AutoClustering My Mother-In-Law Joan’s AncestryDNA

I’m excited about looking at my mother-in-law’s DNA. I tried autoclustering her FTDNA results but had a difficult time identifying many of her clusters.

Making Joan’s DNA Fun Again

When I first started looking at Joan’s DNA several years ago, it seemed like a lot of her matches resulted in common ancestors. Then later, I saw that there was a lot of inter-marriage going on in Prince Edward Island (PEI) where Joan’s two paternal grandparents came from. Let’s take a look at the Geneticaffairs AutoCluster for Joan:

That’s not very clear, is it? My previous autocluster reports were in the range of three or four hundred matches. This report is quite large, with about 650 matches. Large is good, but it makes the chart difficult to view. To get the Chart above, I used thresholds between 25 and 600cM.

Joan’s Ancestry

Joan’s ancestry is one-half PEI, 1/4 Newfoundland and 1/4 Nova Scotia. The records are poor for Newfoundland and the Nova Scotia relatives are a bit obscure.

The first column has Joan’s great-grandparents. Ellis through Hopgood are PEI. Upshall and Dicks are Newfoundland. Daley and Rhynold are Nova Scotia. Here is a guess on how Joan’s autocluster will look:

It would be nice to sort the Ellis from the Rayner in the top square. However, there is some crossovers in the families as you go back in time. I’m also curious to look into Joan’s Newfoundland and more obscure Nova Scotia ancestry.

Let’s Get to the Clusters

First I start with the Identifying Spreadsheet. This is to identify Joan’s 66 clusters – or to at least get a start on them.

This goes down to Cluster 42, because the results went off my screen. However Brian at Cluster 41 is important.

Brian’s Upshall Match

Here is an Upshall Tree. I think I have it right:

Brian is Joan’s 1st cousin once removed. However, they are only related on the Upshall side because Fred Upshall’s first wife died and he remarried and had Gertrude and Esther. I drew my big green box starting with Brian in Cluster 41 in my initial guess.

Joan’s Ellis Side

Joan’s Cluster Chart is headed up by E.E. Here is E.E.’s Shared Ancestor Hint (SAH) with Joan at AncestryDNA:

E.E. is in Joan’s Cluster 1 and is a second cousin to Joan. E.E. is the top left square in this cluster.

The higher matches are on the top left and the lower matches are on the lower right. The Shared Matches fade out a bit from the top left to the lower right. Most of Joan’s matches with Newfoundland ancestry can be found in this cluster. That should include more of the Dicks relatives than Upshalls.

Now I have two out of 66 clusters:

These might not be the best names for these clusters, but that is what I am calling them right now. Cluster 1 has 105 members and Cluster 41 has 101 members, so those two matches represent clusters that total to over 200 matches.

Joan’s AncestryDNA Circles and Her Clusters

Joan has 22 Circles at AncestryDNA. These Circles point to common ancestors and should help to identify Joan’s clusters. One of the more obscure clusters leads me to Gordon with Rhynold ancestry:

Gordon and many others are in Cluster 61. This probably represents the start of Joan’s Daley maternal grandmother’s side:

Cluster 61 has been bolded and the Upshall Cluster is shown in the upper right of the image above. These may be other Newfoundland Clusters between Upshall and Daley/Rhynold.

Daley represents 1/4 of Joan’s DNA but a smaller percentage of her actual matches. I have now defined the three main areas of Joan’s ancestry on the clusters. They are: PEI, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Separating Ellis from Rayner

I have distinguished three areas of Joan’s ancestry. I have Joan’s Ellis, Upshall and Daley ancestry. Now I would like to separate the Ellis DNA from the Rayner DNA. This is a little difficult due to crisscrossing of Rayner and Ellis ancestry. Here is some of Joan’s paternal ancestry:

Back to the Circles

Here is a Rayner Circle from Ancestry:

There are 21 in this circle. Hazel is a match with strong confidence. Yet, she appears in Joan’s Cluster 1:

I do see that while Hazel has two Rayner Lines, she also has an Ellis ancestor:

It looks like Joan may be matching on this Ellis Line rather than the Rayner side. Confusing, isn’t it?

The Mary Watson Circle

Mary Watson was the wife of Edward John Rayner. If Edward was in Cluster 1, shouldn’t Mary be also? Or can AncestryDNA somehow separate the two?:

Joan’s first non-close family relative in the Mary Watson Circle is Esther. Turns out Esther is in Cluster 13. Hence, my question above.


Looking at Esther’s tree, I don’t see Mary Watson:

Perhaps it is more obvious through other trees.

One of the next matches to Joan in the Mary Watson tree is Mary-Ann. Mary-Ann is in Cluster 12. Mary-Ann has one non-private person in her tree who is not a Rayner and not a Watson. At this point, I can choose to trust Ancestry’s Circles or trust them. I’ll assume that there is something to the Circles and add Cluster 12 as a Mary Watson Cluster.

Here is Joan’s green Cluster 12 highlighted:

Let’s Try a Mary Yeo Circle

Here is Mary Yeo.

Mary is Joan’s third great-grandmother on her paternal Rayner side.

Wanda is a top match in the Mary Yeo Circe, but she is in Cluster 1. Wanda also has at least one Ellis ancestor. I am beginning to question some of these Ancestry Circles. However, to be fair, I have had trouble separating out Ellis and Rayner by hand, so I’m sure a computer program would have the same problems.

One More Rayner Side Circle: Amelia Watson

Ronald is a top match in the Amelia Watson Circle. He has Gorrill, Hopgood and Watson ancestors. He is also in Cluster 7. Hmm…

An Additional Ellis Cluster

Kath is in Cluster 4:

However, Kath is in the Pring Circle. The Circles are confusing me right now, so I’ll have to ignore them. Note that Kath has two Shared Ancestor Hints (SAHs). Here is the second:

I suppose that is how Kath got into the Pring Circle. Fortunately both these ancestors are on the Ellis side. From the above, it appears that Richard Gorrill Married two Newcombe sisters. I’ll record this in my spreadsheet like this:

This shows that I have five PEI Clusters identified out of what appears to be a total of 40 PEI Clusters.

One More Cluster – #19

There is always one more Cluster to Identify. My next strategy is to look down the list of clusters from my AutoCluster Report:

I have a few notes for Heather and L.M. that indicate that they should be on the Rayner side.

More on Newfoundland DNA

I have written many Blogs about Dicks and other Newfoundland DNA. I will look into those matches now.

Crann DNA

Joan matches other with Crann DNA. Heather is from New Zealand and Joan and Heather’s common ancestors are likely Henry Crann born 1757 in Netherbury, Dorset, England and his wife Elizabeth Collens. This is a case where the DNA gets ahead of the genealogy. Heather is in Joan’s Cluster 46

Building Out Terrence’s Tree

Terrence is also in Cluster 46 and has a tree with four people. I am curious about his tree as his mother is a Crann. I have avoided building out any trees in this Blog, so I will build one out now:

This is Terrence’s mother’s grandfather’s line going right back to Jenry Crann and Elizabeth Collens. One interesting thing about this tree is that I have Richard Crann being born in Harbour Buffett where Joan’s Newfoundland ancestors lived.

Tyler Also from Cluster 46

In addition to Terrence is Tyler. I don’t have to build out his tree. His tree also goes back to John Crann. When I put Heather, Terrence, and Tyler in a tree, I get this Cluster 46 Crann Tree:

R.N. From Cluster 46

R.N. is Joan’s last match at Cluster 46 (at the threshold that I set). Turns out R.N. also has a tree on the New Zealand Branch:

Now Joan has symmetry in her Cluster 46 between Newfoundland on the left and New Zealand on the right.

Where is Joan in Cluster 46?

That is the problem. I don’t have good records for the match. I had proposed that John Crann had a daughter named Elizabeth who married Christopher Dicks.

The problem with this theory is that I don’t have any paper evidence. I already had Tyler in this tree, but I am missing Terrence. He needs to be added in. I note that at Ancestry all the trees that have a name for Christopher Dicks wife have Elizabeth Collier. There is one researcher who has Christopher’s wife as Elizabeth Crann but has no parents for her.

Summary and Conclusions

  • With the AutoClustering technique, I was able to break down Joan’s DNA into her three ancestral regions.
  • I had some difficulty in splitting Joan’s PEI Ellis and Rayner grandparent clusters. This may be partly due to a fairly high 600cM top limit for the clusters.
  • I wonder if I lower the top number will I get more clusters. There were a lot of people in the two main Ellis and Upshall Clusters.
  • I focused on one small Crann cluster with small matches but good trees. This cluster added to my previous work where I propose the Elizabeth Crann is the wife of the Christopher Dicks born about 1812.









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