Starting to Map My DNA

One of my goals is to map my DNA. The human genome has been mapped. I just want to see where my DNA matches with my ancestors. Kitty Cooper has developed a tool for this. The idea is to associate as much of your DNA as you can to ancestors. Then these portions of the DNA associated to your ancestors are mapped with different colors. My paternal grandmother was a Frazer, so her DNA should account for about 25% of my DNA. The map splits up each Chromosome between Paternal and Maternal, so my DNA from my Frazer grandmother would take up about half of my Paternal side.

One way to determine DNA ancestors is by triangulation. I did this in an early [misnamed] blog called, “The DNA of Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly”. I say misnamed, because at the time those were the 2 ancestors I thought my triangulation group was pointing to. In a subsequent blog, How I Added 2 Frazer Lines by DNA, I realized that this group more likely pointed to a couple a generation later: That was Richard Frazer and his wife. He was b. around 1777.

Based on the fact that I was in one of the 2 triangulation groups that pointed to Richard Frazer (and unknown wife) I could create a chromosome map. It wouldn’t be too interesting, but it would be a start.

1st Chromosome Map

This chromosome is all blank except for Chromosome #12. There, I put my triangulated matches into a spreadsheet. The matches were to David and Bill from Canada and Jane from Colorado. My 2 sisters also matched these Frazer descendants. It would have been more interesting if I had mapped my sister, Heidi as she at least had triangulated with the same couple at Chomosome #1. Plus she had higher matches with other Frazer descendants in general. Speaking of Heidi, in my previous misnamed blog I showed this graphic from Gedmatch:

Frazer Chr12

Theses are Heidi’s matches on Chromosome #12. She had the same matches as me. She has David (#2), Jane (#3) and Bill, (#4). I am showing as Heidi’s long segment match at #1. This red segment is what I have in common with my sister and is the DNA we both received from our father, though he is long gone and hasn’t been tested for DNA. I know that it must be from him, because he is the one that I get my Frazer DNA from. In fact, that DNA must be from his mother, who was a Frazer. Remember, I should have 25% of my DNA from her. So it stands to reason that the unbroken red match I have with my sister represents my Frazer Grandmother’s DNA.

By the way, this is the backwards way of doing things. The more standard way to map your DNA takes a lot more testing. First you test your parents to get maternal and paternal sides. Then test 2nd cousins on both sides. This will isolate your 4 grandparents. What I have done is tested my mother. I phased her at Gedmatch to get my maternal and paternal matches. I had my father’s first cousin tested. This is similar, but better than testing a 2nd cousin. He represents my father’s father’s side. But not all of it. Many Frazers have tested in the DNA project, but my closest relative in that testing project appears to be a 4th cousin, once removed. On my mother’s side, I’m having trouble getting people to test and/or upload to Gedmatch. So I will go with my current reasoning until I’m proven wrong.

I’ll put a face on that Frazer DNA. Here’s my grandma, nee Frazer.

Marion Frazer Photo

Here’s another Chromosome (10) where my 2 sisters match a Frazer descendant, MFA. We don’t triangulate, but based on genealogy, we’ll say there is a common Frazer ancestor or collateral line there somewhere.

The spreadsheet match looks like this:

Hartley MFA match Chr 10

The Chromosome browser version looks like this:

Sharonn Heidi MFA Chr 10 Gedmatch Browser

Here Line 1 and 2 are my 2 sisters Sharon and Heidi shown as they match to me. #3 is MFA, my 4th cousin, once removed. Using the same reasoning as above, I’ll say that the orange segment, top right, should also represent my Frazer grandmother. The orange on the left doesn’t. I actually match there to a cousin on my Hartley (non-Frazer) side. When I map this, I can map this to my father’s Hartley father.

Back to Chromosome Mapping Basics

The instructions for Chromosome mapping are to:

  • Test relatives or find relatives who have tested at Gedmatch, FTDNA or 23andme. Unfortunately AncestryDNA won’t work as they don’t tell you where you match on the chromosome. Thus no chromosome mapping for these AncestryDNA matches unless they upload their results to
  • Figure out if those relatives are from your maternal or paternal side
  • Figure out who the common ancestors are for your matches
  • Put this information in a file
  • Use the Kitty Munson application to make a map

The relatives I used for this chromosome map

  • My father’s cousin Jim – his mom was a Hartley. Our common ancestors are my Hartley great grandparents. He shows in the dark blue below
  •  I found cousin Judy at 23andme. It pays to have DNA tested at different places. Our Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs) are also great grandparent – this time on the maternal side. They will show as red – my Philadelphia ancestors. Up until recently I had virtually nothing on the maternal side of this map.
  • Various more distant Frazer relatives. The sure ancestors are the ones triangulated. Others are less sure. Once results come back for my 2nd cousin once removed, the chromosome map will look better.

2nd Chromosome Map

As you can see, most of my map is paternal. Chromosome #12 in dark green is the one I mentioned earlier where my grandmother’s Frazer’s DNA probably goes the length of that chromosome. I didn’t map her, as technically, I don’t have her as a most common ancestor based on people that I have tested.

Other things to notice:

  • Chromosome #1 shows where there are overlaps in paternal and maternal matches. Sorting your matches into maternal and paternal is one of the most important things in DNA matching. If you get that wrong, everything else is off track.
  • I mapped as the Archibald Frazer line those matches I had with MFA where I’m not positive on the MRCA between us.
  • I mapped as the James Frazer line, the match I have with Bonnie who is related on that line.
  • Some people use these maps to show all matches they have to a certain location – French Canadian, for example where they aren’t sure of all the details.
  • This is my own personal map. Everyone’s map would look different.
  • It would be possible to create a chromosome map for my father. This could be based on his Lazarus file. In that map, his Frazer ancestors would be on his maternal (mother’s) side. This map would show more matches as it would include the matches from my 2 sisters.
  • Chromosome mapping is a way to show a lot of complicated information in a simple way.

So all I have to do now is fill in the rest of the blanks!

One Reply to “Starting to Map My DNA”

  1. I too really want to start chromosome mapping but so far have failed to find any maternal side that will test. I have finally located a 4th cousin on my mother’s maternal side so here’s hoping! It’ll be a long journey.

    Well done Joel for paving the way!


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