Finding My DNA Cousin Brenda at 23andMe

In my previous Blog, I figured out who my 23andMe cousin Kat was. I have another DNA cousin at 23andMe Brenda. I’d like to figure out where she fits in. 23andMe thinks that Brenda could be my third cousin:

Brenda and I share some DNA on 4 different chromosomes.

Here is another hint:

Brenda and I also have DNA matches with Kat and Stephen. The match with Kat is more important, because if it is right, then Brenda is a 2nd cousin to Kat. Here is a DNA matching Frazer tree that I have:

If I am a third cousin to Brenda and she is on the Frazer tree, then our common ancestors would be George Frazer and Margaret McMaster. If Brenda is a second cousin to Kat, then Kat and Brenda’s common ancestors should be William Frazer and Amanda Skoog. There are other possibilities, but that seems the most likely.

A Look at Stephen

Actually Stephen’s match is interesting also:

Stephen is on the lower left. If I’m right, Brenda is in the Frazer section in the middle. Steve and Brenda would be 5th cousins on the McMaster side. I am a closer match to Stephen on our Clarke side.

Painting Brenda

Using DNA Painter, an online utility, I can put Brenda’s matches next to my other matches. Here are some of Brenda’s details:

Here are a few possible surprises. I painted Brenda to George Frazer and Margaret McMaster based on Brenda’s match to Kat and me. However, DNA Painter has hints that Brenda is related further out at the level of James Frazer, Violet Frazer and Richard Frazer.

When I choose “show overlapping segments”, I get this:

When I look at my larger DNA map, I see this:

My cousin Paul and Brenda have a small overlap, but not enough to be picked up by DNA Painter as being significant.

Pro’s and Con’s of Putting Brenda on My DNA Tree Where I Did

I put Brenda as having the common ancestors with me of George Frazer and Margaret McMaster.

Pro’s:

  • At third cousin to me and 2nd cousin to Kat, it seems like Brenda should be a great-granddaughter of William Frazer.
  • William Frazer had three sons. Kat descends from James Robert Frazer. That means that Brenda could descend from Albert William Frazer or Walter Stanley Frazer. I don’t know much about Walter Stanley, so that is a possibility.

Con’s

  • I would expect Brenda to have more overlap with other descendants of George Frazer and Margaret McMaster. Instead Brenda overlaps with more distant Frazer relatives.
  • With Margaret’s double McMaster parentage, I would have expected more matches with McMaster descendants – though she does match Stephen.

Walter Stanley Frazer 1924-1996

On October 10, 1937, Walter was 13 and sailing out of Galway – apparently on his own:

This stone at the National Cemetery in Culpepper, Virginia gives a very short summary of Walter’s life:

The affidavits for Walter’s Petition for US Naturalization were taken in London in 1944:

Here is some more personal information from the same document when Walter was 20:

Here is some information on Walter’s wife:

Julia was flying from Paris to New Jersey with her husband and three young children in 1959. They lived in Miami. If Brenda was part of this family, perhaps she was too young to take this trip.

I did find one of the daughters. I think that this is her school photo from Vienna Virginia, but I’m not sure. The other information would be right.

Findagrave.com mentions her two brothers but not a sister. So this may not be the family for Brenda.

One Other Possibility for Brenda

I have that my great-grandfather’s brother Hubert Alexander Frazer had a son named Calvin Coolidge Frazer and Calvin had a daughter named Brenda. I will try to get in touch with at least the most likely candidate I find on Facebook. The problem with this possibility is that Brenda should be a first cousin once removed to my second cousin once removed Paul. Brenda only shows a small overlap with Paul. That may be because I show a smaller than average match with my cousin Paul.

At some point Calvin Coolidge Frazer ended up living and dying in Sacramento. That is interesting as some Frazer’s from other branches ended up in that city also.

Summary and Conclusion

  • After figuring out one of my Frazer DNA matches at 23andMe (Kat), I tried to set out to figure out how I matched Brenda. Based on how Brenda matched Kat and me I guessed that Brenda might descend from a Great Uncle of Kat. There was one person who fit that category: Walter Stanley Frazer. I looked up some information on Walter, but I couldn’t find any record of Walter having a daughter named Brenda.
  • I painted Brenda’s match to me with DNA Painter and found that she did match me on my Frazer side. However, I was expecting some more matching on the McMaster side.
  • I looked into a Brenda Frazer who was the granddaughter of Hubert Alexander Frazer. She is a good  candidate as she has the right first name. I’ll give a shot a contacting her through Facebook. I’m pretty sure given the level of match Kat and I have with Brenda, that our common ancestors were George Frazer and Margaret McMaster. However, I am still interested in confirming that belief.
  • I thought this exercise would be easier than it was. Due to the randomness of DNA inheritance, matches do not always match up with each other at the same place.
  • Even if I don’t figure out who Brenda is, I have found out some more information about two branches of the Frazer Family.

Addendum

I did hear back from Brenda through 23andMe. She said I was right in my guess:

Brenda and I are at opposite ends of the tree. Brenda is also a first cousin to Paul. I had Paul’s DNA tested at FTDNA and uploaded his results to Gedmatch.com for analysis. Brenda got my painted chromosome up from 41% overall to 42%:

I changed my matches with Brenda to gold colored for those matches where DNA Painter showed we had an overlap with another Frazer match.

 

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