Will’s Newfoundland DNA and Matches to My Wife’s Family

I recently had an email from Will’s 1/2 niece Marilyn. She had uploaded her Uncle’s DNA results to DNA. In the past, I have looked at DNA matches for the Dicks family of Newfoundland and Marilyn is in that project. I am interested in Newfoundland as my wife has some of her ancestry from Harbour Buffet in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.

Will’s Genealogy

In the tree, Will looks like he must be Marilyn’s 1/2 Great Uncle.

That is interesting, because Will should be a third cousin to Esther who is my wife’s 1/2 Great Aunt. However, Esther and Will have a large DNA match:

Gedmatch guesses that Will and Esther have a common ancestor that is 2.7 generation away. That would be closer to a 1st cousin once removed or a 2nd cousin. Also note that Will and Esther have a lot of matches on different chromosomes that are on the smaller side. My guess is that means that these two are related on several different lines further in the past. Here is how the DNA match looks at FTDNA:

This version includes the X Chromosome. Marilyn had a question about that that I can look at later.

Going Back Further in Will and Esther’s Genealogy

Here is Esther’s genealogy, such as I have it:

I have circled Esther and Will’s known connection. My guess is that there are other connections at the level of Christopher Dicks and Margaret. The problem is that I have eight missing 2nd grandparents for Esther in that row.

It would be good to take a look at Will’s other ancestors also. Will doesn’t have a tree at FTDNA. Apparently, Marilyn’s grandmother remarried and had Will. That means that I know half of Will’s ancestry through Marilyn. Here is the portion of Marilyn’s tree that relates to Will:

I forgot to mention above that Esther is doubly (at least) related to Will as a third cousin:

Will descends from a Joyce line and a Dicks line. I left out Will’s Dick’s connection on the right to save space. As I don’t have a tree for Will, I will try to make a private one at Ancestry. I am also tempted to ‘borrow’ from this tree I found at Ancestry:

Here Uncle Will is listed as Willis Clarke. That same tree has this record:

This shows Zacharias Clarke of Baine Harbour marrying Bertha Slade nee Joyce in 1906. However, the math is a bit off for Bertha’s age if she was born 1871.

This leaves me with a lop-sided tree for Willis:

Willis and Esther and the Crann Connection

Based on some guessing and some DNA matches, I have this Crann connection for Willis and Esther:

Under this scenario, Esther’s great grandfather Christopher Dicks married Elizabeth Crann. Based on the above, Esther and Willis would be 3rd cousins three different ways – two on the Dicks line and one on the Crann Line. If I have this tree right, it may account for all the DNA matches between Esther and Willis.

Crann DNA

One way to isolate the Crann DNA is to go outside of Newfoundland.

This tree shows Henry Crann from Netherbury, Dorset, England. One son, John Crann, ends up in Newfoundland. Another son, Samuel, ends up in New Zealand. That means that if Willis matches Heather, Wayne or Marjorie from New Zealand, it is more than likely that that DNA match will represent Crann ancestry (or Collins).

Here is Willis’ match to Marjorie:

Willis matches Wayne here:

I couldn’t find Heather at Gedmatch, so she may no longer be listed there.

Uncle Will’s X Chromosome

Marilyn wrote to me concerning her Uncle:

He shares DNA with my brother on X Chromosome so that is a mystery to me. 

X DNA inheritance follows a specific pattern. This pattern is more restricted for men as they only inherit an X Chromosome from their parents. By comparing Marilyn’s brother’s tree with Marilyn’s Uncle tree, we will be able to see where recent shared X Chromosome inheritance comes from.

I had started a tree for Uncle Willis, but didnt’ get too far:

After looking at Marilyn’s brother’s tree, I see where Marilyn’s question comes from:

The obvious match between Marilyn’s brother Howie and Uncle Willis is on the paternal side. However, Howie got no X Chromosome from his father. Here is Howie’s X inheritance taken out one more generation:

X Chromosome matches are tricky as they can travel further back in time than other autosomal DNA matches.

Uncle Willis has an X match with Marilyn:

Also with Marilyn’s Aunt DIddie:

Here is Uncle Willis and Howie:


Here I can see what happened. Howie only has a small X match with Uncle Willis. As such, I would not bother following this. Assuming that this is a valid match, I would say that this could be a very ancient match. This tells me that Marilyn and Aunt DIddie match Uncle Willis on their paternal side. Howie matches his Uncle Willis on his maternal side, but it is too small of a match to be of much consequence.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I was interested in following Marilyn’s Uncle Will’s Crann connections based on my previous research into this line.
  • Some Crann DNA matches can be traced to lines that have never lived in Newfoundland. That makes it easier to identify the DNA from these matches as being from Crann descendants.
  • I stayed away from the Dicks connections in this Blog. It would be helpful to find more DIcks matches that are outside of Newfoundland, so that the DNA for those matches could be determined with more certainty.
  • I looked at Uncle Willis’ X Chromosome matches. The one he had with Howie was confusing at first. That was because Uncle Willis is related to Howie on Howie’s paternal line and Howie got no X DNA from his father. However, as the match was small compared to his sister Marilyn, it was clear that the X DNA match¬† between Howie and Willis was either a false match or one that goes back many, many generations.

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