B is for (genealogy) Books

A few of my go-to genealogy books (non-affiliate links):

The Family Tree Problem Solver (Revised 1st Edition), 2011, Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG

Evidence Explained: History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition (Revised), 2017, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, FASG, ed.

books-2158737_640

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 4th edition , 2017, Val Greenwood

Genetic Genealogy

Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies , 2019, by Debbie Parker Wayne

Genetic Genealogy in Practice, 2016, Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne

Writing it all Up

Mastering Genealogical Documentation , 2017, Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof, 2013, Thomas W. Jones

Specialty

A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through our Genes, paperback edition, 2018, Adam Rutherford

Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for pre-1906 San Francisco Research, 2nd edition , 2012, Nancy Simons Peterson

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide, 4th edition , 2012, John Grenham

The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy, 2017, Melanie D. Holtz

What about you?  Any favorites not on this list?  Anyone know of some good German ancestry books?  Or Danish ancestry, for that matter?

Shared Clustering Tool and NodeXL– my mom’s match to her 4C

The other day I posted about how some of my Ancestry DNA matches looked on in the Shared Clustering Tool.  Today I’m comparing that same cousin — my 4th cousin 1 removed and my mom’s 4th cousin — against my Mom’s Ancestry DNA matches both in the Shared Clustering Tool and Node XL.

Cousin “Jane” (as I’ll call her) shares a set of 3rd great grandparents with my mom: Jacob Copple and Margaret (Blalock) Copple.  She shares 71 cM in 4 segments with my mom, according to Ancestry.  I can see 3 of those segments clustered in the Shared Clustering tool.  One segment appears to tie to matches with a Blalock/Blaylock in their tree and/or a segment on chromosome 9 (based on those matches who are also on 23andMe, FTDNA, MyHeritage or GedMatch).  A second segment matches another possible Blalock segment, likely on chromosome 13.  Finally, a third segment cluster is with matches whose MRCA is likely Jacob Copple’s parents (Philip Copple & Patsy Wright) or grandparents.

Mom_4C_LF_cluster3

The orange line vertical and horizontal (in both pictures) represents cousin “Jane”.  The three blue arrows above show the three main clusters she shares with Mom and with other matches of Mom’s.

Below is a zoomed-in look at the “chromosome 13” segment cluster.

Mom_4C_LF_cluster2

Below is the likely chromosome 9 cluster.  The blue labeling in the rows and columns represent matches who have a Blalock/Blaylock in their own trees.  (Of course, the shared DNA may be due to another family line altogether, but the evidence at this point seems to be hinting at Margaret Blalock’s line rather than her husband Jacob’s.)  

Mom_4C_LF_cluster4

Can I see three clusters for “Jane” using the Node XL tool?  Actually, yes, I can.  The Node XL tool is not as intuitive to use as the Shared Clustering tool, and I don’t know the algorithms behind either, but it’s reassuring when different clustering tools give somewhat similar answers!

Cousin “Jane” is highlighted in red.  She is based in the green group, and matches the hunter-green group, the chartreuse group, and a whole bunch of my mother’s matches in the gold group.  The Node XL clusters are limited to Mom’s matches of at least 15 cM.

Mom_4C_LF dewtru_NodeXL

I haven’t done enough research with the groups in the Node XL tool, but I was intrigued by “Jane’s” cluster.  It looked like there were actually two groups — and sure enough, there are two groups, as you can see below.  I’m not sure why the cluster was not split out in a definitive manner, as there is not a lot of crossover between them.

If you’ve used Node XL regularly, do you know why that might happen?  Perhaps it’s the algorithm used?

Finally, in addition to more study of Node XL, I need to run a clustering report on the Genetic Affairs tool, which I haven’t used much.  It would be interesting to see how “Jane” clusters with my mom’s closest matches using that tool.

Grp 4 NodeXL 20191019 using 20190820 Data

Happy First “Blog-i-versary”!

One year ago today I started this blog.  I had intended to write regularly — at least once a week — and I do, in fact, have 52 posts.  (Although I’ve arguably cheated a bit with my “Throwback Thursdays” series look at family photos, and my more recent “Copples in the News” series on Fridays. 

With one year under my belt, I thought I’d look at my blog stats.  What’s my most popular post?  How many people have visited, and from where?  Let’s see…

Here’s a graphic of all-time views and all-time individual visitors.  I have to see all these numbers are much higher than I expected since I’m primarily focused on my own family history and what I’m learning with DNA.

Blog Stats Views

What countries are they from?  I’m guessing WordPress counts spammers, too? (Not sure, but I suspect so.)

 

Blog Stats Countries1

Finally, my most viewed post (after the main page) was my review of the BU Genealogy Certificate class.  Fully 25% of the visitors to my blog this past year checked that out.  The next top 5 posts viewed all related to DNA — specifically clustering matches, Blaine Bettinger’s Shared cM Project (which is ongoing as of this writing), and 23andMe’s ethnicity update.

I haven’t kept up well with the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” series.  That’s okay.  It’s going to hold limited appeal — unless one of my ancestors is also yours.  The top-rated post in that series (which I did not do for a full 52 weeks!) was the very first one, featuring my maternal grandmother who died at the age of 26.  Fitting, really, because in many ways, it was the fact that my own mother knew fairly little about her that got me started in genealogy.

So, for the next year, while I’m still going to continue my “Copples in the News” series, and post more of my research, I will certainly post about what I learn by clustering my own matches, as well as those of my dad and my mom.  I hope it can help others.  We can all learn together! 

 

Thank you for reading, and here’s to another year of learning about our genes and our roots!

Ancestry’s Latest Ethnicity Update

Ancestry is apparently in the process of updating ethnicity percentages yet again.  I got an email today from them, and checked it out.  The change is not particularly significant for me, but keeps getting farther from the “truth” (i.e., my maternal grandfather was a 1st-generation American, born to 2 Italian immigrants.)  One of my male cousins on that side has done the Y-500 test at FTDNA; his haplogroup (which should also have been my grandfather’s) has deep roots in the Italian peninsula.

Here’s what it was as of the last change (September 2018), when my Italian was dropped from 19% to 3%:

Ancestry Cathy Ethnicity Old

That was the big shift.  The image below shows what it is now as of today.  What IS very much in line with my family history is the southern Ireland genetic communities, such as Co. Clare, Co. Limerick and Co. Kerry.  (The Irish ethnicity is all on my paternal side.)  The Germanic Europe and Northwestern Europe which appears to include Schleswig-Holstein is also in line with my maternal roots. 

It’s just the lack of Italian heritage — which shows up on FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, and GedMatch — is really my only quibble with Ancestry’s results.  (And it may be due to Ancestry’s customer population being heavily weighted towards persons of European ancestry who have (relatively) deep roots in North America.)

Ancestry Ethnicity Update 20191023

My mother and my brother apparently have not gotten their updates yet.  If you’ve tested at Ancestry, have you seen a recent update to your ethnicity?  If so, how did it change?

 

 

 

My DNA Traits at 23andMe (v3)… how accurate are they?

I rarely look at my traits and health data on 23andMe, but after reading Roberta Estes’ post the other day, I thought I would take a look at my own traits and see which predictions are accurate and which are less so.

Below is the first page, and on the whole, it’s accurate.  Yes, I can taste bitter — but I like it!

23andMe_Blog1

Here is the second page of traits.  These are less accurate, especially about the hair color!

23andMe_Traits2

I intend to do a separate post on the issue of red hair.  I suspect hair color (and eye color, for that matter) is more complicated than what I originally learned in sophomore biology class, long before the human genome was decoded.

Have you tested at 23andMe?  And, if so, did you find your predicted traits to be fairly accurate — or not so much?

Triangulation vs. “In Common With”

This question came up in one of the posts in Blaine Bettinger’s Facebook Group Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques, so I thought I’d give a quick example here that I refer to myself when I get confused.

A man with 3 children, who have all tested, has a match to a 2nd cousin (documented through now through both DNA and traditional genealogy).  He and the 2nd cousin share 11 segments of DNA.

It so happens that all 11 of those segments have passed down to those 3 children, which you can see in the illustration below.  Of those 11 segments shared by their father and his 2nd cousin, Child 1 inherited 4 segments.  Child 2 also inherited 4 segments — but an entirely different four segments than Child 1.  Child 3 inherited 7 of the 11 segments.

The inheritance and sharing is illustrated below, in data pulled from GedMatch.

Inheritance

For purposes of illustration, we’re setting aside the fact that generally, when triangulating to find a common ancestor, we don’t use two full-blooded siblings as 2 of the triangle legs; they are too closely related, and will triangulate on many segments.

That said, Child 1, Child 2 and their 2nd cousin once removed (2C1R) have DNA in common with each other, but no triangulated segments with their 2C1R.  This is because Child 1 shares DNA with 2C1R on chr 6, on chr 12 and 2 segments on chr 15, while Child 2 shares DNA with 2C1R

Child 1, Child 3 and their 2C1R have 3 triangulated segments: on chr 6, on chr 12, and 1 segment of chr 15.

Child 2, Child 3 and their 2C1R also have 3 triangulated segments: on chr 4, on chr 8, and on chr 18.

*******
And that is a quick overview of triangulation vs. in common with.

 

 

Ancestry ThruLines: Analysis of my mom’s lines

Yesterday I read Roberta Estes’ blog post on ThruLines, which you can read here.  It’s amazing how quickly she can research and walk you through new DNA tools that come to light!  I adopted my own version of her spreadsheet, a snippet of which you can find on that same blog post.  

Rather than focus on my own ThruLines, I focused on my mother’s ThruLines.  Here is the tree her DNA is linked to.  Note that I have not done any work on Mom’s paternal side (Italian lines) — but I do have the tree out to her 4 Italian great-grandparents.  I feel confident about Maria Bolognesi’s parents, and about Giuseppe Diamantini’s father.  The name Maddelena Serafini comes from another branch of the family, without attendant documentation, so it may or may not be correct.

Mom_Tree

Below is a screenshot of Mom’s closest ancestors who have ThruLines.  Note that Maria Bolognesi, her paternal grandmother, is missing. I have no idea why.  Mom’s closest match at Ancestry — after my sibling and I — is her paternal 1st cousin, who would likely share DNA with mom from both the Diamantini line AND the Bolognesi line.

ThruLineAncestors

Speculation on my part as to why Maria Bolognesi is missing is that there are 2 other DNA matches to Mom and her paternal 1st cousin (alias “Elena”) who match them on the Diamantini side.  Except for Mom’s siblings (who have not tested) and “Elena’s” sibs (who also haven’t tested), no other Bolognesi kin is known to be in the U.S.  Perhaps this is why Ancestry ThruLines are focusing on the Diamantini side??

Another possibility — again, this is speculation on my part — is that my mom and “Elena” share a relatively low amount of DNA (619 cM) for full-blooded first cousins.  The paperwork (birth certificates, marriage licenses, family tradition, family resemblances, etc.) indicates full first cousins, but Ancestry is treating them as half 1st cousins, presumably because of the amount of DNA shared (?).  Could that be why Ancestry has deemed them half 1st cousins, and thus ignored their shared grandmother?  (Both have the grandmother in their trees, so it’s not a lack of matching, as far as I can tell.)

ThruLines links Mom’s Serafini line specifically to one Ancestry member tree.  This particular member either has not done a DNA test, or simply does not match Mom at all.  However, this person has over 400 Serafini persons in their tree; it appears the tree includes all the Serafini families from one specific community in the Abruzzo region of Italy.  (Abruzzo borders the Adriatic Sea, and is just south of the Marche region, which is where my known Italian ancestors are from, and where known kin is living now.)

This Ancestry member’s tree with 400+ Serafini persons in it was a source tree for the tree created by the wife of a known second cousin to Mom on Mom’s Diamantini line.  No other sources (such as baptismal records, marriage records, censuses, etc.) are shown in either tree.  All 3 trees, though  — meaning Mom’s, the 400+ Serafini tree, and the 2nd cousin’s wife’s tree — have a “Maddelena Serafini”.  (She is married to someone different in each tree.)

The Abruzzo region connection with Serafini is intriguing; however, there is nothing else to go on, given no sources to review and validate for all of these names.  

Ancestry ThruLines, though, provides Mom with 42 potential new ancestors, 20 of whom are supposedly on her Serafini line (as shown below in the screenshot of Excel).  I say “no DNA matches on Ancestry to this line” referring to the fact that the trees Ancestry used to determine these 20 potential ancestors are trees of members who share no DNA with my mother.

Mom_PotentialAncestors

Below is the screenshot for how I  broke out Mom’s 254 possible ancestors through the 7th generation (through 5th great-grandparents).  Yes, her tree has a lot of blanks in it; 201 ancestors are not in her tree at all.  The bulk of those, though, are on her father’s Italian side.  By contrast, her most complete line is her 2nd great-grandfather Copple’s line, with only 5 persons missing from the tree.

Mom_ThruLines

So, the numbers that truly matter relate to the 53 ancestors who are in her tree.  Note that 20 ancestors have no known DNA matches in Ancestry; they are recently immigrated (late 1870’s) from Denmark — now Germany — and had small families with no living descendants today except for Mom, her kids and her grandkids.

The 3 missing ancestors are her paternal grandmother and parents of that grandmother.  Claus Clausen, Mom’s 4th great-grandfather and in her tree, was replaced by a Claus Clausen from a tree whose owner is not a DNA match.  Mary Addams in Mom’s tree was also replaced with another Ancestry member’s Mary Addams.  Mary was the likely stepmother of Mom’s direct ancestor, James Englehart, having married Samuel Englehart in Guernsey County, Ohio, some 5 years after James was born in Pennsylvania.

Regardless of her genetic relationship to us, Mary Addams was already in Mom’s tree, so it’s not clear why she was ignored in favor of someone else’s tree.

Moms53Ancestors

The 28 ancestors in Mom’s tree with DNA-match descendants are primarily the ancestors who have been in the United States the longest, since at least 1730 in some cases, to the best of my knowledge.  All of them are ancestors of my mother’s maternal grandmother, Hazel (Englehart) Holst. Hazel’s paternal grandmother, Hannah (Hill) Englehart, and Hazel’s maternal grandfather, Ben Franklin Copple, have the most-complete branches on Mom’s tree.  They are indicated by the blue check marks.

Many of these DNA matches also currently show up in my mom’s DNA circles for some of these same ancestors.  A number of the relationships I feel fairly confident about, having done my own documentation of the relationships involved. 

However, some of the trees used in these ThruLines I believe are incorrect — especially regarding Philip Copple, Mom’s 4th great granddad, who is, in many Ancestry trees, mixed up with his cousin Philip.  Both had daughters named Catherine, and named Margaret.  Assignment of the daughters to the fathers is, frankly, a mess!  (And it was a mess showing up in Shaky Leaf hints as well as the Philip Copple circle.)

HillLineCoppleLine

The bottom line is that I see a flood of Serafini potential ancestors, which would be awesome if I actually do some Italian research and trace my (reported) Serafini line.  Maybe that 400+ Serafini tree does have accurate — if undocumented — information.

I also know I cannot trust ThruLines any more than I trusted DNA circles or shaky leaf Shared Ancestor Hints.

And I suspect I will find similar issues when I explore my dad’s ThruLines shortly.

All that said, I saved the best for last…. thank to ThruLines, I just found out that possibly one more of Jacob Copple’s 7 children (who lived to adulthood and had descendants) may actually have a descendant alive today who also DNA-tested and matches Mom!!  I will be working to validate this match’s tree if I cannot connect with the person.  (See below.) I had thought Milton’s descendants were all deceased by the 1940’s.  If this proves out, 6 of the 7 children who had descendants (and 6 of 9 who lived to adulthood) not only tested but match Mom.   

This matters to me because Libby Copple was my original brick wall; oral history indicated she was a “Copple”.  It has only been with DNA testing that her likely father, Ben, and his family have been revealed.

JacobCopple

Cite/link to this post: Cathy M. Dempsey, “Ancestry ThruLines: Analysis of my mom’s lines” Genes and Roots, posted 12 Mar 2019 (https://genesandroots.com : accessed (date)).

 

23andMe Ethnicity Update

If you’ve tested at 23andMe, have you checked out your ethnicity results lately? 

In a recent post[1], Judy Russell mentioned 23andMe’s latest ethnicity update, which somehow I missed completely!

Naturally, I had to go check it out, fearing a bit that my ethnicity percentages might be “messed up”.  Even though I know they are estimates, 23andMe has for some time had the percentages closest to what would be expected by my family narrative.  My dad is “all Irish”; my mom is “half Italian” due to her father being from Italy.  Et cetera, et cetera.

23andme_ethnicity

Very little has changed in my ethnicity percentages.   Here, I’ve noted in an Excel spreadsheet my former ethnicities per 23andMe (as of November 2018) and my current ones as of today when I reviewed the changes.

What is interesting, though, is that they seems to have taken a page from Ancestry’s “genetic communities” playbook, and zeroed in on specific areas in Ireland, Britain and Italy where my ancestors possibly lived in the past 200 years.

Let’s take a look.  We’ll start with Ireland.  On my paper trail, both my dad’s parents have Irish roots.  My paternal grandfather’s family left Ireland, depending on the branch of his tree, around the time of the Famine and shortly after – say, the 1850 to 1865 range.  My great-great grandfather, Patrick Dempsey, reportedly came from Kings County (now Co. Offaly) – per his obituary.  I don’t have more details than that.  His wife Hanora Hurley (or is it Hanora Riordan) – whom he married in the U.S. — may have come from anywhere in southern Ireland.  Best guess is Co. Cork or Co. Limerick.  On my grandfather’s maternal line, her father’s Lamburth ancestors likely came from England, while her mother Eliza (Landrigan) Lamburth came from the town of Garryrickin, Windgap Parish, Co. Kilkenny.[2]

My paternal grandmother’s father came from Athea, Co. Limerick, as did his father, while his mother came from Cooraclare, Co. Clare.  My grandmother’s mother came from Athea, Co. Limerick, as did her father, with her mother coming from Beale, Co. Kerry.[3]

In sum, my Irish heritage on my Nana’s side is from the province of Munster, specifically southwest of Ireland, around the River Shannon, while my Grandpa’s Irish heritage is from the province of Leinster, specifically Co. Kilkenny and Co. Offaly.

And 23andMe’s ethnicity determination – for the moment at least – largely agrees.[4]

23andme_irishethnicity

County Kerry, County Clare, County Limerick and County Kilkenny are all in the top 10.

As far as Great Britain/the U.K. is concerned, I have no idea where my ancestors came from.  My paternal grandfather’s Lamburth line, here in the U.S. since at least 1800, likely came from England but none of us researching this line have yet “crossed the pond”.  My mother’s maternal grandmother’s Wright line has been here in the U.S. since at least 1730 or so; researchers on this line have not yet crossed the pond either.  Here is what 23andMe estimates[5]:

23andme_ukethnicityPerhaps these areas could be clues, but it would be silly to jump ahead of myself and start researching Wrights and Lamburth/Lamberts over in England without knowing more about the family here in the U.S. in the 18th century.  The references to Scotland surprise me a bit, but could be related to the Gaelic / Celtic heritage of my Irish side.

With respect to Italy, my grandfather’s parents came from the province of Marche.  My great-grandfather was from Fano, and my great-grandmother was from Sant’Elpidio a Mare[6].  Some of us in my family have even gone to Marche and met our living cousins – that’s a story for another blog post.

Here is what 23andMe estimates[7]

23andme_marche_ancestryPretty wild, huh?  Marche!!  Still have to take it with a grain of salt – my brother’s estimated places of origin in Italy are completely different from mine – but still, right now, today, it “fits”.

 

 

[1] Judy G. Russell, “And still not soup…,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 27 Jan 2019 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 28 Jan 2019).

[2] For sources, see cathymd, “Dempsey Family Tree“, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/17377380/family : accessed 26 Dec 2018).

[3] Ibid.

[4] 23andMe, Inc., “Cathy, your DNA suggests that 56.8% of your ancestry is British & Irish”, 23andMe.com (https://you.23andme.com/reports/ancestry_composition_hd/british_irish/ : accessed 29 Jan 2019).

[5] 23andMe, Inc., “Cathy, your DNA suggests that 56.8% of your ancestry is British & Irish”, 23andMe.com (https://you.23andme.com/reports/ancestry_composition_hd/british_irish/ : accessed 29 Jan 2019).

[6] For sources, See cathymd, “Serafini_Diamantini1“ tree, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/19505554/family : accessed 29 Jan 2019).

[7] 23andMe, Inc., “Cathy, your DNA suggests that 12.6% of your ancestry is Italian”, 23andMe.com (https://you.23andme.com/reports/ancestry_composition_hd/italian/ : accessed 29 Jan 2019).

NodeXL Clustering for Mom’s Ancestry matches

I posted my dad’s NodeXL clustering results a few weeks back (here).  As promised, now I am posting my mom’s NodeXL clustering results, focusing on just a few of the most intriguing (puzzling?) aspects.  (You can read a step-by-step how-to on using NodeXL to cluster your Ancestry matches here, at Shelley Crawford’s blog.)

Mom’s matches for this clustering exercise were limited to those with 15 cM or greater shared; it simply gets too cluttered if I include everybody down to 6 cM.

Also in the photo below I have turned off the display for all clusters with less than 4 people.  (NodeXL’s algorithms will cluster in groups of two, while other algorithms like Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering tool use three as a minimum.)  

mom_clustering_mostgroups

Let’s look first at “Group 13”, the cluster at the bottom in navy blue that looks like 2 separate clusters to me.  (I don’t fully understand how the algorithm works.)  Below is group 13, zoomed in and with inter-group links turned off so you can look at the cluster itself more closely.  Clearly, only one match links to both halves of this group.  So, they’re not related as closely as one might think.  

mom_clustering_grp13

The additional photos below bear out that theory.  On the left, “Cousin X” is highlighted; you can see that “X” shares a match with only 2 people (in addition to my mom).  On the right, “Cousin B” is highlighted.  “Cousin B” only matches others in the one subcluster, and nobody in the other subcluster.

Another group that looks intriguing is one to my mom’s cousin “Sally Sue” (alias) who is fairly closely related to Mom.  (You can tell she is more closely related to my mom by the size of the blue square.  These matches look like a hub and spokes.  “Sally Sue” is in the middle with the largest square; the others are more distantly related to my mother.  (As an aside, the option to size the squares or dots by the shared cM amount is available in the NodeXL tool, but is not automatic.)

“Sally Sue’s” group, shown below with the outside links removed, is one in which she matches every single person in her cluster, but each of them only matches her (or, not shown, at least one person in a different cluster.)  

mom_clustering_hub and spokes

The last cluster that is intriguing is shown below.  This cousin, let’s call her Jane, appears to be in the “wrong” cluster.  While she does have matches in her own cluster, she has many more matches in a different cluster. 

mom_clustering_1cousin_whyingrp7

One reason this might happen is that Jane and Mom could share DNA on, say, chromosome 1 (possibly with others in her group); the cousins in the other cluster could share DNA with mom on, say, chromosome 9, and then share DNA with Jane on chromosome 4.  We don’t know for sure, since we don’t have segment info.

However, since clustering my mother’s matches in NodeXL and starting the draft of this post, I used Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering tool, which groups “Jane” with the cluster where she has most of her matches. 

On the face of it, that makes more sense.  However, seeing “Jane” in a separate group (as below) could be useful for realizing that she may be connected on a different ancestral to my mother than the bulk of her matches.  This suggests I need to be careful in analyzing Jane’s tree and ancestral surnames, vis-a-vis the matches in the other cluster.  

In fact, I am finding that it is useful to cluster your shared DNA matches with more than one tool, as each uses different algorithms.  (More on other clustering methods in a later post.)

Ancestry, Ancestry, how does my garden (of DNA matches) grow?

At the end of each month, I use the DNAGedcom client to download my matches from Ancestry, as well as those of my father, my mother and (one of) my sibling(s).

Here are our 4th cousin level (generally, 20.0 cM or more total  DNA shared) and our total match counts as of December 30, 2018.   My dad has nearly twice as many total matches as my mom, likely because of his 100% Ireland/British Isles ancestry, while mom’s father, a 1st-generation American hails from the Marche region of Italy.  Not much DNA testing going on with that side of her family.

ancestrymatchcounts

Notice, however, that even though my mom’s total matches is roughly half that of dad’s, she has almost as many 4th cousin level matches as he does.

Let’s take a look at a few of the numbers, percentage-wise.   You can see that my dad and my sibling are tracking at the same ratio of 4th cousin level matches to total matches.  My percentage is a bit smaller, but mom’s 4th cousins are just over 3% of her total matches.

ancestrymatchtrends

I suspect the reason for Mom’s higher percentage of 4th cousin matches is due to the fact that she has 4 great-great grandparents whose ancestors have been in the United States since the 18th century.  Dad, on the other hand, has only 2 great-great grandparents who have been in the U.S. since the 18th century.

How fast have the numbers grown over the years?  It will vary for each person who does a DNA test with Ancestry.  In general, if you are of European heritage, and you have many colonial ancestors, you will have a lot of matches, and a lot of matches at the 4th cousin level or closer.   On the other hand, if you have ancestors that immigrated to the U.S. in the 20th century (as I do, and my mom does), you’ll have proportionately fewer matches.

That said, the number of my matches increases daily!  I’ve been averaging more than 17 new matches per day in the last 3 years.  My dad (not shown here) is averaging over 31 new matches per day in the last 3 years.  I suspect those with extended colonial roots have an even greater number of matches coming in, as more and more people test.

cathy_ancestrymatcheschange

Have you taken a recent look at your match totals?