Friday, September 30, 2016

From whom did Mary & Joy come?



Connect a septuagenarian with her half-sister for the first time and instantly she wants to know more about her ancestors -- particularly those on the sisters' shared paternal side of the family which was to be priority #1:


1. I would like to complete the maternal side of the Dodder family....
2. Then I would like you to investigate the Hessick side of the family.
3. Then I would like you to look at the Vosti family.
4. Finally, we’d like to research Bob’s family.
That was quite an agenda. I was willing to explore what might be involved with priority #1. As I did I noticed there were conflicting opinions as to the name of Mary's and Joy's paternal grandmother. In one source she was listed as Ida Dodder Grove. For short time I entertained the idea that she had remarried a Grove after her marriage to Charles Dodder had ended. That speculation was short lived. FamilySearch's cooperative and comprehensive Family Tree listed her as Ida Smith and assigned her a long multi-generational list of ancestors. But that Ida Smith was going to turn out to be born about a decade too early. Ida's true maiden name was literally chiseled in stone.



To investigate more deeply what the atDNA of Mary and Joy could tell us, I downloaded their raw results from AncestryDNA and uploaded them to GEDmatch. GEDmatch keeps operating on donations and does not charge membership subscriptions for most of its services including the ones I will be discussing here. Additional analysis tools are offered to those who donate to keep this volunteer site operating. I used the People who match both kits tool to narrow my focus to individuals to whom Mary and Joy both were related through their shared father. When I did so some familiar names began to emerge.

The 3rd, 5th, 9th and 18th highest matches on their combined list were known close cousins of mine. Bob is my maternal 2nd cousin. Doris, James and Mary S. are known maternal 1st cousins. Even I was a match but was way down the list. Isn't atDNA fickle? ;-)


name
Mary M
Joy

Bob
63.7
37.7

Doris
51.7
62.6

James
44.4
52.2

Mary S
31.7
38.7

Dave
12.0
33.5

Conclusion: The two half-sisters are related to my family on my maternal side. In addition, this relationship was through my maternal grandmother because of the strong match of my 2nd cousin Bob. Now we are making progress. But how far back was our connection?

To explore that question I ran a Generations analysis. The value shown is estimated generations to Most Recent Common Ancestor.(MRCA):

name
Mary M
Joy
Mary M
1.4
Joy
1.4
Doris
4.1
3.9
Dave
5.1
4.4
Mary S
4.4
4.3
James
4.2
4.1
Bob
3.9
4.3

Unsurprisingly the two half sisters showed up as about a generation and a half apart since they only share one parent. The rest of us showed up about 4 generations removed from the Most Recent Common Ancestor we shared with the half-sisters. Now we are getting someplace. We are looking for someone who is an ancestor of my maternal grandmother who is about 4 generations back. But we still have quite a way to go. 

My grandmother had a Cashatt father and a Grove mother. Where have we seen one of those names before? Can atDNA help us more? 

I do have a 3rd cousin who also has transferred her atDNA results to GEDmatch. She does not share my Cashatt ancestors but she does share the Grove line. Do her results help? Actually they do. She shares 32.2 cM with Joy and 15.3 with Mary. Apparently these just missed the threshold to be included in the test I ran above. She is predicted to be 4.4 generations removed from her common ancestor with Joy and 4.9 generations from Mary. This cousin shares Grove ancestors. I think we have a winner here. 

We still don't know how far back this connection is. To determine that I had to build back the pedigree tree of Ida. Remember her? After considerable research that included several marriage records, several census records, several vital records, etc. I was able to connect her back to my 3rd great-grandparents. I had been able to confirm my connection to them 11 years ago using both property records and tombstones as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on Ohio; but that is another story for another day. 

Below is a chart that connects me to my newly discovered 4th cousin half-sisters:  


One part of the mystery of from whom did Mary & Joy come has been solved.


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