Cousin Rusty’s YDNA – MacFarlane or James?

I recently had an email from my Cousin Rusty. He had received an email from some from a member of a James surname project telling him that he belonged to the James family originating in Wales. I’m sure that was a surprise as Rusty was thinking that due to an Irish adoption and YDNA testing that he was actually a MacFarlane. So which is it?

A Look at Rusty’s Past YDNA Analysis

I had taken a look at Rusty’s YDNA in this Blog in April 2017. That was two years ago. Could things have changed that much in two years? At that time, Rusty had done the 37 STR test and had just upgraded to the 67 STR test.

SNPs and STRs

I had estimated, based on STRs, that Rusty was in the DF63 SNP category. SNPs are important because they define what branch we are on the SNP tree. I further noted that further down on the three was a SNP called BY674:

Under that SNP almost all the people who had taken the Big Y test were either MacFarlanes or MacFarlands. Under BY674 were 13 branches of variations of MacFarlanes. That means that if Rusty tested for these SNPs, he would have a good idea of which branch of MacFarlanes he was from. Of course, this is doing it a bit backwards. It is assuming that Rusty is a MacFarlane first. Technically, it would have been better to do the SNP testing first and then determine that Rusty was a MacFarlane.

A month after my Blog, I got an email from Rusty saying he tested for DF63 and was found to be postive for that.

Rusty’s YDNA 2019

That brings us up to present. Now Rusty is:

That confirms Rusty into the MacFarlane group from the Big Tree above.

The Current Big Tree

Guess what? The Big Tree didn’t get any smaller in the past two years. I take the Big Tree to be pretty authoritative as it is based on the Big Y or equivalent test. This is about the ultimate in YDNA testing and is quite accurate. Here is the entire branching beneath R-BY674:

Previously, there were 13 branches under BY674. Now there are 20. Almost every branch has a MacFarlane or MacFarland. I don’t see any James surnames. Actually there are seven major groups under BY674 and then some additional branching under those 7 groups. The last three people on the right descend directly from BY674 with no sub-groups. I don’t see any James surnames. That means that they don’t belong in this group or none of the James that match Rusty have done the Big Y test.

The flags by the tested people’s names are meant to show where their earliest traceable ancestors of the YDNA-tested people came from. I count 14 Flags from Scotland and 7 from Northern Ireland. Rusty’s known Irish ancestors were from Northern Ireland.

The Lennox Cluster

I had alluded to the Lennox Cluster in my previous Blog on Rusty’s YDNA. Here it is at the Big Tree shown in green:

BY674 takes up about 2/3 of this Lennox Cluster.

Here are the ancient arms of Lennox:

Here is what the FTDNA Lennox, MacFarlane, Leckie – cadet clans of Lennox Page says:

Cadets Lineage.  [Scions of the mormaers/earls of Lennox if not also of their branch the Macfarlane clan chiefs.]  This is our project’s largest lineage (including its sub-lineages) consisting of over one hundred eighty men, several of whom can trace their respective descents from the earls of Lennox via the Macfarlane chiefs through one or another of their cadets.  In a Scottish clan yDNA project the largest lineage found should always be that of the chiefs and their cadets and thus it is in our case even though the House of Lennox consists of three extant clans (Lennox, Macfarlane, & Leckie) rather than just one.  As the Macfarlane chiefs descended from a younger son of the second earl of Lennox those men in this lineage who have agreed to show their cadet house on the yDNA test results page start with “Lennox” for the earls, then “Arrochar” for the chiefs, and then whichever cadets and/or sub-cadets they may belong to such as “Gartartan.”  To appear in this lineage on said page a man must have done some level of yDNA STR testing (12, 25, 37, 67, 111 markers or the Big Y which now includes over 700 markers).  Once his markers (however many) are displayed on our project’s yDNA test results page further applicable testing will be recommended in the most beneficial order: the Big Y; the R1b-DF63 SNP Pack; a single SNP test; upgrading STR markers; and finally the Family Finder.  It has been found that SNP F489 was carried by the Lennox dynasty, and hence the Macfarlane chiefs, therefore every member of this lineage should SNP test for F489 as soon as possible (unless they have already taken the R1b-DF63 SNP Pack or the Big Y).  Furthermore it has been found that SNP BY674 was carried by the Macfarlane chiefs, therefore all the Macfarlane surnamed men of this lineage should SNP test for BY674 as soon as possible (unless they have already taken the R1b-DF63 SNP Pack or the Big Y).  The men who have only tested their yDNA STR markers need to at least take a SNP test as mentioned above or take the R1b-DF63 SNP Pack to confirm that they belong in this lineage.  It is important that as many of these men as possible take the Big Y Next Generation Sequencing SNP test, as this will reveal more details about the ancestry of the mormaers/earls of Lennox and how the various branches descended from them.  Please note that the Big Ycan be ordered without already having taken any previous STR testing but the price is higher to do so. Once they have finished testing their yDNA, as above, they should consider testing their autosomal block DNA via the Family Finder so that we can more accurately define the relationships within this lineage (i.e. branching within the last several generations possibly beyond the reach of the Big Y).  As several of the men of this lineage can trace their respective descents from the Macfarlane chiefs and the earls of Lennox, and all the participants’ yDNA STR test results are very close, it follows that all the men of this lineage must descend from the chiefs and/or their ancestors the mormaers/earls.  [NOTE: Those listed in this lineage who do not bear a variant of the Macfarlane (or Lennox) surname may have come off the line of our chiefs (or the mormaers/earls) before surnames became fixed or from fosterage, adoption, or an extra-marital event.]  And given this descent from the chiefs and/or earls it is critical to House of Lennox and Macfarlane research that all the members of this lineage test as much of their individual yDNA (STRs and SNPs) and autosomal block DNA as they can afford over time.  Once they have completed their own testing we hope that they will consider contributing to our project’s General Fund to help fellow lineage-mates upgrade their testing.  To help find lost cadets, they should set their “Personal” page “User Preferences” to compare their test kit results against the lab’s entire database rather than limit it just to our project’s database.

There is a lot of information above and instructions. I have highlighted the part about the BY674. Basically, Rusty descends from a famous line of very well-documented people with ancient roots in Scotland. Here is where the Lennox Clan was from and ruled in Scotland:

The County is callled Dumbartonshire.

DF63 SNP Pack

I see that Rusty has taken the DF63 SNP Pack. That is the test that got him down to BY674. However, that test also eliminated various SNP beneath BY674:

The red are SNPs that Rusty tested negative for. The blue are SNPs that haven’t been tested. They weren’t in the SNP pack or are new since Rusty took the test. It looks like there are 7 major branches. Rusty was negative for three branches. He didn’t test three branches. One branch he tested for a sub-branch, (A7799) so may not be positive for the main branch (A7798).

Combining the Big Tree and the DF63 SNP Pack

The Big Tree is big as the name implies, so I’ll split it in half for the BY674 Branch:

I crossed out the parts that Rusty tested negative for and put a green box around what he hasn’t tested for. That narrows down his options.

Here is the next section of BY674:

Here I made a judgement call. The first X is over three SNPs in the top box. Rusty tested negative for Z73:

These three SNPs are in what is called a block. If Rusty had taken the Big Y test, it is possible that he could have broken up this block, but not likely, so my guess was that he would have tested negative for A7798. Rusty is possibly in the last three green squares (as well as possibly being in the previous three green squares. The last square is not obvious. Rusty would be in that box if he were BY674 and tested negative for all the branches.

Taking Rusty Further Down the Tree to BY38907 and BY 38908

Rusty’s closets STR matches are here:

Rusty has a 4 GD match with McFarland who has a Terminal SNP of BY3907. This McFarland has also taken the Big Y test. This could be McFarland in the Big Tree:

Here the Big Tree has McFarland as BY38908, but that is equivalent with three other SNPs including BY38907. It could be that if Rusty were to take the Big Y test, then there would be more branching under BY38908. McKinnon in the same group may be Rusty’s third STR match above. Rusty’s fourt match is McAfee I see a McAfee under BY7779, but Rusty already tested negative for BY7779. My best guess is that Rusty belongs in the box with McKinnon and McFarland.

I note that the third match on Rusty’s STR list is McFarlin who is BY7777. This is in the first group under the Big Tree above and I had eliminated it due to Rusty’s SNP Pack results.

What About the James Line?

I found the James YDNA Project. The man who wants to claim Rusty is in this group:

Two people in this group have tested positive for BY71106. The second person listed with green results is in the Big Tree:

Compare that to the general area of the MacFarlane Group:

Here is the Big Tree page for DF63:

The top unnamed light block is DF63. Five blocks down from there we reach BY674 where Rusty is. If I am reading this correctly, Rusty and the James Family share the L21 SNP.  L21 has been around since about 2500 BC, so the connection between Rusty and the James family could go back pretty far.

This chart shows the two main branches of L21. DF63 is on the top right. All other branches are everything not in the green box. That means that these two branches probably separated a long time ago.

Summary and Conclusions

  • Rusty is part of the BY674 SNP Group. This group is very specific to a Cadet Line of the Lennox Clan and is very well defined. That Cadet Line is MacFarlane with some  name varations.
  • This BY674 SNP group is now up to 20 sub-groups. Rusty has been eliminated from about 14 of these groups by YDNA testing. That leaves 6 groups he may be in.
  • Rusty’s matching to the James family by STRs is coincidental. Any match to this group could go back 4,000 years or more based on SNPs. Whenever there is a discrepancy between STRs and SNPs, the SNPs are most accurate.

 

 

Breen Genealogy: Part 3

In my last Blog, I corrected some mistakes I made in my first Blog on my cousin’s genealogy. In this Blog, I’ll follow up on some Breen genealogy issues.

Too Many John Breens

A search at RootsIreland for births of John Breen from County Tyrone shows this:

It turns out that none of these are the my cousin’s grandfather John Breen. He shows up as Alexander Breen. However, the next to the last John Breen appears to be one shown as in the military in Hong Kong:

Here’s Tattyreagh

Our Hong Kong John Breen in 1911 said he was born in Drumragh:

This looks like basically the same place to me. However, I am guessing due to similar names and closeness geographically that this John could have been a cousin to our John Alexander Breen.

More On John Breen and Mary Quin(n)

In my previous Blog, I had surmised that John Breen and Mary Quin(n) were the grandparents of John Alexander Breen. This was based on the fact that the 1911 Census for Recarson showed that John Breen had an Aunt Isabella:

RootsIreland showed one Isabella Breen born in that time period in County Tyrone:

Here is her birthplace of Kilgort:

a marriage for John Breen and Mary quin(N)

I have found a marriage for this couple. Let’s see if the dates fit. In Ancestry.com, the marriage looks like this:

At RootsIreland, the marriage looks like this:

If this information is right, this will push the genealogy back another generation. Based on the above, we would expect that John was born about 1831 and Mary was born about 1832. The first thing I would fact-check would be the age of Mary when her last child was born. I have this child to be Joseph Wilson Breen:

Joseph was born January 1876, so perhaps Mary was 44 when he was born. This is surely possible. Also note that in 1911, Mary gave her age on the Census as 76. Based on her age at marriage, she was probably a few years older. All the dates seem to be within reason. This is a good record to have, because the older the record, the more I trust the dates. Now I can update my Ancestry Tree and push back this couple’s birth dates yet again:

This is starting to look like a proper tree. At the top, I added rough birth dates in the early 1800’s for our new John Breen and Andrew Quin – Rusty’s third great grandparents.

Still, no parish records

I have still not found any Catholic Parish records for the Breens. I find the RootsIreland Civil Marriage record interesting. It shows that John Breen lived in Creevan, Parish of Donacavey. However, Mary Quin lived in Creevan, Parish of Drumragh. The note at the bottom of the record says “Fintona C.O.I Parish of Donacavey”. C.O.I means Church of Ireland which was the established Protestant Church. This leads to a few possibilities:

  • Is the record trying to say that Breen was from the Church of Ireland and Mary was Roman Catholic?
  • Is the record just giving the two different Parish boundaries (Church of Ireland and Catholic?)

Here is one reason there is no Donacavey Catholic Parish record for this marriage:

The National Library of Ireland Parish records begin in 1857 and this couple married in 1854. I also checked the Drumragh Parish, but there were no entries between February and May of 1854. So either there were no marriages during that time, or there was some sort of omission.

Fast Forward to 1912

In a recent email, Rusty tells me that his grandfather met his grandmother for the first time on the ship to New York.

One thing I don’t think I mentioned to you involves the ship passage.  According to Margie, my grandfather met my grandmother on the California.  They were from the same area, but had never met before.  She was traveling with her sister.  Apparently the two sisters had been to the United States before, and may of had family here already. 

Here is the outbound ship record for the two McCullough sisters:

I imagine that a long trip to the US would be good time to get to know someone and swap stories. Here is Anna returning to New York on about page 726:

I’m guessing that Anna wasn’t really a machinist.

Here is their nearest relative:

From what I can tell, here is where the McCulloghs lived in Ireland:

For reference, as I recall, I had that John Breen’s Aunt Isabella died in Beragh. At townlands.ie, this place is called Altdrumman:

This is where Anna and her sister were born.

More on the McColloughs

Here is Anna’s civil birth record:

But wait, there’s more:

From this, it looks like Anna was baptized before she was born. How could this be? From what I understand, there was a penalty for late registration of births. That resulted in some births being recorded later than they actually happened! In this case, obviously, trust the baptismal record.

I expanded my search at RootsIreland and came up with this extended family from Altdrumman sometimes known as Streefe (but apparently not Streffe).

Michael McCullough and Ann Henry

I couldn’t easily find a marriage for this couple. A search for Michael McCullough resulted in two people born closely together. One was from the parish of Ardboe or Arboe which seemed further away. So I went with this one:

This appears to be Fernagh:

IF first you don’t succeed….

I tried another marriage search for just Ann Henry and came up with this:

Silly me, I was looking for a McCullough marriage instead of a McMullaw marriage. Even though I entered McCull in my search, this didn’t show up. So, good thing I found this as I may have had Michael’s birth wrong. This time I searched with the father as John and found the Michael from Ardboe Parish again. So I expanded the dates and found an older Michael here:

Here the places sound more familiar and even the spelling of the last name is similar. However, I wouldn’t trust the spelling of McSoarly. I believe that McSorley is a more standard spelling.

I had given up finding Ann Henry’s birth record, but now that we have her marriage record, it should be easy to find.

Actually, I was leaning toward this record as the Parish sounded most familiar. Here is a new McCullough family tree:

Here is a summary of Rusty’s dad’s Breen ancestors as far as I can tell now:

Breen Genealogy: Part 2

In my last Blog, I went over my cousin’s YDNA results and some of his genealogy. The genealogy focused in on Rusty’s grandfather John Alexander Breen. A key document I found lead me to believe that John Breen was in the Royal Innishkilling Fusilliers in 1911:

Here was a John Breen who was the right age and was born about the right place. I then supposed that this was the same as a John O’Brien who enlisted twice. However, at the end of my elaborate story I found a document showing John Breen in the 1911 Irish Census that contradicted the above Census:

Here was apparently another John Breen, the same age, in the same census who was living in Recarson. This was significant as John’s ship records from the following year said that he and his mother Mary Breen were from Deverney. According to townlands.ie, “Deverney is in the townland of Recarson.” Now a Townland is usually a fairly small area. So a portion of a Townland is very specific.

That means that I have to prefer this Census above over the Military Census. There is a clear chain of custody. John Breen ended up in Philadelphia. His ship records say he was born in Deverney (part of Recarson). So we have to go with Recarson. The good news is that now we have extra relatives that we didn’t have before.

From Rusty’s YDNA test, we are pretty sure that he is not of the male line of Breen. However, now with a Breen grandmother, we cannot tell where the line was broken. Before I was assuming that it was Rusty’s grandfather John Breen’s mother that was the Breen. However, that is not as clear now. The family story was that John Breen was orphaned. This could very well be the case, as his mother and father are not in this Census.

Isabella Breen, 39 in 1911 – Born in County Tyrone

I would like to find the grandmother, but finding a Mary that married a Breen would be difficult. Isabella should have been born around 1872. Perhaps she can be found in a Parish Register. I was able to find Isabella in one Ancestry Tree from an Irish researcher:

From the above tree, the parents of Isabella, are referenced in this 1901 Camowen Census:

Here is a map depiction of Camowen Townland:

Here is part of a Cappagh Parish Map showing Recarson and Camowen at the Southeast part of the Parish:

It appears that Isabella was working in Beagh in 1901:

This is likely Beagh:

Assuming my fellow Irish researcher got Isabella right, I searched RootsIreland for siblings:

This is putting a lot of pressure on Isabella to be Rusty’s relative. Fortunately, she has a less common name than John or Mary. It looks like the family of John Breen and Mary Quinn had at least five children. The first four were born South of Omagh and the last one was born to the North of Omagh. Here is Tullyvally:

A Breen Breakthrough

After coming up short several times searching for John Breen, I decided to search for Alexander Breen. Here is what I found at RootsIreland. This one document should straighten out a few things:

For one thing, it shows John aka Alexander being born in 1889 – not 1888. This is likely the place where the male McFarlane line comes into the picture. On John’s ship record to New York, he named his mother as Susan and here she is.  Now we have John’s birth name, his mother, grandparents and likely Aunts and Uncles. Thanks to the YDNA test, we likely had the last name of John’s father, before we didn’t know that we didn’t know his last name! This means that Rusty is still descended from the Breens – just not the male line of Breens.

Here is the picture I get of the family so far. I had to push back the birth dates that I had for John Breen and Mary Quin. I would guess that they were born around 1845. And I also pushed John Alexander’s birthday ahead a year.

Questions to Follow Up On and Other Items

  • I couldn’t find a birth record for Susan Breen. Could she be the same person as either Mary Jane, Isabella, or Margaret?
  • What happened to Susan? Isabella seemed to hang around. Is this because she was the same as Susan?
  • I haven’t yet found Parish Register entries for any Breen family births or for the marriage of John Breen and Mary Quinn.
  • I’m still not sure if John Breen was in the British Army
  • The John O’Brien of my last blog cannot be the same as John Breen as John O’Brien’s mom was Annie and I have shown that John Breen’s mom was Susan
  • It doesn’t appear that John was orphaned. In 1901 when he was 12, he was with his grandparents. However, he may have lived with another family before this time that I didn’t know about.

 

Cousin Rusty’s Surprise YDNA Results

First, my first cousin Rusty surprised me by ordering an autosomal DNA test. I saw his results and it was the first, first cousin autosomal match that I’ve had. Next, Rusty decided to order a YDNA test of 37 STRs. His results surprised us both a bit. He found out that he had no matches to the last name he grew up with. Instead, his matches were predominantly variations of the MacFarlane surname. Since the test results came in, Rusty tells me his grandfather was adopted which could account for the surprise.

In this Blog, we’ll look at Rusty’s YDNA results and some of his genealogy.

YDNA – The Male Lineage Indicator

YDNA is good for surname studies. It follows the DNA that the father passes down to the son. This passing down has been going on since genetic Adam. Little changes in this YDNA account for the various YDNA branches that are in the world today. In addition, there are other branches that have just died out.

R1b – The Common YDNA for europe

Rusty and I share an R1b heritage. We are both on a branch of the R1B tree called L21. I was glad when I was first testing my YDNA to find out that I was part of the L21 group. This represents a group of people that aren’t identical to, but are associated with what has commonly been called the Celts. These would be the older people of the British Isles prior to invasions by the Danes, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. The dark red indicates the older L21 people being moved over to the Northeast by the later invaders.

This map shows the highest concentration of R-L21 in the NW of Europe. The map shows the association with the Celtic cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Normandy.

The R-L21 Tree

Here is an outdated R-L21 Tree

The main reason that the tree is outdated is that the tree grew so much, there was not room to put all the branches on it. There are two main branches under L21. I believe that Rusty is on the smaller branch of DF63 at the top right of the image above. I am on the larger DF13 Branch. Below that I am in the L513 Branch with a rectangle around it.

R-DF63

Why do I think that Rusty is DF63? Let’s take a look. Rusty recently upgraded his 37 STR test to a 67 STR test. The STRs are markers that can change in two different directions. These STRs are used to estimate how close someone else may be related. They are also used to estimate SNPs. DF63 is an SNP. This is a more marker that is more stable than an STR that indicates a specific branch of mankind.

Here are Rusty’s two closest STR matches.

Both these matches are a Genetic Distance (GD) of 3 from Rusty. That means that out of the 67 STRs compared, there is a difference of three for both of these men to Rusty. Both these men have McFarland ancestors. Note that the first one had an ancestor that was born in Northern Ireland and died in PA. Rusty is from PA, but his grandfather was from Ireland. This means that this particular person could not be Rusty’s ancestor, unless he left children in Ireland.

Here is the TIP report for these two as they compare to Rusty. This report shows the probability of how long ago Rusty and Rusty’s match had a common ancestor:

This is showing that it should be pretty likely that either or both of these matches should predict a common ancestor in the last 8 generations. When I check 8 generations in my tree, that brings me to about 1680. So that is in the range of the first ancestor shown in the list above.

This is interesting, but I still haven’t shown how Rusty could be DF63. Let’s look at Rusty’s top two matches again. On the right are their Terminal SNPs. The first Terminal SNP is R-CTS6919. The second is BY674. These are both under (or children of) DF63 as shown by the FTDNA Haplotree:

So it stands to reason if Rusty matches two people who have SNPs that are below DF63, then he would surely be DF63.

BY674 – Mostly McFarlanes

A lot of McFarlane descendants have taken the BigY test. This is a test that discovers new SNPs and helps to build new branches of the SNP tree (or Haplotree as FTDNA calls it). Those that have taken the BigY test, have been put into something called the Big Tree, created by Alex Williamson. Here are the McFarlanes in that Big Tree:

Note that there is a McFarlane or similar name in every branch of BY674. The one exception is the McAfee/Givens branch. Based on this, I could argue that Rusty is not only DF63, but also BY674. Rusty plans to take the DF63 panel. With that test, he should be able to tell which branch of McFarlanes he is in. Here is what the DF63 Panel looks like:

So if Rusty takes the SNP pack, it should tell him that he is positive for DF63, CTS6919, A92, Z16506, and BY674. From there, Rusty could be in 7 different branches. One of those branches could be that he would remain in BY674 with McFarland and McKinnon. If he is in one of the other 6 branches, there may or may not be branching below that.

The MacFarlane family ydna project

Rusty also joined the MacFarlene Family YDNA Project. He was placed in this group:

I think that the Cadet Lineage refers to the idea that the MacFarlane Clan may be an offshoot of the House of Lennox. That sounds like a big deal.

So that covers Rusty’s YDNA pretty well. He is related to McFarlanes by STRs and SNPs. Next, I’ll look at Rusty’s genealogy and see how he is now apparently a Scotsman where before he thought he was an Irishman.

Rusty’s Paternal Genealogy

Rusty is related to me on his mother’s side. I’ll be looking at his dad’s side. And specifically, I’ll be looking at his dad’s dad’s side. We are interested in how the Breen turned into a McFarlane going from now to then. Or how the McFarlane went to a Breen. So far the tree looks like this:

However, I won’t be following the McCullough line. Rusty says that his dad told him that his father was orphaned young and joined the British Army at age 14. Rusty further got in touch with his cousin and found this out:

She thinks it is probably due to my grandfather being adopted.  I knew this, but always assumed he was older and retained he biological fathers name.  Actually I knew he was orphaned.  Margie says he was brought up by a Other than Catholic minister, but that there was some sort of agreement that he was to be raised Catholic.  Maybe he never knew his biological fathers name.

What an interesting story. It looks like Rusty’s grandfather may have been brought up by a non-Catholic Minister that raised him as a Catholic. How did that work out? What was the minister’s name?

Barriers of distance and time

Distance and time tend to erode family stories. Traveling from Ireland to the United states as well as the loss of parents results in the loss of a lot of family history. Where did John Alexander Breen come from?

Naturalization records

John left some paperwork behind when he came to the U.S.

In this document, John said in 1917 that he was 29 and wanted to become a citizen. It shows he was 1/2 inch short of six foot tall. His residence in Ireland was what looks like Omagh, County Tyrone. At the time of the application, he was a steel worker in Philadelphia. He came into the port of New York on the Ship California in what looks to be September 29th, 1910. This document from Ellis Island on the Declaration appears to correct his arrival time:

According to his 1923 Petition, he was born in County Armagh:

Here’s a simple map of Northern Ireland:

From the Naturalization records, it appears that John Alexander Breen was born in County Armagh and later lived in Omagh in County Tyrone before coming to live in Philadelphia. However, based on the research that follows, perhaps Count Armagh got mixed up with Omagh. I’m not seeing other evidence of County Armagh.

Sailing on the s.s. california

I have the an image of the ship records when John sailed to the US from Londonderry. Here is some information from the top of the ship record:

I included last address and nearest relative for John Breen on the bottom. Then I included three other people near him as they had an Omagh/Philadelphia connection. Here are the names, in case there is any connections:

Of course, this raises a few questions. Who is Susan Breen if John was orphaned and adopted? Was that her maiden name? Was that her married name, and if so might she have been married before? From what I can tell, Susan was living in Deverney:

According to Townlands.ie, Deverney is a part of the Townland of Recarson.

The second page of the shipping record says that John was also born in Deverney. Also that he planned to stay with a friend, rather than a relative in Philadelphia:

Here ‘s the shipping record from the UK side showing that folks kept the same order. Now John is a mechanic.

1911 British census

One year before John sailed to New York, he was indeed in the military.  He was a private with the 1st Battalion Royal Innishkilling Fusiliers.

I highlighted his birthplace. It would be nice to know where this is. I am not getting Deverney out of it. Apparently, this is Drumragh, which is both a Civil Parish and Townland near Omagh. Here is where townlands.ie shows the Townland to be:

This looks to be fairly close to Deverney.

Other Irish census results?

I am having trouble finding John Breen in the 1901 Census. I am also having trouble finding Jane Breen. So I will look at the women that were traveling with John on the Ship to New York.

The first I’ll look at is Mary McGinn. I see her in 1911:

Her story holds together as she is a seamstress. She was likely closer to 29 than 25 when she sailed to Philadelphia. Let’s say that John was watching over these women on the way to Philadelphia. After all, he appears to have been a world travels already from his British Army experience.

Here’s Tattyreagh where Mary McGinn lived:

Next is Mary McGaughey:

Here is the seamstress connection. She is shown in 1911 in Aughtermoy (Ballyneaner, Tyrone). On the ship, she gives her cousin Charles McGinn as the closest relative for some reason. I’m not positive I have the right person above as on her ship record, she says her last address was Philadelphia. Also this family was Presbyterian.

John in the 1st Battalion Royal Innishkilling Fusiliers

Rusty mentioned his grandfather’s military service. From the census, I found John in Hong Kong in 1911 with the 1st Battalion Royal Innishkilling Fusiliers. After some searching I found an enlistment record dated June 29, 1908 for a John O’Brien:

This could explain why it was so difficult to find John Breen in the 1901 Census. Now, when I look up the Breen surname online, I learn that the name comes from O’Brien if I understand it correctly. This military record is interesting as we found out in the 1911 Census that John was with the Fusiliers. The age of this person is very close to the John we are looking at.  20 years and 4 months from this time would put us at February or March of 1888 and John was born March 1888.

Are John Alexander Breen and John O’Brien the same Person?

The enlistment paper above shows that O’Brien was born near Drumquin, Parish Longfield, County Tyrone. If nothing else, I’m learning a bit about Northern Ireland geography.

The 1901 Census shows a John O’Brien as a servant in Doogary:

Here is townlands.ie rendition of Doogary near Omagh.

Under the scenario, John O’Brien would have been orphaned and became a servant. Probably soon after 1901, he joined the army. Note that when O’Brien signed in 1908, he was already part of the armed services.

O’Brien’s re-enlistment showed that he was already part of the Innishkilling Fusiliers. I am guessing that at some point in the Fusiliers, O’Brien changed his name to Breen.

More military papers for O’Brien

Under O’Brien’s 1908 enlistment papers, I found other military records. This is O’Brien’s initial enlistment from [February?] 1905:

Assuming O’Brien and Breen were the same, the age would be very close, as he would have been 17 within a month. Interesting that in 1905 they asked about O’Brien’s present (or former) Master. This appears to be M. McNulty in or near Dromore.I’m a little curious as to the term Master. I assume that this means that under a certain age, you were under the control of a Master, be it your father or someone else.

Dromore is shown on the previous Drumquin map:


On O’Brien’s Military History Sheet, I find this:

So if Breen and O’Brien are the same, then I have to work out why the mother was Susan Breen for one and Annie O’Brien for the other.

Annie O’Brien

Going with my Breen/O’Brien theory, it would make sense to look for Annie O’Brien in the Census. The oldest Annie O’Brien I found in the 1911 census in County Tyrone is here:

She is listed as 37 which would make her 14 in 1888. However, ages are quite unreliable in the Census. She could have been much older in 1888. I find it odd that a single woman would be the head of household, by herself and a dairymaid. Here is the Townland of Ballyard where she is shown as living:

Let’s try 1901. Now there are a lot of people listed with Annie. She is in the same Townland of Ballyard, though perhaps not the same house.

Look at all the company she has now. Annie’s age is consistent with the 1911 census as she is now 27. Following out on my house of cards theory. What if this was the family that raised John Breen/O’Brien? Annie is the only Catholic in the house.

Summing It Up

I could tell a story about what I’ve found so far. I’m not sure it’s right yet, but it’s a start.

Annie O’Brien was born in County Cork and made her way as a teenager to County Tyrone. While there [probably Deverney], she had a child John Alexander O’Brien. She was apparently a single mother and was taken in by a protestant family. Perhaps this is the same family of Funstons in Ballyard where she was a dairymaid in 1901. Perhaps the father was a McFarlane. John went to work as a farm servant in Doogary. John enlisted twice in the Royal Ennishkilling Fusiliers where he apparently traveled to Hong Kong as he was there in 1911. In 1912, he sailed from Londonderry, Ireland to New York. From there he made his way to a friend’s house. The rest, is history.

Postscript: 1920

However, there is a little more. There always seem to be with genealogy. Fast forward 8 years to when John Alexander Breen is married with two children. Here they are on 1208 Eleventh Street, Philadelphia:

I notice a boarder named Felix McAnulty. This reminds me of John O’Brien’s Master M. McNulty when John first enlisted in 1905. Also next door is John Cassidy. Remember, John was going to stay with an Eliza Cassidy in Philadelphia when he sailed from Londonderry to New York.

I wasn’t able to find Felix in the Irish 1901 Census, but I did find a Falix:

This place is very close to Deverney which is one of the places where John was supposed to have been born:

Actually, it seems like I’ve covered almost everywhere around Omagh. So that seems to be it for now. If my story is right, Rusty is still a Breen, or rather an O’Brien through Annie. And he is a MacFarlane.

Late Breaking News

I just checked the 1911 Census again. This time, I see that there is a John Breen listed there in Recarson. This is quite confusing but may be good news.

This will certainly change the story. It is not now clear if the John O’Brien in the military is the same one as the one in the Hong Kong Census or the one here (or neither). The interesting thing about the document above is that this is for Recarson. Recall that Deverney where John was from is part of Recarson. My understanding is that the Census was to be taken at the same day for everyone, so unless there was some mistake, John Breen could not have been in Recarson and Hong Kong at the same time.

My, this is embarrassing. Now I have two competing stories for Rusty. Let’s say that this should be more accurate. The best part about the census above is that there is a grandmother. That means three generations are represented as well as other relationships. That is always good. I’ll leave it to the reader to adjust the story based on the Census above. I’ll continue this story in a subsequent Blog.

 

My First 1st Cousin DNA Results

Not too long ago, I was at a car dealer with my wife picking up her new car. I checked my email on my phone and was surprised that I had gotten an email from FTDNA saying that my mom had a new close relative. I checked and it was my first cousin on my mother’s side, Rusty. I have been looking at DNA for quite some time now and have written over 100 Blogs, but this was my first 1st cousin DNA results. As a first cousin Rusty’s DNA matches are comparable to mine on my mother’s side.

Rusty on the Family Tree

Here is the family tree on my mother’s side with those that have had their DNA tested:

Rusty matches on my mother’s side. This includes the Rathfelder (blue), Lentz (yellow) and Nicholson (red) families. As Rusty got different DNA from his mom that my 3 siblings and I got from my mom, he will have some of the same and some different matches with all those that have tested so far.

Rusty’s 1st Cousin Matches

I’ll look at my matches with Rusty first as they are more straightforward than his matches with my mom. At least we are both in the same generation. Rusty matches me at 1,164 cM as reported at Gedmatch which is also on the high side for a first cousin. Here is how my matches with Rusty look like on the FTDNA browser:

By the looks of it, Rusty and I light up about half of the positions of the chromosomes.

Why do Rusty and I match as we do?

I like to look at DNA matches in terms of grandparents. That is because I have tried to map all my ancestral DNA to my four grandparents. For example, here is how I have used a visual method to map to my 4 grandparents on Chromosome 10. I am using Chromosome 10 as it comes up later in this Blog:

I will assume that I did the visual phasing correctly. I have the raw data to check, so it can be corrected later if it isn’t 100% right. My sister Sharon is in the first row, Heidi in the second, I’m in the third row and my brother Jon is in the fourth row. The numbers at the bottom are the rough positions of the crossovers. My siblings and I will match Rusty on the blue and purple segments only (maternal side). Looking back up at the FTDNA browser above for Chromosome 10, it shows that I match Rusty at three segments. It is clear that the third match must be a Rathfelder segment match as a little more than half of my Chromosome 10 is mapped to Rathfelder on the right side.

Let’s see how Rusty matches with me and my siblings on Chromosome 10.

This points out an error in my original visual mapping. Based on these matches with Rusty I should be able to correct my Chromosome Map. First, this shows on the right segment, that Rusty matches me (#4) and not my three siblings. That means that my three siblings will have different DNA than me on the maternal side. Note above that difference is not reflected in my Chromosome Map. I have purple Rathfelder mapped to all my siblings on the maternal side. Previous work that I’ve done has shown that my three siblings have a small Rathfelder match at the right end of this Chromosome and I do not. That match is between 132 and 135M. I take that to mean that my yellow segment match above with Rusty must be on the Lentz side and not the Rathfelder side. So, back to the drawing board.

Checking my laptop, I see that I had done a raw DNA analysis on Chromosome 10 in the past. I went back and checked the raw data and found that I had missed my last maternal crossover. I just added that one in to get this corrected Chromosome 10 Map.  The map format below was developed by M MacNeill [prairielad_genealogy@hotmail.com].

The segment that I had missed was the yellow Lentz portion of DNA to the right of my Chromosome. A few points from comparing the Chromosome Map above to Rusty’s matches with the map:

  • Chromosome 10 was heavy on Lentz DNA for me and my 3 siblings (yellow vs. Rathfelder brown)
  • As a result, Rusty only matches me and my siblngs on Lentz DNA
  • Other Chromosomes would likely yield Rathfelder DNA
  • By comparing Rusty matches to my family to all my family’s Chromosome maps, I could create a spotty Chromosome map for Rusty on some chromosomes and a more complete one on others (see below)
  • Rusty’s match with me was helpful in finding a crossover I had missed on my Chromosome 10 Map on the maternal side.
A simpler Chromosome (16)

Perhaps this example is clearer. I will show my visual phasing map followed by Rusty’s matches to my siblings:

 

  1. Heidi
  2. Jon
  3. Joel
  4. Sharon

Unfortunately, the order of my siblings is different in the two representations. I am the only one in the same relative position in both representations. A few observations:

  • Rusty’s inherited DNA from his maternal grandparents lined up well with the my family’s inherited DNA on the maternal side.
  • Rusty’s matches with me and my siblings confirms the visual mapping that I have done for me and my siblings on Chromosome 10
  • Rusty appears to have two large segments of DNA on his maternal side. The larger one on the left is from the Lentz side and the slightly smaller DNA segment on the right side of Chromosome 16 is from our shared Rathfelder side.
  • Rusty’s crossover from Lentz to Rathfelder DNA appears to be at the abrupt end of his first bunch of matches to me and my siblings at about 49.7M.

This figure is a likely representation of Rusty’s Chromosome 16 on his mother’s side. That means that any matches he has on Chromosome 16 in the red part before position 49.7M will be on his Lentz side and any matches he has in the yellow part of Chromosome 16 will be on his Rathfelder side.

Rusty’s Aunt Match

According to the ISOGG web page, Rusty should match my mom (his aunt) and my 3 siblings and me as follows:

This is a visual show of how Rusty matches my mom:

He lights up the browser pretty well. At FTDNA he shows a match of 2,085 cM. This is close to what Gedmatch shows at 2,160.6 cM. Both of these matches are over the reported average of 1744 cM for an aunt/nephew relationship.

Rusty and Rathfelder DNA

Rathfelders are difficult to find. So far, I have found one other person that tested at AncestryDNA who I have been able to link up to the Rathfelders. I wrote about that Rathfelder match in two Blogs. Here is a link to the second Blog. As best as I can tell, the person I found has the following link to Rusty and my family:

I find it unusual that a couple would give the same name (Johann Georg) to two of their sons. Also to make life confusing, the father, Hans Jerg, was also known as Johann Georg. The chart above shows the person I found (Astrid) as a 4th cousin to my mom and a 4th cousin, once removed to my second cousin Catherine, my family and 1st cousin Rusty.

A Rathfelder Triangulation Group

Here is how Astrid matches my mom and Rusty on Chromosome 17.

Astrid, my mom and Rusty are in a Triangulation Group as they all match each other at least in the green area above. Assuming I have the genealogy right, this points back to an early Rathfelder ancestor:

This shows that the shared Chromosome 17 DNA came from Hans Jerg Rathfelder and his wife. This couple were among some of the early settlers of Hirschenhof which was a German colony in Latvia.

Rusty’s Lentz and Nicholson DNA

I only have one distant cousin, Al,  that matches only on the Lentz line. This person does not match Rusty at standard thresholds, so I’ll be mostly looking at Rusty’s Nicholson DNA shown in red below.

On the chart above, Judy and Joshua descend from the Lentz and Nicholson sides. Joan, Linda, Carolyn and Nigel descend from Nicholsons. That means that any match Rusty has with those on the red lines should be a Nicholson match.

Rusty’s oldest Nicholson dna

Rusty matches my mom and Nigel on Chromosome 1. This represents the DNA he got from John Nicholson who was baptized 1765 and his wife Sarah Staniforth.

The browser above shows Rusty’s DNA match with my mom (#1) and Nigel (#2). My mom and my family had a large match with Nigel. So large, in fact, that some on the ISOGG Facebook Page questioned whether that large match could be possible. Here is my Blog about Nigel. Rusty has a more moderate level DNA match and forms a Triangulation Group between himself, my mom and Nigel.

William Nicholson dna

Our shared ancestor, William Nicholson moved his family from Sheffield England to Philadelphia around 1869. Rusty matches Carolyn, Joan and Linda on quite a few Chromosomes. So if I was to map Rusty’s Chromosomes, wherever he matches these three I would map that DNA back to William Nicholson and his wife Martha Ellis. Here is a typical match that Rusty has with my mom (#1) and Joan (#2):

The green segment on Line 2 represents Rusty’s match with Joan and DNA that he got from William Nicholson and his wife.

Chromosome 10

Here is an interesting situation where Rusty matches his 2nd cousin once removed Carolyn (#1) for a longer segment (in orange) than his Aunt – my mom (#2):

The green segment is Rusty’s match with Linda (#3). Linda and Carolyn are both cousins on the Nicholson side. What does this mean? Let’s see how Carolyn matches my mom. In the places where she matches my mom, there would be triangulation:

Here, my mom matches Carolyn in the same segments where Rusty matches my mom. That leaves the blank on Line 2 above between the blue and yellow segment. Why doesn’t Rusty match my mom in the blank spot? Note that above and below on Lines 1 and 3 that has to be Nicholson DNA due to those Rusty is matching. Here is how I see it.

My mom got her DNA on her maternal side from her Lentz and Nicholson grandparents. In the area that Rusty doesn’t match her by Nicholson DNA, my mom must have Lentz DNA.

a Closer look at Chromosome 10

Here is a closer look at some of the closer Nicholson and Lentz relationships:

Here is how the DNA tested people above match each other by the numbers on Chromosome 10:

In the above spreadsheet, the three sections in gold are Triangulation Groups.

Summary and Further Study

Well this Blog wore me out a bit, so I’ll stop here. There is quite a bit to a first cousin’s DNA:

  • I found that Rusty had above average matches to me and my siblings. In addition, he had above average matches to my mom.
  • I looked at how Rusty’s match helped correct an omission I had on my Chromosome 10 Map.
  • Based on my maps, it should be easy to tell what maternal grandparent line Rusty’s matches are when they match with those on my family’s Chromosome Maps.
For Further Study
  • I may look more into what makes up an Aunt/nephew match with Rusty and my mom.
  • I’d like to look at Rusty’s X Chromosome matches.
  • Anything else that happens to come up as I’m blogging