Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Rest of the Family's DNA at My Heritage

The other twenty DNA files that I uploaded to My Heritage have processed after a week.

My own kit processed first within two days, showing a close match in the second to third cousin range.  After the files of my parents were processed, this mystery cousin showed up in my father's matches with around the same amount of shared DNA as I share with this person.

Now that I know the match comes from my father's side, I have better direction.  I built out this cousin's family tree, but I do not see the connection yet.  I sent follow-up inmail to the administrator of the account, but have not heard back.

We need to see where the shared segments of DNA fall on my father's genome.  There may already be identified ancestors.  This cousin does not appear in the matches of the cousins I uploaded, but that does not mean that the match is not through one of those branches.

My paternal aunt has a possible promising match not shared by the other siblings:  110 cM total, with the longest segment 79 cM.  Again, without a chromosome browser, I can't rely on these numbers.

My mother has a match in the second to third cousin range.  I don't recognize him from any other other testing companies.  Let's hope he answers my inmail.

My mother has the most matches of anyone I uploaded- just under 100 matches.  She has thousands of matches at the other three main testing companies: 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and

Monday, April 24, 2017

Waiting on Family Tree Maker Update

I use Family Tree Maker software to organize ancestors (and some living people).

MacKiev, the same company who brings us Mavis Beacon typing lessons, recently acquired Family Tree Maker.

The joy of this particular program is that it aligns with  Shaking leaves show possible record matches at Ancestry.  The tree on your computer can be synced to your tree on Ancestry for the world to see.

An interim upgrade was offered until MacKiev's new 2017 version is released.  Still waiting on that 2017 release. trees cannot be updated using the 2014.1 version.  (You can still change your tree directly on

But there is hope.  Tonight an email offered me a chance to be a beta tester of the 2017 version.  If I become a beta tester, it looks like I have a small window of time in which to try to update my trees.

So I signed up.

I should be notified tomorrow if chosen.

Via the sign up process, I learned where to find some interesting facts about the tree, such as average life span (66 years!), generations (17), and the oldest birth date (John Stronge, born 1585 in Somerset, England).

I need to read Russ Worthington's blog more to learn more about Family Tree Maker's capabilities.

Friday, April 21, 2017

DNA at My Heritage

Based on a recommendation over at Your Genetic Genealogist, I uploaded DNA test results to My Heritage.  This is (currently) a free service.

The site offers its own DNA testing.  They do not have a pool of customers comparable to the big three (23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and, so you will not have as many matches.  There have also been questions concerning how My Heritage computes matches.

Because My Heritage has its own testing service, some people may have tested only at that particular site.  If you are looking for a recent non-parental even (which is my situation), then it's worth checking out this other database.

You never know where the missing link tested his/her DNA.  (And didn't transfer the results to any other site.)

So far, only my results are computed.  I have 45 matches at My Heritage.  For comparison, I have thousands of matches at the other sites.

My top match is probably a good one.  I like the information displayed:
-shared percentage
-total centimorgans
-longest segment
-possible range of relationship
-age of match
-direct link to match in the family tree

I don't see a chromosome browser.  Without seeing the actual shared segments, there is nothing else I can do with this match if we don't see commonality in our family trees.

When my parent's results are in, this match should appear near the top of either my mother's or my father's matches, providing more direction.

I still do not like the family tree display at My Heritage.  It explodes into siblings and spouses instead of direct ancestors and drops where you were in the tree.  The default setting displays women by the surnames of their husbands.  You can change this, but most people don't.  I don't need to see a woman's husband's name twice.  I need to see her name.

Further displeasure arrived in an email, encouraging me to add an entire branch to my tree with just a few clicks.  Folks, this is not how genealogical research is done.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Interactive Family Tree: Places of Birth

This article follows up a previous discussion of a family tree tool by Bradford F Lyon, available (free) at his site.

Places of birth is a new display option.  You can display flags of countries (for a screen shot see my blog post about ethnic calculations based on DNA) or more specific locations, such as states of the United States.

The idea is similar to My Colorful Ancestry created in an Excel spreadsheet.  The bonus of the Lyons tool is that the result is interactive.  You can choose to highlight a specific place, which then blinks to draw your attention to ancestors from that location.

Interactive places of birth family tree
Courtesy of Bradford F Lyon

Ancestors of David Lutter
Highlighting those born in Connecticut.
His ancestors were concentrated in New Jersey and New York.

Zeroing in on a place of birth can help visualize migration paths.  If you are planning a research trip, you can see at a glance which branches were in your intended destination so you can look for their records.

And for the DNA pursuits, you can quickly find an ancestor or branch that was in a specific geographic location.  Surnames, matching or not, is not enough.  You need an intersection of geography and time.

Another new feature is selecting an ancestor and then displaying the direct line of descent to the home person.

Interactive family tree to display direct line of descent
Courtesy of Bradford F Lyon

In the above screenshots, I chose my father's eighth great grandmother, Mary Chittenden (1645-1712), from Connecticut.  From there, you can display these eleven generations all the way to today, ending with the home person, my father.  The information includes their lifespan.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Genetic Communities by AncestryDNA

Genetic Communities is's newest feature for DNA testers.

This is not the same as an ethnicity estimate.  Please see The DNA Geek's more elaborate explanation and discussion of Genetic Communities.'s DNA test estimates my ethnicity as 56% Irish with no further breakdown.  [Living DNA provided a regional breakdown within England, but not Ireland.]

The Genetic Communities tool detects a heavy link among my DNA matches to people with roots in northern Ireland, or Ulster Irish.  The Irish is from my mother's side.  I have not determined a place of origin for most of her ancestors, but her great grandfather, Patrick Francis ODonnell (1856-1931) was from County Donegal, which is part of the region encompassed by Ulster on Ancestry's map.

The other Genetic Community was a pleasant surprise because we are out of Europe and exactly where most of my father's ancestors were in the 1700s:  New York and New Jersey.  Early Settlers of New York tended to hail from certain areas of Europe, which is reflected in my father's ethnicity estimates.  Until the Genetic Community tool, there was no DNA-based connection to New York.

When trying to find the most recent common ancestor of a DNA match, you need a geographic connection.  In the match's family tree, the focus falls on branches who lived in the the New York area.  This New York Genetic Community provides support for this approach.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Marriage Record from Estate Sale

This is a wonderful estate sale find.

It is a marriage record dated August 9, 1905 from Saint Joseph's Church in Washington, Warren County, New Jersey for Thomas Lawrence Murphy and Alice Margaret Senior.

(Note: There are several places in New Jersey named "Washington."  Be mindful when searching for a location bearing this name.)

This family heirloom was behind a painting and was discovered when the painting was brought in for re-framing.  The marriage record was placed in its own glass frame and is so firmly situated that I did not free it for the photographs, hence the reflections in these images.

The writing is fading, but readable.  Seals from the church are still raised.

The officiant was Reverend Joseph A Rigney.  According to the website of Saint Joseph's Parish, Father James Rigney served in the years 1898-1906.

Witnesses were John P Brennan and Elizabeth C Senior.

In the 1910 federal census, Thomas and Alice are living in Phillipsburg, Warren County, New Jersey with two children, Elizabeth, age 4, and Joseph, age 1.  They are enumerated twice, once with Alice's mother, Margaret, and once without her.  Note that one entry lists Thomas' father's place of birth as Massachusetts, while the other lists Ireland.

Find A Grave has entries for the burials of Thomas (died 1945), Alice (died 1953), and their daughter, Elizabeth Ward (died 1988), in Saint Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Washington.

If someone from the Murphy and/or Senior families would like this document, please let me know.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Living DNA Results

The results of my Living DNA test have arrived.

The screenshots are shared with you below, along with comparisons to other DNA companies.

Living DNA places my ancestry as more British than I was expecting.  My mother is about three quarters Irish, yet this test puts me at about ten percent.

Part of the attraction of Living DNA's test is breaking down where in Great Britain one's ancestry may have originated.  To be fair, I have not traced most of my ancestral lines to precise locations in Europe.

B F Lyon visualizations

Above is my father's tree with flags representing discovered places of origin.  Except for the short Lutter/Uhl branches, in the 1600s most of his ancestors left Europe for land that would become the United States.  The port of sailing is not necessarily where they were born and raised, so assigning a country of origin is tricky.

The three main DNA testing companies in the United States also provide ancestry estimates.

Family Tree DNA estimates my ancestry to be about 87% British Isles, which is most similar to Living DNA. estimates me to be more than half Irish and only thirteen percent British.

23andMe paints me at almost half British and Irish.

Living DNA estimates the locations of your ancestors throughout time.  The map above shows where my ancestors may have been about 500 years ago, when most people were stuck within a few miles of where they were born because travel was difficult and ocean-worthy ships were not yet developed.

The map above shows where my ancestors may have lived 1200 years ago, before written records to trace this genealogy.

Jumping back 5500 years ago, my ancestors could have been in all over Europe.  It's anyone's guess, but this is Living DNA's try.

In a similar vein, a new feature at 23andMe estimates when your most recent ancestor from a specific population entered your DNA.  Maybe 1950 is my mother's Irish, 1920 is her Ashkenazi grandparent, 1890 is my father's German paternal grandfather, and the rest is the mixture that I am.

I hope that Living DNA offers the matching with cousins feature of the other three DNA companies.  Because it is based in the United Kingdom, Living DNA may attract consumers who will not test with one of the companies marketed primarily in the United States and expose me to new DNA cousins.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Third Cousin Identified at AncestryDNA

A new DNA match appeared for me at  I am no fan of's DNA services because there is no chromosome browser.  This is most unfortunate because is well-poised to excel in its DNA services with its family tree matching and flagged records.

This person is my third cousin, once removed- if he is who I think he is.

Let's ignore the "Confidence: Very High" description.

This person shares 53 centimorgans over three segments.  Ancestry asks: "What does this mean?"  Nobody knows because Ancestry lacks a chromosome browser.

This match has not linked himself to a family tree.  The work-around is clicking on his name to reach his profile page where he lists a family tree.

This sparse tree contains four people: the DNA cousin, his father, and his paternal grandparents.  No mother.  No records are linked to any of these people.  The surname is the same for all, including the paternal grandmother, and is one of the most common surnames in the United States.  My only clue is the years of birth and death provided for the father.

A search for the father of the DNA tester produced a Find A Grave entry.  (I left virtual flowers on his memorial page in 2015.)

Here is's advantage:  the record is flagged as already saved to my father's family tree, quickly leading to the connection.  The DNA tester's father was married to a great granddaughter of Stephen C Duryea (1814-1887) and Mary Evenshirer (1842-1916) - my father's great great grandparents.  She is the link, yet the tester omitted her from his tree.  And I still figured it out.

The DNA tester and my father are third cousins.  This is pending the person coming forward and confirming his mother's name.

That was easy.  Why doesn't offer a chromosome browser like its competitors so we can gather the rest of the cousins who share these segments?

Family Tip via Find A Grave

Family tree help came in the form of a request through Find A Grave.  Someone asked me to link Alfred Eyre (1819-1874) as the husband of Henrietta Funtman (1815-1887) and the father of Alfred DeCiplet Eyre (1848-1912).

The Find A Grave memorial page for Alfred Eyre showed a Civil War gravestone with a date of death as September 11, 1874.  The problem was that this Alfred Eyre was buried in Maine.  The Alfred Eyre in my family tree lived in England, then New York and New Jersey.  I needed to investigate.

Alfred DeCiplet Eyre, the son of Henrietta Funtman and Alfred Eyre, first married Letty Duryea (1848-1889) in 1868 in New York City.  Letty died in Jersey City in 1889 after bearing at least thirteen children.  In 1890, Alfred remarried to Letty's sister, Mary Evenshirer (1842-1916).  My line descends from Mary's first marriage to Stephen C Duryea (1814-1887).

Henrietta died in 1887 in Jersey City.  She is buried in Hoboken Cemetery in North Bergen, Hudson County, New Jersey in the plot of Jacob Duryea (1850-1928).  Jacob was a brother of Letty and Mary, the daughters-in-law of Henrietta.  This plot was maybe meant for Eyres because Letty was originally buried there.  Letty was re-interred in Fairview Cemetery in Fairview, Bergen County, New Jersey.  Alfred and Mary were buried with Letty.

Henrietta Funtman Eyre, died 1887, is not listed as buried in this plot, even though she has a stone.

Henrietta was elusive in records.  I found her with her husband and children in New York City in 1850 federal census and 1855 state census.  Her next definitive appearance is in 1887 when she died in Jersey City.  I lost track of her husband, Alfred.

I found an obituary for Jeannette Eyre, daughter of Alfred Eyre and Henrietta Funtman.  She was born around 1846 and died in 1856.  This is a great death notice because the grandfather, J M DeCiplet, is named.

So why would Alfred Eyre be buried in Maine?

Alfred Eyre was buried at Togus National Cemetery in 1874, indicating military service. has a database of occupants of National Homes for Disabled Soldiers.  Mrs Henrietta Eyre of Newark, New Jersey was the next of kin of Alfred Eyre, admitted to the Eastern Branch Home in Togus, Maine for a sciatic nerve injury.  Included was the date of death, September 11, 1874, regiment, and the location of the burial plot.

A civil war muster role provided the same regiment as the gravestone and the Home register:  New York 5th [Independent] Battery.

Glove cleaner was one of the occupations of Alfred Eyre's son, Alfred DeCiplet Eyre.
Alfred enlisted September 11, 1862.  Exactly 12 years later he died at a Soldier's Home.

The National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Togus, Maine, was the first established residential medical center for veterans and served the northeastern part of the United States.  Alfred Eyre ended up there because there was no such service available in New York or New Jersey.  I wonder if any of his family was able to visit him after his admittance.

Thank you to the Find A Grave contributor who requested this linking of family members, thereby completing some missing information in my family tree.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

More DNA from Dunn and Dunlop Ancestors, Plus More?

Family Tree DNA notifies you when a "close" relative is found.  Based on whose account also received this email, I knew that the common ancestors would be in my father's Winterton/Dunn branch.

Family Tree DNA allows you to see the shared segments of DNA with anyone in your Family Finder results.  This person, who displayed his name, shares 13 segments of DNA totaling 323 centimorgans with my paternal grandfather's first cousin, D.W.  A check of the family tree showed the actual relationship between D.W. and this newly tested person as second cousins, once removed.  Their most recent common ancestors were Ezra Dunn (1821-1898) and Hermoin Dunlop (1827-1900) of New Jersey.  My line descends from their daughter, Catherine (1865-1944); the second cousin descends from another daughter, Violet (1873-1931).

Based on this view of the shared DNA, I can identify the mystery cousin from a year ago at 23andMe as a daughter or niece of this new match at Family Tree DNA.

Here are the problems:
1- This is a lot of DNA for second cousins to share.
2- The shared segment on chromosome 7 is shared by a fourth cousin from a different branch- Walling/Dey.

23andMe chromosome browser
Three segments of DNA shared by these fourth cousins, once removed.

Transcribed will of William Walling of Middleton, Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1823.
My line descends from the son William (1803-1870).
The fourth cousin whose DNA is featured above descends from the son Amos.

As I discussed back in 2015 when this Walling/Dey fourth cousin appeared, we need to triangulate these segments of DNA with other matches before we can decide if this is likely Walling/Dey DNA.  We cannot do this with this newly tested cousin because they are spread across companies.  The Walling/Dey cousin is on 23andMe and (no chromosome browser), while this closer Dunn/Dunlop cousin is at Family Tree DNA.  If they both uploaded to GedMatch (for free!) we could see if they match each other on chromosome 7.  The next-generation cousin at 23andMe has not accepted my request to "share," so we cannot see the matching segments or compare to others.

The excessive DNA is caused by being related to this close Dunn/Dunlop cousin in one or more additional ways.  Possible explanations:

1-  One of his other ancestors not in the straight line of descent from Violet Dunn may be descended from our Walling/Dey branch.

2-  Ezra Dunn or Hermoin Dunlop may themselves have ancestors in common with William Walling and Rebecca Dey.  My inclination to locate this overlap (my first pedigree collapse!) would be in the ancestors of Margaret Combs (1795-1870), the mother of Hermoin Dunlop, because they were living in Monmouth County near Walling and Dey.  Hermoin's father, Joseph Dunlop (1797-1852), was possibly from Pennsylvania, while Ezra Dunn was in Trenton, New Jersey.  Go with a geographical match when trying to figure out these DNA connections.