Adding Some Ancestors to DNAPainter

DNA Painter is a fun and helpful tool created by Jonny Perl. I discussed DNA Painter in a previous Blog. Since then, DNA Painter has come out with a new dividing line in the key. At the time I started using DNA Painter, I was so happy with the software, that I didn’t care about the key. However, now I have organized my key.

The Key to the Key

Here is the way I had my key:

By choosing the area to the right of the ancestral name, these names can be dragged up or down. Here is my new key:

I have sorted the names into paternal and maternal. Then within paternal and maternal, I have sorted the names in a way that makes sense to me – basically by grandparent line. In order to add the above line, I chose T Clarke:

Then I choose Edit Group:

In that screen, I have circled where there is an option to add a dividing line below the group. I have checked this option.

Mining My Blogs for More DNA to Paint

Here is what the DNA Painter shows for me right now:

I recall Blogs tha I have written where I found other ancestors.

Adding Abraham Howorth, Born 1768

Old Abraham goes back a ways. He lived in the Bacup area of Lancashire with his wife Mary. I was able to Identify his DNA thanks to a match with Anne on Chromosome 4. Now I have to remember how to add Anne’s DNA to DNA PainterFirst I find the match at Gedmatch. Here is my match with Anne:

Now to get this on to the Painter. At the top right of the software is a software that says “Paint a new match”. This sounds like a good choice:

Above, I copied Anne’s matching chromosome information into the box provided. I then click on the blue box [save match now] to get this screen:

In the top blank box I put the match’s name and Gedmatch number. In the bottom, I’ll put in Abraham Howorth and Mary. This is on my paternal side. Here is the new painted segment on Chromosome 4 in blue:

I’m not totally happy with the color as it is not too distinctive from my paternal T Clarke:

So I chose Abraham in the Key above and then chose Edit:

There I chose a different color for Abraham. I didn’t like that either, so I chose a brighter green:

This will do for now. Next, I want to move Abraham down one slot on the key:

When I choose the area to the right of the name, I get a double arrow and I can move the name down one space.  Howorth is the second surname on my paternal grandfather’s side.

Adding a Maternal Rathfelder Segment

I discuss this Rathfelder find in more detail in a set of Blogs called My German Success Story. The DNA match was with Astrid, and I was able to trace the match back to Hans Jerg Rathfelder born in 1752.

I wonder if Hans Jerg had a sense of humor as he named two of his sons Johann Georg that were born four years apart. His own name was a bit similar to these two sons. One son went by Johann and the other went by Georg.

Here is my match with Astrid:

Here is where these Astrid/Rathfelder segments show up on my maternal chromosome:

I used the same color as Howorth as it is OK to repeat colors as long as the last time I used this color on Chromosome 4, it was on the paternal side.

Next, I moved Han Jerg down on the key to where I want him:

Here is the Linden Church in Latvia where Hans Jerg and Juliana got married:

The odd thing is that it looks like it could be a New England scene with children sledding on the hill of the church. However, this is in the middle of Latvia.

Part of my impetus to paint is the header at the top of the DNA Painter. It shows how much of my chromosome is mapped. Right now it shows:

  • 33% mapped – 166 segments
  • Paternal: 46% mapped – 109 segments
  • Maternal: 20% mapped – 57 segments

This exercise hasn’t raised the overall mapping from 33%. It takes quite a bit of DNA to go up one percent.

A Maternal Lentz Add

This is a match I have with Radelle that goes back to John Lentz, born in Philadelphia in 1792. Here is my share of John Lentz:

Oops, I forgot to tell DNA Painter that this match was on my maternal side, so it put the lilac color across the maternal and paternal side. This is easily fixed.

There, that looks better.

DNA Painter puts the new ancestral couple at the top of the key, so I’ll move them down to where they belong:

There is some confusion as to who Eliza was and whether John had one or two wives, so I’ll just leave it as Eliza for now. John and Radelle got me up another percent on my maternal side:

It like a game trying to get these numbers up.

The X Chromosome and My Cousin Cindy

I am only mapping my great grandparents and further out. Right now, I only have a small segment mapped. However, there may be a way to get further back on the X Chromosome. My plan involves my first cousin Cindy. Here is how I match Cindy on the X Chromosome:

On Chromosome 1-22, we would match on either Alexander Rathfelder or Emma Lentz. However, on the X Chromosome, we only match on Emma Lentz. That is becuase Cindy’s father Bob only got and X Chromosome from his mother.

Emma in turn, got her X Chromosomes from her two parents: Jacob George Lentz and Ann Eliza Nicholson. This only works for a female cousin where I am also related to her father.

Now I will map my matches with Cindy to J.G. Lentz and A.E. Nicholson:

Perhaps this will get my percentages up. I click the refresh button for my statistics and get this:

I’m looking for more than one perent increase on my maternal side:

There. I got a 2% increase thanks to my cousin Cindy. Actually it was two percent from before I started the Blog.

Cindy is the 2nd from the left and I am on the right.

The Big Picture

Next, I add two more lines to the key:

The four divisions are paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather and maternal grandmother. A few observations:

  • I have only identified two ancestors each on my paternal and maternal grandfather sides so far.
  • The darker green Hartley/Snell DNA represents 17% of my DNA. This is half of all my identified DNA. This is due to the fact that I have a lot of relatives on the Hartley side of the family. The theoretical average amount of DNA I would get on my Hartley/Snell side would be 25%. By identififed, I mean DNA that I can put ancestral names to.
  • I don’t have any 2nd cousins tested on my paternal grandmother side (Frazer). I do have a Frazer DNA Project which partially makes up for that.
  • Two second cousins on the Rathfelder side account for 4% of my DNA.
  • DNA for Lentz/Nicholson acounts for 3% of my DNA. This includes my X Chromosome match with my 1st cousin Cindy.
  • My Nicholson/Ellis matches account for another 4% of my DNA. This is a case where a more distant ancestral couple is more accounted for than a closer ancestral couple. This number could get higher as I have run into quite a few DNA-tested descendants from this Nicholson/Ellis line.
  • That leaves 6% for the identified DNA I got from the other ancestors listed above.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Jonny Perl’s DNA Painter remains a highly respected and useful tool for DNA analysis
  • I enjoy looking a the percentage statistics
  • I can see where the mapped DNA is relatively complete and where it is lacking
  • The DNA Painter gives insight into my DNA’s origins and spurs me on to further discovery



2 Replies to “Adding Some Ancestors to DNAPainter”

  1. I loved your explanation. I have been doing genealogy for about 50 years and my fear is that it will be lost. I just found out about DNA Painter and I am hoping that I will be able to get some of my information in. I have been doing dna for over five years–primarily with but also Ancestry and one shot at CRI Genetics. I have had close to 30 people test at You are a great teacher. I look forward to following some of your ideas.

    1. Thanks Charles,

      DNA Painter is a fun and easy way to show how your DNA matches up with the genealogy that you have done. The best sources for mapping that I use are at FTDNA, Gedmatch, 23andMe and MyHeritage.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *