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 Gedmatch.com. 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.