Ken’s Newfoundland DNA & Genealogy

I while back, I had emails from FTDNA saying that they had found a close relative for my mother in law Joan and her 1/2 great Aunt Esther. That match was to Ken who had ancestors in Harbour Buffet, NL where my wife’s Upshall family came from. This was good news. I even found an Upshall in Ken’s FTDNA tree. It seems Upshalls are quite rare.

Some Newfoundland Genealogy

Here are Ken’s ancestors:

Compare this to Esther’s Newfoundland genealogy:

Esther’s tree has a few more holes. Also note that her Upshall grandfather was born in 1841, so those holes go back some time. Esther matches Ken on the following surnames:

  • Shave
  • Upshall
  • Dicks (2)
  • Burton

That could be a lot of DNA to untangle. My mother in law Joan only matches Esther on the top half, so that is Upshall and one of the Dicks lines. That is because Esther is her 1/2 Aunt. Fred Upshall married Margaret Shave after his first wife died during the Flu Epidemic.

Ken’s wife Sandi

Ken’s wife Sandi has a Dicks in her genealogy who is from the Robert Dicks line. As a result, Ken and Sandi share some DNA:

Gedmatch estimates them to have a common ancestor at 4.5 generations. Here is Sandi’s tree. She is 6 Generations from Robert Dicks while Ken is only 4 generations away. That averages out to 5 generations to their common ancestor.

Triangulating on the Robert Dicks/Cran Line

When I compare Ken to Sandi, Marilyn, Howie and Forrest, I get this on Chromosome 14:

This shows Ken’s matches with #1 Marilyn and #2 Sandi. This looks like a Triangulation Group (TG). All that is needed is for Marilyn and Sandi to match each other. However, surprisingly, Marilyn and Sandi do not match each other there. They do match each other in a lot of places but not on Chromosome 14:

How can Ken match Marilyn in the same area of the Chromosome where he matches Sandi and not have Marilyn and Sandi match each other? I think that the only way this could happen is that he has to match these two on different copies of the Chromosome. We each have maternal and paternal Chromosomes. That means Ken matches Marilyn on the maternal side and Sandi on the paternal side (or the other way around).

Next, I’ll look at Chromosome 18

This shows Ken matching Molly, Sandi and Forrest. This time, we see from above that Marilyn and Sandi do match each other on Chromosome 18 between 11M and 33M. Here is how I picture their TG18:

From this it would appear that the DNA is coming from Robert Dicks or Jane Cran. The theory is that a TG points to one ancestor. However, in this case we don’t know whether that ancestor is Dicks or Cran. I would guess that the DNA is from Cran. I’ll say why I think that below.

Ken’s Tier 1 Triangulation Report has a utility called a Tier 1 Triangulation Report. I ran this for Ken and found three TGs near each other on Chromosome 18:

The first TG has a lot of people in it that I don’t know. It is represented by the first green segment. There were many other overlapping green segments each representing Ken and two others that I didn’t include in the image above. Molly and Sandi were not in that TG.

The second green segment represents the TG I have above which has Ken, Molly and Sandi in it circled.

The third green segment overlaps with the second green segment. It has has Molly, Cheryl and Ken in it. Prepare to squint:

Cheryl is way over on the bottom left. She is on the Elizabeth Dicks/Adams Line. The Roberts Dicks/Cran Line is cut off on the right. Here I have Ken triangulating from his Frances Dicks/Burton Line and Marilyn triangulating from her Rachel Dicks/Joyce Line. This is truly a Dicks TG as it is coming from three lines. I am thinking that the previous TG with Ken, Sandi and Marilyn is a Cran TG. That is because I wasn’t able to get Cathy and Marilyn to match. If both these overlapping TGs were Dicks, I would think that there would be some match between Cathy and Marilyn. Given the complexities of Newfoundland genealogy, there could be other explanations, but that is the way I see it at this point. Another way to look at it is if the TG is quite wide on the Dicks project, the DNA is probably Dicks. If the TG is narrower, it is more likely that the TG is from the associated surname – in this case Cran. The other point is that Cheryl and Sandi were important in this analysis as they only appear to descend from one line of Dicks each. They helps ground the double Dicks descendants Ken and Marilyn.

The Triangulating Ken and esther

I am interested in how Ken and Esther triangulate. When I searched for Esther in Ken’s Triangulation Report, she came up 45 times. I also looked at TGs that had my mother in law Joan in them. There were about 15 TGs with Ken that had Esther and/or Joan in them. I have done a lot of work on the DNA from the Dicks lines. As a results, I came to the following conclusion:

  1. TGs with Ken, Esther, not Joan and not Dicks descendants were more likely on the Shave or Burton lines.
  2. TGs with just Ken, Esther and Joan are more likely on the Upshall line.
  3. TGs with Ken, Joan and others (not known Dicks descendants) are probably also on the Upshall line.
  4. TGs with Ken, Esther, Joan and known Dicks descendants are probably represents Dicks ancestors.

I also noticed a lot of TGs that Ken had with Esther and people that descended from the Elizabeth Dicks/Adams Line. They are represented in a peach color below:

This TG came up four times. I’m not sure of the significance of this.

Triangulating Ken’s X Matches

Here are a few of Ken’s X Chromosome matches:

#1 is Esther, #2 is Joan and #3 is Molly aka Marilyn. I don’t know 4-7, so I suppose they are not related to Esther, Joan and Molly. It looks like Ken, Esther and Joan are in a TG. They are in a TG as Joan and Esther match from 47M to 115M. We can probably find a common ancestor based on this.

Ken only got an X from his mom, so we can eliminate the whole paternal line:

The purple circles indicate possible lines of X Chromosome inheritance for Ken.

Here is the X inheritance pattern for Esther:

However, here, we need to eliminate the bottom part of the tree as Joan is only related to Esther on the top half of the tree.

Next is Joan’s tree:

This is where things narrow down. I didn’t include Joan’s paternal line as she is related to Esther on her maternal side only. Christopher Dicks the father of Christopher Dicks got cut off, but he wouldn’t be in line for the X Chromosome anyway as the X never travels from male to male. That leaves a connection to Margaret the wife of Christopher who I have as living from 1789 to 1867. That means where Ken, Esther, and Joan match, they can map that bit of X Chromosome all the way back to the Margaret with the unknown last name who married Christopher Dicks.

Margaret goes off Ken’s chart but was the mother of Robert and Frances Dicks as far as we can tell:

We don’t know if Ken’s X Chromosome came through Robert Dicks or Frances Dicks. Molly isn’t in this X TG, so we will say Ken’s X inheritance came more likely through Frances Dicks than her brother Robert.

Molly, Esther and Ken’s TG on the right side of the x chromosome

Esther and Ken have the same X inheritance patter for this TG as previously shown. Here is how Molly connects. All I have to do is show that there is a likely X path to Margaret with no male to male in the line:

I started with Molly’s paternal grandmother. From there I went to Sarah Slade’s mother’s mother who is Priscilla Dicks. From there we go to Robert Dicks and Robert’s mother Margaret who is Molly’s 4th great grandmother if I have it right. The X connection makes for a zig-zaggy route.

The only step I forgot to prove the TG was to show that Molly and Esther match each other at the end of the X Chromosome.

That match completes the TG for Molly, Ken and Esther. That means that if people are mapping their X Chromosome:

  • Ken and Esther can map their middle and last segments to Margaret
  • Joan can map her middle segment to Margaret
  • Molly can map the end of her X Chromosome segment to Margaret

Homework Assignment

All we have to figure is what all these matches represent between Ken and Esther:

Actually, I think that we are on our way to figuring this out. Here is another peek at some of Ken’s TGs with Esther and Joan:

As I mentioned above, it is possible to guess the TG’s routes based on who is in the TGs. My guesses are:

  • TG1 for Ken could be on Esther’s maternal Shave side.This also includes a Dicks and a Burton.
  • TG2 could be on the Upshall side as Upshall is a rarer name and there aren’t others in the TG
  • TG4A has Joan and not Esther, which narrows things down. This has at least on UK person in it, so perhaps this goes back to Upshall in the UK or Upshall ancestors there.
  • TG4B and TG5 have people that are not known Dicks descendants, so that could narrow things down a little. We would have to look more into their genealogy to figure out the connections.
  • TG9A has Joan which probably narrows the lines down to one Dicks and one Upshall. There is also one Elizabeth Dicks/Adams descendant in this TG.
  • These assumptions would have to be checked with the genealogy of the people that are in the TGs.

Diminishing Matches

I showed above how Esther matches Ken at 389.1 cM. This is how Ken matches Joan, who is Esther’s half niece:

The match went down by about half, which isn’t bad considering the half relationship Joan and Esther have with each other.

Here is Ken’s match with my wife, Marie, who is Joan’s daughter:

Wow, look at that. All the DNA matches dropped out except for the one at Chromosome 9. On average, a parent would pass down half the DNA. However Marie got less than average. I’m sure a lot of this DNA went to Marie’s other siblings. The moral of the story is to test the older generation for DNA. Esther shares about 18 times the DNA with Ken compared to Marie and Ken.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Ken and Sandi have provided a lot of information and matches to consider – too much for one Blog
  • I need to do a fuller review of Ken and Sandi’s matches for the Dicks DNA Project
  • I am interested in trying to figure out more about any potential Ken/Esther/Joan Upshall DNA matches. Esther is on AncestryDNA and has some interesting matches with people in Dorset, England.
  • The good news is that there are a lot of DNA matches on a lot of different lines. The challenge is figuring out which matches go with which lines and where to make the connections in looking for missing ancestors.
  • This match between Ken and Esther should be a benchmark for those who have Harbour Buffet ancestry.




Another DNA Tested Dicks Descendant

I was recently contacted by Eric who told me about another Dicks descendant named Clayton. Clayton tells me his grandfather was Leslie Dicks from Harbour Buffet. That is good news as my wife’s Dicks ancestors must have come from Harbour Buffet also.

Here is the match between Clayton and my wife’s 1/2 Great Aunt Esther:

Next, I checked to see if Clayton matched my mother in law. He didn’t. Esther and my mother in law, Joan match on Esther’s paternal side. The fact that Clayton and Joan don’t match could mean that Clayton matches Esther on her maternal side:

Here is where it gets a bit tricky as Esther has Dicks on both sides. I am leaning toward Clayton matching on the Jane Ann Dicks side.

Here is the existing summary of Dicks Triangulation Groups:

I note that Clayton’s matches are in places other than identified Dicks Triangulation Groups (TGs). That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t match. That just means that I can’t prove that he does match based on existing TGs.

Next, I compared Clayton with other Dicks descendants in the 3D viewer at Gedmatch:

Look at all the ‘None’s under Clayton. This tells me either that his match with Esther is on the non-Dicks side, or that he matches a Dicks line that has not been identified well.

Clayton’s Genealogy

From my emails, I get this sketch of Clayton’s ancestors:

Clayton says that John at the top was supplied by Eric. One of the best places for Newfoundland research is called Newfoundland’s Grand Banks Genealogical and Historical Data. At that site, I found a 1945 Census of Harbour Buffet with a Leslie Dicks:

Going back to 1935 shows about the same information:

The only difference being that Ronald is no longer with the family. Also the ages don’t seem to add up all the time. Let’s go back to the 1921 North East Harbour Buffett Census:

This is quite helpful as it gives more relationships, month and year of birth and place of birth. And we finally find Charles.  Here we see that Charles is the brother of Alfred. The two families apparently lived in the same house that year.

Next, I was able to find a marriage record for Charles near the end of 1908:

The best I can figure is that Delilah and Jessie are the same person. I note that one of the witnesses was Elisie Kirby. Esther has Kirby ancestors.

Second Cousins, Twice Removed?

What I notice when doing the genealogy is that Clayton is off by two generations from Esther:

If Clayton and Esther are 2nd cousins twice removed, then the yellow circles indicate where the match could be. Unfortunately, for Clayton, that is in the area of eight unidentified 3rd great grandparents. Actually one of Clayton’s 3rd great grandparents is a Dicks, but the DNA match is not leaning toward that name, from what I can tell. Due to a lack of match with my mother in law, and lack of matches with other Dicks descendants, the match would most likely be on the Shave, Burton or Kirby Lines. In my spreadsheet of matches for Esther, I note that Esther’s matches with Clayton seem to coincide with her Pafford matches. I have noted that the Paffords have Shave ancestors. That may be something to look into. This all confirms the inter-relatedness of Harbour Buffet people.


  • Esther and Clayton match by DNA and both have Dicks ancestors
  • Analysis of the DNA match show that the match is not likely on the Dicks Line
  • Esther and Clayton also share ancestors from Harbour Buffett
  • Esther and Clayton share matches with the Pafford Line
  • Further investigation of common Pafford matches coupled with further research into Clayton’s ancestry may result in a common ancestor.
  • Also common ancestors along Clayton’s Gilbert Line need to be explored
  • Autosomal DNA can and will come from any ancestor, so all ancestors need to be evaluated.


After posting this Blog, I had a few comments. Here is an update from Eric:

I found some of the Charles Dicks data on various trees from    They indicate he was married to Jessie Trowbridge  (this could be a variation of Strowbridge).    The Delilah Gilbert marriage seems to be a new discovery.    I dug a bit more and I think only Sarah from 1910 was a child of Delilah.    Delilah dies 5 Feb 1917 of TB.   Charles marries Jessie on 29 Nov 1918.

 Just based on the ancestry trees without further research, it appears that the father of Charles was John and John was of Christopher 1829.    That should make John the brother of Catherine who married Henry Upshall.    Because John Dicks apparently married Mary Ellen Shave, Esther could very well be related in more than one way.   The common DNA on chromosome 1 seems to triangulate with A144898 Tracey Crann.

His comment fits well with Molly’s comment:

In reference to the Gilberts, Delilah’s mother is Sarah Jane Kirby who married Thomas Gilbert. Delilah is a sister to my husband’s grandmother, Mary

It looks like I had a 50/50 chance of guessing right on Delilah and Jessie and guessed wrong. Here is a quick fix on the small Ancestry Tree I made for Clayton:

Here is Charles’ 2nd marriage, with Charles listed as [W]idower:


3 Generations of Upshall DNA

My wife Marie is not an Upshall. Nor is her mother Joan. However, her mother’s Aunt Esther is. The Upshalls were from Newfoundland and lived in a fishing village called Harbour Buffet. This is what it looked like in 1907

harbor buffet 1907

Harbour Buffet is in Placentia Bay. Here is a map showing Harbour Buffet on the left side in relation to St. John’s on the right. As you can see, Harbour Buffet is quite an isolated area.

Harbour Buffet Map

The genealogical records are sparse in Newfoundland. In Harbour Buffet, the church burned, so vital records are missing.

Are Your Parents Related?

I have had my wife’s, her mother’s and her mother’s Aunt’s DNA tested. Living in isolated Newfoundland many people have ancestors of the same name more than once. I have uploaded these 3 people’s DNA results to They have a utility there called “Are Your Parents Related?”. I ran this and, sure, enough, as Aunt Esther expected, her parents were related. She shows a relatedness on Chromosome numbers 2, 11, 15 and 20.

Related Parents Esther

My understanding is that this report looks at Esther’s mother’s and father’s side of her DNA and where there are matches between the two, it shows where they had a common ancestor. In fact, this report indicates that Esther had a common ancestor 4 generations ago. At 4 generations ago, we had 16 2nd great grandparents. This means that Esther likely only had 14. This could also mean that Esther is a s 3rd cousin to herself! A scenario could be that Esther’s mother and father could be 2nd cousins to each other. I tried to sketch out some of the relationships here:

Upshall Ellis Chart

I am still working on Esther’s ancestry, so I haven’t gotten too much past the diagram above. My understanding is that Melinda Jane Kirby’s mother was a Dicks. That means that her two grandmothers, Catherine Dicks and Melinda Kirby could have been 1st cousins. This is helpful in tracking the ancestry. Dicks is a name that comes up quite a bit when looking at Esther’s DNA matches also.

What DNA Came From Whom

In the chart above, you can see that Frederick Nelson Upshall had 2 wives. The first wife died in the Flu Epidemic in the Boston area and he remarried. That means my wife and my mother in law are descended from the Daley (non-Newfoundland) side and Esther is descended from the [Newfoundland] Shave side. Gedmatch has another report called “People who match one
or both of 2 kits”.  When I run this for Joan and Esther it shows people that match both of them, or just one or the other. The people that match both should correspond to the purple in the diagram above and below. The people that match only Joan and not Esther would represent the left side of the chart. The people that match Esther and not Joan would represent the upper right had side of the chart. Except that there is one hitch. Thanks to some collaboration with at least one helpful DNA match’s research on Ancestry, I have  been able to expand Aunt Esther’s ancestors further back.

X Chromosome Chart Esther

Now we can see that Esther has Dicks family on her mother’s and father’s side. The dotted lines at the top are inferred from the DNA and a guess on my part. I am assuming that the Dicks ancestors are the reason for Esther’s parent’s relatedness. This means that Joan would also be related to Jane Ann Dicks but not as closely as Esther.  Likewise, Joan would be related to Melinda Kirby but not her father John and is related to Margaret Shave (her step-grandmother) but not George Shave. Further, I may assume that the parents of Jane Ann Dicks may be the same as the grandparents of Catherine (or Kate) Dicks. If  I have it right, that also means that my wife’s step great grandmother nee Shave was also her 2nd cousin 3 times removed.

The Chromosome Browser

Here are the places where Esther matches her (half) niece and grand niece (my mother in law and wife). These matches represent the DNA From Esther’s father as that is the person these 3 women have in common as an ancestor.

Esther Chromosome Browser

Esther and my mother in law match on every chromosome except for #22 which is the shortest Chromosome. I am also interested in the X Chromosome. This is because these matches will be very specific. Let’s look back at the diagram with the purple squares and circles. These are the only places where Esther and Joan can share the X in a normal situation. Then Fred Upshall doesn’t get any X Chromosome from his father so the X matches must be from Kate Dix, born around 1851.

Unfortunately, this is not a normal situation. Here we have Esther who has parents that are related. I think that the relation is through the Dicks family. That means that Joan could also be matching Esther on Esther’s mother’s side. That would be Margaret Shave, up through her mother Melinda Kirby and Melinda’s mother Jane Dicks. Isn’t that confusing. However, as the most recent common ancestor between Esther and Joan is Esther’s father Fred, the matches most likely should be from him.

It actually gets even more complicated. Christopher Dicks didn’t get any X Chromosome from his father. However, Jane Dicks did. The unknown mother of the 2 sent her X Chromosome down to her 2 children. If any of those X Chromosome segments came down to my mother in law, she could have segments in common with both sides of her Aunt Esther’s parents. However, this would not be Dicks’ X Chromosome but the wife of a Dicks. Joan’s X matches on the Dicks’ side can only go back as far as Christopher Dicks.

X Triangulation

Triangulation is trying to figure out a common ancestor between using the matches of 3 people or more. The 3 people have to match on the same segment and match each other. What I did was choose Esther’s top 8 X Chromosome matches.

Esther X Chromosome Browse

Joan is #1. My wife is #3. My wife isn’t supposed to have a match that her mother doesn’t have, so I’ll disregard the blue match. It looks like the clusters could triangulate, but they don’t. Here is the X Matrix.

X Matrix Esther

This time my wife is last on the list. Note that Marie and her mom Joan only match each other and don’t match Esther’s other 6 top X Chromosome matches. That means there is no sense trying to triangulate these. These segments are likely to be from Esther’s mother’s side. That is, except for match #8 in the previous figure. That is Molly and her match doesn’t overlap with Joan’s or Marie’s, so we can’t tell which side of Esther she is matching (maternal or paternal/Shave or Upshall). It makes sense that Joan and Marie don’t match the other people. As I showed earlier, Joan and Marie’s X Chromosome match on the Dicks’ side ends with Chris Dicks. However, Esther’s X Chromosome match goes back a generation earlier, so she has many more chances for matches.

Autosomal DNA Matches: Not All One Way Or the Other

In looking at autosomal matches or triangulation groups, it is important to make sure that the matches are either on the maternal side or paternal side. However, what if the parents of your match (in this case Esther) had parents that were related to each other? It is not so clean cut.

Here are some of Esther’s top matches compared to Joan and each other:

Esther top matches matrix

Note that Joan has a larger match with Wallace than Esther does. Perhaps Wallace matches Joan on her father’s (non Upshall) side in addition to the Upshall side. Also Joan has no match with Nat. Either Joan didn’t get any of the DNA that Nat did or more likely this match is on one of Esther’s mother’s non-Dicks lines. Also some of these people may be matching Esther on her maternal and paternal sides where Joan only matches her on her Paternal side.

Just for fun, I checked if anyone else on the list had parents that were related. It turns out that Michael did. But not to the extent that Esther was. His common ancestor was about 5.6 generations back.

Effects of Endogamy On DNA Matches

Jim Bartlett explains the effect of relatives that marry in this Blog. When Esther’s parents married as the descendants of the same ancestor, they theoretically doubled their match with Joan. This effect multiplies when other matches also have the same ancestor more than once.  Joan and Esther might expect an average match amount of 850 cM as half aunt/neice. Their actual match total is 1090 cM. Also at the above chart, see how much more Esther matches people than Joan. I believe that this could be due to Esther’s multiple Dicks ancestors. This is true except for the match with Donald. Perhaps Donald is not related to the Dicks. When I check his ancestry, I don’t see any familiar surnames. Also no ancestry is mentioned in Newfoundland. So, maybe something to consider.

In Summary

  • My contact with Esther’s matches have resulted in good leads with people who have Newfoundland ancestry
  • Esther has, as expected, parents that are related
  • This relation appears to be on the Dicks side, based on both genealogy and surname ancestors of DNA matches
  • Further research should lead to linking up both sides of these Dicks family to a common set of ancestors.
  • Due to the irregular inheritance pattern of the X Chromosome, not many common matches were found
  • Endogamy results in more [presumed Dicks descendant] matches for Esther. This is compounded if her matches also have the presumed Dicks ancestor more than once.