My Mom’s Autosomal DNA on the Lentz Side

I’ve written a few blogs on my mom’s DNA. I did an initial look in December 2015 and wrote more in February 2016. These are listed under Rathfelder/Lentz/Nicholson DNA. This blog will look at my mother’s Lentz mother’s side of the DNA in a little more detail. This is the red side in the chart below. Since my last blog, there has been a newly found relative.

Mom's DNA Lines

That new relative is Joshua. Unfortunately, he makes me feel a bit old as he is 2 generations below me. I made a distinction in my chart as there is a Joan from the Lentz Line shown as Joan(L) and a Joan (N) from the Nicholson line. I have a photo of Annie (Ann Eliza) Nicholson Lentz with Florence and Joan (L).


Joshua’s grandmother Joan(L) is the littlest girl. Florence is the girl behind her. Florence is Annie Nicholson Lentz’s granddaughter.  Annie Nicholson Lentz is Joan’s great grandmother. So that makes Annie Joshua’s 3rd great grandmother!

Splitting the Lentz Family from the Nicholson Family

It would be interesting to try to determine what DNA comes from the Lentz family vs. what comes from the Nicholson family. That way, we will be able to tell which branch our DNA matches are on. At first, it looks like Joshua should not help as he is on the same branch as Judy. Both Judy and Joshua descend from William Lentz.

Mom's DNA Lines

However, Judy has not uploaded to yet, so Joshua does help. Plus he contributes different Lentz DNA than Judy does. Also he matches on the X Chromosome with my mom. In the above chart, Catherine, my mom, Judy, Joshua and Joan(N) have tested. Here is what their results show. Judy’s results are from her match to me.

Mom's Chromosome Map Apr 2016

It gets a little confusing as the peach colored regions can only be Nicholson. The red sections are Lentz, but the Lentz family is also descended from the Nicholson family.  Note also that the red DNA (Nicholson) is one generation older than the peach colored Lentz DNA.

The X Chromosome

As I mentioned above, only Joshua and my mom share the X Chromosome. It appears that Judy or Joshua could have gotten the X Chromsome, but only Joshua, 2 generations down did. Joan(N) has 2 males in a row in her ancestry, so that means she would not have a chance to share the X Chromosome. There is one other point about the X Chromosome. The red DNA shown in the Chromosome map above on the X line. This DNA shared by my mom and Joshua has to be Nicholson DNA from Annie Nicholson (Lentz). This is because no X Chromosome is inherited male to male. So no X Chromosome was inherited from William Lentz from his father Jacob. Any time we can tell that DNA came specifically from one ancestor and not the other, it is a good thing, so I will change the Chromosome Map a little.

Mom's Chromosome Map Apr 2016 rev

Here Annie is now shown to be the sole owner of the X match between my mom and Joshua. The match is shown in yellow, which isn’t the greatest color, but I don’t feel like changing the default.

Is the X Match a real match?

Sometimes small matches can be false. The match between my mom, Gladys and Joshua barely meets the thresholds. So let’s look at that. Here are a few considerations.

  • Gladys and Joshua have a path to match on the X Chromosome. That is, they do not 2 consecutive males in their ancestry leading up to Annie Nicholson.
  • Joshua’s X matches are more likely to be real as he is male. That means his matches are already phased. Joshua’s X matches can only be from his mother’s side.

If any of my mother’s children also match Joshua, that would also give weight to the validity of the match. When I ran Joshua against my 2 sisters and myself at standard thresholds, I got no match. But perhaps that is because my mother was already close to the thresholds. Let’s look a bit more closely at this. Below is how I have mapped out my X Chromosome and my 2 sisters based on how we compared with each other. The maternal matches are on the top in green and orange. I had guessed that orange may be my mom’s Lentz side which leads up to Nicholson.

X Chromosome Map

S is my sister Sharon, J is me. H is my sister Heidi. Here is where Joshua and my mom match on the X Chromosome:

Joshua Gladys X match

If I guessed right in my orange-green chromosome map above, then Sharon and I would not have inherited any X Chromosome in the region from about 5 to 10. My sister Heidi would only have inherited a tiny amount. This amount would be likely less than the lowest amount that gedmatch would allow. So that was inconclusive. I will just assume that my mom and Joshua are a real match.

Nicholson/ellis DNA

This is the easy part. Anyone that matches with Joan(N) and my mom has to be a Nicholson/Ellis and not a Lentz. I can find this using a utility at gedmatch called:

People who match Gedmatch

When I run that, the people who match both include myself and my 2 sisters, which I already knew about, so I do not need to consider those. Here is the list. The first three are myself and my 2 sisters. My mom is represented by the 1st 3 columns and Joan is represented by the 2nd 3 columns. My 2 sisters and myself are 1 generation away from my mom, so that makes sense as a reference. We are actually all 4 generations to a common ancestor with Joan, so my family members all share a bit more DNA with Joan than expected. There is nothing wrong with that.

People who match Mom and Joan

Now these matches are in general out about 5 generations from my mom and 5 from Joan. That doesn’t make total sense as Joan is one generation away from my mom which would translate to one half a generation further out when considering a common ancestor. I’ll take a worse case scenario and look at ancestors 5 generations out from my mom.

Nicholson Line

Remember, they have to be on the Nicholson Line. No Lentzes allowed. Ann is my mom’s grandmother, so we are starting here at 2 generations. That means that 5 generations is out to the 1700’s and I am missing 3 last names.


I chose those people that matched both my mom and Joan at Gedmatch. Then I chose the Traceability Utility. This gives me 3 things. It gives a chart of how the people match each other, it gives a physical representation of how they match and then show on what chromosomes and at what level they match. Here is the chart. I see probably 2 ancestral families represented here. I’ll call them Family One and Family Two.

Mom Joan Trace Chart

The last 3 on the list may belong to Family One or Two, but not have the DNA match to show it. Or they may belong to another family. The DNA is inconclusive. Based on my mom’s Ancestry Tree, chances are these two families could include the following families: Nicholson, Clayton, Ellis or Roebuck. That is assuming I did my genealogy right. All of these families were from the Sheffield, England area, so that is also a clue. Here is how the physical representation looks. I call it the Globe.

Nicholson Globe

My mom is at the bottom and Joan is to her right. The yellow lines show a Triangulation on Chromosome 5. Unfortunately, this utility doesn’t always work well. There should be a gray line line between the close relationship of A324950 and A793540. Also there are too many yellow lines. Here is my correction:

Nicholson Globe

So that exercise gave me some new names that I may follow up on.

My Mom’s Lentz DNA

My mom’s Lentz DNA should be trickier to find. As I mentioned, the Lentz family is descended in part from the Nicholson line, so how do we separate the two? Here is what I will try. I will look at my mom vs. Joan(N) as above, but this time, I will take the comparison between the two and then look at the names that don’t match Joan. This will be quite a long list. Then I will look at the list of people that do match between my mom and Joshua. This is the Lentz list which could include Nicholsons. Hopefully, the names in common with both lists will tend to be Lentz.

I took the first list of 348 matches and put them in a spreadsheet. Again, these were the ones that didn’t match Joan aka those that don’t match the Nicholsons. The second list was very short. There were only 2 people in it when I took out myself and my two sisters. Hopefully, these 2 will match the people in the other list. It turns out that they did. So was it a waste of time finding the 348 matches? I don’t think so. The correlation in the two lists gives me extra confidence that the 2 in the second list are Lentz rather than Nicholson matches.

The other good news that the 2 matches triangulate with Joshua. Here is a part of my mother’s DNA match spreadsheet, so these are matches to my mom.

Joshua Triangulation

These are matches on Chromosome 6. Pink means my mother’s mother’s side. Green means a match of over 15 cM. Joshua is the first match and the other two below him match each other. This gives more credence to a common ancestor that is on my mother’s Lentz side.


While I’m on Chromosome 6, I’ll mention crossovers. On any particular Chromosome, we get half our DNA from our mother and half from our father. Here we are looking at my mom’s mother’s DNA. Further when my mom got her DNA from her mother, her mother’s parents’ DNA mixed in alternating segments. I showed that in my orange and green map above of my sisters’ and my X Chromosome. Here is part of my mom’s chromosome map based on her cousin matches:

Mom's Crossovers

Notice on Chromosome 6, the segments turn from red to peach on my mom’s Maternal side. On Chromosome 9, they turn from peach to red. That is where my mom got her DNA from her 2 maternal grandparents. The red should represent the DNA my mom got from her grandfather Jacob Lentz and the peach should represent the DNA my mom got from her grandmother Annie Nicholson (though through Annie’s 2 parents). If my mom had more cousins tested, more of these crossovers would show up.

Summary, Comments and Questions

  • My analysis only turned up 2 potential Lentz matches. That is the question part. I’m not sure why.
  • There were more leads on the Nicholson side, even though, or perhaps because of, the common ancestor was one generation further back
  • Both lists resulted in good leads.
  • My best lead had nothing to do with DNA. While I was writing this blog, someone saw my Nicholson Web Page and informed me they had the Nicholson family bible showing the exact time of day and dates when many in the Nicholson family were born in the 1700’s!
  • Chromosome mapping can be fun and educational
  • X Chromosome matches can be helpful. One needs to know the inheritance patterns of both the matches to see if an X Chromosome match is even possible.
  • A Chart showing relationships like the one I have at the beginning of the Blog is very important. That way one can know which DNA matches with which common ancestors.
  • Everyone says the more known relatives that test, the better. Everyone is right.





My Father In Law’s Grandparents’ DNA

In this Blog I will use a technique described by Kathy Johnston to look at some of my father in law Richard’s DNA. I will map out his 4 grandparents on Chromosome 15. These would be 4 of my wife’s great grandparents. Then I will try to figure out which grandparent goes with each segment of the mapped Chromosome.

My Father In Law and His Two Sisters

The mapping technique requires 3 siblings. My father in law tested at FTDNA and his two sisters tested at AncestryDNA. I have those results and have uploaded them to

fully identical and half identical

In the first step, I compare the 3 siblings to each other using using their chromosome browser. Here is how Lorraine and his brother Richard (my father in law) match each other at on Chromosome 15. I chose this chromosome because it is one of the smaller chromosomes, hence easier to map. Also I already knew there were some other cousins on Richard’s maternal side that had tested and had fairly good results with Richard on this Chromosome.

Lorraine V Richard
Lorraine V Richard

As shown in the above, Lorraine and Richard have one long match on Chromosome 15. I will use locations in millions, so I’ll say the match was from 18 to 94. This is represented by a sold blue line. According to FTDNA, the area before 18 is a SNP poor area not used for comparisons. The solid green sections are where Lorraine and Richard share the same DNA from 2 of their grandparents. These would be one maternal grandparent and one paternal grandparent. The green is also called a Fully Identical Region or FIR. The yellow area is called a half identical region. This means that Richard and Lorraine share the DNA from one maternal or paternal grandparent. The red area with no blue line below it is the area where Richard and Lorraine don’t share any DNA. However, this information is actually quite helpful. This would mean that if Richard got his DNA in this segment from his Paternal Grandfather and Maternal Grandmother, that Lorraine’s DNA would have to be from her Paternal Grandmother and Maternal Grandfather, for example. There are only 4 choices, so process of elimination can be used.

Comparing three siblings at a time

Next I line up the results of the three siblings.

Chr 15 3 siblings

I am now looking for crossovers. This is where Richard’s DNA, for example, switched from being inherited from one grandparent to being inherited from another grandparent.

Chr 15 with crossovers

Next I look down every line to see who owns each crossover. Let’s just look at the first vertical crossover line. In comparing Lorraine V Richard, nothing is changing there as there is green on either side of the line. At Lorraine V Virginia, and at Richard V Virginia, there is a change from no match to an HIR. The one in common in those 2 changes is Virginia. So she is the one that owns the first crossover point. That means at that point (to give a number would be 27) she received her DNA from one grandparent to the left of that point and she received her DNA from another grandparent to the right of that point. We don’t know which grandparent, or whether it was on her maternal or paternal side. We do know that both grandparents on either side of the crossover are either maternal or paternal grandparents. That fact will help me as I try to figure out which grandparent Virginia got her DNA from.

Assigning crossover points

Here we will give a name to each crossover point. We are building a DNA skeleton or frame for each person so to speak. These are assigned by each persons’ initial at the bottom of each vertical crossover line below.

Assign Names to Crossovers

This tells us that there are 7 crossovers for the 3 siblings. Virginia has 3 and Lorraine and Richard have 2 each.

The chromosome map

Next I will build a Chromosome Map based on the above information. This map will be for the 3 siblings and have a maternal and paternal side with 2 grandparents on each side. [That should make sense as you think about your own family situation.] To begin with, these grandparents will be represented by 4 different colors as we won’t know which grandparent is which. Here is the bare bones skeleton:


I kept the crossover designations on each of the vertical lines. I’ll add the 3 chromosome maps to the right of the L, R, and V on the left side for Lorraine, Richard, and Virginia. On the bottom, I have the locations on the chromosome for each crossover point. I am missing a location for the next to the last crossover line. This could be guessed or estimated based on where Virginia’s actual crossovers are later. By eye it would be about 90.

Let’s map it

Assign Names to Crossovers

I could start with any area, but I’ll start with the top left. This is the green FIR match between Lorraine and Richard. Fully identical means they both received the same DNA from the same 2 grandparents. Those 2 grandparents were one from the mother’s side and one from the father’s side. Those will be represented by green and blue.

Chr 15 First FIR

Lorraine will have one crossover preventing one of her lines (colors) from extending beyond her crossover further to the right. Richard has no crossover at this point, so his two grandparents’ DNA can extend to his ‘R’ crossover line. Meanwhile Virginia doesn’t match at either grandparent in this area, so we need to give her 2 different colors representing the DNA she got from her 2 other grandparents.

Chr 15 part 2

Due to the place I started, I’m stuck already – at least on the FIRs and no matches (green and red sections of the chromosome map).

Assign Names to Crossovers

The next step is to map an HIR. As HIRs are more ambiguous (one matches and one doesn’t) I only get one shot at guessing. Once I make one guess, then this locks in the grandparents and no further HIR guessing is allowed. Our choices for HIRs are between 27 and 35. I’ll choose Lorraine V Virginia. They are HIR between 27 and 31.

Chr 15 part 3

Now comparing L and V from 27-31, I see that their 2 green segments match and their blue and purple segments do not match. This was my one chance at guessing. I could have guessed the other way around and it wouldn’t have mattered, but at this point the colors are locked in and no more guessing is allowed. Next, Virginia has no crossovers for a while, so I’ll extend the DNA she got from her green and purple grandparents to the right to her next crossover point.

Chr 15 part 4

Next I notice that Virginia has no match with Lorraine from 31-46 and no match with Richard from 35-60. That means that Lorraine and Richard got their DNA from the opposite grandparent on their maternal or paternal side. So far, everything is relative, so the top orange and green may be maternal or paternal. We don’t know yet.

Chr 15 part 5

Scanning up from Virginia’s Chromosome 15 map from location 35 to the right, we see that Richard and Lorraine have the opposite colors. That corresponds with the no match comparisons we had in the gedmatch comparisons. We would be stuck here except for the fact that on Richard’s bar, he has no crossover at location 60. [That crossover at 60 belongs to his sister Virginia.] That means that the DNA that he got from his orange and blue grandparents can extend to his next crossover at 95.

Chr 15 part 6

Assign Names to Crossovers

Now we again are almost stuck, except that Richard and Virginia have a green FIR from 90 to 95.

Chr 15 part 7

We can then extend Virginia’s grandparents’ DNA to the right.

Chr 15 part 8

Assign Names to Crossovers

Now we truly are stuck. We only have HIRs left and I already used my one guess for those. There is a no match between Lorraine and Richard on the right hand side, as we have no DNA to go against after 95 for those 2.

Cousins to the Rescue

There is one more way to fill in these segments. That is with the matches from actual cousins. We will want to figure out which grandparents these segments go to if we can anyway by using cousin matches. First, let’s look a little at the genealogy of the cousins that have tested.

Pouliot LeFevre Diagram

In the bottom box is Richard, but I should have included his sisters Lorraine and Virginia there also. These siblings have 4 cousins that have tested on the maternal LeFevre side. Here I got a snapshot of Estelle LeFevre (b. 1905) while getting DNA from Virginia:


There are 2 testers descended from the Pouliot Grandfather. The other 2 testers are descended from Pouliot and LeFevre. I discussed the issues in separating the DNA from those two ancestors in my previous Blog.

Pouliot LeFevre Diagram rev

Here are the 3 siblings as they match their reference cousins. The more important cousin, in a way, is Fred as he descends from the Pouliots and not the LeFevres. Note that there is no overlap between Fred versus Patricia and her brother Joseph in each comparison. That is where the crossover is occurring between the Pouliot grandparent and the LeFevre grandparent. Now for each sibling (Lorraine, Richard and Virginia) that crossover is at a different location. For Lorraine, it is at 31. For Richard, it is at 35. For Virginia, it is at 28. Now refer to the second image below. The place where all those maternal crossovers occur is on the top row of each bar between the orange and green segments.

3 sibs on Chromosome Browser to All

Chr 15 part 8

So for this try, the green represents the DNA that the siblings Lorraine, Richard and Virginia got from their Pouliot grandmother and the orange represents the DNA that each sibling got from their LeFevre grandfather.

Just to confuse things – a completed chromosome 15 map

Here is a completed Chromosome 15 that I did previously. In the version below, I started more on the right and worked my way to the left. That left blanks on the left that I was able to fill in by the actual cousins. Note that the colors are relative and are reversed for the Pouliot and LeFevre grandparents which I have labelled on this Chromosome Map:

Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings
Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings
what about the paternal side of the map?

The paternal side is mapped out, but I have no reference testers. These testers would ideally be 2nd cousins that are related on only one paternal line. I only need one of these 2nd cousins to identify one grandparent. Then the leftover grandparent belongs to the other side due to process of elimination. There are already likely people that have tested at AncestryDNA, but due to lack of a chromosome browser there, I don’t have where the matches are. For now I will leave them as colors or I can call them paternal grandparents 1 and 2. The actual paternal grandparents are Edward Butler (b. 1875) and Lillie Kerivan (b. 1874).

My Wife’s DNA

The DNA represented in the map above comes from my father in law’s grandparents. However, for my wife, this represents the DNA that she got from 4 of her paternal great grandparents. How could I map that out for her?


The short and simple answer is this: My wife got her DNA from her 2 parents. That is a given. So she, like her father, Richard, has a maternal and paternal side. She will have a similar map as her father. However, now her paternal side will have her father’s 4 (or in this case 3) grandparents all on one chromosome. To make room, something has to give.

Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings
Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings

Here is Richard on the middle line. Note that he only received DNA from one of his paternal grandparents. As my wife got all her paternal DNA from her father (sounds obvious, but still worth stating), she will potentially only get DNA from 3 out of 4 of her great grandparents. Here I am borrowing a Figure from a very helpful blog called Segments: Bottom-Up:

segments greatgrandparents

In that Segmentology Blog, Chromosome 5 is used as an example. Here all the great grandparents are represented. Unfortunately, I have not tested 2 of my wife’s siblings. If I had, then I would have the first line which indicates her grandparents (in this case on her paternal side). The second line of the image above, shows in a generic way, the new crossovers that my wife could have for her great grandparent level.

My wife and her 2 aunts

Here is how my wife looks compared to her 2 aunts at gedmatch compared to those Aunts’ Chromosome 15 map. I won’t show the match to her father as she matches him in all places.

Marie Chr 15

Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings

From this, I take away that my wife matches her 2 Aunts on their maternal side. The gedmatch match between my wife and her Aunt Lorraine shows a break at 31 which corresponds to Aunt Lorraine’s maternal side. Likewise my wife’s second match with her Aunt Virginia starts at 60 which corresponds with Aunt Virginia’s maternal start of her switch from Pouliot DNA to LeFevre DNA. When I merge these 2 results together, it looks like the Chromosome map for Richard, above with a crossover break at 35. This makes sense, as my wife got her paternal DNA from her dad. If I was making a Chromosome map for my wife, it would include her 2 great grandparents: Martin LeFevre b. 1872 and Emma Pouliot b. 1874. Her Chromosome 15 Map would look like her father’s up to location 95. After that point it may also be the same as her father’s, but I don’t believe that I can prove that.

It is beginning to look like there may have been no recombination for my wife on Chromosome 15. So far, we have not seen any room in Marie’s DNA for the purple paternal DNA that I mapped out for Richard above.

Enter cousin John

Recently, my wife and I contacted her cousin John at AncestryDNA. He kindly uploaded his DNA to gedmatch. I said that I would use his DNA for research. Then I thought, “Now how am I going to use his DNA for research?” Here is one way. We will look to see how cousin John matches his Uncle and 2 Aunts at Chromosome 15.

John Chr 15

These red and yellow show us that Cousin John likes to eat at MacDonalds. Not really. It does show:

  • coverage of the entire Chromosome 15 from position 18 to 100.
  • one large match with Richard. This would correspond to Richard’s paternal (Irish) side
  • the match with Lorraine could correspond with her paternal side also in the purple area on my Chromosome 15 map above.
  • The 2 matches with Virginia could also be on her Paternal (Irish) side in the blue and purple segments
  • If I were to make a Chromosome 15 map for cousin John, it would be more complete than my wife’s. It would be filled in with 2 great grandparents on his father’s father’s side.

I think I will make a great grandparent Chromosome 15 Map for my wife and her cousin John, but only because this is my 50th genetic genealogy blog. This map will just be for my wife and cousin John’s Paternal side of their Chromosome 15.

Map John Marie

It is a somewhat unusual chromosome map as there are only 2 great grandparents mapped for each cousin. My wife inherited the DNA from her dad’s maternal grandparents  Her cousin John inherited his DNA from his dad’s paternal grandparents. The part in the upper right corner should probably been left blank as I have only implied Pouliot DNA there.

further deductions

I have shown that it looks like my wife matches her dad on his Maternal Side. It looks like my wife’s cousin John matches his Uncle and 2 Aunts on their Paternal sides. Remember, I am talking about great grandparent matches, so I am going back a bit. The question is, should my wife match her cousin John on Chromosome 15? I would say no. Let’s look. Here is my wife’s matches in the area of Chromosome 15 down to a level of 3 cMs:

Marie and John

As you can see, there is no Chromosome 15 match. From that I can imply, but not prove, that my wife’s Chromosome 15 after position 95 is the same as her father’s and that she inherited her father’s mother’s Chromosome 15 intact.

To Recombine or not to recombine?

The smaller Chromosomes have less of a chance of recombining.  Chromosome 15 has 100 cMs which means on average there should be exactly one crossover per Chromosome 15. Lorraine had one crossover on each of her Chromosomes 15 (maternal and paternal). Richard had 2 maternal crossovers and no paternal crossover so he meets the average. Virginia was an overachiever with 2 maternal and one paternal crossover for an average of 1.5 crossovers. My wife’s father inherited his father’s Chromosome 15 intact, so had no recombination there. Likewise there may have been no recombination from Richard down to my wife on this chromosome.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Kathy Johnston’s method of DNA analysis worked well on my father in law and 2 siblings to find the DNA they inherited from their grandparents who were born between 1872 and 1875.
  • This method worked especially well for the maternal side as there were reference points aka my father in law’s maternal cousins who had tested for DNA. For these segments with matching cousins, I could assign specific grandparents which contributed to my father in law and 2 siblings’ DNA.
  • The segments that my father in law’s family inherited from their grandparents’ Paternal Irish side is defined and in place. However, those segments are awaiting specific names. Once further testing is done or existing testing is uploaded to, then these names should be made clear.
  • This exercise on Chromosome 15 may be repeated for the other chromosomes.
  • This exercise showed two instances where recombination did not take place and another instance where it probably did not take place.
  • I would know more about my wife’s DNA if I had 2 more siblings’ DNA results.
  • I have been neglecting my wife’s DNA results as I had other test results from her older relatives. I need to update her FTDNA and matches. This may give more clues on how she inherited her great grandparents’ DNA from her father.
  • A cousin who has tested was used to triangulate between the 3 siblings and my wife to check the work.
  • Based on the results of the 3 siblings Chromosome Mapping, maps can also be made for the children of these siblings. For the children, the mapping would show which great grandparents they received their DNA from.

My Father In Law’s Autosomal DNA: Separating the LeFevres from the Pouliots

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at my Butler father in law’s autosomal DNA, so it’s time to look at it in a blog. Richard descends from an Irish father and a French Canadian mother. Richard has many large matches with many with French Canadian ancestry. In comparison, he seems to have smaller and fewer matches on his Irish side. This is probably due to several reasons:

  • The French Canadians have been around for many hundreds of years in North America.
  • Their descendants have spread throughout the region and many migrated to Massachusetts where Richard is from.
  • Many of these early French Canadians were intermarried. This tends to increase the amount of shared DNA among cousins.
  • The numerous French Canadian descendants perhaps were more likely to take DNA tests.
  • Conversely, the Irish relatives tended to emigrate later in time.
  • These Irish descendants seem less likely to have taken DNA tests.

Richard’s Known Matches – French Canadian

Richard has 2 pairs of known matches with cousins of French Canadian ancestry (other than my wife). They are:

  • 2 First cousins – They are on his mother’s (LeFevre) side
  • 2 Second cousins – They are also on the mother’s side but one generation up. The common ancestor is Pouliot. Here is a diagram of Richard’s mother’s side:

Pouliot LeFevre Diagram

My Confusion

I looked at these matches and wondered how I would be able to sort out the LeFevres and the Pouliots. This was confusing as the LeFevre line had Pouliot in it.

The Easy Answer

The easy answer is there is no easy way to pull the 2 apart with what I had. This is because at the first cousin level, it is not easy to pull out one family. If you think about it, your first cousins share 2 grandparents with you. This was the case with Richard’s 2 first cousins also. As they are on the mother’s side, they are useful for determining whether matches are on the Butler or LeFevre (Paternal or Maternal) side, but not a whole lot more. But that is quite a bit. This is a way of phasing your results. This also separates the French Canadian matches from the Irish matches.

Looking for more than can be found in a relationship can be frustrating and confusing and that was where I was a while back. I have found that it is usually good to keep it simple – especially when figuring these things out. The problem was I was comparing apples and oranges. Or in this case 1st cousins and 2nd cousins. This is why it is sometimes suggested that a second cousin is a good choice for testing.

The Pouliot Second Cousins

As mentioned above, the Pouliot second cousins represent all the Pouliot DNA shared. On the FTDNA Chromosome Browser Richard’s DNA shared with his 2 Pouliot 2nd cousins looks like this:

Butler Pouliot Chromosome Browser

From the image above, I gather a few things:

  • This is a map of the DNA that Richard received from his Pouliot great grandfather (and Fortin great grandmother) down from his Pouliot grandmother.
  • As this represents the DNA from Richard’s grandmother, it would theoretically cover about one half of his chromosome browser. This would be the amount of DNA that he actually did get from his grandmother as compared to how he matches his two 2nd cousins.
  • Richard’s theoretical amount of DNA he got from his grandmother would cover half of the browser because the browser contains both paternal and maternal matches.

Add in the 1st Cousin

I’m only adding in one LeFevre 1st cousin as the other one didn’t test at FTDNA. Here the first cousin will be in green.

French Canadian to Richard in Browswer

From looking at the above, I observe the following:

  • The green area represents Richard’s maternal side as shown through a match with a maternal cousin.
  • This green represents LeFevre on Richard’s parent level.
  • About one half of his green match represents LeFevre and one half represents Pouliot on the grandparent level.
  • Going further up the ancestor line the green represents every other ancestor of Richard’s mother. This would be French Canadians.
  • Richard got a full chromosome from his mother, so all the DNA received from his mother would fill the above chromosome browser.
  • There are areas on Chromosomes 1, 13 and 16 where Richard’s green LeFevre cousins matches overlaps with his matches from his Pouliot cousins. These areas likely represent where the LeFevre cousins match the Pouliots. This would mean that in this area of the LeFevre cousins’ chromosomes they got their DNA from the Pouliot side. I know that I said above that it was not possible to sort out what part of the LeFevre DNA was from Pouliot, but from looking at the Chromosome Browser above, it appears that it is possible. More on this later.
  • Areas where there are breaks in the matches or where the matches go from the LeFevre cousin to the Pouliot cousins likely indicate Richard’s crossover points. These are the points where the DNA he received changed from one [maternal in this case] grandparent to another. That is, the DNA he actually received went from his LeFevre grandfather to his Pouliot grandmother.
  • As the LeFevre cousins and Richard both descend from LeFevre sisters, they share X Chromosome matches. Both those sisters got their X Chromosomes from their 2 parents. Those 2 parents were LeFevre and Pouliot.
  • Due to the X inheritance patterns there can be no X Chromosome matches between Richard and his Pouliot 2nd cousins. Richard did receive Pouliot X Chromosomes from his mother’s mother. But Richard’s cousin did not as there is no X Chromosome passed down from father to son.

Triangulation – Thinking In Three Dimensions

Triangulation is when 3 or more people all get their DNA from the same ancestor and all match each other. Our best shot at finding this is at the right hand side of Chromosome 1. It looks like these 3 people who match Richard should match each other. Two are siblings, so that is a given. Here is how Richard’s 4 cousin matches look like at

Richard Gedmatch Chr 1

You will have to switch gears a bit here from the FTDNA browser. In this browser, the different colors stand for the size of the match. Here, #1 and #2 are the Pouliot 2nd cousins. #3 and #4 are the LeFevere 1st cousins. #4 was the cousin that didn’t test at FTDNA. As expected, in the area where the 4 cousin matches are stacked on top of each other, they also match each other. At this close of a match, they almost have to. The only other option would be if they matched somehow on Richard’s paternal Irish side, which would be unlikely. This means that the 5 cousins triangulate and they have as a common ancestor their great grandfather Pouliot. Another interesting thing about Richard’s Chromosome 1 is that with just 4 maternal cousins, he has much of his chromosome mapped out – at least the maternal side of it.





Slimming Down My Big Fat Chromosome 20

In a previous Blog, I mentioned My Big Fat Chromosome 20. I had discovered, for some reason, that more than one half of all my matches were on this Chromosome. This can be seen visually using a Swedish web site called

dnagen circle chart

Here the default setting is at 200%. That means that only the matches that are twice as large as the median are shown. This program uses FTDNA matches. The match names are on the outside of the circle and the lines going between the names are what FTDNA calls ICW or (In Common With). I just noted today that there is a group on this circle that doesn’t connect with others at about 9 o’clock on the circle. These matches like to stay in their own Chromosome apparently. They are in a dark color which I take to be Chromosome 3. However, that is an aside.

The real point is to show Chromosome 20 in the dark green in the lower right half of the circle. Chromosome 20 is the Hong Kong of Chromosomes. In a little space, I have  lot of matches. Remember that Chromosome 20 is one of the smaller Chromosomes. If I have about 4,000 matches, that means that over 2,000 of them are on Chromosome 20. In my previous Blog on Chromosome 20, I determined that these matches were on my Frazer grandmother’s side. Her 2 parents were born in Ireland. That means that these matches represented Irish matches and not Colonial American matches as I had previously assumed.

The Progression of Sorting Matches

Autosomal DNA matches may be grouped in different ways. When I first tested, I got a bunch of matches at FTDNA. I didn’t know who any of them were. FTDNA had suggested some relationships which were mostly optimistic. Here is some of the progression of how I have sorted my matches:

  1. Sorted by projected relationship or match level (cMs)
  2. Sorted by actual relationship if known
  3. Sorted by Chromosome. This option is not available at AncestryDNA. One has to upload the AncestryDNA results to gedmatch for this option. This is when I discovered all my Chromosome 20 matches.
  4. Sorted by Triangulation Groups. By using a Tier 1 option at Gedmatch or by finding by hand all the matches that match each other at a particular segment, I was able to find many Triangulation Groups (TGs)
  5. Sorted by Maternal or Paternal. All our valid DNA matches should match on either the maternal or paternal side. Once I tested my mother, I was able to phase my results at gedmatch and find out whether I matched other testers on my mother’s side or my father’s side. This was a big breakthrough for me. This cut down a lot of frustrating searches. For example, there are a lot of people that match my mother that have Frazer or Fraser ancestors. My Frazer ancestors are on my father’s side. Therefor, I knew that when looking for Frazers, I could eliminate all my mother’s matches who had them as ancestors and not worry about them.
  6. Sorted by other known matches. I had my father’s 1st cousin tested. This got to the level of my great grandparents on my Hartley side. However, it didn’t tell me which great grandparent. My Hartley great grandparent was a relatively recent immigrant from England. My non-Hartley great grandparent had ancestors going back tot he Pilgrims in Massachusetts. I also had other relatives tested and found other matches that I knew I was related to.
  7. Another breakthrough happened after I had my 2 sisters tested. I used a method by Kathy Johnston to find out where you got all your DNA from your 4 grandparents by comparing your DNA results to 2 siblings. This method worked pretty well on most of my chromosomes. Now I knew where the DNA was coming from at my grandparent level for most of my matches. When I had a match, I could check my map to see which grandparent that match belonged to.

That is about where I left it at my last Blog on Chromosome 20. I looked at my crossover points for Chromosome 20. Here are my sisters compared to each other and to me:

Chr 20 Crossovers

Here is how I used the above comparison to map my grandparents that gave me my Chromosome 20 segments. The blank parts are half identical and ambiguous, so rather than guessing, I left them blank. For example, on Sharon’s row on the top, either the orange goes to the left and blue starts at the lower half or the opposite: the purple continues to the left and the green starts at the crossover line.

Chr 20 Final Segment

My chromosome 20 is on the bottom. At the time I wrote my previous Blog on Chromosome 20, I discovered that the vast majority of my matches were due to my Frazer side (green) and not my Hartley side (orange). This was a surprise as my Hartley grandfather had a mother with American Colonial roots. The final point of my previous blog on the subject was:

The fact that all these matches are on my Frazer line doesn’t necessarily mean that they are Frazer matches. They could be McMaster, Clarke, Spratt or any other known or unknown ancestor of my Frazer grandmother.

It’s great that I now know that most of my Chromsome 20 matches are Paternal and that they are on my Frazer grandmother’s line. But I am still curious as to where they are coming from. Can I find out more? I would like to try.

Chromosome 20: Beyond Grandparents

One advantage I have is that I am working on a Frazer DNA project with 27 testers. There are 2 lines of Frazers. I am on the Archibald Line and there is another line called the James Line. These 2 lines are somewhat distantly related as these 2 brothers were born in the early 1700’s. Here are the matches for the project on Chromosome 20:

Chr 20 Matches

All of these matches involve at least one James Line tester which I am not on. The 2 major matches between the Archibald Line and James line are between myself (JH) and my sister (SH) on the Archibald Line and Bonnie (BN) on the James Line. As I show below, even my McMaster Line has Frazers in it, which could be the source of that match. Sharon had very few Chromosome 20 matches compared to her siblings Heidi and myself. The 1,000 plus matches I had were before the 47 million mark where I match Bonnie above. My mega-matches mostly occur on Chromosome at 44,000,000 (End Location) or before. This tells me that my mega-matches are not of the Frazer surname. If they were, I would have seen some of my closer Archibald Line matches on Chromosome 20 from the Frazer DNA Project.

Enter cousin paul

Paul is my second cousin once removed who tested for DNA. His great grandparents are my 2nd great grandparents: George Frazer and Margaret McMaster.

George Frazer Tree

When I compare myself to Paul, I get to either the Frazer or McMaster Lines. This will eliminate the Clarke line of my great grandmother and her Spratt mother as they are not in Paul’s line – only mine.

My McMasters: It’s a Bit Complicated

Here is my McMaster Line going back from my Frazer grandmother.

McMaster Ancestry

Not only did 2 McMasters marry each other, one of them had a Frazer mother! Marion Frazer is my grandmother, so she is 2 generations from me. Margaret McMaster is at 4 generations. James and Fanny McMaster are at 5 generations to me. Their parents (the left-most McMasters above) are at 5 generations out from my cousin Paul and six generations from me. This is useful to know in the Generations Estimate I have below.

Here is where the Frazer/McMaster split is.

Frazer Buggy

George Frazer b. 1838 is on the left and Margaret McMaster b. 1846 is on the right. The photo was taken in Ballindoon, Ireland in front of the Frazer family home.

At, I compared Paul and myself at:

People who match one
or both of 2 kits

I chose most of those that matched both Paul and me. I left out an apparent duplicate and one who is anonymous for now. I also left out my 2 siblings. With those results, I chose the Traceability option and got this chart:

Generations Paul Joel

Those in red are in the Frazer DNA Project. We know their genealogy. Gladys descends from the couple above George Frazer and Margaret McMaster. Michael and Jane descend from one level above that. The circle above are those that are related to Paul and me, but not to others in the Frazer DNA Project. [One exception is Jane, but she matches at generation 7 which is about as far out as Gedmatch goes. This may or may not be a real match.] If those in the circle are not Frazer, then the apparent conclusion is that they are McMaster relatives.

Back to chromosome 20

See all the Chromosome 20 matches on my Gedmatch Traceability Report:

TG Chart Chr 20

Remember I said that my 1,000 plus matches on Chromosome 20 ended around 44M? This is what the above shows. It also shows a triangulation of matches. This triangulation is also implied by the cluster of matches within the circle of the Generations Estimate Chart above. The Chromosome 20 Triangulation Group (TG) includes:

  • Myself
  • *S. S.
  • Daphine
  • Feeney
  • Gladys

Now Gladys should not be in this list as she is in the Frazer DNA Project and has no known McMaster ancestors. In fact, when I run the ‘one to one’ at Gedmatch, she doesn’t match the others in the above list. There are glitches in the Traceability Report, so caution is needed. I will take out the last 3 names in the Generations Estimate to simplify the results. Unfortunately, that didn’t fix the problem, so I had to take out Gladys from the Frazer Project (sorry Gladys).

Gen Est Paul Joel

Now my presumed McMaster relatives are in the green circle. Here are the improved and simplified matches:

TG Chart Chr 20

I note now that the 2 ‘M’ kits (indicating 23andme testers) are now matching each other which is what I had expected previously. Note that I left my previous Traceability results in the blog as a warning that the Traceability utility is glitchy. Actually the new report is not indeed improved as now Michael from the Frazer project is matching my presumed non-Frazer McMasters. I took out Michael, and then Jane from the Frazer Project developed similar bogus matches with those she is not related to!

I’ll have to take out all the other Frazer Project people out for this Traceability to work. This was supposed to have worked so smoothly. Here below Joel and Paul should be the remaining McMaster relatives:

Joel Paul R3

Here is the Chromosome 20 TG. Note that Paul is not in it, but he matches others from the TG in other Chromosomes:

TG Chart Chr 20

This chart is only mostly right. Paul’s green match is actually on Chromosome 19 rather than 15:

Paul's Actual Match with Edge
Paul’s Actual Match with Edge

Here is the globe view of my proposed McMaster relative TG:

McMaster Globe

The colors in the lines correspond to the colors in the chart above. The light blue lines are the Chromosome 20 TG from my “big fat” area. The blue lines indicate a TG as they go from each of six people to the other 5. The gray lines represent multiple matches. I am at the bottom of the globe and my cousin Paul is to my right. He is not in the blue TG on Chromosome 20, but matches all my matches on other chromosomes at least once.

Conclusions and Further Research

From what I have shown above, I feel like I have found my McMaster relatives through DNA. However, these would have to be verified by genealogy. None of my proposed ‘McMasters’ have any gedcoms at gedmatch.

  • Daphine – she is on FTDNA but with no tree and no ancestors mentioned. An ICW search reveals 59 pages of matches – likely mostly on Chromosome 20.
  • Edge – He is at FTDNA. He has a limited tree. His paternal grandmother may be a lead. He has only 52 pages of in common matches at FTDNA
  • John – A search at 23andme showed nothing. Perhaps he is anonymous there.
  • Feeney – Same result – or perhaps these people are using different names?
  • *S.S – I see an S.S at Ancestry, but it is difficult to tell if it is the same person.

I have McMaster connections through DNA and genealogy at AncestryDNA, but there is no way to tell if the connection is on Chromosome 20 without a chromosome browser. My Mcmaster matches at AncestryDNA either don’t know how to upload their DNA to gedmatch, aren’t interested or haven’t gotten to it.

Opposition to TGs

Of late, on Facebook, there has been questioning as to the validity of  TGs – especially large TGs like I have at Chromosome 20. The thought is that no common ancestors will be found as there are just too many common ancestors in these large TGs. I have not explained the 100’s of matches in my Chromosome 20 TG, but I have shown 5 people that match both myself and my cousin Paul. These 5 by DNA do not have obvious Frazer ancestry and appear to be in my McMaster Line. So I suppose we have a stalemate. I cannot prove at this time (except to myself) that my Chromosome 20 TG matches are McMaster relatives and those who are not in favor of large TGs cannot prove that these matches are not McMaster relatives.








Mapping My DNA To My Four Grandparents

I was thinking of calling this Blog “Kathy Meet Kitty“. Kathy is Kathy Johnston who taught me how to map my ancestral segments by comparing my DNA to two of my siblings’ DNA results and determining our crossover points. The crossover points can then be used to map out which grandparent you got your DNA from without having to physically test those grandparents. This is quite convenient as all my grandparents have been gone for quite a while. Kitty is Kitty Munson who has developed a Chromosome Mapper here. I have not seen a blog using Kitty’s Chromosome Mapper to map ancestral DNA segments via Kathy Johnston’s method, so I thought that I would write one. Kathy’s method is posted here.

Two Types of Segments

There are two types of segments, thus at least two types of segment mapping. This concept is best explained at the Segmentology Blog in an article appropriately called, What is a Segment?

ancestral segments

That Segmentology article first mentions ancestral segments. These are the segments that Kathy Johnston knows how to map. I have written many blogs about mapping my ancestral segments using her method. Ancestral Segments are the segments that you actually get from your ancestors. They fill up all your DNA. Here is an example of the ancestral segments that I have mapped to my four grandparents.

Joel Segment Map

Look at Chromosomes 1, 5, 6 and 7 for starters. This shows all my DNA filled in. The 2 paternal grandparents are on the top half of the chromosomes in blue and grean and the maternal two grandparents are on the bottom in red and peach color. The DNA I received alternates between one grandparent and another and fills in all the area. In fact, that is the process of recombination and can be seen in the Ancestral Segment Maps.

shared segments

These are segments that you find at for example. These are our DNA matches. These matches may have a proposed relationship based on how much DNA you and your match share. Here is an example of some of my matches using Kitty’s Chromosome Mapper.

Chromosome map 4 Apr 2016

The best way to fill in a map like this is by testing as many relatives as possible. Now look at chromosome 1, 5, 6, and 7 on the shared segment map compared to the ancestral segment map above. The ancestral segment map on Chromosome 1, for example,  shows how much DNA I actually got from my Hartley grandfather. The blue in the Shared Segment Map shows how much I matched my father’s cousin. Next look at the maternal (bottom) part of Chromosome 1. Here the Rathfelder and Lentz matches on the right hand side are filled in on the Ancestral Segment Map. However, there is an additional section of Lentz on the left hand side of the Ancestral Segment Map where I don’t even have a match. I can tell I got my DNA there from my Lentz maternal grandmother. That is due to the crossover points I have and the fact that the DNA you get from your grandparents alternates between grandparent. On the maternal side, the alternation is between Rathfelder and Lentz.

If you find any inconsistencies between my Ancestral Segment Map and my Shared Segment Map, that means I messed up somehow.

More Ancestral Segment Mapping: Sister Heidi

In order to map my ancestral segments, I needed two siblings, so I used my two sisters, Heidi and Sharon. Here is Heidi’s ancestral DNA mapped out:

Heidi Segment Map

A few observations:

  • The areas of pale blue are where I had trouble figuring out how to map the ancestral segments, so nothing is mapped in these areas. I may have mapped out some of the segments, but then had difficulty telling whether they were maternal or paternal due to lack of known cousins that had tested. So I left these areas blank
  • The maternal areas shown as MG1 and MG2 – For these areas, I knew I had two maternal grandparents but I wasn’t sure which was which. Again based on lack of known cousins that had tested. I could perhaps guess, based on actual matches I had in these segments or where those matches were from, but I noted where the crossovers were and left these grandparents un-named.
  • These unknown grandparents are consistent within each chromosome and each sibling within each chromosome, but they are not consistent between chromosomes. So the unknown MG2 in Chromosome 8 may not be the same MG2 in Chromosome 11.
  • In my (Joel’s) Ancestral Segment Map, I don’t show any DNA on my paternal side for the X Chromosome. That is because males don’t get an X Chromosome from their father.
  • Heidi shows that she got her paternal X from her dad’s mom – a Frazer. Further, that chromosome did not appear to recombine. That means that she got that whole chunk from one of her great grandparents on the Frazer side.

How Do You Know What You Are Finding If You Don’t Know Where To Look?

These maps are very helpful in showing you where to look for DNA. Many people have matches that have ancestral names that are common to us but are not related. For example, my mother has matches with people that have Fraser or Frazer ancestors. I am related to Frazer on my father’s side. That means that I can forget about following up on maternal Frazer matches.

  • If I do want to look for Frazers, I need to look in my green areas (or my sister’s green areas) which is on her paternal side.
  • My sister Heidi is in an important Frazer Triangulation Group on her Chromosome 1 on the right hand side. She triangulates with others in a Frazer DNA Project I am working on. I am not in that group. Look at my Chromosome 1. It is nearly all covered by Hartley DNA. That explains why I don’t match these other Frazers at standard thresholds.
  • What if we were to want to look for Lentz ancestors of Heidi? We need to look at the red areas. Chromosomes 1, 6, 9. 14, 20, and 22 would be a good place to look. Fortunately, I also have Heidi’s matches on a spreadsheet. They are mostly divided by maternal and paternal matches. My mother has been tested for DNA. Based on that, I have Heidi’s phased maternal and paternal results and her matches to each of those results using

Finally Sharon

My sister Sharon completes the Ancestral Segment Mapping:

Sharon Segment Map

  • The autosomal DNA that is missing on Sharon’s Map is the same for her 2 siblings. This is because Kathy Johnson’s ancestral segment mapping technique compares the siblings to each other using the chromosome browser.
  • Sharon has a lot of Frazer DNA match potential at Chromosomes 1, 8-12, 15, and 22.
  • However, Sharon is also not in the Frazer Triangulation Group in Chromosome 1 on the right hand side. In that particular section, she got her DNA from her Hartley paternal side.
  • The above point shows why it is important to test siblings.
  • Heidi and Sharon both have a large match (50+ cM) with someone on their X Chromosome. This person also has autosomal matches with my sisters and others in the Frazer DNA project.

Summary and Observations:

  • Ancestral Segment Mapping can be useful in determining which grandparent your matches match.
  • I know already whether my matches are on my maternal or paternal side. However, this goes back one more generation and further sorts my matches to grandparents. This cuts down the guessing by another half.
  • The maps also point out the areas where you can’t be as sure as to which grandparent your matches match as those areas are not mapped yet.
  • Ancestral Segments should line up with Triangulation Groups
  • Ancestral Segment Mapping can show matches that are Identical by Chance (IBC) or false matches.