Friday, January 15, 2016

Reconstructing My Grandfather And Great-Father's Genomes

Fred Mason's sons Edwin and Frank
I am trying to reconstruct and color in the chromosome charts for my Maternal Grandfather Charles Lynn Forgey and Paternal Great-Grandfather Fred Augustus Mason. Since Charles Forgey's wife was Nicaraguan it's easy to separate out DNA that belongs to him. I'm only using identified segments to reconstruct his genome. Segments associated with Fred Mason are easy to pick out because his wife was Irish, and he was French Canadian on his father's side. He had early American roots on his Mother's side..

I've thrown out more requests to compare results to close matches relating to these men at AncestryDNA. No answers yet. If these cousins would compare it would certainly help fill in my charts.

Don't have a picture of Fred Mason
He died in 1917 these are his children
My Grandmother far left
I'm using an Aunt's results and some cousins results to fill in my Great-Grandfather Fred Augustus Mason's chart. I can see some X shares between an Aunt and a 2rd cousin 1x removed. I also share an 18cM segment on the X with the same cousin. This would go back to the Owens line because Fred's father would not have passed his X along to him. I'm not even attempting to name French Canadian segments due to endogamy.

According to Ancestry those with the triangulation on chromosome 12 only share about 7 cM's; according to GEDmatch they share 14 cM's. They match both places. The 7 cM difference is common between GEDmatch and AncestryDNA. As I said before I'm only using the segments of paper trail cousins.
This is where I am with my Grandfather Charles Lynn Forgey's chart. I am using cousins and my Mother's results to fill this in. If the 70 cM and over matches at AncestryDNA would compare I could definitely make great progress on this chart.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

DNA: Triangulation, Pileups & Endogamy

There has been some debate at the ISOGG group about whether triangulation is possible beyond 4 generations. For triangulation to work the segments we are comparing would need to go back to a common ancestors within the genealogical time frame. The DNA testing companies estimate the regions of the genome they are comparing contain uncommon SNP's. They estimate when you share segments with matches that generally the relationship isn't much farther back than 6 or 7 generations. If this is the case then triangulation is possible if both you and your match have a tree that is fairly complete to 6 generations. Even if it isn't complete you can reasonably draw inferences about what the rest of the tree might look like. If someone is half Italian and you haven't found any Italian ancestors you can easily eliminate half that persons tree. In other cases in the US, for example. you can reasonably eliminate possible ancestor matches based on the region of the country they were from.

Some are questioning the age of the SNP's we inherit. Are they 200 or 300 years old or are they ancient, 500 years old or older? We generally share very little DNA with ancestors who lived 200 years ago. It's hard to believe that we would continue to share SNP's from 500 years. If we do it sounds like it would be a very small number and the amount of DNA would be very small, and would not be considered a match by the testing companies.

Some cite endogamy as the reason 500 year old and older SNP's persist. There is a high degree of interrelatedness among those of us who have Colonial American ancestors. Americans whose families remained in the same eastern seaboard areas since Colonial times tend to have problems with endogamy when they DNA test. Although those living in urban eastern seaboard areas tend to be more ethnically mixed as waves of immigrants settled these areas. The amount of interrelatedness among Americans varies. Even if someones ancestors lived in the same rural area for hundreds of year it doesn't mean they are highly genetically related to their neighbors. You might also see more recent immigrant groups, like the Italians, coming in and adding to the gene pool in rural areas. Many Scandinavians settled in the Midwest adding their own genes to the mix. Many of us on the West Coast of the US have Hispanic or Asian genes. This dilutes our Colonial American gene percentage.

Most of my Colonial American ancestors were Scot-Irish and German. I can pinpoint exactly when they came to the US in the 1700's. As for some of the others it's possible some of these lines go back to the first settlement of Jamestown? Could I be mistaken and some of the segments I've named actually go back to another ancestor who settled early in Jamestown? Or even go back to an ancestor back in England? I would think the odds are low considering the odds of actually still having a measurable amount of DNA, from that far, which would be enough to signal a match.

So why do we have so many matches piling up on one segment. Would sound like these are old SNP's that many people inherited and are common to certain ethnic population? Or maybe there are other reasons? Most all of my matches at AncestryDNA are from the same family group Roller/Zirkle/Roush. These families tended to marry close cousins because they lived in the isolated Shenandoah Valley, and I'm sure there were language, religious and cultural differences. This endogamy means that their descendants potentially have retained more of their DNA. My family never stayed in the same area for more than a generation or two. They didn't marry close cousins. Since we have inherited small amounts of DNA from our German ethnicity Roller/Zirkle/ Roush families we tend to match this family group more than any other group. We tend to get a match with one of those families once a week. We have 5 DNA Circles for these families. The likely reason for this is that our matches have ancestors who married cousins in this family group. Often I will see, for instance,  Zirkle and Roush on their tree a couple times at the very least. These are our ancestors from around 250 years ago. We match so often because many of these families lived in the Shenandoah Valley for generations, and continue to live there, so these genes continue to cycle through the population. They have more DNA from these ancestors to potentially match with.

Another reason for pileups is large numbers of descendants. In America families tended to be large before urbanization. The survival of children into adulthood tended higher than in Europe. American couples living in 19th Century America have large numbers of descendants living today.

America was settled during the genealogical time frame so this should mean that triangulation is possible. All of these facts I mentioned mean you need to build your tree out as far as possible, and compare with as many cousins as possible. The odds of sharing the same segments with the descendants of the same ancestors may not be statistically high. Considering the number of descendants some ancestors left I think it is statistically possible. The major problem I have is the lack of records dating back to the 1600's in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern States. Otherwise I believe triangulation is useful and accurate if other parties have reasonably complete trees. Odds are reasonably good the segments don't go back to the 1600's. Plus, in my case, only 31% of my ancestry goes back to Colonial America. Much of that ancestry is already traced back to the immigrants.

Could large proportions of the early population of American have shared recent ancestors because they came in a mass migration? I believe the early population of the Mid-Atlantic states and South was more varied? New England may have had a more homogeneous population coming from the same stock in England.

I'm a believer in Triangulation. The more testers we have the more opportunities we will have to make connections through Triangulation.

Without triangulation DNA testing will be useless for Americans with a high degrees of interrelatedness. How will they separate their lines?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Trip To Nicaragua And DNA Cousin Match

Mombacho Volcano as seen from Granada

I was in Nicaragua from December 7th to the 12th site seeing, and researching at the archives in Granada, Nicaragua. It was a fabulous trip! I loved it there. Beautiful scenery, lush and green. Exotic animals, such as the loud howler monkeys I heard while touring a volcano. Warm weather. It was in the 90's during the day and the 70's at night. Beautiful Colonial adobe architecture in Granada.  I stayed one night in Managua and 4 nights in Granada. My mother, Edna Forgey-Kapple, was born in Granada, Nicaragua to a Nicaraguan mother and a US Marine father.

I had very little information about the Nicaraguan side of my family. The only info I had came from my grandmother Graciela Del Castillo's death certificate, some information about the siblings of my grandmother, and a will she made which named a cousin. The will didn't give the degree of cousin he was. I matched a great-granddaughter of this cousin, Francisco Alvarado Granizo, at AncestryDNA. Until the recent addition of the total cM numbers at AncestryDNA I didn't know how much DNA we shared with this cousin, because this cousin has not uploaded to GEDmatch. I share 24.7 cM's and 1 segment, and my mother shares 20 cM's on 1 segment. This shouldn't be. I think this reflects the problems with AncestryDNA's Timber filter. I don't place that much confidence in the cM numbers, which tends to be on average 7 cM's different than everyone else due to the Timber filter and phasing. According to AncestryDNA we are 4th to 6th cousins of Francisco Alvarado Granizo's Great-Granddaughter. I didn't know of any surnames shared in common? No Alvarados or Granizos that I knew of. But my family history for my Nicaraguan family only went back to my great-grandparents and their children, and their children's spouses.

I had no idea that my first day in Granada, Nicaragua was a National Holiday in Nicaragua. It's called La Purisima. It's the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. I guess I'm not that good a Catholic because I had no idea. I couldn't do any research that day due to the fact the archives were closed for the holiday. I had a great day anyway though. I went on a  Colonial Homes tour and attended part of the Immaculate Conception feast mass, which was followed by a several blocks long procession with the Statute of the Virgin which included music from a band. I agree with a Youtube comment "Mary is Nicaragua and Nicaragua is Mary."

I had heard these celebrations can lead to a week long closures of government offices. I lucked out and the Municipal Archives opened the day after the Holiday. I was thrilled. It was very hot in the Archives room which didn't have any air conditioning. I melted. There is definitely some of my DNA on the records at the Archives because perspiration was dripping. They had double doors open which did bring in a breeze. The tropical plants outside the door looked nice, during my breaks I looked out at them. I was also serenaded by lovely piano and violin music from the next room. I recognized Yankee Doodle being played at one point. The Archives is located in a public cultural center. Ballet Folklorico was also danced outside in the courtyard. My Grandmother definitely danced there also, because this center was a theater when she lived in Granada.

Nicasio's signature and personal
flourish or rubrica 
My extremely limited Spanish vocabulary meant communication with the archives staff was difficult. I printed my family tree and showed that to them. This did help a great deal. I knew they had a couple Censuses for Granada from the 19th Century. I was able to explain I wanted to look at these. I had no luck with the first Census I looked at which was falling apart and missing pages. One of the archives staff members found my family on the 1882 Census for Granada. I had no idea that wives were listed with their maiden names. Like French Canadians, Nicaraguan women retained their maiden names. I was so excited when I found out my great-great grandmother's maiden name was Granizo. Now we have a common surname with the Great-Granddaughter of Francisco Alvarado Granizo. Based on this our relationship to Francisco Alvarado Granizo could be 2nd cousin 1x removed for my Mom, and a 2nd cousin 2x removed for me. Based on the shared DNA with his great-granddaughter this could be the case. If I'm calculating correctly his great-granddaughter could be a 3rd cousin 1 x removed to my mother. The 20 cM share would fit with this relationship range, with 3rd cousins 1 x removed sharing from about 11 cM's to about 100 cM's. I still have several brickwalls on my Nicaraguan line so this relationship is one possibility. Still I'm thrilled to finally have a common surname with this DNA match.

I was also able to solve a mystery regarding my grandmother's father. Someone named the wrong Nicasio Del Castillo as her father. I was thinking that Nicasio, who was President in 1856, would have been way too old to have been her father. That was a correct assumption. From the 1882 Census I found out that there was a younger Nicasio Del Castillo who was only 16 in 1882. The correct age range to have been my grandmother's father. His father was Francisco Del Castillo. According to a niece of my grandmother the Nicasio who was her grandfather, and my Grandmother's father, was the son of a Francisco. The 1882, 16 year old, Nicasio's father was Francisco. Francisco was an attorney. My grandfather Nicasio was also an attorney. I'm so glad my mother told me her grandfather was an attorney because this profession seems to have been passed down in the family. According to other documents I've found Nicasio, the President, was the father of Francisco and the grandfather of my Nicacio Del Castillo Granizo. The elder Nicasio is listed next to Francisco on the 1882 Census and was 66 years old then. According to other documents he probably died in 1884.

My entire trip was a success. I was able to add 3 new ancestors to my family tree and another surname. My Nicaraguan line tree still looks sparse, but is quite good by Nicaraguan standards. Due to record losses family trees are generally short. I'm hoping to return to Nicaragua in the near future with a Y DNA kit. Hope I can find a male Del Castillo to take the test. Y testing could take my Del Castillo tree back to 1600's Seville, Spain.

The Director of the Arts Center Dieter Stadler , who is Austrian, asked me if I came to Nicaragua solely to research in the Archives. Would I travel over 3,000 miles just to look at a couple of Censuses? Probably... I also wanted to see the place where my Mom was born. Visit the church she was baptized in.

I'm praying for Nicaragua, as my mother did. When ever there was a disaster my Mom would say it hurt her because that was her country. Now I feel like it's my country too. Before my Mom passed away last August I told her I planned to visit the place where she was born. It's a beautiful country with friendly beautiful people. Tourism is helping this very poor country. I'm hoping to see continued progress when I return.

I have a PDF and paperback copy of the catalog