing over any other location provides that same information for that area as well.

Seeing where the ancestors of your haplogroup matches are from can be extremely informative. The more refined your haplogroup, the more useful these tools will be for you. Big Y testers will benefit the most.

Notable Connections

On the next page, you’ll discover which notable people have haplogroups either close to you…or maybe quite distant.

Your first Notable Connection will be the one closest to your haplogroup that FamilyTreeDNA was able to identify in their database. In some cases, the individual has tested, but in many cases, descendants of a common ancestor tested.

In this case, Bill Gates is our closest notable person. Our common haplogroup, meaning the intersection of Bill Gates’s haplogroup and my Crumley cousin’s haplogroup is I-L1195. The SNP mutation that defines haplogroup I-L1145 occurred about 4600 years ago. Both my Crumley cousin and Bill Gates descend from that man.

If you’re curious and want to learn more about your common haplogroup, remember, you can enter that haplogroup into the Discover tool. Kind of like genetic time travel. But let’s finish this one first.

Remember that CE means current era, or the number of years since the year “zero,” which doesn’t technically exist but functions as the beginning of the current era. Bill Gates was born in 1955 CE

BCE means “before current era,” meaning the number of years before the year “zero.” So 2600 BCE is approximately 4600 years ago.

Click through each dot for a fun look at who you’re “related to” and how distantly.

This tool is just for fun and reinforces the fact that at some level, we’re all related to each other.

Maybe you’re aware of more notables that could be added to the Discover pages.

Migration Map

The next tab provides brand spanking new migration maps that show the exodus of the various haplogroups out of Africa, through the Middle East, and in this case, into Europe.

Additionally, the little shovel icons show the ancient DNA sites that date to the haplogroup age for the haplogroup shown on the map, or younger. In our case, that’s haplogroup I-M223 (red arrow) that was formed about 16,000 years ago in Europe, near the red circle, at left. These haplogroup ancient sites (shovels) would all date to 16,000 years ago or younger, meaning they lived between 16,000 years ago and now.

Click to enlarge

By clicking on a shovel icon, more information is provided. It’s very interesting that I-L1145, the common haplogroup with Bill Gates is found in ancient DNA in Cardiff, Wales.

This is getting VERY interesting. Let’s look at the rest of the Ancient Connections.

Ancient Connections

Our closest Ancient Connection in time is Gen Scot 24 (so name in an academic paper) who lived in the Western Isles of Scotland.

These ancient connections are more likely cousins than direct ancestors, but of course, we can’t say for sure. We do know that the first man to develop haplogroup I-L126, about 2500 years ago, is an ancestor to both Gen Scot 24 and our Crumley ancestor.

Gen Scot 24 has been dated to 1445-1268 BCE which is about 3400 years ago, which could actually be older than the haplogroup age. Remember that both dating types are ranges, carbon dating is not 100% accurate, and ancient DNA can be difficult to sequence. Haplogroup ages are refined as more branches are discovered and the tree grows.

The convergence of these different technologies in a way that allows us to view the past in the context of our ancestors is truly amazing.

All of our Crumley cousin’s ancient relatives are found in Ireland or Scotland with the exception of the one found in Wales. I think, between this information and the haplogroup formation dates, it’s safe to say that our Crumley ancestors have been in either Scotland or Ireland for the past 4600 years, at least. And someone took a side trip to Wales, probably settled and died there.

Of course, now I need to research what was happening in Ireland and Scotland 4600 years ago because I know my ancestors were involved.

Suggested Projects

I’m EXTREMELY pleased to see suggested projects for this haplogroup based on which projects haplogroup members have joined.

You can click on any of the panels to read more about the project. Remember that not everyone joins a project because of their Y DNA line. Many projects accept people who are autosomally related or descend from the family through the mitochondrial line, the direct mother’s line.

Still, seeing the Crumley surname project would be a great “hint” all by itself if I didn’t already have that information.

Scientific Details

The Scientific Details page actually has three tabs.

The first tab is Age Estimate.

The Age Estimate tab provides more information about the haplogroup age or TMRCA (Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor) calculations. For haplogroup I-FT272214, the most likely creation date, meaning when the SNP occurred, is about 1709, which just happens to align well with the birth of James Crumley about 1710.

However, anyplace in the dark blue band would fall within a 68% confidence interval (CI). That would put the most likely years that the haplogroup-defining SNP mutation took place between 1634 and 1773. At the lower end of the frequency spectrum, there’s a 99% likelihood that the common ancestor was born between 1451 and 1874. That means we’re 99% certain that the haplogroup defining SNP occurred between those dates. The broader the date range, the more certain we can be that the results fall into that range.

The next page, Variants, provides the “normal” or ancestral variant and the derived or mutated variant or SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) in the position that defines haplogroup I-FT272214.

The third tab displays FamilyTreeDNA‘s public Y DNA Tree with this haplogroup highlighted. On the tree, we can see this haplogroup, downstream haplogroups as well as upstream, along with their country flags.

Your Personal Page

If you have already taken a DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA, you can find the new Discover tool conveniently located under “Additional Tests and Tools.”

If you are a male and haven’t yet tested, then you’ll want to order a Y DNA test or upgrade to the Big Y for the most refined haplogroup possible.

Big Y tests and testers are why the Y DNA tree now has more than 50,000 branches and 460,000 variants. Testing fuels growth and growth fuels new tools and possibilities for genealogists.

What Do You Think?

Do you like these tools?

What have you learned? Have you shared this with your family members? What did they have to say? Maybe we can get Uncle Charley interested after all!

Let me know how you’re using these tools and how they are helping you interpret your Y DNA results and assist your genealogy.

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