Uncle Naffy, DNA, and the Butler Brick Wall

This blog will be a departure from my usual Frazer DNA Blogs. This is about my father in law’s Butler line. I plan to add some genealogy also. I have been working on the Butler line since about 18 B.D. That is 18 years before I got involved with DNA. This line has been a mystery. As far as we know, the first Butler of the family to come to the US was Edward Butler.

What Did I Know About Edward Butler?


Here is a photo, believed to be Edward himself. I’m not familiar with the type of clothes he is wearing or when this may have been taken. My wife’s Aunt had done some research on the Butlers, so that was helpful. This research was done back in the day before computers. According to a Death Certificate Aunt Lorraine had from 1986, Edward Butler died 1915 and was aged 80. His parents were Michael Butler and Margaret Croke. They were all said to have been born in Kilkenny, Ireland. His wife was Mary E. Crowley. She died in 1905 at age 51. She was born in St. John, New Brunswick. Her father was Florence Crowley and her mom was Ellen Donavan. I had never heard of Florence as a man’s name before. Based on the death certificates, Edward would’ve been born about 1835 and Mary about 1854.

The Chicago Connection

This family had at least 2 sons: George and Edward Henry Butler. Both of these sons moved to Massachusetts with the parents and were said to have been born in Chicago. However, I could not find any record of the family in Chicago. Perhaps some will show up eventually.

A Possible Cincinnati Connection?

I had found some census information for families that looked similar to the family I was looking for, but something was always a bit off. The best census I could find was in Cincinnati. Here is the 1860 Census for the 17 Ward of Cincinnati taken on June 6th.

Cincinnati 1860

Here we have a young Butler family. The husband and wife were 25 and 23. The family’s net worth appeared to be $20 and the father was a laborer who couldn’t read or write. What I especially liked was the the father was born in Ireland and the wife was born in New Brunswick. New Brunswick was pretty specific. The enumerator could’ve written Canada but didn’t. I knew from Mary Butler’s death certificate that she was from St. John, New Brunswick. However, there were many problems. I had never heard of the family living in Cincinnati. I had never heard of the family having daughters. From this census Mary would’ve been born around 1837. Based on her death certificate, she should’ve been born around 1854. So I considered what I had found, but kept other options open.

Here is the same family in 1870 in the 3rd Ward of Cincinnati (taken from the FamilySearch website).

Cincinnati 1870

Now Mary and Julia are said to be born in Mass. Ellen is not in the house. Edward is said to be a citizen.

The Mellie Connection

After his wife, Mary (Crowley) Butler, died in 1905, Edward went to live with the Mellies on Clinton Street in Newton. Here is the 1910 Census.

1910 Census Mellie

Mary was actually Mary Butler. Her parents were James Butler and Mary and she was born in County Kilkenny. She married William Mellie in 1898 in West Newton. That could mean that James Butler was Edward Butler’s brother and seems to confirm the Kilkenny connection for the Butlers. Although this gave me more Butler family and a possible reason the family moved from Chicago to Boston, it didn’t answer many other questions. I was determined to find out more about Edward Butler, but it seemed like he was just as determined to keep his family history hidden.

The Crowley Family

At this point, I gave up on the Butlers and decided to focus on the Crowley family. They had been in North America apparently longer than the Butler family. Very often the female side keeps the family connections and history more than the male side.  Turns out the male name of Florence was not as unusual as I had originally thought. Also I found out that many of the Crowleys from Mary’s generation made their way to Boston. As I read about their lives, it is as if I was  seeing their lives in fast motion. This is because often I find their births, marriages and deaths in a short period of time. Sometimes I see their young children dieing. I see their lives in the Census in 10 year snapshots. I picture where they may have lived in Boston. Sometimes family invited other families to live with them in crowded conditions. One Crowley family member spent quite a bit of time at the Danvers hospital and apparently suffered from mental illness. I’m sure this put a strain on the family.

The DNA Phase

Late in 2014, I sent a Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) kit down to Florida for my father in law to take. This particular test is called the Family Finder. It actually tests your chromosomes and shows resulting matches to other people. The catch is that you don’t know how you are related to these other people. It could be on any branch of your ancestors and then any branch coming down in any direction. Many of those directions you may not even know about. Some of my father in law’s cousins had tested already which I was to find out. These were on his mother’s French Canadian side and not the father’s Butler side. If you are related to one French Canadian, you are related to many. So many of these matches crowded out the Butler matches which seemed few and far between.

I uploaded my father in law’s results to gedmatch.com. This is a place where you can find other matches from other testing companies. I took the results and put them in a spreadsheet. I grouped these by segments of the 22 Chromosomes. Further I grouped these matching segments into Triangulation Groups. These are groups where matches match each other. When this happens there is most likely a common set of ancestors in the group. Then I had to update the results when new matches came in.

Uncle Naffy

On April 14, 2015, I emailed “unclenaffy” (his email name). I noticed a few days previously he had a large match to Richard, my father in law at FTDNA. I included Richard’s ancestry chart. Uncle Naffy got back to me right away, “I dont have a family tree yet but i can tell you that Crowleys are related to me. I am living in Saint John where they had lived and still do live. My Aunt Mary Lou Reid knows the family connections so ill tell you later more.…” Well this had me interested. Then on April 16 Uncle Naffy wrote, “I have more news for you. I have chatted with my aunt mary lou reid and she has info on how i might be related to Butler. My GGgrandmother was a Butler from Cincinnati in 1870s and moved to New Brunswick to live with family” This was even more interesting as I never recalled mentioning Cincinnati to Uncle Naffy. Uncle Naffy further told me that his grandmother’s father was Thomas Joseph Murphy. He married a Mary A Butler. She was the one that moved from Cincinnati to live with family. Uncle Naffy filled me in further, “Rumour has it that when they were due to marry at a church in saint john, well it was during the Great Saint John fire of 1877 and the church burnt down .” I was able to find that marriage in the French Canadian Druin records. I wrote back:

Murphy Butler Marriage St. John

So that was enough to break down one of the Butler brick walls. Uncle Naffy had mentioned St. John, Cincinnati, Crowley and Butler. I also had the name of a Church in St. John where at least some Irish married. I no longer felt like I was searching for a needle in a haystack. Now it was more like looking for a pitchfork.

Finally this Summer, I made it up to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Library in Boston to look up marriages. There, I went winding through microfilm. Fortunately, there was an index on the film. Once I figured it out, I found an entry for Butler/Crowley. That was encouraging. Then I found the entry which, although it was legible as to quality, contained some of the worst 19th century handwriting I had ever seen. I took a photo of it on my phone. Here it is.

butler crowley marriage st john

It’s a good thing there was an index. In case you can’t decipher it, I gather that Edward Butler and Mary Crowley were both from St. John and got married May 1, 1855. It appears that someone named Quinn performed the ceremony. Edward Butler gave his mark – remember he couldn’t read or write. There were 2 witnesses: a Walter (someone) and Elizabeth Scott.

So DNA pushed our written record knowledge back 50 years from when Mary Crowley Butler died in 1905. She was considerably older than her stated 51 years when she died. This had thrown me off considerably also.

What I’ve Learned

  • Don’t trust death records. I knew this before but had to relearn it.
  • St. John had a large Irish immigrant population. I didn’t know this before.
  • The Butler/Crowley wedding did in fact take place in St. John. It is likely that Edward Butler came to shore here or nearby.
  • The Butler family was quite mobile moving from St. John, to Cincinnati. Then apparently to the Chicago area and finally to the Boston area.
  • DNA does not solve the problems directly but gives good clues and confidence for areas to look. This is especially true if DNA matches help out a bit and give family information. (Thanks Uncle Naffy.)

The X Factor – Part 2

In the last Blog, I marveled at the amount of X chromosome my sister Sharon shared with karen. Part of my amazement was that I have not had one X Chromosome match at FTDNA out of over 1,000 matches until recently. One of the reasons for that is that FTDNA doesn’t report your X matches unless you also have an autosomal match. At any rate, women tend to have more of these X Chromosome matches with other people. One obvious reason is that they have twice as many X Chromosomes to start with.

Karen has uploaded her FTDNA results to Gedmatch. Here are my sister’s top matches on the X Chromosome.

Top X Matches for Sharon

To put into perspective the size of Sharon and karen’s match, the entire X Chromosome has a size of 196 cM. 56.2 cM appears to be over 25% of that amount. This is the X Inheritance Chart for my father. My sister got one of her X Chromosomes from him and I suspect this is the source of karen and Sharon’s match. Also note that Sharon shares more of the X Chromosome with karen than she shares with her brother (me). Karen also shares more of her X with Sharon than her own brother. And as we’ll see below, this large X Chromosome segment has stayed intact and traveled down through 2 different families from at least the last part of the 1700’s!

Dad's X Inheritance

My guess was that this X match went through my ancestor Fanny McMaster b. 1829 (in pink above) to Margaret Frazer. Margaret was born around 1800. Margaret is my father’s 3rd great grandmother and my 4th great grandmother.

What I did today was to look at Karen’s tree at FTDNA.

karen's ftdna tree

For some reason, FTDNA trees use a very large font for last names. This doesn’t work out well for longer last names. At any rate, karen’s father is Walter Wanama(ker) I believe. Karen got one of her X Chromosomes from her dad, like my sister got from my dad. Karen’s dad had to get his X from his mom Agnes Higgins. She got one of her X’es from Maryann McPartland. She got one of her X’es from Ann Fraizer of Derreenargan, Boyle, Ireland. Now Boyle is in the heart of my Frazer research area where I have my Frazer DNA project. These 2 graphics above appear to show that a large chunk of X Chromosome has traveled from the late 1700’s from a Frazer family through at least 2 other fairly distantly related families to today.

Karen’s family tree showed that her Ann Fraizer married a McPartland. Our Australian Frazer DNA project member Ros pointed out this entry from the Irish Court of Petty Sessions showing the interaction between one Frazer and one McPartland:

Archibald Frazer of Ballyfarnon Defendant  Feb 1883:  That on 16 Oct 1882 at Aughnafinigan, a nuisance took place on the defendant’s premises occupied by James McPartland to wit the dwelling house so dilapidated and dirty as to be unfit for human habitation and that said nuisance is caused by the act or default of the defendant.  “Nuisance to be abated by the 8th March and house put in proper repair and to pay costs 3/6”.  The Complainants were the Guardians of the Poor of Boyle Union as Sanitary Authority.

Where Did the X Come From?

From correspondence with Karen’s family, I see they have their Ann Fraizer b. about 1823. Here’s where I get into a bit of educated guesswork. 1823 is probably the generation of my ancestor Fanny McMaster, daughter of Margaret Frazer. It is possible that Margaret had a brother who had Ann Fraizer in 1829 or so. Now Margaret’s brother would have only had one X Chromosome from his mother. That means that under my educated guess scenario, the X Chromosome match between karen and Sharon would be from Margaret Frazer’s mother.  This would be the pink box in my father’s X Inheritance Chart to the right of Margaret Frazer. That would be my 5th great grandmother. She would’ve been born in the latter part of the 1700’s.

By the way, Karen is the about the 3rd person that has been found to be related to the Frazers of North Roscommon. They have all been found to be related by DNA. Each of their ancestors has been a single Frazer that is the end of that person’s research line.

Triangulation, Anyone?

Another person in the Frazer DNA Research Project, Kathy, was quick to note that her mom also matched Karen on the X. Here is Sharon’s match with karen (in pink and orange) and Sharon’s match with Kathy’s mom in blue, pink and yellow.

Sharons X match with Karen and CJK

As these three people overlap on their matches and all match each other, this closes the loop on triangulation. So this gives us double proof of a common ancestor between karen, Sharon and Kathy.  One is by the X triangulation and second is through the X Inheritance Pattern. This is another case where the DNA is clearer than our paper research!

Kathy’s X Match Ancestor

So now that we have narrowed down karen’s and Sharon’s X match ancestors, where is Kathy’s? She should have the same ancestor as the same X Chromosome segment was passed down to her mom. Here is Kathy’s mom’s X Inheritance chart but it won’t be pretty. It was supplied by Kathy starting with Kathy’s mother’s mother:

CJK's X Inheritance

Who the X Match Cannot Be

As vague as this chart is, it tells us who the X match cannot be. We may rule out the top half of the chart (not shown). This is Kathy’s mother’s father’s X Chromosome. This is ruled out due lack of Frazer ancestry. For the same reason, we can rule out the top part of the chart that is shown. That is the Emmet family which was not even known to be from Ireland. Then we can rule out any of the people in the white boxes. This includes the male Frazer line and ancestors before Edward Wynn Frazer.

Now look in the right hand column. Under the pink and blue which is the only place where the X match could be I don’t see a lot of entries. Even in the next to the last column there is maybe a Bonis. I’m ending with this example, because this is what most people see in their own genealogy. Karen and Sharon were fortunate to both have good family trees showing where a likely match would be. Even with our better than average paper trail, my educated guess was that the our X Chromosome was coming from the mother of an unknown Frazer. That means we don’t even know the surname of this person. So the X match could be anybody – though likely limited to the North Roscommon area. I suppose this is why many people don’t use the X Chromosome much. It is fascinating and gives clues, but is difficult to use.

The Nexus of X’s

This post is about the X Chromosome. As you likely know, we all have 2 sets of Chromosomes – one from each of our parents. These Chromosomes are numbered 1 though 23. 1 though 22 are the Autosomal Chromosomes. The 23rd is sometimes called the sex chromosome. Women get 2 X chromosomes: one from their mother and one from their father. Men get an X chromosome from their mother and an Y from their father. And it is important to note that the man does not pass down any X chromosome to his son.

There is some good information out there on the X Chromosome. One blog is called That Unruly X by Roberta Estes at DNAExplained.

I have had questions on what the X chromosome matches mean. In one way, the matches are like any other autosomal match. In another way, they are different. The way they are the same is that they should indicate a common ancestor at some point.

A Real Life Situation with My Sister Sharon

Let’s look at a real life situation. My sister Sharon tested recently. If I go to Gedmatch.com, I can run her DNA in a utility called ‘One to many’ matches.

One to Many

I entered Sharon’s kit # and checked the X radio button so I would get her largest X match. This gave me Sharon’s matches at Gedmatch. Unfortunately, these are sorted by ‘Gen’

X DNA Sort

Gen is the number of Generations that Gedmatch thinks your match is from you. I can tell this by the red arrow (triangle) pointing up under Autosomal. This means the smallest number of Generations are sorted first, which are the closest or most important matches. I want to sort by by X-DNA ‘largest cM’. I did that and got this for my sister’s top 4 matches:

Top X Matches for Sharon

Karen and Sharon’s Big X Match

3 of the 4 people I know. Heidi is my other sister and Gladys is my mom. They share all their X Chromosome with Sharon. Joel is me. But who is karen? And why does she share more X Chromosome with my sister than I do? Let’s figure it out together. On discussion groups I have been challenged by the fact that it is impossible to tell where a match comes from by an X Chromosome match and no other autosomal match. Let’s assume that this is true. However, in this case, karen matches Sharon on an autosomal Chromosome also. These 2 matches may represent different ancestors shared by karen and Sharon. However, these 2 matches should both be on Sharon’s maternal side or paternal side.

Which Side are You On?

As with all matches it is important to know if these matches are Maternal or Paternal. All of your autosomal matches will be one of the 2. For example, my father’s mother is a Frazer. That means I should be looking for Frazers on my paternal matches. If I find someone who matches my mother and has a Frazer in their ancestry, that match is likely coincidental and not where the DNA match is. So is karen a paternal match or maternal? If these were my matches, my guess right away would be that karen would be a maternal match. How would I know? I only have the X Chromosome from my mother. Sharon on the other hand has 2 X Chromosomes: one from our mom and one from our dad.

Here is how karen and I look on Sharon’s FTDNA Chromosome browser.

Sharon Karen Joel X

The orange is my match with Sharon. The blue is karen’s 56 cM match with Sharon. There is a chunk of orange overlap above the blue. Does this mean that Sharon, karen and I match on the X Chromosome? No. Remember that I only got my X Chromosome from my mother. Karen is related on my father’s side where I didn’t get any X Chromosome. So while it may look like a match on the browser, it is not, as the orange represents my Maternal match with my sister and the blue represents my sister’s Paternal match with karen.

Where Does Karen Fit In?

In some of my other blogs, I have been able to fit in people into the Frazer Project I have been working on. Let see if karen also fits in. First, I’ll look at her autosomal match with Sharon. To do this, I click on the ‘A’ to get the details of the autosomal match between karen and Sharon. When I do that, I get this:

Karen and Sharon Chr9

Fortunately I have had my mom tested for DNA. With these results, I was able to phase her DNA using a gedmatch utility. This results in Sharon having 2 additional kits: a paternal and a maternal kit. I ran Sharon’s Paternal Phased Kit against karen and got a match slightly smaller than the one above. This proves that the match is on the paternal side.

Then I checked karen against other testers in the Frazer project. She matches Jane and Prudence who are both known Frazer descendants. Interestingly, Jane had been in touch with this person prior to DNA testing concerning karen’s genealogy through more traditional methods. Jane and Prudence represent 2 different old related Frazer lines going back to the early 1700’s. In addition, I noted that karen had an ancestral tree at FTDNA with an Ann ‘Fraizer’ in it. Now there is no triangulation between karen, Jane and Prudence meaning no proof by the DNA that there is a common Frazer. However, the evidence of karen matching 3 Frazer descendants from by DNA and having a Fraizer in the same general area of Ireland is good circumstantial evidence.

Back to the X

All of this is interesting, but what does it tell us about the X match? To me, it says that the X match is in the same general area as the autosomal match. That means in the area of Frazers – so this could be from a Frazer or Frazer spouse. We know that the X Match is from the Sharon’s Paternal Side. I also double checked that by running an X ‘one to one’ match with Sharon’s paternally phased kit and got the same X match with karen. Sharon’s maternally phased kit did not match karen.

Here is what my dad’s X inheritance looks like:

Dad's X Inheritance

Here the pink and blue areas are the only areas Sharon could have an X match through my dad who is James Frazer Hartley. Unfortunately, these pink and blue areas go to places where it is difficult to find ancestors. In general, that would be on the maternal sides of lines where historically not as much information is not always available. Some notes from the above X Inheritance chart:

  • Sharon’s X match with karen could not be through our 2nd Great Grandfather George William Frazer.
  • The match could be through George Frazer’s wife who was Margaret McMaster
  • Margaret McMaster had a Frazer grandmother. It is possible that an X match could be through her.
  • The X chromosome does not recombine as much as autosomal DNA. This means a larger intact segment can travel down through the ages. This helps explain the large X match between karen and Sharon.
  • The percentages shown above are theoretical averages. The real amounts could be much larger or much smaller. In our example, Sharon got 25% of her X Chromosome from a part of the chart that shows that the theoretical amount she would’ve gotten would be perhaps 6-12% or less.
  • Also, the X Chromosome that my sisters got from my dad was the same that he got from his mom. It doesn’t even have a chance to recombine.
  • The match could be through the Clarke line as they were in the same general part of Ireland, but I would tend to think that it is more likely that the match would be on the McMaster/Frazer part of the chart.
  • My guess is that the autosomal portion of the match would be in the same general area as the X Chromosome match. Even though the shared ancestors represented by the autosomal match are probably not the same as the shared ancestors represented by the X Chromosome match, it would make sense to me that they would be nearby each other on the chart.



New Frazer Tester: the Saga Continues

We have a new Frazer tester. This is always exciting as it brings new possibilities. The tester is Cathy. She is on the Archibald Frazer line which is mine but on an Archibald branch of that line which is not mine. Here is the Archibald Line.

Archibald Line Chart

There were actually 4 brothers below Archibald, but we’ve only found descendents for 3. I’m under the first 2 brothers due to a cousin marriage. Those under the first 2 brothers all have had Frazer cousin ancestors who married each other except for the purple line. This is for someone who didn’t know he was related but likely is due to triangulation. These first cousin ancestry marriages make figuring out the ancestry a bit tricky. One help is that under the 2nd brother shown above, Richard, we have a triangulation group. This means that Richard’s DNA was passed down to the 4 lines and testers today all match each other.

Now on the right is the Archibald that we are looking at today. Our new tester, Cathy is on the orange line. Ros’ line is to the left of her. Ros and Cathy don’t have ancestors that were Frazer cousins that married as far as we know, which should make things a bit simpler. The light green line is for someone who awaiting his DNA test results.

Here is a close up of the Archibald/Stinson Line. The thing I like about this line is that all of the spouses are identified. The other 2 brothers of Archibald (Philip and Richard) don’t have wives with names which leaves a bit to guesswork.

Archibald Stinson Chart

Just in this Archibald/Stinson Line, we have 5 testers and one planning on testing. 3 of those 5 testers have Frazer ancestors in other lines – those are due to the cousins who married as I mentioned previously. I was hoping to find a triangulation group here, but haven’t so far at the standard levels used at the Gedmatch.com website. However, when I look at Cathy’s results compared to the other testers at Gedmatch, I see this on Chromosome #6:

Chromosome #6

This looks like Bill, Ros and Cathy form the tiniest triangulation group. It is difficult to see the overlap in green above, but in the chart above a very slight overlap is shown. I don’t know if this is a triangulation group or not. I have seen in some definitions that the overlap has to be significant, but I don’t see that mentioned in the ISOGG web site. It would be interesting to run the Tier I Gedmatch Utility for Triangulation to see if Gedmatch thinks this is a triangulation group. This is something that takes up to 45 minutes, so it is a long process. If this is a true triangulation group, it is likely that this would indicate the common ancestors of Archibald Frazer and Ann Stinson.

I did try the Triangulation utility for Cathy at Gedmatch, but this group didn’t show up. It was too small. However, I did try other matches. The first was with my sister at Chromosome #3. She (and I) aren’t even on the Archibald Frazer and Ann Stinson Line.

Heidi CathyR match

It looks like my sister Heidi and Cathy are 5th cousins, once removed going by lines which we have identified. That match is fairly small at 7.2 centimorgans. When I check Cathy’s triangulation report, I find she has a triangulation group at Chromosome 3. In fact, she has a huge one there. On a spreadsheet, it goes from line 296 to line 1289. That is quite a large triangulation group. That doesn’t mean that there are over 900 people in the group as people match multiple people along the way. Once the trees of these people are identified, it may be possible to find out who the common ancestors are for this triangulation group. Recall that a triangulation group means that people in that group should share a common ancestor. These ancestors should either be on the Frazer side or the Parker side. However, as my sister also matches at least some of those people, I would think that the ancestor would be on the Frazer side. It is an important thing is that I checked to see if my sister matched any of the people in the triangulation group. This is because the triangulation group could be on Cathy’s mother’s side (the Frazer side) or her father’s side. By checking if these people match my sister I am making sure this is a Frazer side Triangulation group.

The next match of Cathy’s is her largest. I would think that this should represent Archibald Frazer and Catherine Parker. Here is her match with Jane – one of the testers in our Frazer group.

CathyR Jane Match

This match is on Chromosome 4 and is for 34.8 cMs which is quite large. Let’s check to see if there is a triangulation group here.

Cathy 5 TG

Here, Jane is A974138. She is in a triangulation group with F318689. So Jane or Cathy may want to get in touch with this person to see if s/he knows about his or her ancestry.  I then checked to see if Jane matched F318689. She does, but not large enough to make the Gedmatch cutoff.

So I what I did above was to go from the known to the unknown First I looked at the matches with the people in the Frazer testing group. We know they are all related in some way – either through the Frazer family or through spouses of Frazers. As we all know we have Frazers in our ancestry, the chances are that many of the matches do represent Frazers. I looked at the specific place on the Chromosome where there was a match. I ran a triangulation at Gedmatch to see if anyone else had the same or similar ancestors. In the case of Chromosome #5, I did contact the person (named Jen) and she did have a Frazer in her ancestry, though she didn’t know much about this person. The good news is that we have a person who we didn’t know before who has a Frazer ancestor and who we know must share a common ancestor with the Jane and Cathy from our DNA testing group.

Cathy’s Well Behaved DNA

When I say Cathy’s DNA is well behaved, this is what I mean. At her closest match with her 3rd cousin, Jane, she has her largest DNA match which is 34.8. Here are Cathy’s matches:

cathy matches

I rented a brand new Excel program for this blog and I thought it would sort better than it did. However, this shows my point. For the closer relationships, she larger cM matches (see green highlights). The correlation isn’t perfect, but it is about as close as one might expect for DNA.

What We Learned from Cathy’s DNA

  • Cathy’s DNA is well behaved. When DNA is not well behaved, I have issues. For example, if the relationship is not close but the DNA match is high, or vica versa, it is sometimes difficult to tell if the DNA is just being difficult, or if there is something wrong with the genealogy.
  • Cathy appears to have at least 2 triangulation groups.
  • One triangulation group is very large, but the match levels are smaller. This likely means that the match is more distant. The more distant the match, the more descendants there are which explains the large triangulation group. Either that, or this line had a lot of descendants that tested their DNA.
  • The other triangulation group is small. However, the matches are a bit larger. This could be a more recent group, with fewer descendants, explaining the smaller triangulation group.

Frazer DNA – Celebrity Edition!

In this Blog, I’d like to write about the other Frazer line. I’m in the Archibald line. The other line is the James line. These were 2 Frazer brothers born in Northern Roscommon, Ireland before 1750. Well, we think they were brothers. We’d like to prove that somehow. I had thought that we’d have to prove this by Y (male line only) DNA. I think we can show quite a few matches between the Archibald and James Frazer Lines with autosomal (every ancestor line) DNA.

Below I’ll mention:

  • Celebrities from the James Line
  • James Line DNA and Matches
  • Matches between the James Line DNA and my own Archibald Line

First, A Few James Line People You May Recognize

Does Mia Farrow ring a bell?


Or perhaps her mother Maureen O’Sullivan who starred in Tarzan movies? I used to watch Tarzan movies on TV when I was young. I wonder if the Jane I saw was her. I know there were different versions, but I bet I’ve seen Maureen in a Tarzan movie or two. Well, her mother was a Frazer from the James line.

Maureen O'Sullivan with Father and Frazer mother
Maureen O’Sullivan with Father and Frazer mother

I can imagine this conversation between my teenage father and his mother: “Ma, I’m going to see a Tarzan Movie”. “What, and see that woman Jane with hardly any clothes on?”. “Aw, c’mon ma.” All this with my grandmother not knowing she was related to Maureen O’Sullivan. Here are some photos of Maureen who played Jane from about 1934 to 1942.

Maureen Tarzan

You probably know about Maureen’s daughters. One was Mia Farrow. Before I knew I was related to this branch, I was traveling in the area of my ancestors and saw a sign mentioning that Mia’s family was from the area. So don’t mention Woody Allen, the sign warned. Then Mia has a younger sister named Prudence. The two Farrow sisters visited the Maharishi with the Beatles. The Beatles wrote Prudence into one of their songs, “Dear Prudence”. Here’s Prudence (lower left in the photo).


How closely am I related? If I have it right, I’m a 6th cousin twice removed to the Farrow sisters. Is that far? I’m nine generations away from a common ancestor. The Farrow sisters are only 7 generations away – that gets to how I’m twice removed. But I’m not from the James Line. [Actually I have 3 Frazer ancestors. Two are probably from the Archibald line and one may be from the James line. So I may be more closely related.] Other of my fellow testers who can show they descend from the James Line by their paper trails would be as close to the Farrow sisters as 4th cousins.

James Line DNA

Here is what a portion of the James line looks like starting with James himself from the early 1700’s at the top. I have the bottom generations cut off.

James Line Chart

On the left is the Minnie Frazer Line (#1). There are 3 DNA testers there (CJK, KK and MHB in the spreadsheet below). Next is the Edward Fitzgerald Line (#2). 3 testers here, all siblings (Joanna, Janet and Jonathan). The 3rd Line is the O’Sullivan (Famous) Line (#3). One tester (PB). On the far right is the Michael Line (#4). There is one lonely tester out there (JFS). I like these tester’s DNA for the same reason I liked Ros’ on my line. They don’t appear to have multiple Frazer ancestors like most on my line do.

We would expect that if Line #1 matches Line #2, then the most likely common ancestors would be Archibald of 1792 (or spouse). If line #1 or #2 match with Line #3, the common ancestors would be Archibald Frazer and Catherine Peyton. If Line #4 matches with any of the other lines, the common ancestors should be at the top with James Frazer (and unknown spouse). That means that the 3 boxes above representing most likely common ancestors of our James Line matches would represent 6 people (2 per box)

Now for the James Line DNA – Drum roll, please.

James Line DNA

Actually, it’s not all that exciting. The matches in pink are iffy according to Gedmatch. I color the matches above 15 cM in green, because those are pretty strong matches. Our famous O’Sullivan Line tester has one large match with CJK on the Minnie Frazer Line. Then 2 medium matches with sisters Joanna and Janet on the Edward Fitzgerald Line. They all appear to be 4th cousins which makes sense and have as a common ancestor Archibald b. about 1792 (and his wife whom we know nothing of). Notice there is no triangulation as the matches are on different chromosomes (#6 and #12).

Then of note are 2 large matches in green between brother and sister Jonathan and Janet and JFS who was out on the lonely Michael Line. The DNA has given us a bit of a backwards trick. The DNA match is high at the 5th cousin level for Jonathan and Janet. You would think it would be low there. But at the 3rd cousin level where we would expect a large match, there is only a small one. Joanna, the other sister matches 3rd cousin CJK on the Minnie Frazer Line at only 7.9 cM, not much above the Gedmatch cutoff level of 7.0 cM. However, all these families match as expected, but not at the levels expected perhaps.

I used a Gedmatch utility to look at the number of matches between the James Line testers. This is what I got.

3D James Line

The large numbers in the middle are due to mother, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin, brother and sister relationships. I ignored these when I added the segment matches on the side and bottom. This takes out the actual cM numbers which can be confusing. What this tells me is that everybody matches everyone else in the James Line which is what we would suspect and bolsters our paper trail research. Also notice that the celebrity line (PB) has one match for everybody (on the top row above). This is what the above Gedmatch chart looks like with Total Shared cM’s:

James Line Shared Segments

For this utility, Gedmatch uses a lower cM value of 5. Note that here, MHB doesn’t show any shared cM’s with the O’Sullivan Line. I’m not sure why when she shows a shared segment above. However, not to worry. She is the cousin of KK and the niece of CJK. That means that MHB should be related also.

How the James Line DNA Matches the Archibald Line DNA

When the Frazer cousins first started DNA testing, it was a bit discouraging as no one was matching at good levels as expected. However, after more people tested, I was surprised at the number and level of matches we had. There were also matches between the James Line and the Archibald line – the one I’m in. So apparently there is no need to have the Y test done on a male from each line to prove the lines are related.

Archibald James Line Matches

Here we see my family (Hartleys), Bill, and MFA from the Archibald Line matching Joanna’s family, the O’Sullivan Line and CJK from the James Line. Missing are Jane (who had large matches within the Archibald line) and Ros who didn’t have cousin marrying ancestors from the Archibald Line. Missing from the James line is mostly JFS if I take CJK to be representative of MGB and KK from the Minnie Frazer Line. However, her match is small and therefore suspect. Then my sister matches on the X Chromosome to CJK. The X matches follow interesting patterns. So that means my sister’s interesting pattern has to match CJK’s interesting pattern. My sister’s X inheritance includes a Frazer way back who married into my McMaster ancestors. This Frazer could have been in the James Line. That may eliminate my sister’s match as going back as far as Widow Mary the Cottier and joining the 2 lines. Mary is the supposed mother of the Archibald and James Lines. Here is the Census that shows all 3 Frazer families in 1749.

Elphin Census

Any Flies in the Ointment?

Sure, plenty. Let’s look at our chart again.

James Line Chart

In this chart we are focusing on Frazers. However, the DNA doesn’t know that. Can we assume that because the testers are all Frazers, then the matches must represent Frazers? No. To do this right, we would have to flesh out the ancestors for each of the DNA matchers. We have that Bill and Joanna match. From our charts, it looks like the match could be with Mary the Cottier, the mother of James. But that may not be the case. Let’s look at Archibald b. 1792 who is on Joanna’s line. He had a wife. She had 2 parents in the above generation; 4 grandparents in the James Frazer generation and 8 grandparents in Mary the Cottier’s generation. That adds up to 15 people we don’t know about. If we had started the exercise in a later generation, there would be many more ancestors. On Bill’s side there would be the same amount of unknown people. Plus, Bill appears to have 3 Frazers in his ancestry which would make for a potential 3 times the unknowns.

10 Generations of Frazer DNA: Combining the Two Lines

Here is the master chart of the Archibald and James Lines combined.  This represents 10 generations but shows 6. I took off 2 to 4 generations on the bottom. Mary is at the top. Archibald and James are her 2 likely sons. This is actually a simplified chart, showing only the lines where we have DNA testers. The goal is to make sure our genealogy is correct and to show the 2 Lines really are connected as we suppose.

Archibald James Combined Chart



  • The Frazers have some interesting relatives – especially in the James Line
  • Triangulation is the gold standard and shows common ancestors. The James Line hasn’t shown a triangulation yet. This may be because there are 4 lines and 4 testing families. However, as everyone matches everyone else by DNA that is good evidence to me that these people are in the same Frazer family.  However, there is still a chance that some of these matches may be non-Frazer matches. It would take a lot of work to figure all that out.
  • Does the DNA testing show that the very early Archibald and James Frazer were brothers? Definitely not. It may show they are related, but that is not even clear. DNA matches between the 2 lines seems more likely to show inter-relationships between the 2 lines at some later date than Mary the Cottier. There is a good chance that in my own family, I have a James line ancestor who was born probably 2 generations after James.
  • Let’s keep open the option of Y DNA testing. That is the surest way to link the Archibald and James lines.
  • I seem to be developing a knack for proving myself wrong

How I Added 2 Frazer Lines by DNA

Well, it looks like I’ve given away the blog in the title. I think I can add 2 more Frazer lines using DNA. Not just by DNA, but DNA helped greatly.

In my first 2 blogs I mentioned how I triangulated two Irish Frazer groups. These 2 triangulation groups I assumed, based on the people involved, had as their common ancestors Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly. That couple would be the parents of the 4 brothers shown below: John, Philip, Richard and Archibald.

Early Frazer Research
Early Frazer Research


In this blog I will disprove my previous blogs and show that those common ancestors of Frazer/Lilly were probably off by a generation. What an idiot I was in my earlier blogs. Actually, as more DNA testing information came in from my generous Frazer relatives, the smarter I look now!

In my 4th blog, I mentioned endogamy and how many couples below the 4 brothers married 1st cousins with Frazer surnames. However, some of the triangulation matches were huge numbers considering the age of Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly. This couple lived in the late 1700’s but I had a match in one case that was over 50 cM

Chromosome 1

When I compare the DNA of MFA (Michael) and Jane at Gedmatch, they look like this:

Jane Michael Gedmatch

That shows that Gedmatch thinks that Jane and Michael are 4 generations to  common ancestors. That’s not far. We are 1 generation from our parents, 2 to our grand parents, and 4 to our great great grandparents.

Archibald Chart

I know, the chart is small. You will have to click on it to make it bigger. Jane is on the green line. 4 generations only takes her up to the white box that has Archibald c. 1802=Catherine Parker. That is 2 generations closer than the top box where I previously thought her common ancestors were. In my Blog #4, I supposed that this discrepancy was due to endogamy. Ann Turner, who knows a lot more than I, saw my blog and commented that she thought endogamy should give you more matches, not necessarily higher matches. OK, I’m willing to be wrong if I can learn by it. I did check and the endogamous Frazers did have twice the matches as the non-endogamous ones (on another line). But I needed some common ancestors for Jane, Bill, Michael, my sister Heidi and me that weren’t so far away.

Ros to the Rescue

To tell you the end first, what I did was move Jane to the 3rd brother Richard Frazer on the second row above. Well, I didn’t move all of her, just half. What? And what does Ros have to do with it? Well Ros tested very recently. She is from Australia and her line is represented by the purple box. What I like about Ros’ DNA is that it appears that she doesn’t  have 1st cousins who married each other in her Frazer ancestry. So her results are, let’s say, more specific. She matches Ros, but only through Archibald Frazer (the brother on the far right of the second row) and Catherine Parker. Now these 2 are the parents of Richard Paton Parker Lilly Frazer (Jane’s ancestor). However, Richard blah blah blah Frazer (Jane’s ancestor) had a wife named Jane Frazer. Her descendent (also Jane) has had a difficult time figuring out where Jane Frazer fits in. This Jane Frazer certainly isn’t a sister of her husband Richard blah blah, so she must descend from somewhere else. I put this Jane Frazer goes under Richard who is brother #3 in the chart. How and why did I decide to do that?

Aunt Mabel and Triangulation

Aunt Mabel didn’t know much about DNA if anything. Our cousin Doug from England had an Aunt Mabel (family legend says) who scoured the Irish countryside for Frazer family history in order to get her brother a coat of arms around the year 1950. We think her information before about 1700 was pretty dicey, but after that, it seems pretty good and much better than what we can figure out from Irish records (or rather the lack thereof). She was likely the one responsible for the handwritten genealogy, part of which is at the top of this blog. She mentions an Archibald who was the son of Richard (brother #3). I have no other information on this Archibald and Jane Frazer had a father named Archibald. The dates also fit in well for Jane Frazer to be Archibald’s daughter and Richard’s granddaughter.

I’ve already mentioned the triangulation (above). Jane triangulates with 3 other people who are descended from Richard. DNA-wise, it would make sense if Jane through her ancestor Jane Frazer were also in that group of Richard-descendents. With large cMs, you want the triangulation group to be as recent as possible. It’s still off by a generation according to Gedmatch, but I don’t think that’s too unusual. Here is the revised Richard Line with Jane’s ancestor Jane Frazer added.

Jane in the Richard Line
Jane in the Richard Line


The Second Frazer Add to the Line of Richard

The second add to the line of Richard is David from Canada. Early on, before I talked Bill into testing and then the other Frazers, there was David. I noticed at FTDNA, he had a Frazer ancestor from Ireland. That was interesting. The earliest ancestor he could trace was a James Frazer who had a son in Enniskillen, Ireland. That son changed the spelling to Fraser and moved to Canada. My Frazer ancestors lived to the North of the Loch (Lake) above Boyle in the bottom left of the map below. It is about 40 miles from there to Enniskillen at the top right of the map.

Boyle to Enniskillen Map
Boyle to Enniskillen

So my 4 reasons for adding David to the line of Richard are the same for adding Jane; namely:

  • The genealogy done by David (and Jane’s research in her case)
  • My own genealogy research
  • DNA Triangulation
  • My secret weapon: Aunt Mabel

I wish I had a photo of Aunt Mabel. She was a classy looking lady. There was a picture of her on Doug from England’s web site, but that site is down as far as I can tell. Anyway, Aunt Mabel’s chart showed a James as a son of Richard. We have no other information on this James. Can we say this James took off to Enniskillen from North Roscommon and that his son moved to Canada? I say the evidence supports that theory.

Here is David (shown as DF) and how he triangulates.

Doug Triangulation

Well look at that. Have you ever seen a more perfect triangulation? Well perhaps you have, but it’s still pretty good. And unlike the Chromosome #1 triangulation above, it includes Doug. Note that everyone matches with everyone else. That’s what triangulation is, and it means these people have a common ancestor or ancestral couple. I didn’t include the matches between me (JH) and my sister Heidi (HHM) as that is too obvious. I hope that David doesn’t mind me plopping his family into mine.

So What Have I Learned From All This?

  • If you blog, you may get an expert opinion that is helpful
  • It helps to have an Aunt Mabel doing research in the past when people remembered who was related to whom
  • The relationships for Endogamous families are tricky to figure out; but the DNA helps sort out some of the problems solved my the first cousins who married in the early 1800’s
  • The more relatives that test their DNA, the less I look like an idiot

Higamus, Hogamous: Frazers Engogamous

I have written previously about the Frazers from Ireland and those who have tested their DNA who are descended from those ancestors. In 1749 this Northern County Roscommon Frazer family looked like this:

Elphin Census

If you click to make this larger, you will see the 2 Frazer lines which our testers are descended from (Archibald and James). As an added bonus, you see their likely mother, a widow Mary.  So far, I’ve written about the Archibald line. This blog will be more on that line.

Recently, Michael’s autosomal DNA test results have come in from England. I would have thought that his results would clear everything up. Well, they did enforce previous conclusions, but have also created some more questions. As I tried to map out the relationships for the various testers, I think I see the reason why. There were a lot of Frazers cousins who married each other back in the day.  There was a famous poem I’d like to modify to: Higamus, Hogamous, Frazers endogamous. What is endgamous? These are groups of people who married relatives due to several reasons. Some examples are the Ashkenazi Jews, the Amish, Colonial Americans and others. The Frazers as a protestant minority had few marriage choices in their area of Ireland if they wanted to marry other protestants. Some Frazers did get around this by marrying Roman Catholics (called Papists in the 1749 Survey).

This is what my Archibald line looks like. For simplicity, I’ve left out a few lines.

Archibald Chart

The relationships on the above chart range from 3rd cousin, once removed to 6th cousins. I’ve lopped off 3 or 4 of the more recent generations for privacy. My line is blue, but the way I have it, James Frazer married Violet Frazer. They are first cousins, so I could’ve had 2 sets of blue boxes. I have Bill from Canada in the same group on the left in yellow as being descended from James and Violet Frazer. He also is descended from another cousin, Ann Frazer born about 1807, shown on the right in yellow. This means our best guess at his genealogy has him with 3 Frazer ancestors. Jane from Colorado is in the green line but has an extra Frazer/Fraser ancestor also named Jane born 1846. We can’t quite place this extra Jane, but my guess is that she is descended from the John on the far left. We are still waiting for the DNA from Ros from Australia. Her line is in purple above and seems to be the only one so far who doesn’t have multiple Frazer ancestors.

Here is what the DNA tester’s Chromosome 1 results look like in a spreadsheet:

Chromosome 1

These 4 people form a super Triangulation Group. I mentioned in a previous blog where 3 or more match each other they form a Triangulation Group. This triangulation will represent a common ancestor or likely a common ancestral couple. In this case that couple is at the top of the chart above. That is the place where all these people merge. The couple is Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilley (or Lilly, I can never remember which). The numbers in green are pretty huge. I wonder if other families have such a large match representing a couple that far back (mid 1700’s). HHM is my sister Heidi. This same Chromosome 1 DNA didn’t make it to me. Also Bill got less of this extra dose of DNA.

Sorry, More Numbers

Other Archibald LIne Chromosomes

Above are where the Archibald Line DNA testers match each other on other Chromosomes. Chromosome #12 in purple is the other Triangulation Group. Notice that Michael (MFA) didn’t make it to this group. He should have, but that DNA dropped out like mine did for Chromosome #1. The other Chromosome matches don’t have Triangulation groups, so these are less certain as to predicting common ancestors. I tried to guess what these matches may represent as far as common ancestors on the right side of the spreadsheet above.

What Did I Learn and What Are My Further Questions?

  • I need to read up more on endogamy and how that effects DNA
  • The Archibald Line has 2 Triangulation Groups so far that represent a couple from the mid 1700’s. There are no Triangulation Groups from more recent Frazer ancestral couples. This is likely because we have more descendants from the earlier couple to triangulate on than on the more recent couples.
  • Usually matches representing more recent ancestors should have higher cM numbers. Here the older ones are higher. Is this due to endogamy?
  • The other line (James Line) testers don’t have the same high number matches but also don’t have any Triangulation Groups yet. I assume this is due to a lack of intermarrying.

More will be revealed and I plan to write more blogs as more DNA testing results come in.

How I Lazarus’ed My Dad

According to the Gospels, Lazarus was a man who died and Jesus raised him from the dead.


Lazarus is also a program on Gedmatch to recreate the DNA of those who are no longer with us. You won’t see this unless you kick in $10 for the Tier 1 Utilities. The Link says, “Lazarus, Create surrogate kits to create close ancestors.”

How I did it: first I practiced on my wife’s family.

Fortunately, my wife’s dad has 2 first cousins and one second cousin on his mother’s side who have had their DNA tested. This came in handy. So I went about to create my father in law’s mom, Estelle LeFevre. Lazarus takes Group 1 people who are descendants of the target person to be Lazarus’ed, Estelle. In my case, the descendant was my father in law. I had him tested a while back at FTDNA. Then the program takes relatives who are not descended from Estelle. In this case, Pat and Joe who were the 1st cousins and Fred the 2nd cousin of my father in law. Those three are Group 2. Lazarus takes Group 1 and Group 2 and mushes them together to recreate Estelle. Actually only a part of Estelle is recreated. That is the part of Estelle that was mushed together from Group 1 and Group 2. If I had all of Estelle’s children and all of her relatives, I would’ve had a much more complete result. The trick is to get a Lazarus result that is over 1500 cMs. Then you can use some of the other utilities at Gedmatch with that kit such as the One to Many. It’s OK to create a Lazarus kit with less than 1500 cMs but it’s not as useful. Well, Estelle came out at about 1700 cMs, so that was good news. Buoyed with these results, I thought it would be a good idea to try to recreate my dad’s DNA.

A Slight Detour

I followed the Gedmatch directions. I took two Group 1 people. That was me and my sister. Then I took for Group 2, the only relative of my father that I had tested, his 1st cousin. I ran the program and came up with only about 700 cMs. Very disappointing. Then, as I’ve been working on my father’s mother line, the Frazers, I thought, ‘my father’s cousin isn’t related to the Frazers. He’s only related to my Hartley side’. Duh. What I had created was a Lazarus of my father’s dad, my Grandfather.

My Dad and His Dad
My Dad and His Dad

Sometimes I don’t mind making mistakes. Especially when they lead to the right answer.

How I did it the right way

Well, how was I to get up to 1500 cMs, when all I had was 700 cMs from my grandfather’s side? I only had 2 people for Group 1. I’m too cheap to have other siblings test. I noticed that Gedmatch had room for 100 people. Hmm, where to get 100 people? From working with my distant Frazer relatives, I knew I had their results, but this wouldn’t get me the numbers I needed. So I decided to use the phased matches of my sister and I. What is phasing, you may ask? Phasing is another utility that Gedmatch has. If you know the results of one parent, Gedmatch will subtract those out from your whole results and create 2 kits. One is a maternally phased kit of matches on your mom’s side. The other is a phased paternal kit of your matches on your dad’s side. Fortunately my mom is still alive at 93 and I had her tested. Based on her testing, I had already created phased maternal and paternal kits for myself and my sister. Now all the gedmatch matches are marked either P for Paternal or M for Maternal on a spreadsheet that I keep. I have one spreadsheet for myself and one for my sister. So I took a bunch of the top paternally phased matches from my matches and my sisters matches. I put in 100 of those top matches into the Gedmatch Lazarus Utility under Group 2. I ran the Lazarus program and got just over 1500 cMs for my dad.

Is This the Best Way to Create a Lazarus Kit?

I don’t know. It was certainly much more difficult than when I Lazarus’ed my father in law’s mom. For her, I only used 4 people and got better results. However, if you are cheap like me, or aren’t, but just don’t have the people to test, you might want to try this method and see if it works for you.

Joel Hartley

The DNA of Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly

The Recap

This blog follows up on my first blog about the autosomal DNA of the Frazers of Ireland. In that blog, I established that there were 2 Triangulation groups of Irish Frazer descendants. These matching groups were at Chromosome 1 and 12 and they represented the common ancestors of Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly. Now, from what I’ve been able to gather, Archibald was born about 1743. My sister Heidi and Jane Fraser share a whopping 43.7 cM of DNA on Chromosome 1 from one of this 18th century couple who lived in Northern County Roscommon. That is a lot of DNA to come down through all that time.

Next I looked at Chromosome 12 Triangulation Group. Below is my sister’s chromosome browser. I put myself in for fun. It shows the large match I have with her. Below me is David who has an Irish Frazer ancestor named James that we showed must have a common ancestor with the rest of us due to Triangulation. Below him are Jane Fraser and Bill Richards.Frazer Chr12

What Did We Learn?

We learned that the 2 triangulation groups lead us to 2 different ancestors. We don’t know that they are Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly for sure, but as they are the 2 closest common ancestors for this group, they are a good guess. The triangulation can’t tell us who the ancestors are. The paper research can, but we aren’t always sure we got the right information with missing vital records going back that far. Together, we have a good case that we are on the right track. And we have learned that Heidi and Jane are carrying around a lot of DNA around from 18th century Ireland people!

By the way, my genealogy web pages are at the link below. See under PART II: THE FRAZERS AND IRISH ANCESTORS; then look under the Archibald Line for Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilly:


We also learned that there are matches to these Triangulation Groups that don’t know that they are related to the Groups, but the DNA is showing that they are related in some way and share a common ancestor or ancestral pair. This should help others if they are looking for places to direct their family history research.

A Few Side Notes

You may have noticed that I didn’t inherit the Frazer DNA on Chromosome 1. Where did it go? I don’t know. That DNA lasted 200 years and then decided to drop out while my parents’ DNA was combining to form me. My father had that same DNA and gave it to my sister. That is a good reason why it helps to have more than one person in the family tested for DNA.

Other side note: See the red line above that represents my match with my sister. Does this mean that all the people I match from the beginning of the red line to the end are Frazer matches? Or are my Frazer matches only in the region at the right side of Chromosome 12 where the green is? I think that the entire red area are Frazer matches. I don’t mean that they all match Archibald and Mary. I mean that they should all match my Frazer Grandmother. I should have inherited roughly 25% of my DNA from her. In order to check this, I looked at a match I have with my father’s non-Frazer cousin – related on my Hartley side.

Gurney Chr 1-12

Well, look at that. Chromosome 12 shows no Hartley DNA in common with my father’s cousin and me. That leaves room for Frazer DNA. Also note that my match with my sister in red above was all one large segment. I will have to test it out, but it appears that all the matches I have that are on my father’s side where I also match my sister on Chromosome 12 should be related to my Frazer grandmother and her ancestors.

Well I think this blog has taught me something. I hope that it has been helpful to you.

Joel Hartley


Frazers in Ireland Autosomal DNA

Research for the family history of the Frazers in Ireland has been going on for at least 60 years. Recently DNA testing has been used to supplement that paper research. Documented Frazers in my line brings us back to 1749 where 3 Frazers were living in the northern part of County Roscommon in Aghrafinigan.

Down Survey Map Roscommon - Late 1650's
Down Survey Map Roscommon – Late 1650’s

The 3 Frazers were heads of households and their names were Archibald, James and the widow Mary. In the map above, the Townland is called Agharafinigan. In the Census of 1749, the Townland is called Ahrefinican.

My goals in using autosomal DNA are the following:

  1. Verify whether the 2 Frazer lines of Archibald and James are related
  2. Verify the existing paper genealogy
  3. Find new Irish Frazer relatives and confirm existing ones

I had originally thought that goal number 1 would require the use of YDNA testing which tests only the male line. I believe that the autosomal testing has already answered that question.

Goal #2 involves the analysis of the autosomal DNA using a process called triangulation. If there are 3 people who have tested who are not closely related and they all match each other on the same segment of a Chromosome, then they would have a common ancestor or ancestral couple. Here is an example of triangulation shown on a spreadsheet on Chromosome 1.

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs Match
1 205,319,654 237,417,351 43.7 8,565 HHM/Jane
1 222,994,591 230,852,310 8.4 2165 HHM/BR
1 223,053,736 230,852,310 8.4 2,140 BR/Jane

Here is what the Chromosome 1 match looks like from my sisters perspective as per gedmatch.com:

Frazer Chr1

On the right in yellow is my sister’s match to Jane and the blue on the right is her match to BR who is Bill Richards.

This represents 3 people who match each other on Chromosome #1. These 3 people all have traced their ancestry through the Archibald line. From what we can tell, they all have as a common couple:

Archibald Frazer b. about 1743 and

Mary Lilley

Now the interesting thing is that this couple is 7 generations away from my sister Heidi. However, based on the size of the match she has with Jane Fraser, gematch.com interprets her common ancestors as being about 4 generations away. This could be because my sister and I have 3 different Frazers in our lineage. This would make the relationship seem closer than it really is.  Also I don’t know for sure if this match represents Archibald Frazer or Mary Lilley.

Another Triangulation Group

There is a similar Triangulation Group found in Chromosome 12. I sometimes find these Triangulation Groups in pairs. This makes sense as each one could represent one of the analogous ancestral couple. I expect this match represents the half of the couple that wasn’t represented in Chromosome 1, namely Archibald Frazer or Mary Lilley.  It looks a lot like the Chromosome 1 Group except it has a few more people in it.  It has as before, my sister Heidi, Jane Fraser and Bill Richards. In addition there is myself, an Irish Frazer descendant from Canada and at least 2 other people who likely don’t know they are related. I had contacted the Irish Frazer descendant from Canada early on. He has an ancestor named James Frazer who gave birth to a John Fraser in Enniskillen in County Fermanagh in 1832. So who is this James Frazer of Enniskillen?


Above is a representation of research that was done over 60 years ago. These are the sons of the the Archibald Frazer and Mary Lilley. Under Richard, there is a James with no other information. He would be a candidate for this James of Enniskillen.

Well I’m tired of writing. There is much more that can be addressed in future blogs. This represents 4 known Frazer descendants from the Archibald line that have tested. Plus one person who is unsure that he is from this line – although DNA shows he is related in some way. There are many others who have tested who are also from the James line and others who have had their DNA tested who may not know they are even related.

Joel Hartley