Had a busy couple of weeks which have included many visits with your Grandma! Besides the hugs and profound elder knowledge, you also got your very own serving of hot blueberry pie, straight from the oven. You missed the pie? The pie was there, I promise.
Forensic Genealogy and Adoption – Tracking Down Your Living Limbs.
The Ottawa Public Library let your grandma into the Carlingwood Branch to present “Forensic Genealogy and Adoption, Tracking Down Your Living Limbs.” Once the massive crowd (millions I tell ya) settled into their seats they were introduced to the concepts and strategies behind Forensic Genealogy and how those strategies can help with adoption searches.
Since I tend towards the Genetic side of things we delved deeply into my Cousin Betty Jean’s adoption search and the use of Genetic Genealogy. After all Betty Jean’s Genes helped us find one of her birth parents so far (and possibly the other – soon…the test is in processing).
It Takes Time
This was one of the biggest points of the presentation – It takes time. I know. You and everyone else in the world has watched these shows where one instance they are sitting at a table with a Genealogist in Philadelphia and the next they magically appear in Paris talking to their newly found 3rd cousin. It’s TV folks and slow just don’t sell the sponsors DNA test kits.
Adoption searches can be a roller coaster emotionally. Bolster your support group with more than just friends and family. Get involved in a local support group and even get some professional help.
This was another big point and a big talking point for questions during the presentation. As someone who is researching to find the birth family of an adoptee or the adoptee for a birth family, you do not have the right to willy nilly spread someone else’s story all over the internet. If you know your surname? Post the surname, but don’t go about saying that Jane Smith had a baby in 1955. Especially if it hasn’t been proven in the least yet. Be respectful and only tell the parts of the story that you have permission to tell.
Telling the tale with caution
Whatever avenue you use to put yourself “out there”, whether it be a Facebook page about your adoption, an adopted and a birth family tree on WikiTree, an instagram feed of photographs of yourself and likenesses between you and people you have proven to be your kin, do so with caution.
I myself, personally, don’t know anyone who has been the target of Genealogical Identity theft, but be vigilant with your own personal information.
I am very much so “out there”. Being “out there” is a part of my business model, so I hope I am ahead of the game and in charge of my own narrative. You? You have to decide how much or how little you want to make public. Take care of yourself.
Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, covers some of the privacy issues in a posting online in her December of 2016 Blog, The opt-in default.
Your Grandma is working away making afghans for all of you. You know, the ones with the big holes that never really keep you warm? The ones you throw over the back of the sofa just when your Grandma comes to visit? They will arrive with blueberry pie stains all over them too. It is, after all, hard to crochet and eat blueberry pie at the same time.
Orange Alert! If you have an aversion to Orange, navigate away from this page now.
What to write, what to write, what to write? It’s been incredibly busy after coming back from RootsTech2017. Just unpacking all the gear from doing interviews and a WikiTree LiveCast, LIVE, from the conference was a huge undertaking. Then to set it all back up in Grandmas Genes Offices? I am tired all over again just thinking about.
Traveling to and From Salt Lake City
Oh the trials and tribulations of flying across the northern hemisphere in winter. The first plane had engine trouble, so the flight to SLC was missed (thank goodness as they eventually arrived in SLC at 3:30 AM after sitting on the plane for 6 hours prior to take off). Air Canada put me and fellow castaways up at the Westin in Chicago for the night then flew us on to SLC the next day. No harm no foul except I missed a planed sleep-over with Eowyn and Julie, and lunch with Darlene Athey Hill.
The flight home was almost as much fun whit the connecting flight from Toronto canceled and foul weather once again at play. I started my travel day before sunrise in SLC and ended it, landing in a snowstorm at 9:00PM.
Dick Eastman, and all of our very orange clad WikiTree RootsTech2017 Team, had breakfast together on the first morning. So Dick was one of the first to amble my way for a five minute chat about DNA. I also wandered the Expo Hall grabbing people as I went to talk about DNA. I tried a bit of stalking…hanging out around session doors to grab speakers after the fact. This approach doesn’t work as the speakers are usually swarmed by adoring fans.
David Allen Lambert, with NEGHS and I had a chance to talk about his DNA Story. WikiTreers Kim Jordan, Randy Whited and Kirsty Gray also carried on a bit about DNA and WikiTree and how it’s important in Genealogy. Peter roberts steered me towards the Innovators tunnel to talk with David Nicholson and Hannah Morden-Nicholson with Living DNA. Interesting how specific their DNA testing can be.
Did some not so subtle eavesdropping on WikiTreer-in-Chief, Chris Whitten, chatting with Luther Tychonievich and Tim Jansen (in front of the only support column in the Salt Palace which was actually a part of our booth).
What to do with the Interview Footage?
All the footage, and then some, of the interviews from RootsTech2017 will be put together in some kind of spiffy Video.
Shenanigans at the WikiTree Booth
Oh, there were shenanigans alright. One of the great things about being able to represent WikiTree at RootsTech is the ability to meet and interact with people, colleagues, genealogists, that you work with on a daily basis. You also get to have fun with your volunteermates (<— this is not a word). From goofing off and being serious about DNA with Peter Roberts to watching Julie and Kitty Dancing to talking to ALL the WikiTree’s who stopped by the booth to Steve the Tree (a guy dressed in a Tree costume…this prompted Chris to ask me if I would dress as an elf for next year…or maybe walk around with a sandwich board, he he) – it was all fun.
What a great, wonderfully exhausting time we all had at RootsTech2017. Thanks to Chris Whitten, Eowyn Langholf, Abby Glann and Julie Ricketts (WikiTree Team) and Fellow WikiTree Leaders, Michael Stills, Karen Tobo, Kitty Cooper Smith and Peter Roberts for making this years WikiTree Booth the brightest Booth (both visually and intellectually) in the Hall.
WikiTree Mentors Tips – What’s in your Menu? Compact Tree
Today in some downtime (I know it’s a strange word for Genealogists – downtime is really multi-tasking) I was thinking about a new WikiTree Mentors-Tips post. Often times I am inspired by real life events in G2G (WikiTrees Genealogist to Genealogist Forum) or a question from someone in a PM (Private Message) or email. But today I was really goofing around with My Drop-Down Menus at the top right of every WikiTree page.
It’s not the My WikiTree one, the one next to it with my WikiTree ID, Gaulden-7, as the start…if you scroll down you’ll see a lot of stuff to play with. Today I was playing around with the first one in the drop-down list, Compact Tree.
This page gives you a compact Tree of your Family. If you are a WikiTreer check out yours (if you are not a WikiTree you are missing some incredible tools)…
Pretty nice – you can copy it to your DNA match email. You know the one you send out to people you find who have some kind of match to you. I get those all the time for my own DNA matches and Client matches… Those letters are sometimes the most confounding things I deal with daily. I got one the other day that was just a link to a family tree. What?! What do you mean when you send me nothing but a Family Tree list?
Well, with the Compact Tree, you can at least send them something they can figure out.
DNA Tool In and Of Itself
Use the compact Tree to quickly check through your Ancestors to see if there are others who have DNA tested who connect to the Ancestor. Using the information on the Profile for each DNA testor you can check to see if your paper trail is accurate.
Lollygagging and Blueberry Pie
Now back to my lollygagging and doing much of nothing, shaw, it might even be a good time to have some Blueberry pie!
“GEDmatch now connects to your WikiTree (Global) family tree!” as the title to this post is a complete cut and paste of the title, along with some quotes, of Maggie’s post in the WikiTree G2G (WikiTree’s Genealogist to Genealogist Forum). Thank you Maggie for helping a Grandma out.
DNA Connections Out The Wazoo
Maggie’s post to G2G was pretty short and sweet. She found a “bunch” of new cousins at WikiTree using GEDmatch’s One to Many Tier 1 utility.
GEDmatchTier 1 utilities are a paid subscription tool that provides deeper analytical tools for Genealogists. It's $10.00 a month. $10.00 that goes a long way toward helping our community have access to GEDmatch all the way around. It is money well spent and for a good cause.
Description of GEDmatch As A Gene Pool
To use CeCe Moore’s metaphor, DNA for Genealogy is useful when you have your DNA in as many Gene Pools as you possibly can. If you have tested at Ancestry, 23andMe, Genographic Project, Family Tree DNA (or My Heritage via Family Tree DNA) or WeGene, you should post your results to as many places as possible for analysis and matches.
GEDmatch has a pool filled with Genes from testers from all the testing companies. It may not be a complete pool from any one of the companies, but it is certainly a larger pool than having your results in just one of the pools (testing companies). Not to mention what you can do with you Data once it’s there.
GEDmatch and WikiTree
“In the GEDmatch’s new Tier 1 One-to-Many, I automatically see which of my matches have a WikiTree ID. Clicking on that link displays their compact ancestral tree showing up to eight generations of ancestry…
…My paternal aunt has over 6
5 relatives in GEDmatch who have WikiTree ID’s. Her GEDmatch ID is T527089″. – Peter Roberts
How it works
“We have been encouraging members to connect WikiTree IDs with GEDMatch IDs for a few years. When you enter a test, you can enter your GEDMatch ID.
Test data on WikiTree has always been public (even though your family connections or personal info may be private) so anyone could connect the dots. But to make it easy for GEDMatch we’re giving them downloads…
…We have 15,791 GEDMatch kit IDs connected to WikiTree IDs. Of those, GEDMatch was only able to validate 14,155.” – Chris Whitten
How “Fresh” is the information?
Farm to table? Farm to Farmers Market? Farm to Supermarket? Pretty fresh considering how easy it is for this to happen.
“How frequently are you sending updates to GEDmatch?” – Anne Powers
“We don’t know yet. It’s an easy thing on both sides, so it should be frequent. We’re hoping to make it live at some point, i.e. when you enter or edit a GEDmatch ID here it immediately updates.” Chris Whitten
“When you post a DNA test on a WikiTree profile, WikiTree needs to be able to see the profile Family Tree tab to make DNA connections down the ancestral lines. Please be sure that the Privacy level on the profile and all of the ancestors are at a level that allows everyone to see the Family Tree tab. That is either:
Pale Yellow – Private with Public Biography and Family Tree. This is the same as Private but anyone can view the biography and family tree.
Pale Peach – Private with Public Family Tree. Same as Private but anyone can view the family tree. Other individuals in the tree can still be private.
Green – Public. Anyone can view the full profile but only the Trusted List can edit it. The default for non-living people under 200 years old except when added as nuclear relatives of living people. Not an option for living people.
White – Open. Anyone can view the full profile and any member who has signed the Wiki Genealogist Honor Code can edit it. Required for people over 200. Not an option for living people.” – WikiTree DNA Project Features and Extensions
These Privacy Levels insure that the profiles you manage can be seen by someone who finds you in GEDmatch’s Tier 1, One To Many Tool. If you have your privacy level any higher you won’t be able to share the WikiTree Profiles you Manage.
As Free as WikiTree would be great but…
I am already a Tier 1 member. But I re-upped this morning because of this. I also wonder how many of the 498 WikiTree Volunteer Genealogists who have seen the G2G post have also upgraded to Tier 1 and how many more will join GEDmatch.
We WikiTree have proven to be pretty awesome when we get together to do something, like unintentionally slamming the Family Search servers during the Source-A-thon weekend. If enough of our WikiTreer’s join the GEDmatch Teir 1 will GEDmatch opt to make it free?
“I am disappointed that the new One-to-Many with the WikiTree connections is only for Tier 1 members. It sounds like they haven’t decided if or when it will be opened for non-paying members. Regardless, I know we will be doing more GEDmatch-WikiTree connections.” – Chris Whitten
In Praise of Peter Roberts
“Peter humbly does not mention that he’s the reason this came together.
Peter has tirelessly lobbied for GEDmatch-WikiTree connections for years. Finally, at the Houston FTDNA conference a few months ago, he made contact with GEDMatch’s John Olson.” – Chris Whitten
Use WikiTree and GEDmatch to find mistakes in your Genealogy
“As you browse through your family tree back a few generations you may see other auDNA testers show up (under DNA Connections) on those (WikiTree) profiles. If that other tester is a 2nd cousin or closer to you, then you WILL share auDNA with each other. If you do a one-to-one comparison in GEDmatch and you share no auDNA then there is a mistake in your (or their 😉 ) ancestry. This is because all known relatives who are 2nd cousins or closer share a detectable about of autosomal DNA.” – Peter Roberts.
Grandma’s Genes is winding down 2016 with a mind towards the things that most influenced our work. Aside from the blueberry pies, presentations, research, Swab-A-Thons, field trips, conferences, phone calls, blog posts etc., there is one major take-away.
Networks connect us all. We drive to our jobs on a network of roads. We communicate with each other over a network of airwaves or wires or through the vast web of the internet. We have a network of support – friends, family and the baker down the street. Even our neighbor next door is a thread in the Network of our Lives.
How we connect to our networks is just the facility of that connection. What matters is the content.
If I hadn’t joined WikiTree in December 2013, the mother load of genealogy networking and collaboration, and turned this many, many year passion into a mystery solving venture that pays for my blueberry pies? I would still be just answering family queries and would never have learned the joy of genealogical collaboration. Collaboration on such a stratospheric level. I posted once about how WikiTree has given me an education beyond my university degree in WikiTree’s G2G Forum. That was a year ago – I must be working toward my WikiTree doctorate now.
As such, I have been able to solve a 90 year old mystery, fairly quickly (8 months to find her father), because I was able to use a Network to make a connection. 23 and me connected me with Jane and her family who in turn helped connect Betty Jean to half of her birth family.
A woman posted in Gauldings page on Face Book about a common Ancestor. She found an obituary stating our common ancestor was a Captain in the revolution under Francis Marion. In all the research anyone has ever done on this man, he was not a soldier in the revolution. He served as a Petit Juror. He also might have been providing supplies to the troops – no one knows for sure. She used Facebook to find me and my very underwhelming answer to her question, “was John Gaulding a Captain under Francis Marion?” “No…”
A man who believed a long held family story that his gggrandfather was adopted into a family of African Canadian’s has been able to find interest in the real story. This story told mainly by his DNA and supported by the network of other distant cousins who had heard and believed or not believed the story. These distant cousins are all testing their DNA now and finding that they too have a connection to a very rich African ancestry. These distant cousins have also created their own network, on Facebook, so that others who are not in the know can find the truth and their heritage through them.
If mother natures network of weather hadn’t dumped 20 + cm of snow on Ottawa in a matter of a few short hours last year, the idea that became Grandma’s Genes would not have formed into what it is today. Marc, my fellow shoveler on that day, has moved on to work in his day-job field full time. During the year, though, he helped an adoptee find his fathers family. Marc helped so many with Indigenous roots find the right identity for themselves and possibly take the true meaning of being connected to an indigenous ancestor with them into their new found knowledge of self. Marc also made long sought connections within his own genealogy through research and networking with others who have connections to his indigenous lines – to his Quaker lines – to his southern lines.
Moving Forward Through Networking
For me? I found a path which has been made stronger, straighter and more focused than I would have ever thought imaginable. Only with the help of my network of family, friends, partners, genealogists, geneticists, clients and all those ancestors long passed, has Grandma’s Genes grown into what it is today. What it will become tomorrow.
Thank you, every – single – point on our network – one of you.
Betty Jean’s Adoption search is moving right along. It’s an interesting thing, this kind of search because someone has to have a secret. A secret that they told no one, ever, if you are the father. If you are the mother? It’s a secret you probably had to tell someone at some point. I can imagine the fear of the disapproval and anger that might be foisted upon on unwed mother or father of the 1920’s deep south.
Betty X’s Abandonement
Betty Jean was left somewhere in or near Asheville, North Carolina. When her foster parents picked-her up, it was from, according to them, a Catholic hospital. When the Sister gave Betty Jean to them, she described Betty Jean’s mother as having blue eyes and black hair. Whoever left her, father, mother, grandparent, uncle, or aunt, didn’t leave any information with the Sister(s). All of her adoption files were empty. Blank. Nothing in them, period.
The Living Cousin
We found a living cousin, Jane and I, using Traditional Genealogy, Genetic Genealogy and a bit of Forensic Genealogy – from Dick Eastman’s Blog: “The word ‘forensic’ means ‘relating to the use of science or technology in the investigation and establishment of facts or evidence.” In this case, forensic would mean to use science or technology in addition to traditional records. In short, Forensic Genealogy is the use of something OTHER THAN standard records to add to your family history’.”
We had hoped that she might be Betty Jean’s real, live sister but she wasn’t. She was a real, live first cousin instead. A first cousin who had gotten me in touch with her real, live first cousin, Ike. As soon as her test came back as a cousin and not a sister I called Ike immediately. He was the possible clue to Betty Jean’s Adoption. I told him the test for his cousin was just that, a DNA test result showing her to be the first cousin of Betty Jean as well.
The Next DNA Test
Ike was more than happy, almost excited, to find the answer to this mystery. I ordered his test from FTDNA and we waited again for five or so weeks. Weeks of waiting to solve this 90 year adoption mystery. To reveal this secret.
The Secret Revealed? Well, Partially
We checked for the results nearly daily when four weeks had past. We checked so much that we knew the results were in before FTDNA had a chance to send the notification. At this early stage the results weren’t complete but still filtering through FTDNA’s system. Nail biting and grinding of teeth ensued. Finally they were complete and…
Glenn Cashion is Betty Jean’s Father
Glenn Cashion. He lived in Asheville in 1926/7 and his son Ike matches Betty Jean as a half sibling. Betty Jean looks like her father in so many ways it’s almost uncanny. Would they have recognized each other if they had met on the street? Would Glenn have acknowledged his resemblance in a strangers face?
How did it happen? How did Betty Jean come about? We have no idea. It was a secret he kept to his death.
When Glenn married and started a family of his own, he named his first Child Betty. Betty Glenn Cashion was named for his grandmother, Emily Elizabeth “Betty” Asbury. Looking at this while we were searching, I always though it interesting that Glenn had named his first daughter Betty, when he might have been our Betty Jean’s father as well. I thought that this was a clue to the fact that he might be Betty X’s father. Instinct vs. fact is sometimes very interesting.
“My Dad is a winner. He was the gem of the family. Glenn was giving and worked hard for Shriner’s charities, helped family with money when they needed it, even when they didn’t ask. He took care of family – he was a nice man.” – Ike Cashion
Ike didn’t say this to make the secret of Betty Jean right. It was not said in defense of whatever actions his father took in 1926/7, it was said just as a matter of fact. Glenn Cashion was a good guy.
Onward to work and research deeper and to find Betty Jean’s Mother…
Finding the patterns in genetic genealogy research is really a fundamental thing we do when looking for the clues to our roots. Even in traditional genealogy, looking at a pedigree chart reveals patterns in geographical locations, dates and names which help our research. Looking for patterns is not new, even if we don’t realize we do it.
How do we find the patterns are we looking for? Spreadsheets?
Betty Jean’s Raw Data is file loaded to GEDmatch. If we do a One to Many matches analysis we can capture the entire results list via cut and paste, and insert it into a spreadsheet. We can grab similar results lists from most of the DNA testing or results companies. Getting all the formats similar in a spreadsheet takes some juggling and tweaking but it’s worth it. It is made easier by learning how to create things like separate first, middle, maiden and last name entries by converting text to columns and using filters to clean-up the columns. Sorting is a whiz, once you have all the information in a sortable state.
Sort your spreadsheets by Chromosome, Segment Locations and Last Name and you have a pretty clear view to the people on the sheets who share your DNA and where they share it.
Who do your Matches Belong to? What Familial Surname?
Don’t get that? Who is a matches MCRA (Most common Recent Ancestor) in common with you? Some of the files you download from the various companies give you common surnames. Well that helps, doesn’t it? Sometimes? They also show how many Generations back you might share one of those surnames (some people have 50 or more Surnames). That’s it. That is the answer!
Try adding each of those surnames to a sheet individually or using the text to columns conversion and…
Family Trees and Pedigree Charts
Aside from adding columns upon columns of surnames to your spread sheet there really isn’t any way (that I know of) to add a pedigree or family tree to a spreadsheet – it might be doable, but…I don’t have enough finger tips or time for that.
There are great places where you can upload your GEDCOM to a DNA testing or analysis site, but the DNA isn’t in any way correlated with the tree. It’s just there and you have to use your brain and knowledge of what you are working on to make any sense of it. ESPECIALLY if it’s further back than a generation or so.
But I have something…
I was at a conference in the spring of 2016 where some of the current icons of Genetic Genealogy were a part of a Panel Discussion on the future of Genetic Genealogy. Something brought up by one of the Panelists was that we don’t really have anywhere to make the connection between a World Family Tree and DNA.
I was a bit shocked and dismayed that not one of these Genetic Genealogy Icons brought up WikiTree. WikiTree, where genealogists collaborate on a true, single, world family tree. WikiTree, where I, you, them, anyone can add all current and future DNA test’s and have the test information auto-populate every single ancestor with that test information. For auDNA tests, back to at least our 64-4th great grandparents. For Y and mtDNA tests back into the depths of our shared pedigree. WikiTree even maps XDNA for it’s DNA tested members! WikiTree, where if something happens (in so many different scenarios), will carry on with nothing more than a hiccup for ever and ever – really. Not ONE mention.
This is where I start looking for patterns that aren’t obvious or easy to correlate anywhere else.
Take GEDmatch and it’s GEDCOM + DNA tool. I can scroll down a list of people to see the pedigrees of my matches. Once I find a Pedigree that matches, I run a One to One comparison. Then I cut and paste the One to One Match comparison information to a section for the match into the DNA Sandbox.
The section titles show the match name and shared chromosome numbers. If I continue this process over time it will start to reveal patterns:
With this view I can start to make connections between specific Chromosomes and Familial Surnames. It will also show outliers – matches who probably don’t belong to a specific familial surname group even though at first blush they may appear to belong. Try working on the Smith family of NY and see how many matches with the last name Smith are outliers to YOUR Smith family.
In the table of contents for the DNA Sandbox you can get a peak into those patterns. Take the mtDNA Matches. Obviously matches 3.1.3 to 3.1.5 need some further looking into as do the paternal haplogroup matches 4.1.3-5.1.5. Since these DNA matches posted their mtDNA and YDNA haplogroups information in their auDNA results on GEDMatch we are able to see right off the bat, from the title sections, that they share Chromosome 15. Do they share overlapping segments? A quick look at the meat of the information and…
Yes two do. Granted, they are distant connections – 5.1 generations to 6.1 generations – but they do overlap. If I can figure out the MCRA and add a familial surname to this grouping? It’s a HUGE step toward finding more matches that share Chromosome 15 with you who also are in this Familial Surname grouping.
Betty Jean’s DNA Sandbox
Betty Jean? Where is she in all this? Well, back in the Spring when we started her search for her birth family, I started her WikiTree DNA Sandbox.
Bit and Pieces become patterns
Working steadily with small bits and pieces of data from different testing companies, I pasted data into her sandbox. It started with her highest DNA match on 23andme, her first cousin once removed, who is also an adoptee. We’ll call her Pat (she is very much still in the midst of figuring out her own identity and dealing with the emotional roller coaster that comes with finding ones birth family).
Pat’s information wasn’t sitting alone in the sandbox for long. 12 of Betty Jean’s top 15 matches belonged to the same family – the Howard’s and the Brotherton’s. All these people had either had their DNA tested on their own or were prodded by Jane to get their tests done to help in finding Pat’s birth family. Lucky Betty Jean again, having Jane in her corner.
So within a few weeks, adding Betty Jean’s one to one matches, researching the pedigrees and using the number of cM (centimorgens) – “In genetics, a centimorgan (abbreviated cM) or map unit (m.u.) is a unit for measuring genetic linkage. It is defined as the distance between chromosome positions (also termed loci or markers) for which the expected average number of intervening chromosomal crossovers in a single generation is 0.01.) WikiPedia – and the generations estimate, her sandbox began to show patterns. Surnames began to have specific chromosomes connected to them.
As Jane and I worked, I compiled a list of Surnames for Betty. Surnames to use and Surnames to discount. If a pedigree or tree leads to one of the discounted Surnames? Then attention can be focused elsewhere. The list, added to the Sandbox, includes links within WikiTree to the MCRA for a specific Surname in the line. With the sandbox filling up, jumping around the great big ole shared tree with ease, working WikiTree’s relationship tools as well as the DNA tools, I was finding answers in a flash.
Fully Customize the sandbox to your level of expertise and knowledge
And there is no hard and fast rule about what goes into the sandbox. Some have graphics with triangulated groups. Some have Haplogroup information by Surname. All have the ability to make finding answers in the DNA connected world tree that is WikiTree an easier thing to do.
Now, after this VERY long post, I need to go find some patterns in nature for a while. Does Blueberry pie get cold FAST in -2 degree weather? an experiment I must try.
Betty Jean had her DNA tested with 23andMe in an attempt to find out if she had any medical issues which she may have passed along to her children. Along with her health test, she was also was in 23andMe’s Genetic pool of genes. Having her genes in DNA gene Pools will help us in her adoption search.
On first look, Betty Jean’s information included some fairly close cousin’s. The closest was a predicted 2nd cousin sharing 1.76% of their DNA. There were 12, 2nd to fourth cousin matches. I sent notes to all of them via 23andMe’s internal messaging system.
I also took some time to look to see if there were any common surnames in these matches. There were – Brotherton and Howard. At the time 23andMe had no DNA analytical tools, so I immediately downloaded Betty Jean’s raw DNA Data file (to download a DNA Data File from 23andMe see this help information) and uploaded it to GEDmatch (you must register for GEDmatch to be able to upload) via the Generic Upload Fast New, Beta.
NOTE: 23andMe has recently added DNA analysis tools which lets it’s users do chromosome mapping and comparisons to other matches. This is great news for anyone who has their DNA tested with 23andMe. It does not preclude a tester from uploading data to GEDmatch, because a tester would want to have their DNA in GEDmatch’s large Gene pool along with people (anyone who uploaded their raw data to GEDmatch) from all the testing companies.
Betty Jean’s GEDmatch Matches
After uploading Betty Jean’s Raw data file from 23andMe we found Betty Jean’s genes swimming in the pool with many of her close cousins – the big one was a 1st cousin once removed at 342.8 total cM.
What do we know from this list? Not much for this search since we don’t have any family line we can identify in the matches at face value, without being able to correlate the information with her matches family trees. GEDmatch does have a GEDCOM upload function, but not many of Betty Jean’s matches had their family trees on GEDmatch.
Gathering Family Trees
Again, using the emails for the matches on GEDMatch I sent emails explaining that Betty Jean Matched them and asking if they have family tree’s online or available for access in some other way. I also contacted Jane to discuss the matches. Jane and I spent a bit of time exchanging emails and connecting the dots of Betty Jean’s matches to Jane’s tree.
Remember the 20 foot tree I printed of Jane’s Ancestry Tree? At first I started trying to jump around that monster to mark where the matches landed in the tree. It was cumbersome and frustrating and I had to come up with a better way to be able to see ALL of it at once, and…
There was one more thing about Jane’s tree that needed some space to work-out. It seemed from a quick scan that the Howard and Brotherton lines, as well as other lines that married into them, were a product of Endogamy.
Endogamy is not uncommon in the US colonies as our social spheres were limited by small communities and vast distance between them. This occurred in Appalachia to an extent that one often hears jokes about “my cousin is my wife”. Jokes aside, the area of North Carolina where the Howard’s and Brotherton’s lived is on the outside edge of Appalachia.
Why should Endogamy be something we need to look into carefully and closely? Simply put, it skews the numbers. If cousins marry, then the DNA mix is a mix from one family rather than two. So there is a double infusion of Genes.
My Map of Betty Jean’s Family
It started with one single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. In the middle of that first sheet of the paper I wrote a list of Betty Jean’s top matches, the 12 Jane had in her tree and a few more. Then I started adding lines back. Creating pedigree charts from the DNA matches for each of the family lines identified by the DNA and Jane’s tree. As I went I added more blank sheets to fill in as I added family. At this point the Howard’s and Brotherton’s were extending to the right, radially from the DNA matches circle in the middle. I added papers to the map so that it was 3 sheets long and 3 sheets wide. Thankfully Jane’s tree was now easy to see, even with all the complicated connections within the Howard and Brotherton families.
For each person added to my map, I added or connected them to WikiTree to create Betty Jeans birth/mirror tree. It was a great help having WikiTree’s relationship tools at the ready to help me define how these people might be connected to Betty Jean. It also helped me when trying to decipher Jane’s voluminous emails on family connections.
How can one person have two limbs connected to the world tree – WikiTree? The whole idea of a World Tree is one profile per person on the tree. Well, Betty Jean has her birth family and she has her adopted family. To connect her to only one line, her biological line, seems right because genetically this is the family she is related to. But we also shouldn’t discount her adopted family.
Adoptees have two totally different, viable, family lines.
A WikiTreer (a member of WikiTree) asked this very question in the Genealogist to Genealogist forum (G2G):
“I’ve got a question regarding the profile(s) you’ve created for Betty Jean to see if I understand correctly how you’re using WikiTree. Did you create two different profiles, one connected to her adoptive family and one that was wholly unconnected as you didn’t know anything about her birth family?
If that is the process you use:
Will you eventually merge the two profiles?
How will you decide which set of parents to leave her attached to?
I ask because I have an adoptee for whom we know all four parents (adopted and birth). I’m looking for options / best practices on ways to handle the adoptive vs birth parents links.”
“Yes I added a profile for her adopted self and connected her to her adoptive family.
Yes I created a birth profile.
I have been adding individuals to WikiTree that are in Betty Jeans birth family and will connect her to them once the last DNA test proves which of the three men in my cross hairs is her father and which of the singular woman in my cross hairs is her mother..
I will not merge her two profiles. She has two completely different Genealogies. One which is her adopted genealogy and one which is her BIO or DNA connected Genealogy.
Connecting her two selves to her two different genealogies works out the best because they are both real, viable, family lines. Since I have been working my way back to her through the research we have done, I have created a mirror tree for her birth family that is just itching to have her twig connect.”
What is a Mirror Tree
Simply put, we are going to find people that Betty Jean matches via DNA and add them to WikiTree, or find them if they are already there, and work to make connections between these matches and the end of our search – Betty Jean. This is where the whole one profile per person comes into play. We won’t spend time scouring many, many duplicate lineages looking for connections; we only have to find one line.
The tree will be worked in bits and pieces as we find DNA matches and Triangulated DNA matches with identifiable common ancestors. As we find or add these common ancestors we will work our way from the distant past to now. The goal? To ultimately find the right people in the right place at the right time – Asheville, NC, in 1926-1927.
Jane’s Ancestry Tree
When I connected with Jane (Jane Howard Schenck, one of Betty Jean’s DNA matches and Genealogist) Jane’s first words were, “it has to be the Howard’s.” Jane quickly invited me to view her family tree on Ancestry. Viewing Jane’s Tree on Ancestry was like trying to see a map of the US using a mono scope from two feet away. My excitement at finding a Tree to connect Betty Jean to was immediately overwhelmed by the scope and size of Jane’s tree…all 20 feet of it.
Deciphering all the intricacies of Jane’s well sourced/documented Ancestry tree was going to be one huge undertaking. To be able to use WikiTree’s Connecting abilities, DNA Tools, Relationship Finder Tools and RootsSearch integration tools I needed to be able to use Jane’s Tree in WikiTree. I started adding Betty Jean’s top DNA matches to WikiTree based on Jane’s research.
“WikiTree is on the brink of releasing a new tool which will do the work that I labored over for months, in the blink of a proverbial eye.
The WikiTree X Chrome extension… can create WikiTree profiles from the huge tree(s) shared [with us] in a super, super-easy way…” Chris Whitten, WikiTreer-In-Chief