Harding ThruLines

Are you a fan of Ancestry’s ThruLines or a naysayer? Since I believe ThruLines can be a valuable tool, I’m willing to research descendants of my ancestors and to make corrections in my tree when my additional research identifies issues.

As I’m currently researching the descendants of William G. Harding (1803-1865), I’m struggling with his son Abel Harding (1833-1906) and his descendants. At this point, I have identified the children of Abel Harding and Cynthia Gertrude Edwards as follows:

  • Edna Harding (1866-1930) – md William C. Allen
  • Lettie Mae Harding (1867-1934) – md Edwin B. Hawley
  • Clara Jean Harding (1872-1943) – md Frank Merril in 1890 in Pipestone, MN
  • Nina Belle Harding (1876-1964) – md Albert Halverson in 1894 in Yellow Medicine, MN
  • Grace Elizabeth Harding (1880-1906) – md Edward Quenell in 1901 in Rulo, NE
  • Lola Harding (1883-1971) – md John Beauchemin in Rulo, NE
  • James Earl Harding (1885-1947) – md Anna Ewald in Anacortes, WA
  • Martha Gertrude Harding (1888-1931) – md Leslie H Corbett

Hoping that I have this family correct, I decided to check my ThruLines for William G. Harding that go thru Abel to see if I have DNA data to support the family. Since my brothers also tested, I have three sets of ThruLines.

My ThruLines
DC ThruLines
LivingT ThruLines

At first glance, I have matches thru the 7 daughters. As an additional test, I analyzed each of these matches and compared the shared CMs for the matches with the expected results from the Shared CM project.

Looking at this data, it may support the following daughters: Edna, Lettie Mae and Martha G. Because quite a few of these matches share a very low number of cM, I can’t use this data as ‘PROOF’ that I have the family correct.

Even though this doesn’t ‘prove’ the family, it also doesn’t disprove any of the family. Thus, I need to do more digging to try and locate additional information for this family.

Deeply American

Did you test your DNA at Ancestry? If so, have you checked the newly updated ethnicity results? For some, these results might provide clues for further research.

For me, they are basically useless. When others have asked me about my ethnicity, I sometimes jokingly reply that I’m American. When asked for clarification, I explain that my family has been in what becomes the United States for a very long time. I often also stated that I didn’t know most of my immigrant ancestors. Prior to today, I could identify three likely immigrant ancestors.

  • David Ralston – immigrated in 1803
  • Phillip Andre Mentzer — immigrated prior to1800
  • Conrad Broils – immigrated in 1717

If asked where my ancestors were from, I often responded with Kentucky. Kentucky is where several of my brick walls end. If pushed to identify countries, I would have responded, England, Scotland, possibly Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia. Since I hadn’t actually identified my immigrant ancestors, I was just guessing. To eliminate some of this guesswork, I decided to try and identify my immigrant ancestors.

To do this, I used the ability of RootsMagic to interface with the FamilySearch tree. Using the FamilySearch tree as a guide, I added ancestors starting about generation 9 and working back to the immigrant ancestor. Since I use color coding in my tree to identify various lines, I decided to color code my immigrants with the color teal. Most of these immigrant ancestors are in generations 12 thru generation 16.

I realize that I have a LOT of research ahead of me to add sourcing for all of the ancestors I just added to my tree. However, the process has helped me learn a lot about my tree.

  • Many of my lines trace back to Middlesex county, Massachusetts
  • I have quite a few ancestors going back to New Amsterdam

Unfortunately, the Ahnentafel that I had hoped to share is over 50 pages long and thus way too long to share in a blog post. Even though I likely will never print that report, my work to identify these potential ancestors will help me as I continue researching my family history.

Using the Ahnentafel, I decided to count the countries of origin for my immigrant ancestors. Although prone to error, this tally does show that my ethnicity should be predominantly English.

GenerationCountry# from Country

The tally continues thru generations 13, 14 and 15 with over 100 more immigrant ancestors from England. Thus it makes sense when my ‘DNA STORY’ on Ancestry indicates a large percentage for English ethnicity.

My brother’s DNA stories:

My mother’s DNA story is a little different. The large block of German DNA would be her father’s line that does go back to Germany.

At this point, I can’t explain the Swedish DNA. However, there are several lines, including my Thompson line, that are stuck in (you guessed it) Kentucky.

Even though my ahnentafel and my DNA story indicate that I have deep English roots, I still contend that I have a deeply American tree.

DNA Stats

Have you tested your DNA? If so, do you keep track of the quantity of matches you have? I have to admit that I don’t pay a lot of attention to how many matches I have, especially since I can’t even keep up with those matches who share a common ancestor.

However, my recent Feedly content is prompting me to review those numbers.

I last looked at my number of DNA Matches in May of 2021.

Today, I’m going to follow Roberta Estes’ directions to see how many matches I have. Since I haven’t done autosomal testing with most of these companies, my results are based on my transferring my Ancestry DNA results to the various other companies.


Since my brother agreed to do a yDNA test, his account is our primary account on FamilyTreeDNA. Besides his yDNA test, I uploaded his Ancestry results to his account.

FamilyTree DNA – Brother 1

My account on FamilyTreeDNA shows that I have 7506 matches while my other brother has 6672 autosomal matches.


On MyHeritage, I have 16,218 DNA matches.

To see the number of matches for my brothers, I had to use the DNA menu to select ‘MANAGE DNA KITS’.

This opened the list of tests I manage on MyHeritage. To the right of each test is a series of 3 vertical dots. Clicking on those dots opens a menu allowing me to select ‘VIEW DNA MATCHES’ for that test.

Looking at my two brothers, brother 1 had 11,921 DNA matches while brother 2 has 11, 356 DNA matches


Of course, my Ancestry numbers don’t show! I’ve experienced this before and believe I have to clear the cache on my browser.

Ancestry- No Numbers

So, instead of clearing my cache, I tried a different browser. And my numbers show.

Me – Ancestry

But they didn’t show for my brothers. So, I cleared my cache and cookies and then rechecked each time to get their numbers

Brother 1 – Ancestry
Brother 2 Ancestry
Mom – Ancestry


MeBrother 1Brother 2Mom
FamilyTree DNA705175066672
Ancestry Total11619913106312048578163
Ancestry Close Matches3981499642202952
New close matches since 5/1/202112015613799
Ancestry 68 cm to 2000 cM47585061

Posted in DNA

ThruLines Analysis

Have you tested your DNA with Ancestry? If so, do you have a tree with at least a few ancestors named? And, are your DNA results attached to someone in your tree? Those are the requirements for Ancestry to begin populating your ancestral ‘ThruLines’.

Basically, ThruLines tries to locate other descendants of your ancestors and show relationships to a common ancestor. These suggested relationships are dependent on the accuracy of your tree as well as the accuracy of your DNA match’s tree.

Without evaluating those relationships, I believe one can use the number of matches an ancestor has to pick up clues about one’s tree. For example, my logic suggests that unless there are only children involved, the number of matches should increase from one generation to the next. I also believe that unless there are multiple marriages involved, the number of matches for the husband should match the number of matches for his wife. Thus, an analysis of the number of matches can raise questions about one’s own tree.

For example, I manage 4 tests on Ancestry. Three of those tests are for siblings. Thus when I see 2 matches for grandparents and 3 matches for great grandparents that suggests an issue.

However,, when I browse thru my matches, I find at least four known second cousins thru my ancestors Hiram Currey and Winnie Hutchinson that either don’t have a tree or have an unlinked tree. Spelling of the surname may also be an issue, since some records spell the surnames as Curry and Hutchison. Thus, I’m not overly concerned about their only being 3 matches for this pair of great grandparents.

These numbers can also reveal matches connecting thru a different spouse. My ancestor, Richmond Hammond had a daughter, Hattie, by his second wife. When I look at the number of ThruLines matches for Richmond Hammond and his first wife Sarah Ralston, they are not the same. Thus, this can be a clue to look for multiple marriages.

Another issue is revealed by comparing the number of matches between generations. For example, my 2nd great grandmother, Angelina Burke has 8 ThruLines matches. If I look at her parents, they also have 8 matches.

Since Angelina was not an only child, I would expect more matches for her parents than for her. Since that isn’t true, then I have to look at ‘why’. One reason might be that no one has tested from her siblings lines. Another reason my be that those descendants have tested but either don’t have a tree attached or have a very small tree that doesn’t have a person in common with my tree. It is also possible that other trees use a different format or spelling for the names of Henry Burke and Elizabeth Bland. Another reason is that my tree might be wrong. Thus, these numbers indicate that I need to do additional work on this particular line.

A telling issue is a very small number of matches for a distant relative. Thus, when I see only 2 matches for James Forbes while his wife, Ann Thomson has 16-19 matches, I know there is an issue.

Since I don’t have much data to support this ancestor, I’m assuming that I have a mistake in my tree.

And then there are the zeroes.

Even though these zeroes are associated with my mom’s 5th great grandparents, they are still a red flag that I likely have something wrong.

Thus, taking the time to record the number of matches for my ancestral ThruLines was worth it.

Below are the numbers for each of the ThruLines matches for the tests I manage:

GedMatch Projects

Have you spit in a test tube to have your DNA analyzed? Have you transferred those results to GedMatch to take advantage of the DNA analysis tools they offer? If so, have you checked out their ‘Ancestor Projects’?

As a Germanna Descendant, I joined their recently created project. Running a search of my DNA against other members of a project simply requires the selection of a project to be used and the entering of a kit number.

GedMatch Segment Analysis Screen

Once the submit button is pressed, it is just a matter of waiting for the DNA to be analyzed. It appears that switching away from the browser tab stops this process. To get around this, I simply opened GedMatch in its own Window and did not minimize the window. Once finished, a table appears.

GedMatch Ancestor Projects Results Screen

When it comes to ‘brick walls’, I have several SMITH lines where I’m lacking information. Thus, I joined the ‘A Your Ancestors were Smith and Jones or Brown …’. When I ran a segment analysis for this project, many lines of the report were for shared chromosome segments with my brothers and a parent. To make it easier to work with this data, I downloaded the CSV file and then opened it in Excel. Once open in Excel, I was able to pull out my family data so that the only remaining data was to other Smith, Jones or Brown matches. I then sorted by chromosome. Now, I have a list of matches and need to figure out which branch of my tree they match.

GedMatch ‘Smith Brown or Jones’ Results in Excel

The downloaded data does not contain the ‘tree’ column or the email address. Thus, I will have to refer back to GedMatch to evaluate these relationships so I can then use the given email address to contact the matches.

I also joined the ‘Colonial American Dutch’ project. I recently extended a branch of my tree that led back to several of these Colonial American Dutch families. Since I need more paper documentation to verify this line, I was curious as to whether my DNA results would support this possible lineage. Running a ‘Segment Analysis’ for this project produced over 100 results.

GedMatch Colonial American Dutch Results Screen

Fortunately, many of these matches have a tree associated with their GedMatch data. This will help to figure out our relationship. At this point, I don’t have ‘proof’ of a Colonial American Dutch lineage. However, I have ‘supporting evidence’ that may help me locate additional records to verify this lineage.

Like the ‘Colonial American Dutch’ project, many of the other projects I’ve joined are ‘regional’ projects to help verify that I have ancestry in those early areas of Colonial United States.

Unfortunately, the ‘Smith and Jones or Brown’ project was the only project with my surnames that I found on the list. The administrator of the Crawford yDNA project has attempted to form a Crawford GedMatch project, but hasn’t been able to get the required number of participating kits to create a project.

With the help of these projects, it allows me to view my ‘one to many’ results in smaller, focused batches. Thus, I may be able to figure out one of my SMITH lines or verify Colonial American Dutch ancestry or early colonial ancestry in one or more areas.

If you are like me and would appreciate the ability to see how you match against other GedMatch users with a similar surname, please either become a project administrator or agree to participate when surname project administrators suggest creating a project.

Making Connections

#CousinBait #52Ancestors

I know I’m going to date myself, but I remember the joy of finding Everton’s Genealogical Helper in our mailbox. I would pour through each issue looking for an ad that might connect me with a genealogical cousin. Finding such an ad would cause me to compose a letter with a pedigree chart or family group sheet attached and send it off with a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope). I would then wait for a reply. Sometimes, I would be the person posting such an ad. Again I would anxiously await any replies to my ad. [See article: Pre-Internet Cousin Bait}

Thru time, mailing lists, surname lists and message boards replaced the ads in the Helper. Even though those resources may still exist, I rarely use them. Browsing Anestry’s message boards and seeing fewer and fewer messages posted and many with no replies, it is obvious that others are not using this resource either.

So, what is being done to connect with cousins. My husband has successfully used Facebook groups for his ancestors to connect with living cousins. Even though I have befriended a lot of cousins on FB, I have not had the success that my husband has had. That is likely due to the fact that he is very active in his groups and tends to ignore anything and everything else on Facebook while I’m not very active in my family groups.

Instead of Facebook, I’ve been concentrating on this blog. I’ve shared photos, ancestral biographies, lists of descendants, sources and analysis of local records in my various blog posts.

In terms of sharing my genealogical data, I concentrate on my Ancestry tree, Heartland Genealogy. I am also adding sources and memories to the FamilySearch tree. Since I’m using RootsMagic 7 for my genealogical research, I also have a free site thru RootsMagic for my data.

Another way in which I try to connect with cousins is thru DNA. My Ancestry tree is connected to the four DNA tests I manage on Ancestry. To help make connections with DNA cousins, I am researching descendants of my 2nd and 3rd great grandparents. By doing this research, I’m hoping to provide a connection between my tree and a DNA match’s tree.

In order to connect with cousins who may have tested their DNA on a different site, I have transferred my Ancestry DNA to GedMatch, MyHeritage and FamilyTree DNA. Thanks to the use of GedCom, I have transferred my genealogical data to these sites. Thus, I have a tree connected to DNA on MyHeritage, GedMatch, and FamilyTreeDNA.

Thanks to my brother agreeing to do a yDNA test, his results are part of the CRAWFORD yDNA project. This project has a fantastic administrator and an associated Facebook group. I am also participating in the GedMatch project for Germanna descendants. Both of these projects are helping me connect to DNA cousins with ties back to the 1700s.

So cousin, if you find a connection to your research in my research posted on my tree or in my blog or via my DNA results, please contact me. I can be friended on Facebook as Marcia Crawford Philbrick, messaged in Ancestry or reached via email using mcphilbrick at gmail dot com as my address.

DNA Matches


Calling all Genea-Musings Fans:  It’s Saturday Night again – 
Time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along – cue the Mission Impossible music!):
1)  Have you done an autosomal DNA test?  If so, which testing company/ies?  

2)  Of your Top 10 DNA matches on any site, how many are a known relative, and are they in your family tree?  No names…but give a known relationship if possible.

I tested with Ancestry and transferred my DNA to GedMatch, MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA. Besides my data, I also manage DNA tests for my mother and my two brothers on Ancestry.

On Ancestry, my test have lots of matches. I have so many matches that it takes forever for the page to completely load. Since Ancestry won’t tell me how many matches I have until the page loads, I don’t have readily available DNA stats. I did take the time to figure this out a couple of weeks ago. Below are those stats.

All Matches113,91276,610118,126128,403
Close Matches3,8612,8534,0834840
Distant Matches110,05173,757114,043123563

Below are the top ten matches (excluding immediate family members) for the four tests that I manage on Ancestry. Note that I am MC in the below table and all relationships are to me. RC is my mother.

Ancestry top matches

Even though I have my DNA on other sites, I have to confess that I haven’t spent a lot of time figuring out the relationships. Of the first page of my matches on MyHeritage, only one is a close relationship, a second cousin. The rest of the matches are distant cousins. Unfortunately, many of those matches either have a very small tree or no tree. Since these are distant cousins, I haven’t taken the time to contact them to begin figuring out our relationship.

MyHeritage Top Matches

Some of my known cousins have transferred their DNA to GedMatch. However, many of my closer matches are not in my tree. Again, the lack of a tree (gedcom) file makes it more difficult for me to figure out the relationship.

This exercise has shown that I have work to do. However, I plan to continue expanding my tree by researching descendants versus trying to figure out how I’m related to all of these matches whose tree is either too small for me to recognize a connection or missing entirely.

Supporting Evidence

#DNA #52Ancestors

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.


Have you ever wished you had your parent’s DNA results? Even though my mom has been tested, I’ve always wished I had my dad’s DNA.

Well, this morning I read about a tool to reconstruct a parents DNA in the blog post, Reconstructing DNA from One Parent with HAPI. The tool requires DNA from a parent and THREE children.

Since I just happened to have tested myself, my two brothers and my mother, we have the required DNA to reconstruct my father’s DNA!

To use this tool, I opted to download new files from Ancestry. To get to Ancestry’s Download option, I selected a DNA test and then I clicked on the Settings wheel while.

I scrolled to the bottom of the Settings screen to get to the Actions box, where I found the Download DNA Data section.

Clicking on the blue Download expanded the screen. I had to enter my password, click on the ‘I Understand’ box and Confirm.

Then I waited. (Yes, I’m impatient when it comes to verification emails!) Once the email arrived, there was a blue ‘Download DNA data’ box that I clicked on.

That took me back to Ancestry where I was able to click on the green Download DNA button to download the file.

This opened Windows Explorer. I migrated to my DNA folder and saved the file. (Knowing where this file is saved is critical!)

Ancestry DNA downloads as a zip file. Normally, this file is left untouched when uploading to other sites. However, with the HAPI tool, a .txt or .csv file is required. Thus, I needed to extract the zip file. Since my computer is a Windows based computer, I right clicked on the file and selected ‘Extract All’ from the menu.

This creates a new folder with an AncestryDNA.txt file inside. Since I needed to work with four different Ancestry DNA files, I renamed each of the files so I could identify whose DNA was in the file.

Then I opened the HAPI tool site in my browser. The tool prompted me to upload a file containing my parent’s DNA. Then it prompted me to upload DNA from three children of that parent.

Then I clicked on Run HAPI and waited. It didn’t take long to finish. When finished, I was prompted to ‘Print reconstructed parent’. Clicking on this blue button allowed me to SAVE the file for my dad.

Curious as to how accurate this new DNA might be, I wanted to upload it to GedMatch, where I could do one to one comparisons with known cousins. So on Getmatch.com, I located the menu section, Upload your DNA files.

I entered my dad’s name and an alias and indicated his gender. I then scrolled down to the ‘testing company’ section. I selected OTHER for the source and entered HAPI for the company name. I indicated that my dad is deceased.

Once the data had finished uploading, I did several One to One comparisons. The first comparison was with one of his first cousins on his dad’s side.

The second comparison was with a 1st cousin twice removed on his mother’s side.

I have no idea how accurate the HAPI tool is. However, it is more than I had! Once GedMatch has had time to process the data, I will run a One to Many test to see what I get.

Posted in DNA

Good Fortune

This week’s #52 Ancestors blog prompt is ‘Fortune’. At first, I didn’t think I would be writing on this topic since I was looking at the term as a monetary term and my family has no fortune.

Then I encountered the blog post Double Cousins and DNA on The DNA Geek site and realized that I am fortunate to have numerous 1st thru 3rd cousin DNA matches. Thus, my ‘fortune’ is all of these cousin matches.

The DNA Geek is starting a project to study DNA results when double cousins are involved. To begin the study they are seeking data for a specific set of cousin matches. Below is a diagram showing the desired matches in the yellow-orange.

Well, I do have double cousins. My great-grandfather, Charles Mentzer married Nettie Wells. Charles’ brother, John Frederick Mentzer married Anna Wells, the sister of Nettie. When I first studied the above diagram, I was pretty sure I could come up with the double cousin match, but didn’t think I had the 1st cousin match.

Knowing that I had quite a few MENTZER matches, I had to diagram it out. So I started drawing out my MENTZER/WELLS line and added my DNA matches. I am the yellow square in the diagram below.

When I compared my diagram to the one from the blog, I realized that I am not in the generation they wanted for this initial study. Since I manage my mother’s DNA, I drew out the family and added her matches. Studying that diagram, I realized that I do have data for the desired cousin matches!

Curious about what the diagram would be like for my brothers, I also drew out their matches.

Even though my data is for second cousins and not 1st cousins, I’m ready with lots of data when they are ready to receive it.