Updating My 23andMe DNA Matches and Tree

Due to finding a Frazer DNA 2nd cousin once removed recently at 23andMe, I have taken a closer look at the 23andMe Tree. I last looked at 23andMe’s Tree last year in this Blog. At that time, the tree grouped together some of my relatives, but it seemed like they had a difficult time telling which of my relatives were paternal or maternal. These relatives were mixed up on both sides. For example I had both maternal and paternal relatives on both sides of my tree.

This tree has been getting a little better as time went on. Recently, I found out that I can now modify the tree to make it make more sense. I have done that and moved my maternal matches to the left side of my tree and my paternal matches to the right side of my tree:

The circle with the face is me. The red side is my mother’s side and the blue is my father’s. The colors now make sense. My Nicholson side is purple. Rathfelder is red. The Frazer side which happens to come from Ireland is green and my Hartley side is blue. Most matches are on my Hartley side as my Hartley great grandparents had 13 children.

I have added some matches to the tree manually. I am not sure how 23andMe adds matches to the tree. Here is what Diahan Southard says in one of her Blogs:

23andMe Family Tree – Beta

23andMe is beta-testing a new Family Tree builder that works based only on your genetics, with no input from your genealogy. This is especially great news for those who don’t know their family trees or haven’t entered the information into a tree file yet.

“Your genetic family tree [on 23andMe] is built automatically by an algorithm that predicts relationships based the DNA shared between you and your DNA Relatives,” explains a recent company statement. “The size of your family tree depends on how many connections and DNA Relatives you have close relationships with in the 23andMe database. Participating in 23andMe’s DNA Relatives tool helps improve the experience. As the 23andMe database grows, customers may see their trees expand.

Update in March 2020 from 23andMe:

As of February 2020, 23andMe customers are now able to edit and add relationships to their Family Tree for richer storytelling and accuracy. Family Tree builders are now able to move individuals and groups of relatives elsewhere, and add relatives, even if they haven’t participated in 23andMe’s services. Customers can also add personal notes to the tree including ancestor names, important dates, and photos, and send messages to relatives who may offer more information and fill in further gaps on their Family Tree.”

My Hartley Tree

It takes a little while to edit these trees. I need to add more of my grandfather’s siblings to the 2nd row above. I already had my grandfather’s brother Greenwood. I was above to add three more siblings:

I added Robert, Mary and Annie Hartley. 23andMe doesn’t arrange these ancestors by their age. For example, I would have had Rober on the right as he was born in 1911. He is to the left of Mary who was born in 1895. I’m not sure who DL is as he/she didn’t answer my previous message. It appears that this cousin does not descend from the four siblings identified. Actually five, including my grandfather James.

My Frazer DNA Tree

While my Hartley tree was already in pretty good shape, my Frazer tree was not. I believe that it had a Rathfelder from my mother’s side in it and one of the Frazers which should be on my father’s side was on my mother’s side. I tried to fix it, but made some mistakes:

I added William and Hubert Frazer to the tree, but they should be brothers of James Archibald and not sons. My first correction was also a mistake. Here is William moved:

I next need to delete the old William line. Note that Katherine has a symbol by her photo. This indicates that she was placed on the tree by 23andMe – even though I had to move her. It also points out that Linda on the left, if placed correctly by 23andMe would be a Clarke relative and not a Frazer relative.

Here is the cleaned up version:

I added in George and Margaret Frazer at the top to avoid confusion. I also need to add the parents of Margaret Clarke to clear up that side. Note that there is not a DNA symbol next Stanley and Brenda. That is because I added them manually to the tree. I’m not sure why 23andMe adds some DNA relatives to the tree and others it does not.

My Small Rathfelder 23andMe DNA Family Tree

Even though this tree is small, 23andMe originally had this on my paternal side, so I had to correct it. One interesting thing about Ian is that he appears to be a direct male Rathfelder descendant. That means that 23andMe should have a basic YDNA Haplogroup for him:

Iain should not match me unless by coincidence as I am a Hartley. This Haplogroup formed about 4400 years ago and is from Central Europe. That fits in well with Germany. This map shows where the Rathfelder ancestors may have been 4400 years ago:

Further YDNA testing would refine this information and refine Rathfelder on the YDNA of all mankind.

My Lentz and Nicholson 23andMe DNA Family Tree

My grandmother was a Lentz but her mother was a Nicholson.

I added the Nicholson descendant. There is no DNA symol next to Joan.

Lentz YDNA

It should be possible to find a general YDNA Haplogroup for my Lentz ancestors:

Here, Jereme is R-Y4355. I discussed R-Y4355 in this Blog previously. This haplogroup is a further refinement of R-L2:

R1b More>L2> Z49>S8183>> Y4355

This makes sense as both these lines are German.

Here is the first part of the FTDNA Lentz YDNA Surname Project results:

This first group mentions L2, so these are probably distant relatives.

Summary and Conclusions

  • By manipulating the 23andMe Family Tree, I was able to wring some more information from my DNA matches
  • It feels good to now be able to manipulate the 23andMe family tree and correct errors that it had
  • I see that if my tree is right, then Linda matches on my Clarke and not my Frazer line.
  • I was able to get my first indication of a YDNA Haplogroup for my Rathfelder ancestors through cousin Iain


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