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Common Ancestors

Where Are the "Holes" In My Pedigree Chart? Can DNA Help?

While wading through my Genetic Affairs AutoCluster results for AncestryDNA (seMy Last AncestryDNA AutoCluster AutoTree Analysis From Genetic Affairs – Post 1), I noted that I have many DNA match clusters that don’t have a known common ancestor, based on my Notes for each DNA Match.  For instance cluster #1 has 26 entries, but no known common ancestor.  I’m pretty sure that the common ancestor for that cluster is on my father’s Seaver side of the family, but none of those matches has an Ancestry Member Tree that includes one of my Seaver line ancestors back up to the 5th great-grandparents.

I have about 400 AncestryDNA ThruLines that define Common Ancestors for me based on my tree, DNA match trees, and the Ancestry Big Tree.  These are very helpful, but are not always accurate (my estimate is that about 5% of my ThruLines are incorrect).  

There are more Common Ancestors identified with ThruLines than by Genetic Affairs because of the methodology used by each analysis (Genetic Affairs uses only my tree and a DNA Match’s tree, not the Ancestry Big Tree).

How can I figure out who might be the Common Ancestor for more of my DNA Matches, especially in clusters?  The first step should be to define what I think I know and what I don’t know about my ancestry.  Here is a 7-generation chart from the FamilySearch Family Tree (out to 4th great-grandparents).  I wish I could make an 8-generation chart to get to 5th great-grandparents!


My unknown ancestors on this chart are:

*  4th great-grandparents, parents of John Richman (1789-1867).

*  4th great-grandparents, parents of Ann Marshman (1784-1856).  The chart shows parents that I think are incorrect.

*  4th great-grandparents, parents of John Rich (1790-1868).  The chart shows parents that I think are incorrect.

*  4th great-grandmother, mother of Sarah Feather and wife of Cornelius Feather.  The chart above calls her Mrs. Cornelius Feather.

*  3rd great-grandparent, a parent of Devier J. Lamphier Smith (1839-1894).  Devier was adopted as an infant, and I’m pretty sure one set of his grandparents are Isaac and Rosanna (Laun) Lanfear (based on DNA matches), but the other parent (male? female?) is a mystery.

*  4th great-grandparents, parents of William Knapp (1775-1856).  Ancestry offers potential ancestors that I am sure are incorrect.

*  4th great-grandparents, parents of Sarah Fletcher (1802-1850).  

I have other “holes” in the 5th great-grandparents not shown on the chart above that may be the Common Ancestors of some of the Genetic Affairs clusters.  

My next step in this analysis process is to identify my AncestryDNA Common Ancestors on the fan chart to see which of my known ancestors don’t have any matches, and which clusters might account for one or more of my “holes” in my fan chart.

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Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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Monday Genea-Pourri – Week Ending 10 November 2019

Here are the highlights of my family history and genealogy related activities over the past week:

1)  Attended the Chula Vista Genealogical Society board meeting on Wednesday, and reported on the Newsletter, Research Group, and DNA Interest Group.  Wrote, edited and published via email the CVGS Newsletter for November 2019.  I will print and mail the postal copies on Tuesday. 
2)  Participated in Mondays With Myrt today.  The panel discussed Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, 1940s occupation of Norway, Pat’s map issue, Dave’s computer problems, backup and cloud storage, photos of ancestors who served, and the Sayre talk on Soldiers homes.  I contributed only to the photos with my post Veterans Day 2017 – Honoring My Heroes.


4)  Wrote and posted a biographical sketch of 7th great-grandfather #514 Samuel Rayment (1679-1724) for my 52 Ancestors biographical sketch on Friday.  


6) There were several sessions working in the RootsMagic software program to match with and update FamilySearch Family Tree profiles for Seaver families and my ancestral families, with occasional additions to the RootsMagic profiles. I have matched 33,469 of my RootsMagic persons with FSFT.

7)  Used Web Hints and Record Matches from Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and FamilySearch to add content and sources to my RootsMagic profiles.  I now have 55,335 persons in my RootsMagic file, and 111,669 source citations.   I TreeShared once this week updating 155 profiles, and I resolved 241 Ancestry Hints.  I’ve fallen behind on the Ancestry Record Hints with 121,955 to be resolved, but I work on them weekly.  

8)  Added the ThruLines for three AncestryDNA matches with “Common Ancestors.”  Researched the ancestry of one of the Brigham cousins to see if there were any common ancestors other than the Brighams.  There weren’t, but some lines are not complete.

9) Wrote 20 Genea-Musings blog posts last week, of which two were press releases.  The most popular post last week was Don Created a Wonderful Genealogy Website on TNG  with over 317 views.


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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the “Comments” link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.