Saturday, August 13, 2016

DNA Matches

If you have tested with any of the three major DNA companies, you too probably end up with hundreds of matches. With FTDNA and AncestryDNA, you don’t have to wait for your matches to give you approval to view your match. However, it is optional for them to have a tree, attach the tree to their result or to make the tree public.

FTDNA and AncestryDNA allow you to select one of your matches and then compare your share matches. This can be very helpful if one of your unknown matches (a match where you don’t see the paper genealogical connection) has a shared match with one of your known matches (a match where you know how you genealogically connect.)

Both FTDNA and AncestryDNA allow you to put notes next to your matches. I have used these notes in many varieties of ways. 

Known Match – I like to put a comment that explains how we are related and our most recent common match. If I input their lineage from our common match to them in my genealogical software program, I like to note that too.

Unknown Match – this is where it can get tricky. I sometimes like to list some of our shared matches, especially if our shared match is a known match or I  just list some of our shared matches. Other times, I like to look at all the shared matches and see if I can see a common ancestor among the shared matches and I might record their common ancestor or surname. I have even checked to see if I can find this unknown match via GEDMATCH and if I do, I will put their GEDMATCH ID, along with our shared chromosome, start and end position, ect…

Ancestry even allows you to type in a surname and will show you all your matches who have direct ancestors (if they provided a tree), with that surname. I like to type in that surname with my matches, especially if they only have a private tree. If I type in enough of my known ancestors, I can usually figure out the shared common ancestor, especially if they have a leaf next to their private tree. The leaf in Ancestry denotes that we have a common shared ancestor. I wish Ancestry would display our common ancestor when I click on the link, but they only show it, if the other person has made their tree public. I wish Ancestry would display the common ancestor and the lineage down to me and they on the matches side, they could display “Private Tree”. I would at least really confirm that this is our common ancestor.

What I have found is that I have a lot of Unknown matches. I decided I wanted to do something with all these unknown matches, thus I created a new tree in my genealogical software program and titled it “DNA Matches”. I also decided to start with one testing company.  If I find many unknown matches that appear to share a common ancestor (where the matches don’t appear to be siblings or other close relatives) then I start with that common ancestor and I put their lineage into this new tree and make sure I source their tree.

In the note field, I put the following comment “Entered into DNA Matches: “followed by the shared ancestor and any descendants who share the same surname. This way I know I have inputted the lineage. If one of these unknown matches has the same surname in their file, but I can’t figure out how they are related, I put that into the note and click on the star as a way to show I need to follow up.

Thus far I have inputted the ancestry of three main families; Peter Pedalty (1814-1904) and his wife Mary Alderson (1814-1882), Squire Boone (1696-1765) and his wife Sarah Morgan (1700-1777), plus Simon Hadley (1675-1756) and his wife Ruth Miller (1677-1751).  My main goal with these families is to see if I can possibly figure out who my Biological Maternal Grandfather is, since my mother was adopted by her step-father, or to see if these families somehow tie into my Maternal Grandmother’s family. I am only working on the unknown matches that match with my half-siblings (children of my mother), since we have different fathers.

My only concerned is am I assuming the correct thing with these shared ancestors of my unknown matches? I have developed this approach after watching some of the genealogical programs that air on T.V. Thus far, I haven’t found a tie between the Pedalty's, Boone's or Hadley’s families. I also haven’t figured out if these unknown matches have uploaded their results to GEDMATCH or not. I have tried contacting some of my matches, but get little to no response to my inquiries. I basically ask if they have uploaded their DNA results to GEDMATCH and if so if they would be so kind as to provide their GEDMATCH ID. I then give my GEDMATCH ID to them. I also explain that I haven’t figured out how we are related but that they and some of my other matches seem to share the common ancestor of “then I list the name”. I hope to spark their interest but like I said, I have very poor results.

So I will keep going with this approach of inputting a known match into my main genealogical tree, inputting an unknown match into my DNA Matches tree or staring and noting the match with our common shared matches.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

DNA Triangulation

As I was working on my DNA matches, checking to see if I had any new matches and checking their shared matches and looking for common ancestors, etc.…

I came back to my closest cousin match, who happens to be adopted. Even though she doesn’t want to know who her biological parents are, I was wondering if I could try to pin-point our most common ancestor better. AncestryDNA states she is a 2nd Cousin. Therefore I first thought perhaps my great-grandparents, 8 David Crinion and 9 Amelia Gadow were our common ancestors.

However, according to AncestryDNA, this could also mean a 1st cousins 1x removed, thus a child of one of my first cousins. She has told me that she was born June 28, 1978 in Phoenix, AZ.

My second instinct was to think she might be one of my male cousin’s daughters, since I had one cousin who was living in the Phoenix area at the time.

Anyway, there were updates on AncestryDNA and more shared matches appeared. Our shared matches consist of 16 James Crinion & 17 Mary Ann Mahon; 20 Michael McDonald & 21 Catherine Quinn; 22 Myron O’Brion & 23 Mary Goodwin; 34 Ed McMahon & 35 Rose Kirley; 36 Gottfried Gadow & 37 Anna Maria Rosenow; 180 Samuel Kress & 181 Catherine Slaughter.

Once I saw Michael McDonald and Catherine Quinn, I realized that I would have to step down a generation from David and Amelia and move to my grandparents, 4 John Lawrence Crinion and 5 Isabella McDonald.

Therefore I confirmed this by theory because John’s Ancestors are 16, 17, 34, 35, 36, & 37 while Isabella’s ancestors are 20, 21, 22, 23, 180 & 181.

In conclusion, all I can confirm at this time is that our closest ancestors are my grandparents.  Whether she is a product of my father’s only sister’s child or his only brother’s child remains unknown. However I am leaning towards my one of my aunt’s children, and probably one of her sons’ child. Perhaps someday, she will want to learn more about her family and I will be here waiting to share the information.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

All Browsers are not created equal

Today while updating my husband’s family in my Family Tree Maker program, I realized that all browsers are not created equal.

I was looking at the Ancestry hints that FTM displays for one of my husband’s ancestors. When I click on the link to open in a new window, the program defaults to Internet Explorer even though my preferred browser is Chrome. My computer is set up to have Chrome as my default browser. Before today, I never realized that there was a difference when I was looking at the “view printer friendly” version.

The first image below shows how it was going to print via Internet Explorer. Notice that the Household members take up two lines per person and thus could produce a 2nd page if the household size was greater than 6 members.

The second image below shows how it was going to print via Chrome. Not only do the household members only take up one line each, I now can view the entire Source information, all on one page. Since I like to print out direct line documents to share with non-genealogy members, I find being able to print it on one page is very useful, especially since I like to print the image of the census page on the back side of the same page.

Another thing I noticed was when I selected the item to print in Internet Explorer and then right click to print, I can select either print or print preview, while Chrome takes you directly into print preview when you select print.  Plus the two print previews are very different.

In Internet Explorer you see the image as it will print on the page and then you need to select print to get to the printer setting. 
While in Chrome you have the printer settings on the left and the image on the right. Everything is at my fingertips and I like that. If I change from portrait to landscape, the image in Chrome will adjust to reflect my printing change.

Lesson learned, if you find a browser you like and it works the way you want, remember to always use it even when other programs might default to another browser. It might take me a little longer to type in my search criteria into Ancestry to get the same list of hints as FTM does, but for me, the little extra steps give me the printed and saved digital images in the format that I want.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Case of Emma M Downs

While researching my 3rd great-grandfather, I came across a marriage record for his son Uriah. I was extremely interested in this record, because it listed his mother as Margh Hiltz and I have her name as Nancy (according to an 1850 census record).

Actually I found two marriage records of Uriah and Emma M Downs. One has an event date of 27 Jan 1869 and the other 28 Oct 1869, both occurring in Rock County, Wisconsin, USA. These records are linked to two separate images on a Family History Microfilm and I will have to check these out later when I am at the Family History Library. Perhaps the marriage was going to happen in January and they had to postpone, who knows.

However, in my genealogy program, I have Uriah married to Frances Annette Blaine on 8 August 1871, the year matches a DAR Lineage Book for Member 157101 Mrs. Cora A Hilts Cummings, who happens to be the daughter of Uriah and Frances.

I show by the 1900 US Census, Anette Hilts is a widow and had only one child. I found a Michigan Death record for Uriah with a death date of 12 Apr 1900, with the parents of Lawrence Hilts and Lena Perin.

About now you are probably wondering why this post is titled “The Case of Emma M Downs” when I have three different names for Uriah mother as Nancy (unknown), Margh (unknown) and Lena Perin.

I am really wondering about these two marriage records I have found that were recorded in Rock County, Wisconsin. Who is Emma M Downs and did she ever in fact marry Uriah? The marriage record(s) state the parents as Francis E Downs and Mary E Downs. 

I found a Christening record for Emma from Providence, Rhode Island with a birth date of 7 Sept 1851 with parents Francis E Downs and Mary E Smith.

Next I found the 1855 Massachusetts State Census for Emma who is now 3 and living with her parents, Francis E Downs (age 33) and Mary Downs (age 32).

In 1860 they are living in Janesville Ward 4, Rock, Wisconsin; F.E. Downs (age 38), Mary E Downs (age 36) and Emma N Downs is now age 8.

I lose all tracks of Francis, Mary and Emma until 1900 where Mary E Downs (age 76) is a widow living in Providence, Rhode Island with her single daughter Emma M Downs (age 47). Mary was married for 51 years and had 3 children with only one living.

I find a burial record of Mary E Downs through FindAGraveMemorial # 132139915 which has a photocopy of the “Record of Burial” that states Mary E Downs died at 82 years, 9 mos and 12 Days. The record is tied to Emma M Downs, therefore I am sure this is still my Emma M Downs. I don’t find Emma in any future census records, perhaps she married. I don’t find a burial record through FindAGrave for either her father, Francis or for her.

Genealogy is all about questions. It is exciting when we find answers to questions but always seem to create more questions.

I still wonder if Emma M Downs and Uriah Hiltz ever did get married. I wonder when her father past away and where they were living between 1860 and 1900. I wonder what happen to her after 1900.

Of course I wonder about my 3rd great-grandmother. What is her name? it is exciting to have two new names to research. However, that question is for another day to research. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My spin on the Ancestry DNA Update

This week as I was reading various genealogy blogs, I noticed that several were talking about the Upcoming Ancestry DNA Update. You can read several I have found at DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy;The Legal Genealogist ; plus The Genetic Genealogist.

To make a long story short, Ancestry’s update will refine our matches. They claim there will be a net gain in matches for most people and a few will actually lose matches. I remember the previous update and I was mostly relieved by the loss of many of my matches. I had way too many pages of matches, now I am down to 96 pages which are still about 4600 matches. However, I did lose some confirmed matches, these were people who were stated that we were DNA matches and I could confirm that with their trees. 

Anyway, the most important thing about this news is perhaps recording your matches now, before you lose too many.

Suggestions were made about making a screen capture or other record of various data currently associated with your DNA result.

I thought first about using the snipping tool, this makes a nice screen shot of whatever I want to save. Downfall, the links are gone. When I look at my list of matches through DNA Circles, each match has a link I might want to preserve. Hopefully the links will still work after Ancestry’s update. Also, I don’t know about managing so many separate files.

Second, I thought about highlighting the data and then copy and paste into a word document. This can preserve the links; however, the format of the page is sometimes another thing. I find the format of the page doesn’t always pass over into my word document. Even though I could end up with one massive word document, the formatting loss makes it hard to understand the data.

Then I thought about highlighting the data and then printing into a pdf document. This usually preserves the links, but again, the format of the page doesn’t always stay the same. Plus, I don’t really want multiple separate PDF’s for everything. That is a lot of documents to look through to find what I want.

Then the light bulb came on. What can take documents, and help me search to find things on the page, plus preserve the links and save the format of the page. EVERNOTE came to mind. Again, I am not sure if preserving the links will work, if Ancestry ends up changing the location of the links, but saving the format of the page and the ability of searching out weigh the fact that I might lose working links. However, if Ancestry doesn’t move things around, the links might still work. Plus Evernote is accessible on all my devices.

So the suggestion was to perhaps save every DNA circle you have. I just opened the DNA circle, went to the link page and then saved the page to Evernote into my AncestryDNA notebook.
Next the suggestion was to save every NAD (New Ancestor Discoveries) you have. Again, I selected the link page view and saved the page into Evernote.  

Next suggestion was to “star” every Shared Ancestor Hint you have. To accomplish this task, click on the HINTS filter, located at the top of all your matches. This will display all your DNA matches who spell your common ancestor exactly the same and facts match too. I didn’t have too many, so manually, clicking the star next to each one didn’t take very long.

Next they suggest that you screen capture as many of the Shared Matches list for your Shared Ancestor Hint matches. This is a very good suggestion. Once I clicked on the Shared Matches tab for each Shared Ancestor Hint, I then saved the page to Evernote and titled it with the DNA Shared user’s name.  This is most important for those distant cousins, who might fall off your list. You would think if you have a Shared Ancestor Hint, you would not lose those, but from previous experience, I know I lost a few on the previous update.

The final suggestion, if you have time and energy, was to screen capture as many of the Shared Match lists for other folks without Shared Ancestor Hints at the fourth cousin level as you can. I could have done the save to Evernote for this suggestion too, however I had already started a spreadsheet of all my matches through fourth cousin level and I have recorded the shared matches of these people.  

Now all these tasks were not too bad, but if you manage multiple tests, like I do, this could take a while. I did all the steps with exception of the final step for all the tests that I manage.

Why not the final suggestion, basically because I just don’t have the energy.  I have 134 4th cousins or closer, my full sister has 133 4th cousins or closer.  I do know that we have a lot of the same matches, there are only a few different, and yes I could take the time to figure out who I am missing. My half-sister has 156 4th cousins or closer and my half-brother has 159 4th cousins or closer. Again, I have some common matches, less than my full sister and my half-sister and half-brother have a lot more in common to each other based on their Dad’s side. However, I have decided a long time ago, that I need to concentrate on one testing company for one tester. The company is AncestryDNA and the tester is me.

Therefore, I am done for now! Whew! 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tracking My DNA Matches

I have read blogs and watch webinars about this subject and have decided to throw my hat into the ring.

My DNA situation may be different than yours; mine involves figuring out who my biological maternal grandfather and all his ancestors. Plus I want to track my known matches, all those matches that I finally figured out how they fit in my tree. I like finding living relatives and adding those lines to my tree.

I have developed a two-step approach. My first step was to create a DNA field in my genealogy software program. I use Family Tree maker and created this DNA field as a description field only. 

Then I input one of three values into this description field.
  • Common Ancestor - for the person who ends up being the closest common ancestor between my DNA match and me.
  • DNA Match: along with the common ancestor(s) name(s) – this is entered in the person who had the test done
  • DNA Connection: along with the common ancestor(s) name(s) – this is entered in each direct descendant between the Common Ancestor and the DNA match.

I am able to generate a custom report based on my DNA field and filter in only those individuals who have DNA Match entered into the DNA Field. This handy report is sorted by the DNA Match description and thus I can quickly see all the people who share a certain Common Ancestor.

Step two was to create a spreadsheet to help track some of this information. The spreadsheet helps me determine who our common ancestor might be. It also helps me see at a glance, all the people I have yet to figure out in my pedigree.

I decided to call this spreadsheet “Index of Ancestors”. In the first tab, I made a list of all my ancestors. I also decided to use the standard numbering system for ancestors, where I am number 1, my father is twice my number and my mother is twice plus one and I continue back each generation in this manner. I also wanted to see how many ancestors I was looking for to match up to 8th cousins.  Since I didn’t know my biological maternal grandfather, I decided to enter that in RED to stick out a little. I also used some color coding to aid in viewing my legend a little easier.

Each additional tab represents a different generation.

In each of these tabs, I start off with a list of the common ancestor of that generation. I copied the section from the first tab and placed it into the top of the proper generation tab. Below the list of common ancestors, I want to track who are my DNA matches. Since I have tested with each of the major DNA companies and I use GedMatch too, I wanted to track which company or companies they tested with. In the below example of my “3rd Cousins” tab, you can see I have entered one known 3rd cousin match and listed our common ancestor as ancestors 16 & 17. I don’t know her actual first name, but based on her Ancestry tree, I know her father’s last name was Linder. I have also included the line of descent from our common ancestor down to her.  

This is a new process I am trying with the spreadsheet. So far I really like the visual effect it is giving me. I now need to use that report I generated from my Genealogy software program and input my matches into the proper generation of my Index of Ancestor’s spreadsheet.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Developing a DNA Tree

My latest project has been a difficult one. I am trying to make sense of my DNA matches. I have been tested with AncestryDNA and with 23andMe. I have also transferred my AncestryDNA over to FamilyTreeDNA. Plus I have exported them to GEDmatch. So with all these DNA test result floating around, you would think I have tons of matches.

Well, not exactly and YES. Now I sound like a politician. Okay, here are my results. On AncestryDNA, the closest match I have outside of my three siblings and my two nephews are one 2nd Cousin, two 3rd Cousins and about 114 fourth cousins. The one 2nd cousin is adopted, and the two 3rd cousins - have no family tree, but based on “Shared Matches” I believe I know who are our common ancestor is. This is all well and good, but I am trying to figure out who my mother’s father’s family is. My mother was adopted by her step-father and thus I have no idea who her biological father is. I guess identifying my matches is a plus, because if I can fit them in my tree, then I know the match is not from my mother’s father’s side.

On 23andMe, I have lots of Third to Fourth Cousins while on FTDNA  I have lots of 2nd Cousin – 4th Cousins.

I either read it or saw it in a Webinar, but the DNA experts say I should create a DNA tree. So I decided to start with my AncestryDNA matches and see if I can find any common ancestors from my matches’ trees that I would not have in my tree.  To aid me in this step, I have used the Chrome extension, AncestryDNAHelper. This extension read all my matches and generated a report that I sorted by Ancestor Name and then went through this long list and bold the names who were on multiple trees.

I believe I have found two possible Common Ancestor’s couples. One would be about my 2nd great grandparents and the other would be about my 6-7th great grandparents.  Therefore I decided to concentrate on the 2nd great grandparents. The lucky couple is Peter Pedalty/Pedelty (1814-1904) and his lovely wife Mary Alderson (1814-1882). So far I have recorded descendants of three of their children which resulted in four matches. All these matches appear to be 3rd-4th cousins to each other.

So my question is this, are these really DNA matches through this couple? AncestryDNA has such limited resources since I can’t do any specific Chromosome matches with my matches. Therefore I turned to GEDmatch to see if any of these matches also exported their results to GEDmatch.  But checking against GEDmatch is sort of a bust. Since AncestryDNA keeps everything so hidden, I can’t compare email address because they don’t display in AncestryDNA. I try to see if anyone used sort of the same name, but the user names in AncestryDNA are not real names. I even try to type in what I think is the person’s real last name based on their Trees from AncestryDNA and still no luck. ARGH! I will have to contact these matches and ask if they have exported their results to GEDmatch and if so what is their ID.

On 23andMe I did match a Pedelty and it states 0.46% shared, 1 segment with 4th cousins predicted.  However, I can’t explore more until I get him to “share” with me.  Therefore, I will have to contact him and ask him to share with me.

On FTDNA I was able to export a file of all my matches and I wanted to see if any of those might be Pedalty/Pedelty. No luck, however, that just means their current name is not Pedalty.  Of the four matches on AncestryDNA, three are females and thus no longer have the Pedalty/Pedelty surname.

The next step I decided was to stay in one testing company. Mutiple testing companies are confusing me. Also, since I administer the test for my siblings, I will check their results against the Pedalty/Pedelty surname and one sister had two new matches.

One match goes down the same line as my male Pedalty line, but then takes it two more generations. The other match seems to run parallel to the Pedalty line I already started. What I mean by this is that the oldest Pedalty in that person’s line appears to be a possible uncle of Peter, since the age matches closest to Peter’s father’s age. Also, that person died in Lafayette County, Wisconsin where some of Peter’s children are born. Should I put that person as the possible uncle of Peter in my unpublished tree? This whole tree is just a working theory anyway, would it be so bad? Or should I just put it in as an unlink Pedalty line? Logic is telling me I should put it as an Unlink Pedalty since I have not made the connection yet.

So my project continues, trying to find common ancestors. My hope is I will finally figure out who my biological father really is. In the meantime, I will keep looking at the long list of ancestor’s of my matches and see if I can find anymore more common threads. I was hoping for something closer than the 6-7th great-grandparent possibility, but I might as well plug that into my tree.