Another Dicks in the Mix

So far, we have 10 people that have genealogies descending from Christopher Dicks b. 1784. They all triangulate in one way or another which is a good indication that their genealogies are correct and that their common ancestors are Christopher Dicks and his wife Margaret. That has gone so well, why not get a little wild and try something more difficult?

Henry or Harold Dicks born around 1774

As I was traipsing around the internet, I came upon another Dicks who was born around the time of Christopher Dicks. His name was entered in genealogies as a Henry and/or Harold Dicks b. around 1774. I took some of these genealogies of people that had tested their DNA and mushed them together and got the 4 lines on the left below:

Henry Dicks Chart

In my chart, I assumed that Henry was Christopher’s older brother and that they both had a father named Christopher. The names in pink I thought might be worth looking into as they looked so similar. There are 4 lines of people that have tested their DNA descending from this Henry Dicks line. One of them appears to be on Gedmatch, though I have not had further contact with this person. Her name is Crystal and she descends from the 2nd Crewe Line above.

Further, I have been in touch with Eric who believes that he descends from this line, but is not sure how. His ancestors were from Lamaline.


Eric said that Henry Dicks moved his family to Burgeo in 1820. I noticed a lot of the Henry Dicks descendants mentioned Burgeo in their ancestry.


Dicks DNA Goals for This Blog

In this blog I’ll try to answer the following questions:

  • Does Eric’s DNA show that he descends from the Dicks family?
  • Does DNA show that Harold and Christopher Dicks were brothers?
eric and crystal

First, I’ll compare Crystal to Eric at Gedmath. Crystal is the one who I think also has a tree on Ancestry showing descent from Henry Dicks. Eric thinks he likely descends from the same person. Here is how Crystal and Eric’s DNA compare:

Eric Crystal Gedmatch

They have a small match out at almost 8 generations which is a long way out.

Crystal and the Christopher Dicks descendants

Next, I’ll compare Crystal to all the people that descend from Christopher Dicks at Gedmatch. These are the people that I have already compared in the Dicks DNA Project. Here is where Crystal matches those people:

Crystal Matches

She has single matches with Molly, Wallace and Kenneth. Perhaps more importantly, she matches both Esther and Joan, forming a Triangulation Group. Here is a diagram of her matches.

Crystal TG on Chart

The single matches are shown as circles without lines. Marilyn had 2 chances of matches as she descends from 2 Dicks Lines. I have her 2 possible matches to Crystal in light purple. The Triangulation Group on Chromosome 5 indicates a common ancestor which appears to be the father of Henry and Christopher Dicks. Out of the 10 Christopher Dicks descendants with DNA results, Crystal matches half. The relationships are pretty far out. They range from 4th cousin, 3 times removed to 6th cousin, once removed.

More on Crystal’s tg

Even though Crystal does not descend from Christopher Dicks, her TG seems to tell us something about 2 Christopher Dicks descendants: Molly and Kenneth.

TG5 Crystal

Notice that Molly and Kenneth match each other in the area of Crystal’s TG 5 [at position 76 to 122]. But they aren’t part of TG 5 which indicates a Dicks ancestor. That means that the DNA Molly and Kenneth share is likely from their  common ancestor James Joyce and not his wife Rachel Dicks b. 1817. Conversely, if Molly and Kenneth were in TG 5 that would mean that the DNA that they shared would be Dicks DNA through Rachel Dicks.

eric and the Christopher Dicks descendants

Now to get to Eric’s question. Let’s see how he compares to known Dicks descendants and Crystal. I’ll compare everyone to everyone else that I’ve compared so far. This is analogous to ordering an everything pizza.

Eric cf to all

Again, there are singleton matches with Molly and Esther on Chromosomes 1, 4 and 18. In addition, there are multiple matches at Chromosomes 1 and 4 which could indicate Triangulation Groups. Those are the pots of gold that we are looking for.

eric’s TG 1with joan and esther

Eric TG1

Here the part in gold is the TG. The other matches of Sandra, Nelson, Wallace, Judy and Molly likely represent non-Dicks Line ancestors.

Is there a tg 4?

It would seem like a TG at Chromosome 4 would tie everything together between Eric and Crystal.

Chr 4 Eric

Unfortunately, to have a TG here, Crystal and Sandra would have to match each other and they don’t. However,  this looks close to a TG.

What Did I Just Do? Did I Prove What I Set Out To?

  • Does Eric’s DNA show that he descends from the Dicks family? PROBABLY
  • Does DNA show that Henry and Christopher Dicks were brothers? MORE PROBABLY

Let’s look at Eric. From what I understand, he believes that he may descend from Henry Dicks, due to Henry’s living in Lamaline prior to 1820. This is tied to the fact that Eric’s family was also from Lamaline at the same period. Eric is in a TG with my mother in law Joan and her 1/2 Aunt Esther. Eric also matches others from the Dicks DNA project. In addition, he matches Crystal who has posted that she descends from Henry Dicks. Perhaps I should have rated this “MORE PROBABLY”. The other option is that all the matches are from other unknown relatives, or a mixture of unknown relatives.

I feel like Henry and Christopher Dicks were brothers. We have triangulation with Crystal who descends from Henry Dicks. Again, there is a possibility that the triangulation is with an unknown ancestor. However, I would like to think that the triangulation is with the known Dicks family. I would like to see others that have tested their DNA with paper trails leading to Henry Dicks upload to Gedmatch. That would give me more confidence in proving the connection with the 2 brothers.






DNA from the Dicks/Burton Line of Newfoundland

Dicks DNA Project Background

The purpose of the Dicks DNA Project, so far, has been to find descendants of the Dicks Family of Newfoundland that have tested for DNA and uploaded their results to Gedmatch. These results have been compared to confirm the genealogical research that has been done by the different Dicks families. So far those in the Study Group are:

  • Esther – my wife’s great Aunt from the Christopher Dicks Line b. 1812. She also descends from another Dicks Line but the lineage isn’t known for that line.
  • Joan – my mother in law – same line. [I didn’t include my wife as she got all of her Dicks DNA from her mom.
  • Sandra – from the Elizabeth Dicks/Adams Line. Elizabeth was b. 1809
  • Nelson – Sandra’s Uncle
  • Judy – from the Rachel Dicks/Joyce Line. Rachel was b. 1817
  • Wallace – Judy’s Uncle
  • Kenneth – Wallace’s 2nd cousin also from the Dicks/Joyce Line
  • Marilyn – She descends from the Dicks/Joyce Line and the Robert Dicks/Cran Line. Robert was b. 1824.
  • Forrest – She also descends from the Robert Dicks/Cran Line

All these lines mentioned above are children of Christopher Dicks who married Margaret and was b. about 1784.

The Dicks/Burton Line

To add to the above 9 Dicks descendants that come from  these 4 Lines, we have another descendant named Denise whose ancestor is Frances Dicks b. 1811. Frances married Charles Burton. To complicate things, my wife’s great Aunt Esther descends from a Burton and my mother in law does not. But I may be able to sort all that out. I can almost squeeze everyone in below. I left out the Robert Dicks/Cran Line on the right of the chart.

Dicks Burton Chart

Denise is a bit lower on the totem pole, so her DNA matches with the others may be a bit weaker. However, note that she has an extra Dicks named David that married into the Burton line. I’m not sure what Dicks family David descended from. Kirsten who is also on the Dicks/Burton Line is not yet in the project.

Let’s Compare Everyone’s DNA

Next I take everyone’s DNA and compare it with each other. The goal is to find Triangulation Groups (TGs). These are where 3 people match each other on the same part of the same Chromosome. A TG indicates a common ancestor. Usually, in this case, the common ancestor should be Christopher Dicks b. 1784 and his wife Margaret.

chromosome 2 triangulation group (TG)

Denise fits into an existing TG with Sandra, Joan and Nelson here:

TG 2 with Denise

For whatever reason, a lot of the Dicks DNA came down on Chromosome 2. Denise and Sandra share much more DNA than average considering they are 4th cousins twice removed. Here is what Denise’s TG looks like on the left hand side of the Dicks family Chart:

Denise TG2

This is a great TG as it includes 3 different Dicks Lines: Elizabeth, Frances, and Christopher Dicks Lines.

a new brain teaser from an older tg

In a previous Blog, I had mentioned that there were 2 TGs in this area. The first had Joan, Sandra and Nelson. The second had Molly, Sandra and Nelson.


But in the TG with Denise above, her match with Nelson and Sandra are in the area where she should be matching with Molly (173-218). So why doesn’t she match with Molly here at 201-209?

The answer found in changing the gedmatch defaults

Usually it is not a good idea to change the defaults at Gedmatch. There are some situations where it is necessary. This is one of those situations. I lowered the thresholds at Gematch, because it didn’t make sense that Molly and Denise were not matching in this specific area of Chromosome 2. I lowered the cMs from 7 to 5 and the SNPs from 700 to 500 and here is what I found – they did match from 201 to 208:

Molly and Denise

This means that we can look at this as either one TG or two. I’ll look at it as one as that makes more sense to me right now. Joan and Molly didn’t inherit enough Dicks DNA to match each other. Joan matched at the beginning of the TG and Molly matched at the higher locations on Chromosome 2 TG. Now to draw this out:

TG2 Rev

Here I gave Joan and Marilyn lighter shades as they are on opposite ends of this larger TG. Sandra, Nelson and Denise have darker orange showing they are in the whole TG. I also have question marks on Marilyn’s lines as she is descended from 2 Dicks lines and we know that she got her Dicks DNA from one of the lines, but we don’t know which. There is an equal chance of her DNA being inherited from the Rachel or Robert Line.

Possible Burton Match

I had mentioned that Esther and Denise share Burton ancestors. I notice also that Esther and Denise have a match on Chromosome 5:

Possible Burton Chr 5

This is likely to be from the Burton family – or at least not the Dicks family – as I don’t see any of the other Dicks descendants matching in this area of Chromosome 5. In addition, even though Joan is a niece of Esther, she is a half niece and not descended from the Burton Family. I note that she also does not match Denise on Chromosome 5.

The X Factor: Dicks or Burton?

Here is a shot of Esther’s DNA match spreadsheet:

X Match Denise

It shows that Esther has a good match with Denise on the X Chromosome. On Denise’s side this could be from the Dicks Line. The X Chromosome does not travel from father to son. Denise is descended from Christopher Dicks and in that descent, the lineage alternates between male and female. However, Esther, descends from two Christopher Dicks. This means that the X chromosome that they share could not be shared with Christopher Dicks as no X Chromosome was transferred from father to son. This leaves a good chance that the X Chromosome match could also represent the Burton line. Esther’s mother’s father’s mother was a Burton. This is the likely way that Esther got the X Chromosome that matches with Denise.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Denise is a great addition to the Dicks DNA Study Group and has fit into a TG like all the others in the Project even though she is further down on the Dicks Family Tree
  • Denise’s Chromosome 2 TG results added some confusion until I lowered the Gedmatch thresholds. Then it was clear that Denise matched Molly as she should have.
  • There are two areas that could have caused problems: 1) two Dicks Lines for Marilyn and; 2) Denise and Esther likely having ancestry in the Dicks and Burton Lines. However, these issues did not cause a problem here.
  • It is likely that the single match on Chromosome 5 that Denise and Esther share apart from the other Dicks descendants is likely from the Burton family.
  • X Chromosome matches give good clues to family inter-contentedness as they are only inherited in specific ways.


One More Dicks Descendant; One More Triangulation Group

Recently Marilyn from the Dicks DNA Group mentioned a new person from the Dicks Line. It took me a little while to realize that this person was already on Based on her gedmatch name, I will call her Forrest. She descends from the Robert Dicks Line. Robert Dicks was born in 1824 and married Jane Cran.

Here is a chart with Forrest on the bottom right.

Dicks Chart with Forrest

The above chart shows only 2 of the children of Christopher Dicks b. 1784. There are 3 other lines represented by this DNA project.

The New TG at Chromosome 2

Chromosome 2 seems to be a Dicks DNA hot spot. In my previous Blog, I had noted 3 TGs on that Chromosome. It looks like this TG makes 4:

TG2 with Forrest

This TG, shown in gold, is spread out. It consists of Esther, Joan and Forrest. In between is one of the other TGs with Esther, Joan, Nelson and Sandy. Judy and Wallace are in there also, but not as a part of the TGs. As they are not matching in the TG, the DNA that they share should be from their [non-Dicks] Smith Line.

What’s going on at chromosome 2?

Here is a summary of all the Dicks TGs at Chromosome 2.

  1. TG 2A – Esther, Joan, Nelson and Sandra
  2. TG 2B – Esther, Joan, and Forrest
  3. TG 2C – Joan, Sandra and Nelson
  4. TG 2D – Nelson, Sandra and Molly (Note that Molly could be in one of two different Dicks Lines)

Chromosome 2 is quite a long one. Apparently there is room at this Chromosome for several TGs. Here are TG 2C and TG 2D from my previous Blog:


Now I will try to show the 4 TGs at Chromosome 2 with colored lines and circles:

Dicks Chart TG2

I didn’t think that would be easy. The takeaway from this chart is:

  • The 2 nieces (Sandra and Joan) share a lot of DNA with their Uncle and Aunt on the left side of the chart. Two of the TGs (TG 2A and 2C) are made up of these 4 people.
  • For TG 2D, we can’t know for sure if this TG Marilyn that is in is from the Rachel Dicks/Joyce Line or the Robert Dicks/Cran Line. It would be one or the other, but not both.
  • There is always a small chance that the TG 2B could be with a non-Dicks Line. This is because we don’t know the maiden name of Esther’s great grandmother. However, as we do know that Forrest, Esther and Joan all share the same Dicks ancestor, I tend to believe that Christopher Dicks b. 1784 is the common ancestor.

Relationships and Shared DNA

Based on each relationship in the chart, there is a certain amount of expected DNA that would be shared. As these relationships go further out, there is a chance that there will be no DNA shared between, say, 5th cousins. Another way to express your relationships is in the generations to your Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCAs). For example 2nd cousins will share the same grandparents. Your grandparent is 2 generations away from you. For your aunt or uncle, they are one generation from the common ancestor and you are two generations away, so that averages out to 1.5 generations. Here is a chart from gedmatch that guesses how far away to a MRCA based on the amount of DNA shared between two people. After that number, I added the actual number of generations to the MRCA for people in the Dicks DNA Project.

Generations to MRCA

I added some purple for Esther and Molly as they both have more than one known Dicks ancestor. For them, their generations to MRCA based on their gedmatch predicted DNA shared is always less than the actual relationship. One exception to this is between Esther and Joan. Esther is Joan’s half Aunt. That is where the analogy would break down as Joan would only share the DNA from Esther’s paternal side.

The darker salmon colored boxes are where there was no DNA shared at normal gedmatch defaults. This is expected at 5 generations to MRCA or more. In the chart below, a MRCA of 5 generations is equivalent to a 4th cousin.

FTDNA Chances of Finding a Match

What all this tells me is that the Dicks Ancestry Chart compared to the amount of DNA shared looks pretty good. Nothing looks out of line with what would be expected.



Dicks DNA Triangulation Explosion

In my last Blog, Unraveling Some of the Dicks Family DNA from Newfoundland, I looked at several things:

  • I found many descending from Christopher Dicks b. 1784 from Newfoundland
  • These people had also tested their DNA
  • 6 of these had also uploaded their results to gedmatch where I was able to analyze their DNA
  • Out of these 6 all were found to be in Triangulation Groups (TGs)
  • TGs are good things as they indicate a common ancestor
  • As all these people descended from Christopher Dicks b. 1784, I took him to be that common ancestor that the triangulated DNA pointed to.

I was a bit surprised at how successful the exercise was. Christopher Dicks helped me out a bit by fathering so many children. This has resulted in the spread of his DNA through many descendants to triangulate with each other.

Two of my goals in the previous Blog, were:

  1. to find other Dicks descendants who had uploaded their DNA to gedmatch that I may have missed, and;
  2. to find other Dicks descendants who hadn’t uploaded their DNA to gedmatch, but would be interested in doing so.

Within one day of writing my blog, I have easily found one person in each category above.  The person in the first category is Judy. Another goal I had was to try to find more Dicks Family Genealogies for those that had uploaded to gedmatch. That happened also when I heard from Marilyn.

This study group works best for people in both these categories:

  1. Those who have an ancestry going back to the early Newfoundland Dicks family
  2. Those who have tested their DNA and have uploaded their results to

Judy and Marilyn’s Dicks Genealogies

Judy is someone I missed in the last Blog. She is a little further down on the Dicks Relationship Chart and further down on my Aunt Esther’s DNA match list at However, her results are important nonetheless. I was surprised that the 6 Dicks descendants from the last blog all triangulated. I was equally surprised that I found Judy to be in 4 triangulation groups. In the previous blog, I only found 5 triangulation groups with the 6 people I looked at.  This speaks to the importance of having many in a DNA study group.

First, here is one of my favorite photos of Harbour Buffet, Newfoundland where some of my wife’s ancestors came from and where many in the Dicks family lived. It looks quite peaceful, but I know that many hearty souls lived there and many drowned at sea.

harbor buffet 1907

Here is the tree for Judy and Marilyn. The tree is starting to get bigger, so I only have the Rachel Dicks and Robert Dicks Lines. Note that Marilyn is in twice. This is because she had Dicks relatives that married. This is not that unusual. For my Frazer family in Ireland, there were many in this situation. Marilyn and I wondered why the match between her and my wife’s Aunt Esther was so high. This is because Marilyn and Esther both have Dicks in their ancestry more than once. I wrote a blog on this subject for my own Frazer family here.

Marilyn and Judy

Judy and Marilyn are 4th cousins, once removed to my mother in law Joan and 3rd cousins twice removed to my wife’s Aunt Esther. That means that through their common ancestor of Christopher Dicks, Judy and Marilyn have a better than 30% chance of matching with the people on Joan’s row and a 50% chance or better of matching those on Esther’s row. They are 5th cousins to each other. This usually indicates about a 10% chance of matching each other. Here are the match probabilities as posted by FTDNA:

FTDNA Chances of Finding a Match

Here is the whole chart with Marilyn added:

Revised Dicks Tree Chart

Let’s Re-Triangulate – Chromosome 2 TG

This one is a bit tricky. It looks like 2 TGs.


Sandra and Nelson are in both TGs. Joan is in TG 2A and Molly is in TG 2B. Kenneth and Judy didn’t make the cut. They likely match on a non-Dicks Line – probably the Miller line.

TG2AB Chart

I hope that the chart above looks sufficiently confusing! Judy and Kenneth don’t triangulate but both descend from George Miller in blue above.

tg – chromosome 4


TG4 Chart

2 TG’s – chromosome 12 – Hold on to your seats

Here at Chromosome 12, a few interesting things are going on.


  • First, there are 2 TGs: TG 12A and 12B. Sandra and Nelson don’t match the 1st TG. That means that they must have gotten that segment of their DNA from their non-Dicks side.
  • Secondly, note that these 2 TGs overlap each other from about position 107 to 120.
  • Even though these 2 TGs, overlap, they have different people in each. That means that they must both have separate common ancestors.
  • Wallace, Judy and Kenneth are in a TG, but the common ancestor would be George Miller. The reason I say this is that as mentioned above, the 2 TGs overlap. In the Miller Line TG 12A, there is no match with Esther, Joan and Molly in TG 12B. If there was a match, then TG 12A would have Rebecca Joyce as a common ancestor.
  • Esther, Joan and Molly are in TG 12B. But does this TG go through Molly’s Dicks/Joyce Line or Dicks/Cran Line? This is assumed to be a Dicks TG.

TG12 Chart

I was actually looking for a TG between Judy, Wallace, and Kenneth and here is where it showed itself.

TG 14

This TG had Marilyn, Joan and Esther again. This would be expected due to the double Dicks ancestry that Marilyn and Esther both have. See the above diagram with the pink lines.


2 TG’s – Chromosome 15


Here again, there are 2 TGs. However, they are not overlapping TGs like the ones at Chromosome 12. The first one, TG 15A has Nelson, Kenneth and Judy. TG 15B Has Judy, Wallace and Joan.  Esther is not in either TG. Where she matches with Joan likely represents Upshall DNA.

TG15 Chart

TG 16

TG 16

Here is a 4 person TG.

TG16 Chart

Some of the ambiguity of Marilyn’s TGs may be resolved by finding other Dicks descendants that have tested for DNA and comparing their results to these TGs.

Finally TG 19


This TG was mentioned in the previous blog. Now it is bigger with 4 people – including Wallace’s niece Judy.

Summary of the New and Augmented TGs

It turned out that this update was longer than the original Blog – at least for the triangulating part. In the previous blog, there were 5 TGs indicating Christopher Dicks b. 1784 and his wife Margaret. Now there are 13 TGs. This gets to the triangulation explosion that I mentioned in the title.

TG Summary Revised

  • TG12A likely represents a non-Dicks ancestor on the Joyce Line: George Miller. This is represented in a different color. However, this is good to know for those in this TG as matches in this area of Chromosome 12 will be along Miller ancestry and not Dicks ancestry.
  • Marilyn is represented in a different shade of green as we don’t know which line her TG’s are from. All the TGs that Marilyn are in appear to indicate her common ancestor of Christopher Dicks. We just aren’t sure which path the DNA took at this time.
  • This is also an issue for Esther where she is in a TG that her 1/2 niece Joan is not in. For the 2 TGs that Esther is in and Joan is not, the TG is with descendants of Elizabeth b. 1809, so that would be a possibility for the line of the Dicks ancestor with the unknown parents on Esther’s maternal side. As Esther’s maternal Dicks ancestor’s ancestry is not known, that line is not represented on the Dicks family tree chart.
  • Joan is in the most TGs which is a bit surprising as she is a 1/2 niece of Esther. based on this I would think she would have 1/2 or less of the matches of Esther as Esther has 2 known Dicks ancestors and Joan has one.

So far, triangulating the Dicks descendants DNA has been hugely successful. With the results of only 8 descendants, we have 13 TGs. All but one of these TGs point back to Christopher Dicks b. 1784 or his wife Margaret.

For comparison, I head up another DNA project with 27 that have tested their DNA. 9 of them have multiple Frazer ancestors and there are fewer TGs in that project than in this one. Part of the reason for that is that many of the Frazer relationships are more distant than what we have with the Dicks family.








Unraveling Some of the Dicks Family DNA from Newfoundland

In my first Blog on Upshall DNA, I gave some background and made some guesses on where the related ancestors were in my wife’s Upshall Newfoundland ancestors. At that time, I came up with a family diagram that looked like this:

X Chromosome Chart Esther

My wife’s grandmother Florence is represented by the lower left circle, her great Aunt Esther is the circle to the right of Florence. Florence and Esther have the same father, but different mothers. This turns  out to be useful knowledge to have. That means that my mother in law, who is the daughter of Florence, will be related to Esther on the Upshall/Dicks lines but not on the Shave/Kirby lines. This is a bit complicated due to the fact, that Esther’s parents were related to each other. Gedmatch estimates that Esther had a common ancestor 4.0 generations before her. Note that, assuming my drawing above is correct, she could have a Dicks ancestor 4 generations before her. I added the question marks above as I am not positive of the relationships.

After visiting my wife’s Aunt Esther recently, I came upon an ancestry chart that she wrote up in the 1990’s.

Aunt Esther's Family Tree Privacy

I asked her about the father of Catherine Dicks who Esther had as Christopher Dicks, b. 1781 as that seemed old for that generation. That would put the average generations between Christopher Dicks and Esther at 49 years. She mentioned that it was possible as she knew of a man in his 60’s in Newfoundland marrying an 18 year old. Esther’s father was 49 when he had her. I also believe that this Christopher Dicks had a son Christopher, so there are other possibilities. I was ready to go with Aunt Esther’s results until I found a blog I had saved from Heather Lynn that she wrote in 2011:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Puzzle of the Day: Christopher DICKS of Newfoundland

Christopher DICKS was born (likely in February, 1784) somewhere in England. There are competing theories concerning his origins.
He and his wife Margaret (born 1789) had at least 11 children over the course of 24 years between 1808 and 1832, born in various places around Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, including Trinny Cove, Jean de Baie, & Hay Cove.

William (1808-1894) married Mary Ann Sheave
**Elizabeth (1809 – 1892) married Thomas ADAMS in Burin 1839 (my 3rd Great-Grandmother)
Joseph (1810-abt 1857) married Mary Griffith
Frances (1811 – ) married Charles Burton
Christopher (1812- ) married Elizabeth
Henry (1815- )
Rachel (1817-1893) married James Joyce
Robert (1824-1903) married Jane Crann
Susan (1827- )
James (1830- )
George (1832-1892)

Christopher DICKS died October 24, 1845 in Harbour Buffett, Newfoundland. His wife Margaret lived until February 1867. Here is an excerpt from his will:

Secondly,   All my money whether in cash or credits in Merchants Accounts as also such money as shall be and remain in the British Funds at the time of my decease, I hereby give and bequeath to my dear wife for her sole use and benefit and afterwards to be disposed of at her death as she may be inclined ~ Subject nevertheless to the following deductions, that she my said wife shall pay unto our sons James Dicks and George Dicks the sum of thirty pounds currency each at the time of my decease.
Thirdly,   My fishing room situate in Harbor Beaufet with all buildings and appurtenances there unto belonging together with all boats, skiffs, punts, seines nets and all kinds of fishing craft, I hereby give and bequeath unto my four sons Christopher Dicks Junior, William Dicks, Henry Dicks, and Robert Dicks to be equally divided share and share alike in value among them.

Let’s see how this information fits in with my chart above. Based on Esther’s and Heather Lynn’s research, I come up with this chart:

Revised Tree for Esther

Based on the chart above, it appears that Jane Ann Dicks b. 1841 (top right) could likely be the grand daughter of Christopher Dicks b. 1784 (top left).

Here is Fred Upshall in 1920 wearing a straw hat:

Upshall Photo

Here is a map of Harbour Buffet and vicinity where my wife’s Newfie ancestors hailed from. Living there, it was important to have a boat or access to one. Many living in these parts of Placentia Bay were fishermen.

Harbour Buffet and Vicinity

More Dicks DNA

Now that I know how Aunt Esther is descended from the Dicks family, I have tried to piece together a Dicks Chart based on the blog above and family trees I’ve found at Ancestry and FTDNA. I left out one line of the Dicks line for now to simplify things. That would be the Henry/Harold Dicks Line. I think the Henry/Harold is a parallel line to the Christopher Dicks Line (perhaps a brother).

Dicks Chart

The green boxes are those that have taken DNA tests. However, not everyone has uploaded their DNA to which would make comparisons easy. There are 10 DNA testers in the green boxes, but I will be looking at the 6 that have uploaded their results to 6 are:

  • Sandra
  • Nelson
  • Joan
  • Esther
  • Wallace
  • Kenneth

My wife’s great Aunt Esther is on the row 4 generations down from Christopher Dicks, b. 1784. So is Nelson. We already know that those 2 have high matches of DNA between them. In fact, estimates that Nelson and Esther should have a common ancestor back 3.2 generations instead of 4. This is likely due to the past intermarrying on Newfoundland, which increased the amount of DNA shared.

Triangulation of Dicks DNA

The goal is to find triangulation groups. If three people all match each other on the same segment of a chromosome, that is an indication that the 3 got that DNA from a common ancestor. Actually, the real goal is to confirm that the genealogy shown in the chart above is correct [using triangulation], and that these people do indeed descend from Christopher Dicks b. 1784.

Let’s Triangulate

First I entered the 6 of the 10 testers in green above and compared them in using a utility called Multiple Kit Analysis. Then I downloaded all those matching segments into a spreadsheet and sorted them. It wasn’t long before I found a triangulation group. The first one was at Chromosome 2.

TG2A Dicks

In the table above, the 2 in the first column is the Chromosome number. The next column is the start of the match. Then the end of the match location and the cM value for the match. The above is actually a triangulation group of 3 people: Esther, Joan and Nelson. Sandra didn’t match with Joan or Esther. Note also that the gedmatch utility puts in every match twice. So the first match is Joan/Esther. The second match is Esther/Joan.

I almost missed this Triangulation Group (TG) because Esther and Joan had such a large match. Here is what Esther’s Chromosome Browser looks like at Chromosome 2:

Esther Chromosome 2

The large red line is the match between Esther and Joan. This has to represent Esther’s father Fred Upshall who descended from the Dicks family. Fred is Esther and Joan’s common ancestor. Fred had 2 wives and Esther and Joan descend from different wives. The smaller green match is between Esther and Nelson. The pink match is between Esther and Sandra but is too tiny to consider. Plus, it is out of range of the DNA match that Esther has with Nelson.

Here are the 3 that triangulated on Chromosome 2 shown on the Dicks Chart:

TG 2 on Chart

Five Dicks Triangulation groups

All in all, I found five Dicks triangulation groups. The second TG was also in Chromosome 2:

Dicks TG 2B

Note that this TG is similar to the first one except that this time Sandra is in and Esther is out.

TG 2b on Chart

What happened to Esther? Esther got her DNA from her 4 grandparents. That fact that Joan matches two Dicks descendants and Esther doesn’t must mean that Esther must have  gotten her DNA in this part of her Chromosome 2 from her grandfather Henry Upshall and Joan got her DNA at that location from Catherine Dicks b. 1851. This is all good to know. So any paternal matches Esther has in this area of Chromosome 2 (location 171-192) where she is not matching Sandra, Nelson, and Joan would be a match along the Uphsall Line. I would like to add that Cheryl in the chart above is not counted as she tested at AncestryDNA and I don’t think that she has uploaded her results to That means we don’t know if she triangulates with the others or not. The same is true for the person below Elizabeth that doesn’t show.

The third TG at chromosome 9

The TG at Chromosome 9 has a different apparent Dicks descendant: Kenneth.

TG Chr 9

TG9 Chart

Here I note:

  • This TG is from 3 different children of Christopher Dicks: Elizabeth, Christopher and Rachel.
  • Note that Joan is not in this TG. This could mean one of 2 things
    1. She just didn’t inherit that segment of DNA or;
    2. Esther’s part in the TG is through her mother’s side where she has another Dicks ancestor. I didn’t show that Dicks ancestor in the chart as I don’t know which Dicks that ancestor descended from.
  • Sandra and Kenneth are 4th cousins by way of their common ancestor Christopher Dicks b. 1784. There is a little better than 50% chance that they would show as a DNA match. However, having Newfoundland ancestors means that they may match on more than one line.
  • As Wallace is a known 2nd cousin to Kenneth, his descent from the same Dicks ancestor is inferred. Wallace just didn’t inherit the same segment of DNA that Kenneth did.
TG 11


This is just another permutation of the first TG. Note that Sandra inherited the Dicks DNA in Chromosome 11 while this same segment bypassed her uncle Nelson.

And finally, the TG at crhomosome 19

This final TG includes the last Dicks descendant who uploaded his results to Wallace.


TG19 Chart

This group includes Christopher Dicks b. 1812 and Rachel Dicks b. 1817. Note that for any TG that Joan is in, Esther’s Dicks relationship is through her father and not her mother. This is because Joan is only a half niece to Esther on her paternal side.

Summary of TGs

Green in the box below a name means that the person is in the TG to the left:

TG Summary

Here is how they are related:

Dicks Relations


There is always a small chance that the triangulation represents an unknown family. For example, the last name of Esther’s great grandmother Elizabeth is unknown. Also Elizabeth’s mother Margaret’s maiden name is unknown. It is possible that Wallace, for example, is actually triangulating with one of those families. However, as it is the Dicks that are in common in all these TGs, it is most likely that the Dicks are the common ancestors.

Summary, Comments and Conclusions

  • I am very happy to see that all 6 of the Dicks descendants that uploaded their DNA results to Gedmatch triangulated with other Dicks descendants, zeroing in on Christopher Dicks b. 1784.
  • Triangulation gives weight to genealogy showing common ancestors.
  • It is likely that other Dicks descendants are already at Gedmatch or could upload their DNA results there.
  • Having more Dicks descendants in the study group would improve the results and further solidify genealogies and lines of descent from common Dicks ancestors.
  • It should be possible to use this same triangulation technique to unravel the ancestry of other Newfoundland families.
  • The Dicks family was a good choice to look at as there are so many descendants from Newfoundland. Many descendants can make the genealogy confusing, but it is a plus in DNA analysis as they provide more potential to look at shared DNA and Triangulation Groups.
  • TGs that both Joan and Esther are in show that the Dicks DNA that Esther inherited was from her paternal side – not her maternal side. This information may be helpful in further DNA analysis.
  • Next step:
    1. Look for more descendants that are at gedmatch or who could upload their results there;
    2. Expand the triangulation to other Dicks Lines.




My Hartley YDNA

After writing over 50 Blogs on genetic genealogy, I realized that I hadn’t written a blog on my Hartley YDNA. I have written on Frazer YDNA and my wife’s family YDNA (Butler), but not one just on Hartley YDNA. This will not be on all Hartley YDNA as I know the most about mine. There are other Hartley Lines that aren’t closely related to mine.

Many reading this blog will know already that the YDNA is used often in Surname studies. This is because YDNA is passed mostly unchanged from father to son. I say mostly because there are slow changes that occur. These slow changes are what make the differences in the different STRs and SNPs.  STRs and SNPs are the 2 major types of YDNA of importance in genetic genealogy. In this Blog, I’ll write about my own STRs and SNPs and how they relate to each other. I’ll also look at a few ways of analyzing YDNA results. There is a lot to cover here.

SNPs – Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms

SNPs are formed due to genetic mutations and are very specific and unambiguous. They can be used to trace one’s line back to a genetic Adam and place one into a specific group of people. Here is the broad difference between SNPs. They are listed between the letters A and T below.

All SNPs

My Hartley Line is broadly R1b. My Frazer line is R1a. They split off at some point and appear to have taken a more northerly route through Europe. R1b is the most common YDNA in Western Europe. Further, there are 2 branches that are common within R1b. These 2 types are listed by their test names. They are R-U106 and R-P312. In England, the R-U106 represents the Anglo Saxons. They came from the areas around Germany.  It turns out that I am R-P312 and further L21. See the bottom left of the tree below.

Tree to L21

L21 is known for the Irish and Scots. But there are also English L21. Actually, I would like to think of myself as British. The British represents the older stock in England whereas the Anglo (hence English) Saxon are the late comers. More of the U106 are found in the Southeast England where the Anglo Saxons entered. The L21’s are found more in the North and West of England and in Ireland.

L21 Map

For some reason, I was relieved to find out that I was R-L21. I guess I liked the idea of being associated with the old timers vs. the invaders. Also, even though the Celts are not a genetic group per se, they have been associated with R-L21. Here is a map of England in 600 A.D showing the British/Anglo Saxon split.

Briton 600

More on L21

It took me quite a while testing my YDNA to find out that I was L21. There are many levels of subdivisions below L21. Here is an L21 Tree that is almost 2 years out of date. On it, I tried to place some of the Hartleys that had tested up to that point. Some that I wasn’t sure of I put in the upper left of the chart.

L21 2014 Map

At that time, I had put my ancestor, Robert Hartley in the L513  Group (dark yellow) and one step under that at S5668. Due to in a large part, people doing a Big Y test, many new SNPs have been discovered and placed  in the tree. Now R-L513 has it’s own Tree.

L513 map

Finally, I have tested positive for Z17911 and Z17912. These are equivalent SNPs.  The people listed on the main tree are ones that have taken the Big Y or equivalent tests. Once I get my results, my name will show above with Merrick and Thomas – or perhaps in my own group.

L513 Tree Section

As far as I know, Z17911 is the end of the line or what has been referred to as a terminal SNP. However, Big Y testing may reveal more. There are also SNPs which are called private or family SNPs. One or more of these may be found in my BigY results for the Hartley family.

STRs – Short Tandem Repeats

The STR was the first type of YDNA to be used for genetic genealogy. I think of these as a stutter in the DNA. These are extra copies that happen in specific areas of the YDNA that are noted and used for comparison purposes. Standard tests range from 12 STRs to 111 STRs or more. The more you test, the more you pay. Each of these STR locations have their own rates of change. There are the fast changing STRs and the slower ones.

My Hartley STRs

Here are some of my Hartley STRs. First I’ll explain the headings below. Dark blue is the first panel of 12 SNPs. Maroon represents the faster changing STRs. The next set of lighter blue is up to 25 STRs. The next lighter blue is up to the 37 level. The  lightest blue on the right is STR 38 to 67. I didn’t include all my 67 in the image below.

STR Locations JoelJoel's Z Strs

This image is small, and it is taken from the Z17911 group. These people have tested positive for Z17911 and are listed in the FTDNA R1b-L513 Project. The rows of numbers are the STR values (or numbers of repeats). The rows are:

  • Minimum value (in this case of those that have tested positive for Z17911)
  • Maximum value
  • Mode – this has also been used to approximate an ancestral value for the group
  • Hartley (me)
  • Thomas
  • Goff
  • Merrick
Genetic distance (GD)

There are a few ways STRs are used. One is GD or Genetic Distance. When I compare my STR test to another Hartley, for example, it counts the number of differences between the two tests. Some of the numbers in the rows above are highlighted in either purple or pink. The purple values for the 4th line (Hartley) are less than the mode. The pink values are more than the mode. So in the first 37 STRs for my results there are 6 highlighted values. That would be a GD of either 5 or 6. There are 2 ways of counting. For the 5th maroon named marker there are 4 values. There is a method called Infinite Alleles Model which would only count any changes within that named maroon region as one.

Note that of these 6 differences or GD’s in my results, 4 are in the slower moving areas and 2 are in the faster moving areas. I note that at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) I am not shown as related to any within my Z17911 Group. However, that is OK. For 37 STRs my highest GD is 4. I don’t think FTDNA shows higher than that. For 67 STRs, FTDNA’s highest GD is 7.  This is because, when more STRs are compared, more GDs are allowed to make a match.  I further note that at 37 STRs, I match 3 Hartleys, one believed to be descended from a Hartley and 2 non-Hartleys. At the 67 YDNA match level at FTDNA, I have the same person believed to be descended from a Hartley and 3 other with the Hartley surname. So it seems like the FTDNA system is working. However, to get the matches that are further away, one must look at a SNP project or surname project.

where is the common ancestor for STR matches?

FTDNA uses a TIP Report to guess how closely related I am to my YDNA matches. My closest match at the 67 STR level is at a GD of 4. That isn’t very close. However, close is relative.

The first one on my YDNA match list is Sanchez – believed to be of Hartley descent. The TIP Report tells me this:

Sanchez TIP

The second on my 67 STR YDNA match list has a Hartley surname. We also have a GD of 4 and the TIP Report looks like this:

Hartley TIP

Notice that the TIP Report shows a better likelihood that I’m related to Hartley than Sanchez. This is because the TIP Report considers the speed of change of the markers. The markers that are different between Hartley and myself are faster moving ones than the ones that are different between Sanchez and myself. As there are only averages of how often these markers change, this is not an exact science. The tables just show likelihood of when we may have had a common ancestor.

strs used to predict the r-L513 SNP

Here I should mention the difference between a haplogroup and a haplotype. I mention it partially, because I forget which is which. A haplogroup has to do with a SNP. Examples of a haplogroup are R1b, L21, etc. Sometimes the smaller groups are called subclades or subgroups. According to Wikipedia, “Subclades are defined by a terminal SNP…”. So my Z17911 would be a subclade.

Apparently there is more than one definition of haplotype. The one I am thinking of refers to a specific grouping of STRs that stands out. One such grouping of STRs (haplotype) defines the R-L513 Haplogroup. Before the L513 SNP was discovered, people analyzed the STRs and noticed certain patterns. Based on those patterns, the STR results were put into different groups. One such pattern was (and is) DYS406s1>=11 and DYS617=13. When people testing their STRs found these 2 values, they were almost always L513 as confirmed by their SNP testing. So for the longest time, the group was called the 11-13 Combo group rather than the L513 group. Let’s look at the top of the L513 YDNA results page to see if this pattern is true:

406S1 617

Notice that there are a few here that are different, but these may represent rare mutations.  In my Z17911, we all meet the criteria.

Strs predicting Z17911 SNPs

I noticed in the L513 Yahoo Mail Group that I belong to, there were some predictions based on STRs that there could be more Z17911’s. Here is part of a post from March 2016 on the Yahoo L513 Group from the administrator,

“Below is a list of the people I’ve added in the last three weeks, the project I found them in and their predicted variety. This is sorted by variety label.
293533 William Hartley b. 1745 d. after 1807 Hartley 513-5668-16357-16343-17911-JM
372104 Sanchez, b. Spain L513 513-5668-16357-16343-17911-JM”

Sanchez believes he has a Hartley ancestor. So it is interesting that I will likely have more company at the Z17911 SNP. Here is another interesting post from the administrator of the L513 Yahoo Mail Group in October 2015 to Jared who felt he was mis-grouped:

Hi Jared, I mis-grouped you. I will fix. I intended to put you in the “J” STR variety/cluster.  I’m not positive you are in “J” and could be in “H” or a little different yet. It’s hard to make judgements on this, particularly at only 37 STRs.

Here are all the people that I’m aware that off modal values for STRs 390=25 389i=14 458>=18 449>=31 464c=16 and high CDY numbers. You might actually fit in better with the Phillips and Vaughan side of “J” than the Merrick or Thomas.

We think this group is all Z17911+ but I’m not sure. I would say you are Z16343+ at he very least. Z16343 also marks the “H” variety people (Hayes/Pillsbury). No guarantees.

f307773    Smith    R1b-L21>DF13>L513
fN56253    Gilroy    R1b-L21>DF13>L513
fN114296    Gilroy    R1b-L21>DF13>L513
f275990    Hartley    R1b-L21>DF13>L513>S5668>Z16343>Z17911
f280251    Hartley    zzL21suspect
f117349    Hartley    zzL21suspect
f200669    Head    zzL21suspect
f160646    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f271571    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f158089    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f160637    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f113390    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f306961    Phillips    zzL21suspect
f116935    Vaughan    zzL21suspect
f160729    Vaughan    zzL21suspect
f271772    Vaughn    zzL21suspect
f105064    zzzUnk(Phillips)    zzL21suspect

I am the first Hartley mentioned above. Then there are 2 others that may be Z17911. So that means that rather than me being all alone at Z17911, there may be 4 other Hartleys joining me. That is progress. Based on the L513 Administrator’s (Mike’s) STR analysis those 4 would be Z17911. Here are my STR values highlighted in blue with Mike’s Z17911 signature STRs.

Z17911 STRs

I meet all the Z17911 signature STRs which makes sense as I have tested positive for Z17911. These predictions can save a lot of money for people testing SNPs. Rather than testing a series of 4 or 5 SNPs to see where they are on the SNP Tree, they can just test for Z17911 to see if they are positive for that.

Using STRs to Create New SNPs

ISOGG is the International Society of Genetic Genealogists. They have a guidelines for naming new SNPs:

The objective of the ISOGG Tree at this time is to include all SNPs that arose prior to about the year 1500 C.E. This guideline may be measured through STR diversity or alternative evidence.

Where a new terminal subgroup is being added, STR marker results or other evidence described below for two men with the new SNP are needed.

STR Diversity
To be accepted the SNP must be observed in at least two individuals and must meet the STR diversity requirement. A SNP that does not meet this requirement will be classified as a Private SNP (see definition above).

The STR diversity requirement is met if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. If the SNP is a Non-Terminal Branch SNP, no further proof of diversity is required.
  2. Genetic distance is calculated using the Infinite Alleles Model (IAM). A marker for which there is a null value in one sample must be discarded from the calculations. Otherwise, most laboratories use the IAM.
  3. All markers tested by both individuals must be compared.
  4. If 74 markers (or fewer) are compared, the minimum genetic distance to meet the diversity requirement is 5.
  5. If 75 (or more) markers are compared, the diversity requirement is a minimum of 7%, computed by dividing the genetic distance by the number of markers compared, and rounding to the nearest integer value.

This is what happened when my Terminal SNP was accepted. Usually, one would be looking for a low GD for a match, say. Here, for the addition of new SNPs a higher GD is needed to show that the SNP is not a private SNP. Here is another message written June 2015 by a fellow Z17911 from the Yahoo L513 Mail Group that I’m in:

Hi Mike,

I tried to figure the Infinite allele GD for the three current SNP-tested members of Z17911 (if I understood DYS464 and CDY correctly):

Hartley/Merrick = GD 14
Hartley/Thomas = GD 12
Merrick/Thomas = GD 10

I hope this is helpful.
Charles Thomas 8633 

Mike followed up with:

Yes, Charles. It looks like Z17911 and Z16855 are clearly public making upstream Z16343 public too.

And the rest is history – at least for my little branch of the YDNA tree.

Analysis of STRs Using the RCC Method

The RCC method may be somewhat obscure to some, but I find it very interesting. This method uses STRs to create trees of descent, like the SNP trees I showed above. As it uses STRs and not SNPs, it is helpful as a check to the validity of the SNP trees. The RCC method was developed by Bill Howard. In November 2014, Bill came up with the tree below based on 67 STR results. I was at the top of the list in that study of a relatively small group of people.

RCC 67

Note how this method mirrors today’s SNP tree:

L513 Tree Section

The RCC method show that Z16855 branched from Z17911 out of Z16343 at over 60 RCCs. For this 67-marker analysis, 1 RCC = 38.05 yrs. So that would be over 2300 years ago. The present year is considered as 1945-1950. Hartley shows as splitting from Merrick and Thomas at about 30 RCCs. That is over 1140 years from 1945 or around the year 800 A.D. As there were no surnames at that point, this would explain why Hartley, Thomas and Merrick could be in the same grouping. The closest RCC to Hartley at the time of this study was Gilroy. An RCC of 18 translates to 685 years. This brings us up to about the year 1265 A.D. Surnames in England were being sorted out around the 1400’s.

Here is my interpretation of the RCC 67 STR Tree with SNPs and dates added:

RCC 67

Assuming that the vertical line at RCC 30 represents Z17911, it appears that there is room for at least one other SNP on the Hartley Branch that includes Gilroy, Phillips, Vaugh[a]n and Griffin.

Comparing two Rcc studies (67 Vs. 111 Strs)

More recently, at the end of March 2016, Bill Howard ran the data for 555 L513 testees that had 111 STR markers or more. I have only tested for 67 markers, so I was not included, but there was one Hartley in that group. He does not show up on my match list as I count that I have a GD of 10 with him at the 67 STR level. This is beyond the match limit of 7 for FTDNA.

Here is the small section of the 555 that included the Hartley I mentioned above.

RCC 111

Now the vertical dashed lines happen every 20 RCCs. For this study, the RCC = 44.8 years. Mike Walsh, the Administrator of the L513 Project looked at this and felt that, based on his experience with SNPs, that the 44.8 may be a bit high and mentioned a factor of 34.65 years that he thought may work better.

Here is my interpretation of the 111 STR RCC Tree with dates and SNPs. One RCC = 44.8 years.

RCC 111

First, because there are fewer results at 111 STRs, this spreads out the branching. I don’t know who Pitt is. In the previous study Z17911 and Z16855 branched at about 490 B.C. Here, it appears to be in a similar location, I guess about 440 B.C. In the 111 Tree ZS849 branches off in the 1400’s Vs. the 1600’s in the 67 STR Tree. I would assume that the previous study could be slightly more accurate due more available results at the 67 STR level. However, the results are quite close to each other.

Historical 37 STR RCC Tree from September 2014

All these RCC Studies reminded me of a study done in the old days – back in 2014. At the time, I was amazed at how close Bill Howard got to the SNP tree with just using 37 STRs. At the time, I had recommended that the results of 21 L21’s be included in the study, but Charles was too quick in sending 14 L513 results to Bill Howard and Bill gave us this tree:

37 STR RCC Tree

Charles said that 1 RCC should equal 43 years. I’ll put what we know now onto the 2014 RCC tree.

37 STR RCC Tree

The main difference in the older study is that the Z17911/Z16855 branching is shown at a later date (A.D. Vs. the newer studies’ B.C. dates). Also there is an Evans in my group here. I’m not sure who he is.

So Which is Better, SNPs or STRs?

Most people tend to like SNPs over STRs. SNPs may be considered UEPs or Unique Event Polymorphisms. It is the unique part that makes them better. I like the way my L513 Administrator, Mike Walsh says it,

Some people say have used the words that SNPs trump STRs. That’s probably the correct general perspective. Assuming the specific SNPs considered are actually very stable Unique Event Polymorphisms (EUP), any SNPs that differentiate are most important and therefore provide fencing for which do additional evaluation using surnames, genealogy, geographies, etc. AND STRs.

STRs may back mutate, which is a hidden weakness in a way. Say that you have a perfect match with someone based on STRs. One of those STRs may have mutated and back mutated. This would mean that you are not a perfect match, but a GD of 2. There is not an easy way to know if that has happened or not. So that introduces some uncertainty. However, that is not to say that STRs are not important. I feel as they are underrated by many and should still be considered for the reasons I mention in this Blog and in the section below.

Summary, Conclusions and Comments

  • I’m looking forward to my BigY results to see what they may include
  • I am currently classified as Z17911 – a relatively recently discovered terminal SNP
  • By STR signatures, there appear to be 4 other Hartleys who would test positive for Z17911. These Hartleys should be encouraged to take the Z17911 SNP test.
  • I have used a similar method to analyze STRs and predict my own SNPs before I tested positive for them.
  • STRs are useful for determining relatedness to other STR matches using GD and FTDNA’s TIP Report
  • The TIP Report also gives an estimate to the Most Recent Common Ancestor for YDNA matches.
  • STRs are also useful in determining whether a new SNP is private or public using ISOGG guidelines
  • The RCC analysis is useful in creating STR trees and for confirming SNP trees
  • The RCC analysis can also give a time period for the branching of different SNPs and families.
  • STRs and SNPs complement each other





My Mom’s Autosomal DNA on the Lentz Side

I’ve written a few blogs on my mom’s DNA. I did an initial look in December 2015 and wrote more in February 2016. These are listed under Rathfelder/Lentz/Nicholson DNA. This blog will look at my mother’s Lentz mother’s side of the DNA in a little more detail. This is the red side in the chart below. Since my last blog, there has been a newly found relative.

Mom's DNA Lines

That new relative is Joshua. Unfortunately, he makes me feel a bit old as he is 2 generations below me. I made a distinction in my chart as there is a Joan from the Lentz Line shown as Joan(L) and a Joan (N) from the Nicholson line. I have a photo of Annie (Ann Eliza) Nicholson Lentz with Florence and Joan (L).


Joshua’s grandmother Joan(L) is the littlest girl. Florence is the girl behind her. Florence is Annie Nicholson Lentz’s granddaughter.  Annie Nicholson Lentz is Joan’s great grandmother. So that makes Annie Joshua’s 3rd great grandmother!

Splitting the Lentz Family from the Nicholson Family

It would be interesting to try to determine what DNA comes from the Lentz family vs. what comes from the Nicholson family. That way, we will be able to tell which branch our DNA matches are on. At first, it looks like Joshua should not help as he is on the same branch as Judy. Both Judy and Joshua descend from William Lentz.

Mom's DNA Lines

However, Judy has not uploaded to yet, so Joshua does help. Plus he contributes different Lentz DNA than Judy does. Also he matches on the X Chromosome with my mom. In the above chart, Catherine, my mom, Judy, Joshua and Joan(N) have tested. Here is what their results show. Judy’s results are from her match to me.

Mom's Chromosome Map Apr 2016

It gets a little confusing as the peach colored regions can only be Nicholson. The red sections are Lentz, but the Lentz family is also descended from the Nicholson family.  Note also that the red DNA (Nicholson) is one generation older than the peach colored Lentz DNA.

The X Chromosome

As I mentioned above, only Joshua and my mom share the X Chromosome. It appears that Judy or Joshua could have gotten the X Chromsome, but only Joshua, 2 generations down did. Joan(N) has 2 males in a row in her ancestry, so that means she would not have a chance to share the X Chromosome. There is one other point about the X Chromosome. The red DNA shown in the Chromosome map above on the X line. This DNA shared by my mom and Joshua has to be Nicholson DNA from Annie Nicholson (Lentz). This is because no X Chromosome is inherited male to male. So no X Chromosome was inherited from William Lentz from his father Jacob. Any time we can tell that DNA came specifically from one ancestor and not the other, it is a good thing, so I will change the Chromosome Map a little.

Mom's Chromosome Map Apr 2016 rev

Here Annie is now shown to be the sole owner of the X match between my mom and Joshua. The match is shown in yellow, which isn’t the greatest color, but I don’t feel like changing the default.

Is the X Match a real match?

Sometimes small matches can be false. The match between my mom, Gladys and Joshua barely meets the thresholds. So let’s look at that. Here are a few considerations.

  • Gladys and Joshua have a path to match on the X Chromosome. That is, they do not 2 consecutive males in their ancestry leading up to Annie Nicholson.
  • Joshua’s X matches are more likely to be real as he is male. That means his matches are already phased. Joshua’s X matches can only be from his mother’s side.

If any of my mother’s children also match Joshua, that would also give weight to the validity of the match. When I ran Joshua against my 2 sisters and myself at standard thresholds, I got no match. But perhaps that is because my mother was already close to the thresholds. Let’s look a bit more closely at this. Below is how I have mapped out my X Chromosome and my 2 sisters based on how we compared with each other. The maternal matches are on the top in green and orange. I had guessed that orange may be my mom’s Lentz side which leads up to Nicholson.

X Chromosome Map

S is my sister Sharon, J is me. H is my sister Heidi. Here is where Joshua and my mom match on the X Chromosome:

Joshua Gladys X match

If I guessed right in my orange-green chromosome map above, then Sharon and I would not have inherited any X Chromosome in the region from about 5 to 10. My sister Heidi would only have inherited a tiny amount. This amount would be likely less than the lowest amount that gedmatch would allow. So that was inconclusive. I will just assume that my mom and Joshua are a real match.

Nicholson/ellis DNA

This is the easy part. Anyone that matches with Joan(N) and my mom has to be a Nicholson/Ellis and not a Lentz. I can find this using a utility at gedmatch called:

People who match Gedmatch

When I run that, the people who match both include myself and my 2 sisters, which I already knew about, so I do not need to consider those. Here is the list. The first three are myself and my 2 sisters. My mom is represented by the 1st 3 columns and Joan is represented by the 2nd 3 columns. My 2 sisters and myself are 1 generation away from my mom, so that makes sense as a reference. We are actually all 4 generations to a common ancestor with Joan, so my family members all share a bit more DNA with Joan than expected. There is nothing wrong with that.

People who match Mom and Joan

Now these matches are in general out about 5 generations from my mom and 5 from Joan. That doesn’t make total sense as Joan is one generation away from my mom which would translate to one half a generation further out when considering a common ancestor. I’ll take a worse case scenario and look at ancestors 5 generations out from my mom.

Nicholson Line

Remember, they have to be on the Nicholson Line. No Lentzes allowed. Ann is my mom’s grandmother, so we are starting here at 2 generations. That means that 5 generations is out to the 1700’s and I am missing 3 last names.


I chose those people that matched both my mom and Joan at Gedmatch. Then I chose the Traceability Utility. This gives me 3 things. It gives a chart of how the people match each other, it gives a physical representation of how they match and then show on what chromosomes and at what level they match. Here is the chart. I see probably 2 ancestral families represented here. I’ll call them Family One and Family Two.

Mom Joan Trace Chart

The last 3 on the list may belong to Family One or Two, but not have the DNA match to show it. Or they may belong to another family. The DNA is inconclusive. Based on my mom’s Ancestry Tree, chances are these two families could include the following families: Nicholson, Clayton, Ellis or Roebuck. That is assuming I did my genealogy right. All of these families were from the Sheffield, England area, so that is also a clue. Here is how the physical representation looks. I call it the Globe.

Nicholson Globe

My mom is at the bottom and Joan is to her right. The yellow lines show a Triangulation on Chromosome 5. Unfortunately, this utility doesn’t always work well. There should be a gray line line between the close relationship of A324950 and A793540. Also there are too many yellow lines. Here is my correction:

Nicholson Globe

So that exercise gave me some new names that I may follow up on.

My Mom’s Lentz DNA

My mom’s Lentz DNA should be trickier to find. As I mentioned, the Lentz family is descended in part from the Nicholson line, so how do we separate the two? Here is what I will try. I will look at my mom vs. Joan(N) as above, but this time, I will take the comparison between the two and then look at the names that don’t match Joan. This will be quite a long list. Then I will look at the list of people that do match between my mom and Joshua. This is the Lentz list which could include Nicholsons. Hopefully, the names in common with both lists will tend to be Lentz.

I took the first list of 348 matches and put them in a spreadsheet. Again, these were the ones that didn’t match Joan aka those that don’t match the Nicholsons. The second list was very short. There were only 2 people in it when I took out myself and my two sisters. Hopefully, these 2 will match the people in the other list. It turns out that they did. So was it a waste of time finding the 348 matches? I don’t think so. The correlation in the two lists gives me extra confidence that the 2 in the second list are Lentz rather than Nicholson matches.

The other good news that the 2 matches triangulate with Joshua. Here is a part of my mother’s DNA match spreadsheet, so these are matches to my mom.

Joshua Triangulation

These are matches on Chromosome 6. Pink means my mother’s mother’s side. Green means a match of over 15 cM. Joshua is the first match and the other two below him match each other. This gives more credence to a common ancestor that is on my mother’s Lentz side.


While I’m on Chromosome 6, I’ll mention crossovers. On any particular Chromosome, we get half our DNA from our mother and half from our father. Here we are looking at my mom’s mother’s DNA. Further when my mom got her DNA from her mother, her mother’s parents’ DNA mixed in alternating segments. I showed that in my orange and green map above of my sisters’ and my X Chromosome. Here is part of my mom’s chromosome map based on her cousin matches:

Mom's Crossovers

Notice on Chromosome 6, the segments turn from red to peach on my mom’s Maternal side. On Chromosome 9, they turn from peach to red. That is where my mom got her DNA from her 2 maternal grandparents. The red should represent the DNA my mom got from her grandfather Jacob Lentz and the peach should represent the DNA my mom got from her grandmother Annie Nicholson (though through Annie’s 2 parents). If my mom had more cousins tested, more of these crossovers would show up.

Summary, Comments and Questions

  • My analysis only turned up 2 potential Lentz matches. That is the question part. I’m not sure why.
  • There were more leads on the Nicholson side, even though, or perhaps because of, the common ancestor was one generation further back
  • Both lists resulted in good leads.
  • My best lead had nothing to do with DNA. While I was writing this blog, someone saw my Nicholson Web Page and informed me they had the Nicholson family bible showing the exact time of day and dates when many in the Nicholson family were born in the 1700’s!
  • Chromosome mapping can be fun and educational
  • X Chromosome matches can be helpful. One needs to know the inheritance patterns of both the matches to see if an X Chromosome match is even possible.
  • A Chart showing relationships like the one I have at the beginning of the Blog is very important. That way one can know which DNA matches with which common ancestors.
  • Everyone says the more known relatives that test, the better. Everyone is right.





My Father In Law’s Grandparents’ DNA

In this Blog I will use a technique described by Kathy Johnston to look at some of my father in law Richard’s DNA. I will map out his 4 grandparents on Chromosome 15. These would be 4 of my wife’s great grandparents. Then I will try to figure out which grandparent goes with each segment of the mapped Chromosome.

My Father In Law and His Two Sisters

The mapping technique requires 3 siblings. My father in law tested at FTDNA and his two sisters tested at AncestryDNA. I have those results and have uploaded them to

fully identical and half identical

In the first step, I compare the 3 siblings to each other using using their chromosome browser. Here is how Lorraine and his brother Richard (my father in law) match each other at on Chromosome 15. I chose this chromosome because it is one of the smaller chromosomes, hence easier to map. Also I already knew there were some other cousins on Richard’s maternal side that had tested and had fairly good results with Richard on this Chromosome.

Lorraine V Richard
Lorraine V Richard

As shown in the above, Lorraine and Richard have one long match on Chromosome 15. I will use locations in millions, so I’ll say the match was from 18 to 94. This is represented by a sold blue line. According to FTDNA, the area before 18 is a SNP poor area not used for comparisons. The solid green sections are where Lorraine and Richard share the same DNA from 2 of their grandparents. These would be one maternal grandparent and one paternal grandparent. The green is also called a Fully Identical Region or FIR. The yellow area is called a half identical region. This means that Richard and Lorraine share the DNA from one maternal or paternal grandparent. The red area with no blue line below it is the area where Richard and Lorraine don’t share any DNA. However, this information is actually quite helpful. This would mean that if Richard got his DNA in this segment from his Paternal Grandfather and Maternal Grandmother, that Lorraine’s DNA would have to be from her Paternal Grandmother and Maternal Grandfather, for example. There are only 4 choices, so process of elimination can be used.

Comparing three siblings at a time

Next I line up the results of the three siblings.

Chr 15 3 siblings

I am now looking for crossovers. This is where Richard’s DNA, for example, switched from being inherited from one grandparent to being inherited from another grandparent.

Chr 15 with crossovers

Next I look down every line to see who owns each crossover. Let’s just look at the first vertical crossover line. In comparing Lorraine V Richard, nothing is changing there as there is green on either side of the line. At Lorraine V Virginia, and at Richard V Virginia, there is a change from no match to an HIR. The one in common in those 2 changes is Virginia. So she is the one that owns the first crossover point. That means at that point (to give a number would be 27) she received her DNA from one grandparent to the left of that point and she received her DNA from another grandparent to the right of that point. We don’t know which grandparent, or whether it was on her maternal or paternal side. We do know that both grandparents on either side of the crossover are either maternal or paternal grandparents. That fact will help me as I try to figure out which grandparent Virginia got her DNA from.

Assigning crossover points

Here we will give a name to each crossover point. We are building a DNA skeleton or frame for each person so to speak. These are assigned by each persons’ initial at the bottom of each vertical crossover line below.

Assign Names to Crossovers

This tells us that there are 7 crossovers for the 3 siblings. Virginia has 3 and Lorraine and Richard have 2 each.

The chromosome map

Next I will build a Chromosome Map based on the above information. This map will be for the 3 siblings and have a maternal and paternal side with 2 grandparents on each side. [That should make sense as you think about your own family situation.] To begin with, these grandparents will be represented by 4 different colors as we won’t know which grandparent is which. Here is the bare bones skeleton:


I kept the crossover designations on each of the vertical lines. I’ll add the 3 chromosome maps to the right of the L, R, and V on the left side for Lorraine, Richard, and Virginia. On the bottom, I have the locations on the chromosome for each crossover point. I am missing a location for the next to the last crossover line. This could be guessed or estimated based on where Virginia’s actual crossovers are later. By eye it would be about 90.

Let’s map it

Assign Names to Crossovers

I could start with any area, but I’ll start with the top left. This is the green FIR match between Lorraine and Richard. Fully identical means they both received the same DNA from the same 2 grandparents. Those 2 grandparents were one from the mother’s side and one from the father’s side. Those will be represented by green and blue.

Chr 15 First FIR

Lorraine will have one crossover preventing one of her lines (colors) from extending beyond her crossover further to the right. Richard has no crossover at this point, so his two grandparents’ DNA can extend to his ‘R’ crossover line. Meanwhile Virginia doesn’t match at either grandparent in this area, so we need to give her 2 different colors representing the DNA she got from her 2 other grandparents.

Chr 15 part 2

Due to the place I started, I’m stuck already – at least on the FIRs and no matches (green and red sections of the chromosome map).

Assign Names to Crossovers

The next step is to map an HIR. As HIRs are more ambiguous (one matches and one doesn’t) I only get one shot at guessing. Once I make one guess, then this locks in the grandparents and no further HIR guessing is allowed. Our choices for HIRs are between 27 and 35. I’ll choose Lorraine V Virginia. They are HIR between 27 and 31.

Chr 15 part 3

Now comparing L and V from 27-31, I see that their 2 green segments match and their blue and purple segments do not match. This was my one chance at guessing. I could have guessed the other way around and it wouldn’t have mattered, but at this point the colors are locked in and no more guessing is allowed. Next, Virginia has no crossovers for a while, so I’ll extend the DNA she got from her green and purple grandparents to the right to her next crossover point.

Chr 15 part 4

Next I notice that Virginia has no match with Lorraine from 31-46 and no match with Richard from 35-60. That means that Lorraine and Richard got their DNA from the opposite grandparent on their maternal or paternal side. So far, everything is relative, so the top orange and green may be maternal or paternal. We don’t know yet.

Chr 15 part 5

Scanning up from Virginia’s Chromosome 15 map from location 35 to the right, we see that Richard and Lorraine have the opposite colors. That corresponds with the no match comparisons we had in the gedmatch comparisons. We would be stuck here except for the fact that on Richard’s bar, he has no crossover at location 60. [That crossover at 60 belongs to his sister Virginia.] That means that the DNA that he got from his orange and blue grandparents can extend to his next crossover at 95.

Chr 15 part 6

Assign Names to Crossovers

Now we again are almost stuck, except that Richard and Virginia have a green FIR from 90 to 95.

Chr 15 part 7

We can then extend Virginia’s grandparents’ DNA to the right.

Chr 15 part 8

Assign Names to Crossovers

Now we truly are stuck. We only have HIRs left and I already used my one guess for those. There is a no match between Lorraine and Richard on the right hand side, as we have no DNA to go against after 95 for those 2.

Cousins to the Rescue

There is one more way to fill in these segments. That is with the matches from actual cousins. We will want to figure out which grandparents these segments go to if we can anyway by using cousin matches. First, let’s look a little at the genealogy of the cousins that have tested.

Pouliot LeFevre Diagram

In the bottom box is Richard, but I should have included his sisters Lorraine and Virginia there also. These siblings have 4 cousins that have tested on the maternal LeFevre side. Here I got a snapshot of Estelle LeFevre (b. 1905) while getting DNA from Virginia:


There are 2 testers descended from the Pouliot Grandfather. The other 2 testers are descended from Pouliot and LeFevre. I discussed the issues in separating the DNA from those two ancestors in my previous Blog.

Pouliot LeFevre Diagram rev

Here are the 3 siblings as they match their reference cousins. The more important cousin, in a way, is Fred as he descends from the Pouliots and not the LeFevres. Note that there is no overlap between Fred versus Patricia and her brother Joseph in each comparison. That is where the crossover is occurring between the Pouliot grandparent and the LeFevre grandparent. Now for each sibling (Lorraine, Richard and Virginia) that crossover is at a different location. For Lorraine, it is at 31. For Richard, it is at 35. For Virginia, it is at 28. Now refer to the second image below. The place where all those maternal crossovers occur is on the top row of each bar between the orange and green segments.

3 sibs on Chromosome Browser to All

Chr 15 part 8

So for this try, the green represents the DNA that the siblings Lorraine, Richard and Virginia got from their Pouliot grandmother and the orange represents the DNA that each sibling got from their LeFevre grandfather.

Just to confuse things – a completed chromosome 15 map

Here is a completed Chromosome 15 that I did previously. In the version below, I started more on the right and worked my way to the left. That left blanks on the left that I was able to fill in by the actual cousins. Note that the colors are relative and are reversed for the Pouliot and LeFevre grandparents which I have labelled on this Chromosome Map:

Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings
Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings
what about the paternal side of the map?

The paternal side is mapped out, but I have no reference testers. These testers would ideally be 2nd cousins that are related on only one paternal line. I only need one of these 2nd cousins to identify one grandparent. Then the leftover grandparent belongs to the other side due to process of elimination. There are already likely people that have tested at AncestryDNA, but due to lack of a chromosome browser there, I don’t have where the matches are. For now I will leave them as colors or I can call them paternal grandparents 1 and 2. The actual paternal grandparents are Edward Butler (b. 1875) and Lillie Kerivan (b. 1874).

My Wife’s DNA

The DNA represented in the map above comes from my father in law’s grandparents. However, for my wife, this represents the DNA that she got from 4 of her paternal great grandparents. How could I map that out for her?


The short and simple answer is this: My wife got her DNA from her 2 parents. That is a given. So she, like her father, Richard, has a maternal and paternal side. She will have a similar map as her father. However, now her paternal side will have her father’s 4 (or in this case 3) grandparents all on one chromosome. To make room, something has to give.

Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings
Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings

Here is Richard on the middle line. Note that he only received DNA from one of his paternal grandparents. As my wife got all her paternal DNA from her father (sounds obvious, but still worth stating), she will potentially only get DNA from 3 out of 4 of her great grandparents. Here I am borrowing a Figure from a very helpful blog called Segments: Bottom-Up:

segments greatgrandparents

In that Segmentology Blog, Chromosome 5 is used as an example. Here all the great grandparents are represented. Unfortunately, I have not tested 2 of my wife’s siblings. If I had, then I would have the first line which indicates her grandparents (in this case on her paternal side). The second line of the image above, shows in a generic way, the new crossovers that my wife could have for her great grandparent level.

My wife and her 2 aunts

Here is how my wife looks compared to her 2 aunts at gedmatch compared to those Aunts’ Chromosome 15 map. I won’t show the match to her father as she matches him in all places.

Marie Chr 15

Completed Chromosome 15 Map for 3 Siblings

From this, I take away that my wife matches her 2 Aunts on their maternal side. The gedmatch match between my wife and her Aunt Lorraine shows a break at 31 which corresponds to Aunt Lorraine’s maternal side. Likewise my wife’s second match with her Aunt Virginia starts at 60 which corresponds with Aunt Virginia’s maternal start of her switch from Pouliot DNA to LeFevre DNA. When I merge these 2 results together, it looks like the Chromosome map for Richard, above with a crossover break at 35. This makes sense, as my wife got her paternal DNA from her dad. If I was making a Chromosome map for my wife, it would include her 2 great grandparents: Martin LeFevre b. 1872 and Emma Pouliot b. 1874. Her Chromosome 15 Map would look like her father’s up to location 95. After that point it may also be the same as her father’s, but I don’t believe that I can prove that.

It is beginning to look like there may have been no recombination for my wife on Chromosome 15. So far, we have not seen any room in Marie’s DNA for the purple paternal DNA that I mapped out for Richard above.

Enter cousin John

Recently, my wife and I contacted her cousin John at AncestryDNA. He kindly uploaded his DNA to gedmatch. I said that I would use his DNA for research. Then I thought, “Now how am I going to use his DNA for research?” Here is one way. We will look to see how cousin John matches his Uncle and 2 Aunts at Chromosome 15.

John Chr 15

These red and yellow show us that Cousin John likes to eat at MacDonalds. Not really. It does show:

  • coverage of the entire Chromosome 15 from position 18 to 100.
  • one large match with Richard. This would correspond to Richard’s paternal (Irish) side
  • the match with Lorraine could correspond with her paternal side also in the purple area on my Chromosome 15 map above.
  • The 2 matches with Virginia could also be on her Paternal (Irish) side in the blue and purple segments
  • If I were to make a Chromosome 15 map for cousin John, it would be more complete than my wife’s. It would be filled in with 2 great grandparents on his father’s father’s side.

I think I will make a great grandparent Chromosome 15 Map for my wife and her cousin John, but only because this is my 50th genetic genealogy blog. This map will just be for my wife and cousin John’s Paternal side of their Chromosome 15.

Map John Marie

It is a somewhat unusual chromosome map as there are only 2 great grandparents mapped for each cousin. My wife inherited the DNA from her dad’s maternal grandparents  Her cousin John inherited his DNA from his dad’s paternal grandparents. The part in the upper right corner should probably been left blank as I have only implied Pouliot DNA there.

further deductions

I have shown that it looks like my wife matches her dad on his Maternal Side. It looks like my wife’s cousin John matches his Uncle and 2 Aunts on their Paternal sides. Remember, I am talking about great grandparent matches, so I am going back a bit. The question is, should my wife match her cousin John on Chromosome 15? I would say no. Let’s look. Here is my wife’s matches in the area of Chromosome 15 down to a level of 3 cMs:

Marie and John

As you can see, there is no Chromosome 15 match. From that I can imply, but not prove, that my wife’s Chromosome 15 after position 95 is the same as her father’s and that she inherited her father’s mother’s Chromosome 15 intact.

To Recombine or not to recombine?

The smaller Chromosomes have less of a chance of recombining.  Chromosome 15 has 100 cMs which means on average there should be exactly one crossover per Chromosome 15. Lorraine had one crossover on each of her Chromosomes 15 (maternal and paternal). Richard had 2 maternal crossovers and no paternal crossover so he meets the average. Virginia was an overachiever with 2 maternal and one paternal crossover for an average of 1.5 crossovers. My wife’s father inherited his father’s Chromosome 15 intact, so had no recombination there. Likewise there may have been no recombination from Richard down to my wife on this chromosome.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Kathy Johnston’s method of DNA analysis worked well on my father in law and 2 siblings to find the DNA they inherited from their grandparents who were born between 1872 and 1875.
  • This method worked especially well for the maternal side as there were reference points aka my father in law’s maternal cousins who had tested for DNA. For these segments with matching cousins, I could assign specific grandparents which contributed to my father in law and 2 siblings’ DNA.
  • The segments that my father in law’s family inherited from their grandparents’ Paternal Irish side is defined and in place. However, those segments are awaiting specific names. Once further testing is done or existing testing is uploaded to, then these names should be made clear.
  • This exercise on Chromosome 15 may be repeated for the other chromosomes.
  • This exercise showed two instances where recombination did not take place and another instance where it probably did not take place.
  • I would know more about my wife’s DNA if I had 2 more siblings’ DNA results.
  • I have been neglecting my wife’s DNA results as I had other test results from her older relatives. I need to update her FTDNA and matches. This may give more clues on how she inherited her great grandparents’ DNA from her father.
  • A cousin who has tested was used to triangulate between the 3 siblings and my wife to check the work.
  • Based on the results of the 3 siblings Chromosome Mapping, maps can also be made for the children of these siblings. For the children, the mapping would show which great grandparents they received their DNA from.

My Father In Law’s Autosomal DNA: Separating the LeFevres from the Pouliots

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at my Butler father in law’s autosomal DNA, so it’s time to look at it in a blog. Richard descends from an Irish father and a French Canadian mother. Richard has many large matches with many with French Canadian ancestry. In comparison, he seems to have smaller and fewer matches on his Irish side. This is probably due to several reasons:

  • The French Canadians have been around for many hundreds of years in North America.
  • Their descendants have spread throughout the region and many migrated to Massachusetts where Richard is from.
  • Many of these early French Canadians were intermarried. This tends to increase the amount of shared DNA among cousins.
  • The numerous French Canadian descendants perhaps were more likely to take DNA tests.
  • Conversely, the Irish relatives tended to emigrate later in time.
  • These Irish descendants seem less likely to have taken DNA tests.

Richard’s Known Matches – French Canadian

Richard has 2 pairs of known matches with cousins of French Canadian ancestry (other than my wife). They are:

  • 2 First cousins – They are on his mother’s (LeFevre) side
  • 2 Second cousins – They are also on the mother’s side but one generation up. The common ancestor is Pouliot. Here is a diagram of Richard’s mother’s side:

Pouliot LeFevre Diagram

My Confusion

I looked at these matches and wondered how I would be able to sort out the LeFevres and the Pouliots. This was confusing as the LeFevre line had Pouliot in it.

The Easy Answer

The easy answer is there is no easy way to pull the 2 apart with what I had. This is because at the first cousin level, it is not easy to pull out one family. If you think about it, your first cousins share 2 grandparents with you. This was the case with Richard’s 2 first cousins also. As they are on the mother’s side, they are useful for determining whether matches are on the Butler or LeFevre (Paternal or Maternal) side, but not a whole lot more. But that is quite a bit. This is a way of phasing your results. This also separates the French Canadian matches from the Irish matches.

Looking for more than can be found in a relationship can be frustrating and confusing and that was where I was a while back. I have found that it is usually good to keep it simple – especially when figuring these things out. The problem was I was comparing apples and oranges. Or in this case 1st cousins and 2nd cousins. This is why it is sometimes suggested that a second cousin is a good choice for testing.

The Pouliot Second Cousins

As mentioned above, the Pouliot second cousins represent all the Pouliot DNA shared. On the FTDNA Chromosome Browser Richard’s DNA shared with his 2 Pouliot 2nd cousins looks like this:

Butler Pouliot Chromosome Browser

From the image above, I gather a few things:

  • This is a map of the DNA that Richard received from his Pouliot great grandfather (and Fortin great grandmother) down from his Pouliot grandmother.
  • As this represents the DNA from Richard’s grandmother, it would theoretically cover about one half of his chromosome browser. This would be the amount of DNA that he actually did get from his grandmother as compared to how he matches his two 2nd cousins.
  • Richard’s theoretical amount of DNA he got from his grandmother would cover half of the browser because the browser contains both paternal and maternal matches.

Add in the 1st Cousin

I’m only adding in one LeFevre 1st cousin as the other one didn’t test at FTDNA. Here the first cousin will be in green.

French Canadian to Richard in Browswer

From looking at the above, I observe the following:

  • The green area represents Richard’s maternal side as shown through a match with a maternal cousin.
  • This green represents LeFevre on Richard’s parent level.
  • About one half of his green match represents LeFevre and one half represents Pouliot on the grandparent level.
  • Going further up the ancestor line the green represents every other ancestor of Richard’s mother. This would be French Canadians.
  • Richard got a full chromosome from his mother, so all the DNA received from his mother would fill the above chromosome browser.
  • There are areas on Chromosomes 1, 13 and 16 where Richard’s green LeFevre cousins matches overlaps with his matches from his Pouliot cousins. These areas likely represent where the LeFevre cousins match the Pouliots. This would mean that in this area of the LeFevre cousins’ chromosomes they got their DNA from the Pouliot side. I know that I said above that it was not possible to sort out what part of the LeFevre DNA was from Pouliot, but from looking at the Chromosome Browser above, it appears that it is possible. More on this later.
  • Areas where there are breaks in the matches or where the matches go from the LeFevre cousin to the Pouliot cousins likely indicate Richard’s crossover points. These are the points where the DNA he received changed from one [maternal in this case] grandparent to another. That is, the DNA he actually received went from his LeFevre grandfather to his Pouliot grandmother.
  • As the LeFevre cousins and Richard both descend from LeFevre sisters, they share X Chromosome matches. Both those sisters got their X Chromosomes from their 2 parents. Those 2 parents were LeFevre and Pouliot.
  • Due to the X inheritance patterns there can be no X Chromosome matches between Richard and his Pouliot 2nd cousins. Richard did receive Pouliot X Chromosomes from his mother’s mother. But Richard’s cousin did not as there is no X Chromosome passed down from father to son.

Triangulation – Thinking In Three Dimensions

Triangulation is when 3 or more people all get their DNA from the same ancestor and all match each other. Our best shot at finding this is at the right hand side of Chromosome 1. It looks like these 3 people who match Richard should match each other. Two are siblings, so that is a given. Here is how Richard’s 4 cousin matches look like at

Richard Gedmatch Chr 1

You will have to switch gears a bit here from the FTDNA browser. In this browser, the different colors stand for the size of the match. Here, #1 and #2 are the Pouliot 2nd cousins. #3 and #4 are the LeFevere 1st cousins. #4 was the cousin that didn’t test at FTDNA. As expected, in the area where the 4 cousin matches are stacked on top of each other, they also match each other. At this close of a match, they almost have to. The only other option would be if they matched somehow on Richard’s paternal Irish side, which would be unlikely. This means that the 5 cousins triangulate and they have as a common ancestor their great grandfather Pouliot. Another interesting thing about Richard’s Chromosome 1 is that with just 4 maternal cousins, he has much of his chromosome mapped out – at least the maternal side of it.





Slimming Down My Big Fat Chromosome 20

In a previous Blog, I mentioned My Big Fat Chromosome 20. I had discovered, for some reason, that more than one half of all my matches were on this Chromosome. This can be seen visually using a Swedish web site called

dnagen circle chart

Here the default setting is at 200%. That means that only the matches that are twice as large as the median are shown. This program uses FTDNA matches. The match names are on the outside of the circle and the lines going between the names are what FTDNA calls ICW or (In Common With). I just noted today that there is a group on this circle that doesn’t connect with others at about 9 o’clock on the circle. These matches like to stay in their own Chromosome apparently. They are in a dark color which I take to be Chromosome 3. However, that is an aside.

The real point is to show Chromosome 20 in the dark green in the lower right half of the circle. Chromosome 20 is the Hong Kong of Chromosomes. In a little space, I have  lot of matches. Remember that Chromosome 20 is one of the smaller Chromosomes. If I have about 4,000 matches, that means that over 2,000 of them are on Chromosome 20. In my previous Blog on Chromosome 20, I determined that these matches were on my Frazer grandmother’s side. Her 2 parents were born in Ireland. That means that these matches represented Irish matches and not Colonial American matches as I had previously assumed.

The Progression of Sorting Matches

Autosomal DNA matches may be grouped in different ways. When I first tested, I got a bunch of matches at FTDNA. I didn’t know who any of them were. FTDNA had suggested some relationships which were mostly optimistic. Here is some of the progression of how I have sorted my matches:

  1. Sorted by projected relationship or match level (cMs)
  2. Sorted by actual relationship if known
  3. Sorted by Chromosome. This option is not available at AncestryDNA. One has to upload the AncestryDNA results to gedmatch for this option. This is when I discovered all my Chromosome 20 matches.
  4. Sorted by Triangulation Groups. By using a Tier 1 option at Gedmatch or by finding by hand all the matches that match each other at a particular segment, I was able to find many Triangulation Groups (TGs)
  5. Sorted by Maternal or Paternal. All our valid DNA matches should match on either the maternal or paternal side. Once I tested my mother, I was able to phase my results at gedmatch and find out whether I matched other testers on my mother’s side or my father’s side. This was a big breakthrough for me. This cut down a lot of frustrating searches. For example, there are a lot of people that match my mother that have Frazer or Fraser ancestors. My Frazer ancestors are on my father’s side. Therefor, I knew that when looking for Frazers, I could eliminate all my mother’s matches who had them as ancestors and not worry about them.
  6. Sorted by other known matches. I had my father’s 1st cousin tested. This got to the level of my great grandparents on my Hartley side. However, it didn’t tell me which great grandparent. My Hartley great grandparent was a relatively recent immigrant from England. My non-Hartley great grandparent had ancestors going back tot he Pilgrims in Massachusetts. I also had other relatives tested and found other matches that I knew I was related to.
  7. Another breakthrough happened after I had my 2 sisters tested. I used a method by Kathy Johnston to find out where you got all your DNA from your 4 grandparents by comparing your DNA results to 2 siblings. This method worked pretty well on most of my chromosomes. Now I knew where the DNA was coming from at my grandparent level for most of my matches. When I had a match, I could check my map to see which grandparent that match belonged to.

That is about where I left it at my last Blog on Chromosome 20. I looked at my crossover points for Chromosome 20. Here are my sisters compared to each other and to me:

Chr 20 Crossovers

Here is how I used the above comparison to map my grandparents that gave me my Chromosome 20 segments. The blank parts are half identical and ambiguous, so rather than guessing, I left them blank. For example, on Sharon’s row on the top, either the orange goes to the left and blue starts at the lower half or the opposite: the purple continues to the left and the green starts at the crossover line.

Chr 20 Final Segment

My chromosome 20 is on the bottom. At the time I wrote my previous Blog on Chromosome 20, I discovered that the vast majority of my matches were due to my Frazer side (green) and not my Hartley side (orange). This was a surprise as my Hartley grandfather had a mother with American Colonial roots. The final point of my previous blog on the subject was:

The fact that all these matches are on my Frazer line doesn’t necessarily mean that they are Frazer matches. They could be McMaster, Clarke, Spratt or any other known or unknown ancestor of my Frazer grandmother.

It’s great that I now know that most of my Chromsome 20 matches are Paternal and that they are on my Frazer grandmother’s line. But I am still curious as to where they are coming from. Can I find out more? I would like to try.

Chromosome 20: Beyond Grandparents

One advantage I have is that I am working on a Frazer DNA project with 27 testers. There are 2 lines of Frazers. I am on the Archibald Line and there is another line called the James Line. These 2 lines are somewhat distantly related as these 2 brothers were born in the early 1700’s. Here are the matches for the project on Chromosome 20:

Chr 20 Matches

All of these matches involve at least one James Line tester which I am not on. The 2 major matches between the Archibald Line and James line are between myself (JH) and my sister (SH) on the Archibald Line and Bonnie (BN) on the James Line. As I show below, even my McMaster Line has Frazers in it, which could be the source of that match. Sharon had very few Chromosome 20 matches compared to her siblings Heidi and myself. The 1,000 plus matches I had were before the 47 million mark where I match Bonnie above. My mega-matches mostly occur on Chromosome at 44,000,000 (End Location) or before. This tells me that my mega-matches are not of the Frazer surname. If they were, I would have seen some of my closer Archibald Line matches on Chromosome 20 from the Frazer DNA Project.

Enter cousin paul

Paul is my second cousin once removed who tested for DNA. His great grandparents are my 2nd great grandparents: George Frazer and Margaret McMaster.

George Frazer Tree

When I compare myself to Paul, I get to either the Frazer or McMaster Lines. This will eliminate the Clarke line of my great grandmother and her Spratt mother as they are not in Paul’s line – only mine.

My McMasters: It’s a Bit Complicated

Here is my McMaster Line going back from my Frazer grandmother.

McMaster Ancestry

Not only did 2 McMasters marry each other, one of them had a Frazer mother! Marion Frazer is my grandmother, so she is 2 generations from me. Margaret McMaster is at 4 generations. James and Fanny McMaster are at 5 generations to me. Their parents (the left-most McMasters above) are at 5 generations out from my cousin Paul and six generations from me. This is useful to know in the Generations Estimate I have below.

Here is where the Frazer/McMaster split is.

Frazer Buggy

George Frazer b. 1838 is on the left and Margaret McMaster b. 1846 is on the right. The photo was taken in Ballindoon, Ireland in front of the Frazer family home.

At, I compared Paul and myself at:

People who match one
or both of 2 kits

I chose most of those that matched both Paul and me. I left out an apparent duplicate and one who is anonymous for now. I also left out my 2 siblings. With those results, I chose the Traceability option and got this chart:

Generations Paul Joel

Those in red are in the Frazer DNA Project. We know their genealogy. Gladys descends from the couple above George Frazer and Margaret McMaster. Michael and Jane descend from one level above that. The circle above are those that are related to Paul and me, but not to others in the Frazer DNA Project. [One exception is Jane, but she matches at generation 7 which is about as far out as Gedmatch goes. This may or may not be a real match.] If those in the circle are not Frazer, then the apparent conclusion is that they are McMaster relatives.

Back to chromosome 20

See all the Chromosome 20 matches on my Gedmatch Traceability Report:

TG Chart Chr 20

Remember I said that my 1,000 plus matches on Chromosome 20 ended around 44M? This is what the above shows. It also shows a triangulation of matches. This triangulation is also implied by the cluster of matches within the circle of the Generations Estimate Chart above. The Chromosome 20 Triangulation Group (TG) includes:

  • Myself
  • *S. S.
  • Daphine
  • Feeney
  • Gladys

Now Gladys should not be in this list as she is in the Frazer DNA Project and has no known McMaster ancestors. In fact, when I run the ‘one to one’ at Gedmatch, she doesn’t match the others in the above list. There are glitches in the Traceability Report, so caution is needed. I will take out the last 3 names in the Generations Estimate to simplify the results. Unfortunately, that didn’t fix the problem, so I had to take out Gladys from the Frazer Project (sorry Gladys).

Gen Est Paul Joel

Now my presumed McMaster relatives are in the green circle. Here are the improved and simplified matches:

TG Chart Chr 20

I note now that the 2 ‘M’ kits (indicating 23andme testers) are now matching each other which is what I had expected previously. Note that I left my previous Traceability results in the blog as a warning that the Traceability utility is glitchy. Actually the new report is not indeed improved as now Michael from the Frazer project is matching my presumed non-Frazer McMasters. I took out Michael, and then Jane from the Frazer Project developed similar bogus matches with those she is not related to!

I’ll have to take out all the other Frazer Project people out for this Traceability to work. This was supposed to have worked so smoothly. Here below Joel and Paul should be the remaining McMaster relatives:

Joel Paul R3

Here is the Chromosome 20 TG. Note that Paul is not in it, but he matches others from the TG in other Chromosomes:

TG Chart Chr 20

This chart is only mostly right. Paul’s green match is actually on Chromosome 19 rather than 15:

Paul's Actual Match with Edge
Paul’s Actual Match with Edge

Here is the globe view of my proposed McMaster relative TG:

McMaster Globe

The colors in the lines correspond to the colors in the chart above. The light blue lines are the Chromosome 20 TG from my “big fat” area. The blue lines indicate a TG as they go from each of six people to the other 5. The gray lines represent multiple matches. I am at the bottom of the globe and my cousin Paul is to my right. He is not in the blue TG on Chromosome 20, but matches all my matches on other chromosomes at least once.

Conclusions and Further Research

From what I have shown above, I feel like I have found my McMaster relatives through DNA. However, these would have to be verified by genealogy. None of my proposed ‘McMasters’ have any gedcoms at gedmatch.

  • Daphine – she is on FTDNA but with no tree and no ancestors mentioned. An ICW search reveals 59 pages of matches – likely mostly on Chromosome 20.
  • Edge – He is at FTDNA. He has a limited tree. His paternal grandmother may be a lead. He has only 52 pages of in common matches at FTDNA
  • John – A search at 23andme showed nothing. Perhaps he is anonymous there.
  • Feeney – Same result – or perhaps these people are using different names?
  • *S.S – I see an S.S at Ancestry, but it is difficult to tell if it is the same person.

I have McMaster connections through DNA and genealogy at AncestryDNA, but there is no way to tell if the connection is on Chromosome 20 without a chromosome browser. My Mcmaster matches at AncestryDNA either don’t know how to upload their DNA to gedmatch, aren’t interested or haven’t gotten to it.

Opposition to TGs

Of late, on Facebook, there has been questioning as to the validity of  TGs – especially large TGs like I have at Chromosome 20. The thought is that no common ancestors will be found as there are just too many common ancestors in these large TGs. I have not explained the 100’s of matches in my Chromosome 20 TG, but I have shown 5 people that match both myself and my cousin Paul. These 5 by DNA do not have obvious Frazer ancestry and appear to be in my McMaster Line. So I suppose we have a stalemate. I cannot prove at this time (except to myself) that my Chromosome 20 TG matches are McMaster relatives and those who are not in favor of large TGs cannot prove that these matches are not McMaster relatives.