Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Dance DNA, Irish Style!

On August 21 and 22 Family Tree DNA posted new matches. I was very surprised to find a match with someone who has ancestors in the same Townland area in Ireland as my Huane/Huvane family. According to my match's posted information he is a descendant of Kirrane and Hosty ancestors. I recall these names from my searches of the local records.
Griffith's Valuation for Pollaturick Co. Galway
Shanballybocht or Shanballyvought is near Fallakeeran, Co. Mayo where my family was from. I also noticed a Kirrane family lived near my Mullen family in nearby Pollaturick Co. Galway. The Kirranes lived near the Mullen's from the time of  Griffith'sValuation of Ireland (mid 19th century) to the 20th Century.
This match lives in Australia. Match
Below lives in Ireland
I have had a number of Irish related matches at Family Tree DNA. One of my other recent matches was for Seamus Doherty. Likely someone still in Ireland? I also matched several people with Irish roots living in places like Australia and New Zealand. I have no connections to those places and assume our common ancestors are from Ireland?
I also had a few matches from Ulster Ireland. I have both Irish Catholic and Ulster Protestant roots in Ireland. It's great to see matches from the Co. Down and Armagh areas. 
I knew for certain I had this Irish Heritage but when you actually see DNA matches from there it really makes you feel more connected to Ireland. With so many record losses in Ireland it's nearly impossible to know how I'm related to my Irish matches but good to see I do have Irish DNA anyway.

This is the Baptism record for my Great Grandmother Helen (Ellen)  Mullen/Mason; only a few pages from the late 19th survive

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Getting Ahead of Ourselves

Browning Timeline

When I say "getting ahead of ourselves", I mean really stretching inferential genealogy to its limits. I've been working on my Great-grandmother Isis Browning-Forgey's line. As I wrote before the first family line I found way back when FamilySearch went online was a Browning family tree. This pedigree file tree went back to the 1600's. It didn't contain any sources. I am now attempting to source it.
So far all we have linking the family line in Tennessee to Maryland is naming patterns. The Brownings in Maryland used the names Roger, Nathan, and Benjamin which are also used by our Tennessee family. Our Roger Browning would be in the age range to be the son of Benjamin Browning who died in Montgomery, Maryland. This Benjamin's land was inherited by Roger, the eldest son, through primogeniture. Roger sells that land in 1787 and disappears from local records. Does he migrate to Tennessee at this point? Maybe?
I decided to continue researching the line in Maryland even though it's not established for certain our Brownings are related. I hoped something in Maryland would point to the family migrating to Tennessee. Nothing so far. I have found some interesting facts about the Maryland Brownings. Jeremiah Browning (may be Roger's brother?) served on the Continental Line in the Revolutionary War. He was badly injured during his service. He did lived to old age despite of his injuries. He died in 1839 in Bracken County, Kentucky. His brother Zephaniah was killed in the Revolutionary War.
Elizabeth the wife of the said
I have disproven that Drusilla Burton was the wife of Edward Sr. Looking at land records Edward's wife is named Elizabeth. Drusilla may have been Edward Jr.'s wife? She would have been too young to have been the mother of Edward Sr.'s children.
What I've accomplished so far:

  1. I've thoroughly searched land records for Maryland  at the Archives site.
  2. I search Maryland records at Familysearch
  3. Maryland records at
  4. DAR Patriot index

A lawsuit alleging one of Edward Browning's wills was destroyed was brought by a possible daughter of Edward. I am hoping this lawsuit may contain the proof I need to link my line to this Maryland line. Relying on naming patterns alone may be stretching inferential genealogy too far beyond reason. Tennessee and Maryland are a bit far away for my comfort when it comes to using naming patterns alone to prove relationship.

Children named on Edward Browning's will

Saturday, September 7, 2013

DNA Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Alway an exception to the DNA rules an 11th cousin shares a large block?

My ancestors being mostly farmers would appreciate the wheat from chaff analogy. Working with my Family Finder results is quite complicated when it comes to the analysis of the results and what all the numbers mean. The long list of matches most of us get leads to many hours pondering about our possible relationship? A couple were very apparent due to the fact the person had posted family names and a gedcom. A gedcom is necessary when it comes to determining where our common ancestor is. Some of my best matches haven't shared any names or a gedcom? That's pretty is frustrating. I find that I can sometimes find their family tree posted elsewhere by using their email address in a Google search.
This week was a great week from a genealogy DNA standpoint (heat wise it waUrmey. We were estimated to be 3rd cousins by Family Tree DNA, but we are actually 4th. We checked the chromosome browser and we both share a segment of DNA in the same place as another match we both share. Using the "in common with" feature, and the chromosome browser helped me figure out a couple connections this week. I also found another Poteet connection this way.
Longest Block shared with Sophia
Probably French Canadian
s bad in So Cal). On August 26th and 29th Family Tree DNA did some large uploads of new matches. I had a dozen or so new matches. I sent out emails to my closest new matches, and I heard from one. We were able to find our common ancestors who were Jesse Callahan and Eve
My 3rd cousin Sophia uploaded her 23andme test results to gedmatch so we could compare. We were both blown away by the amount of DNA we shared! We shared a total of 149 cMs, and a longest block of 69 cMs with 17,000 snps . I did some more reading about analysis of autosomal results. What I've come away with after spending many hours in reading and analysis the last few weeks is:

  1. The most important thing to look at is the length of the longest shared block. The longer the segment the closer the common ancestor. We really see this demonstrated with the 69cM block Sophia and I shared. The next longest block I share with someone is 25 cMs. Family Tree DNA ranks matches according to the size of the longest block as the default (my 4th cousin, Callahan match, shared a longest block of 17.06 cMs with 3248 snps, and 44 total cMs. My 5th Cousin Nan shares a longest block of  12cM with 2800 snps, and a total of  39 cMs).
  2. If your most recent ancestor was shared in the genealogical time frame you will generally share 10 cMs and 1000 snps on a block of shared DNA.
  3. Use "in common with" and the chromosome browser to link possible shared ancestors
  4. You can share smaller blocks and they can be IBD, but you need a long paper trail to prove your relationship
So exactly one year later I've worked out the common ancestor for about 12 matches. I currently have 190 odd matches with no clue to our shared ancestor? I'm making a spread sheet to sort things out better. I look at gedcoms for my matches no matter how distant our possible relationshp is estimated to be (as Family Tree DNA says these matches can be as many as 20 generations back). It's easier to make connections with the highest ranked matches, so I focus on them. Although, I should probably think about distant matches since my brickwall lines are back in the 18th Century.