Tag: Genetic Genealogy


It was exiting to see another cousin listed on my 23andMe DNA Relatives list yesterday. While going through my matches, I noticed a familiar name, my paternal grandmother’s cousin (so, my first cousin, once removed.) I now have 4 confirmed cousin matches on that list (excluding my father.)

Also, earlier this week I confirmed the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) speculation on another one of my matches. I did some digging on who we thought was our common ancestor and was able to prove it (with like 95% certainty) that we share 3rd-great-grandparents. I found a lucky obituary via a Google search that confirmed her connection to the TROKA surname. Once there, it just took a little source triangulation to confirm dates and connections back up to Thomas Troka to prove he is the brother of my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Troka.

3 out of the 4 of the confirmed cousins on my list are paternal (1 first cousin; 1 third cousin, twice removed; 1 first cousin, once removed.) The connection on my maternal side is a third cousin through my paternal grandfather. I can now fill in the shared genomes of our MRCAs and see exactly which ancestors I received which chromosomes from. Obviously the goal in that is to go back as far as possible to make it as granular as possible.

Below is my updated Chromosome Map, courtesy of the Chromosome Mapping Tool by Kitty Cooper. Added are the new mapping points for my paternal great-great-grandparents, Thomas & Emma Jane (Firmenich) CORRIGAN and also my paternal grandparents, Richard & Mary Jane (Corrigan) ZALEWSKI.

Click for full size
Click for full size and clearer version

Funny tidbit, I scheduled this post to go up at π (Pi) today: 3/14/15 9:26

DNA CompositionAs some of you may know, genetic genealogy exploded in 2014. Hundreds of thousands of people have now tested their DNA with the big three testing companies (23andMe, Family Tree DNA, or Ancestry.) I have been interested in tracing my ancestry using DNA since back in 2006 with the first version of National Geographic’s Genographic Project when I swabbed my cheek for the first time (and last, actually, since the other tests were taken differently. )

I’m extremely interested in digging deeper into my DNA origins and my DNA matches, whether it’s using Autosomal DNA or Y-DNA. This year I’m planning to dig deeper and do more than ever before. Advanced analysis is a somewhat difficult thing to get into. There is a lot of information to learn and process along with the requirement of lots of DNA data to work with. I hope to use this new goal as a way to post about my journey and hopefully teach you along the way. People related to me may find it even more interesting.

Unbeknownst to me, one of my paternal cousins took a 23andMe test last year. I learned about this on Christmas Eve and have since hooked up with him on the site. What’s cool about that is that I can now mostly confirm which parts of my DNA come from my paternal grandparents. Though, not all of it, only the sections that we match on specifically since my father and his father may have have received different parts of DNA from my grandparents, which in turn may also be different than what he finally got from his father (my uncle.) Hopefully, other closer cousins start to test.

I’m not sure what my first post will be about, but we’ll see once I start digging. I’ve been recently reading a lot of posts from both Roberta Estes at DNAeXplained and Kitty Cooper. They do some great posts on the inner workings and complexities of our DNA and matching it with other people. Some of the posts get quite technical, and even if I don’t completely understand it, I love it. I guess that’s the data geek in me.

Here are some of my general goals, in no particular order:

  • Do more advanced analysis on some of my largest matches. Try to find MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor.)
  • Try to prod more cousins (close and distant) to test with one of the companies (preferably not Ancestry, or if they do, to upload their data to GEDMatch.)
  • Try to determine which parts of my DNA come from which ancestors (Chromosome Mapping.) I have a bit of it already. Works together with the last two goals.
  • Possibly get more Y-DNA upgrades with my data on Family Tree DNA to help determine my deeper R1a1a subclade using the Family Tree DNA project, currently it’s estimated to be R1a1a1b1a2b* or YP340-45 (in the Carpathian area of Section 6 on that linked graphic), but I need more of my Y-DNA analyzed to get more information. This one will cost something.
  • Post somewhat consistently about my journey and what I’m learning, even if it’s confusing to me.

The twentieth ancestor on my 52 week challenge is my wife’s 4th-great-grandmother, Susan (SKINNER) WARNER.

Susan is also the furthest back we have documented on my wife’s mtDNA line (mother’s mother’s mother, etc.) Her mtDNA/maternal haplogroup is HV0, which is very heavy in Europe, especially in the British Isles and Scandinavia.

What we do have on Susan Skinner is that she about born sometime around 1813 in Connecticut. We don’t know her parent’s names, but we do know that she married Seth WARNER on 13 September 1832 in Chautauqua, New York. Sometime between 1836 and 1838, the family moved to Waupaca County in central Wisconsin. Here my wife’s ancestor, Helen Marion WARNER, was born.

Susan passed away on 9 August 1865 in Waupaca County and is buried at Lind Center Cemetery in that county.

This post is 20 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

I thought I would recognize some helpful posts by the genealogy blogging community.

Creative Gene

Jasia at Creative Gene has a very good writeup on an extremely helpful (depends on your ancestry, I guess) online dictionary that translates from Polish to English and vice versa. It’s not only online, but it’s completely free. She does a good job explaining why this dictionary is as helpful as it is. I learned a bit about the Polish language and I also used it to help another Zalewski researcher with some documents he had that were written in Polish. Check out her I Won’t Be Going Bald Anytime Soon! post.

The Genetic Genealogist

Blaine has a good Q&A post up on his site explaining your two “family trees.” He talks about the differences between your Genealogical Tree and your Genetic Tree and how they each may help you find information about the other one. Read his Q&A: Everyone Has Two Family Trees – A Genealogical Tree and a Genetic Tree post.

Kick-Ass Genealogy

Besides the in-your-face blog name, Katrina has a good post on how to deal with roadblocks when interviewing relatives. Sometimes the interviewee may dodge or block a question you ask. Did Great Aunt Erma have more children? Was Uncle Jerry a wild child of the 60s? Read over this post to help you with this issue. Dealing with Roadblocks When Interviewing Relatives

Olive Tree Genealogy

Over at Olive Tree  Genealogy, there is a great start to a series of 12 posts looking at some of the less obvious resources in finding information on your ancestors. I know I’ll be keeping an eye on this, since I feel like I’ve exhausted some of the normal resources on some of my lines. The first post is about medical records and how these may be helpful in your research. Check it out at 12 Months of Finding Ancestors: Medical Records (Part 1 of a 12 Part Series)

I hope these posts will be as helpful to you as they were to me.

As the news mentioned last week, Ancestry has opened it’s DNA area. I’ve been a user on Ancestry for many years and I also have become involved in Genetic Genealogy via the National Geographic study and also Family Tree DNA. So, I was more than happy to test our Ancestry’s system.

It was easy to transfer my data over from FTDNA to Ancestry. Currently, they can only transfer from FTDNA or National Geographic, though I imagine if you have your data handy you can convert it yourself. You just need to bring up your DNA data and type in the values into Ancestry from one of these two companies.

It took a few minutes after I entered it for it to find some matches, though unfortunately there are none before 26 generations out. They show you your matches in a nice graphical format including a map. They also give you an estimate of the number of years, along with generations, that this person and you may have a common ancestor.

If you have an Ancestry.com account and also have received your DNA info, I would recommend trying this out. Any and all data can help everyone!

Link: Ancestry DNA