Author Topic: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?  (Read 1242 times)

Offline jillruss

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,408
  • Gt Gt Grandfather Shepherd from Aberdeen 1827-1910
    • View Profile
Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« on: Sunday 18 March 18 16:33 GMT (UK) »
I think I need input from Rootschatters with more experience than me of all that DNA tests entail. Can DNA matches prove something that lack of documentation can't?

My gt grandmother Beatrice was illegitimate. She was born in 1870 in Great Marlow, Bucks, only mother's name (Eliza) on the birth certificate. I've looked for a Bastardy Order or something similar without success and, anyway, on the 1871 census Eliza's parents were passing Beatrice off as another of their own children rather than their granddaughter so probably never asked for any official financial maintenance. Eliza would only have been 15 when she gave birth.

I had wondered if the man Eliza married 7 years later might have been the father but he was even younger so unlikely though not impossible.

When my DNA matches came in, I contacted a North American lady (Lady 1) who was managing her husband's results. There was no tree but we had a 'very high confidence' of being 4th-6th cousins. I opened my tree to her and she studied it in vain. She's obviously a lady after my own heart and doesn't give up easily. We exchanged possible locations and surnames, but all to no avail.

Then I discovered that we also shared a match ('high confidence 4th-6th cousins) with another lady from North America (Lady 2). She has a small tree on Ancestry and, when I mentoned this 3rd match and that one of her few locations in UK was Great Marlow and a chap called James Aldridge to her, the original lady replied that she had already identified that Aldridge as the match between her husband and Lady 2.

This has set me off - very excitedly - thinking that Aldridge could be my missing link and the natural father of my gt grandmother! Add to the equation that James Aldridge's son Thomas was the same age as Eliza and on the 1871 census lived less than a mile from her in Gt Marlow, I surely must be onto something?

For the experts:

My match with Lady 1's husband is  46 centimorgans across 3 DNA segments
My match with Lady 2 is                  33 centimorgans across 2 DNA segments

I've tried to make the above as clear as possible. Its the first time I've tried to establish a connection purely via DNA with very little documentation - but does it stand up?

Jill
BRICKWALL - WILLIAM HORWOOD bn c.1779 in or near Berks. N.B. NOT s/o William & Joanna in Waltham St Lawrence.

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Jill Eaton

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 18 March 18 19:12 GMT (UK) »
Can DNA matches prove something that lack of documentation can't?


I very much hope so Jill since I'm in a similar situation. I can feel the answer is sooo close but I can't prove it with a paper trail though I'm not giving up yet.
Davis - Berkshire & London
Sutcliffe - Yorkshire & London
Harrington - Ireland and London
Fuller - Cambridgeshire and Essex
Waldron/Waldren - Devon & London
Frisby and Lee - Leicestershire
Hollingsworth - Essex
Williams - Ireland? and London
Ellis, Reed & Temple - London
Lane - ?
Surplice - Cambridgeshire
Elwood - Cambridgeshire

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline jillruss

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,408
  • Gt Gt Grandfather Shepherd from Aberdeen 1827-1910
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 18 March 18 19:57 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Jill.

Given the lack of a paper trail and the liklihood that nothing exists anyway, I'm really wondering if the DNA link can stand up on its own.

Actually, I suppose I do have some kind of a paper trail in that they lived so close to each other on the 1871 census - about 6 months after the birth.

And surely the fact that it is backed up by two different DNA matches strengthens the argument?

Its so ingrained in us to seek documental evidence that the idea of a DNA match seems quite nebulous - if that's the right word! I suppose we need to retrain our brains!!

I'm certainly going to try and follow this Aldridge line back though I doubt any more info will be relevant to my gt grandmother. First thing to ascertain is whether Thomas Aldridge emigrated to Canada with the rest of his family between 1871 and 1881. I may wander over to the Canada Board and seek assistance!!

Jill
BRICKWALL - WILLIAM HORWOOD bn c.1779 in or near Berks. N.B. NOT s/o William & Joanna in Waltham St Lawrence.

Offline Jill Eaton

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 19 March 18 12:39 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Jill.


Its so ingrained in us to seek documental evidence that the idea of a DNA match seems quite nebulous - if that's the right word! I suppose we need to retrain our brains!!


Jill

And yet documentary evidence isn't a guarantee of "The truth"
My illegitimate gt grandmother was married twice. On both her marriage certificates it says
father: Edward Lane. Lighterman.

I spent ages looking for this person. I've never been able to identify him. On her birth certificate the
name of the father is left blank. Mary Ann was either told that this was her father's name or she made up his name. Either way - it doesn't appear to be the truth.

DNA matches have already started to give me more leads then I could ever find using documentation. Mary Ann was born in the workhouse and the records for the years either side of her birth are no longer extant. Even her mother, given as Hannah Lane on her birth certificate may be spurious. I'm not convinced she was called Hannah.
Davis - Berkshire & London
Sutcliffe - Yorkshire & London
Harrington - Ireland and London
Fuller - Cambridgeshire and Essex
Waldron/Waldren - Devon & London
Frisby and Lee - Leicestershire
Hollingsworth - Essex
Williams - Ireland? and London
Ellis, Reed & Temple - London
Lane - ?
Surplice - Cambridgeshire
Elwood - Cambridgeshire

Offline medpat

  • RootsChat Senior
  • ****
  • Posts: 426
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #4 on: Monday 19 March 18 12:56 GMT (UK) »
This will show what you can do with DNA results. A story making headlines today about a child left to die 80 years ago

http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-43420678
Lloyd, Paddock, Cooper, Morris, Darby, Rigby, Platt, Armstrong. All based in West Midlands

GEDmatch M157477

Offline DavidG02

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 1,881
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #5 on: Monday 19 March 18 13:10 GMT (UK) »
I think its a great question. It will draw fire from all over. I understand that is not the intention and you are seeking answers to a specific search but it goes to the heart of why people do or do not trust DNA

I have always approached my DNA search by understanding that the paper record should help confirm a match. It should never be used to deny a match, as the DNA is intrinsically inside us and the paper records can be manipulated , as noted , above.

In saying that if I have a close match , as I tend to be ambivalent (for now) those more distant matches , then I shall try and pursue the paper match and look for the connection. if I cant/dont find the connection then I dont dismiss the DNA record. To me it means my search needs to take a different approach.

I also recognise even close matches can mean a side shift in thinking. I had a match and the connection ended up being 2 sisters who emigrated to Australia at different times and started families in different states. ie the connection was their parents in Scotland.

To answer the question at its most basic. Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA? Yes of course. The proof is in the DNA connection. The provided strength will determine the level

Genealogy-Its a family thing

Paternal: Gibbins,McNamara, Jenkins, Schumann,  Inwood, Sheehan, Quinlan, Tierney, Cole, Tresidder, Armstrong.

Maternal: Munn, Simpson , Brighton, Clayfield, Westmacott, Corbell, Hatherell, Blacksell/Blackstone, Boothey , Muirhead

Bull, Kneebone, Lehmann, Cronin, Fowler, Yates, Biglands, Rix, Carpenter, Pethick, Carrick, Male, London, Jacka, Tilbrook, Scott, Hampshire, Buckley

Brickwalls-   Schumann, Scott, Cronin
Gedmatch Kit : T812072

Offline jillruss

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,408
  • Gt Gt Grandfather Shepherd from Aberdeen 1827-1910
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 19 March 18 14:41 GMT (UK) »
I think its a great question. It will draw fire from all over. I understand that is not the intention and you are seeking answers to a specific search but it goes to the heart of why people do or do not trust DNA

I have always approached my DNA search by understanding that the paper record should help confirm a match. It should never be used to deny a match, as the DNA is intrinsically inside us and the paper records can be manipulated , as noted , above.

In saying that if I have a close match , as I tend to be ambivalent (for now) those more distant matches , then I shall try and pursue the paper match and look for the connection. if I cant/dont find the connection then I dont dismiss the DNA record. To me it means my search needs to take a different approach.

I also recognise even close matches can mean a side shift in thinking. I had a match and the connection ended up being 2 sisters who emigrated to Australia at different times and started families in different states. ie the connection was their parents in Scotland.

To answer the question at its most basic. Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA? Yes of course. The proof is in the DNA connection. The provided strength will determine the level

This is more or less the conclusion I'm slowly coming to as well but its so hard to accept when there is no documentation. The very moving story that medpat mentioned succeeded mostly because different members of the prospective family took umpteen DNA tests. Can we do it with just the one?

I like what you say about DNA not lying but documents can - by manipulation or human error. I find it amazing that a great grandfather who was lost to history has now (I hope, I think!) been found.

This is the first time I've had to take the DNA link 'on trust' and I think it might take a while to realise the effect of this radical (to me) swerve in genealogy. In 10 years people reading this thread will probably chuckle at my naivety!

Jill

In the meantime, I need to discover what happened to my 'new' great grandfather!
BRICKWALL - WILLIAM HORWOOD bn c.1779 in or near Berks. N.B. NOT s/o William & Joanna in Waltham St Lawrence.

Offline Redroger

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 12,191
  • Dad and Fireman at Kings Cross 13.7.1951
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #7 on: Monday 19 March 18 17:20 GMT (UK) »
After a brickwall of over 30 years duration I think it's my only chance of proving the identity of my 3 great grandfather.
Ayres Brignell Cornwell Harvey Shipp  Stimpson Stubbings (all Cambs) Baumber Baxter Burton Ethards Proctor Stanton (all Lincs) Luffman (all counties)

Offline jillruss

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,408
  • Gt Gt Grandfather Shepherd from Aberdeen 1827-1910
    • View Profile
Re: Can you prove a relationship purely through DNA?
« Reply #8 on: Monday 19 March 18 17:39 GMT (UK) »
Funnily enough, this particular 'natural' gt grandfather was never really on my shopping list!

I wish you luck with finding your 3x gt grandfather, Redroger, I have quite a few remaining brickwalls of my own so can sympathise.

I'm sure you're a seasoned DNA researcher and know this already, but I found looking at the people who shared a particular match (assuming there are some, of course) really helpful in trying to home in on the common denominator.

Jill
BRICKWALL - WILLIAM HORWOOD bn c.1779 in or near Berks. N.B. NOT s/o William & Joanna in Waltham St Lawrence.