Ronda’s Ellis DNA

I noted a new match for my mother in law, Joan and her sister Elaine at Gedmatch recently. Here is the match between Ronda and Joan:

Here is how Ronda and Elaine match:

This shows 3.5 generations to a common ancestor. That would typically mean that Elaine and Ronda are 2nd cousins, once removed. Ronda tested at Ancestry, so I looked for a 2nd or third cousin there and couldn’t find Ronda. Ancestry has Elaine and Ronda as 4th cousins by DNA for some reason.

Ronda clearly shows at Ancestry as a 2nd cousin once removed to Elaine. Elaine tested at Ancestry, but Joan did not. Here is a record of the common ancestors:

This photo was from Ronda’s tree but originally posted by someone named Richard.

Ronda is a Great Match

Ronda makes a great DNA match for several reasons:

  1. She comes from a line that is very prolific. James Henry Ellis had 12 children if I counted them right. Imagine if he had two children and one of those had two children through the generations down to today. If there was just one descendant left today, there wouldn’t be other 2nd cousins that had their DNA tested, so there would be no 2nd cousin matches on that line. However, there were a lot of children and a lot of those children had a lot of children. Out of those descendants, some had their DNA tested.
  2. Ronda has a tree at Ancestry and tested there.
  3. Ronda uploaded her results to, so I can tell how and where the matches are.
  4. Ronda only descends from one Ellis Line. Descending from more than one line can make things complicated. She also does not appear to match Elaine on other ancestral lines which could make things tricky. One exception is the MacArthur Line which I discuss later on.

A Few Mistakes at AncestryDNA

Ancestry made a few mistakes. The first one was that they have Elaine and Ronda as 4th cousins by DNA. This is a good reason to upload your DNA to¬†gedmatch to get a second opinion. Ancestry has a program that removes some of the DNA matches that are too “matchy”. This works sometimes, but I don’t think it worked so well in this case.

The second mistake had to do with the program that Ancestry used to interpret the family trees. Ronda wrote down that James Henry Ellis married Clarinda Gorrill Ellis. In the tree I had for Elaine, I had that she married Clarinda Gorrill. Ancestry’s computer program was not smart enough to figure out that these two women were the same person. As a result, Ancestry has that Ronda and Elaine are 3rd cousins once removed based on the parents of Clarinda Gorrill. Technically, that is not correct, they are just 2nd cousins once removed.

The Ellis DNA Project

Here is what I have for the existing Ellis DNA Project:

These are people that descend from William Ellis born 1771. Robert and Agnes are there twice because they descend from two different children of William Ellis. Elaine, Joan and Melissa are in green currently on the James Henry Ellis Line. That is where I will add Ronda.

Ships Passing in the Night

However, when I compare Ronda to Melissa at Gedmatch, I get a very small match:

It looks like they are 6th cousins, once removed by DNA. That made me think I had the wrong Ronda. However, it may be that Ronda and Melissa don’t match very well. AncestryDNA seems to show the same issue in their DNA Circle (shown below).

Here is Elaine at the top. Ronda is bottom left and Melissa is on the bottom right with one other person. There is no line connecting Ronda and Melissa at AncestryDNA. That helps confirm that I am on the right track and that I have the right Ronda. Ronda had DNA that matched with Elaine and Joan and Melissa had different DNA that matched with Elaine and Joan.

Here is how Ronda, Elaine and Melissa are related:

Note that Eva Ellis was born in 1895 – 21 years after George. This is one case where triangulation of the DNA matches would not work well. Elaine matches Melissa and Ronda, but Melissa and Ronda don’t match very well and not in the same area that Elaine matches Melissa and Ronda.

Let’s Work the DNA at Gedmatch

Ellis Autosomal Matrix

Here is how all the Ellis descendants match each other:

Here the distinction of the different branches are not as clear as one would like. That could be due to matches on different family lines. Also, I didn’t really need Robert as he is the son of Agnes. Agnes and Robert are in both the Mary Ann and Agnes Lines of Ellis.

Ronda and DNA Triangulation

I noted that Ronda would not triangulate within the James Henry Ellis Line, but I did run everyone against everyone else at Gedmatch:

I found one triangulation group (TG) there. Elaine matches Ronda, Ronda matches Margaret and Margaret matches Elaine. It looks like that hunk of DNA is pointing back to William Ellis from the 1700’s:

I do have a line in blue of the MacArthurs. However, I think that the common ancestor for that line goes back even further than the generation of William Ellis and Hannah Tawton, so I’ll say that this is Ellis DNA rather than MacArthur DNA. In the diagram above, Ronda is a third cousin twice removed to Margaret.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Ronda was a great Ellis match for Joan, my mother-in-law and her sister Elaine.
  • Ronda is a second cousin once removed to Elaine and Joan
  • Ronda is a third cousin with Melissa, but their shared DNA dropped off very quickly from their matches with Joan and Elaine.
  • Ronda triangulated with Elaine and Margaret. This appears to identify the DNA of William Ellis and Hannah Tawton from the late 1700’s

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