All My Mother’s DNA

A lot of my writing has been on the Frazer DNA Project. That Project involves DNA on my Father’s side. I’d like to focus on my mother’s DNA in this Blog.

Mitochondrial DNA

I have had my mitochondrial DNA tested in myself, so it would be the same as  my mother’s. mtDNA is interesting as one can trace the mutations down from genetic Eve. My haplotype (and my mom’s) is H5’36. I like the fact that there is a prime [‘] in the designation. I think this is because they ran out of room in the place where it belonged among the other haplotypes. I have 2 exact mtDNA matches. Both of their ancestries trace to Ireland. This is interesting as I have not traced my mother’s maternal line back to Ireland. As far as I know, her maternal line went back to the Sheffield, ENG area or just outside of it. However, the focus of this blog is not mitochondrial DNA.

Autosomal DNA Testers

Unlike mtDNA, which goes up the mother’s mother’s mother’s line, atDNA can go in any and all directions up the ancestral ladder. It is much less focused. Sort of like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In analyzing atDNA, it is best to have known testers that can be used as a reference point to sort the scattered matches into the right families. The testers I have with known genealogies are:

  • Catherine – She is the lone 1st cousin once removed representing my mother’s father’s Rathfelder/Gangnus side.
  • Judy – She is also a 1st cousin once removed representing my mother’s mother’s ancestral grandparents: Jacob Lentz and Annie Nicholson. Judy is my 2nd cousin. She tested at 23andme and matches me there but has not uploaded to Gedmatch yet for more comparisons.
  • Joan – She tested at Ancestry and is my mother’s second cousin once removed. Her common ancestors with my mom are William Nicholson b. 1836 and Martha Ellis b. 1835. Joan is also 3rd cousin with me and my 2 sisters which I have had tested. She is 3rd cousin to Judy through the Nicholson line but not the Lentz line as she has no Lentz ancestors.

Here is how the relationships look in a chart:

Glady's Cousin Chart

Here are 3 of my mom’s grandparents: Maria Gangnus; Jacob Lentz and Annie Nicholson. The last is her great grandfather, William Nicholson.

Maria GangnusJacob LentzWilliam Nicholson

Ancestor Chromosome Mapper – Kitty Cooper

Kitty Cooper has developed a popular Chromosome Mapper. We should be able to map my mom’s paternal side from her DNA matches with Catherine and her maternal side from her matches with Judy and Joan. Judy has not uploaded to gedmatch, so I just used her match results with me at 23andme to represent her DNA matches with my mom. The actual DNA Judy shares with my mom is much more than shown for Jacob Lentz and Annie Nicholson.

Gladys Chromosome Map

Some observations:

  • There are 8 autosomal chromosomes with no matches from these 3 cousins
  • The map phases the results into paternal (top part of the bar shown in blue) and maternal results (bottom part of the bar shown in red and peach)
  • Chromosome 9 –  On the maternal (bottom) side the 2 close segments indicate where my mom, Gladys, has a crossover point. the color goes from red (the DNA she got from her Nicholson grandmother) to peach (the DNA she got from her Lentz grandfather)
  • Chromosome 9 and 14 – Here we see results stacked up on top of each other. Without our testers, we would not know which side the results my mom’s matches came from. In these areas, at least, we will know for sure whether the matches are on the paternal or maternal side
  • All other matches – We will know if the matches between mom and anyone in these areas are maternal or paternal.
  • If anyone matches my mom in the red areas (and also matches Joan), we will know it is not with an ancestor of the Nicholson family.
  • Anyone who doesn’t match the people mapped out above in the area where they should match probably represent a match from the other side. For example, a large match along the area of Chromosome 18 that doesn’t match Catherine (who is on the paternal side) would likely be a maternal side match. The only other option would be a false match (Identical by State IBS or Identical by Chance IBC).
  • In the areas where there are no matches, it is a guess as to whether those are paternal or maternal matches. If someone has a tree showing that all their ancestors have been in Germany, that would be a hint that the match should be on my mother’s father’s side. He was German and born in Europe.

More on Joan and the Nicholson Matches

I have already written about Rathfelder matches in a previous blog. I haven’t yet addressed Joan’s Nicholson matches. I’d like to do that now. One way to look at how my mom and Joan match is through Gedmatch. They have a utility that will show the people that match 2 other people. I ran that and came up with myself and my 3 sisters as well as several others. One spot that looks like a Triangulation Group is found on Chromosome 5:

Joan Chromosome 5

#1 is Joan. I didn’t include myself and my 2 sisters, but I know they match Joan here. In fact, here is Joan’s match with me, my younger sister, my mother and my older sister on the same Chromosome:

Joan Chr 5 match w Hartleys

Now, back to the previous image. In order for my mother’s green matches above to be in a triangulation group (TG), they have to match Joan and each other. I’ll check:

  • Joan matches green #2 above at around 11 cM
  • Green #2 matches green #3 at about 10
  • Green #3 matches green #4 at about 15 cM
  • For comparison Joan and my mom match each other at about 30 cM

I didn’t do all the comparisons, but did enough to suppose that this is a TG. Technically, I’m supposed to do every comparison. I didn’t check the pink match as it was small and didn’t line up with the other matches.

What Do the Green TG Matches Mean?

A TG should indicate a common ancestors. Likely this common ancestor will be one of the ancestors of Annie Nicholson:

Nicholson Ancestors

All I have to do now is write to the 3 green matches. Then hope that the common ancestor isn’t too far back and that they have good family trees. Hey, it could happen.


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