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Taking it to the Next Level – DNA Spreadsheets

Perhaps this post needs the subtitle , “My Perfect Cousin Goes to GEDmatch.”

Most of us can keep track of information in spreadsheets. So how to do that with DNA? Well, the idea is to keep a list of matching DNA segments so that a new match can be compared to your known family members. That way you may be able to see where they fit in.

If you have tested at 23andme or Family Tree DNA, you can download your list of matches with their matching DNA segments either directly from your testing company or by using the tools at DNAgedcom. However AncestryDNA does not provide a list of matching segments.

Extract from my Dad's MasterSpreadsheet

Extract from my Dad’s Master DNA Segment Spreadsheet (click for a larger version)

Why would you want those? The short answer is to figure out which line a new DNA cousin belongs to. For the long answer, read on. For more posts about DNA spreadsheets click here or in the tag cloud, lower right hand column.

tier1smll AncestryDNA testers can make a DNA segment spreadsheet by using any of a number of utilities at the GEDmatch web site. Start by uploading your raw DNA data (click here for that “how to” post). Your results will usually be ready for full comparisons the next day. Then buy the tier 1 utilities for at least one month ($10).

My preference for making a first spreadsheet is to use the Tier 1 GEDmatch Matching Segment Search. Then I go through the top matches from the ‘One-to-many’ matches report with that spreadsheet as a reference. I add notes on what I discover to my new spreadsheet.

Here is the step by step of what I did for my perfect cousin J.M. whose AncestryDNA results I blogged about in my previous post.

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Kristiansand, where the Monsens came from

KarensLunchOn Thursday my 2nd cousin Karen, who moved back to Norway some time ago, had us to her house for a lovely late lunch.

She lives in a fairly unique house with seven gables that her grandfather Oscar Bie bought and enlarged, staying with the original style, creating a lovely sun porch among other enhancements. The ceiling is low in the old part as you can see; Karen is touching it.


KarenCeiling

She looked through her photo albums and I found two that included my grandmother and many other wonderful ones. I took photos of a number of her photos so we will see how well they turn out

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We have results from a first cousin

One of my cousins (half Norwegian) on Dad’s side (all Norwegian) just got his results. So I made this chart comparing myself to my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins on Dad’s side. Mind you, the 2nd cousin is on Dad’s paternal side while the third cousin is on his mom’s side.

Kitty's DNA versus her cousins

Kitty’s DNA versus her cousins

My brother’s chart looks very similar except no X match of course. Notice the very large X match I have with my first cousin which would come from his mother and my Dad’s mother, 57.3 cM. Interesting to see this as compared to my Dad ….

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It’s a Match!! Lars Monsen’s ancestors are found.

The direct male line descendant of Ole Monsen Titland  (1702-1764) is a Y-chromosome DNA 34/37 match to my Dad, who we thought was also a descendant of Ole. Now we know he is!

Thank you so much cousin Sigmund for finding a distant cousin in direct paternal descent to test.

This story was written up a few months back in a post here but we were waiting on the DNA Y-chromosome STR test to prove our theory. Now it is proven.

Here are the deeper details of the three markers that do not match:

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We have found our ancestor Lars Monsen!

Due to DNA testing, in a round about way, we have probably solved the brick wall of our ancestor Lars Monsen who was born in the Bergen area and lived in Kristiansand, Norway. His great-grandson Lauritz (later Lawrence Josiah Munson), my grandfather, came to Brooklyn, NY, with his family when he was six. That story is posted on this page about the Monsens at my family history site.

Lars Monsen had been our brick wall for a long time since it is a common name in the Bergen area although not, we thought, in southern Norway. Well it turns out there really were two men named Lars Monsen in Kristiansand at that time. One was Lars Monsen Suldahl (thus from Suldahl) and ours was Lars Monsen or Mognsen Aastvedt from Eidsvaag (just north of Bergen)

Here is the story. Dad matched almost 6000 people at 12 markers on the family tree DNA site. So I used the Ysearch site to look for only Bergen area matches. I contacted those two people and heard back from one. Next we both upgraded to 37 markers to see if we still matched. In the meantime our match, Sigmund, posted some queries in the best Norwegian forums for Bergen and Kristiansand areas and the local historian/genealogy experts weighed in and found Lars.

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