Betty Jean’s Adoption Search – All In The Family

Betty Jean’s adoption search is all in the family. She ended her Adoption search years ago with her family, her husband, by her side. There was nothing to find. Then many, many years later a cousin (me) asked if she could start the process all over again. The physical search itself is all about looking in the nooks an crannies of the Howard/Brotherton family for people living in, or being in, Asheville, NC in 1926/7. The Howard’s and Brotherton’s are the family who hold the clues that will lead to an end to Betty Jean’s adoption search – 90 years after her birth.

Her 1st Cousin Once Removed, The Other Adoptee, Pat

To tell Betty Jean’s story we have to tell a bit about Pat’s story. Pat is a generation or so younger than Betty Jean. She is, like Betty Jean, adopted and looking for her birth family. Pat got a DNA test done in the hopes of the DNA being the key to he mystery. It was/is.

Jane, the Genealogist/Adoption Researcher who is a member of the Howard and Brotherton family, was also her key. But there was another key to Pat’s search, something every adoptee wished they had.

The Letter

The letter comes from a time before the agency would offer to find birth parents. She paid them a fee to go through the microfiche records to see what non-identifying information existed. It was a weird experience for her to read that letter because of the similarities in some of the her family hobbies.

LetterSubsequent communications from the adoption agency to Pat also gave more information on the birth mother and birth father. Like occupations, religion, height and ultimately what the cause of death was for her birth father – cancer.

The Howard/Brotherton Connection

Why these two families? Because of the number of people who have done DNA testing with strong connections to these two family lines who also match Pat.

Armed with the clues in the Agency’s non-identifying communications, Jane hit the pavement running. Tracking down anyone in the Howard or Brotherton families who were in the professions listed for Pat’s birth parents. She also scoured the geographic locations.

Bingo?

Eventually Jane found Charlotte, NC as the common geographic denominator in the equation. She located a few Brotherton’s who matched the profession of Pat’s birth father. Then worked to determine if one of them could have crossed paths with Pat’s birth mothers profession. She interviewed people who new Pat’s possible birth fathers and anyone else who could give the answer to the questions Jane asked.

I became involved at this point and started hashing out the family connections using the DNA numbers – cM’s (measurement in DNA) of matches and generations to MCRA (most common recent ancestor) estimates, one to one comparisons, one to many comparisons, GEDcom + DNA searches, in common with, not in common with, overlapping segments, triangulation, working the patterns slowly appearing in WikiTree DNA Sanbox, all to whittle down the possible candidates. Whittle is the appropriate word because it wasn’t a BINGO moment, it was slow and deliberate process of elimination. Just like slowly morphing a piece of wood into a shape.

Janes’ work, and my bit of back-up, found the shape that is Pat’s birth father. A Brotherton.

Health and focus

For me Pat’s birth father was circled on my big DNA/Pedigree Chart (the chart I created to help me understand Jane and Pat’s and, soon to be Betty Jean’s, crazy confusing family tree). Somewhere in that tangled mess of limbs lay Betty Jean’s birth something.

At about the same time, just as Pat’s father was confirmed, Betty Jean contacted me with some worries about her health. Doctors visits and traveling for appointments were in her very near future. Betty Jean was nearly 90, and I didn’t know how serious her health issues might be, so we, Jane and I, turned the majority of our focus toward the work to find Betty Jean’s birth family.

WikiTree search results now include DNA test connections.

Once again WikiTree is moving forward with DNA functionality that is bleeding edge in the field of Genetic Genealogy. WikiTree search results now include DNA test connections.

What does this mean?

“When you search for a person, if there are any Y-chromosome, mitochondrial, or autosomal DNA tests that are believed to be relevant for the person’s genealogy, a Y, mt, and/or au icon will appear next to their name. Clicking this will open up a window with details.” Chris Whitten

WikiTree Search results showing DNA connections

Clicking on the Icon gives you a window with details:
WikiTree DNa search info.

I know I often say those busy little WikiTreers are always busy coming up with better, innovative ways to work with it’s one single family tree, but this DNA tool on WikiTree is just great!

Thanks WikiTreers Kitty Cooper, Roberta Estes, Peter Roberts and of course the WikiTree techies who fly through the limbs making our suggestions come to life.

Why WikiTree Use WikiTree for Genetic Genalogy?

This one bit of collaboration is just another great example of how WikiTree and it’s global, collaborative Tree can be used by anyone to further their family research using Genetic Genealogy.

No math degree required.

WikiTree does all the work for you. All you have to do is add what tests you have taken to your WikiTree profile. No uploading of Raw Data, just tell WikiTree what tests you and WikiTree will auto-populate your limbs with all of your DNA test information.

“The WikiTree Pledge: Always Free

As the creators and hosts of the WikiTree website, we pledge that our mission is the same as that of the community: to create an accurate, single family tree that will make genealogy free and accessible for everyone.

Free is an essential part of our shared mission. We will never charge for access to the single family tree. And we will never knowingly and willingly sell or transfer the single family tree to any individual or organization that intends to charge for access to it.” WikiTree Pledge

What if something happened to WikiTree, do I lose everything?

No. If a Tornado were to rip WikiTree up by it’s roots and throw it miles away shattering it’s precious limbs, there is a plan. There are several cloud and server back-ups of the physical tree. There are also fail safe’s “if WikiTree suddenly disappeared it would not be easy for someone else to simply restart it using the same software and all our members’ data…if the team knew that the current organization could not continue hosting WikiTree it would be a top priority to find a successor organization. We are all WikiTree users who have our family information here too. The WikiTree Pledge means that a successor organization could not be planning to put WikiTree behind a pay wall. It must stay free.”WikiTree Back-ups

The Lost Colony of Roanoke and DNA

The Carte of all the Coast of Virginia by Theodor de Bry -Roanoke Island Map
The Carte of all the Coast of Virginia by Theodor de Bry -Roanoke Island – Creative Commons

I love answering the many questions I receive daily from people who think they are related to someone famous. Can I prove it? Uh, erm… Today I had a question about someone getting their DNA results back and finding they may be related to many different ethnic groups which was a real surprise to he and his family. Jewish? Black? Native American? Oh, but there is one little bit of interestingness in all this. The Lost Colony. We might find links to the Lost Colony of Roanoke through DNA.

The mystery of the Lost Colony is suddenly (a drop in the bucket of time genetically speaking) coming back into discussion because of new inroads in genetic testing, advances in Archaeology and possibly a TV show. The Archeology hasn’t excavated any bodies, so genetically, who on earth could they test? No bodies = no DNA? The Descendants.

“Descendants you say”?

The email listed several North/South Carolina associated Native American tribes – Lumbee and Croatan being among them.

If you paid attention in school you learned that the only clue as to what happened to these planters (Plantation “16th- and 17th-century involved the confiscation of land by the English crown and the colonisation of…land with settlers from the island of Great Britain.” – WikiPedia article on Irish Plantation) was a word scratched into a palisade post at the Roanoke Colony location, “CROATOAN”.

The word “Croatoan” could imply a couple things:

– The Croatan, being already stirred up by the aggressiveness of an earlier group on a reconnaissance mission (read that military) and the lack of a good supply of drinking/farming water due to severe drought, attacked and killed all the planters.
– Or the Planters split into smaller groups and assimilated into the existing local population. Since there was a sign left, one wonders about the story of all the planters being killed by hostiles…

The theory current researchers seem to be working with is the latter, that the Planters were assimilated into existing populations – the Croatan included. With this in mind DNA researches like Roberta Estes and the Lost Colony Research Group are looking for DNA testers to add their DNA to The Lost Colony Research Project Gene Pool.

The Lost Colony of Roanoke DNA Projects

The lost Colony Research Group has, with it’s goal of providing “a body of credible research [on the Lost Colony], in one location, available to all researchers.”, projects for the DNA end of their work.               

  1. The Y-line DNA project, for males who have a colonist surname or a surname of interest and whose families come from either Eastern North Carolina or England or have Native heritage. 
  1. The mitochondrial DNA project (see below) , for males or females whose maternal line carries the Lost Colony surnames or surnames of interest and who are from Eastern North Carolina or have Native heritage.
  1. The Family Finder project (see below) who is for anyone who believes they are descended from the Lost Colonists. This project was created specifically for those who have taken the Family Finder test…

    Anyone can join the Lost Colony Family Finder project, however, both the y-line and the mitochondrial DNA project have guidelines.

    You can join the Lost Colony Y-line or mitochondrial DNA projects if you fulfill one or more of the following criteria for the Y-line or mtDNA lines you have been tested for:

    1. Your surnames include those of the Colonists or others on the interest list AND your family is proven to descend from Eastern North Carolina, preferably before 1700, or the areas of interest shown on the maps later in this document.
    2. You have a history of Native Ancestry from this area, confirmed or unconfirmed.
    3. You have an oral history of Lost Colony ancestry.”The lost Colony Research Group

If you check out the Lost Colony Research Groups FAQ Page, you’ll see a complete list of projects as well as links to all the current surnames possible.

Here are the DNA Projects:

Lost Colony – YDNA Project 277 members
Lost Colony -MTDNA Project 0 members
LC Family Finder Project
Hatteras-YDNA Project 104 members
Hatteras – MTDNA Project 12 members
Hatteras – Family Finder Project 152 members

Lost Colony TV Show?

Of course there’s a TV show in the works which may serve to give some new energy toward the work to finding the DNA of possible descendants. American Horror Story is taking on the ghosts of Roanoke in it’s newest incarnation. “…the American Horror Story season 6 theme has been revealed, and it is a bloody “Roanoke Nightmare,”Den Of Geek!  Will the show be less about the haunted house in Roanoake, North Carolina portrayed in the first episode of the season and more about the Planters who disappeared? Either way just having the word Roanoke in the title should spice things up a bit for the Lost Colony Research Group. Good luck – I hope you get a lot of spill over from this!

Further information and reading

º Lost Colony DNA – The Scientist
º Another listing of Surnames associated with the attempted English Plantation of Roanoke.
º New Discoveries could explain what happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke –  Gizmodo
º The Lost Colony Research Group Blog
º Lost Roanoke Found – Maps, Artifacts and DNA Evidence
º Have we Found the Lost Colony? National Geographic
º Karen Ordahl Kupperman, whose book Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony
º Roanoke Colony on WikiPedia

Right Chromosome, Right Place, Wrong Side.

My cousin Christopher found me through 23andMe about a year ago.  He and his ancestors are from West Virginia.   Since meeting online we’ve been trying to figure exactly how we connect.  Since he matches my maternal uncle I know he’s a cousin through my maternal side. My Bayley line came from West Virginia.  They were two counties away from where Christopher’s ancestors were.  Christopher still lives in the area.

Right Chromosome, Right Place

Our match is on chromosome nine from 15M to 24M.  This is a 13.2 cM 2,142 SNP match.  This triangulates to my maternal Drybread side.  My Drybread uncle matches on an overlapping 133.6cM 19,427 SNP segment.    There are only a handful of GedMatch kits that match me in the section.  Of those only one GedMatch kit with traceable genealogy triangulates me, Christopher, and my Drybread uncle.   A Hatfield cousin that matches me on a 16.9cM 1,582 SNP segment. 

My ninth chromosome GedMatch Segment Search
My ninth chromosome GedMatch Segment Search

So when I saw seven new samples in GedMatch Segment Search I was excited!  I started to write Christopher a quick message.  Before I even finished typing I stopped.  I’d only looked at the matches for ten seconds.  Just in that short time I’d seen names like, Seamus, Liam, McGee, Donegal and Quinn.  They all sounded Irish. As in Ireland Irish.  That is a long way from West Virginia where Christopher and I think we connect.

 

Wrong Side

To check this match I ran a ten sample Multiple Kit Analysis at GedMatch. The first three kits I entered were me, my uncle, and Christopher. The next seven kits were all the new ones. There are several Visualization Options under GedMatch Multiple Kit Analysis.

Wrong Side - GedMatch Chromosome Browser
Wrong Side – GedMatch Chromosome Browser

 The first visualization option I chose was the Chromosome Browser. Immediately the table told me what I had expected.  All the new samples match me, but do not match Christopher or my uncle.  Since most DNA matches are half-identical you can match different sides in the same place on the same chromosome.  

 

Same ten samples - GedMatch Traceability
Same ten samples – GedMatch Traceability

Another useful visualization option for seeing if people on the same place of the same chromosome are related is Traceability.  The same ten samples run in Traceability generate a web-like image. Since there is a triangle between me, Christopher and my uncle it shows we are related. The lines show all the new samples are related to each other and me, but not Christopher or my uncle. The Traceability option also includes a table similar to Chromosome Browser with a generations estimate. Judging by the names of the new samples it seems highly likely they live in Ireland.

My father and all his known ancestors are from Southern England.  My mother’s ancestors all came to America before ‘the USA’ was a thing.  When I look at lists of cousins it’s easy for me to guess which side they are on.  This is because 97% of my maternal cousins seem to be in America.  And 97% of cousins on my fathers in the British Isles and Australia.

Back to Genealogy and Oral History

So my instinct to stop writing that first message to Christopher was good. We are still where we were before.  Two cousins seemingly connected through West Viriginia ancestors.   Like many from West Virginia we have  mixed race family history.  The lines that we suspect connect us start to brick wall as recently as the Civil War.  So far the best clue we have found is a shared oral history of Blackfoot ancestry on our maternal lines.

Today many people with Blackfoot oral history originating from the Virginia/Carolina Piedmont identify as Saponi.  Through genealogy research at Searching for Saponi Town and other forums I’ve been able to learn more about my lines.   Especially relevant now that I am also making DNA matches to people I have met through these forums.  For all the discoveries made through DNA it seems oral history is still one of the best tools we have.

Thankfully I come from a line of ancestors, many Quakers, (Friends) who recorded the genealogy that I work with.  As a genealogist today I stand on their shoulders.   The rise in popularity of DNA testing, shows how many people are searching for these answers.  Answers these ancestors took the time to record. People are searching for their roots. They are searching for who their ancestors are.  Because we all stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.

Swab-A-Thon

Grandma's Genes Swab-A-Thon           Bowman's Bar and Grill

“Who do you Think You Are?” and “Finding Your Roots” are two popular TV shows who use DNA to help further their Genealogical results.

ggjeanslogo     Are you interested in knowing who you are?
ggjeanslogo  
 Do you want to know about your Genes/DNA?

Come to Grandma’s Genes Swab-A-Thon on Saturday August  27, 2016 from 2-4pm at Bowman’s Bar and Grill at 1170 Carling Ave. (eastbound past Merivale –  across from the Royal Ottawa Hospital). We will have an informal overview of the how’s and why’s of DNA and help you with your DNA sample(s). Then we will send them off to FamilyTree DNA for processing.

It’s $5.00 at the door which includes the overview, swab and the bulk mailing fees (test fees – starting at $99USD will be done separately via credit card on site).

No food or drink a half hour before swabbing.

For more information email us at info@nullgrandmasgenes.com.

swabathonposterimage

 

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I Am So Sorry Dad – We’re Pending.

This could end up being very humorous or a nightmare.

I was excited to hear the great news that FTDNA (FamilyTree DNA) has added a phasing ability to their matches results. Just Great! I love it! I am all over it!

I jumped into my DNA matches before I even finished reading the email. I like the new layout with the tabs navigation – makes things very easy to see in a “nutshell”. You won’t be able to be eligible to use this feature, be able to click on the tabs, until you get yourself linked to another match who is in your tree. The “tree” refers to the GEDCOM/Tree you uploaded to FamilyTree DNA. Continue reading “I Am So Sorry Dad – We’re Pending.”

Haplogroups Most Recent Common Ancestor

Recently on WikiTree someone asked me ‘Dumb question, What are Haplogroups?’

Thinking it was not a dumb question at all I gave the following answer.

A haplogroup is a grouping of common  patrilineal or matrilineal lines who share a common ancestor.  The main haplogroups are divided by letter, and smaller sub-divisions by letter and number.  For example H is a very large group, H1 is a subgroup of H, H1a is a subgroup of H1, and so on.   The further you narrow it down the closer in years the common ancestor is. Continue reading “Haplogroups Most Recent Common Ancestor”