McMaster and Clarke Genealogy and DNA

When I have a complicated problem, I like to write a Blog about it. This helps to see some of the issues. I haven’t written on my McMaster and Clarke side. The Clarke side has a brick wall in Ireland. The McMaster genealogy is better off, but I haven’t found much in the way of identified McMaster DNA matches. I’d like to see if I could pull any genealogy and DNA together for these two families.

Clarke Genealogy

Margaret Clarke was the wife of my great-grandfather James Archibald Frazer. She died in childbirth as did her mother Jane Spratt. Here is the little that I have on the line:

Margaret was from County Sligo as was James. They both emigrated to Boston and married. Margaret’s mother Jane, as I mentioned died in childbirth at the age of about 36, so little is known about her. Her husband Thomas’ father was John and his mother was believed to be Catherine Whitesides, but this is not certain. Thomas remarried after Jane died and had more children.

Here is a photo of Margaret:

Elizabeth and celia Clarke

Thomas had at least two siblings. They were Elizabeth and Celia Clarke:

Celia lived in Boston with her husband Charles McGarry (shown as McGeary in the 1880 Census):

As far as I know, Celia Clarke McGeary had no children. I added the family next to them because there we have a Edward McMaster. Turns out he was also married to a Celia Clarke and I match their descendant by DNA. On the next page of the Census, living with the McMaster family was a Charlotte Hovenden or Havenden:

She and her mother are shown as born in Ireland, but the father is shown as being born in Massachusetts.  Perhaps something was reversed there. When I search for Charlotte Hovenden, I was able to see she was born to Thomas and Mary in Boston on 13 September 1871.

The bottom line is that it looks suspicious that two Celia Clarkes were living next door to each other. I know I’m related to the elder Celia and quite sure that I am related to Edward McMaster. I can’t prove that I’m related to the younger Celia

back to elizabeth clarke

Elizabeth Clarke (sister of the older Celia) married Gilbert Archey and they lived in Ferguson, Pennsylvania. It would be interesting to see if I have any Archey DNA matches. I did have a distant match at Ancestry with someone who had an Archey ancestor from Achonry, County Sligo, but I was hoping that one of the Pennsylvania Archey descendants had tested. OK, moving on.

Catherine clarke, the sister of my great grandmother margaret clarke

My great-grandmother’s sister Catherine married William McMaster who is also related to me. I have to look it up as it gets complicated. William was the brother of my great great grandmother. It’s better if I draw it out:

From my great grandparent perspective, Margaret Clarke married James Frazer. Margaret’s sister Catherine married William McMaster who was also James’ Uncle on the McMaster side. Put another way, Margaret Clarkes’ Mother in Law was the sister of Margaret’s sister’s husband. I forgot that it is a bit more complicated as James McMaster Sr. married Fanny McMaster, daughter of William McMaster and Margaret Frazer.

It’s easier for me to picture this on a chart. Unfortunately the Archeys didn’t fit well on this chart, so they got dropped out.

An AncestryDNA McMaster Match

On a Facebook Page, Blaine Bettinger, who is a noted genetic genealogist,  posed this question,

“How much DNA (in cM) do you share with your closest match at AncestryDNA that you DON’T know how you’re related?”

My first foray into this question lead to the discovery of two 1/2 siblings on a different Line. The next closest match after that was an apparent McMaster match with Ron. Well, I don’t know if this met Blaine’s requirement as it appears we are related through the McMasters, but we aren’t sure exactly how. Here is how the match shows at AncestryDNA:

By the amount of DNA that Ron and I share, AncestryDNA thinks that we are third cousins. Ron pointed out that the 1930 Census for his grandfather indicated that his grandfather’s father was from Scotland and that the mother was from England. I pointed out many other records indicating that the parents were from Ireland. Due to another strange twist, Ron’s great-grandmother was named Celia Clarke. Remember the 1880 Census? Ron’s Celia Clarke was living next door to a Celia Clarke that was related to me. That was the Celia, daughter of Thomas Clarke who Married Charles McGarry. Could this just be a crazy coincidence? Probably not.

The Naturalization connection

Ron’s McMaster Great Grandfather was Edward F. McMaster b. 1851 in County Sligo. Edward’s Naturalization papers required two witnesses. One of those was William McMaster:

Here is my third great Uncle William’s signature on his own Naturalization papers:

I would say the two signatures look pretty exact.

Based on Edward’s marriage record to Celia Clarke, his parents were Robert and Mary McMaster. Based on my previous research, I had a Robert and Mary Mae McMaster. They were from the Kilmactranny area of the Southern part of County Sligo – near the Roscommon border.  Unfortunately there was a gap in the Kilmactranny Church records – which probably explains for the missing birth record for Edward. After coming out of the mad scientist’s laboratory, I come up with this:

According to this, Ron and I have the common ancestor of Abraham McMaster. In simple terms, that would make us fourth cousins, once removed. This is a bit more than what AncestryDNA predicted. However, I have two McMasters on my side: James and Fanny married each other. On Ron’s side there is a Clarke also. I have this Celia Clarke in lighter blue as we are not sure how or if she is connected to the other Clarkes. For symmetry’s sake, perhaps she was the grand-daughter of the father of John Clarke? I have four siblings tested. This is how they match Ron at AncestryDNA:

  • Heidi – 3rd Cousin 95 cM
  • Jonathan – 3rd Cousin 91 cM
  • Lori – 4th Cousin 52 cM
  • Sharon – 4th Cousin 35 cM

So it looks like I get the biggest match.

More On Clarke and McMaster DNA

Margaret Clarke is an important person DNA-wise. As my great grandmother, she is responsible for approximately 12% of my DNA more or less. However, as I have my DNA phased, she should represent 25% of my paternally phased matches. Put another way, I have my DNA mapped to my four grandparents. Of the DNA mapped to my Frazer grandmother, half of that should be Clarke DNA.

This is the map of my Chromosome 12 along with the map of my 3 sisters and one brother. The blue is Frazer. Specifically, the blue is my Frazer grandmother. However, she got half of her Frazer DNA from her dad and half from her mom who was Margaret Clarke. That means that about half of all the blue above should be Clarke DNA. Considering the large amount of Clarke DNA I should have, it is too bad that I haven’t identified any of it yet.

I have tested a 2nd cousin once removed Frazer. Here is how he matches me and my siblings on Chromosome 12:

Our common ancestors with Paul are George Frazer and Margaret McMaster. That means that these matches are belong to either one of those. I have looked at a lot of Frazer matches. It appears that the matches in the middle could be McMaster based on lack of Frazer matches and the small matches on the right would be Frazer matches. Those areas at least identify DNA that could not be from the Clarke side as my 2nd cousin Paul does not descend from the Clarkes.

McMaster DNA

My Mcmaster DNA goes back further. My 2nd great grandmother was Margaret McMaster. I have 16 second great grandparents. That means that 6.25% of my DNA would be from Margaret. That is 12.5% of my paternal matches. The Ancestry Ron match hasn’t uploaded to Gedmatch. If he did, that should identify about 140 cM of McMaster or possibly even Clarke DNA.

McMaster DNA Update 23andme

I recently contacted a match at 23andme who also has a McMaster ancestor.

Leroy Thomas MacMaster is one of Stephen’s maternal great grandfathers. Ron, the match I have at AncestryDNA, has Leroy as his grandfather. That would make Ron and Stephen 1st cousins once removed. The good news about Stephen is that he is on 23andme where I can tell what DNA we share.

Above, in table form, is the connection that Stephen and I have by DNA. I assume that the connection is on the McMaster/MacMaster side, but as we both have suspicious Clark ancestors, I would not rule out some Clark/Clarke DNA in there. The largest DNA match between Stephan and me is on Chromosome 18. Here is how I got my DNA from my four grandparents on Chromosome 18:

The numbers on the bottom correspond to the position numbers in the table above but in millions. So the blue bar to the right of my J is where I match Stephen from about 0 to 7. My Frazer grandmother had a Clarke mother and a McMaster paternal grandmother. Stephen would also match the blue in the beginning of Chromosome 18 for my Sister Heidi (H) and my brother Jonathan (F) above. Here is a newer map for my other sister, Lori. This shows that she would not match Stephen on Chromosome 18 as she got her DNA in the beginning of that Chromosome from her Hartley side:

Some Simplified McMaster/Clarke Trees

I started writing this Blog in October 2017 and have now come back to it in March 2018. I can see that my trees were a bit complicated. I am putting these trees out there not as a proven thing, but as a model to see if I can figure out where the DNA matches are coming from.

McMaster Tree

There, that looks a lot better. AncestryDNA has me as a third cousin to Ron and 23andme has me as a third to fourth cousin. By this chart, I would be a 4th cousin once removed to Ron and a 5th cousin to Stephen. The extra DNA could be coming from my other McMaster Line or from the Clarke side.

Clarke Tree

This tree will be more difficult to build as Clarke is one of my most challenging lines. Here is one possibility:

Another Clarke Tree

In this tree, I am a third cousin to Ron and third cousin once removed to Stephen. Perhaps this fits the DNA better?

Under this scenario, the above 17 year old Celia Clarke arrives in Boston on the Steamer Hecla from Ireland by way of Liverpool on 23 September 1873.

Celia marries Edward McMaster three years later in Boston in 1876. The 1880 Census shows that she is living at the same address as her Aunt Celia in Boston. The only problem with the story is that Celia’s father is recorded as James on the marriage record. The mother she did have as Jane which would fit. It would be interesting to find a death record for Celia to see what it said. This would take a trip up to Boston to check.

Another Update on the DNA

I just noticed that MyHeritage now appears to have Ron’s DNA. I have uploaded my DNA results there also, but have not used the site much yet. Ron was my largest match there until a Latvia match recently appeared.

All I need to do is upload my cousin Paul’s DNA to MyHeritage. Paul is related to me through the McMasters but not through the Clarkes. If Paul matches Ron at MyHeritage, that should mean it is likely a McMaster match. The places where Paul does not match Ron or Steve will still be ambiguous. It is better to match a known Clarke to confirm a Clarke match.

Here is my match with Ron at MyHeritage:

Those are pretty impressive matches. The huge match at Chromosome 4 is indicative of a fairly close relationship, such as one like I’ve proposed through the Clarke family. The smaller matches are indicative of more distant relationships such as are likely on the McMaster side.

Summary and Conclusions

I’ve gone through a lot of genealogy and DNA. What does it all mean?

  • The genealogy on the McMaster side points to a connection between my family and Ron and Steve’s. A McMaster that I’m familiar with from my previous research signed the naturalization papers for Steve and Ron’s ancestor Edward F McMaster
  • Edward F McMasters parents are believed to be Robert McMaster and Mary. That appears to link Edward to Kilmactranny Parish in Sourthern County Sligo, Ireland.
  • The Clarke genealogy also appears to link our two families together. There are two Celia Clarkes. I had documented the elder one on my side. The younger one who married Edward McMaster ended up living at the same address as the elder Celia Clarke.
  • I proposed two trees for the younger Celia Clarke. The one I preferred had her as the niece of the elder Celia Clarke. This tree also put me at a closer relationship to Ron and Steve. This closer relationship seems supported by the large DNA matches I have with Ron and Steve.
  • My DNA results triangulate with Ron and Steve. I didn’t get into that because although triangulation shows common ancestors, there appear to be two different choices for common ancestors: Clarke and McMaster.
  • Ron uploaded his results to MyHeritage. That was helpful in showing the shared matches he has with me and Steve on the same segments of the same chromosomes. I uploaded my cousin Paul’s DNA results to MyHeritage. That will show which of the matches are McMaster matches as Paul also has McMaster ancestry. However, it will not positively show which matches are Clarke matches as Paul is not related on the Clarke side.
  • It takes a little while
  • This Blog is my 200th. It is interesting that I am still breaking new ground on my 200th Blog.


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