Saturday, April 22, 2017

All DNA Matches, Great and Small, in Yorkshire


I've been despairing, just a little bit.

I recently had my DNA 'done' on Ancestry - and not only was the ethnicity estimate totally weird - but, from the start, I could find no evidence of my father and his North of England side.

I don't look much like my father, so...well, you know. I began to wonder.

My mother is French Canadian with most of her ancestors (all French)go back to the boat in the early 1600's, to Normandy and Poitou in France.

My father is pure Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland, off the plane in 1948 after WWII.

At first, it was the Ancestry ethnicity estimate that perplexed me. It had NO French or "Western Europe,"  just British, Italian/Greek, Caucasus? and bits of this and that... On Gedmatch Eurogenes I had a bit of Red Sea (Levant) and Amerindian and South Seas and South Asian, to go with North Sea and Baltic and, yes, West Asian and Mediterranean.

On some estimates, like DNA LAND  I am 10 percent Jewish. Family tree changed my estimate in mid-stream from Western Europe, Italian and Greek and Turkish, to British, Iberian, and Turkish.

Was the British my Mother or Father? I still don't know.


I  have learned that French Canadians,  by and large,  come out British, Irish and Italian on Ancestry ethnicity, so I started to wonder about the Caucasus/West Asian business on my own chart.

So much to worry about.

Well,  the ethnicity estimates are from thousands of years ago. This explains a lot.

 A few weeks ago Ancestry launched a Genetic Communities feature, where they indicate outright that my ethnicity estimate is from millenia ago.  They also tell me that I come from a genetic community called  French Settlers along the St. Lawrence and French Settlers in Montreal and Detroit.

Now, tell me something I don't know! All my DNA "cousins" (Americans, Canadians) seem to have a French Quebecker connection, if they aren't a quarter or half French.

The other day, I decided to take my sure-fire maternal connections (little floaty leaves where people match dna-wise and tree-wise) and use the Shared Matches feature to find all the "cousins" who are connected to my Mom. That took up just about every one of the 350 potential cousin matches.

ALL of them.

So either, my father's English side is invisible - or my REAL father is also French Canadian and his matches got swept up with my mother's.. not unlikely as French Canadians are so inter-connected coming from 5-7 thousand initial settlers.

I've been driving my family crazy fretting over this puzzling conundrum. (My parents have passed away, of course, so I can engage in this self-indulgent exercise guilt-free.)


My beautiful Eurogenes 13 profile on Gedmatch. The colourful little bits are from the North of England ancestors, it seems.

I've been using Gedmatch to seek out people with DNA kits with relatives with the right names in the right places in their trees,  Hall in Cumberland, Nixon in Nawton Yorkshire, etc.

I have to memorize a lot of numbers, good for the brain.

I now know how far Helmsley is from Thirsk, where the author who wrote All Creatures Great and Small had his animal surgery, as they call them in the UK.

I even watched a few episodes of the charming show on YouTube. (I'd seen it before, of course.)

I've matched small bits of DNA with many such people, but I also performed a control experiment and noticed that I can match little bits with random people, too.

But, today, checking out Boyes in Yorkshire, I got too many matches, largish matches, like 5 and 6 centimorgans, double matches, matches with siblings, etc.  to be able to deny that I am related to my father.

Or to man from Yorkshire called Boyes ;)

I think, anyway. Likely. Maybe, Perhaps.

About 20 matches out of 30 names available with DNA. As per usual, the one person with the same direct ancestor in his/her tree, didn't have any DNA to compare to mine.

These Boyes started up a department store, apparently.

It seems that Ancestry doesn't have many British people in the database, even though they started up a UK division last year. It also seems that few people from the North of England emigrated to the New World, so their DNA isn't in many American Ancestry subscribers. (The Nixons and Cowens I have found on Gedmatch went to Australia.)

This is what I'm telling myself today. Hey, in the 70's, when Richard Nixon was President,  I couldn't make a purchase in a store without the cashier asking me if I was related to Dick. That was because there were so few Nixons around. (I said No, but it looks like we may be Border Reivers.)

A bit of shared DNA is someone who has a Boyes in their tree...