Sunday, December 17, 2017

X-DNA case study: Molly

I generally find DNA segment analysis impractical but recently had a personal use for it to determine how I may be related to a reasonably distant match I will call Molly. Molly matches my full sister and me at 23andMe as follows:

Molly does not match a maternal first cousin or a mutual second cousin at 23andMe, but this is not enough to convince me that she is a paternal match. However, I observed that she matches my sister and me at an X-DNA location where we only share paternal X-DNA.

some half and completely identical segments shared with my sister

Our sex-determinining chromosomes have unique inheritance rules. Females generally have two X chromosomes, one from each parent, while males generally have one X chromosome inherited from their mothers and one Y chromosome inherited from their fathers. As paternal sisters share the same X chromosome inherited unchanged from their father (his only X chromosome), I know that the lighter shaded half-identical segment on the right of my 23rd chromosome pair is paternal X-DNA. We share very little maternal X-DNA, indicated by the relatively small darker shaded completely-identical segment on the left.

My working hypothesis is therefore that Molly is a paternal match to us. As males only inherit X-DNA from their mothers I will also assume that Molly is related to us via our paternal grandmother's line (Liverpool Irish), excluding three-quarters of our ancestral lines.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

1939 Register redux

Two years ago I found my paternal grandfather in the 1939 Register, living at the Liverpool address my late father gave for his next of kin in his 1939 British Army enlistment papers. I knew I would have to wait another two years for my father's record to be opened, assuming he used the same 1917 date of birth in the register as in his enlistment papers two weeks later.

Ted Riding's 1939 British Army enlistment form

And he did. The record was opened this month.

2–6 Derby Rd, Bournemouth in the 1939 Register

He was listed in the register as single and working as a valet (previously a hotel porter) at the same Bournemouth address (4 Derby Rd) he gave in his enlistment papers, which appears to have been a boarding house where various hotel staff and other boarders lived. A guest house at that address was later described as follows: "Ideally situated corner position convenient for railway station, sea and shops, overlooking putting greens".

He was not a storekeeper as stated in his enlistment papers – it is possible he said that to increase his chances of being assigned to the ordnance corps. A valet in a British context appears to be a manservant who handles laundry and shines shoes for hotel guests. He was also only 17 years old, not 21.

(For the curious: the abbreviation UDD stands for unpaid domestic duties, the most common occupation for women in the 1939 Register.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Paper and Spit (book review)

Anderson, Don (2017). Paper and Spit: Family found: How DNA and Genealogy revealed my first parents' identity. Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781544606989.
From the publisher's book description: "Using DNA and genealogy, Anderson finds not only the identity of his birth parents but also his true ethnic heritage."

Paper and Spit chronicles an adoptee's search for birth family, from the traditional paper search and reunion with his birth mother to the modern DNA search for his birth father and ultimate closure. The author's enthusiasm and dedication to the task, which involved a huge learning curve and effort gathering evidence, are apparent on every page. He was blessed with many helpers and welcoming family members along the way. May the book set examples for those searching and those found and those able to help people with unknown parentage to find answers and healing.

The book is reasonably light on technical detail and I do not view it as a how to guide, rather as one searcher's personal experiences.