Mervyn’s Newfoundland DNA: Proceed With Caution

I don’t mean to single out Mervyn for proceeding with caution. You need to proceed with caution with most people from Newfoundland who have had their DNA tested. Due to the small isolated locations in Newfoundland, some re-intermarrying of families happened.

Mervyn got in touch with me because he matched my wife’s 1/2 great Aunt Esther. Esther’s parents were both from Harbour Buffett, so Esther matches most people by DNA who have Harbour Buffett Roots.

Mervyn and Esther Show Common Ancestors at Ancestry

Here is what AncestryDNA shows:

Ancestry thinks that based on the DNA match Mervyn and Esther have a 2% chance of being second cousins twice removed:

Mervyn and Esther appear to be related at least three different ways. Here is the ancestry of Mervyn’s maternal grandfather:

Peter Upshall is a shared ancestor twice. William Shave and Margaret Burton are also shared ancestors.`

Here are the AncestryDNA Thrulines for Peter Upshall from Esther’s viewpoint:

These add up to a lot of Upshall matches for Esther. I counted 45 matches above for Esther. But as I suggest above, how do we know that they are for Upshall or Shave? Or they could be for Burton.

Joan To the Rescue

Joan is my mother-in-law. She is Esther’s 1/2 niece. That means that Joan is related to Esther only on Ether’s paternal side. Here is Esther’s tree:

Esther matches Mervyn on Esther’s paternal and maternal sides. However, Esther matches Joan on Esther’s paternal side only. One complicating factor is that Esther has Dicks on her paternal and maternal sides. Mervyn has Upshall, Shave, Burton and Dicks on his maternal side. This is where my title comes in: Proceed with Caution.

Joan’s Peter Upshall ThruLines

Here is how Joan matches Mervyn:

Joan matches Mervyn at 30 cm.

The Upshall Genetic Genealogy Tree

I created this tree that mixes Upshall genealogy and DNA matches:

This is a work in process. The ideal people on this tree would also have their DNA uploaded to Gedmatch. Fortunately, Mervyn has done that.

Here Esther and Mervyn are in green as their DNA is at Gedmatch. I have pretty much the same problem, in that there is the potential to match on different lines.

After some more finessing:

Above, MB is important as I don’t see any Dicks in her ancestry. Karen is a special case as the tree followed the DNA testing rather than the genealogy. We have no record that Jessie Kate was the daughter of Henry Upshall, but she fits in well there. Also I haven’t added in my mother-in-law Joan or her sister Elaine.

Looking At Gedmatch

Let’s look at how Mervyn matches MB, Esther, Joan and Karen.

Here are the DNA matches between Mervyn and Esther:

Mervyn and MB

Mervyn and Joan

Mervyn and Elaine

I also had Joan’s sister Elaine tested:

Mervyn and Karen

Esther’s Matches

Esther and MB

From this, I deduce that Mervyn’s match with Esther on Chromosome 17 is an Upshall match.

Esther and Joan

This one almost goes off my computer screen:

This brings up an interesting point. The common ancestor for Joan and Esther is Esther’s father. However, this also represents the DNA of Esther’s maternal grandparents Henry Upshall and Catherine Dicks. I had painted this so far onto Esther’s Chromosomes using a web tool called DNA Painter:

Here Esther is 17% painted and 25% paternally painted. Let’s add in Joan’s DNA matches:

Now Esther is 45% paternally painted and 26% painted overall:


While I’m at it, I can add in the matches between Esther and Elaine:

This gets Esther up to 29% painted and 50% paternally painted.

A Side Trip to Esther’s X Chromosome

I note that above, I have nothing mapped for Esther’s X Chromosome. According to Gedmatch, this is her largest match:

This Fran seems to be this person at Ancestry:

This Ancestry page has that Caroline is the daughter of Moses Burton Dicks:

The Dicks Genetic Genealogy Chart I have shows this:

I’ll add in Fran:

A Snag On Esther’s Side

Here is Esther’s tree:

The interesting thing is that the X match could be on Esther’s paternal or maternal side. It seems like the match has eliminated a Dicks common ancestor. That is because the elder Christopher Dicks did not pass down an X Chromosome to either son Christopher or Joseph – assuming I have the genealogy right. That means that this match likely represents Burton or some sort – again assuming that the Margaret who married Christopher Dicks was a Burton. So, although I still have not painted in any of Esther’s X Chromosome, i did learn something about this match.

Mervyn’s Dicks Side

Mervyn says his genealogy is a work in progress and aren’t they all? I had some questions about Mervyn’s Dicks side. Ancestry shows these possible connections between Mervyn and Esther:

It turns out that Ancestry found some connections and a possible connection. Here is how Ancestry shows the Dicks connection:

One problem is that Frances Dicks show that she gave birth to Margaret at about the age 14.

This match-up seems more likely:

However, as my wife and mother-in-law are not related on this side, I am not looking so much at these matches.

Mervyn and Joan’s Unlikely Shave Connection

Here is a new one on me from AncestryDNA:

I’m not sure how Ancestry came up with this. My best guess is that Elizabeth could be Elizabeth Crann. Look at the ThruLines:

For one thing this shows that Joan’s ancestor Elizabeth was born in 1820 and was a sister to George Alfred Shave born 47 years later! Also Elizabeth would have been born when her father was negative 5 years old. Further, Joan and Esther have the same Newfoundland genealogy, so how could they descend from siblings? Let’s forget about this screwed-up line. I hope that Ancestry didn’t deduce this from anything I have on my Tree at Ancestry.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I was all over the place with Mervyn’s genealogy and DNA matches. However, as I said, Newfoundland genealogy and DNA matches are confusing.
  • Even Ancestry seemed confused with its genealogy. Perhaps it is pulling from something in my tree or someone else’s tree that is off.
  • Overall, I did a brief summary of Mervyn’s genealogy and DNA matches. There is a lot there.
  • There would be more room for doing analysis at Gedmatch to try to parse out the different lines from Mervyn’s ancestry. It looks like it could be a lot of work to do this.
  • I was glad to improve my Uphall genetic genealogy tree and use my existing Dicks genetic genealogy trree. I see that I need to spruce up the Upshall Tree.
  • I took a diversion to ‘paint’ some more of Esther’s DNA and look at her top X Chromosome match.
  • Esther is Mervyn’s top match. However, Mervyn is number 17 on Esther’s Geadmatch match list. That is because Esther is of an older generation. Also because other of her closer relatives have tested their DNA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *