The place the African DNA may come from
So it’s been per week since RootsTech 2023 wrapped up and The Authorized Genealogist has simply had an opportunity to sit down for a second, take a deep breath … and dive into a brand new device introduced at RootsTech that Ancestry now provides to assist with DNA evaluation.
It’s referred to as DNA evaluate, and it lets us evaluate our genetic origins — referred to as ethnicity by Ancestry and most testing firms however extra precisely referred to as biogeographical ancestry evaluation or admixture for brief — with these of our matches in batches.
DNA evaluate doesn’t present any new data — we’ve lengthy been capable of evaluate our personal admixture to that of every particular person match on a tab on the match’s web page. What this does is allow us to take a look at as much as 10 matches at a time. You’ll be able to learn extra about it at Ancestry Help.
So… what’s it good for?
Right here’s how I used it.
Among the many speedy members of my mom’s household, those that’ve examined present a small however persistent quantity of African DNA. I’ve a principle as to the place it comes from — I feel my Revolutionary Struggle veteran fifth nice grandfather William Noel Battles, b c 1757 VA and d 1842 AL, was the illegitimate son of a free girl of colour — however there’s no actual documentary proof for that.
So the query is: can this device to research our DNA inform a part of the story?
I began out utilizing the SideView characteristic of a maternal aunt and uncle who’ve examined. SideView — one other Ancestry device — divides our matches and our admixture percentages by mum or dad. And Sideview reported that each my aunt and my uncle have that small persistent quantity of African DNA on their maternal facet: from their mom, my grandmother, Opal (Robertson) Cottrell. There’s no reported African DNA on their paternal facet.
Subsequent step: determine the strongest matches from every of my grandmother’s mother and father to see if additionally they confirmed that very same small persistent African DNA. The most effective can be shut cousins descending from siblings of her Robertson father Jasper and from her Baird-Livingston mom Eula. I used to be searching for any hints of African ancestry from the west of Africa: Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast specifically, since that’s what the testing firms collectively often determine this persistent DNA as hailing from.
A lot of Robertson cousins have examined at Ancestry, and DNA evaluate lets me look, all of sudden, on the admixture numbers for as much as 10 cousins at a time. So I checked out matches descending from eight of Jasper’s siblings who share someplace within the vary of 70-230cM of DNA with my aunt and uncle. Not considered one of them exhibits a detectable quantity of DNA from anyplace on the African continent. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I prolonged it out to cousins a bit extra distant simply to make sure I used to be being complete. Nope. Nothing.
That just about eliminates my grandmother’s paternal facet. It’s simply not mathematically seemingly that out of all of the descendants of 9 youngsters of Jasper’s mother and father Gustavus and Isabella (Gentry) Robertson who’ve examined, Jasper’s line would find yourself as the one one to inherit this chunk of DNA.
Subsequent, her mom’s facet, it will get a little bit dicey. My nice grandmother Eula was the one recognized baby of her father Jasper Baird however the oldest of eight youngsters of her mom Martha Louise (Shew) Baird Livingston. So we will’t simply take a look at descendants of Eula’s siblings. We’ve got to have a look at the Baird (paternal) facet and on the Shew (maternal) facet to see if there’s any trace to which facet it might have come from.
The outcomes had been fairly dramatic. Getting into in all of the recognized cousins on the paternal Baird facet, as much as 10 at a time, the DNA evaluate characteristic solely reported African ancestry for 2 — and each have recognized African ancestors in traces they don’t share with us. Among the many cousins who don’t have these recognized African ancestors, none have any reported African ancestry.
So that implies it’s nonetheless in my direct maternal line: my grandmother’s mom’s mom’s line — Opal to Opal’s mom Eula to Eula’s mom Martha Louise. The subsequent query then is whether or not the descendants of Martha Louise’s different youngsters, these by Abijah Livingston, received that persistent DNA as properly.
Yep. They did. Not all of them, however sufficient to counsel that Martha Louise was the supply.
So… which facet of Martha Louise’s household did it come from? Her Shew father, Daniel, which might undermine my principle about William Noel Battles? Or her mom, Margaret (Battles) Shew, granddaughter of William Noel?
Getting into in all of the recognized cousins on the Shew facet, as much as 10 at a time, and excluding cousins descending from different marriages between Shew relations and Battles relations, DNA evaluate confirmed none — not a single one — with reported African ancestry.
However coming into in all of the recognized cousins on the Battles facet, as much as 10 at a time, and excluding cousins descending from these Battles-Shew intermarriages, DNA evaluate confirmed a number of with reported DNA from Benin & Togo or Ivory Coast & Ghana (or each).
Now… this isn’t take-it-to-the-bank stuff. The African DNA could be very a lot hit-or-miss amongst descendants of Martha Louise’s siblings (youngsters of Daniel and Margaret (Battles) Shew), and it might have come from Margaret’s mom, Ann (Jacobs) Battles reasonably than her father.
So is that this proof that William Noel Battles was the son of a free girl of colour?
No. However it’s proof in line with that principle…
In different phrases, I could also be heading down a rabbit gap, however at the very least there’s a combating likelihood that it’s the fitting rabbit gap.
Cite/hyperlink to this publish: Judy G. Russell, “About these origins…,” The Authorized Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/weblog : posted 12 March 2023).