Down The Rabbit Hole Again

I just had a great chuckle. I downloaded the Ontario Genealogical Society 2016 Conference App. from Google Play. Listed underneath the application, as the top download also downloaded by others who downloaded the OGS Conference 2016 App? Addiction Biology.

Oh I have seen all the comics about how we Genealogists/Family Historians are up to all hours hunched over our computer keyboards, how we are neglectful of our significant others, how our homes fall down around us from that same neglect…it goes on and on. We do have a singular passion. We are almost driven to find the answers to all our Family mysteries. But is it really an addiction?

If so, I have turned my addiction into a business. Is that ok? Can I blame the extra hours I am doing Genealogy on my business now? “I can’t come to bed right now…I know I haven’t been to bed in three nights…but I am WORKING!” If so? Oh, how clever of me to hide my addiction behind the guise of work!


This from typing “addiction definition” into a Google Search.

Enslavement? Really?

I don’t think I am enslaved to my family history….I am quite devoted to it for sure. Do I depend on it? Well, it does “pay the bills”. Is it a habit? Well, not as good a habit as I would like – there are so many Rubbermaid containers full of things yet to digitize in my basement and if I could get into a good habit of working on them, then they would be done…I could place the Rubbermaid Containers in the bedroom so I had to climb over them to get up every day. Oh, oh, that sounds a bit obsessive doesn’t it? I am sure “obsessive” is in the definition of addiction somewhere.

When I go deep into something for hours or even days, I call it “going down the Rabbit hole.” Like what I did just now, stopping everything I am doing to write a blog about Genealogy and addiction. Down the rabbit hole again.


Haplogroups Most Recent Common Ancestor

Recently on WikiTree someone asked me ‘Dumb question, What is a Haplogroup?’

Thinking it was not a dumb question at all I gave the following answer.

A haplogroup is a grouping of common  patrilineal or matrilineal lines who share a common ancestor.  The main haplogroups are divided by letter, and smaller sub-divisions by letter and number.  For example H is a very large group, H1 is a subgroup of H, H1a is a subgroup of H1, and so on.   The further you narrow it down the closer in years the common ancestor is.

There are small parts of our DNA that do not change much over time.  Geneticists have used these parts to identify population groupings, where they live, and their movement through human history.   Certain haplogroups occur with greater frequency in certain areas which is what leads to them be categorized as African, European, Asian, Native American etc.

Males have a paternal and a maternal haplogroup.  Their paternal haplogroup is inherited along a direct paternal line – your father’s father’s father’s, etc.. The maternal haplogroup is inherited from your direct maternal line.  Females only have a maternal haplogroup.

Here is a mapping of maternal haplogroups: migration_map_wfn1

You can see from this map what part of the world the groups are associated with.    If you get into the details of the haplogroups it will show how the groups branch out from one another. Mitochondrial Haplogroup L is the mother of all other groups. On a long enough timeline everyone’s ancestry goes back to Africa (more than 75,000 years ago).  But these haplogroups identify ancestry in more recent times (within the last 50,000 years) when new haplogroups M and N were emerging.

For example my mother is haplogroup H.   This is the biggest group for Europeans.  It is estimated that the common ancestor of this group is a woman who lived in the Caucasus/SW Asia between 33,000 and 26,000 years ago.   Depending on the test you take you can get more detail.  H is a daughter group to N which branched of as much as 75,000 years ago, which is a daughter group to L – going back 200,000 years in Africa.

My mother did an mtDNA test that further narrowed her haplogroup to H1as.   Certain lineages of H1 are thought to have been introduced by hunter-gather women in Europe about 18,000 to 22,500 years ago.    H1as is one of at least 65 current subdivisions of H1.    As is it stands very little is know about H1as.

Keep in mind that the understanding of these groups changes over time as people learn more.  New groups are being discovered as time goes on.

Cluster Genealogy – 2 DNA & Geography

CW, as stated in the first post about Cluster Genealogy, has had every possible DNA test one could have. So one of the first things I did was look at his surname DNA project and his results as compared to others who match him closely.

For those who need a little help to find DNA projects, simply type the Surname you are interested in into a search engine, “Smith DNA Project”, and if there is a DNA project for the surname it will pop up. Oh! What we did before the internet! Editorial comments aside, it’s pretty easy to find. One note of caution, do not copy and post information directly from the DNA project to anywhere public.

So in looking at CW’s DNA Surname Project I found several entries for “W” in the spread sheet who share CW’s Haplogroup, R-M269. In just looking at the people listed in the same Haplogroup, I see:

Samuel, b. 1643, Portsmith, New Hampshire, d. 1718
Ichabod, 1610, England
Thomas, 1787, Buckfastliegh, Devon (alternate surname spelling) This fella is also listed in this subclade but also in two other subclades.
No Name Unknown Origin
No Name Unknown Origin
William, b. 1750 – 1795, United Kingdom
Charles, b. 1769 Unknown – 1850 Alabama
Levi, 1780 – 1849 Unknown Origin
Levi, 1780 – 1849 Unknown Origin
No Name Unknown Origin
Samuel H., b. 1803, Cornish, ME, USA  <— this is CW’s ancestor
William, b.1800 d.aft 1880, Unknown Origin
Levi, B. 1780 and d. 1849, Unknown Origin
William (completely different surname) b 1860 d 1910 Unknown Origin

All of these entries are listed with the note, “R1b-M343 Backbone SNP Pack”, so it appears that FTDNA thinks these fella’s are all connected to some point in time (could be thousands of years).

So I now have a list of possible family members for CW, that I will need to research to see if they “fit”.

I have already had an opportunity to look into Levi, 1780-1849 as a fellow WikiTreer has Levi of SC associated with what he believes is CW’s Maine line (he had all of the children of this family located in Maine, then the one Child, Levi, in SC, an anomaly worth looking into for sure). Researching this Levi of SC gives us a man who was born in South Carolina, lived in South Carolina and died in South Carolina. There is no apparent connection, in the genealogical time frame, to CW’s family in Maine. I did find another Levi who lived in Maine at the right time and the right place to possibly be Levi who is the Levi of Maine and the one connected to CW..

So new questions arise, were the DNA tests associated with Levi of SC, actually for the Levi of Maine? The only way to find out is to search for the testers and find out what information they have for the paper trail. Then we can see which of the Levi’s in the DNA Project belong to Levi of Maine and which belong to the Levi of SC.

Off to find some paper trails for the rest and to find some testers to help with identifying the right Levi’s!