GA Live S01 E06: Ancestral Naming Conventions & Smashing Genealogy Brick Walls

There are times when we only have an ancestor’s name to work with in the coyrse of our family research; especially if your ancestral history is filled with one name ancestors (e.g. enslaved ancestors).

Understanding your family’s naming conventions – among your different ancestral lines – can give you major clues to work with when it comes to pushing your family’s story back further.

For enslaved African-descended people in America, who were forbidden from reading and writing, the names they chose for their children were ladden with their family’s history…and clues you can work with.

Have you ever wondered how a person got their name? How about why there are so many Augustus, Carrie, Janie, and Alphonso in one family? With women in particular, if you only have a first name to go by, her first name can be a vital clue to her family connection.

Join Genealogy Adventures Live every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month @ 4pm EST via https://www.facebook.com/genealogyadventuresusa

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GA Live S01 E05: Endogamy: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Donya and Brian’s family research broke Ancestry! The reason why has everything to do with endogamy. When your great-grandparents are second cousins, their parents were first cousins, and when your 3x great-grandparents are also second cousins… Ancestry just can’t handle it. It’s not just a hot mess, it is a red hot mess!

Endogamy not only affects your paper trail research, it also heavily affects your DNA research.

GA Live S01 E04: First contact with DNA cousins of a different race/ethnicity

So you’ve taken a DNA test….and discovered you have cousins who don’t look like you or pray like you. This shouldn’t be seen as the end of the world. Nor should it feel like the worst thing to happen to you in the entirety of your life.

It’s an opportunity.

When it comes to Americans, it’s an opportunity to cross the rubicon and actually reach out to people you may not ordinarily speak to. As well as an opportunity to learn more about your family’s journey and history.

Here at Genealogy Adventures, we have tales about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to first contact with folks who do not look like us.

There are no etiquette guides for this tricky subject. Where’s Ms. Manners when you need her However, in this episode, Brian Sheffey and Donya Papoose Williams will share their thoughts and advice…especially where the unexpected family connection comes via slavery.

LINKS

Beyond Kin Project Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/beyondkin

Beyond Kin Project Website:
https://beyondkin.org

GA Live S01 E03: Freedmen’s Bureau Work Contracts

Freedmen Bureau records are a critical resource for African American genealogical research. It would have been impossible for the Genealogy Adventures team to reconstruct many of our enslaved family lines without this vital resource. These work contracts have opened door after door of discoveries in our African American research:

LINKS

Freedmen’s Bureau records main page on FamilySearch (FREE): 

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/African_American_Freedmen%27s_Bureau_Records

 Freedmen’s Bureau Work Contracts main page (FREE): 

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States,_Freedmen%27s_Bureau_Labor_Contracts,_Indenture_and_Apprenticeship_Records_%28FamilySearch_Historical_Records 

Burrell Yeldell’s work contract:

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9ZG-Y3KL?cc=2127881&i=526

Martha Brooks’ contract:

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89ZG-Y9CX?cc=2127881&i=170

The Sheila Hightower-Allen DNA Memorial Fund:

https://www.youcaring.com/forfamiliestobetestedtofurthergenealogicalresearch-1087919

To submit your raw DNA file for Howard University to triangulate (part of the Sheila Hightower foundation’s DNA project), please email it to: 

dnamemorialfund (at) gmail (dot) com 

PLEASE NOTE: Please read the information provided on the The Sheila Hightower-Allen DNA Memorial Fund for eligibility

GA Live: S01 E02: Working with your DNA test results

In our second episode, co-hosts (and cousins!) Brian Sheffey and Donya Williams talk about:

* The difference between mtDNA, YDNA, and autosomal DNA;

* General ways you can work with the different types of DNA;

* What they learned about themselves through DNA testing;

* How DNA results and paper trail genealogy work together; and

* Some easy ways to start working on your 3rd and 4th cousin matches to figure out who your common ancestors were.

In the next show (Sunday, 8 April 2018 @ 4pm EST), Donya and Brian will discuss Freedmen’s Bureau work contacts…and the discoveries you can make using them. See you then!

Live Broadcast Link:
https://m.facebook.com/genealogyadven…

MindSight Collective interview (UK)

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by the lovely Dionne Williams, host of the UK’s MindSight Collective.

Dionne asked: “Have you ever wonder “who am I?”, “where do I come from?”, and “where do I belong in Africa?”

The interview covered the ways you can discover how you can find those answers …and why genealogy is so important for the millions of people who are the children of the African diaspora:

DNA Adventures: Me and my mum’s mtDNA – Putting it all together

This post wraps things up with my mum’s mtDNA. I will be sharing some take-away points that I hope will inspire others to work with their own mtDNA inheritance.

However, before I jump straight in to the summary finding, I need to quickly explain two fundamental terms: 1) Haplogroups, and 2) Subclades.

Haplogroups

While I tend to avoid using Wikipedia as a professional source of information, it does provide a great overview of what haplogroups are:

Haplogroups are used to represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree [a veryspecific kind of scientific, genetic family tree].

Understanding the evolutionary path of the female lineage has helped population geneticists trace the matrilineal inheritance of modern humans back to human origins in Africa and the subsequent spread around the globe.

The letter names of the haplogroups (not just mitochondrial DNA haplogroups) run from A to Z. As haplogroups were named in the order of their discovery, they (meaning the accidental dictionary ordering of the letters) do not reflect the actual genetic relationships.

The hypothetical woman at the root of all these groups (meaning just the mitochondrial DNA haplogroups) is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. She is commonly called Mitochondrial Eve.

The rate at which mitochondrial DNA mutates is known as the mitochondrial molecular clock. It’s an area of ongoing research with one study reporting one mutation per 8000 years [Loogvali, Eva-Liis; Kivisild, Toomas; Margus, Tõnu; Villems, Richard (2009), O’Rourke, Dennis, ed., “Explaining the Imperfection of the Molecular Clock of Hominid Mitochondria”, PLoS ONE, 4 (12): e8260, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008260, pmc 2794369 Freely accessible, PMID 20041137]. This makes mitochondrial DNA less precise for genealogical dating than Y-chromosome DNA which accumulates one mutation for every 10 years [“Human mutation rate revealed”. Nature News. 2009.].

This mtDNA tree looks something like this partial example:

Screenshot_2018-03-09-12-46-38-1

Subclades

In genetics, subclade is a term used to describe a subgroup of a subgenus or haplogroup. It is commonly used today in describing genealogical DNA tests of human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups and human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups.

Let’s use cats as an example. While all cats belong to the Feline mammal family (think of Feline as a haplogroup)…Siamese, Burmese, Person, and the common house cat would each be a different subclade.

Now, let’s get started!

I tested all three regions of the mtDNA I inherited from my mother. It was a full mtDNA sequencing. Based on my sequencing results, I am a confirmed descendent of mtDNA Haplogroup L2, Subclade L2a1c4a on my direct maternal lineage (mother’s, mother’s, mother’s…. maternal line).

My confirmed mtDNA subclade is L2a1c4a. Population studies have not yet been published for the mtDNA Subclade L2a1c4a. Yep, that’s correct. My subclade was created within the past few years. So…there are no peer-reviewed published studies covering it.

However, population studies are available for the direct ancestors of the mtDNA Subclade L2a1c4a. Population studies to date have found that the ancestors of L2a1c4a are found in the highest concentration in Chad Arabs in Lake Chad, Africa.

The major distribution of L2a1c4a

Chad Arabs in Lake Chad, Africa 11.55% > Buduma in Lake Chad, Africa 10.35% > Shuwa Arab in Lake Chad, Africa 7.69% > Central Morocco 5.4% > Mafa in Lake Chad, Africa 5.26% > Gurages in Ethiopia 4.76% > Amharas in Ethiopia 4.16% > Kanembu in Lake Chad, Africa 4.08%.

Studies were conducted by sampling the DNA of indigenous populations and determining the percentage of each indigenous population which belong to the mtDNA Subclade L2a1c4a:

Screenshot_2018-03-09-11-50-41-1

* This table is based on a summary of current research published in peer reviewed journals and will be updated dynamically as more scientific data becomes available for mtDNA subclade L2a1c4a and its ancestors.

The image above is the core, the beating heart, of my mothers mtDNA.

To my fellow Old Ninety-Six County, South Carolina cousins, this is the female line this DNA covers:

My mum < Pauline Matthews < Gertrude Harling < Aurelia Holloway < Amanda Peterson < Violet Williams < Moses Williams, Sr’s unknown first wife (not Mariah Stallsworth).

Migration Map

mtDNA Haplogroup L2 is found predominantly in Africa. The migration map of mtDNA Haplogroup L2 is as follows:

Screenshot_2018-03-09-11-52-30-1

The woman who founded mtDNA Haplogroup L2 is believed to have been born approximately 70,000 to 100,000 years ago in Central Africa. mtDNA Haplogroup L2 is one of the most ancient branches of the mtDNA phylogenetic tree. Today, descendants of mtDNA Haplogroup L2 can be found widely distributed in the African Continent, with a high frequency in Mbuti Pygmies.

The mtDNA tree expands at a rapid rate as new subclades are discovered. As the tree grows, my haplogroup/subclade will be automatically reclassified based the latest version of the tree. This tree was last updated on 18 January 2015 on Genebase, the company I tested with.

So what do we know?

On the face of it, the team knows my mtDNA began in East Africa, and then traveled through the interior of Africa tens of thousands of years ago. It appears my line of maternal female ancestors lived in the Lake Chad area. We don’t know how long they lived in this region. However, for now, the team believes they resided in this part of Africa for millennia. While there, an admixture traveled down from northern Africa to mix within this population before an unknown line of females from the same lineage brought it to the western coast of Africa.

We know that a series of truly ancient maternal great aunts and maternal female cousins took the same mtDNA out of Africa into the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and the Jewish populations of Europe and the Middle East.

The Brazilian results (you will see this in the other posts that are part of this series) indicate that another maternal female cousin, sister, or great aunt from this mtDNA family was taken from Africa and sent to that country.

At the heart of it, I have a dozen or so African cultures that form my direction mitochondrial legacy. Knowing which specific cultures are part of this story has enabled me to extensively read about them. And you know I want to visit them!

Each culture is a part of my history. They are me. And I’d like to know a heck of a lot more about them.

There is one specific application that I would like to use my test results for: identifying the unknown woman who was the wife of my 4x great grandfather, Moses Williams, Sr (1756-1884). I am descent of their daughter, Jane Williams. Moses and this unknown maternal ancestor had 20 daughters in the Old Ninety-Six region of South Carolina. That’s a whole lot of daughters to pass on this mtDNA… especially when the known children of Moses were having between 8 to 12 kids each!

Among the 2,500+ mtDNA matches I have on Genebase…someone may have the missing key to unlocking the identity of this 4x great grandmother…and the identity of her mother…and the identity of her mother.

So, as you can see, we are working with this DNA in more than one way to answer different sets of questions.

A quick reminder about mtDNA

Just so we all know what we’re looking at, here are some illustrations of mtDNA:

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria. These organelles found in cells have often been called the powerhouse of the cell. The mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA, are passed only from mother to offspring through the egg cell

As you can see, mtDNA looks very different from the 23 chromosomes that form autosomal DNA (the DNA you inherit from both parents).

For a more in-depth understanding of mtDNA, I invite you to read Roberta Estes’s excellent article Mitochondrial DNA – Your Mom’s Story over at DNAeXplained via https://www.google.com/amp/s/dna-explained.com/2017/05/09/mitochondrial-dna-your-moms-story/amp/

DNA Adventures: Me and my mum’s mtDNA – Range 16050 to 16383

I was originally going to share a further 8 sequence rangers for my mums mtDNA. However, upon reflection, the remaining 7 sequences closely mirror the sequence I am sharing today. So, with this in mind, I am making the last raw analysis post for her mtDNA. The next post will wrap things up. The last post in this series will share what the team has learned via this DNA test – and further work we plan to do using this test.

The next post settings will share the results of my waterfall grandmother’s mtDNA. Granny’s mtDNA is something else!

You will see a summary explanatory section about mtDNA at the bottom of this article.

To my fellow Old Ninety-Six County, South Carolina cousins, this is the female line this DNA covers:

My mum < Pauline Matthews < Gertrude Harling < Aurelia Holloway < Amanda Peterson < Violet Williams < Moses Williams, Sr’s unknown first wife (not Mariah Stallsworth).

My mum’s mtDNA: Range 16050 to 16383

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-22-20-1

Note: Please click each image to see a larger version.

Genebase uses an analytical comparison measurement called RMI,which you will see in the numbers provided in the bar graph images below. RMI (Relative Match Index) is a measure of how closely your Y-DNA and mtDNA haplotype matches those of a defined population group as compared to all other population groups in the comparison. For example, a RMI of 100 means that you are 100 times more likely to belong to that population set as compared to the rest of the population.

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-23-42-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-24-15-1

In the images below, Mutation = 0 is a perfect match / Mutation = 1 or more means a mutation has occurred in the comparison mtDNA matches.

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-24-45-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-25-14-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-25-42-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-26-05-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-26-31-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-26-57-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-27-41-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-28-12-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-28-40-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-29-02-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-29-30-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-30-00-1

Screenshot_2018-03-07-08-30-25-1

  1. So…there’s quite a bit to take in. And this only covers another short range of sequence ranges for my mum’s mtDNA! Feel free to ask questions! I appreciate this takes a while to wrap one’s head around. Dorothy, are definitely not in autosomal DNA territory any more!

A quick reminder about mtDNA

Just so we all know what we’re looking at, here are some illustrations of mtDNA:

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria. These organelles found in cells have often been called the powerhouse of the cell. The mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA, are passed only from mother to offspring through the egg cell

As you can see, mtDNA looks very different from the 23 chromosomes that form autosomal DNA (the DNA you inherit from both parents).

For a more in-depth understanding of mtDNA, I invite you to read Roberta Estes’s excellent article Mitochondrial DNA – Your Mom’s Story over at DNAeXplained via https://www.google.com/amp/s/dna-explained.com/2017/05/09/mitochondrial-dna-your-moms-story/amp/

DNA Adventures: Me and my mum’s mtDNA – Range 16024 to 16383

We’re still at the midway point.

In this article, I will be posting about another range sequence for my mum’s mtDNA. We have arrived at the mid-point!

You will see a summary explanatory section about mtDNA at the bottom of this article.

To my fellow Old Ninety-Six County, South Carolina cousins, this is the female line this DNA covers:

My mum < Pauline Matthews < Gertrude Harling < Aurelia Holloway < Amanda Peterson < Violet Williams < Moses Williams, Sr’s unknown first wife (not Mariah Stallsworth).

My mum’s mtDNA: Range 16024 to 16383

Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-00-26-1

Note: Please click each image to see a larger version.

Genebase uses an analytical comparison measurement called RMI,which you will see in the numbers provided in the bar graph images below. RMI (Relative Match Index) is a measure of how closely your Y-DNA and mtDNA haplotype matches those of a defined population group as compared to all other population groups in the comparison. For example, a RMI of 100 means that you are 100 times more likely to belong to that population set as compared to the rest of the populatio

Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-01-57-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-02-31-1

In the images below, Mutation = 0 is a perfect match / Mutation = 1 or more means a mutation has occurred in the comparison mtDNA matches.

Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-03-28-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-03-53-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-04-21-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-04-51-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-05-21-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-05-47-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-06-31-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-06-58-1Screenshot_2018-03-04-10-07-23-1

  1. So…there’s quite a bit to take in. And this only covers another short range of sequence ranges for my mum’s mtDNA! Feel free to ask questions! I appreciate this takes a while to wrap one’s head around. Dorothy, are definitely not in autosomal DNA territory any more!

A quick reminder about mtDNA

Just so we all know what we’re looking at, here are some illustrations of mtDNA:

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria. These organelles found in cells have often been called the powerhouse of the cell. The mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA, are passed only from mother to offspring through the egg cell

As you can see, mtDNA looks very different from the 23 chromosomes that form autosomal DNA (the DNA you inherit from both parents).

For a more in-depth understanding of mtDNA, I invite you to read Roberta Estes’s excellent article Mitochondrial DNA – Your Mom’s Story over at DNAeXplained via https://www.google.com/amp/s/dna-explained.com/2017/05/09/mitochondrial-dna-your-moms-story/amp/

DNA Adventures: Me and my mum’s mtDNA – Range 16090 to 16400

In this article, I will be posting about another range sequence for my mum’s mtDNA. We have arrived at the mid-point!

You will see a summary explanatory section about mtDNA at the bottom of this article.

To my fellow Old Ninety-Six County, South Carolina cousins, this is the female line this DNA covers:

My mum < Pauline Matthews < Gertrude Harling < Aurelia Holloway < Amanda Peterson < Violet Williams < Moses Williams, Sr’s unknown first wife (not Mariah Stallsworth).

My mum’s mtDNA: Range 16090 to 16400

Note: Please click each image to see a larger version.

Genebase uses an analytical comparison measurement called RMI,which you will see in the numbers provided in the bar graph images below. RMI (Relative Match Index) is a measure of how closely your Y-DNA and mtDNA haplotype matches those of a defined population group as compared to all other population groups in the comparison. For example, a RMI of 100 means that you are 100 times more likely to belong to that population set as compared to the rest of the populatio

In the images below, Mutation = 0 is a perfect match / Mutation = 1 or more means a mutation has occurred in the comparison mtDNA matches.

  1. So…there’s quite a bit to take in. And this only covers another short range of sequence ranges for my mum’s mtDNA! Feel free to ask questions! I appreciate this takes a while to wrap one’s head around. Dorothy, are definitely not in autosomal DNA territory any more!

A quick reminder about mtDNA

Just so we all know what we’re looking at, here are some illustrations of mtDNA:

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria. These organelles found in cells have often been called the powerhouse of the cell. The mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA, are passed only from mother to offspring through the egg cell

As you can see, mtDNA looks very different from the 23 chromosomes that form autosomal DNA (the DNA you inherit from both parents).

For a more in-depth understanding of mtDNA, I invite you to read Roberta Estes’s excellent article Mitochondrial DNA – Your Mom’s Story over at DNAeXplained via https://www.google.com/amp/s/dna-explained.com/2017/05/09/mitochondrial-dna-your-moms-story/amp/