Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Distant Versus Remote Cousins Family Finder

My 4th remote cousin Kristin has been a great teacher. I had not noticed all the different degrees of cousin relationship. For instance Nan Harvey and I are defined as distant cousins which confirms our relationship within the last 5 generations. Our shared match Charles Monroe Davies is classified as remote. Remote means that you could be related as much as 20 generations back. I am a little puzzled by his being designed that way because he does share a sizable segment of DNA and 3,500 SNPs on this segment? It may be due to the low shared cM value of 28? I don't have all of the criteria for determining these designations.
I have two pages and 20 cousins designated as distant cousins the remainder of the 113 are remote. So it sounds like I should focus on these twenty first.

Monday, August 27, 2012

IBS and Autosomal DNA?

Genealogy and Autosomal DNA may contribute to IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) but this acronym has another meaning. Identical by state means your sharing a common DNA segment in your autosomal DNA is just a coincidence, and you are not actually related to the person. Too weed out some of these matches and find out whether you are actually related IBD (Identical by descent or you both inherit that segment from a common ancestor) we bring in another acronym SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) which are copying errors. If you share at least 500 SNPs, or over, on a segment of shared DNA than you are likely related or IBD. 
I went back to my Owens match to check whether we were IBD on the two matching segments. Yes we were. Both were over 500 SNPs

At gedmatch I was able to find cousins who shared a common ancestor at 11 and 12 generations back in Quebec. I noticed the segments I shared with them were IBD, but the segment sizes are generally in the 3cM range. I believe two where in the 5 cM range. This is just one example.

Our shared Ancestry which is back in the 1600's

So my learning process continues. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Support for my Hypothesis from autosomal DNA match

The Tenmile Country and Its Pioneer Families: A Genealogical History 

I had hypothesized that my ancestor James D. Owens was related to the other Owens families living in the area. The Owens families of Bracken County, Kentucky were from Pennsylvania. The above image is from the book "The Tenmile Country and Its Pioneer Families: A Genealogical History". Sebastian Shroffe would have been the brother-in-law of my ancestor John Owens married to Susannah. He was married to John's sister Agnes Owens. I matched with a 6.4cM block with a descendant of Agnes Owens. Gedmatch gave me an estimate of 7.2 generations between my match and our common ancestor, which would be about right. So one of the goals I posted when I started this blog has been met. I have strengthened my case that my James was the one named in John Owen's will.
I need to try to unearth something more about these women now in order to possibly solve these brickwalls with the autosomal DNA. Have not been able to find the parents or maiden names in two cases of these women:
  • Sarah Campbell born 1812 in possibly Tennessee or North Carolina married Anderson Wray 15 Nov 1832 in Jackson County, Indiana 
  • Eve Urma born about 1800 in Virginia or Pennsylvania married Jesse Callahan 5 Oct 1814 in Washington County, IN. She may be related to the Urmey family in the same area?
  • Francis Unknown born abt. 1785 PA married  James D. Owens of Bracken County, Kentucky don't know where or when they marriage took place? Some names which appeared with her in her husbands probate were Aquilla Houke, William Orr, John McMillen, Benjamin Laughlin ( I may have a Houke match?).
  • Rachel Unknown b. unknown married to Roger Browning b. 6 Dec 1751 of Greene County, Tennessee
I shared a 25.5 cM block with a Williamson family who lived in Franklin County, Indiana. I am wondering if this match relates to one of these brickwalls? I wonder if several of my matches at FT DNA relate to one of these lines? 
Here is my transcription of tax lists for Bracken County, KY. George Owens also named in John Owens will appears with James.

1797 Taxlist for Bracken County, Kentucky
David Owens (Indian Killer?)

1799 Taxlist
George Owens
James Owens

1802 Taxlist
James Owens
George Owens
Thomas Owens

1803 Taxlist
George Owens
Thomas Owens
James Owens

1804 Taxlist
Two James Owens now appear one described as Senior the other Junior
George Owens
Thomas Owens

1810 Taxlist
My Ancestor is first recorded as James D. Owens paid tax on
July 31 along with George and Thomas Owens
The other James Owens paid on another day

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Autosomal DNA What does cM stand for? Plus my current match total

 If you share a block in  the same location with  several  matches you  likely share a common ancestor. This is true even if the blocks overlap each other.
The easiest way to understand the FT DNA autosomal results is to start with a definition of cM. It's a genetic measurement and it measures genetic distance. According to Wikipedia "centimorgan (cM) is a unit that describes a recombination frequency of 1%. In this way we can measure the genetic distance between two loci, based upon their recombination frequency."  When you are using the Chromosome browser at FT DNA the higher the cM number you select the larger the segments will be for comparison. 5 cM and over signifies a relationship,  and over 10 cM conclusive proof of a relationship. The shared cM numbers on your match pages present a different indicator. The higher the number of shared cM in the match section of your results signifies a higher likelihood of recombination for the shared block. The higher the likelihood of recombination the more likely your match is a close relative. Lower shared cM numbers mean that segment does not recombine as often so your match may be more distant in time. I found this page at FT DNA to be the best explanation of the whole autosomal DNA process

So the most important numbers to remember are:

  1. The longest block. The longer the block the more likely you are to be related.
  2. Shared cM. The higher this number the more likely your relationship is recent (closer cousin)  a lower number could mean your match shares a more distant relationship with you (more distant cousin).
  3. The Chromo Browser setting number relates to the size of the shared block. The higher the number you set it to the larger segment will be for comparison to one or more matches. You may share many smaller segments of DNA with someone also,  so you can set the browser to show segments as low as 1 cM. 

Chromo Browser to compare shared blocks.

So far I've heard from 21 of my 113 matches. If my matches did not have an extensive gedcom file posted I sent them an email with all of my known ancestral names. The return rate of my emails is a little over half of those I sent out. I've only be able to establish a definite cousin relationship with one of the respondents.

So far out of 113 matches I have been able to confirm that seven are cousins. Five are related on my French Canadian side and through my father's side. Only two are related to my mother's side.  I see a few other possible connections, but for the vast majority can't find the common ancestor yet. I've confirmed  many French Canadian cousins because so many early records survived in Quebec. I am having difficulty connecting with US cousins because my ancestors lived in the South where so many records were lost. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Working those Autosomal Results

I received my Autosomal DNA test result last Friday exactly 3 weeks after they received my test kit.
This is my personal knowledge of my ethnicity 
So far the test has been very helpful and enlightening!  The the most significant thing to come out of the testing was the confirmation that Nan Harvey and I are indeed cousins. We may also share another common cousin. The test confirmed my French Canadian roots with several confirmed French Canadian matches. It is also suggesting I might actually be related to the Poteet family which I had previously thought not so likely. I was quite surprised with the 5% Native American finding. It appears to be Mayan. Some offshoots of the Mayan population settled in Nicaragua. My Nicaraguan Grandmother completely denied that there was any    intermarriage between her family and the Native population. She probably would not have been aware of her full family history. Considering the family was probably in Central America for many generations I should have considered Native blood more than likely. Another odd surprise is I matched someone with the name Capel which is so close to Kapple. It looks like this is just a coincidence since that Capel was a native of the British Isles and my family is Austro-Hungarian. My ethnic background is more diverse than is represented in my DNA results. Western European actually encompasses much of Europe including Germany. There is a bias in the results towards Western Europe because most of those who have been tested are from there.
I've uploaded my raw data files from FT DNA to Promethease and Gedmatch. I also got a BGA report from Doug McDonald which gives me a little more insight into my possible ethnic roots.
You can get a health report from Promethease after submitting your raw data files. I tried to get the free report but it didn't work so I  paid the $2.00 to get the full report. The report did manage to hone in on known health problems in my family. It stated I would be more likely to become addicted to Nicotine. My father was a heavy smoker. He couldn't even stop when he was dying of COPD. The report also stated I had an increased chance of getting lung cancer. My grandfather and an aunt died of lung cancer. I also had an increased chance of getting Kidney disease which another aunt died of. One aunt also had macular  degeneration which also came up in the report.
I have not had much success with Gedmatch so far. This site helps you find possible autosomal match cousins. I initially just uploaded my raw files and got only one match. When I later uploaded a gedcom file I got 503 matches. Most proved to be not significant. Could not find a common ancestor with most. I did find more French Canadian cousins.
My ethnic background and possible Jewish roots always fascinated me. The BGA report that Doug McDonald generates sounded like just the thing I was looking for as far as establishing my ethnic background. I had not noticed initially that there was a breakdown of my middle eastern roots at FT DNA. I found that after I got my report back from Doug. These two reports came out slightly differently. Doug's report seemed to point to a likelihood of Egyptian ancestry accounting for my Middle Eastern results. FT DNA pointed me toward Bedouin, Mozabite, and Palastinian with a 1% error margin. Doug also included these populations in his reports to me, but felt Egyptian was more likely. I had been leaning toward thinking that the Middle Eastern represented my Kapple family and was Jewish. This may not be the case? The more I read about detecting Jewish roots with autosomal testing the less certain I feel about what my results represent. Jewish heritage is difficult to quantify. The Jewish population is very mixed ethnically and is not represented by a single genetic marker or set or markers. It's a complicated mixture of the different areas the Jews lived in. As more people test my exact Middle Eastern Heritage may become more clear.
I picked up some information about how these DNA percentages tend to correlate with your ancestors. According to The Genetic Genealogist great-grandparents contribute about 12% to your DNA.
What I have learned is you need to use traditional genealogy and family knowledge to put these results into the correct context. I am very pleased with my results so far. The test has been well worth the cost for me.

 Here are examples of the reports I received from Doug McDonald:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1940 Census Conclusion

My Final Indexing Numbers

Finally an index for Chicago was made available for the 1940 Census at Found my father and his family immediately. It would have taken me forever going through the 9th ward page by page. They did indeed live in the 9th ward as I thought. They lived in the West Pullman area of Chicago. I did not expect to find them to be that far south. The Kappel family worked for Pullman Rail Car Company for many years. I looked up for a picture of the house the family lived in on Normal Avenue at Google Maps Street View. It appears that this address is a vacant lot. Sadly I could not get a picture of their house. At least I have an idea of what the neighborhood was like. The house was valued $3500 which was $1500 dollars more than the California property belonging to my Forgey grandparents.
I also was able to locate my Grandfather Rudolph Kappel's brothers and their properties. I am not sure whether the John Kappel I found is the correct man? I don't know what his wife's name was? I need to do some more research to see if this is the right guy? The others likely are all correct. Steven was a cabinet maker for the railroad and Joseph was a woodworker at a piano factory. Herman worked in a steel mill like his brother William. My grandfather evidently was unemployed and cleaning alleys for the city.
The information I've found has been very interesting, and hopefully may lead me to cousins who may have family photos? I now have a better idea of the birth order of my Kappel Aunts and Uncles too.

My Grandparents' Neighborhood
Joseph Kappel's house
John Kappel's house

Steven  Kappel's Apartment House

Could not access a picture of Herman Kappel's property