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



My McMahon DNA Breakthrough

A DNA whirlwind of discoveries

I am researching two very common names on my maternal side, McMahon and McNamara, the place, Clare, Ireland. After searching through wills, land records, civil war records, death, baptism, cemetery records, tombstones in Canada. I was no closer to where in Clare they were from.

Once the Catholic records went on-line I searched through them but was still lost, the index, once it was finished, gave me my suspicions. My McMahon family had a total of eight children, three shortly before journeying to Canada in 1851, Matilda (1844), John (1846) and Mary Ann (1849). Matilda not being the most common of names was the focus, and once I found a possible baptism I started searching for siblings. I was able to find potential records, but that’s all they are potential. The location was O’Callaghan’s Mills in Clare.

I was stumped and so I set it aside, focusing on other lines.

A little later I searched through matches my mother had at Ancestry for people with the surname McMahon. I started looking to see if there were on-line trees and sure enough there was a tree with the McMahon surname and the location for this family was, you got it, O’Callaghan’s Mills. Ok, time to make contact and I received a reply, which is almost a success in itself! After messaging on Ancestry back and forth, I asked the question, Would you upload to Gedmatch? At Gedmatch I have uploaded the DNA of seven people who descend from three sons of Michael McMahon. Gedmatch is my go-to place for matching. The reply, Not at this time. Although disappointed I set it aside, but was left wondering.

Another relative tested at Ancestry, another match to this person, another message sent to inform her of this match.

Yesterday, it all began. She messaged me to let me know she has uploaded to Gedmatch. All day I kept checking, I stayed up until midnight….her DNA was still processing.

I hurried out of bed this morning and checked Gedmatch and it was all there. This person matches a descendant of all THREE of the McMahon brothers. Did you hear that…? She is a match to all of the third cousins that have tested!



The new match the top row, my McMahon the rest


Edward McMahon descendant – one tested – a match
Cornelius McMahon – five tested – all match
Michael McMahon – two tested – all match

This match is a first-generation American, her father was born in O’Callaghan’s Mills!

Twenty-years for me, (longer for some of the other people in our family) to find a location in Ireland and one Gedmatch upload is all it took.

Without a doubt, there is a connection between our families. Now, the digging begins as she has both the surname McMahon and McNamara in her tree too!

I end this with GEDMATCH – GEDMATCH – GEDMATCH – upload, upload, upload!

Gedmatch – Quick Tip

Exploring our DNA matches is so much fun. A quick tip when looking at your one-to-many matches at Gedmatch change the selection to the X on the page and see who is matching you on your X Chromosome.

The X has a different inheritance pattern if you are a man you received your X solely from your mother. A female will receive 2, one from her father and one from her mother. It is a different way to explore your matches!


I also recommend more reading about X -Inheritance here (plus there are helpful charts to download).

Let me know if you make any new discoveries!

1926 Canadian Census to be Released this Year

92 years ago there was a census taken in Western Canada, the 1926 census is due to be released this year. The census covered the Western Provinces of Canada; Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The census was taken on June 1, 1926, more information on the census can be found on the Government of Canada website. 

Wikipedia reports the population of Canada in 1926 was 9,451,000, but it doesn’t state what the population was in those three provinces.


I am still looking for the information that was asked in this census. I also have not been able to uncover the release date for the census.

In preparation, I am creating a list of surnames and places that will be of interest for my family history.

My search will include the following surnames:

Harrop – Balcarres, Saskatchewan, Alberta & Manitoba
Stewart – Yorkton, Saskatchewan
McRae – Alberta

My husband’s family –

Greber – Saskatchewan
Hawkesworth – Alberta
Hodgson – Saskatchewan
Schinkle – Manitoba
Schielke – Manitoba & Saskatchewan
Whitman – Saskatchewan & Alberta
Wiesner – Saskatchewan & Manitoba

And who knows who else will show up once I begin hunting!

Do you think it will be indexed upon release or shortly thereafter? I checked the Library and Archives website but I didn’t find any mention of the release date or if there is an indexing project in place.

I would recommend in preparation for the census release creating your own list, and share it!

Who will you be searching for?

Crafting My Genealogy

I recently joined a group on Facebook called GAACR (Genealogy Arts and Crafts Room) where there are regular posts about creating arts and crafts using our ‘stuff’.

One item caught my eye, it was an old used envelope that was enlarged and framed. The original post had been found on Pinterest and shared with members of the group. I knew that this was something I wanted to try.

I looked through my files and picked an envelope and a few postcards. I scanned them at a high resolution, 3,000 dpi along the longest side. The large scan is needed so the image doesn’t get fuzzy upon enlarging. My first scan I made into a TIFF file and then duplicated as a JPEG which is the file type usually needed for when ordering.

Here are the envelopes/postcards I chose from my collection.

Envelope to jack

Envelope addressed to my grandfather, 1925



The back of the postcard that my grandfather sent to his sister when he was in Ireland after WWI, 1919



Postcard sent from my grandmother to my grandfather when they were dating, 1924


postcard C Coffey001 copy 2

Postcard sent from William Jordan to his niece Christine Coffey, 1916

The next step was to upload them to a photograph ordering site, I used London Drugs. Make sure do to watch for automatic cropping that some of these sites do. I have often found that the automatic cropping will cut off my pictures in odd spots. The size I enlarged to was 12 x 18 and the cost per print, $14.98.

My hardest decision was picking the frames, that took me three trips to the store! The frames were purchased at Michaels where you can often buy an item and get a second one for a reduced price. If you break your purchases up into two separate trips you can reduce the cost of your frames.

I am quite pleased with the results and have hung the pictures in my living room, they are a great conversation piece.


I think there may be room for a couple more!