Determining Whether a Match Is Irish Or French Canadian By Visual Phasing

In this Blog I will look at a DNA match that my in-laws have. I would like to know whether the match is Irish or French Canadian. I will use Visual Phasing of my father in law and his two sisters’ DNA match to try to figure that out.

Irish at First Look

Something caught my attention with one of my father in law’s matches at FTDNA. My father in law Richard’s match Ann had this tantalizing detail under her Ancestral Surnames:

White (County Waterford Ireland to New Brunswick Canada)

I had recently found out, with the help of DNA and DNA researchers, that my father in law’s immigrant ancestor had shipped out from Waterford to New Brunswick. I have very few DNA matches for my father in law on this Irish side that I have identified. Most of the matches are French Canadian.

Irish or French Canadian?

At first, I didn’t notice other French Canadian names in Ann’s ancestry. However, after finding out she was listed at Gedmatch and Ancestry, I looked at her Tree and did see some French Canadians.

Visual Phasing

I do have DNA from my father in law Richard and his two sisters Lorraine and Virginia. So perhaps Visual Phasing will give and answer to the question whether the match with Ann is French Canadian or Irish. Ann’s best match to Richard, Lorraine and Virginia is on Chromosome 9:

Lorraine has the largest match above followed by Richard and Virginia. It looks like Richard and Virginia have crossovers at about position 107M.

I have used MS Word for phasing, but it wasn’t the best. PowerPoint worked well, but lately I have preferred using Excel. First I cut and paste the comparison of the my 3 in-laws into Excel.

Then I add the crossover points for the three siblings:

At first I thought that the first crossover belonged to Richard. however, there is a short break in the Lorraine V. Virginia comparison, so that adds an additional first crossover for Virginia. Actually the Virginia/Richard should be Virginia/Lorraine. There are likely 2 close crossovers there. I ignored the last small match between Lorraine and Virginia as there wasn’t anything going on in the comparisons above and below that match. Next I add the locations of the crossovers:

Lorraine and Richard have the largest Fully Identical Region (FIR) shown in green. I map that with the same two colors for Lorraine and Richard:

Lorraine only has two crossovers, so we extend her colors all the way to her left crossover and on the right to her crossover (L):

As Lorraine only had two crossovers, this perhaps explains why she had the largest match with Ann on Chromosome 9. Next, I fill in FIRs and Regions that don’t match (shown as red in the Gedmatch comparisons) with corresponding colors:

Unfortunately, that lead to a bit of a dead end. Instead, I’ll try starting with the Richard and Virginia FIR on the bottom comparison:

This version looks better. Next we choose a Half Identical Region (HIR) shown as yellow above. The longest one starts at position 14 between Lorraine and Virginia. A HIR maps as matching only one color and not matching the other.

Above, I chose for Lorraine and Virginia to match on the green and not match on purple and yellow. That is how the HIR is represented. I can then extend Lorraine’s purple and green to her crossover (L) on the right and fill in more FIRs and non-matching areas:

Now, except for the two ends of Virginia and Richard, I have a four grandparent map represented by four colors. Next, we have to identify the grandparents.

The Pouliot French Canadian Connection

One of my in-laws’ grandparents is a French Canadian Pouliot. Fortunately, my in-laws have a Pouliot cousin named Fred. Fred’s sister has also tested. Here is Fred’s matches with Virginia (78-83.5 and 107-110) and Richard (107-115).

Here is Fred’s sister’s matches with Virginia, Richard, and Lorraine.

Note that Lorraine only has one small match with Fred’s Pouliot sister. This is leading me to believe that the match with Ann is on the Irish side. Can we use these Pouliot matches to identify our blank map above? I think we can. The 2 green matches above are for Virginia and Richard at 17-31M. The only place between 17 and 31 where Fred’s sister could match Virginia and Richard, but not Lorraine is on the yellow. If the match were on the green segments, Fred’s sister would have had to have matched all three siblings at that location. Note that mapping out the smaller matches should also be on the yellow segments.

I should point out that my in-law’s had a father of Irish descent and mother of French Canadian descent. This means that both their paternal grandparents were Irish and both their maternal grandparents were French Canadian. As Pouliot is the maternal grandfather, that sets the maternal side of the map as yellow and purple. That also sets purple as the other maternal grandparent: LeFevre. Further, salmon and green now represent the paternal Irish grandparents.

So Is Ann a French Canadian or Irish Match?

Although I was leaning toward the Irish earlier, I now think that the match is French Canadian. Take another look at the match between Ann and Lorraine, Richard and Virginia:

The pattern looks a lot like the purple LeFevre segments. Lorraine’s larger match is on top. Richard’s green match stops where the purple LeFevre segment stops. Virginia’s smaller blue match starts where the purple Lefevre segment starts again. I’ll put the matches in the same order as Gedmatch to make it easier to see:

If Ann were to have matched on the green paternal grandparent area, there would have have to have been three equal matches in that region shown on the Gedmatch browser.

The fact that Ann did not match with the French Canadian Pouliot grandparent did not mean that she was an Irish match. In this case, it meant that she matched the other French Canadian Grandparent.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Visual Phasing can help map an unknown match to a grandparent.
  • That phasing needs to be in conjunction with at least one known cousin to identify a grandparent.
  • These results help to know where to invest genealogical research time. There is no sense in barking up the wrong tree.

2 thoughts on “Determining Whether a Match Is Irish Or French Canadian By Visual Phasing”

  1. I have only just started using visual phasing for my Mum and her two brothers. It certainly is a lot of work. I have found I have been barking up some forests which I wish I had known about years ago. I am also finding that my Britton line I though was from Ireland/Scotland may have originated in Germany (Baden Wuttemburg) if I can believe the numbers of matches who have German ancestors from this location who seem to line up on the Britton segments! I live in hope I will be able to join the dots eventually! Thanks for posting! I love to see new explanations for complex topics such as these.

  2. Interesting way to apply Visual Phasing. I plan to give it a try when I get the required 3rd sibling.
    Good job and thanks
    Fred Pouliot

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