Frazer-Johnston DNA and Genealogy

I recently had some good news. John contacted me. He has Johnston and Frazer ancestry and wants to know if I could look at his DNA. I like it when I am not chasing down people and someone gets in touch with me without me first asking them. In his initial contact with me, John brought a smile to my face when he noted that I was “working the DNA hard”. This brought to my mind the comedy mocumentary “Walk Hard”.

Frazer-Johnston Genealogy

I have had an interest in the Johnstons for some time. I noticed that they were living in vicinity of Frazers  in North Roscommon and had married into the family – though not into my specific line as far as I know.

Here is the important Frazer-Stinson marriage.

This was compiled by Michael of our Frazer DNA group and researched by Ros of our group. Good team effort.

I also find this entry interesting:

My research leads me to believe that I am descended from the elder Philip [Frazer] mentioned above. That theory could be supported if I were to find a descendant from this line to test their DNA.

That brings up a point. It is an excellent genealogical method to research collateral lines when researching your own line. Johnston would be considered a collateral line for me and for those in the Frazer DNA Project. Research in these lines can shed light on your own line.

A Bloated Archibald Frazer/Ann Stinson Line

This line is bloated but in a good way.

I added John on the left as he descends from Mary Frazer. Mary appears to be an elder daughter of the Frazer/Stinson union. By this chart, John is 4th cousin to those in his generation from Archibald Frazer and Ann Stinson. John is 4th cousin once removed to those that one generation down from him (bottom row).

I should note that there are two types of DNA testers in the tree above. The first group from the viewpoint of the Frazers are only in the Archibald Frazer/Ann Stinson Line and no other Frazer Line. The second group are in more than one Frazer Line. Those that are in more than one line are:

  • Jane
  • Michael
  • Those in the yellow group to the right

I put a red box around the lines that descend from more than one Frazer from the Archibald Frazer/Ann Stinson Tree. This is important when trying to separate out the DNA.

Derrycastle During the Tithe Applotment (1834)

The Tithe Applotment was an assessment to support the Church of Ireland from what I understand. Here is a list of the families in Derrycastle in 1834:

Here is the original handwritten list:

My sense is that the most important person was listed first in these assessments. Now I get to quote myself as a self-appointed leading authority on Derrycastle. From my Frazer webpage:

The Tithe Applotment is considered to be a census substitute. We may tell where many of the heads of households lived at this time. There were 19 Frazers listed in this ‘census’ in Roscommon. That is more than any other Republic of Ireland County at the time. John is difficult to determine due to the number of Johns in the area. My guess is that he is the John b. c. 1805 who married Isabella. Archy may be John’s brother. William may be yet another brother. I don’t know who Ann is – perhaps his mother Ann Stinson Frazer(?) Philip and James are likely the sons of Philip. Archy of Shanvoley apparently was from or lived in Shanvoley. I don’t know if people were listed more than once in the Tithe Applotment. There is also an Archy and Alexander listed in Shanvoley in 1834. Actually they are listed as being in Bothoriagh Shanvallew Derrynamontrue. I don’t know who the widow McGrath was. Lastly John Johnston was probably Jane Frazer’s husband below.

To answer my question above, I believe that people were listed more than once in these Applotments. For example Alexander of Shanvoley lived in Shanvoley, but had some land in Derrycastle. This would be quite common as these Townlands were quite small.

Another question is: who was George Frazer? I didn’t address that above. However, Michael’s compilation of records has:

So if my theory is right, then my ancestor James Frazer was the son of Philip and the brother of George. That would explain where my 2nd great grandfather George Frazer (son of James) got his name:

My great great grandfather (seated to the right in the photo above) was born about 1838 and was apparently named after his Uncle George who died late in 1831 – probably in his memory. I was recently wondering where George got his name. This would be a good explanation. While I’m off the subject, I’ve slept in the house pictured above which I think is pretty cool. The house is still in the family. My great grandfather who was the eldest child had already left for Boston, Massachusetts by the time this photo was taken. He was seeking his fortune in the new world.

Getting back on subject, I find it interesting that Ann Stinson Frazer is probably the Ann Frazer listed in the 1834 Tithe Applotment above. Information supplied to me by the John of this Blog indicates that Ann Stinson died in 1840 – 6 years after the taking of the Tithe Applotment.

John’s Frazer DNA

I don’t know much about Johnston DNA, so I will be looking at John’s Frazer DNA. By the way, what is the question we are trying to answer with John’s DNA? One is, does the genealogy look right? Does John belong in the Archibald Frazer/Ann Stinson Line? According to this table, John should have a better than even chance of matching a 4th cousin:

However, for 4th cousin, once removed, it looks like he has less than an even chance of matching by DNA.

The Archibald Line Matrix

The matrix is getting too big for the whole Frazer DNA project, so I will just show it for the Archibald Line:

I am at the top left. I don’t descend from Archy and Ann. David is someone who is unsure of his relationship to our group but does match by DNA. I suspect he descends from Richard Frazer born in the 1770’s. John is below David in the first column. Notice that John doesn’t match anyone in my family – the family that does not descend from Archy and Ann Stinson. So that would make sense. David should also be in the ‘not descending from Stinson’ category. John has nine matches with 15 Frazer/Stinson descendants. That sounds like more than half. Albeit, two of those matches are below 7 cM.

John had asked me about his lack of match with Michael at AncestryDNA. At Gedmatch, John clearly matches Michael. My guess is that Ancestry uses a method to filter out some of the matches that it thinks might not be real or accurate. It is that method that likely filtered out this match between John and Michael. Some people don’t like Ancestry’s filtering. To me, the match between John and Michael looks good.

More DNA Details and Triangulation

John had a question to me about AncestryDNA circles. I told him that they are OK, but that triangulation is much more precise. To find Triangulation Groups (TGs), I use the Multi Kit Analysis utility at Gedmatch. If three not very closely people match each other on the same segment of DNA, then that is considered a TG. It means that those three share a common ancestor. In this study, we are looking for common Frazer ancestors.

Based on the Multi Kit Analysis, John matches 7 people on the Archibald Frazer Line:

That makes sense as I mentioned that two matches were under the 7 cM threshold. Here John matches brother and sister Susan and Ken as well as their 1st cousin Patricia. That would be John’s TG. Then he matches Gladys, Michael, Doug and Vivien of the Frazer/Stinson Line.

This shows that John matches Frazer/Stinson descendants on four different lines. That is quite convincing. These international matches represent Australia, two DNA testers from England and Canadian relatives.

The triangulation is with the yellow line of Frazer descendants on the right. This is likely because they have more people tested to triangulate with. John mentioned a common area that his family lived in with the yellow line. That was Martinsburg, NY. So John should also check that there was no common ancestor from that connection. My guess is that the small DNA match they have represents Frazer as a New York connection would likely represent a larger DNA match.

Actually, my next project is to determine what parts of DNA Doreen, Ken and Susan got from their grandparents – especially their Frazer grandfather. I’ll be using a procedure called Visual Phasing. So this Chromosome 3 match they have with John would very likely be from their Frazer grandfather.

For fun, I checked to see if John matched anyone in the James Line of Frazers. He matched Charlotte from that Line, but only at 6.0 cM.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Going over John’s Frazer-Johnston background was interesting and it shed some new possibilities for my own genealogy.
  • Like Michael, John represents for now, a single line branch coming down from a child of Archibald Frazer and Ann Stinson.
  • Unlike Michael, John only descends from one Frazer Line.
  • Although technically, the DNA could indicate that John descends only from Archibald Frazer or Ann Stinson, there is no reason to believe that John does not descend from both.
  • It can be comforting to know that your genealogical research is backed up by DNA evidence.

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