More Thoughts on Ron, Steve and McMaster/Clarke Genealogy and DNA

My last Blog on the McMaster/Clarke family was my 200th Blog on genetic genealogy. I was surprised that it was the first on Clarke DNA. The Blog focused on my McMaster and Clarke family and also on Ron and Steve. Ron and Steve both have McMaster and Clarke ancestors as do I. Neither the McMaster nor Clarke connection to me is cut and dry. However, there are big DNA matches between me, Ron and Steve. Usually, when I do these comparisons, I do them in as they make it easy to do comparisons and they have good DNA comparison tools. However, in this case, Ron tested at Ancestry and also has his results at MyHeritage. Steve tested at 23andme. He would be willing to post his results at or MyHeritage, but those sites are not ready to take the new 23andme DNA results.

McMaster/McMasters/MacMaster: Scottish or Irish?

First, here is the tree which shows how I think that Steve, Ron and I are related on the McMaster side.

Ron and Steve both had traditions that their ancestors were Scottish and not Irish. I am quite sure that they were Scottish, but that between their time in Scotland and the US, they lived in Ireland for quite a while. This is based on the fact that I have traced the McMasters back to Kilmactranny Parish in County Sligo to the early 1700’s. Here are some other pieces of evidence that indicate that Steve and Ron’s McMaster ancestry is more directly from Ireland:

  1. Steve and Ron’s ancestor Edward’s Naturalization Papers state that he was from Count Sligo:

2. Edward’s marriage states that he and his wife were from Ireland:

3. Edward’s son Frederick William’s birth record shows that both his parents were from Ireland.

4. Edward’s son Stanley Edward’s 1881 birth record shows that both his parents were from Ireland. By the way he shared a birthday with me. At that time Stanley’s mom was listed as Sadie.

5. Edward’s daughter Alice Jane’s 1885 birth record shows that both his parents were from Ireland.

6. Edward’s son Thomas Leroy’s birth record shows that both his parents were from Ireland.

7.  Edward’s daughter Edna Clark’s birth record shows that both his parents were from Ireland.

8. The 1880 Census shows that Edward McMaster and his wife were born in Ireland as well as both of their parents.

The 1900 Census is the first one that mentions that Edward was born in Scotland and Celia in England.

9. The 1889 death record for Edward’s son Frederick W McMaster has both his parents born in Ireland.

This seems to show that most the records indicate that Edward and Celia were born in Ireland as were both their parents.

The Clarke Side

In my previous Blog, I favored this tree to match up my tree with Steve and Ron’s:

This has me as a third cousin with Ron. That is consistent with our DNA matches. However, I don’t have a good paper trail. Celia does list her mother as Jane on her wedding record. However, she gives her father as James rather than Thomas Clarke.

Interestingly, one tree at ancestry does have a Celia as the daughter of Thomas Clarke and Jane Spratt:

I recognize the owner of the tree as someone I have corresponded with in the past and who knows quite a bit about the Clarke family.  However, Margaret my great-grandmother is missing as well as Jane. Also the owner has no references for Celia.

However, I did check my records. I have the memoir of the daughter of William and Catherine pictured above. She does mention Celia here:

In another part of the memoir, she mentions the children but in a different order:

Unfortunately, she gives no further detail on Celia other that she knew them all. I take that to mean that Celia lived in the Boston area. I favor the first listing above of the children as it has Celia first who was apparently born around 1856. This gives me more confidence that it was this Celia that married Edward Mcmaster.

Back to the DNA

It is possible to triangulate DNA. This happens when three people match each other on the same segment. When that happens, there is almost always a shared ancestor. The problem is figuring out who that ancestor is.

I match both Stephen and Ron on Chromosome 4:

These are both from my match list. In order for this to be triangulation, Ron would also have to match Steve. I assume that this is the case, but cannot prove it. Assuming that this is triangulation, this may indicate a Clarke ancestor.  I say this due to the large match with Ron indicating a closer relationship and the fact that my McMaster relatives that aren’t related to the Clarkes do not match here.

Steven and Ron both match me on Chromosome 6, but the matches don’t overlap. So I can’t show triangulation there.

I match both Stephen and Ron on Chromosome 18:

Again, it is not a large overlap, but there is an overlap showing that we have a common ancestor out there somewhere.

Does the Triangulation Indicate a McMaster Or Clarke Ancestor?

That is what I would like to know. If my cousin Paul triangulated with Steve and Ron, it would indicate a McMaster ancestor as Paul has no Clarke ancestor. Unfortunately, Steve tested at 23andme and Paul did not.

How I Match Ron and Paul at MyHeritage

When I put Ron and Paul into my matching chromosome browser, it shows that I do not match Ron and Paul in the same place. That means that we do not triangulate. That also means that it is possible that I am matching Paul on the McMaster side and Ron on the Clarke side. Unfortunately, something cannot be proved by not matching, but it could give a clue.

I match Ron on red and Paul on yellow. As I mentioned, I have no overlapping segments with Ron and Paul. Of special interest is Chromosome 7. My match switches over from yellow. Here is an enlargement of that segment and what it may mean:

Again, these are my matches. I am matching Paul in yellow. This could be Frazer as Ron doesn’t have Frazer DNA from what I can tell. My Paul [Frazer?] match stops and my Ron [Clarke?] match starts. This is a possible Frazer/Clarke recombination point that my father had and he passed down to me. Another possibility would be a Frazer/McMaster recombination point, but that doesn’t make as much sense as that should have been passed down to both Paul and me(?)

Here is how Paul likelly matches on the McMaster Tree:

Does Paul Match Ron or Stephen by DNA?

It looks like they don’t match by DNA. At MyHeritage, Ron is one of my closest matches:

However, Ron doesn’t match Paul at all at MyHeritage. Note that Ron should be more closely related to Paul than to me on the McMaster tree.

This is how Stephen matches me and my siblings at Genesis. Steve uploaded his 23andme results to that Gedmatch subsidiary:

Steve doesn’t match Paul at Genesis either. What are the chances? Here they are:

As 4th cousins, Paul and Ron should match better than half the time. As 4th cousins once removed, Paul and Steve should match only better than, say, 30%

Notice in the image above that my sister Sharon does not match Steve. However, Sharon does match Ron at MyHeritage here:

Note that these are all chromosomes where she wasn’t matching Steve above. That is why Sharon and Steve didn’t match by DNA.

I note also that Steve and Paul do not match at Genesis.

The other piece of the puzzle I am missing is where Steve and Ron match each other.

What Does All This Mean?

It means that the DNA suggests that the match may be through a closer Clarke line rather than a more distant McMaster connection. From what I can tell, there were two or three sisters that married McMasters or McMaster relatives.

  • Ron and Steve’s ancestor, Edward McMaster, married Celia Clark in 1876. Celia was born about 1856. In 1880 Celia Clarke McMaster was living in the same building as Celia Clarke McGarry, a known relation of mine – possibly her Aunt.
  • William McMaster married Catherine McMaster in 1882. This William signed Edward McMaster’s naturalization papers as a witness. Catherine Clarke was born 1863
  • My great-grandfather James Archibald Frazer married Margaret Clarke in 1892. His mother was a McMaster. Margaret was the sister of Catherine Clarke. William McMaster was the uncle of James Archibald Frazer. Margaret was born 1866.

Here is a photo of my great-grandfather James Frazer with William McMaster’s wife Catherine Clarke. This was apparently after the death of James’ wife Margaret Clarke and Catherine’s husband William McMaster.

It would appear that Celia, Catherine and Margaret were sisters. If this is the case then I would be third cousin to Ron and third cousin once removed to Steve on the Clarke Line. The best way to identify by DNA whether the match is on the Clarke Line or McMaster line is to find someone with only Clarke or McMaster DNA. Ron, Steve, and I have both. Paul has McMaster DNA but not Clarke. If Paul had matched Ron and/or Steve by DNA, then that would indicate the match was on the McMaster Line. However, I know of no one that has only Clarke and not McMaster DNA due to all the double-related marriages mentioned above.

If Celia’s marriage record had her dad as Thomas and not James, I would be more convinced that she was a sister to the other two Clarkes mentioned above. If Celia’s marriage record gave her mother’s maiden name (Spratt), that would have convinced me also. Steve should be taking a trip to the Department of Public Health to check for Celia’s death record. Perhaps this will straighten things out.

Running is Good for DNA Analysis

I came up with this idea on my run today. My idea is to compare Emily to my family and Ron at MyHeritage. I recently found another relative that I matched there. Actually two: Melanie and her mom Emily. Emily, like Paul, has McMaster DNA, but no known Clarke DNA.

Now the McMaster DNA tree is getting wider which is good for DNA comparisons. I did quite a few comparisons until I found this one:

This is how my sister Lori matches Paul. in red, Ron in brown and Emily in yellow. The interesting match is here:

This segment where Lori matches Ron and Emily appears to form a Triangulation Group (TG). TGs are good as they show that those in the Group have a common ancestor. Lori matches Ron from about 41-51M on the Chromosome. Above, Lori matched Steve at the same spot:

My guess is that Steve and Ron match each other at this spot also. That would form a triangulation group with Emily, Lori, Steve and Ron. As Emily is not known to be related on the Clarke side, we have identified McMaster DNA on Chromosome 13:

This shows how the DNA would have come down from Abraham and Margery to their sons Robert and James in the early 1800’s. How do you like that? I just found out about Emily last week and already she is helping out on the McMaster Line. This also points to the importance of DNA testing. Lori was the 5th sibling I had tested for DNA. You might have thought that 4 siblings were enough, but they weren’t.

Where Does This Leave Celia?

I think that there is still room for Celia to fit in with the large DNA matches that we have between my family, Steve, and Ron.  We match each other at a minimum on Chromosomes 4, 6, 10. 11. 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18. Today we have figured out Chromosome 13.

Another DNA Trick: Commom Matches

There is a utility at Gedmatch and Genesis that looks at your common matches. It is a sort of where there’s smoke there’s fire type of approach. When I plug myself and John in i get some matches. Here is someone with the Clark name that probably triangulates with Steve and me:

I’ve sent out an email to see if there is any known relation.

Here is someone with the Crawford name on Chromosome 18 that likely triangulates:

However, this is a smaller match. The common ancestor may be quite far back in time. I associate the Crawford name with the part of Ireland my ancestors were from. I sent an email to the Crawford match just in case.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I’ve done quite a bit with the DNA considering the fact that Steve and Ron tested at different places.
  • A new match with cousin Emily came in handy in identifying one segment of McMaster DNA on Chromosome 13
  • The fact that I have 5 siblings in my family DNA tested was helpful
  • Lack of other matches with known McMaster ancestry point to a likely Clarke match but don’t prove it
  • I’ve shown that the McMasters were from Sligo Ireland rather than directly from Scotland.
  • Working on this Blog got me digging more into the Clarke genealogy and I did find I had a little more on Celia daughter of Thomas Clarke and Jane Spratt. This makes me much more confident that this Celia married Edward McMaster
  • Based on that, I feel as though most of the matches between my family and Rona and Steve are on the Clarke side. That is despite the fact that I have positively identified a McMaster segment that we share.

One Reply to “More Thoughts on Ron, Steve and McMaster/Clarke Genealogy and DNA”

  1. My ancestors were MacMasters. Edward and Sadie gave birth to Stanley Edward. Stanley married Ida Mae and gave birth to Donald, Evelyn, Thelma and Verna. Evelyn married Archibald Pettigrew’s son and gave birth to Fuschia and Heather. Fuschia married Hugh Young and gave birth to Hugh, Jean and Lynn. Heather married Ronald Beaton and gave birth to Heather, Kenneth, Laurie, Andrew and Meredith. Meredith married Alan Belanich and gave birth to Kathryn Jane Belanich in 2004.

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