Crawford yDNA

My brother’s BigY test recently verified what I and others have believed for a long time: that my James Crawford is somehow related to the James Crawford (1758-1836) of Garrard County, KY that was married to Rebecca Anderson. These results also indicates a relationship to Edward Crawford (1762-1826) of Overton, TN.

One of my yDNA 67 matches is a descendant of William Nelson Crawford (1829-1907). I am also an autosomal DNA match with descendants of William Nelson Crawford. This descendant also shares autosomal DNA with a descendant of James Crawford (1770-1833) who married Martha Knight and with a descendant of William Crawford (1748-1809). James Crawford (1770-1833) and William Crawford (1748-1809) were both in the Garrard County, KY area at the same time as my ancestor.

A descendant of Alexander Crawford (1715-1764) is grouped in the R1b group on the Crawford project.

The researcher who is a descendant of William Crawford (1748-1809) believes that his William Crawford is a 1st cousin once removed from Alexander Crawford.

The above photo is an attempt to show how this researcher believes these various lines might be related. Note that my James Crawford line is not connected. Nor is the Edward Crawford line.

Hey Crawford Researchers – Let’s Get This Right!

Anyone who has been doing genealogical research will eventually run into ‘same name’ issues, where two people of the same name are found in the same vicinity or same records. With my Crawford research, my same name struggle has been with my ancestor, James Crawford (1772-1854).

James is a common given name in Crawford research and my James seems to be surrounded by other James Crawfords during his adult life. Even though most of the time, I’ve been able to separate out the various families, I haven’t been able to find siblings or parents for my James Crawford.

However, I have encountered a lot of what I’m going to call ‘latchkey’ trees. With pre-1800 Crawford research in Virginia and surrounding areas, it is fairly easy to find published family histories for various Crawford lines. This would include David Crawford, Col. William Crawford and brothers, Alexander and Patrick Crawford. Since given names like James, John and Mary are found in many Crawford families, it is tempting to take a proven ancestor named James, John or Mary Crawford and ‘latch’ onto one of these families to identify parents of our ancestor.

With my Crawford research centered in Kentucky and Virginia, I encounter a lot of trees for these early Kentucky Crawford families connecting to Alexander Crawford and his wife Mary McPheeters or to Alexander’s brother Patrick. Some of these trees match the information in the well documented book, Descendants of Alexander and Mary McPheeters Crawford by Amanda Forbes. Unfortunately, many trees lead back to Alexander and Mary McPheeters Crawford when the documents for the child in the tree contradicts known documentation for the family of Alexander Crawford.

Unfortunately, these ‘latchkey’ trees create problems for everyone researching their Crawford line.

  • They lead other Crawford researchers down an incorrect path
  • They complicate the interpretation of DNA results

With autosomal DNA and features like ThruLines, an incorrect ancestor in my tree can lead all of my DNA matches down a wrong path.
Not only is this an issue with autosomal DNA but with yDNA research. In the Crawford DNA project, there were several tests with Alexander Crawford identified as the paternal ancestor. One of those is a fairly close match to my brother’s yDNA indicating that our lines might connect at some time in the past. However, there were other tests identifying Alexander Crawford as the paternal ancestor that are not related to my Crawford line. Based on information from an administrator of the Crawford project, these yDNA tests were significantly different and could not all have descended from Alexander Crawford. 
So, I’m asking for all Crawford researchers to help get this right. Let’s work together to document our Crawford lineage to make sure our trees are well documented — including parent-child links. Let’s

  • Search out wills, probate records and court records that identify family connections
  • Search out deeds that not only document residency but can also show movement from place to place or identify family members
  • Utilize collaborative trees such as FamilySearch or WikiTree to connect with other researchers 
  • Share our findings and the supporting documents on these collaborative trees or in public trees on genealogy sites

Please join me with this effort — and if your Crawford research takes you to Garrard, Madison or Lincoln counties in Kentucky prior to 1800, please contact me — I might be able to help you.

Possible Distant Cousins

Have you tested your DNA? If so, have you been able to break through a brick wall using your DNA results?
My main purpose for testing my DNA was to learn more about my Crawford ancestry. Since I already have identified my 4th great grandfather on my Crawford line, I was hoping to identify his siblings and parents via DNA. So far, my results have not helped me get thru that brick wall.
However, there is one DNA test that has puzzled me for quite some time. This is the sole test that shows up when I search my matches for ancestors born in Garrard County, Kentucky: i******. I share 23 cM across 2 segments with i****** and one of my brothers shares 24 cM across 2 segments with i******.
When I looked at shared matches with i******, I found two other matches that appear to have the same common ancestors: Isaac Crawford and Nancy Miller. In looking at matches shared with these two other matches, I discovered a fourth match who descends from a different Garrard County family.

I believe Isaac Crawford is the son of James Crawford and Rebecca Anderson. However, the trees for the I, D and J matches either don’t go back that far or have a different father for Isaac.
Based on my research of the records of Madison, Lincoln and Garrard Counties in Kentucky, I am theorizing that my ancestor James Crawford (md. Sally Duggins)  is somehow related to the other Crawford families in that area prior to 1800: Rebecca Crawford, Mary Crawford, James Crawford (md Rebecca Anderson) and/or William Crawford. It is believed that James (md Rebecca Anderson) and William are brothers and that Rebecca is the widow of a third brother. Because of the ages, my current theory is that my ancestor, James (md Sally Duggins) is the nephew of James (md Rebecca Anderson) and William Crawford. Thus, I would be a 7th cousin to I, D, and J IF Isaac is the son of James and Rebecca Crawford and IF my theory about the uncle/nephew relationship is correct.
To figure out whether these DNA shared matches support my being a 7th cousin to I, D, and J, I looked at the Shared Centimorgan Project to see if the amount of shared DNA was within the range for 7th cousins. Since one of my brothers doesn’t share any DNA with any of these individuals, our range of shared DNA is none to 34 cM. According to the shared cM project, we could share anywhere from 0 to 57 cM and be 7th cousins.

Thus, we are within the range to be 7th cousins. 
This does NOT prove that we are both related to James Crawford and Rebecca Anderson. We could easily be related on some other line that my bias is preventing me from recognizing. However, it does support the possibility of a relationship. Thus, I will continue researching the families of James and Rebecca Crawford as well as the families of William, Rebecca and Mary Crawford.

Crawford Ancestor DNA Project

Have you heard about Ancestor DNA Projects on GedMatch? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t. I first heard about them last month when a member of the Clan Crawford group on Facebook posted about it.

Several members of the Clan Crawford Facebook group are trying to get a Crawford Ancestor Project started. However, they need FIFTY Crawford researchers to agree to participate to get the project established.

If you are a Crawford researcher who has uploaded your DNA to GedMatch, then please consider participating in the project.

To join the project, one must first be a member of the Clan Crawford Association Ancestry & DNA Research Forum on Facebook. If you are on Facebook, then you may submit a request to join the Clan Crawford Association Ancestry & DNA Research Forum. This is a great group that discusses Crawford DNA and/or Crawford Research.

Once your membership in the Clan Crawford Association Ancestry & DNA Research Forum, you can use the search box on the right side of the screen to locate posts on a particular topic.

A search for ‘gedmatch’ will bring up the post about the Ancestor Project.

The post contains a link to a Google file where one can enter his/her gedmatch number if willing to be part of the project.

If you are a Crawford researcher, please consider participating in both the Facebook group and the Crawford Ancestor DNA Project.

Cluster Overlap

Do you ever feel like you’ve figured out a new way to cluster matches and then realize that those clusters you thought you had found included matches from distinctly separate areas of your tree? Well, that was my experience when I expanded my mountain/valley analysis of my Crawford line.

As explained in my DNA Clusters: Mountains and Valleys post, I had a ‘missing mountain’ for the parents of Nelson G. Crawford in my original diagram.

Nelson Crawford’s parents were James Crawford and Sally Smith Duggins Crawford. Since Sally had two sons from her marriage to Alexander Duggins prior to her marriage to James Crawford, Nelson had two step-brothers. Knowing that I had matches whose lines go back to Nelson’s sister and a step-brother, I decided to expand my Mountain and Valley diagram to include those lines.

My thought was that I could learn more about this SMITH branch of my tree from these Duggins matches and the matches we share. I only have two matches on ThruLines thru the Duggins side of Sarah’s family. Both of those matches have ONE shared match. Thus, I’m only working with FOUR matches to potentially learn more about this SMITH line. When I followed the link to the profile page for one of my matches to view the shared matches, I was excited to see the shared match marked as having a ‘Common Ancestor’!

When I clicked to view the tree so I could see who the common ancestor was, I was disappointed. The common ancestor wasn’t on my grandfather’s CRAWFORD line, but was Osmond Bland on the line of his wife’s CURREY line.

I discovered a similar situation when I looked at the shared matches for descendants of my ancestor’s sister: Polly Crawford. Two of those descendants had shared matches that were labeled ‘MOTHER’S SIDE’. 

Since my CRAWFORD line is my dad’s side of the tree, these matches labeled ‘Mother’s side’ clearly indicate that I have some sort of cluster overlap going on. I am NOT a DNA expert and can only explain this overlap based on what I know about my tree.

  • I don’t have first cousins marrying each other in the first six generations of my tree.
  • James Crawford and Sally Smith are in the 7th generation of my tree, making them my 4th great grandparents.
  • I’m looking at matches for FIFTH cousins and thus share a smaller amount of DNA.
  • My tree is colonial. The vast majority of my ancestors were in the colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War.
  • My ancestors tend to come from New England, Pennsylvania, Maryland or Virginia.

So, I have learned that I can’t make any assumptions from shared matches of identified cousins. Since I’m wanting to learn about distant generations, those shared matches could descend from a different common ancestor.
Thank you Donna Leeds for prompting me to look at my data this way! Following your blog post, Who Is in a Cluster, helped me discover the potential for cluster overlap in my tree.

DNA Clusters: Mountains and Valleys

Dana Leeds’ recent blog post about “Who Is in a Cluster” demonstrates that although all people in a cluster share DNA with one person in the cluster, they don’t necessarily share DNA with another member of the cluster.

Curious as to what this would look like with my Crawford branch of my tree, I looked at the DNA matches I share with a first cousin once removed. At first, I was trying to map out all of my known matches. However, this became cumbersome since I have a lot of 2nd cousin matches. As I was creating my matches diagram, I realized that I needed to be looking for matches that were for the different surnames.

The blue box represents myself and the yellow box is the cousin used to create the cluster.

  • My ‘Valley’ is the common ancestors between myself and E: Judson Foster Crawford and Josie Winifred Hammond. I have shown two other matches thru these common ancestors: M and M2nd. Not only are we all cousins (myself, E, M and M2nd), but we would all share DNA with everyone else mapped out in the diagram.
  • I have two ‘hills’ in my diagram: Washington Marion Crawford/Mary Foster and Richmond Hammond/Sarah Ralston. PrivateLida  and Private Hattie are both related to the four cousins in the valley but are not related to each other.
  • I have diagrammed 3 mountains representing three lines: Foster/Ostrander – Hammond/Fisk – and Ralston/McCormick.

By visualizing the cluster in this way, I have identified matches that I can use to figure out some of those matches whose trees are sparse or missing. For example, if I look at matches shared with PrivateEliza, I will be identifying matches who are either part of the valley with a common ancestor of Zebulon Foster and Caroline Ostrander or who descend from an ancestor of Zebulon Foster or Carolne Ostrander. I could then create another diagram for this cluster 
This diagram also pointed out a missing ‘mountain’. I don’t have a ‘mountain’ for my Crawford line back to the Nelson G. Crawford or James Crawford generations. Although ThruLines shows that I have some matches who descend from Nelson G. Crawford and James Crawford, only one of those matches shares DNA with the cousin I used to create this diagram. Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize this match when creating the diagram, thus leaving out a ‘mountain’ for Nelson G. Crawford.

Working thru the creation of my diagram, I have made two observations:

  • I should have checked ThruLines to see whether there was a match to fill in the hole in my diagram.
  • Excel likely isn’t the easiest software to use to create this diagram. 

Thank you Dana Leeds for prompting me to look at my DNA results in this way.

Crawford Genealogy Collaboration

My Crawford line is a brick wall! I’m fairly certain my line goes back to Virginia from Kentucky — but I can’t find any land records, court records or even family members to help me go back a generation. Many other Crawford researchers also have brick walls — maybe not in Kentucky, but somewhere in colonial America.

Not only are we struggling with our paper research, but it is difficult to break thru these brick walls by finding common ancestors from our DNA results. Since we are trying to go back 200 or more years, our autosomal DNA isn’t of much help. And, our yDNA matches are for names and places that aren’t familiar to us.

My earliest known Crawford ancestor is James Crawford born about 1772 in Virginia and died in 1854 in Preble County, Ohio. Our haplogroup is R-A13336. Our yDNA line and two others with the same haplogroup are in the R1b-01BArdmillan group. There are three with a haplogroup of R-A13336 in the group R1b-01FArdmillan Outliers. Also in this R1b-01FArdmillan Outliers group is a descendant of Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters.

In order to figure out how my Crawford line is related to these other Crawford lines, I am going to need the help of other Crawford researchers. Based on my Kentucky research, I think a lot of these lines may go back to early Augusta County, Virginia.

If you are a Crawford researcher, I need your help!

  • If you are on Facebook, ask to join the Clan Crawford Association and DNA Research Forum
  • If you manage a yDNA test for a Crawford descendant and are not part of the Crawford DNA project, please join it.
  • If you know of a Crawford male descendant, consider asking them to do a yDNA test for at least 37 markers so they can participate in the Crawford DNA project
  • If you have done an autosomal DNA test (such as those done by Ancestry), please consider uploading your DNA to GedMatch. 
  • If you have DNA on GedMatch please consider volunteering to be part of a Crawford Autosomal DNA project (see post about this in the Clan Crawford Association Facebook group)

Watch for more on ways we can work together to unravel our Crawford brick walls!


I just watched Blaine Bettinger’s video, Sub-Clustering Shared Matches. As I was following the video, I was also trying to do this with my brother’s DNA matches.

The match I started with is listed on my match page as a second cousin. In reality, she is a first cousin once removed. Our common ancestors are Judson Crawford and Josie Hammond.

Her shared match list contained 157 matches. I marked them all with a yellow dot labeled: ICW EB.

When I got to the part about creating Sub-Group 1, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Other than my brothers, the first match on the list was a first cousin to ICW EB. The next 4 matches are listed as 3rd cousins. They are all known descendants of my great-grandparents.

Unsure on how to proceed, I searched the Facebook group, Genetic Genealogy Tips & Tricks, for the term sub-group. That helped me find the original post on May 1 about the video and this technique. In the comments, I found the answer to my question about using these close cousins to create subgroup 1.

Thus, I skipped my second cousins who I know descend from Judson and Josie Crawford. To create sub-group 1, I started with the first match after these cousins. My brother shares 143 cM with this match and has 27 shared matches with her. These shared matches were marked with an Orange dot labeled, “ICW EB – Sub-group 1”.

For ‘sub-group 2’, I used the next match that does not descend from Judson and Josie Crawford. This match descends from Judson’s father, Washington Marion Crawford. These 32 shared matches were marked with a Green dot labeled, “ICW EB – Sub-group2.”

I skipped another match with Judson and Josie as common ancestors for ‘sub-group 3’. The next match was also a descendant of Washington Marion Crawford. I added these shared matches to Sub-group 2.

The next match is believed to be another descendant of Washington Marion Crawford. Since I haven’t been able to verify the ancestor of this match, I created another subgroup on this match.

I continued working thru these shared matches, creating 11 subgroups. The common ancestors of my ICW match are Judson Crawford and Josie Hammond. Thus, I expected to find subgroups for CRAWFORD, FOSTER, HAMMOND and RALSTON. The subgroups revealed CRAWFORD and FOSTER matches. However, the HAMMOND and/or RALSTON matches are not obvious in these 11 subgroups. 

This is an interesting method to study DNA matches.

Crawford Clan DNA Challenge

Have you had your DNA tested? If so, did DNA help you answer a question? Based on Facebook posts I’ve seen, it appears that DNA is helping adoptees to connect with their birth family.

In my case, I wasn’t hoping to identify a close relative. Instead, I was hoping (and still am hoping) to identify my 5th great grandparents — particularly on my dad’s CRAWFORD line. It’s been 3 years since I first spit in a test tube (autosomal DNA) and since my brother swabbed his cheek (yDNA). That’s 3 years of working with various DNA results and few clues about this mysterious CRAWFORD grandfather.

As I’m trying to learn more about our yDNA results, so I can make sense of how we might fit in the Crawford Clan, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:

  • There’s too little data – I need more 5th, 6th and 7th cousins to do a yDNA test
  • Determining relationships is VERY dependent on the accuracy of BOTH of our family trees

The closest matches at 37 and 67 markers do not have a common earliest known ancestor. Nor were any of these earliest known ancestors in my paper research — even in my broader research of Kentucky James Crawford families.

As I was able to upgrade the yDNA test to 111 markers, the genetic distances increased to 6 and I still had a wide variety of potential relatives (their earliest known ancestors).
Since the BigY results have come back, my branch of the BigY tree was identified as R-A13336.

Besides identifying my branch on the tree, the BigY test confirmed my placement in the R1b-01B Ardmillan group on the Crawford DNA project. According to the project administrator, I could share a common ancestor with any of the people in the R1b-01 section of the project. 
Unfortunately, I still have no idea how I might be related to any of my matches in the R-A13336 haplogroup. However, I do recognize several of the other ‘earliest known ancestors’ in this area of the Crawford project.

The two “James Crawford b1758” likely refer to the James Crawford married to Rebecca Anderson. This James Crawford owned land on Paint Lick Creek in Madison/Garrard Counties, Kentucky prior to his move to Jefferson County, Indiana. This is the same area of Kentucky where my ancestor was married in 1799 along with several other Crawford (William, Rebecca, and Mary) families. I suspect that my ancestor is somehow related to these other Crawfords but have not been able to locate any documentation to support that suspicion.
Another Crawford researcher has James, William and the spouses of Rebecca and Mary as grandsons of Col. John Crawford and great-grandsons of Robert Crawford II and Mary Shaw. This researcher has William Crawford (b. 1691 and d. 1767) as a second son to Robert Crawford II. According to this researcher, sons of William (1691-1767)  include Patrick (d. 1787) and Alexander (1716-1764). William, Patrick and Alexander are likely listed as the following earliest known ancestors in the Crawford yDNA project:  Patrick (b. 1723 and d. 1787), William (b. 1691 and d. 1761) and Alexander (b. 1715 -d 1764).
This same researcher believes my James Crawford may be the son of Mary Crawford, and thus a grandson of Col. John Crawford and great grandson of Robert Crawford II. (Again, I don’t have any documentation to support this theory.) If this is the case, then my James Crawford (1772-1854) would be a first cousin twice removed to the Alexander Crawford, married to Mary McPheeters, who was killed in 1764. This theory also makes James Crawford (1758-1836) an uncle to my James Crawford. The R1b-01B grouping of yDNA results supports this theory.
A search of the Crawford yDNA project for male children of William Crawford and Mary Ann Douglas (grandsons of Robert and Mary Shaw Crawford) did not locate any ‘earliest known ancestors’ listing for Robert, John, Edward, James, Thomas, William or George using the suggested birth and death information. As stated previously, there is a listing for Patrick in the R1b-01C section and a listing for Alexander Crawford (b. 1715-D1764) in the R1b-01F Ardmillan Outliers section.
Unfortunately, using other trees to locate the documentation to verify this theory becomes very tricky. Many Crawford trees with family going back to the area of Augusta County, Virginia prior to the revolutionary war find the information about the family of Alexander Crawford and his wife Mary McPheeters and try to fit their tree into Alexander’s family. 
Thus, the challenges ahead:

  • Find more Crawford descendants of these Augusta County, VA lines and encourage them to have their yDNA tested.
  • Identify descendants with GedMatch kits and encourage them to participate in the autosomal Crawford gedmatch project
  • Encourage my known Crawford autosomal DNA matches to transfer their DNA data to GedMatch and join the project
  • Figure out a communication method to connect everyone
  • Work with other researchers to document the various Crawford families with roots going back to Augusta County, Virginia (map from

Please consider joining me in this

Augusta County, VA Crawford project!

DNA Painter Tree

Did you see all of the prettily colored trees on various Genealogy Facebook groups this last week? Jonny Perl created a new tool on DNA Painter: Trees. 
With the new trees feature, one can create ancestral charts in pedigree, fan and text view. What makes this tool unique is the ability to mark common DNA ancestors and then see a visual representation of those matches on the chart.
I tried doing something similar with my DNA Circles. I printed out a fan chart and then used a highlighter to mark the various circles I had.

With DNA Painter, I get a similar chart showing my genetic genealogy.

This chart was very easy to create.

My first step was to create a GEDCOM file from my genealogy software, RootsMagic. 
Pull down the FILE menu and select EXPORT

On the GEDCOM Export window, pull down the tab that says EVERYONE and change it to ANCESTORS ________ (name of home person in the database)

In the ‘Data to Export’ area, I unchecked everything but the SOURCES. I discovered that if I clicked to Privatize Living People in RootsMagic, then I couldn’t find myself in DNA Painter to set the home person for the tree. Thus, I recreated my gedcom without privatizing the living people.
Go to DNA Painter and login. Click on TREES in the menu across the top.
On the TREES page, Click on the CREATE NEW TREE button. (The button may be toward the right side of the screen if you don’t have a tree.)

Read thru the information on the “Welcome to DNA Painter Trees.

When finished reading about the trees, close the Welcome window. An ‘Untitled Tree’ will appear on the screen. If desired, one could manually enter the information into the tree. To upload a GEDCOM file, locate the LOAD GEDCOM link on the right side of the Tree screen.

Follow the prompts to locate and import your GEDCOM file.
Since most of my known cousin matches are on Ancestry, I’m working with my Ancestry Common Ancestor matches to complete my tree on DNA Painter.
In my DNA Painter Tree, I hovered over one of my Common Ancestors. A pop-up menu opened that allowed me to ‘mark’ that ancestor as a DNA match.

If I click on the VIEW/EDIT button, it will open a window providing details about the ancestor.

Clicking on the EDIT OR ADD NOTES button opens another screen allowing me to add a note.

Since I’m using my Ancestry matches to build this genetic genealogy tree, I added a note indicating that Ancestry is the source of my DNA information. If my tree were private, I could add the identities of those DNA matches to the NOTES field.
Within a few minutes, I was able to begin my Genetic Genealogy Tree. 

This is a FANTASTIC addition to my DNA toolbox!