Do you ever look at a genealogy resource with rose colored glasses? In other words, do you perceive that resource as the one resource that will break thru brick walls? That is how I approached DNA testing.
Unlike many people who are testing their DNA, I already knew a lot about my ancestors. Even though the following chart was recently created with the preview edition of RootsMagic 8, I had most of these ancestors in my file when I started working with DNA over 5 years ago.
So, learning that autosomal DNA goes back 6 to 8 generations or 150-200 years was a disappointment. (information from Mark McDermott’s blog, How Many Generations Does DNA Go Back)
Even though DNA likely won’t help me identify that ‘next’ generation, I am finding that it is providing ‘Supporting Evidence’ for my current research.
For example, my Currey line goes thru several generations of Hiram Curreys to the Hiram Mirick Currey who was the treasurer of the state of Ohio in 1819. Through the years, I’ve worked with other researchers and collected documents that appear to support the lineage. However, I don’t have a deed, will or probate record that ties one generation to the next.
Thanks to Ancestry ThruLines, some of my matches show up as descendants of Hiram Mirick Currey thru his other children.
Not only do I look for descendants thru other children, I also look for descendants thru a different spouse. For example, my 2nd great-grandfather, Richmond Fisk Hammond, remarried after his wife, my 2nd great-grandmother died. He had a daughter thru this second marriage. ThruLines supports this second family.
Another example is my ancestor, James Crawford’s wife, Sarah Smith Duggins. Since she had a previous marriage, I’m hoping to use her ThruLines to learn more about my Smith ancestors.
I’ve found that my Ancestry ThruLines data can also point out spots in my tree that might be incorrect. For example, I have James B McCormick and Sarah Hall as the parents of Nancy Jane McCormick Ralston (1818-1907). When I look at ThruLines, James B. McCormick has 4 matches with two of those being my brothers. That’s not a lot of support for him being the father of Nancy, especially when compared to his wife Sarah Hall who has 30 DNA matches.
I’ve taken advantage of the ability to download my Ancestry DNA and upload my results to other sites, including GedMatch and My Heritage. Because my ancestry is basically colonial, my Ancestry results are providing more connections than My Heritage. Thus, I spend most of my ‘DNA time’ working with Ancestry data.
Not only was I wearing rose colored glasses when doing autosomal DNA testing, but also when having my brother do yDNA testing. I was hoping that this test would identify my Crawford ancestors. Unfortunately, that hasn’t proven to be true to date.
Even though yDNA hasn’t helped identify the parents of James Crawford, it has proven a connection with the other James Crawford families in Garrard County, Kentucky.
As pointed out by several genetic genealogists, tools such as triangulation or segment data are needed to prove a genetic relationship. These tools are not available on Ancestry where the majority of my DNA data resides. With an over-abundance of DNA data, I’m content (for now) with not being able to use my DNA data as scientific proof of a relationship. Instead, I will continue to use it as a tool to evaluate my tree and as a way to connect with cousins who might have additional information.