I already sorted my mom’s DNA with AutoCluster last week. However, since that time, Genetic Affairs has changed the look of their AutoCluster Chart. They now cluster the clusters which makes it easier to tell which ancestral groups go with which
My Mom’s Ancestry
Mom, Gladys’, father is German but his German ancestors lived for quite a while in a German colony in Latvia. His parents were Rathfelder and Gangnus. My mom’s maternal grandfather Lentz was also German but his ancestors had been in Philadelphia since the American Revolution. Gladys’ maternal grandmother was Nicholson. Her family moved to Philadelphia from Sheffield, England.
The First AutoCluster
My first AncestryDNA AutoCluster for my mom looked like this:
- Thresholds: 20-600 cM
- Matches: 323
- Matches not used in clusters: 29
- Clusters: 48
I started writing a Blog on the results, but didn’t finish. Here is a spreadsheet for the above chart:
These clusters were sorted by the size of the cluster and I didn’t identify the first three clusters.
Mom’s New AutoCluster Results
I expect the new results to be more organized and show where the groups of matches belong compared to the other groups of matches:
- Thresholds: 20-600 cM
- Matches: 330
- Matches not used in clusters: 28
- Clusters: 49
I used the same thresholds in the new AutoCluster run. The results were similar but now the clusters are organized. Here is the new spreadsheet:
I note that Elise and Rowena are in twice. I don’t know if that messes up the results. I didn’t show all the clusters as they go off the page.
Elise shows as being in Clusters 5 and 6 which doesn’t make sense. She doesn’t show in Cluster 5 but shows as a dark gray row to the left and above Cluster 6. Rowena shows as being in her own Cluster 15 which I don’t show above.
Unraveling the Mystery of Mom’s DNA
The unraveling the mystery of mom’s DNA involves trying to figure out which parts of her DNA go with which common ancestors. The common ancestors are the common ancestors of her common matches. Her common matches are grouped together and those groups are grouped together, so let’s get started.
Here are mom’s four grandparent lines:
These shown are the first and 2nd great-grandparent levels. By location, the top two grandparent are Latvia and the bottom two grandparent lines are Philadelphia and Sheffield, England.
Cluster 1: Nicholson/Ellis
Cluster 1 is easy. It is headed up by mom’s 2nd cousin Carolyn on the Nicholson/Ellis Line:
Cluster 38 – Rathfelder
Next, I’ll go all the way down to Cluster 38. I believe that this is a Rathfelder Cluster:
I may only have one Rathfelder Cluster with the two sisters, Astrid and Ingrid.
Mom’s Maternal and Paternal Clusters
The above two Clusters may have set the edge for Mom’s Clusters, but I’ll check in more detail later. Here is my assumption so far:
Again, this is a guess based on two clusters. I will need to check this out. I also will want to try to identify Lentz and Gangnus matches, if possible.
Lentz matches have been difficult to find. Here is the Lentz tree with some of the descendant who have had their DNA tested:
The left branch has the closer matches, but they are also half Nicholson. Here is Radelle’s mom at Ancestry:
This is a little confusing because Radelle took the test and her mom, Delores shows in the tree. I became suspicious when I saw that Delores died in 2011. Radelle is in Cluster 32:
I now have three of my mom’s grandparents. However, does that mean that Nicholson has 31 Clusters?
I can fill in one Cluster with Nigel. He has a large match with my mom going back to 1765 in Sheffield, England.
I should have John Nicholson’s wife as my mom could just as easily be sharing her DNA. Here she is:
I’m getting stuck on my mom’s maternal side, so time to switch to paternal:
Otis and Cluster 39
Here is Otis:
Here Otis is 3rd cousin once removed and 4th cousin once removed on my mother’s Rathfelder side. This Chart describes Otis’ relationship to my mom as 5th cousin, once removed on the Gangnus side:
That means the Rathfelder side wins out (I think).
Otis and the Colony Effect
The Colony is effect is this. You put a bunch of Germans in a Colony in Latvia and they want to marry other Germans:
Here is Otis’ Cluster 39 in blue highlighted. Astrid is in the cluster above and to the left of Cluster 39. Otis is the top left match of the blue cluster. He also has shared matches with mom in other clusters below and to the right.
Doing Some Latvian Genealogy
I did a search for Latvia at my mother’s AncestryDNA match page:
Robert shows his maternal grandparents coming from Latvia. That means I could try to do some genealogy on Roberts tree if I want. Robert is also in Mom’s Cluster 45.
The All-Latvia Database
I was able to find the Resch family at:
This is a good web site for Latvian research.
The Latvians like to Latvianize names. So I don’t know if Retsch is a German name changed to Recs or if Recs changed to Retsch. I also found Zamuels birthplace and birth date. The last column is place of origin. This shows as Riga for father and son. I usually look for Irsu Pag. which is Hirschenhof. That would link with my ancestors.
Robert has that Alma was born in Dresden, Germany, so I’ll look to Mazur and Rosenbach. I couldn’t find Rosenbach in the list. I did find some Martin’s in the Latvia Inhabitant list:
The closest Martin has his dad as Jēkabs.
A Latvian Secret Weapon
I was ready to give up but remembered I had a book on the Gangnus family. If Robert is related to me through that family, perhaps I could make a connection there.
I left out the bottom where it says Darmstadt 2003.
I looked up Retsch in this book and found one reference:
This reference says that Samual was born March 22, 1872 which is close to the April 3, 1872 I had above. Now all I have to do is make the connections. I have a feeling that the connections go back a way. What the above says is that Samuel married Charlotte Alma who was born 2 March 1867. Her parents were Johann Georg Gangnus and Marie Jacobine Schilling.
I see what happened. Robert had Charlotte Alma Gangnus as Alma Magnus. That makes sense. When I first saw my mother’s grandmother’s name written, I think it was written as Youganis.
Gangnus Production Update
Now I have two Gangnus/Gagnus families:
The good news is that I was about to give up on the Robert tree and then I remembered my Gangnus book. The bad news is that I’m getting lost in all these Gangnus families. However, I am starting to see our trees coming together in a confusing and interesting way.
If I understand this correctly, Robert and I are double 5th cousins. Robert and my mother are double fourth cousins, once removed. The other thing is that Robert is related on my mother’s paternal grandfather’s and grandmother’s side.
In order to display this on my spreadsheet, I added another row for Cluster 45:
Summary and Conclusions
- The new autoclustering look helped show where the clusters grouped with each other. I wasn’t able to identify many more clusters specifically, but now I know in what area they should belong.
- I was able to make a guess where my mother’s shared matches went from maternal to paternal
- I looked at some paternal clusters. However, intermarriage in Hirschenhof, Latvia made it difficult to nail down DNA to a specific grandfather in at least one case.
- I was able to build out Robert’s tree. Robert was in my mother’s Latvian Cluster 45. I used the All Latvia on-line Directory and a book I had on the Gangnus family in Latvia. However, after all that work, Robert appears to be equally related to my mom on both my mom’s paternal grandfather and grandmother’s sides.