Uncovering Dad’s Ethnicity Without Dad

So much buzz in the DNA world with DNA Day sales yesterday, and then 23andMe allowed Ancestry uploads, well only if you live in the USA but still it created some excitement.

This had me review the reports at 23andMe, years ago I had my brother take their DNA test, as I like to fish in all the pools. I recently tested my mother at that site as I wanted to take advantage of some of the utilities they provide when you add in a parent. My dad passed away in 2008 and I did get his DNA tested at Family Tree DNA but I cannot add his DNA to any site that doesn’t allow uploads.

A feature that people have been talking about at 23andMe is the Ethnicity tool which is quite good if you have a lot of mixture in your ancestry. Our family is mostly Irish and it is a broad category at 23andMe but there are some cool things you can see, even if you have only one parent tested.Screen_Shot_2018-04-26_at_1_52_44_PM_1This view shows that my mother and my brother and would like me to connect my father, which I cannot do.

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This next view shows my mother’s ethnicity on the right and what’s left over, so my dad! A very exciting thing for those that cannot test one parent.

*this is not a complete picture of Dad, it is the portion of DNA from dad that is passed to my brother.

Another interesting thing 23andMe does is break it down where on your Chromosome these pieces of ethnicity are showing up.

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And if you click on say the French/German in the table on the right it will highlight that portion of the chart – Screen_Shot_2018-04-26_at_1_53_44_PM

So my brother’s itty-bitty French-German ancestry appears for him on Chromosome 12. If I have someone who matches him at that spot I could explore the fact that they may fall into our Stickle line.

This is a fun exercise that I can also take a step further by downloading the ethnicity report and adding it into DNA Painter.

And it has made me decide to take a 23andMe test to see my comparison with my mother and brother.

PS. 23andMe is having a sale on kits right now, buy two and get the third one free in time for Mother’s Day!

Fairview, BC is No More

As with most genealogists, a trip for me anywhere is an opportunity to do some exploring in your family tree.

My kids are away this weekend swimming and no parents other than chaperones it meant a free weekend for my husband and me. With our corner of Alberta still blanketed in snow, we decided to find some better scenery. A trip to Osoyoos, BC was planned, an oasis to our eyes after so many months of beautiful but never-ending white landscape

Yesterday we landed in Kelowna and with a free-schedule, I convinced him to wait for the Kelowna Library to open before heading to our destination. I had some Harrop family members in the area and I wanted to see what I could find. It took 20 minutes to look them up in the newspaper on microfilm.

Microfilm reader at the Kelowna Library

Microfilm reader at the Kelowna Library

 

Next stop was Oliver. I have written before about my mom’s ancestor James Stewart who ran a store in Hedley, BC from 1908-1920 (approx. dates) but before James was in Hedley his store was located in the town of Fairview, BC. I had not tracked down where exactly the community of Fairview was located on previous visits. A quick stop at the Visitors Centre in Oliver and we were on our way. We were directed to follow the Fairview Road that cuts through the heart of Oliver (and right past the Oliver Archives I might add).

We traveled up the windy trail and found the Kiosk that marks the spot on the landscape where this mining town had once thrived.

The Fairview information Kiosk and the amazing view

The history of Fairview and the area was told on the panels. Fairview was a booming mining town that boasted to be the biggest city north of San Francisco in its heyday (the early 1900s).

A map of Fairview showing the location of some of the businesses

 

The history told at the kiosk describes a thriving community until the gold “played out” around 1906. A great reason for my 2x great uncle to close up shop and move to the next booming mine town of Hedley.

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Location of the Fairview Presbyterian Church stood at the old Fairview, BC townsite

 

 

A short 20 km drive down the road and we had arrived at Osoyoos, a favourite place for us to visit.

And last night I was enjoying our spectacular view from our balcony in Osoyoos.

Last Day of Our Mom & Daughter Road Trip

We spent time at the Flamborough Archives located in the Waterdown Library. Here we were helped two wonderful volunteers who brought out land books from the back shelves. We found the entries for William Stewart who was on Con 5 Lot 5 & Lot 8. As well we looked up the McGowan family whose connection to us is through William’s wife Mary Loftus. Other surnames on the radar were Kenny and Doyle so we had a look at them as well. All these families lived on the Brock Rd. in West Flamborough, Wentworth Co. This area had such a heavy concentration of Irish settlers and that it was dubbed “Little Ireland”. The 1840s-1850s  when the William Stewart’s family was living in the area means there are few records to be found outside of census, church and land records but it was great to visit the Archives after communicating via email over the years.

Another stop on our adventures was to pay respects at the grave of John McMahon. John was a deaf-mute who I wrote about, a brother to Michael, Cornelius and Edward he spent over 30 years institutionalized in the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital. A chilly walk through the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Section ‘S’ left us saddened that John’s his final resting spot was not marked.

It felt so important to me to make this journey to remember him.

We also made sure to visit what remains of the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital John’s home for so many years. (here we tried out the selfie stick, I think we need some lessons)

 

The trip has been fantastic, met family, toured Ontario and most importantly spent an amazing week one on one with my mom!

Shoutout goes to my husband who is at home managing work and kids. I am guessing he is already planning his next golf trip!

Cheers!u3%t3T6ZSUGvE0pH6JKrEA

 

Off on a Genealogy Research Trip

I am leaving in a couple of days to attend Blaine Bettinger’s DNA talk hosted by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. I will be bringing my mother and after the 2 days of learning, we are embarking on a road-trip to locations in Ontario where her family lived.

Where do we go?

Narrowing down the places to visit in under a week is going to be very difficult. We do plan to meet one of her 3rd cousins who is still residing on their original McMahon farm. Although this is not the home of my mother’s ancestor Cornelius who settled in Ayton, Ontario, it was the home of Cornelius’ brother Michael who settled in Windham Twp, Norfolk, Co.

Dundas, Hamilton, Ontario

This is where William Stewart married widow Mary Loftus in 1846 so it is on the list. The couple farmed in West Flamborough and we also plan to visit the Archives and see the area.

Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital

Where John McMahon who was deaf and dumb lived for over 30 years, yup plan to visit. John is buried in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery so we will be paying our respects.

Orchardville Cemetery

Michael McMahon, mom’s 2x great-grandfather is buried here along with his son Cornelius (her great-grandfather) and Cornelius’ son Michael who died at the age of 18.

Ayton Union Cemetery

Cornelius’ brother Edward McMahon who was a Civil War veteran is buried here and Cornelius has a second headstone in this cemetery.

Historical Meeting

We also may get a chance to meet Bob McIntee who I have corresponded with for years. I wouldn’t have been able to get very far in researching the McMahon and Stewart families without his help.

Also, he is a descendant of the McIntee who was in the cart that over-turned and resulted in the death of Cornelius’ McMahon in 1893. I don’t think we will go for a drive together…

What I wish we could add in…

What is really hard is knowing what we won’t have time to do.

  1. Visit Mary Potter & George Mordy’s grave in Ramsey, Lanark Co. Mary is our direct maternal line and we have yet to find her parents.
  2. Go to Huntley, Carleton County where her Hodgins and Mordy families settled in the 1820s.
  3. Spend time doing research at the various Archives along the way

We are packing a lot in for such a short span of time. Do you see why I need to move to Ontario?!

Ethnicity Reports in Your DNA Do Offer Genealogy Clues

I have already done DNA testing on my mother and her brother. Both tested at Family Tree DNA and I really have been one to ignore the Ethnicity reports. But read on as there are clues given in those reports that can be very telling.

I recently asked my mother’s sister to also take a DNA test. Overkill? Well, maybe but I did hear from DNA experts that to get a better picture of the parents it is worthwhile to get three siblings to test if you are able. My mother has four siblings that are still with us so I was very pleased that her sister agreed to take the test.

I decided to test with Ancestry, and not because of the amazing analysis features offered, but because of the number of testers they have, 7 million! My aunt’s results arrived and nothing jumped out at me at first but yesterday I was looking at her matches and there was a group that wasn’t matching her siblings. I looked at each match individually to see if they had trees and sure enough there were two trees that caught my attention. The surname Stickle/Stickles appeared in their trees. STICKLE – are you really kidding me?

Anna Eliza Stickle was my mother’s great-grandmother, we know very little about her before she was in Canada. Anna and her husband Lewis had three children in the USA before settling in Etobicoke, Ontario. The family first appears in the 1852 Canadian census, further information was gleaned on the family from the 1861 census which asked married during the year and the enumerator actually put the year of marriage! 1836.

Anna married Lewis Harrop from Manchester, England, the couple moved to Canada between 1843-1849, as their son John was born in N.Y. in ’43 and daughter Mary in Canada in ’49. William Lewis was their last child and my ancestor.

Lewis died in 1861 and is buried at St. George’s-On-The-Hill Cemetery in Islington with no headstone to mark his grave. Anna remained a widow the rest of her life. Anna Eliza lived with her family until her passing in 1907 in Orangeville, Dufferin Co., Ontario.

For years descendants of Anna have been on a search for her family. Now DNA is pointing us in a direction. The Stickle DNA matches that have trees show the family lived in Dutchess, New York and the origins of the Stickles before coming to the USA is Amsterdam!!

How exciting, after years and I mean years of researching Irish records I now have a new place to explore and learn about.

A peek at my Aunts ethnicity report also seems to support her inheriting more of Anna Stickle’s DNA  –Screen_Shot_2018-03-16_at_7_52_53_PM_1

 

The New York Settlers ethnicity breakdown is NOT found in either her sister or brother’s DNA results!

Next, I will be researching the locations that the DNA matches have for their Stickle/s family in New York. I hope they have good Methodist records for B/M/D. Seriously though, how cool – Amsterdam!

A new place to add to my list of locations for a ‘family holiday’, good thing my kids don’t read my blog!

And I will be paying a little closer attention to the Ethnicity reports in the future! And test your Aunts and Uncles they may have the clue you need.

Triangulating DNA With MyHeritage

This weekend at Rootstech MyHeritage introduced a new option to view your DNA matches.

To get started (assuming you have already uploaded your DNA for FREE to their site) hover over the DNA tab at the top of the page and select Chromosome Browser.Screen_Shot_2018-03-04_at_11_33_04_AM

You will get to this page where you can start selecting your matches. Once you make a selection they will be added to the top bar. You can select up to seven people for comparison.Screen_Shot_2018-03-04_at_11_33_58_AM

Your chromosomes laid out in a graph style. If your matches also match each other at the same location MyHeritage will highlight this for you by circling it.

*Please take note that MyHeritage has the default set at 2 cM, you will want to change this to 8 cM to get a clearer picture and eliminate noise created by those smalled segment matches.Screen_Shot_2018-03-04_at_11_30_56_AM_1

These are great new tools and I hope more of the testing companies will get on board with offering more options for exploring our DNA matches.

Well done My Heritage!

A Name Gone, but Not Forgotten

This week is Favorite Names prompted by Amy Johnson Crow.

Melody is a surname that my family would not let die, a homage to our petit but feisty ancestress Bridget Melody. She was born in 1864 in Galway, Ireland to parents Michael Melody and Dorothy Guinnessy/McGuinness. Her parents would have experienced first-hand the Irish Potatoe Famine and Bridget would have grown up in a community still recovering from the tragedy.

 

Bridget’s family likely thought there were opportunities for her further afield. In 1879 she traveled solo (as far as we know) to Canada and settled as a domestic in the home of a Scottish merchant.

Bridget was married in 1887 to Samuel Dever in Montreal. When their sixth child arrived in 1897 they passed on Bridget’s maiden name to him, John Melody Dever. (It is possible he was named after Bridget’s grandfather, more research to be done on that).

Bridget had five siblings survive to adulthood but she is the only one that had children. Her descendants have kept the Melody name alive, at the last count, there are twelve descendants carrying the name. Four generations later, the name is alive and well and I am guessing we aren’t done.

The Melody family is not forgotten because we choose to remember.

Bridget Melody-1.

Bridget Melody c1887