Tag Archive | Wold

Who is my great great grandfather’s daddy? A ThruLines experiment

My great great grandfather Jørgen Oleson Wold, 1816-1892, from Skougar near Drammen, Norway, was born 9 years before his parents tied the knot. Although his father is listed as the man his mother eventually married, DNA testing has stirred up my doubts.

Having a child out of wedlock was not uncommon in rural Norway of the 1800s. It was not considered shameful in many areas. Often the couple would marry later on; you had to be able to support a wife in order to have one. Another reason is that people wanted to be sure they could have children before marrying, since many hands were needed on the farm. The data shows that quite often women were pregnant at the altar. Click here for an article showing that having a sexual relationship and getting pregnant was the normal way to start a marriage in at least one area of Norway at that time. Night visiting, fully clothed, was a customary way for young people to get to know each other.

According to the 19th century clerygyman and sociologist Eilert Sundt (my 10th cousin 3R), who looked carefully at many population statistics, 43% of all Norwegian children were conceived before their parents got married back in the mid 1800s. Click here for the article that cites this.

The problem for Jørgen’s parentage is that there are no DNA matches on just his father of record’s line. It is always possible to get less DNA from one 3rd grandparent but it seemed that all my family’s matches to the descendants of other children of that marriage were smaller than expected. We also have many matches quite far back on Jørgen’s wife’s line, suggesting it was possible we just had more DNA from her side but also demonstrating that when there are many generations of large families, DNA matches to 5th and 6th cousins will be found. This is also true on our other Norwegian lines.

Could Jørgen have a different father? If so, I would expect to see a group of 4th cousin matches who match each other but are not assigned to any of our known lines. Since Norwegian records are good, our ancestors are well documented back into the 1700s or even earlier.

There is a large group of matches that fits that scenario, all descended from one Torkild Westby b 1810, Drammen, Norway. It so happens that Westby/Vestby is a farm in Skoger just outside of Drammen where Jørgen may have lived as a youth. Norwegians did not have surnames back then, they used their father’s name plus their farm of residence which could change. Also W was pronounced as V in Norway so they are interchangable in the spelling. When Torkild’s children came to America they used the surname Westbye. I found the birth record for Torkild in the Norwegian archives and sure enough, he was born on farm Westby in Skoger..

Torkild’s birth and baptism record in the Skoger Churchbook for 1810 – http://urn.digitalarkivet.no/URN:NBN:no-a1450-kb20070402610138.jpg (3rd from bottom on right)

I decided to try a ThruLines experiment by changing Jørgen’s father to Torkild’s father, Jahn Jahnsen Westbye, in my Ancestry tree and see what happened. For Jørgen’s father and grandfather of record, Thrulines listed no DNA matches that were not also listed for his son.

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An elusive 2nd cousin match at Ancestry DNA

When you are a genealogist with an extensive family tree and you get a 2nd cousin match at Ancestry DNA, you expect to be able to find the relationship fairly easily. Never mind that this is my 2nd cousin’s once removed MM’s kit and that the new match has no tree, surely such a close match will want be in touch and know more?

2ndcuzmatch

The second cousin match (red arrow is mine showing where to click)

So I clicked on the View Match button. Sometimes there is is tree or two listed on the full match page that is just not connected to the DNA kit. No luck. Next I clicked on Shared Matches tab to see the matches MM had in common with this new cousin named A. The more relatives you have identified at AncestryDNA, the more useful this feature is.

viewmatch

Red arrow added by me to show where Shared Matches is

MM has my brother and a number of known Goodsell relatives in her match list at ancestry. MM’s paternal grandfather, Charley Wold, is the brother of my Wold great-grandmother Maren. He married MM’s grandmother Martha Goodsell, among a number of other wives. We have lots of Wold relatives who have tested their DNA, but all at other companies.

The shared matches showed that the new 2nd cousin A was in common with several Goodsell relatives but not a match to my brother’s kit. Now I lost interest since A was most probably not my relative. A second cousin on the Goodsell side would be descended from the parents of Martha, so I put this match aside for another day. However it is best to contact treeless folk as soon as possible after their data comes in, while they are still logging in and looking at their results.

There are a few reasons people don’t have trees. The main two are that they are adopted or that they did the test just to see their ancestry composition. So I always craft a careful message that lets an adoptee know that I am willing to help, but hopefully does not scare off those less interested in genealogy.

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New Ancestry kit in from my Wold cousin

You know you have an obsessive personality when a cousin’s DNA results come in and you put off as many plans as you can for the next 3 days in order to explore them. At least I have some observations to report on the new Ancestry chip as well as more data for my study of the Wold family.

Wold line cousins Kitty, Ed, MM

Wold line cousins Kitty, Ed, MM

According to Ancestry, this new chip has dropped some less interesting SNPs and replaced them with medically relevant ones as well as ones more useful for determining ancestry composition. The details are at http://blogs.ancestry.com/techroots/customer-testing-begins-on-new-ancestrydna-chip/

GEDmatch only tokenized 455K of the 700K SNPs from that new chip. However when I imported the raw data into a spreadsheet I saw that there were 668,961 lines of data as opposed to the previous 701,495 (then subtract 20 for the header), so not that different a number. New is chromosome 26 which is for the mitochondrial DNA.

My Wold cousin MM is the cousin whose doorstep I arrived on, Ancestry kit in hand, because I really really wanted her results. Those of you who have been to my Triangulation talk or read the article here may have noticed that I had no other cousins tested who are descended from my great-grandmother’s brother Charlie, the one presumed to be Kristine’s great-great-grandad. MM’s test has rectified that although she is descended from a different wife of Charlie’s than Kristine.

Since MM is the half first cousin of Kristine’s grandfather, she and Kristine are half first cousins twice removed. Do they match at the expected level?

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Visiting WOLD family places near Drammen

My Norwegian friends and relatives have been amazingly helpful and welcoming. Last night and tonight we stayed in the guest apartment of my 4th cousin (Wold side) Rønnaug and her husband Bjørn Erik in Svelvik. I can tell she is a relative not just because she has our family pointed canine teeth but also because she has such lovely flowers. I do so love purple petunias!

Ronnaug by her retirement home in Svelvik

Ronnaug by her retirement home in Svelvik

Our first night was the night they celebrate the longest day with wonderful bonfires. I finally met cousin Anders, the son of Rønnaug whose DNA test brought us together.

RonnaugAndSons

Rønnaug with sons Hans Christopher and Anders

 

Then today, accompanied by my 3rd cousin twice removed Torgeir (also met via DNA testing) and his lovely six-year-old daughter Anea, we went touring ancestral places.

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Mapping an Ancestral Couple: a Backwards Use of my Segment Mapper

Sometimes I wonder if the interest in genetic genealogy runs in our DNA. I have found many more new cousins with autosomal testing that are descended from my WOLD line than in any other family. Yes they all had lots of children until recently, but so did the Munsons and the Skjolds.

So I decided to make a picture of the HIR (half identical region) DNA segments that I know come from my great-great-grandparents Jørgen and Anna Wold of Drammen, Norway. To do this I made a CSV file with a list of all the segments that are just from those ancestors. I put the first names of the group of matches in the column that would be the MRCA in the usual style segment map. I have to give credit to my distant DNA cousin (on the AJ side) Israel Pickholtz (he blogs too) for this wonderful idea of making a reverse segment map. Below is my picture of Wold DNA created with my DNA segment mapper tool. Click the image to go to the actual html page which will show the centimorgan values and names when you put your mouse on a colored block.

WoldDNAsmllThe use of two lines is arbitrary; I could have used three or four. The DNA segments shown are not separated into lines for Anna and those for Jorgen. Where that was possible, I had intended to do it with colors, but did not get to it, next version. Knut, OK, Nancy and Aaron are on Anna’s side while Susannah, her mother, and Lester are on Jorgen’s side only.
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