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DNA - A work in progress!

John “Jack” Moughty and
Bernard “Pat” Moughty

   I’ve been away for a month…a combination of family visits and a Baltic cruise to St. Petersburg which was amazing.  I’m now back and trying to catch up on a ton of things!  I have a lecture on July 11th at Imperial Polk Genealogical Society on “Jumping the Pond,” and I’m recording a lecture on Irish Church Records for Family Tree University’s Fall Virtual Conference.  Stay tuned for more information.  I also have to complete the consultations for this Fall’s Ireland Research Trips to Belfast and Dublin.  Finally, I hope to get at least a little time this summer to work on my own research, especially some DNA work.

    I’m a little nervous talking about DNA because I don’t consider myself an expert.  Over the past few years I’ve attended all of the DNA lectures at the various conferences, but came away thinking, how does that apply to me?  I had a hard time “getting it.”  A year ago I took Blaine Bettinger’s course on DNA through the Virtual Institute and things started to click.   The previous October I had visited Jack Moughty in Longford, Ireland and collected a sample for a Y-DNA test and when I returned from Ireland, I tested my husband, Brian.  I’ve written about Jack before…we met in 1992 and he could have been the twin of my father-in-law (who had been dead for over 12 years).  I’ve traced Jack’s Ancestry back, as well as Brian’s, but couldn’t get a paper trail back far enough to prove a connection.   

   The Y-DNA test came back as a match for a common ancestor…not that I expected anything different, but where was the connection?  How far back.  That’s where the Autosomal DNA came in.  Because FamilyTree DNA saves the sample, I was able to upgrade both tests to Autosomal.  Brian and Jack don’t share a lot of DNA, only about 53.22 cM.  Checking the ISSOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) WIKI, it shows that 3rd cousins share about 53.13 cM (but can vary depending on how the DNA was passed down) and their common ancestor is probably the next generation back. (Here’s a link to a chart that’s very helpful in understanding this.) That would be Brian’s 3rd great grandfather and Jack’s 2nd great grandfather.  As you can see, they are in different generations so they are probably 3rd cousins, once removed. 

   Catholic churches in Ireland don’t typically keep burial records, but this area of County Longford has quite a few burial records.   As you can see from the chart, I have three possibilities for the  ancestor.  Pat is probably too old and may be the father of the John and James.  Taking into consideration Irish naming patterns, both Bernard and Michael named their first son James, so my hypothesis is that James is the the common ancestor.  

   I’m sure many of you have similar instances where the records you need to prove a relationship, just don’t exist. DNA may be a tool to help you narrow down your results.  This is a work in progress…I attended a Chromosome Mapping Workshop at NGS and that’s next.

   If you’re like me and still trying to figure this out, here are some resources I’ve found helpful.

Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA”  $69.99 (IMO worth every penny!)

ISOGG Wiki   http://isogg.org/wiki/Wiki_Welcome_Page  Explore!  This has great articles, charts, lessons, blogs, etc.

The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell writes blogs on legal issues and once a week on DNA.  If you’re not following Judy, you should for lots of reasons!

And coming in July…

Genetic Genealogy in Practice By Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne, National Genealogical Society.


Happy Hunting!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017