Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pile-ups on Chromosomes

One intriguing question that I was looking at last year was a set of pile-ups on chromosome X in 23 and Me looking at myself and my siblings there. I wrote away to one individual who had his results on Gedmatch and he wrote back to me and hence the resurgence of that thought not resolved at the time as I had moved on to something else. With the reply I started looking at and thinking about that pileup.

I am phasing my grandparents DNA and the X chromosome, which is actually easy to work with especially if you have two brothers and two sisters plus yourself tested. Putting together the actual scenario of what it would look like was easy. The hard part was assigning the blocks. The one X is, of course, entirely completely and intact from my paternal grandmother for myself and my sisters. We all inherit the same X as that is the only X which our Father has to pass on to us. He received this singleton X from his mother who received it from her father and mother. In spite of having quite a few matches with cousins I do not have an X chromosome match with a known cousin as my closest cousin to test is a third cousin. He didn't happen to match on the X chromosome because our match is on his father's line.

The person to whom I had written shared 25 centimorgans with us on the X chromosome and the pileup that I found varied between 16 centimorgans (I didn't record less) and 28 centimorgans. The problem is that only a couple of the individuals in the pileups share DNA with one of us on other chromosomes. Reading the literature one is left with the impression that this is a somewhat resilient piece of DNA being passed down generation after generation relatively intact for some of its length. Looking at countries mentioned by the testers Ireland does stand out as a possibility for ancestry but there are many who list only the United States.

One person in particular sharing 28 centimorgans rather intrigues me. He is sharing 0.37% of his genome with one of my brothers and predicted to be a 4th cousin. He has the United Kingdom listed as the birth place of his parents with Oxford, Northampton and  Buckingham counties mentioned under other. None of these counties fit into my lines. The UK is great given my 100% UK ancestry. The five surnames he mentioned do not correspond to any of my surnames. One of the people we share in common (his suggested third cousin shares a known 4th cousin of mine descendant of my Welch-Buller family). Because he has an X match with my brother that eliminates our father's side and his father's side. That is always interesting but not enough details to go on. Perhaps I should write to him and I am contemplating doing that. I tend to write to people mostly that are on Gedmatch but do do otherwise.

Myself I share 0.27% of my genome with this individual or about 21 centimorgans. We share some of the same group in common but not entirely. My best match within this group is at 28 centimorgans.That individual also matches my brother at 23 centimorgans with whom I am sharing this other match as well but does not match my other brother and sister.

My second brother does not match this particular pileup. There is a second pileup that he matches along with another sibling. But the phasing of the X chromosome does tell me that possibility could exist in that my one brother and I match quite well on this chromosome and my other brother and one sister are a better match and do not match us. Since I have two Xs I could have two pileups with only one set matching my brother since not all of the matches are in common.

Is it possible to determine if this individual is descendant of my Welch or Buller families? I never did work through that idea at the time. But receiving a reply to my query has sent me back looking at this possibility once again. The other alternative is my Pincombe family and I would be looking at the Gray line only (John Routledge Pincombe married Grace Gray whose father was born at Etton East Riding of Yorkshire and her mother was born at Bewcastle, Cumberland). The counties mentioned as historical by the tester were Oxford, Nottingham and Buckingham. The Gray family were from Etton Yorkshire and Bewcastle Cumberland as mentioned. The Buller family was from Birmingham and Bermondsey Surrey. The Welch family was from Staffordshire and Leicestershire ending up in Birmingham. But there is also my maternal grandmother's family Taylor from Birmingham and ?. My brother only has inherited the one X chromosome from our mother and she of course inherited the Gray X from her paternal grandmother and the other X from her mother. There is also a shared match which does have a short length on another chromosome with whom I have corresponded but she is not aware of her ancestry.

The other possibility is to look at the pileup that my other brother and sister are matching. I have not yet looked at that in any detail. These two share quite a bit of the X chromosome in common.

On checking at Gedmatch I discovered a set of siblings who shared about 25 centimorgans on the X chromosome but also small amounts on other chromosomes. These three siblings are matching my older and my younger sister as well as myself but not my two brothers. However, they do not show up as matches on Ancestry DNA probably sliced out with Timber! I probably should write to this grouping as we are a full match with each other at this point and both of my brothers are a no match. It is not, however, a name with which I am familiar.

Back to the pileup and the range is from 17 to 19 centimorgans and in an area where my other brother and sister both match each other but not myself and my other brother. Four members of the match are from 23 and Me and do not appear under the matches. I continued doing a search for kits that match of these two and did separate out the Chromosome 23 matches but none of them are significantly large except for one individual that I have already written who matches all of us (and she is a recent match (still light green on Gedmatch). She is an X match however to my sister only. On the other chromosomes where this new tester matches us the phasing that I have done thus far implies a Buller-Welch connection. If true then this match alone would solve the original question. Can I resolve the sections on Chromosome 23 into my three grandparents? Since this new match does not match my other sister and I on the X chromosome but we do match our sister with the one X then the only match that works does appear to be Buller-Welch-Taylor for her and Pincombe-Gray for my other sister and myself.  For several of the chromosomes I do have a number of cousins who have tested and I am able to confidently predict that my phasing is reasonable given the known information. I shall check the matches on the other chromosomes to see if I can clearly declare these sections on Chromosome 23. None of the chromosomes on which we match have sufficiently long enough known sections to rigorously declare this to be a Buller-Welch connection. However, I shall continue to look upon this new tester as a possibility for solving this query. In the meantime her email is of the UK and perhaps in time I will hear from her.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Find My Past

I have been a user/subscriber of Find My Past since 2009 and continue to really like this site. I subscribe because it is just easier to always have it at my fingertips whenever I am doing a standard search for anything (in my case all my ancestry is from England thus far on paper). Now that all the big search companies have taken on DNA projects I wonder if Find My Past will make that leap as well. It would be interesting to see Living DNA work with Find My Past I must admit and just wanted to throw that thought into the wind.

I have two sets of results at Living DNA - one for myself and one for one of my brothers (he kindly volunteered to do that as he has with all the other testing that I have done - AncestryDNA, FT DNA, My Heritage, 23 and Me, Britains DNA (no longer operating and they bought Ethnoancestry which I had also tested my brother at years ago; I also did a complete workup at BritainsDNA for him),   National Genographic Project and Sorenson. He and I have done a lot of testing through the years since we first got into DNA testing in 2005. I await one set of results I have waited for for a long time - Big Y. I always meant to just buy it but then something else would come up for testing and I just didn't do it but now I await those results. We already know from all of these testing companies that our yDNA is quite ancient to the British Isles. This will simply give me more detail in that regard than I have from National Genographic Project and Britains DNA.

The results at Ancestry from autosomal DNA testing have been really useful (especially in my husband's case but gradually as more and more English people test I am getting close matches). I have subscribed to Ancestry since 2004 and find it to be a very valuable service as well although generally more so in my husband's research but they do have some databases not on Find My Past.

My Heritage is also a very interesting service and the addition of DNA testing there may prove to be very handy as well. I think the option of just having it along with matching is a great service. I have been a subscriber to My Heritage since 2013 when we went to Who Do You Think You Are 2013 Live in London, UK. My husband has found a number of useful searches there with his European ancestry - namely Germany, France, The Netherlands and Denmark.

I used to buy fiche from the various Record Offices in England and then read them in a microfiche reader but I must admit it is a lot nicer to have these services create their large databases of all this material with a link to the original page. At 72 it saves me a lot of time and saves my eyes for other close detail work. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Matches with mitochondrial DNA

I just had an email requesting that I forward information on individuals who had tested within a subclade of H11 which I had created. My only response to this ever is to contact the individuals who match you at FT DNA (or elsewhere but my H11 haplogroup project is at FT DNA). All of the matches that are within a reasonable closeness to you shown in the project will be listed by FT DNA.

There are 269 members in the project and almost every subclade mentioned in the phylotree (2016 update) is included in the project.  In general the rules for administering a project are pretty straight forward. We must protect every member's privacy and I do attempt to ensure that I do do that.

Mitochondrial DNA can be a very helpful tool to some (for instance my mutations bring me to Argyllshire/Ayrshire Scotland or Ireland - thus far no exceptions in my many matches included in the project. That can be very helpful to some. However, it does not tell me the name of that distant ancestor. I am still stuck in Birmingham in the mid 1800s. I do have a possibility. That possibility in several generations does not lead me to Scotland or Ireland. Family Lore helps a little but nothing substantial from that either. My matches and my Living DNA results do point to my having a Irish/Scot connection but I do have 2 3x great grandparents with a Scot surname although rather distant back. I have no perfect matches other than my siblings and ten one step away. Also having this lovely person with the surname of Taylor adds to that challenge.

My husband on the other hand has over a dozen perfect matches to his mtDNA. The only item he has learned from all of that is a match with someone in England whose line has been in England back to the 1700s at least is a perfect match. Looking at this individual there is a possibility that her ancient ancestor was from Denmark/The Netherlands. He can trace his line back to 1654 when Margaret was baptized in Newport Rhode Island but no further for sure. No one else in that particular maternal line has tested that can trace back to Margaret Carr or her sisters.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

52 Ancestor Challenge

Would dearly like to do another 52 Ancestor Challenge but it will not happen this year. I shall aim towards doing that 52 Ancestor Challenge beginning in 2019. It will look at the 4x great grandparents of our son in law. All 64 of these 4x great grandparents are known so I shall combine a few of them. Amazingly he never has a duplicate set until one gets back further in time. When I first started this project I had the impression that many many descendants of these early French Canadian settlers had many lines in common. Indeed they do but their families were so very large that often enough in the case of our son in law he is descended from a number of children of the same couple way back in the 1600s and 1700s. The story of the French Canadians is a very important one in Canadian history and it is good that so many are involved in putting together these descendants of that early group. The priests were so very helpful as well carefully recording the birth parishes in France for the many couples who married in Quebec City in the 1600s and they continued with that careful reporting up to the present. Such a wonderful set of historical documents on the early history of Canada.

With three grandparents born in England and the fourth although born in Canada descendant of individuals also born in England, my footprint on this side of this ocean is incredibly small as just my mother, her father and his mother were born in Canada; all the rest were born in England as far back as I have been privileged to trace their lines.

My husband, on the other hand, has a much deeper footprint with his own lines being part of the very early migrations to the New England Colonies/New Holland Colonies dating back to the 1620s.

As I think about all of this history at my fingertips, I must admit some regret at not taking up the mantle of genealogical research much earlier. My husband (his forays in genealogy go back 50 years looking at his Kipp family in particular) started to attend the Ontario Genealogical Society Meetings, Ottawa Branch, in the early 1980s but I simply did not want to get involved in research. My mother was busy going to the Family History Library and collecting information on her family lines which she mentioned in her letters to me so the need to do so never really occurred to me. My mother was still alive when I first went to England in 2001 and I mentioned to her the feeling of being at home in London. At that time, she did mention that she thought the father of her grandfather Buller was from London. My mother passed away several months after that. It took several more years for me to put together my thoughts on that trip to England (I was still working fulltime and that pretty much along with my husband and children occupied my life at the time) and the idea of doing research. It was my cousin George DeKay though who really accelerated the idea of doing genealogy. He wanted a bio for my Pincombe family (my mother was a Pincombe) as an early settler in Westminster Township in 2003 for publication in 2005 (gave me two years to do it!). He was editing the history book for this Township and told me that he had 40 bios to write and I needed to do this one for him. If I did not do it then my cousin would and that cousin believed that my grandfather had a grocery store on Wharncliffe Road. Well that pretty much did it; that Pincombe was my uncle not my grandfather who was a farmer and I did want the history to be right!

Now as I ponder paths backwards in time, the idea that it had to be right bringing me into genealogy, I have to chuckle. I try to have it right; I love it when autosomal DNA matches shows me that indeed I am on the right path but getting it right is not as easy as I may have thought at that time. You can get the early generations pretty well right on but further back even the most exhaustive searches can, on occasion, miss interesting details that would have taken you another path. DNA helps so much with all of that. It would be wondrous if everyone would take their results into Gedmatch I must admit.

Pageviews at 411057 with 78 followers

Little did I imagine when I started this blog in November 2008 that I would have 78 followers and pageviews numbering in the hundreds of thousands currently at 411,057. Although some of these must be created by google and bing, the audience is from all over the world.

United States     158,650
Germany              65,740
Russia                  42,350
United Kingdom  29,793
Canada                 24,395
France                  16,098
China                     9,812
Australia                7,480
Ukraine                  6,689
Sweden                   2,145

That is looking at the pageviews since the beginning of the blog. However in any particular time period I also have reports of viewing for Norway, Finland, Spain, Poland, Chile, Columbia, and others which do not show up at the moment checking across the time period for views.

Not surprising to find United States looking at my Blake posts and probably 50% are Blake and that includes the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

Germany is perhaps my posts on my husband's German families - not a lot but there are some. Also within the Blake surname study there are several Blake lines that trace back to Germany.

Russia is likely because of my blogs on H11 which is found to a large extent in Russia particularly in the Ossettia area. I have had a number of emails from members of our study group who live in Russia. My H11a2a1 likely traveled from the Ukraina Ice Refuge 15,000 years ago across Doggerland to Scotland where the mutations common to me are found still today in Argyllshire and Ayrshire as well as County Antrim, Ireland. But we all belong to that same subclade H11 although with different mutations thus separating us into the many subclades of H11.

Sweden and the Ukraine also have a goodly percentage of people with H11 mitochondrial DNA and hence I suspect also are looking at those posts as a number of the people in our study group for H11 still live in Sweden and the Ukraine.

France likely stems from all the posts that I have done in the past on the French Canadian research that I have done on our son in law's families. His many lines stretch far back into early colonial New France particularly in the Quebec City area and Montreal.

China I am not sure but perhaps it is Blake researchers living in Hong Kong. No ideas really on that.

My last post looking at the number of pageviews was at 100,000 page views 26th February 2014. It took six years to reach 100,000 and only another four years to be at 411,057.

I hope to return to my will transcription in the near future but in the meantime I am tying up loose ends from last year. Somehow doing Conference 2017 occupied a great deal of my time and many many projects were begun and set aside. Because I had to do a lot of backtracking to pick up those threads I started new projects when time was available and now I am in the process of picking up those varied projects and completing them.

Some of them involve emailing back and forth to people whose DNA matched mine and as the search became more detailed I ran out of time to continue that remarkable research. Now I want to do so and see where it takes me. I have one real mystery in my family lines.

That of my great grandmother Ellen Taylor. Ellen only lived 37 years on this earth but she was greatly loved by her children and in particular my maternal grandmother. My grandmother was eleven when her mother died from pneumonia in Aston, Birmingham, England. Her youngest child was just one year of age when she died in 1897. Even all those years later when I was in my teens it still horrified my grandmother to think that her mother died so young at 37 years of age. By then my grandmother was in her mid 70s just a little older than I am now. She was very healthy at that time although beginning to show the signs of age. I can remember her when she was in her early 60s and taught me to double jump with a skipping rope. But age catches up to us and she gradually aged before my eyes. I was so lucky to see her every week of my life until her death (and oftener especially in the summer when I would bike over to visit with her most days). My grandmother talked a lot about her mother I always thought but now as I reach back into her past I realize she talked about her as a person and not as a member of any family group. My questions about her parents were skillfully put aside in favour of details about her mother as the person that she loved. Towards my late teens (my grandmother died when I was 21) she gradually let slip into conversation details about her mother. I suspect this was accidental because questioning did not bring more details but rather an interesting story about her mother and her handiwork. I did learn that her mother had had an illegitimate child seven years before my grandmother was born (my grandmother was the eldest of seven children). I did find Florence Elizabeth Taylor and Ellen Taylor on the 1881 census but linking her with her family was a challenge that continues to this day. I think I have found her with her family on the census in 1861 and 1871 but not being able to find the marriage registration for my Edwin Denner Buller and Ellen Taylor has meant not knowing for sure the name of her father and with a name like Taylor that really is a must have. So any possible links to my great grandmother are carefully traced to see if they will yield that answer.

Phasing my grandparents continues to be high on my list and hence DNA remains one of my most important tools in my genealogy toolkit. It is funny to hear me talk about genealogy even after fifteen years of being involved. I really stayed away from genealogy for a very very long time. I enjoyed hearing stories from my grandparents about my relatives in far away England as a child. But it didn't motivate me to really look at those relatives and the ancestors that we shared in common. A trip to England in 2001 had more to do with my becoming interested in genealogy. As we checked into our hotel near Covent Garden in London I had this incredible feeling of belonging. It stayed with me the entire time as we walked the streets in that area. Little did I know in November 2001 that my 2x great grandfather Henry Christopher Buller had had a pork butcher shop just around the corner from our hotel in the 1830s and 1840s. That feeling of belonging made me aware that I really did not know a lot about my families all of whom, still to my knowledge, were born in England way back into time.

I have diverged from the original post which I do do often enough that is for sure. Back to work!