Cluster Genealogy – 1 – Geography

I am working with CW on a Paternal line brickwall – SW (Samuel). To help break down this brick wall CW has taken DNA tests – all of them. The Autosomal DNA Results information is a good…

Source: Cluster Genealogy – 1 – Geography


Cluster Genealogy – 1 – Geography

I am working with CW on a Paternal line brickwall – SW (Samuel). To help break down this brick wall CW has taken DNA tests – all of them. The Autosomal DNA Results information is a good place to look at relationships back to any of his 64, 4th great grandparents (we all have 64, 4th Great grands).

Using WikiTree’s Relationship Finder gives us CW’s relationship Trail to his brickwall:

Relationship Trail

1. CW is the son of TW
2. TW is the son of EW
3. EW is the son of EW, Jr.
4. EW, Jr. is the son of EW, Sr.
5. EW, Sr. is the son of Samuel W.
6. Samuel W. is the son of Samuel W.

This trail tells us that Samuel is the fourth great grandfather of CW. Which places this Brickwall squarely in the range where we can use Autosomal tests to help determine the possible siblings and cousins of Samuel. But to find his father we will need to look at CW’s y-DNA test information.

We know that he is haplogroup (“A haplogroup is a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line – ISOGG ) R1b1b2 (from 23andMe) or R-M269 (FamilyTree DNA) which is a very common Western European haplogroup. Since we know his haplogroup we can look to see if there is a “W” DNA project by doing a google search. To our surprise, we not only find a “W” DNA Project but CW has already joined this project.

Scrolling down the Project Results spreadsheet, we find CW in the list of Project Kits. We see also, adjacent to CW, others who are listed in the same Haplogroup with very close connections to CW and his brickwall. They are, Levi, b. 1780 and William, b. abt. 1800. How do we know they are close? It’s in the numbers – they are grouped together in the DNA Project spreadsheet because they share mutations (“A permanent structural alteration or change in the DNA sequence. Mutations in the sperm or egg are called germline mutations. Germline mutations in the Y chromosome of the male are passed on to all of his male-line descendants. Mutations that occur after conception are called somatic mutations; these mutations may be found in different tissues of the body and they are not passed on to offspring” – ISOGG).

CW has information that shows his brickwall Samuel was most probably born and lived in Maine. His birthplace is listed as Cornish Maine in his son’s Death Certificate. This may or may not be correct considering this information was given by his son’s wife. Did his son tell his wife where his father was born? Did she remember it correctly? Did her father-in-Law tell her this? We have no way of knowing for sure.

Samuel lived in Waldo County, Maine, in the 1850 and 1860 Census Records and in Somerset County, Maine in the 1870 Census with his son Albion. Looking on the map Waldo and Somerset Counties are next to each other, but Cornish is in York County which is not connected to Waldo or Somerset County, lying about 124 miles away. It’s not unusual for younger children in a family to move away from the family’s area – their birth area – in search of land and opportunity. Plus in a quick review of the early history of Cornish, the village was very close to the confluence of three important Native American trails. These trails were often the routes that future roads followed.

So we now have some places to start looking for Samuel, and we are going to have to employ a process called Cluster Genealogy, “Cluster genealogy is a research technique employed by genealogists to learn more about an ancestor by examining records left by the ancestor’s cluster. A person’s cluster consists of the extended family, friends, neighbors, and other associates such as business partners. Researching the lives of an ancestor’s cluster leads to a more complete and more accurate picture of the ancestor’s life.” – WikiPedia

Determining the geography of an ancestor will help us to further the research we need to do in order to chip away at CW’s Brick Wall. Hopefully while we chip away, we will also find Levi and William’s paper connection to CW’s family.

Grandma(s) On Tour!

Not on a grand scale, but certainly a day trip in our own city. Marc (yes he is a Grandma too) and I headed out at 9am to meet and talk with Librarians and Archivists in Ottawa. A little too early as the first one on our list didn’t open until ten. We ended up sipping our Bridgehead coffees, chatting and watching the neighborhood kids play near the door of the Rosemont Branch (18 Roesmont Ave.) of the OPL (Ottawa Public Library). Amazing how a bike stand can turn into a jungle gym for anyone 3 or younger! We introduced ourselves to the Librarians and chatted briefly with them. This is not one of the OPL designated Genealogy Centers, but still has local information and of course access to online Genealogy programs like WikiTree, Ancestry and others.

Our second stop was at the downtown, Main Library (120 Metcalfe St.) Branch. We met with a Genealogy Specialist and member of the OPL Genealogy Team. She gave us a tour of the Ottawa Room and discussed the Library’s Genealogical services. They have gone to a team approach to Genealogy to meet the needs of increased demand and interest in Genealogy. Currently they have several Genealogical Service Center’s around the city located at Library Branches. You can book an appointment with a Genealogy Specialists to have a one-one consultation here: Library’s Genealogical Services Website.

At the Nepean Centrepoint OPL Branch (101 Centrepointe Dr.) we met with another of the OPL Genealogy Specialists and saw one of the Genealogy Centers. We discussed the changes the library has undertaken to take this particular branch from a holding of one row of shelves to a well organized Genealogical area within the library. Obvious that OPL is taking Genealogy seriously and making research and help “available”. Nepean Centerpoint OPL Website

The Location of the other OPL Genealogy Centers are:
Beaverbrook, 2500 Campeau, Beaverbrook OPL Website
Cumberland, 1599 Tenth Line, Cumberland OPL Website
Greenboro, 363 Lorry Greenburg, Greenboro OPL Website

The Library Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street), introduced us to a short but needed security check and the issuance of a Researcher Card, identifying us and allowing access on visits to LAC for the next two years. We also had to check our bags into a locker, though we could bring our computer and notebooks up. The Archivist we spoke to explained upcoming changes to the Genealogy Room, was friendly and helpful to us and busy as well, helping others. LAC Website.

Next was a stop at the Ottawa City Archives, James K. Bartleman Centre (100 Tallwood Dr.). This is a beautiful new LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building where local OGS (Ottawa Branch Ontario Genealogical Society), BIFHSGO (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) and other group meetings are held. We talked to two City Archivists about their collections and the building. Ottawa City Archive Website

Finding the LDS Ottawa Stake Family History Center (1017 Prince of Wales Drive) was a bit of a surprise as Marc and I have driven past it, cycled past it and lived near it for years. We were introduced to several of the Volunteers who people the center Tuesday through Saturday at various times. Despite the increase in the Family Search online offerings, this center is well suited to providing research opportunities with a room full of Microfilm machines, another with computers, and access to local and international information. Ottawa Ontario Stake Family History Center Website.

The theme of many of our discussions today seemed to be focused around Cluster Genealogy – “a research technique employed by genealogists to learn more about an ancestor by examining records left by the ancestor’s cluster. A person’s cluster consists of the extended family, friends, neighbors, and other associates such as business partners. Researching the lives of an ancestor’s cluster leads to a more complete and more accurate picture of the ancestor’s life.” – WikiPedia

Which is, interestingly enough, the title of another blog post I have on the go. Kismet, I think. Happy Roots Digging!

DNA and something called Phasing – 1 Parent

Had this question yesterday, “I uploaded my fathers raw data to GEDmatch. Now how do we do the phasing if I don’t have my mothers DNA?”

Phasing “is the process of trying to determine which DNA came from the mother, and which came from the father. The term is usually applied to types of DNA that recombine, such as autosomal DNA or the X-chromosome. The benefit of phasing is being able to identify which ancestor a segment was inherited from.”

This particular client’s mother passed away and he has no way of identifying her specific DNA. To get into this more, you might ask, “can’t you just send in some hair from a brush she used?” Why yes you can, IF you can find a hair with a root still attached AND you have blocks of gold lying around the house. This kind of testing is not practical for the average Genealogist.

When you work with DNA you might say generally, “I inherited this much from my dad – say 50% and this much from my mom – say 50%.” Which is kind of sort of a ball park figure. This goes along with what I explained in another blog Why DNA?  My brother, Sister and I all get 50% from our parents. If this were exactly true then we would all be clones of our parents with no perceivable difference. But there are perceivable differences. The differences are all over the place too. So no, you can’t just say I got 50% from each parent and be done with it. Nature has a sense of humor.

So how to tell which parent gave us which parts of our DNA?

Phasing will tell us.

You can not do this currently (April of 2016) at the place where you got your test done, since none of the testing companies offer a phasing tool.

There are two tools available from Genetic Genelogists for Phasing when you have both parents raw data. You can find this information on the ISSOG page on Phasing.

What we want to do is find out which parent we received our DNA from when we only have one parent.

T. Whit Athey, explains how to do phasing when “a family group, consisting of at least three, siblings and at least one parent. The process works best if data for four or more siblings is available.” Phasing the Chromosomes of a Family Group When One Parent is Missing, Journal of Genetic Genealogy, Fall 2010, Vol. 6, Number 1,

We don’t have a whole slew of family members to test to work on this kind of phasing. So, we turn to GEDmatch, . If you haven’t already uploaded your raw DNA data to GEDmatch, and at least one parents raw DNA data to GEDmatch, then you will need to do this. Click on upload raw data for your particular company to see what you need to do.

Now that you and your one parent’s raw DNA data is up and available to work with (usually 24-48 hours after initial upload) here is what to do.

Sign in to GEDmatch.
Go to the Analyze your DNA section,
Then to the DNA Raw Data section, and
Click on “Phasing”. This will take you to the “Phased data generator, Data entry form”
Enter the child’s (your) kit number
Enter either the Fathers or Mother’s Kit number
Then Click the link to generate the phased results.

How long did it take? Phasing took 0.45905 seconds.

Child’s Kit: A000001
Father’s Kit: M111111
Processing without mother’s kit.

Paternal kit number: PA000001P1

Maternal kit number: PA000001M1

Your phased Paternal and Maternal files have been generated.

These numbers will appear on your GEDmatch profile page along with other kits you manage. The phased kits will be available for use in one-to-one comparisons immediately. You will have to wait for the usual 24 to 48 before you can compare the new phased Parental kits with other tools offered by GEDmatch.

Migration As A Genealogical Tool

Had a question come up today about a US Southern Family living in Mississippi, “When and from where did my family come from when first arriving in America?” WikiTree G2G

The pattern of Immigration to the North American Continent in the early days of colonization was to the absolute East Coast. From Nova Scotia to Saint Augustine to New Orleans. When our ancestors arrived they settled pretty close to the coast. It was the safest place because there were few other colonists and staying together was the obvious thing to do for safety.

As populations grew, the oldest son(s) would inherit the land and the younger children would migrate to other areas. From the north to the south and west. In what is now Canada settlers followed the St. Lawrence River inland. As each of the major canals were constructed easier travel afforded more opportunity to the west. In the US the old Indian trails heading south and west were followed and land opened up. Covered Wagons and then the Rail systems, criss-crossing the continent opened even wider expanses of land for migrants to settle.

In my own Gaulden (Gaulding, Goulding, Gauldin) family we started in VA (one theory is that my Gaulden’s started in England traveled to Bermuda, went through Eleuthra, Bahama, to Massachusetts then to Virginia). From Virginia we traveled through NC for a bit, then on to Sumter, South Carolina. The John Gaulden Family of Sumter, SC, had it’s younger Children migrate to York County, SC, to Georgia, and even to Western MS/Eastern LA.

My Templeton family arrived from Ireland, landed in Charleston and settled in Laurens County, SC. From South Carolina, portions of the family migrated to Indiana. When more land opened up to the west they moved on westward. The Templeton DNA Study and One Name Study has worked to identify far flung family groups by migration patterns. We can infer which of the 8 Templeton gateway Ancestors someone is from and identify new people to add to the Templeton Gene Pool with DNA testing.TempletonDNAchart

The Hunt line started out in Bedford County, Virginia. Thomas Hunt had 14 children who migrated to all parts of the continent. My particular Hunt, Esli, Sr., moved with a couple of brothers to Western North Carolina (the State Of Franklin now Tennessee).  Then, after traveling around SC during the revolution took his land grant on what was to be the line between Greenville and Pickens Counties, SC. From there Esli Sr.’s family spread out over Cherokee lands and westward.

The Dillard’s migrated with other family groups from Virgina to Western NC, then on to Rabun County, Georgia. The Lords started in Connecticut and ended up in Jackson County, Georgia. The McElmoyle’s are a bit harder to trace to one individual, but different groups of McElmoyle’s landed in Charleston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York (straight to Ontario for some) and Boston and spread from those locations to points south and west.

Knowing that Upstate South Carolina was a resort destination for those to escape the coastal heat and malaria for cool summers in the mountains, helps to understand why some Charleston families have deep ties to Greenville, SC. There is even a Charletson McElmoyle family who are split between a cemetery in Clemson, SC and a cemetery in Charleston (with tombstones in both) because of the civil war.

So ask your local historical society where the people came from and why they settled your area of the world. You may find a veritable road-map to your ancestors origins.

DNA – Understanding Your Results? Ethnicity/Origins

Oh, I always have a good chuckle when I see blog or forum posts with this subject line, which is why I added a question mark at the end. How on earth are you, the family geneaarchivisty person or genealogist supposed to suddenly become a DNA expert and understand the overwhelming amount of information included in your DNA test results?

Well, you understand enough to have figured out  Why DNA, Who to Test and Where to Test. You ordered your kit, swabbed your cheek, sent it off and now you have the results back and…


The National Geographic Genographic Project, Geno 2, test results are geared toward this specifically. The project is attempting to identify, through DNA, the origins of us all. It’s a noble work, as they will be able to establish (are already establishing) our genetic roots. This is shifting sand, because, as our migrations from place to place have increased so has our DNA mix. If this is what you want to know then this is your test as “Our testing focuses on deep ancestry from an anthropological perspective. It is not primarily a genealogy testing service…” The Genographic Project -FAQ

Mentioning shifting sands…Check back on your Ethnicity/Origins results frequently because as more people test the more the data improves. You might start out at 98% European today and in two months you may be 96% European. Not big changes for sure but over time you may see your numbers go up and down a bit.

On FamilyTreeDNA find your “My Origins” section of your Family Finder test.Clicking “My Origins” will take you to a map, a breakdown of your ethnicity and a list of matches with their ethnicity.

On Ancestry it’s under DNA. Clicking on DNA will take you to a page that summarizes your information, with a map of your origins and a pie chart showing your ethnic make-up and a link to click to go more in-depth.

On 23andMe it’s in Ancestral Composition, click “Go” and you will see a color-coded map of your origins and percentages of your ethnic breakdown.

On all of these pages hover and click all round to see if there are things for you to read, aside from the obvious verbiage. You can also look over a few of your top DNA matches (the people you share part of your DNA with) without leaving the page. Have fun learning about where you came from in the grand scheme of things.



DNA – Where to Test?

This is a subject that has been whipped, but good. There isn’t a lot to add to the information, but since some of my readership may be looking only to me for this very advice (delusions of grandeur), I have to whip it one more time. If you have already been around the block on this, you can sit back with a nice piece of hot blueberry pie while I ramble on, entertainingly, about where to test. The rest get your pie at the end.

Sticker Shock – It’s not a new car, but…

Prices range from around $99.00 US to about $249.00 US for single tests. If you don’t live in the US and your currency isn’t doing well against the US dollar, prepare for even more sticker shock and high fees for shipping.

You can get an Autsomal Test and/or a y-DNA test or mtDNA test and you can order a test: from 23andMe, Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, and National Geographic.

The companies vary in the tests they offer so you should spend time looking over the FAQ for each company to decide which one is right for you, based on what you want to know and what test you need to point you in the right direction. A previous blog post gives some advice on the, “what you want to know” and the “what tests” for you here: DNA- Who to Test?

Ancestry FAQ
FamilyTreeDNA FAQ

23andMe FAQ
National Geographic Geno 2.0 FAQ

You will also want to read to make sure testing is available for your area. For example, Ancestry DNA testing is only “available in the United States and for purchase online for residents of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.”- Ancestry FAQ #10.

Now that that is done, everyone enjoy the hot from the oven blueberry pie I just served you! Some Vanilla Ice cream too!