Thursday, July 10, 2014

My AncestryDNA Results

My results are in for the AncestryDNA test I took in May.  (My father's results are not in yet.)

Before the results were published, a cousin contacted me.  She is my mother's second cousin.  Our common ancestors were John D Preston (1859-1928) and Bridget Sheehey (1856-1916).  Her grandfather, George Preston, was a brother to my great grandmother, Anna Preston.  Previously, through DNA testing at 23andMe, I made contact with a descendant of another sibling, Hannah.

1900 federal census:  Independence, Warren County, New Jersey  USA
Household of John D Preston
I am descended from Anna Preston.  Last year, we met descendants of Hannah Preston.
In this post, we meet a descendant of George Preston.

My AncestryDNA closest matches are predicted to be 3rd to 4th cousins.

I don't know how the first person is related to me.  He has no genealogy information under his profile.  When my father's results are available, I will check if this cousin matches my father.  If not, the match is likely through my mother.

The second match is my Preston cousin.  We both attached family trees to our profiles.  Ancestry tagged her tree with a little leaf to let me know that Ancestry has a suggestion as to which ancestor in our trees may be the common ancestor.

John D Preston is indeed our common ancestor.  Bridget Sheehey, our other common ancestor, was left out of this suggestion.

This newly discovered cousin provided me with information on her branch of the Preston tree.  I followed them through the census and retrieved some of their vital records from the Archives in Trenton.  As a coincidence, in the 1920 census in Newark, New Jersey, we have George Preston and his wife, Margaret [Fallon], living a few houses away from my paternal great grandfather, Howard Lutter, and my great great grandmother, Clara Uhl.

1920 federal census:  Newark, Essex County, New Jersey  USA
South Ninth Street
The Prestons were living at 164 South Ninth Street.  The Lutters were at 158.

Finding George Preston's birth certificate provides me with a narrower time frame for when the family relocated from Dutchess County, New York to Warren County, New Jersey.  George's birth certificate for November 12, 1886 is the first found in New Jersey for the couple John Preston and Bridget Sheehey.  Strangely, the next two children, Hannah and Anna, had no certificates.  But Henry, born 1897, and Walter, born 1899, were issued birth certificates.  If the child count is correct, I am still missing some children.

The branches lost contact, but through the internet, we reconnected.  My grandmother's notes reveal that she continued receiving news about the family.  She wrote that George (her maternal uncle) had one son.

Now I have tested my autosomal DNA at the three major companies:  23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and AncestryDNA.  I have close and distant relations at all three.  Unlike 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA, AncestryDNA does not reveal which pieces, or segments, of my DNA that I have in common with my matches.  This information is necessary to figure out the connection to more distant relations.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Y-DNA Results at FamilyTreeDNA

My father's Y-DNA results are in at FamilyTreeDNA.  No matches.

This is a 37 marker test.

Y-DNA testing is for men only, as only men have a Y chromosome.  A father passes his Y chromosome to his male children almost unchanged from the version he received from his father.  This genetic inheritance pattern is particularly useful for genealogy.

For my particular genealogy, my father's direct paternal line is the shortest discovered line.  It is also the most recent line that left Europe for the United States, about 1881 for Hermann Lutter, my great-great grandfather.

Hermann Lutter had a brother, Otto Luther, who had only female children, so the Y chromosome was not passed on to his descendants.  I found only one grandson of Otto, but no marriage or children for him, so Otto's line may have ended.

In his will, Hermann mentioned a sister, Ottilia Michel, and her three children in Neuhaus, Thueringen, Germany.  I have not located them or any of their descendants.  They would not carry the Lutter Y chromosome, but they would likely share autosomal DNA with my father.

Autosomal DNA testing captures DNA inherited from all ancestral lines.  The trick is figuring out which ancestor contributed particular pieces of your DNA.  In comparison, Y-DNA matching can be credited to only one line- the direct paternal path of inheritance.

I will continue with traditional research on this line, as well as exploration of the autosomal DNA matches of my father and his siblings.  A Y-DNA match can appear at any time.

(If you would like to view a spreadsheet of people who match on their Y chromosome, please see the Bunch Y-DNA Project.)