Look Who’s Finally Taken the Autosomal DNA Test

It’s been several years since I wrote Look Who’s Using DNA for Genealogy Research. Thanks to my youngest brother I’ve been able to work with his results at AncestryDNA since the end of May 2016.

His test results have confirmed most of our known paternal lines back to the 4th and 5th great-grandparents. However, to date, I haven’t been able to open the door in My Most Frustrating Brick Wall, William A. W. DEMPSEY, our 2nd great-grandfather. My brother has matches with descendants of six of his seven children. We need their help to find the parents of William A. W. DEMPSEY.

I’ve Finally Had my DNA Tested

First of all, I want to thank my brother for sending me an AncestryDNA test.

I received it on August 21. I did the test, activated it, and sent it off the following day. I was a bit worried it had gotten lost until the notification arrived that the sample was received on September 10. Apparently, the time between mailing off and their acknowledging receipt can take up to five weeks. The sample was processed and DNA extracted on the 17th and analyzed on the 21st. The results were in the following day. This part took less time than I anticipated.

My DNA Results are Ready

I saw my results before being notified as I was doing my daily check of my brother’s most recent (above 20 cMs) matches. Often there are no new matches or only 4th cousins very close to the 20 cMs cutoff. This time he had a new match with 2,410 cMs across 68 segments!

I switched over to my profile to see if my match list was available. At the top of the list in the full sibling category was my brother. No surprise there. The matches that followed were the same two first cousins and dozen second cousin he also has as matches.

Setting Everything up for DNA Analysis

Since I’ve been working with my brother’s results for nearly three and a half years, I was ready to use all the tools necessary to gather and analyze my matches. The initial set up went as follows.

Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering tool

First, I ran a complete download of the matches (6 cMs and greater) on AncestryDNA using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering tool. This can take up to several hours.

Gedmatch, FTDNA, and MyHeritage

While I was waiting for the Shared Clustering tool to gather the matches, I downloaded the raw DNA file from Ancestry for upload to Gedmatch, FTDNA, and MyHeritage. It would be a few days before these three sites processed the data and my profiles there would be ready to work with. As soon as the kit was tokenized on Gedmatch, I ran a one-to-one comparison to see which segments my brother and I share.

Colin Thomson’s Pedigree Thief

I used the Chrome extension Pedigree Thief to download all matches 20 cMs and greater (4th cousin or closer) on AncestryDNA. The more distant 5th to 8th cousins will be gathered later. The Pedigree Thief generates a CSV file that I can download and use with the next tool.

Becky Mason Walker’s Genome Mate Pro

I’d already started to set up my profile in Genome Mate Pro (GMP), an app to help manage the data collected from the different platforms for autosomal DNA research. My GEDCOM had been uploaded and linked to my profile and the next step was to add the Match Keys. This involved adding the key values associated with my profile in the files from the various sources (AncestryDNA, Gedmatch, FTDNA, and MyHeritage). The AncestryDNA and Gedmatch keys were immediately available while I had to wait for FTDNA and MyHeritage to process the uploads before I could enter the keys from these sites.

The CSV file generated by the Pedigree Thief on AncestryDNA after gathering the matches was imported into GMP. A second CSV file of the shared matches of matches (gathering these takes several hours) was also added to GMP.

When FTDNA was completed, I downloaded the CSV file of matches and imported it into GMP. After paying $19 to unlock the AncestryDNA upload to FTDNA was I able to download the chromosome data file and import it into GMP.

MyHeritage will send a CSV file for matches and another for chromosome data per email when requested. Both of these files were uploaded to GMP.

When the Gedmatch kit completed processing I was able to copy/paste the One-To-Many DNA Comparison Results into GMP (list of top 3,000 matches). One-to-one Autosomal Comparison for the highest matches was generated one by one and copy/pasted into GMP. The rest of the matches’ chromosome data will wait until I pay for Tier 1 membership.

I didn’t use the Tier 1 utilities for my brother’s test as all data was imported before the switch to Genesis and then back to the new Gedmatch version. As new matches have been few I was able to import them individually. Gathering the chromosome data using one-to-one autosomal comparison of my test against nearly 3,000 matches would be too time-consuming.

Genome Mate Pro is now set up with matches from four platforms. I will continue to update on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on the site.

Back at AncestryDNA

Although AncestryDNA does not offer a chromosome browser, the new features they have implemented this year help sort through matches.

This is the system I’ve chosen for my profile. The maternal side of my tree is for the most part from Luxembourg. For my brother, I’ve found about 240 matches (of a total of 64,000) who are from the maternal side. The closest confirmed match is a 4C1R. Most of these maternal matches are descendants of Luxembourg emigrants in the USA. I’ve elected to use the star for sorting them on his profile as well as mine. All paternal matches will be grouped by colors.

I may be overthinking this but a similar system worked well for my brother’s matches. Ancestry does not offer enough groups (in my opinion) for this to work for everyone. Having mostly paternal matches allows me to disregard half of my tree. As can be seen in the pedigree chart the brick wall I mentioned earlier is in my father’s direct paternal line.

I’ve labeled a group for my 2nd great-grandparents as 4PGF Dempsey-Wood as they are four generations from me and on my paternal grandfather’s side. As I have only 7 sets of 3rd great-grandparents, I created groups for each of them indicating the generation, grandparent side, and number to keep them in order per the pedigree chart, i.e. 3 sets on the paternal grandfather and 4 sets on the paternal grandmother’s side. Then I created groups for 6 sets of 4th great-grandparents on my paternal grandfather’s side and 8 sets of 4th great-grandparents on my paternal grandmother’s side.

This left me with two free groups. One is a catch-all for matches that have not been figured out and is labeled !Needs to be worked out.

My goal is to have all 4th cousins or closer matches grouped so that when I view shared matches of a match I can more quickly evaluate where the connection may be. The groups beginning with 5 will become redundant and I can then use them for more distant generations.

Shared Clustering Report

The Shared Clustering tool gathered all matches 6 cMs or greater on AncestryDNA with at least three shared matches and generated a clustering report. I have a little over 56,000 matches on Ancestry. The Shared Clustering tool clustered 12,800 of these into 88 clusters.

As this download was done BEFORE I started to work with the matches the notes are blank, i.e. MRCA or other information is missing. Most of the clusters have known matches seen previously on my brother’s match list and his clusters. But there are several clusters of matches not seen on his test. This was my first sign of having inherited DNA from my father that my brother didn’t.

Each time the Shared Clustering tool is used to generate a cluster list the cluster numbers change. Therefore it’s important to keep notes on Ancestry which will help to determine the most distant common ancestor of a cluster.

One of my highest unknown matches is in Cluster 81 with 61 cMs across 2 segments. I’ve been working through all of the highest matches in this cluster adding their Ahnentafels to GMP with the help of the Pedigree Thief and color-coding them in the ![C81] temp 77 group – the last free group. When I figure out where in my tree this cluster is coming from I can change the color-code to the correct ancestral group and free up the group.

Time for a Call to Action

Now that I’ve set everything up, I can begin to work through my matches and find cousins who may help me open the doors in my brick walls. Are you seeing my name on your match list? I won’t be sending out messages for a while but will reply to any I receive!

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

I Found the Coolest Site to Use for Land Records in West Virginia

Since learning land records of Mason County, West Virginia, are online at FamilySearch for the years 1803-1901, I’ve been trying to find answers. I wanted to figure out how the land assumed to have been owned by my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH came to be owned by him and his heirs. I also wanted to know what became of it in 1892. I covered these questions in my posts:

Time to Move on to a New Research Task?

I thought I was at a good stopping point and was thinking about new research tasks when I published the last post. But comments made had me doing new online searches for taxes on land, etc. This led to my discovering a site which pointed me to almost the exact location of the land once owned by my CLONCH ancestors. Before I share the site, bear with me while I show you how I plotted the land.

Abstracting the Call Lines

This is part of the 1885 land deed which gives the description of the boundaries of the 148 acres tract my 2nd great-grandparents Alexander and Tobitha CLONCH conveyed to Mary E. DOSS and her DOSS children: John William, Alexander, Lavinia, Betsy Jane, Thomas E., Joel, and Charles H.

I used Jacob Boerema’s tool Transcript to transcribe all of the land deeds in my previous posts concerning the land of William CLONCH. Here is the transcription of the above snippet.

Beginning at a small white oak
corner to a survey of 91 acres (Clark’s) Thence
with Beal’s line S 5° E crossing Bryants
fork at 71 poles, 124 poles to an ash tree on
a south hill side, thence leaving Beal’s S 63°
E 120 poles to a stake in a run bottom dog-
wood and hickory pointers, thence N 34 1/2° E
crossing the right hand fork of Bryants run
at 6 poles and the left hand fork of the same
at 26 poles 116 poles in all to a small white oak
N 44° W 52 poles to a white oak then N 17° W 84
poles to a stone in Patterson’s line, thence with
his line, S 65° W 94 poles to a small white oak
corner to Clark’s 91 acres, thence with a line of
the same N 85° W 33 poles to the beginning con-
taining One hundred and forty eight acres

Converting Poles to Feet

I put the call lines into a table and converted the poles to feet using Convert Pole to Feet.
Call lines in the deed
S5E 124 poles
S63E 120 poles
N34.5E 116 poles
N44W 52 poles
N17W 84 poles
S65W 94 poles
N85W 33 poles
Call lines converted to feet
S5E 2046f
S63E 1980f
N34.5E 1914f
N44W 858f
N17W 1386f
S65W 1551f
N85W 544.5f

Plotting the Tract

I then went to Tract Plotter and inserted the call lines in feet. After checking the box Show Labels, I submitted the call lines and the following plat was generated. The blue notes were added using Evernote (which I like to use for this type of quick annotating).

The land was now plotted but where was it located? I knew it was somewhere along Crab Creek in Clendenin District of Mason County, West Virginia. Still, this is a large area and I wasn’t able to find other geographical locations (Bryant’s Run) to zoom in on a specific area.

West Virginia Property Viewer

This is where the cool site I found comes into play. The West Virginia Property Viewer is an interactive map to search and display property ownership and location information in West Virginia. You can zoom in on the map of the state by county or use the search feature to search in a county for an owner’s name, parcel number, or parcel address. A search for CLONCH brought up a few owners in Mason County including one very interesting parcel. A tract of one acre on Crab Creek used as a cemetery and exempt from tax. The owner or name of the piece of land is Clonch Cemetary.

The tiny purple square of land known as the Clonch Cemetary (sic).

The land surrounding the cemetery is owned by a Patterson, a great-grandson of Lavina Ann CLONCH and James William PATTERSON. It’s a parcel with 76.54 acres, a bit larger than the 42 acres deeded to the Pattersons in 1892 and less than the original 148 acres owned by the heirs of William CLONCH. The fact that this is the location of the Clonch Cemetery, also known as the Patterson Clonch Cemetery, makes me certain this is the land William CLONCH and Mary E. DOSS lived on over 150 years ago.

In the pop-up at the bottom of the map, information about the parcel is listed. An interesting feature is the parcel assessment report which can be accessed by clicking at the bottom of the pop-up. In the assessment, under General Information, the deed book and page number can be found. In the case of the Clonch Cemetary there is no deed listed. The Patterson land has a deed book and page number which could be consulted – if the records were online for the time period.

Other Uses for the Site

Very often in county genealogy groups on Facebook, I see people asking for the location of cemeteries. West Virginia Property Viewer would be the perfect place to look them up.

Nicholas County Public Records Search includes online versions of the deed books of the county. You can sign in as a guest to search the site. A piece of land can be followed from the present time owner to the first owner and vice versa. With the assessment report’s information on the deed book and page, the starting point is easy to find.

West Virginia Property Viewer was found on Map West Virginia where all of their maps are free for use by the public.

A quick online search turned up other county and state parcel or property viewers. Am I the only one who did not know about these sites?

© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.