I recently was contacted by a DNA match at 23andMe and she had the same name as my daughter. As 23andMe gives birth dates, I knew it was not my daughter but a second cousin of mine who was born before my daughter. As my great grandparents had 13 surviving children, I have a lot of 2nd cousins.
Heather’s DNA Match
Heather and I have a large DNA match. Heather shot to the top of my 23andMe match list:
Heather shares more than twice the amount of DNA with me compared to my other 2nd cousins at 23andMe. This had me concerned at first as I originally thought that Heather was a 2nd cousin once removed. At that level, her DNA match with me would have been off the scale. This had me going back to my online genealogy to check where Heather was on the family tree:
This tree shows my Hartley second cousins who have tested for DNA at different companies. I am missing some testers. I know there are more under Grace Hartley and I didn’t include my children or nieces and nephews. There are also other lines I have missed, so I should update this tree.
Heather is on the Greenwood line:
That brings me to a match with Heather who is two generations closer to Greenwood Hartley compared to Charles.
Heather Shares About as Much as DNA with Me as Possible:
The 7.84% DNA that we share is 584 cM. Blaine Bettinger has a shared DNA project. He gets people to tell him how much DNA they share with each relationship and he puts that in a chart:
When I thought that Heather was my 2nd cousin, once removed, I thought that something was wrong as our match would be off that chart. As it is, our match of 584 cM is very near the top reported 2nd cousin match.
23andMe Thought That Heather and I Were 1st Cousins
That was a bit of surprise. I suppose that was based on average shared DNA. But your mileage may vary as the saying goes. Here are some more numbers from the Shared cM Project:
Based on that study, our DNA match would indicate that we would be closer to 1st cousins once removed. Here are my two first cousins and three first cousins once removed at Gedmatch.com:
The first two in the orange box are 1st cousins on my mother’s side. The second three are 1st cousins once removed on my father’s (Hartley) side. The last is the highest 2nd cousin match at Gedmatch. That means that Heather at 584 cM has a higher match than my three 1st Hartley cousins once removed. These are my father’s cousins. I find that interesting.
The DNA that Heather and I share is from our two great grandparents. They are James Hartley and Annie Snell. Here they are with some of their children:
In fact, roughly half of Heather and my shared DNA is from James Hartley and half is from Annie Snell. It is possible to figure out exactly which is which, but it takes matches with descendants of older common ancestors to figure that out. I’ll give a few examples later in the Blog.
23andMe Family Tree
23andMe has a Family Tree. They try to figure out your tree by the DNA, but that isn’t always precise. So they want you to add known relatives to that tree. Here is my tree:
Normally a family tree would have the paternal ancestors on the left, but this one does not. My Hartley ancestors are in blue on the right. Here is more of a close-up of the Hartley side:
One, person, DL, I don’t have matched up to a named line. Heather is on the Greenwood line and her father is Sonny’s brother. You don’t know the players without a program. My line goes off to the left where it matches up with my mother’s ancestors. It took a bit of trial and error to get Heather into the tree correctly at 23andMe, but I have her now:
This shows that Heather is 1st cousin to my 2nd cousin Woody.
I have my Chromosomes painted or mapped by my various matches. I’d like to see if Heather adds any new information to that map. I already have a lot of Hartley 2nd cousins mapped. Here is what I have mapped so far:
My paternal DNA is on the top row of every chromosome and my maternal DNA is on the bottom row of each chromosome. The predominant green is where I would match Heather as that color represents James Hartley and Annie Snell our common 2nd great grandparents.
This shows up better when I choose my paternal-only side on the Painter:
It would be easier to say which chromosomes that Heather and I share no Hartley matches on. Those are Chromosomes:
Part of the reason that I may not have Hartley on a chromosome is that my chromosomes may have recombined or not recombined more likely to exclude Hartley on a certain Chromosome. The only two choices on my paternal side are Hartley or my father’s mother who was a Frazer. So if I got all Frazer DNA on a particular Chromosome, I will not have any Hartley matches on that Chromosome. I would not match Heather on the X Chromosome because men only recieve one copy of that Chromosome from their mother. That means I have no Hartley X Chromosome DNA. Heather doesn’t really have any Hartley X Chromosome DNA either. She did get an X Chromosome from her father, but that X Chromosome was the same that he got from his Gifford mother. So she got Gifford DNA from her father on the X Chromosome, not Hartley.
Right now I am 45% painted overall and 53% painted on my paternal side. I’ll see if Heather adds anything or if I am already maxed out. Here is the data I need for DNA Painter:
One interesting thing I see already is that my match with Heather starts at position 1 for Chromosomes 2, 4, 13 and 15. That would be right at the start of these chromosomes. I already have a match painted at or close to the beginning of Chromosome 2, but not at the beginnings of Chromosome 4, 13, and 15. That is encouraging.
I choose, “Paint a New Match”.
I refreshed my percent painted:
This shows that I am up to 47% painted now overall or an increase of 2%. I also added 17 segments from my match with Heather. However, I’m sure a lot of those segements are overlapping other Hartley/Snell matches.
On my paternal side I am now at 56%. That is a increase of 3 percentage points or quite a bit at this point in my mapping.
Here is my new green Hartley/Snell mapped DNA:
One interesting thing is that the Hartley side is filled up now on Chromosome 13. Here are my second cousin matches on Chromosome 13:
I kept the names out for privacy, but Heather is the match at the top. I have also mapped my DNA to my 4 grandparents. My guess is that my Chromosome 13 is all Hartley. I need to find my Blog on Chromosome 13. Back in November 2018, I mapped out my Chromosome 13 and that of my 5 siblings:
This was one of the easiest chromosomes to map because there were not many crossovers. The crossovers are when you change in your chromosome from the DNA you got from one grandparent to the spouse of that grandparent. I am in the third row above and I have all the same paternal grandparent (Hartley) and the same maternal grandparent (Rathfelder). That means that it was not unexpected to have my Chromosome filled in with green Hartley DNA on the DNA Painter that I mentioned earllier.
So in the example above, if Heather uploaded her DNA to gedmatch where I have my siblings’ DNA, she would not match my brother Jim on Chromosome 13. That is because Jim got Frazer DNA in the first part of his Chromosome 13 where Heather matched me. Heather would match Jon and Heidi as much as she matches me. For Lori and Sharon, Heather would match on Chromosome 13, but not as much as she matches me as she would be matching in different/fewer regions.
Heather’s Older DNA
The DNA that Heather and I share came down from James Hartley born in 1862 and Annie Snell born in 1866. I mentioned earlier in the Blog that it should be possible to identify some older DNA. That can be seen at DNA Painter. The first example I see of this is in Chromosome 4:
On this Chromosome, Heather matches me at the beginning and end of the Chromosome. In the middle, I have some matches from my Frazer side. In yellow, I have a match with Anne whose ancestry goes all the way back to Abraham Howorth (or so we believe). This DNA goes all the way back to 1768. The Howorth family lived in Bacup, Lancahsire, England:
Beth, Jim and Joyce didn’t match Ann on Chromosome 4, but they did on Chromosome 8. When that happens, we call that triangulation which is a sort of check that the DNA really did come from where we think it did. In this case, Heather would extend that triangulation to Chromosome 4. If Heather uploads her DNA to Gedmatch, she would likely match Ann through their common 4th great-grandparents.
An example of identified Snell DNA is on Chromosome 9:
I left out the names, but my match in blue is Celeste. Her ancestors were Otis Snell and Mary Parker. My match with Heather is right above the blue match. That means that Heather likely matches Celelste also.
Here are Mary and Otis:
Those are the only two examples I have right now of older DNA. I would like to find more examples. This would require getting some of my AncestryDNA matches to upload to Gedmatch. AncestryDNA has a lot of matches but they do not use a Chromosome Browser. That means I can tell how much DNA I share with a match there, but I cannot tell on what chromosomes I match them nor can I tell on what portion of the chromosome I match them.
Summary and Conclusions
- I was glad to hear from Heather
- I was surprised at how much DNA we shared with each other. The amount is right near the top of the scale of likely DNA matching
- Because Heather and I share so much common DNA that came down from James Hartley and Annie Snell born in the 1860’s, I was able to add a lot of DNA to my DNA Map using DNA Painter.
- I showed a few cases where I could identify older DNA matches that Heather and I shared going back to Howorth, Snell and Parker.