My Ancestry Painting – African Percentages Updated

Last month, 23andMe announced improvements to their Ancestry features, and I can now get a more specific breakdown of my Sub-Saharan African ancestry than I was previously able.

With this update, I can see that 83.4% of my DNA is mapping to West African ancestry, with another .7% Central African and 1.4% coming up as non-specific Sub-Saharan African.  Thus, my total Sub-Saharan African ancestry is 85.6%.  This is a tad bit higher than the 84% shown in my update from February 2013. My European percentage is 12% (mostly Northern European) and my East-Asian/Native American is at 1%.

Nothing remarkable about the new map, but I do certainly appreciate the finer granularity in my Sub-Saharan African DNA.  23andMe has also begun a project to try and have more participants who are from Africa so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that their data will help them refine this even more!

My Chromosome Map is also updated and the same breakdown colors are shown. The refined breakdown may also be of potential help in cousin matches.

I’m glad to see 23andMe continue to work on providing us with more information.  The more, the better. :-)

Did I Find Lovey’s Family?

Yeah – Another potential family tree revelation from a 23andMe match! A few days ago, I was looking at one of my matches family trees and noticed he had the Boston surname on his tree. Boston is a surname in my family – one of my 3rd great-grandmothers was named Lovey Boston.  To date, I don’t have a lot of information about Lovey  – she was born around 1821,  started cohabitating with Prince Walker about 1836 and they lived in Plymouth, Washington County, NC.   Lovey and Prince would go on to have at least 8 children – their son Anthony being my direct ancestor.

From 23anMe, I learned that my match (we’ll call him EW), and I share DNA of African origin. He matches my mother, my maternal uncle, and myself at the same segment.  He has a 2nd segment in common with my uncle.

EW matches me where it’s dark blue, my mom where it’s green and my uncle where it’s light blue.

EWis a descendant of David Boston and wife Elizabeth of the Free Union “Piney Woods” community of Martin & Washington counties in NC.  In fact, of EW’s ancestry, 3 of his 3rd-great-grandparents were children of David & Elizabeth. At first, I was not sure how Lovey could connect, but a cousin of EW’s (we’ll call her ER) spotted people in my Lovey Boston descendancy chart that she recognized and by looking at her tree, I could see connections more clearly. One of Lovey’s daughters was the second wife to a man named Peter Moore.  Peter Moore’s first wife, was a sister of ER’s 3rd-great-grandmothers.

I’m still working on how Lovey may fit into his family tree, but right now, my current theory is that Lovey may have been another one of David & Elizabeth’s children.  Given her approximate birth date, it makes sense for her to be positioned there generationally, and it is at about the right number of generations back for our match prediction of the 4th cousin range. If Lovey was indeed one of their children, EW and I are 4th cousins exactly.  Of course, Lovey could be a niece of David’s too. Who knows?

In fact, I found a picture of one of David & Elizabeth’s documented daughters, Elizabeth Boston Brooks on the Piney Woods Project blog. Martha would have been a grand-niece of Elizabeth’s if I figured this out correctly.

Do you think Elizabeth looks like my great-grandmother Martha?

If indeed Lovey is part of David’s family then she has quite an interesting family background.  According to the book “Disciple Assemblies of Eastern North Carolina” by William James Barber (1966), David was the founder of the Piney Woods Community.

I have much more research ahead of me! But, I am so pleased to have connected with this Boston family and their many descendants!

23andMe Match Confirms Suspected Relationship: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a great connection I made through 23andMe with a new cousin. In that post, I talked about the match in 23andMe and why I was so excited to see her show up.  This time, I’ll share what I learned about our DNA match.

For some reason, when I viewed Cousin P in my Relative Finder, the M/P designation did not show for her.  This is the designation 23andMe uses to tell you on which side of your family your match and you are related. It only works if you have had at least one parent also tested with 23andMe. Well, both of my parents have tested and I have many other matches where the designation is shown, so I am at a loss why it didn’t show that day. Must have been a bug. It shows now though. But, on that day, my next step after realizing she is a person of interest was to find out which of my parents to which she is related.

That’s done easily enough using the Family Inheritance: Advanced feature. Doing that revealed that she is related to me (purple) and my mother (blue) on Chromosome 16. Our segment match length is 38cM.

I then wanted to compare Cousin P against my mom, and my uncle (mommy’s full brother). What was interesting here is that Cousin P hardly matches my uncle – their segment match is 6cM (green)


Since 6 cM is on the cusp of matches that might be excluded as not being significant enough to determine a match that is identical by descent vs. DNA just be identical by state. Though my mother and uncle have the same parents, if only one of them had tested, and it was the one with the small amount of matching DNA, we could have missed this match.  Lesson to be learned: try and get as many family members tested as possible. :-)

The next step is to then enter Cousin P into my spreadsheet I keep for sorting my matches. This is important to do for triangulation purposes as it allows me to see if those that match me and my family members, also match others who match us. While you can do some of this comparison on the 23andMe site, I keep the spreadsheet for better record-keeping and HIGHLY encourage everyone to do something similar if you aren’t already.

My Analysis Spreadsheet has a tab for my maternal matches, and a tab for my paternal matches. I then sort matches by Chromosome Number. My columns are Chromosome, Name, % Shared DNA, Start of Segment Match (Base Pair Position #), End of Segment Match (Base Pair Position #), Distance of Match (cM), # SNPs in common and Notes.  Below is a snapshot of my spreadsheet, the tab for my maternal matches, with the Name column removed for privacy.  As you can see, I’m not always diligent in filling it out uniformly, but I capture the essence of the info needed.

Where you see clusters of color represent cases of triangulation – cases where my matches not only match me/my family members, but other matches of mine/my family members. The purple cluster is where Cousin P lies. The first row of the cluster is Cousin P. She matches us from base pair number 11,000 – 51,000. The second two purple lines are another match of mine who I’ll call Cousin W.  Cousin W matches my mother and I from base pair number 17,000-24,000 and base pair 47,000-51,000.  Upon seeing Cousin W matching my mom and I in the same place, I then went back to 23andMe and used the Advanced Family Inheritance feature to compare all three of us — I wanted to see is Cousin P also matches Cousin W for it is possible that they wouldn’t.

I was pleased to see that all three of us match! In the figure below, the

a
The blue shows where Cousin W matches my mom; the green shows where Cousin W matches Cousin P., and the light blue shows where Cousin W matches my uncle. Sweet. Thus, I was able to color the three rows in my spreadsheet as one color and I now know that Cousin W, Cousin P, and my mother all share a common ancestor.

Now knowing this, I then took a closer look at Cousin P’s family tree – information she’d filled out in her 23andMe Profile. In the next post of the series, I’ll share I learned then!

23andMe Match Confirms Suspected Relationship: Part 1

Tonight I was so pleased to see in my email inbox another acceptance of one of my genome sharing requests. When I logged onto 23andMe and saw the persons details, I started to get excited. I have thought of all kinds of ways to tell the story here on my blog and  none of them appealed to me. So, I figure the best way to do it is just to start typing and see where it goes.

After seeing the email, the first place I go is to my Relative Finder list to see if this person (I’ll call her Cousin P)  is a match for me, or one of the other 7 profiles I have linked to my account.  I have several family members to the test and all of them are linked to my account. Unfortunately, when 23andMe sends me the email that I have a new sharing request OR that someone has accepted my sharing request, the email does not tell me which profile it applies to.  This is definitely a potential opportunity for 23andMe to improve. So, each time I have to search through all the profiles until I find the right one. Lucky for me, since I always search me first, she popped right up.

Absent from her match information is which side of my family she matches me on. I have had both of my parents do the 23andMe test, so the system should have had an M or P next to her name. For some reason, it’s not there, so I guess I’ll report it to the company.  Anyway, I was eager to learn more for the following reasons:

  • Our predicted relationship is 3rd-6th cousin and the percentage DNA we share is 0.51%.  That’s enough to make it more likely we could find our common ancestor IF the stars lined up (so many variables affect this).  
  • She shares more DNA in common with me than a three cousins of mine (a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousin), who have done 23andMe AND for whom I already have a documented paper trail connection prior to any of us doing 23andMe testing.
  • One of her locations in the profile was “Rocky Mountain, NC”. I realized right away that this was likely “Rocky Mount, NC” and I have ancestors on my mother’s side of the family from Rocky Mount (a city in Edgecombe and Nash counties).
  • She has a View Family Tree link! Not too many people have taken the time to put in their family tree at 23andMe. The quality of the information in the tree can vary widely. But, it’s a start!

Before looking at her family information though, I wanted to find out where our DNA matched. In my next post, I’ll describe what I learned.

My Updated 23andMe Ancestry Painting

Back in December, 23andMe updated the algorithms behind their Ancestry Painting feature.  I posted my original results in October 2011.  Thanks to a comment from a blog reader, I’m going to share my updated results.

My original results had me as 84% African, 13% European and 3% Asian (likely Native-American).

My new results are now 85.9% Sub-Saharan African, 11% European and 0.8% Asian (most of this Native American).

Overall, not much different from what it was before :-)

Both of my parents have done the 23andMe test, so I’m able to get my Split View.  As I’d suspected previously, the Native American/Asian DNA comes from my father’s side of the family, as does most of the European-origin DNA I have.

My Chromosome View is also updated and what is so nice is that now, each of my parents’ strands are shown separately.  In the old version, I was able to approximate what half came from which parent, but now I don’t have to guess.  Just as I’d hypothesized, the bottom strand is my father (I know b/c the bottom strands have more European DNA than the top strands). 

And, to coincide with all of this, today I was contacted by someone who is a DNA match to both sides of my family AND he has identified common surnames from both sides that are in his tree, just as they are in mine. More as it develops!

(If you would like to read my other 23andMe posts, you can find them here.)

SNGF: My Maternal Grandfather’s Paternal Line

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun exercise tonight is as follows:

Find a living male person in your database from your maternal grandfather’s patrilineal line who could take a Y-DNA test.  

Then, we are tasked to answer several questions.  Here are my responses – fortunately, this was a very easy topic for me given all the testing I’ve been able to do under the auspices of the 23andMe’s Roots Into the Future Initiative.

1) What was your mother’s father’s name?

Herman Robinson.

2) What is your mother’s father’s patrilineal line? That is, his father’s father’s father’s … back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

Herman (1926-1986)  –>  Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson (1886-1928) –> William Robeson/Robinson (1830-?) –> Bob Robeson (1800-?).    Bob & William were former slaves from Columbus County, NC as best as I have been able to determine to date.

3) Can you identify male sibling(s) of your mother’s father, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.  

Yes, I can identify living male descendants and one of them has already been tested – my mother’s brother.  His 23andMe results show his paternal haplogroup to be E1b1a8a, a haplogroup with deep origins to Africa.

This post is a reminder to me to upload his info to Gedmatch.com so I can check his yDNA against others. I’m off to do that now!

Cousins, Cousins Everywhere

I have had the most fabulous few days in that I have had several cousin connections! I can’t even begin to go in-depth on all of them, but in brief:

  • a third cousin of mine, Nafeesah, emailed me after searching online for more information about her family and finding my family genealogy site.  She and I share Anthony & Martha Jane (Baker) Walker of Washington County, NC as our 2nd great-grandparents. I spoke to Nafeesah tonight and had a great conversation. I cannot wait to speak to her sister tomorrow.
  • via the 23andMe account of a cousin Devon, we found another cousin — Katrina. Katrina, like Devon,  is also a descendant of Thomas & Phillis Holloway of Craven County, NC.   Katrina is my 3rd cousin once removed.   I was excited to learn that her grandparents live about an 90 minutes away from me and her grandfather went to high school with my grandfather. I am now making plans to go visit her grandfather as soon as I can.  She matches me at a different segment than she matches Devon – so, I now have two separate DNA segments that I can trace back to our common ancestral couple.
  • via 23andMe, I made contact with a genetic cousin, Eric but we do not yet know how we are related.  Such a small world though because Eric is an active member of the African-American Genealogical Society of North California – the same group which my hubby’s genetic cousin, Nicka Smith, is involved.  Eric has been doing genealogy for well over 30 years and I was the first person he’s chosen to connect with on 23andMe – he said he could tell I was serious about my business.   Eric and I share .76% of our DNA and 23andMe predicts us to be 3rd-5th cousins.  That may not sound like a lot, but here is the order of percentage shared from largest to smallest at the top of my Relative Finder list – my mother (49.6%), my sister (54.5%), my uncle (25.2%), my 3rd cousin Devon mentioned above (.80%), and Eric! I spoke with Eric Friday night and we are both excited about the potential to find our connection.

In addition to these wonderful connections, my uncle and my stepfather’s DNA results came back from 23andMe on Friday so now I get to sort through their relative matches.  I hope I get more relatives from my uncle’s results!

 

Which Test Do I Use?

I have a goal to do a DNA comparison test this month.  There are two individuals I want to test so that I can find out if they descend from the same male ancestor – one is black (Person A) and one is white (Person B).  My primary genealogical research leads me to believe there is a strong possibility they both descend from a male white male who lived from 1798-1881.  I want to compare their Y chromosome DNA.   My dilemma is this — which DNA testing service should I use?

Here are the considerations:

a) 23andMe – I have a free 23andMe testing kit I can use for Person A.  I ordered it for him as part of the Roots into the Future Initiative.  I would love to use this b/c the test is free.  For Person B, I would then order another 23andMe test for him and pay for that one ($99).  The benefit of having them both in 23andMe is that I could compare both Y-DNA and autosomal DNA.  I know that 23andMe will tell me if their Y chromosomes are the same or not — is it as good as what I could learn from FamilyTree DNA?

b) FamilyTree DNA — is my other option – they are so well-known for the Y marker tests.  Since I have the kit for Person A already, I could then pay $50 to submit his DNA to FamilyTree DNA.  Then, I would purchase the 37-marker yDNA test for Person B.  The benefit of using FamilyTree DNA is that if  Person A turns out not to be related to Person B, then there would be other surnames in the database that *may* come us as matches.

Which would you use in this situation and why?

Update 11:30pm —  I have my answer! FTDNA it is.  Turns out that 23andMe does not test markers on the Y Chromosome like I thought they did so I’ll be ordering the 37 marker test for both men.  Thanks everyone!

 

23andMe: Another Cousin Connection

I am elated to share another cousin match story from my 23andMe results!  This time it’s even more interesting because said cousin (i”ll call her DK) has been following my blog for several months, saw my posts about the free 23andMe testing, and ordered her kit because of it.  But, while she knew she was related to me, I had no idea who she was prior to tonight!  I just knew that there was a mystery match in my Relative Finder that shared .80% of her DNA with me and 23andMe predicted us to be 3rd-4th cousins.

DK matches my sister and I at several segments.  Here is our shared DNA (she matches me where it is blue; matches my sister where it is green).

DK matches to me (blue) and my sister (green)

After speaking on the phone tonight and learning who her father was, I was able to tell her that they graduated high school together and share pictures from the class yearbook (since I *stole* it from my father a few years ago).  :-)

Newbold High School - Craven County, NC

DK and I actually are double cousins though – both of her grandparents are related to me – her father is related to me on my father’s maternal side and her grandmother is related to me on my father’s paternal side.  I wonder if we’ll be able to tease out which DNA is from which couple?  Theoretically, DK should also match another of my known cousins who also did the 23andMe test but I’ll need to check.  23andMe does not have a way to establish more than one known relationship but they should add it.  Not only are DK and I 2nd cousins once removed, but we are also 3rd cousins.

I am so pleased that the testing has brought us together!

Meeting a 23andMe Cousin!

This past weekend I learned that I have a genetic cousin that lives quite close to me – she is also here in Nashville!  23andMe predicts that we are approximately 4th cousins.  Crazy thing is, she also turns out to be a genetic cousin of Kalonji’s also.

Since she does not match my mother, I know that she is related to me on my paternal side of the family. We have a DNA segment that we share on Chromosome 6 that includes about 3014 SNPs and has a length of 16cM.  The dark blue is her match to me and the lighter blue is her match to my sister.

With Kalonji, she shares a DNA segment on Chromosome 7 that includes about 1500 SNPs and has a length of 12cM.

Because she is related to both of us, this means then that somewhere along the way one of my ancestors hooked up with one of Kalonji’s ancestors and she is a descendant of one of their children. How fascinating.

However, even better was the fact that we were able to meet today during a quick work break. She was on campus so I ran over to the hospital to meet her.

There is so much to explore on our family tress; this is only the beginning.  I would love to one day figure out her connection to both Kalonji and I.   In looking over her tree, I do see one surname of potential interest for my family tree, but nothing yet for Kalonji’s.  Small world isn’t it?