Painting My X Chromosome

I was wondering today if I had missed any painting of my X Chromosome.

My Current X Chromosome Painting

Right now I have this:

The Blue is on my mother’s mother’s side. My grandmother was Emma Lentz, but I put the assignment back another generation to her parents. The blue is based on my first Cousin Cindy’s results. The orange is on my mother’s father’s side. This is based on a second cousin match. She lives in Latvia.

Cousin Rusty’s Match

I was wondering if my cousin Rusty would add anything:

Cindy got the X that matches my family from her dad. He in turn, got his from his mom Emma Lentz. With Rusty, we match on our mother’s sides. Our mother’s got their X Chromosomes from both of their parents.

Comparing My X Chromosome with Cindy and Rusty

When I compare my X Chromosome with Rusty and Cindy, I get this:

Compare that to my Chromosome mapping with Visual Phasing:

The places where I match Rusty is where I am mapped to my Rathfelder grandfather. The place where I match Cindy, is where I am mapped to my Lentz grandmother. The places where my X Chromosome matches go back and forth between Rusty and Cindy are the same places my DNA goes from Rathfelder to Lentz and back again. Based on this, I would say that all my X chromosome match with Rusty is from Alexander Rathfelder. Further, I could say that Alexander got all his X Chromosome from his mother Maria Gangnus. Further, I could say that she got her DNA from her two parents Johann Philipp Gangnus born 1829 and Jacobine Lutke.

Painting My Gangnus/Lutke X DNA

Before I paint in new DNA, I check my current stats:

This shows that currently, I am 36% mapped overall, but only 25% mapped or painted on my maternal side.

Here is the new look:

The New Stats

My maternal side went up 3%. I added over 100 cM of DNA with Rusty.

Overall, I went up 1%.

Checking My Work

Based on how I match Cindy and Rusty, I would not think that Rusty and Cindy would have much of a match on the X Chromosome:

The spot where Rusty and Cindy match each other is same area where I am missing a match on my X Chromosome. I can guess what this means. I am mapped to Lentz in this region. Everywhere I match Rusty, I match him on Rathfelder. I match Cindy in this region except for one segment. My assumption, then, is that Cindy has a small Rathfelder segment in the middle of her Lentz DNA. There are probably other explanations, but that is the one I thought of.

Any Practical Application to This?

Yes and no. No in that I already had this information. Yes, in that this makes me more aware of what I had.

X Chromosome Matches at Gedmatch

My first X Chromosome match that I don’t already know and who has a tree is Alice.

Alice has no autosomal match with me.

Scanning her tree, I see a Faunce name:

Elizabeth Faunce is Alice’s mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s mother. That fits in well with X Inheritance.

Here is my mother’s tree:

Here I have a Faunce at my mother’s mother’s father’s mother’s mother level. She is Catherine Faunce born in 1805. Do you think the families match up?

Alice’s Tree

I see that I already had a tree for Alice. But I didn’t go far enough.

I had gone out to Elizabeth Faunce. Her father is believed to be George Faunce who was born in 1776 in Philadelphia and died there in 1838. My ancestor Jacob Faunce was born in 1774. He lived in Kensington which is part of present-day :Philadelphia and died in 1854. From what I can tell, these two Faunce men were not brothers. Too bad. So close.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I realized that I could map my first cousin’s X Chromosome matches to DNA Painter.
  • This got me thinking about DNA X Chromosome matches
  • I tracked down an X Chromosome match’s ancestry. I got back to the same city and the same last name but couldn’t make the connection. This seems like too much of a coincidence to me.


AutoClustering My Cousin’s DNA

My cousin, Cindy, has tested at AncestyDNA. Cindy’s father is my mother’s brother, so her maternal side matches on my maternal side. Cindy’s results are important, because she will match relatives in different ways than my family will. Cindy’s father and my mother both inherited 50% of their DNA from each parent. However, they inherited a different 50%. That means that one child represents 50% of the parents’ DNA, but two children would represent about 75% of each of their parents’ original DNA.

My Cousin Cindy’s Tree

Here is Cindy’s tree starting with her great-grandparents:

I’m mostly interested in the top part of Cindy’s tree as that is where we match. While writing this Blog, I found this high school photo of Cindy’s dad:

Cindy’s AutoClustering

AutoClustering takes Cindy’s matches at Ancestry and groups them together by how they match each other. These groups or clusters represent common areas of Cindy’s ancestry. I did a basic autoclustering for Cindy and came up with this:

I used pretty narrow parameters for Cindy. These are matches between 40 and 250 cM. That means I filtered out close and far away matches. I took out most of Cindy’s match names on the top and left of the chart.

Cindy’s Six Clusters

Who are these people in Cindy’s six clusters? I recognize people in the last 4 clusters. Those are Cindy’s paternal side matches:

Clusters 3 and 4

I’ll take these together because there is a link between the two clusters shown as a gray square between the red and purple clusters. Carolyn and Kathy are in the red Cluster 3. I have been in touch with Carolyn and know how she is related. Elise, Matthew and Joshua are in Cluster 4 in purple. Kathy from Cluster 3 matches Matthew of Cluster 4. However, I don’t have trees for Kathy or Matthew.  I have been in touch with Joshua.

Carolyn descends from the Nicholson/Ellis Line. Joshua descends from the Lentz/Nicholson Line.

Cindy’s Clusters 5 and 6

I can’t figure out how Cluster 5 fits in. Cluster 5 has the lowest level DNA matches. That makes it difficult to tell who the common ancestors are or where they come from.

Cluster 6 fits in with Cindy’s German/Latvian heritage. Cindy’s top match in Cluster 6 is with Otis. Here is how Cindy and Otis match:

The Schwechheimr and Gangnus families lived in a German Colony in Latvia called Hirschenhof. Here is a map of Hirchenhof where Cindy’s Latvian ancestors lived:

Clusters 1 and 2 on Cindy’s Maternal Side

Cindy matches Holly in Cluster 1. Holly also has a tree:

 My guess is that Holly’s Heinrich Nachbar is the same as Cindy’s Henry Nachbar. That should put Cindy and Holly at 2nd cousins once removed.

Cluster 2

In Cluster 2, there is one grandparent remaining for Cindy. That is DiOrio. Cindy matches Vincent in Cluster 6 who has this tree:

Vincent’s Etore seems to match Cindy’s Ettore DiOrio. That would make Cindy and Vincent 2nd cousins.

Cindy’s Cluster Summary

For the No idea Cluster 5, I can only tell that it is on Cindy’s paternal side. Cindy’s match with Otis in Cluster 6 went back to the late 1700’s. Cindy’s matches in Cluster 5 were smaller than her matches with Cluster 6 members. That implies that the common ancestors could be further back in time.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I ran an autocluster report for my first cousin, Cindy at conservative settings and got six clusters
  • Cindy’s six clusters sorted themselves into two maternal clusters and 4 paternal clusters. This was probably a coincidence, but worked out well.
  • I was able to figure out all of Cindy’s clusters except for one of her paternal clusters.
  • Cindy hasn’t linked an Ancestry Tree to her DNA. If she did, then Ancestry would make some of these connections automatically.

AutoClustering Aunt Esther’s Newfoundland DNA

In previous Blog, I looked at the autoclustering of my mother-in-law Joan’s DNA. Esther is Joan’s half Aunt. That means that Joan and Esther have a connection on only one of Joan’s grandparents. All of Esther’s four grandparents were from Newfoundland. I am hoping that the AutoClustering process will make sense of Esther’s Newfoundland DNA.

Esther’s AutoCluster

This is the overall chart:

The 54 clusters are difficult to see because Esther has 612 matches. I set Esther’s autoclustering limits between 30 and 600 cM and was a little surprised at how many matches Esther had at that level.

Esther’s Family Tree

There are a few holes in Esther’s family tree:

The Peter Upshall born 1800 above is also a guess.  I’m not as familiar with the Shave and Kirby sides as my wife is not related on that side. The Clusters should identify some of them.

Here is a spreadsheet that I will need to fill in.

My wife is at the top of the list with the largest match in Cluster 1. In a way that is not good because my wife will be related to two of Aunt Esther’s grandparents: Henry Upshall and Catherine Dicks. Perhaps that is why the Cluster 1 is so large. I will try another AutoCluster for Esher between 40 cM and 250 cM. That should be clearer. Also Marie’s niece Tina is the top match for Cluster 6. Tina will also share Upshall and Dicks matches. However, lowering the upper match limit to 250 cM will not solve all the problems. Even though Marie and Tina share both Upshall and Dicks, it is possible that many in the clusters will only have either Upshall or Dicks DNA. Or they will have more Upshall than Dicks or the other way around.

Esther’s Shared Ancestor Hints (SAHs)

At AncestryDNA, Esther has some Shared Ancestor HInts. Here is one:

Pat is a 2nd cousin once removed. Esther and Pat share the common ancestors of Shave and Burton. I was looking for easy answers but got thrown for a loop because Pat is in Cluster 1. She is in Cluster 1 with Marie who is not related on the Shave side. Interesting.

Here is some more of Pat’s paternal side lineage:

This tells me that perhaps Pat is in Cluster 1 because of her Upshall match and not her Shave/Burton match. That could mean that Margaret Upshall is a sister to Esther’s grandfather. If that is the case, then Esther and Pat may be 2nd cousins once removed on the Upshall side also. It’s a possibility.

A Kirby/Emberley SAH

Here Esther and M.B. are shown as 3rd cousins. AncestryDNA thinks they share enough DNA to be 2nd cousins, so something is going on. Not only that, M.B. is also in Cluster 1. Martha is the administrator for M.B. Look at Martha’s tree for M.B.

There is Upshall again. I have been in touch with Martha and we both agree that Peter is a pretty good potential ancestor. He was born to Sarah Upshall who was a single mother in Haselbury Bryan, Dorset, England.  So far, I’m thinking that there is more than meets the eye to these SAHs.

This Just In: Another AutoCluster for Esther

While I am thinking about the Upshalls in other SAHs, I’ll look at another AutoCluster for Esther. Things are still a bit muddy. I changed the lower limit to 40 and the upper limit to 250cM and got almost 300 fewer matches for Esther. However the picture is still muddy:

Esther is down to 33 clusters, but the grey dots between clusters represents crossover in ancestral lines. M.B. who was previously in Cluster 1 is now in Cluster 19. Changing the thresholds changes the delicate balance of the clusters and the relationship between the clusters apparently.

Which AutoCluster Version Should I Use?

It seems like Newfoundland genetic genealogy is already complicated enough. There are intermarriages of lines and missing lines. I have just put in for a third AutoCluster for Esther at the default thresholds of 50-250cM. I am hoping that those thresholds will simplify things.

Take 3 with Esther’s AutoCluster

You can’t say I’m not trying.

This looks more manageable with 20 clusters and 220 matches. I’m ready to rock this AutoCluster.

Cluster 1: Dicks?

My notes for many in this Cluster indicate the Dicks family. D.M. in Cluster 1 has a good match and Dicks on her maternal side:

I was able to build out D.M like this:

However, I have been proposing that Elizabeth Collier could be Elizabeth Crann. That is something to keep in mind. It looks like D.M. matches Esther on Kirby, Dicks, Dicks wife Elizabeth, Shave and Burton. That is quite a bit.

Cluster 14 – Kirby/Emberley

My notes for this Cluster say Kirby and Emberley. AutoCluster sorts the clusters by size of match and this cluster has the second largest match.

Cluster 8 – Upshall?

I’d like to make a guess that Cluster 8 could be an Upshall Cluster. There are a lot of high matches but not a lot of answers there:

I’ll make it a working theory. The first person on the list is Jane. I couldn’t see any connection to Esther in her tree. The second person James said that his grandmother was Laura Upshall.

Laura Upshall’s Tree

I found a Laura Upshall from England and a Laura from Newfoundland born in Harbour Buffet. So I chose the Laura from Harbour Buffet and built out a fast tree at Ancestry:

Assuming this tree is right, Esther and James are 2nd cousins twice removed with the common ancestors of Peter Upshall and Margaret Burton. While I’m at it, I’ll add Margaret Burton to Esther’s tree. The good thing about Laura’s tree is that I don’t see any Dicks in it. This could rule out Cluster 8 from being a Dicks Cluster. Here is what I have so far:

I still don’t see any Shave Clusters.

Another Cluster 8 Tree

Next down on the list of Esther’s matches on Cluster 8 is someone I call Hat. Here is what I think is his tree:

I think the person taking the test is the son of Ella Grace Upshall, but I’m not sure. Again, I don’t see Dicks in there which is good. One other thing is that these trees also have Shave. So that is a possibility.

Cluster 8: Shave Or Upshall?

One way to tell might be by comparing Esther to her half Niece Joan, my mother-in-law. Joan is related on Esther’s Upshall side but not her Shave side. The Jane that I couldn’t connect to Esther from Cluster 8 is in Joan’s Cluster 41. I had that listed as an Upshall Cluster for Joan. James is also in Joan’s Cluster 41. Finally Hat is in Joan’s Cluster 41, so that is three for three.

A Tree for Eileen from Esther’s Cluster 8

Christina has a short tree, but her mother’s Reid name looks like a possible Newfoundland name. I assume that Christina’s mother Eileen is the one that took the test. I see from the 1940 Census that Eileen’s father was born in Newfoundland, so I guessed right:

Will Flint, Michigan lead back to Upshall?

The answer is no.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Sarah Ann Dicks was born in Harbour Buffet as I couldn’t find records for her birth and Harbour Buffett records are poor. I have that William Reid was born in Harbour Buffett in 1811.

Here is a tree for Lorna in Cluster 8:

I don’t see Upshall here. But Margaret Burton may have married Peter Upshall and she may be the daughter of Charles Burton. She did name what appears to be her second son Charles. It would have been customary to name the wife’s second son after her father. I know, a lot of if’s.

Christina From Cluster 8 and Her Tree

Christina’s tree looks hopeful.

Here is Madge and family in 1935 St. John’s West:

I can’t tell if Hattie is the same as Ethie. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get much further than Christina’s tree.

A Possible Upshall Tree

Now that I’ve reduced the possibility of Cluster 8 being Shave, it is more likely an Upshall Cluster. I’ll build a theoretical tree for Upshall with theoretical but possible common ancestors Peter Upshall and Margaret Burton:


I put this out there to see if it makes sense genealogically and with the DNA evidence.

Summary at Mid-Point

Here is my spreadsheet so far:

Subject to change.

An Upshall in Cluster 11

Here is Barbara’s paternal side of her tree:

Peter and Alice Upshall married in 1916:

Here is a marriage for Henry Upshall to an Elizabeth Smith:

Henry was said to be living at Little Harbour at the time of the marriage.

Madonna’s Cluster 11 Tree

Madonna shows her maternal grandparents at Ancestry:

I recognized the Collett name and built out Madonna’s tree with some help from other Ancestry Trees:

It’s not my greatest tree as I didn’t build out Susan Collett. I see a record showing a Peter Collett marrying a Susanna Hann in 1905:

That gives me a new line for my horizontal Upshall Tree:

B,A. On Cluster 11

B.A. appears to have an Upshall on his tree. I say appears because there are many trees posted by B.A.’s administrator. I picked the tree that most looked like B.A.’s initials and it had an Upshall in the line:

Solomon Upshall 1921

In 1921 Solomon was living among many Upshalls in Little Harbour:

I wasn’t able to build out past Henry Upshall. I did note one Ancestry Tree had this:

I suppose that is possible.

Cluster 10 and Phyllis’ Tree

Phyllis is missing her paternal side, but her maternal side has some familiar names:

A lot of these names are beginning to sound familiar after a while.

Building out Phyllis’ tree:

Dicks is a common ancestor, but there are other possibilities. With these clusters, I am looking for trends. The clusters are saying to me, in a particular cluster the DNA says that you are more related within this group than outside of this group. So in a sense, the clusters may be clearer than what the genealogy is showing.

Another Cluster 10 Tree: Not All Trees Are Created Equal

This tree is better, in a way, than Phyllis’. Tha maternal side is England and Toronto. That leaves the paternal side:

I built out this tree and found some common ancestors:

This person goes by ‘it’ for short at Ancestry. It is 2nd cousin once removed to Esther. I prefer it’s tree because it is less ambiguous. It’s one Shave/Burton line is the one that is in Harbour Buffett where Esther’s ancestors lived. Where was Shave on Phyllis’ tree? Shave may have been on her paternal side that Phyllis didn’t show

Richard’s Cluster 10 Tree

I could use another tree to confirm, even though I am pretty sure of Shave/Burton already. Richard has a small, but high-grade tree:

The reason I like his tree is that maternal side and paternal side are shown. Also it narrows down to a name I know instead of expanding out to many ambiguous matches. I sort of cut off Lucy Shave. Sorry, Lucy. Richard’s Tree shows two lines of connections:

However, the closer Shave/Burton connection puts Richard also at 2nd cousin once removed to Esther. Cluster 10 represents Esther’s fourth grandparent Line of Shave:

A Shave/Burton Tree


Here is Esther’s Cluster 10 Shave/Burton Tree:

Cluster 4

Cluster 4 is next on the GeneticAffairs Report. Daisy is Esther’s first match with 177 cM. Her tree says that she shares the Dicks ancestral name with Esther.

Daisy has a good tree:

Daisy has Joyce and Dicks at her 2nd great-grandparent level above. Here are two more generations on Daisy’s Tree:

This shows Christopher Dicks and his wife twice. Daisy descends from Rachel and Robert Dicks. I’m sure there is a Crann connection also, but this should be overshadowed by the Dicks connections.

That means that Esther and Daisy are 4th cousins once removed twice on the Dicks Line.

Match #2 on Cluster 4 – Julie

Julie shows her two parents on her Ancestry Tree. My first attempt to build out Julie’s tree was a disaster. I think that Julie attached her DNAresults to her mother’s side. I was able to fix this by going into Julie’s tree and going down one lever from her mother. This worked better and I came up with a Newfoundland Tree for Julie’s paternal side:

None of the names sound familiar, but at least I’m in Newfoundland instead of Ireland. I built out Julie’s tree a bit but didn’t find a connection to Esther.

I was able to build out Julie’s tree a little more:

The tree has William Henry Dicks from England. That means that the match could go back to England or that a descendant of Christopher Dicks moved back to England and then back to Newfoundland.

I’m ready for a new cluster.

Cluster 12 – Bridget and bam

I’ll start with bam because he has Newfoundland ancestors in his tree. Here is my build-out based on some Ancestry suggestions:


There are a few interesting things about this tree. First, it is possible  that this Charles Burton could be an Uncle or father of Esther’s ancestor Margaret Burton born 1825. Also The Frances Dicks could be the Frances Dicks I have as daughter of Christopher Dicks. I have this tree, roughly based on DNA testing:

However, I see that the first George in the tree must be wrong. He should be in a later generation. Also there is a discrepancy on the birth date of Frances Dicks. I have her here are born 1811, but 1805 may make sense also.

That still leaves the question as to whether this is a Burton or Dicks Cluster (or something else!). I think I may be able to figure out the answer to that question, but not today.

Cluster 20

This could be the last Cluster for now. The top match with a tree is G,K. Here is a clue from AncestryDNA:

G.K. and Esther both have a Joseph Dicks in their tree. I had added in Joseph on Esther’s maternal line. She had a Jane Dicks there that I couldn’t place. The Dicks on Esther’s paternal side were easier to place.

My Theory on Joseph Dicks

I think that the Joseph Dicks in G.K’s tree and the one in Esther’s tree could be the same person. In G.K.’s tree Joseph is born in 1818 in Oderin and has son Michael in 1869 with Mary Murphy. She could have been a second wife. In Esther’s tree, Joseph is born in 1810 in Famish Gut and has Jane Ann Dicks with Mary Griffith in 1841. If I’m right, that would make Esther and G.K. half third cousins. I had that Esther’s Joseph descended from Christopher Dicks. However, the tree that I made for G.K. has Joseph’s parents as John Dicks and Mary Corbett. That may make more sense.

One point is that the tree I make for G.K. has Joseph Bulley Dicks born in 1818:

However, G.K. has Joseph born in 1849.

Jerome’s Cluster 20 Joseph Dicks Tree

I notice that Jerome follows G.K with a later birth date for Joseph Dicks:

It appears that Jerome is 2nd cousin to G.K and they both descend from different daughters of Michael Dicks.

Beth in Cluster 20

Beth in Cluster 20 also has a Joseph Dicks tree but with the earlier Joseph Dicks birth date:

Esther’s Cluster Summary

This is a start:

I’m sure that the more I work on this, the more it will come together:

In general the matches between clusters seem fewer as you go down and to the right. That would mean that if I am right with Joseph Dicks, then that is one of the more unique lines. Cluster 20 represents a Roman Catholic Line also, and I believe that most or all of the other lines are Church of England. I see that I already had a 14 and 15 Cluster label, so my newer label for Cluster 15 should refer to the lower right of the green box.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Looking at Esther’s 20 Cluster Report was helpful. It was also a lot of work to build out and analyze trees.
  • I forgot to mention the Crann connection in New Zealand. This is the small Cluster 2. I believe that the younger Christopher Dicks married Elizabeth Crann, so it may be fitting that the small Crann Cluster was next to the large Dicks Cluster 1.
  • The clusters help to focus on where to look when comparing trees. The clusters at least suggest that the ancestors should be along the same line as each other.
  • Clusters are a good place to try out theories on ancestors. The theory I had on Joseph Dicks seemed to play out well. From my previous Dicks DNA project, I had tried to connect Esther’s Joseph Dicks line and was unsuccessful. This would explain the fact that the Joseph Line appears to be differenrt than the Chirstopher Dicks Lines.
  • I hope to continue looking at Esther’s DNA clusters at some point and comparing them with her half-niece Joan’s. For example, I would not expect that Joan would be matching Esther’s Cluster 20 as that is Esther’s maternal side and Joan matches Esther on Esther’s paternal side.
  • A lot of the progress is from reviewing the matches’ trees, but the AutoClustering helps focus and direct the analsysis of trees.





A Latvian Match at MyHeritage – Patrick

I recently was pleasantly surprised to get a message from Patrick from Berlin. He says that we are connected through his great-grandmother Wilma Pfeiff.

Wilma Pfeiff

Here is a photo of Wilma from an article written in 2010:

I enjoyed reading about Wilma’s history [translated on-line]:

Wilma Pfeiff was born in Riga, Latvia. She experienced the First World War in Russia in a city on the Volga. There her father had to work in a machine factory. She was allowed to herd cows and learned fluent Russian. “I always went to the other girls and talked to them.” After the war, they went back to Riga. There she married. “My husband was supposed to marry my older sister, but she did not want to,” remembers Wilma Pfeiff. The girls had hardly any say in the election of the groom. In 1929 she got her first child, nine more followed. In 1939, the German-descended family was relocated to the Polish Wartheland. Her husband later went to war and did not return home. Then the day came Wilma Pfeiff had to flee from Poland with her ten children. In open wagons, actually coal cars, the families were penned. “Mother was always smart. She had a blanket, “says her sonErich Pfeiff (71). And his brother Edwin adds: “We still got straw to keep us warm.” The family was stranded in Brandenburg, on detours, it went on to Lemwerder. That’s where the Pfeiffs lived in the refugee barracks, that was in 1947. “That was a very difficult time,” says the 104-year-old. She had to fight for her children, they wanted to take her away. “‘Young dogs are distributed, but no children,’ I told them then.” She was allowed to keep the children, the elders were apprenticed. “The children were all very nice, they helped a lot,” says Wilma Pfeiff. She never married again: “I could have found a husband, but no father for my children.”

I have found DNA relatives to people in the US who have had ancestors from Saratov. I have wondered how they could be connected to Latvia and this article may explain it. Saratov was about 1,000 miles away from Riga, Latvia. I know that my great grandmother was also moved around a lot in WWII like Wilma was.

The DNA Match – My Mom and Patrick

Here are the DNA matches between Patrick and my mom, Gladys:

There are five matches that are fairly small. This could mean that our common ancestors go back several generations. I have a cousin who has not uploaded her DNA to MyHeritage. I have other Latvian cousins at MyHeritage but they do not show DNA triangulation with Patrick.

Wilma Pfeiff’s Genealogy

A good resource for Latvian Genealogy is a website called Raduraksti. They have a page with 10,000 Latvian names that could be helpful to find Wilma Pfeiff. One problem with using this list is that the Latvians like to spell German names their own way. Another problem could be that Wilma was not in Latvia when they took the survey or if she was, she may have gone by her maiden name. This appears to be the Latvian spelling:

Another Hint from Patrick

Patrick messaged me at MyHeritage:

My Family lived in a German enclave with 3 other Families: Pfeiff (my one), Schmidt, Gangnus, Wolde. They all married each other. For Example my Great Grandma was firstly Schmidt and married Johann Otto Pfeiff. 

This is a big help as I didn’t know Patrick’s great-grandmother’s maiden name. There are two Johans in the list above:

The second Johans seems to be born in the right time.

Wilma Schmidt

Next, is Wilma listed on the Latvian database? This must be her:

She was born in Riga. This also gives a name for Vilma’s father. However, there were many churches in Riga. Here are some Oskars’ from the Latvia database:

My top choice is the Oskars born in the Irsu pag. as that is another name for Hirschenhof where my ancestors came from.

Patrick’s New FInds

Since I started writing this Blog, Patrick has found a lot more information on his Hirchenhof ancestors. I built out part of Patrick’s tree that I had started based some of Patrick’s new research and got this:

I put a green box around the common ancestors Patrick and I have. It looks like Patrick and I are double 4th cousins once removed.

The Lutke Connection

Lutke is interesting because I was previously stuck on Friedrich Lutke as well as Eva Fuhrmann. Patrick’s research helped me fill in this whole lower right side of my Latvian tree:

This added a new Buchenroth surname that I had not heard of and an additional Schwechheimer. Here is how Patrick connects with me on the Lutke side:

A Gangnus – Biedermann Tree

This tree is more complicated because I already match some other people there by DNA:

This is complicated because I descend from from Gangnus ancestors on my grandfather’s mother’s and father’s side. Robert above also has a double connection.


Patrick’s Pfeiff Side

I can’t see the ancestors of Johann Otto Pfeiff on Patrick’s MyHeritage Tree:

Patrick has Johann Otto Pfeiff born in Riga on 23 May 1906. I have Johann Karl Pfeiff born in Hirschenhof on 6 August 1906. I wonder if they are the same person? I did find a birth record for Johann Otto Pfeiff in the HIrchenhof Church records.

The record goes onto the next page. At this time, the Church records were in what appears to be Russian. Fortunately, the names are also in German. I did find a Russian Genealogical Wiki. The first column must be birth and the second baptism. My guess is that Patrick’s 23 May was right.

I don’t know when to give up, so I looked for a marriage for Georg and Ottilie:

This marriage appears to be in 1902 or 1903. The German translations of the names are in parentheses. I think that the second name after the first name must be the father’s name of the groom and bride. I see those names as Johann and Georg.

Painting Patrick

I would like to paint Patrick’s DNA matches using DNAPainter. The problem is that we match three different ways. I’ll work around this by just naming the common ancestors by the two closest pairs of common ancestors. That would be Lutke/Fuhrmann or Gangnus/Biedermann.

Here is where I match Patrick:

Here is my already maternal side that is painted:

One problem here is that Chromosome 20 is already taken up by the wrong side. My Lentz ancestors mostly lived in Philadelphia. Also matches under 7cM are not likely to be valid.

There also seems to be a problem with the match at Chromosome 18:

The MyHeritage Chromosome Browser shows no triangulation on Chromosome 18. My match with Patrick is in red and my matches with my two Latvian 2nd cousins are in orange and yellow. That means I am skeptical of this match also, but I don’t want to just toss it out.

Here is the new DNA painted in light blue.

I made a note under the match in DNAPainter that the Chromosome 18 segment did not triangulate. Here is a portion of DNAPainter with my paternal side included:

My Latvian maternal matches are on the bottom bar of the Chromosome.

My Mom and Patrick

Here is my mom’s currently painted matches:

Here is my Mom’s map where Patrick’s matches were added:

DNAPainter doesn’t add the matches under 7cM. The match on Chromosome 18 doesn’t show as it is under other matches:

My mother didn’t match Patrick on Chromosome 20.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I’m glad Patrick contacted me. It has been fun working with this enthusiastic and talented German genealogist.
  • Patrick and I both have an interest in German/Latvian genealogy and we are working well together.
  • Thanks to Patrick, I have added some ancestors where I was stuck on our shared Lutke and Fuhrmann Lines.
  • Painting my matches and my mother’s matches with Patrick gave some more insight on the shared matches.
  • I’m hoping to find out more about Patrick’s genealogy and meet other DNA matches with an interest in genealogy like Patrick.

Sorting My Mom’s DNA with AutoCluster

I already sorted my mom’s DNA with AutoCluster last week. However, since that time, Genetic Affairs has changed the look of their AutoCluster Chart. They now cluster the clusters which makes it easier to tell which ancestral groups go with which

My Mom’s Ancestry

Mom, Gladys’, father is German but his German ancestors lived for quite a while in a German colony in Latvia. His parents were Rathfelder and Gangnus. My mom’s maternal grandfather Lentz was also German but his ancestors had been in Philadelphia since the American Revolution. Gladys’ maternal grandmother was Nicholson. Her family moved to Philadelphia from Sheffield, England.

The First AutoCluster

My first AncestryDNA AutoCluster for my mom looked like this:

  • Thresholds: 20-600 cM
  • Matches: 323
  • Matches not used in clusters: 29
  • Clusters: 48

I started writing a Blog on the results, but didn’t finish. Here is a spreadsheet for the above chart:

These clusters were sorted by the size of the cluster and I didn’t identify the first three clusters.

Mom’s New AutoCluster Results

I expect the new results to be more organized and show where the groups of matches belong compared to the other groups of matches:

  • Thresholds: 20-600 cM
  • Matches: 330
  • Matches not used in clusters: 28
  • Clusters: 49

I used the same thresholds in the new AutoCluster run. The results were similar but now the clusters are organized. Here is the new spreadsheet:


I note that Elise and Rowena are in twice. I don’t know if that messes up the results. I didn’t show all the clusters as they go off the page.

Elise shows as being in Clusters 5 and 6 which doesn’t make sense. She doesn’t show in Cluster 5 but shows as a dark gray row to the left and above Cluster 6. Rowena shows as being in her own Cluster 15 which I don’t show above.

Unraveling the Mystery of Mom’s DNA

The unraveling the mystery of mom’s DNA involves trying to figure out which parts of her DNA go with which common ancestors. The common ancestors are the common ancestors of her common matches. Her common matches are grouped together and those groups are grouped together, so let’s get started.

Here are mom’s four grandparent lines:

These shown are the first and 2nd great-grandparent levels. By location, the top two grandparent are Latvia and the bottom two grandparent lines are Philadelphia and Sheffield, England.

Cluster 1: Nicholson/Ellis

Cluster 1 is easy. It is headed up by mom’s 2nd cousin Carolyn on the Nicholson/Ellis Line:

Cluster 38 – Rathfelder

Next, I’ll go all the way down to Cluster 38. I believe that this is a Rathfelder Cluster:

I may only have one Rathfelder Cluster with the two sisters, Astrid and Ingrid.

Mom’s Maternal and Paternal Clusters

The above two Clusters may have set the edge for Mom’s Clusters, but I’ll check in more detail later. Here is my assumption so far:

Again, this is a guess based on two clusters. I will need to check this out. I also will want to try to identify Lentz and Gangnus matches, if possible.

Finding Lentz

Lentz matches have been difficult to find. Here is the Lentz tree with some of the descendant who have had their DNA tested:

The left branch has the closer matches, but they are also half Nicholson. Here is Radelle’s mom at Ancestry:

This is a little confusing because Radelle took the test and her mom, Delores shows in the tree. I became suspicious when I saw that Delores died in 2011. Radelle is in Cluster 32:


I now have three of my mom’s grandparents. However, does that mean that Nicholson has 31 Clusters?

More Nicholson

I can fill in one Cluster with Nigel. He has a large match with my mom going back to 1765 in Sheffield, England.

I should have John Nicholson’s wife as my mom could just as easily be sharing her DNA. Here she is:

I’m getting stuck on my mom’s maternal side, so time to switch to paternal:

Otis and Cluster 39

Here is Otis:

Here Otis is 3rd cousin once removed and 4th cousin once removed on my mother’s Rathfelder side. This Chart describes Otis’ relationship to my mom as 5th cousin, once removed on the Gangnus side:

That means the Rathfelder side wins out (I think).

Otis and the Colony Effect

The Colony is effect is this. You put a bunch of Germans in a Colony in Latvia and they want to marry other Germans:

Here is Otis’ Cluster 39 in blue highlighted. Astrid is in the cluster above and to the left of Cluster 39. Otis is the top left match of the blue cluster. He also has shared matches with mom in other clusters below and to the right.

Doing Some Latvian Genealogy

I did a search for Latvia at my mother’s AncestryDNA match page:

Robert shows his maternal grandparents coming from Latvia. That means I could try to do some genealogy on Roberts tree if I want. Robert is also in Mom’s Cluster 45.

The All-Latvia Database

I was able to find the Resch family at:

This is a good web site for Latvian research.

The Latvians like to Latvianize names. So I don’t know if Retsch is a German name changed to Recs or if Recs changed to Retsch. I also found Zamuels birthplace and birth date. The last column is place of origin. This shows as Riga for father and son. I usually look for Irsu Pag. which is Hirschenhof. That would link with my ancestors.

Robert has that Alma was born in Dresden, Germany, so I’ll look to Mazur and Rosenbach. I couldn’t find Rosenbach in the list. I did find some Martin’s in the Latvia Inhabitant list:

The closest Martin has his dad as Jēkabs.

A Latvian Secret Weapon

I was ready to give up but remembered I had a book on the Gangnus family. If Robert is related to me through that family, perhaps I could make a connection there.

I left out the bottom where it says Darmstadt 2003.

I looked up Retsch in this book and found one reference:

This reference says that Samual was born March 22, 1872 which is close to the April 3, 1872 I had above. Now all I have to do is make the connections. I have a feeling that the connections go back a way. What the above says is that Samuel married Charlotte Alma who was born 2 March 1867. Her parents were Johann Georg Gangnus and Marie Jacobine Schilling.

I see what happened. Robert had Charlotte Alma Gangnus as Alma Magnus. That makes sense. When I first saw my mother’s grandmother’s name written, I think it was written as Youganis.

Gangnus Production Update

Now I have two Gangnus/Gagnus families:

The good news is that I was about to give up on the Robert tree and then I remembered my Gangnus book. The bad news is that I’m getting lost in all these Gangnus families. However, I am starting to see our trees coming together in a confusing and interesting way.

If I understand this correctly, Robert and I are double 5th cousins. Robert and my mother are double fourth cousins, once removed. The other thing is that Robert is related on my mother’s paternal grandfather’s and grandmother’s side.

In order to display this on my spreadsheet, I added another row for Cluster 45:

Summary and Conclusions

  • The new autoclustering look helped show where the clusters grouped with each other. I wasn’t able to identify many more clusters specifically, but now I know in what area they should belong.
  • I was able to make a guess where my mother’s shared matches went from maternal to paternal
  • I looked at some paternal clusters. However, intermarriage in Hirschenhof, Latvia made it difficult to nail down DNA to a specific grandfather in at least one case.
  • I was able to build out Robert’s tree. Robert was in my mother’s Latvian Cluster 45. I used the All Latvia on-line Directory and a book I had on the Gangnus family in Latvia. However, after all that work, Robert appears to be equally related to my mom on both my mom’s paternal grandfather and grandmother’s sides.






AutoClustering My Mother-In-Law Joan’s AncestryDNA

I’m excited about looking at my mother-in-law’s DNA. I tried autoclustering her FTDNA results but had a difficult time identifying many of her clusters.

Making Joan’s DNA Fun Again

When I first started looking at Joan’s DNA several years ago, it seemed like a lot of her matches resulted in common ancestors. Then later, I saw that there was a lot of inter-marriage going on in Prince Edward Island (PEI) where Joan’s two paternal grandparents came from. Let’s take a look at the Geneticaffairs AutoCluster for Joan:

That’s not very clear, is it? My previous autocluster reports were in the range of three or four hundred matches. This report is quite large, with about 650 matches. Large is good, but it makes the chart difficult to view. To get the Chart above, I used thresholds between 25 and 600cM.

Joan’s Ancestry

Joan’s ancestry is one-half PEI, 1/4 Newfoundland and 1/4 Nova Scotia. The records are poor for Newfoundland and the Nova Scotia relatives are a bit obscure.

The first column has Joan’s great-grandparents. Ellis through Hopgood are PEI. Upshall and Dicks are Newfoundland. Daley and Rhynold are Nova Scotia. Here is a guess on how Joan’s autocluster will look:

It would be nice to sort the Ellis from the Rayner in the top square. However, there is some crossovers in the families as you go back in time. I’m also curious to look into Joan’s Newfoundland and more obscure Nova Scotia ancestry.

Let’s Get to the Clusters

First I start with the Identifying Spreadsheet. This is to identify Joan’s 66 clusters – or to at least get a start on them.

This goes down to Cluster 42, because the results went off my screen. However Brian at Cluster 41 is important.

Brian’s Upshall Match

Here is an Upshall Tree. I think I have it right:

Brian is Joan’s 1st cousin once removed. However, they are only related on the Upshall side because Fred Upshall’s first wife died and he remarried and had Gertrude and Esther. I drew my big green box starting with Brian in Cluster 41 in my initial guess.

Joan’s Ellis Side

Joan’s Cluster Chart is headed up by E.E. Here is E.E.’s Shared Ancestor Hint (SAH) with Joan at AncestryDNA:

E.E. is in Joan’s Cluster 1 and is a second cousin to Joan. E.E. is the top left square in this cluster.

The higher matches are on the top left and the lower matches are on the lower right. The Shared Matches fade out a bit from the top left to the lower right. Most of Joan’s matches with Newfoundland ancestry can be found in this cluster. That should include more of the Dicks relatives than Upshalls.

Now I have two out of 66 clusters:

These might not be the best names for these clusters, but that is what I am calling them right now. Cluster 1 has 105 members and Cluster 41 has 101 members, so those two matches represent clusters that total to over 200 matches.

Joan’s AncestryDNA Circles and Her Clusters

Joan has 22 Circles at AncestryDNA. These Circles point to common ancestors and should help to identify Joan’s clusters. One of the more obscure clusters leads me to Gordon with Rhynold ancestry:

Gordon and many others are in Cluster 61. This probably represents the start of Joan’s Daley maternal grandmother’s side:

Cluster 61 has been bolded and the Upshall Cluster is shown in the upper right of the image above. These may be other Newfoundland Clusters between Upshall and Daley/Rhynold.

Daley represents 1/4 of Joan’s DNA but a smaller percentage of her actual matches. I have now defined the three main areas of Joan’s ancestry on the clusters. They are: PEI, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Separating Ellis from Rayner

I have distinguished three areas of Joan’s ancestry. I have Joan’s Ellis, Upshall and Daley ancestry. Now I would like to separate the Ellis DNA from the Rayner DNA. This is a little difficult due to crisscrossing of Rayner and Ellis ancestry. Here is some of Joan’s paternal ancestry:

Back to the Circles

Here is a Rayner Circle from Ancestry:

There are 21 in this circle. Hazel is a match with strong confidence. Yet, she appears in Joan’s Cluster 1:

I do see that while Hazel has two Rayner Lines, she also has an Ellis ancestor:

It looks like Joan may be matching on this Ellis Line rather than the Rayner side. Confusing, isn’t it?

The Mary Watson Circle

Mary Watson was the wife of Edward John Rayner. If Edward was in Cluster 1, shouldn’t Mary be also? Or can AncestryDNA somehow separate the two?:

Joan’s first non-close family relative in the Mary Watson Circle is Esther. Turns out Esther is in Cluster 13. Hence, my question above.


Looking at Esther’s tree, I don’t see Mary Watson:

Perhaps it is more obvious through other trees.

One of the next matches to Joan in the Mary Watson tree is Mary-Ann. Mary-Ann is in Cluster 12. Mary-Ann has one non-private person in her tree who is not a Rayner and not a Watson. At this point, I can choose to trust Ancestry’s Circles or trust them. I’ll assume that there is something to the Circles and add Cluster 12 as a Mary Watson Cluster.

Here is Joan’s green Cluster 12 highlighted:

Let’s Try a Mary Yeo Circle

Here is Mary Yeo.

Mary is Joan’s third great-grandmother on her paternal Rayner side.

Wanda is a top match in the Mary Yeo Circe, but she is in Cluster 1. Wanda also has at least one Ellis ancestor. I am beginning to question some of these Ancestry Circles. However, to be fair, I have had trouble separating out Ellis and Rayner by hand, so I’m sure a computer program would have the same problems.

One More Rayner Side Circle: Amelia Watson

Ronald is a top match in the Amelia Watson Circle. He has Gorrill, Hopgood and Watson ancestors. He is also in Cluster 7. Hmm…

An Additional Ellis Cluster

Kath is in Cluster 4:

However, Kath is in the Pring Circle. The Circles are confusing me right now, so I’ll have to ignore them. Note that Kath has two Shared Ancestor Hints (SAHs). Here is the second:

I suppose that is how Kath got into the Pring Circle. Fortunately both these ancestors are on the Ellis side. From the above, it appears that Richard Gorrill Married two Newcombe sisters. I’ll record this in my spreadsheet like this:

This shows that I have five PEI Clusters identified out of what appears to be a total of 40 PEI Clusters.

One More Cluster – #19

There is always one more Cluster to Identify. My next strategy is to look down the list of clusters from my AutoCluster Report:

I have a few notes for Heather and L.M. that indicate that they should be on the Rayner side.

More on Newfoundland DNA

I have written many Blogs about Dicks and other Newfoundland DNA. I will look into those matches now.

Crann DNA

Joan matches other with Crann DNA. Heather is from New Zealand and Joan and Heather’s common ancestors are likely Henry Crann born 1757 in Netherbury, Dorset, England and his wife Elizabeth Collens. This is a case where the DNA gets ahead of the genealogy. Heather is in Joan’s Cluster 46

Building Out Terrence’s Tree

Terrence is also in Cluster 46 and has a tree with four people. I am curious about his tree as his mother is a Crann. I have avoided building out any trees in this Blog, so I will build one out now:

This is Terrence’s mother’s grandfather’s line going right back to Jenry Crann and Elizabeth Collens. One interesting thing about this tree is that I have Richard Crann being born in Harbour Buffett where Joan’s Newfoundland ancestors lived.

Tyler Also from Cluster 46

In addition to Terrence is Tyler. I don’t have to build out his tree. His tree also goes back to John Crann. When I put Heather, Terrence, and Tyler in a tree, I get this Cluster 46 Crann Tree:

R.N. From Cluster 46

R.N. is Joan’s last match at Cluster 46 (at the threshold that I set). Turns out R.N. also has a tree on the New Zealand Branch:

Now Joan has symmetry in her Cluster 46 between Newfoundland on the left and New Zealand on the right.

Where is Joan in Cluster 46?

That is the problem. I don’t have good records for the match. I had proposed that John Crann had a daughter named Elizabeth who married Christopher Dicks.

The problem with this theory is that I don’t have any paper evidence. I already had Tyler in this tree, but I am missing Terrence. He needs to be added in. I note that at Ancestry all the trees that have a name for Christopher Dicks wife have Elizabeth Collier. There is one researcher who has Christopher’s wife as Elizabeth Crann but has no parents for her.

Summary and Conclusions

  • With the AutoClustering technique, I was able to break down Joan’s DNA into her three ancestral regions.
  • I had some difficulty in splitting Joan’s PEI Ellis and Rayner grandparent clusters. This may be partly due to a fairly high 600cM top limit for the clusters.
  • I wonder if I lower the top number will I get more clusters. There were a lot of people in the two main Ellis and Upshall Clusters.
  • I focused on one small Crann cluster with small matches but good trees. This cluster added to my previous work where I propose the Elizabeth Crann is the wife of the Christopher Dicks born about 1812.









AutoClustering My Wife’s Aunt Lorraine’s AncestryDNA Results

AutoClustering is working well. I have previously run an autocluster report for Lorraine’s sister Virginia:

Here are some comparisons:

Virginia’s number of 4th cousins or closer and her SAHs are as of today and I did her autocluster about a month ago. I changed the upper limit for Lorraine to 600 cM because I was having trouble identifying some of the clusters. I had set the lower limit down to 12 because I was looking for distant Butler relatives.

Lorraine’s AutoCluster

Since the time I ran Virginia’s autocluster, the clusters have been arranged differently to show connections between the clusters. This has been a very helpful innovation.

Adding Names to Lorraine’s Clusters

I’ll start with a table:

This table starts with each of Lorraine’s clusters. That is followed by the top match name in the cluster and the amount that top match has in cMs. I just need to fill in which grandparent side each cluster belongs to and which common ancestors the cluster seems to point to,

Lorraine’s Ancestors

These are some of the ancestors that I will pick from:

I am interested mostly in the top part of the tree. The bottom part is where most of the matches will be. The bottom represents the maternal French Canadian side.

Name Those Clusters

To get the ball rolling, I’ll start with Fred. I have have been in touch with Fred who a second cousin on Lorraine’s Pouliot maternal grandparent side:

Turns out that is Lorraine’s largest Cluster:

That’s a lot of Pouliot’s. These could be all descended from a certain common ancestor along the Pouliot or Fortin Lines.

The Second Largest Cluster: LeFevre

Sandra shows up a lot in my analyses. Here she is:

Sandra is also in Lorraine’s Cluster 1:

Skipping Down to Clusters 34 and 35: Kerivan and Butler

These are the Clusters I am more interested in.

Clusters 34 and 35 are the purple and tan Clusters. They show a lot of connections between those two Clusters.

Cluster 34 – Kerivan

Amanda is the first person in Cluster 34, but she has no tree. Donna is the third match in Cluster 34. Here is the paternal side of her tree:

Turns out Donna is a second cousin to Lorraine also:

Cluster 35 – Butler

The top match for Lorraine in her Cluster 35 is Barbara. Barbara has a short tree:

Here is Barbara in a tree with other Butlers:



She shows up as Lorraine’s 2nd cousin. What is interesting about Cluster 35 is that it includes Butlers from Cincinnati. My guess is that they are related this way:

There is a branch on the left of Cincinnati Butlers headed by a George Butler born about 1826. My wife’s ancestor Edward Butler was also living in Cincinnati for a while. His first son was named George – perhaps after the Cincinnati Georg Butler. I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but the DNA is showing a definite connection.

Lorraine’s Cluster Summary

Here are the bones of Lorraine’s clusters:

It is possible that there are 33 French Canadian Clusters and 3 Irish Clusters. I would have to look at all the clusters to be sure. However, as I scan the clusters, it looks like that could be the case. Here is my best guess:

That means that finding the 1/2 Irish side among the French Canadian half, is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Comparing Lorraine’s Clusters to Virginia’s Clusters

Here is a comparison of the two sisters’ clusters:

This shows that Virginia split in two both of Lorraine’s Clusters 34 and 35. Here are some of the clusters that I tried to identify for Virginia:

So with that comparison and looking at some of Lorraine’s Shared Ancestor HInts at AncestryNDA give me this cluster chart for Lorraine:

It is possible that Cluster 16 is wrong based on the placement within Pouliot’s.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Lorraine’s AutoCluster Chart looked like a mess at first but seemed to sort out between her four grandparents.
  • I didn’t look at why there were so many matches between the Kerivan and Butler Lines.
  • I compared Lorraine’s Clusters to her sister Virginia’s Clusters
  • The new ordering of clusters makes a lot of sense and makes the identification and organization of clusters much clearer.






AutoClustering My First Cousin Once Removed

I’m excited about the new changes in AutoClustering by GeneticAffairs. They have clustered their clusters which help take some of the guesswork out of analyzing the clusters. Clusters are DNA matches that match each other. The new mega-clustering put the clusters together that are most like each other.

My First Cousin, Once Removed Joyce: Setting the Limits

Joyce is important because she goes one more generation back with DNA matches. Joyce matches me on my two great-grandparent lines of Snell and Hartley. The Snell lines are pretty well-defined, going back to Colonial Massachusetts. The Hartley Line comes from Lancashire, England and has a brick wall around the year 1800. I was hoping that clustering Joyce would separate her many Massachusetts Colonial matches with her Lancashire, England matches. Because we are one generation apart, my great-grandparents are Joyce’s grandparents. She also has two grandparent lines that I am, for the most part, not related. These also have many Massachusetts roots. That means that Joyce has three-quarters old-time Massachusetts DNA and 1/4 Lancashire DNA. However, I suspect that Joyce will have very few Lancashire matches.

I put some thought into Joyce’s limits for her matches. I wanted the upper limit high enough to include some matches I knew about but not so high that they would include many matches that were on two of her grandparent sides. Then I wanted the lower limit low enough to find Lancashire, ENG matches but not so low that there would be too many clusters. I set the upper limit at 250 cM and the lower limit at 25 cM. I wasn’t sure what to expect as Joyce has over 1,000 4th cousin or closer matches. Joyce also has 249 Shared Ancestor Hints.

Jocye’s AutoCluster Results

Joyce has 61 clusters which is a lot:

The more clusters there are, the more difficult it is to see all the clusters.

Identifying Joyce’s Clusters

Here are Joyce’s four grandparents:

I am interested in Joyce’s two maternal grandparents. However, I will try to identify some of her paternal side also.

Joyce’s First 16 Clusters

Cluster 1 is easy. I should be in this group as these are Joyce’s closest relatives. I’m not in the group because I cut off the upper limit of matches at 250cM. The first match is my sister’s son. His results just came in last week. It seems like my Hartley clusters should go as far as the blue Cluster 9 and then Cluster 10 may be a new group of clusters.

Speeding Up the Process

I can speed up the process by taking the Autocluster data file and compare it with my own clusters.

This tells me that I match Joyce at her Clusters 1, 3, 4, 32, and 37.

Here I put a box around Joyce’s Clusters 1-4, 32 and 37. I checked with my other 4 tested siblings and one sibling added another Cluster 57 for Joyce.

Checking Joyce’s Shared Ancestor Hints (SAHs)

This should be a quick way to identify a few clusters. The first SAH I found for Joyce below the threshold was C.L. However, he is a 1st cousiin twice removed to Joyce. That means he could match on the Snell or Hartley side. However, he is in Joyce’s Cluster 1.

The second SAH is A.M.

He is on Joyce’s Cluster 16

Mixed Messages from K.R.

K.R. looks like he matches on my Hartley/Snell side. However, he has a Chace in his ancestry that is not built out. AutoCluster has K.R. in Cluster 19 which is probably not a Hartley/Snell Clusrter. K.R’s shared matches confirm this. I found quite a few other trees that appeared to be on Joyce’s Hartley side, but by shared matches appeared to be not on the Hartley side that match me and my family.

Some Massachusetts Colonial Clusters

Louisa is a SAH but she has a private tree. She tells me we match by a common ancestor born in 1711. At this point, I’m just looking for Joyce’s Hartley side SAHs.

An Old Snell Cluster

Joyce’s SAH match with John shows this:

However, not all of John’s lines are built out:

That means that the SAH could be off. However, John is in Cluster 8. I will say that Cluster is on Joyce’s Snell grandparent’s line.

O.T. in Cluster 8

O.T. is Joyce’s top match in Custer 8. I was surprised to find a common ancestor there.

Ancestry didn’t pick this up as a SAH due to the way the names were recorded in O.T.’s tree. I even have a photo of Mary and Otis:

That makes O.T. and Joyce third cousins.

Here is the spreadsheet I am working on for Joyce:

When I first looked at the Joyce’s clusters, I thought that Clusters 1-9 would be on the Hartley/Snell side and then there would be a change. That seems to be what is happening.

Anne From Australia

Anne has shared Hartley grandparent ancestry with Joyce:

Unfortunately, Anne was in a singleton match and didn’t make the criteria to be in a cluster.

AutoCluster Vs. Ancestry Circles

For what I was looking to do (i.e. separate my Hartley and Snell ancestors) it turns out that Ancestry Circles do a better job. Or at least an easier job. Here are Joyce’s Circles:

The two families in the green box are the ones I’m trying to separate. Joyce has nine circles on her paternal side and four on the side that matches my Hartley family. Of the four that match my family, one goes back to England and three are Colonial Massachusetts.

The reason why the Circles are easier than clusters is that the Circles use lower thresholds and make use of Ancestry Trees. Here is Joyce’s Pilling Circle:

Joyce and my family and my 2nd cousins are at the top of the circle. Then there is ce and the Robert family of two on the bottom. Joyce matches ce at 6.8 cM and one of the two in the Robert group. The one she does match in the Robert group Joyce matches at 9.6 cM. So this is far below the 25 cM lower threshold that I set for Joyce’s clusters.

Joyce’s First Clusters – More Detail and a Discovery!

Having said that Circles work well, I still want to look into Joyce’s Hartley/Snell side clusters in more detail to see what I can find. I don’t know if Joyce has any English Hartley Clusters, but if she does, I suspect that they will be small clusters.

Here are Joyce’s first nine clusters which I suspect relate to my family.

Cluster 2 – Jennifer and Emily

Cluster 2 has only two people in it. That means that these two are in an obscure Massachusetts colonial cluster or they could have roots back in England. Jennifer has the larger match, but Emily has a tree. I see by Emily’s tree that she has ancestors both in England and in the area of Massachusetts that I live in. I don’t like building out trees, but I will.

Emily’s tree is built out to her 16 2nd great-grandparents.

As I look more closely, I see an Elizabeth Burrows 5 from the bottom in the last row. It turns out that this is a line that I have been looking for for a very long time:

The Pilling/Hartley Tree

This gets to my Pilling/Hartley story. Mary Pilling was a single mother in Trawden, England. She had a son named John Pilling who moved to Fall River. That is one line. Mary then married Robert Hartley and had two children. That is my line. Robert died and she then married a Wilkinson. The Hartley and Wilkinson family moved to New Bedford. That is another line.

This tree is missing the Pilling Line:

However, it shows some of the people who have had their DNA tested. Now I can add Emily:

That means that Emily isJoyce’s 2nd cousin three times removed. The other good news is that I don’t have to build out Emily’s tree. This completes the other half of the missing Hartley Line. Banner day. That means that I need to try to get in touch with Emily and Jennifer. It is big news to find a whole half of a Hartley family that I have been looking for.

Here are Greenwood Hartley and Ann Emmet:

Joyce’s Cluster 3

Cluster 3 is like Cluster 2 in that the two members match many second cousins, the Shared Matches quickly die out to only one other. However, the match to Joyce is much smaller. The first match is to Howard who has no tree. The second match is to Philip. He has a tree going back to his eight great- grandgrandparents. I need to stretch this out at least another generation. It looks like Philip’s ancestors are mostly from England, so that is a good start. I filled out Philip’s tree and didn’t see an obvious connection. Perhaps one of his Yorkshire ancestors crossed over to Lancashire to become one of my ancestors.

 Joyce’s Other Clusters

Here is what I came up with. There were some trees where Joyce must have Colonial Massachusetts ancestors on both sides, so it gets confusing. Note the trend in the table above. The largest match is at the top, then there are associated clusters of reducing match size. Then there is another large match which indicates a shift in families then again associated clusters in descending order.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I went into this exercise wanting to separate my Snell and Hartley DNA between Colonial Massachusetts and Lancashire, England.
  • At first I was skeptical and wondered whether autocluster could do this.
  • I found an important Snell/Parker common ancestor DNA match that was missed by AncestryDNA due to the way the ancestors were recorded.
  • I looked at Ancestry Circles and how Ancestry does a lot of the work combining DNA and trees that makes Circles easier than identiftying Clusters.
  • In Joyce’s Cluster 2 I found a match identifying a branch of the Lancashire, England Hartley family that I had been looking for for a long time. It would be helpful if this match uploads their DNA results to a site that has a Chromosome Browser for comparison.

A New Look for AutoClusters

I ran an AutoCluster and was surprised by the new look. I ran autocluster for my sister Lori:

The old look organized the clusters by how many were in the cluster. This newer, more logical approach organizes the clusters better to take into account the little gray dots.

Lori’s First 6 Clusters

It seems like these clusters could be related. There are four gray boxes connecting the small Cluster 2 to Cluster 1. There is one gray cluster connecting the red Cluster 3 to the green Cluster 2. And so on. I can tell that Lori’s orange Cluster 1 contains many 2nd cousins on my Hartley side and slightly more distant Snell relatives.

Lori’s Irish Clusters 8 Through 18

This has taken a lot of the guesswork away. I like that.

  • The top left Clusters 8 and 9 (green and blue) contain some of my matches with Frazer ancestry.
  • Green Cluster 12 has someone who I believe matches on a McMaster/Frazer Line.
  • Cluster 15 between purple and pink is an important match that goes to my Clarke/Spratt Lines. They also match on McMaster. They are swimming in a sea of what I believe to be other Irish matches.
  • The last lower right cluster contains the Spratt name where I have a brick wall.

Here is my Irish portion of my tree:

The clusters virtually mimic my tree which has Frazer at the top and Spratt at the bottom.

Lori’s Known and Unknown Clusters

Just by looking at Lori’s clusters I can tell the following:

  • Clusters 1-6: Paternal Hartley 2nd cousins back to Massachusetts Colonial times
  • Cluster 7: Maternal Nicholson/Ellis [Sheffield, England to Philadelphia]
  • Clusters 8-18: Frazer, McMaster, Clarke and Spratt from Ireland
  • Cluster 27: Maternal Lentz/Nicholson
  • Clusters 28 and 29: Maternal Rathfelder ancestors back to Latvia

That leaves just Clusters 19 through 26 which are not obvious. That leaves only 8 unknown clusters.

Comparing Lori’s Clusters to My Mom’s and My Siblings’ Clusters

Here is how Lori’s clusters compare to her mom’s:

Cluster 3 was a surprise as that was in Lori’s paternal Hartley grouping above and it matches one of my mother’s clusters. I’ll won’t assign that as a maternal or paternal cluster for now.

Here is what I get when I compare Lori’s four other siblings who have tested at AncestryDNA:


  • I gave Lori’s paternal Massachusetts grouping a blue color and her paternal Irish grouping a green color.
  • Lori has two new clusters where she doesn’t match anyone else’s clusters. These are Clusters 19 and 25. I assume that they are paternal clusters as they don’t match with her mother’s clusters.
  • My ancestors from Ireland were Protestant and married Protestants for the most part. This resulted in some inter-marriage of families. I assume that this is why Jon’s Cluster 6 is reflected in Lori’s Clusters 8, 9 and 10. Sharon’s Clusters 11 and 18 each show up in more than one of Lori’s clusters, etc.

Fleshing Out Lori’s Hartley and Frazer Mega-Clusters

Hartley – Colonial Massachusetts

The Hartley Clusters in blue seem to go quickly from 2nd cousins to Colonial Massachusetts. I still haven’t looked at Cluster 3 which is oddly shared with my mother. I suspect that it is indeed a paternal cluster as it is a lower numbered cluster for my sister and Jon than for my mother. Also there is a connection between Lori’s Cluster 3 and her Cluster 2.

Frazer – Ireland

Cluster 17 is interesting as the match with Keith goes back to two McMaster common ancestors:

With this information, I could go back to Sharon’s Cluster 15. I see that Keith is not Sharon’s largest match in her Cluster 15, but he is in that Cluster, so I can fine tune Sharon’s Cluster 15 to McMaster.

Lori’s New Clusters 19 and 25

There are only two people in Cluster 19. Their trees are not extensive and the match numbers are not impressive. I will just call this cluster paternal for now.

Cluster 25 and Peter

Peter is interesting as he shows one of his grandparents from Australia. If this match is on my Hartley side, that could go back to my English Hartley’s. I am interested in Peter’s Howarth ancestry as it could be linked to my Howorth ancestry from Lancashire, England. I just need to build out Peter’s tree

Peter’s Howarth Line goes back from Australia then to Ireland then to Rochdale, England where my Howorths were from. However, he also has an Irish Whiteside in there. I may be related to the Whiteside family. At this point, I’m leaning toward Howarth/Howorth in Rochdale, but I’ll just say it’s a paternal match for now.

Done with Lori’s Clusters – For Now

This is about as much as I have patience for right now. I had originally thought that Sue at Lori’s Cluster 26 was Massachusetts Colonial, but Sue uploaded her results to gedmatch and that showed that she matched us on our Frazer side.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Lori was the first autocluster that I have looked at with the new mega-clustering feature. This put our birds of a feather ancestors together.
  • This new rendering of the clusters helped me to see how my paternal Hartley and Frazer ancestors related to each other.
  • Two small maternal clusters showed relationships which confirmed a suspected Latvian ancestor cluster.
  • Cross-referencing Lori’s clusters to my mom’s and her siblings’ clusters helped to fine-tune these clusters.
  • Lori had two unique clusters. However, they were difficult to nail down past being paternal clusters.


Comparing Four Siblings’ AncestryDNA AutoCluster Results

In my previous Blog, I compared my AncestryDNA AutoCluster results to two of my siblings, Jon and Heidi. In this Blog, I will look at Sharon’s results:

For the previous three siblings, I looked at matches between 25 and 600 cM. For Sharon, I lowered the upper limit to 300 cM. This was to eliminate my 1st cousin’s daughter’s results.

Here are my sibling comparisons:

By bringing Sharon’s upper limit down to 300 cM, I eliminated my father’s first cousin, a daughter of a maternal first cousin and a paternal 2nd cousin. However, many of my paternal second cousins have tested.

Comparing My Clusters to My Three Siblings’ Clusters

Rather than trying to figure out each of Sharon’s clusters, I will compare her clusters to mine. To do this, I compared my clusters to Sharon’s in MS Access. This just saves time. The Query in Access looks like this:


I connected our two tables by the identifier. This is the identifier of the different AncestryDNA matches. Then I chose my clusters and Sharon’s clusters and I grouped them to get rid of duplicates. That Query resulted in this:

This is a lot easier than going through Sharon’s clusters one by one. The above table tells me a few things:

  • 13 of Sharon’s 18  clusters can be identified in my clusters.
  • I split Sharon’s Cluster 1 into my Clusters 1 and 2.
  • Sharon splits my Cluster 21 into her Clusters 3 and 18.

Here is how Sharon looks on my cluster list:

Sharon matches me on my Cluster 32 and 34 where Jon and Heidi did not.

Further Insight on My Cluster 32.

I have two matches in my Cluster 32. Sharon has three.  Of those people, Louisa, in my Cluster 32 has a private tree but told me that we match on Simon Hathaway born 1711 and Hannah Clifton. Sharon’s additional person in her Cluster 13 is Gloria:

Gloria has a fairly good size tree which includes a Hathaway:

I wonder if Gloria’s Florida Hathaway is related to my Massachusetts Hathaway ancestors? To find this out, I need to build out Gloria’s Hathaway Line. Ancestry’s suggestions for Gloria’s tree matched up to Rufus Jefferson Pitts, but then I ran into a snag:

Gloria had Susan Hathaway for Rufus’ mother and Ancestry had Rebecca Pate. Here is the 1880 Census which seems to support the Rebecca theory:

I also found 10 Ancestry Trees. Three had Susan Hathaway as Rufus’ mother and seven had Rebecca Pate. After searching a bit, I found this narrative at Ancestry concerning Rufus’ father, John Gilbert Pitts:

This appears to resolve the discrepancy.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out more about this Hathaway family.

Sharon’s Clusters Compared to Her Three Siblings’ Clusters

If I sort Sharon’s Clusters, I get this:

I’ll change this around and compare Sharon to her three siblings:

Sharon’s “new” clusters are 5 and 10. These are not shared by her siblings. Here are Sharon’s clusters sorted by size:

By cross-referencing, I get this:

Sharon’s “New” Clusters 5 and 10

That leaves two clusters to figure out. I’ll start with Cluster 5. Debra on Sharon’s match list has a family tree. However, I can’t tell how she might match. She has ancestors from a lot of the same places as my mother. I can tell that Cluster 5 is maternal due to Shared Matches with my mother.

Sharon’s Cluster 10

This cluster appears to be paternal based on a lack of Shared Matches with my mother. I note that Sharon has a match with Catherine who has  a good tree and is on Gedmatch. Based on Chromosome mapping, I can tell that Catherine matches on our Frazer side. This side has ancestors in Ireland and so does Catherine.

Sharon and Catherine’s match is at the beginning of the Chromosome where Sharon matches Catherine on the Frazer (blue) side. Note that Heidi should match there also. Jim did not test at Ancestry. In fact, Heidi does match Catherine at Gedmatch by slightly more than Sharon. For some reason, Ancestry has shaved some DNA off Heidi and Catherine’s match to just below the 25 cM that I chose for the clusters.

Here is one of Catherine’s Irish ancestors who lived in the vicinity of my Irish ancestors:

Here are the final (for now) results:

Sharon has a lot of Frazer clusters.

More Summaries

It seemed like Sharon and I had a lot of Frazer matches. Sharon had the most proportionately. It would be difficult to deduce much from the maternal side as the numbers are low there. Jon had the fewest maternal clusters. It would be worthwhile to see which clusters only Jon had at some point.

Next up I’ll look at my Mom’s clusters. Then perhaps my other sister’s.

Summary and Conclusions

  • By cross-referencing Sharon’s clusters with other existing clusters, I was able to speed up the cluster identification process.
  • Sharon had two clusters that her other three siblings did not have. One was maternal and unidentified so far. Sharon’s other new cluster was on the Frazer quarter of ancestors and likely goes back Ireland where one of my brick wall areas is on the Clarke/Spratt Lines.
  • I looked at percentages of clusters to see how the siblings compared to each other.
  • I tried to connect genealogically to the Hathaway family to one of the matches in a cluster, but got stuck.