27 December 2009

DNA Testing Solves Mysteries and Brings Family Together, part 2a

The following two articles (this one and the next one) are only a few of the many DNA Project success stories for those of Irish heritage. Success is often relevant to the tester and gaining any information or clues is a great relief when you are at a brick wall. These stories show a varying degree of success as more genealogy work is needed to find that common ancestor. Often, however, to find a location in Ireland for that search is a major break though that DNA testing can provide.

Tally DNA Success

My journey for my Irish roots began in my late teens, after my grandfather died. He was a man who I know had many of the answers to the questions I now have, however I was never interested enough to ask them while he was still alive. Terrence Tally, my namesake, was named after his father, Terrence John Tally, who sailed with his brother Peter from Belfast to New York City in 1856, finally settling and becoming the Sheriff of Virginia City, Nevada, the colorful, exciting and robust gold rush town of the American west.

I started asking my dad and grandmother questions about Terrence John, knowing only that he came from Ireland. All my grandmother knew about her father-in-law, who she never met, was that he came from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. My dad knew no more. I started contacting distant cousins of mine, descendants of Terrence John, to see if they had any information either: specifically what town or village in Country Tyrone he was from, any information about his siblings, what his parents names were, etc. Other than some interesting stories of the Wild West and his position as Chief-of-Police in Virginia City and a few anecdotal recollections here and there, there was little light shed on Terrence John Tally. I continued my quest, but usually came up empty handed.

In the summer of 1981, while on business in New York City, I visited the genealogy section in the New York City Library. In my limited research that one morning I discovered several mentions of the name Tally in a few towns and villages in County Tyrone. Here, for the first time was a solid link to my past! Rather than do the sensible thing, looking them up and simply calling them, I took a cab to JFK airport and hopped on the first plane to Ireland. After landing at Shannon Airport in County Clair, I took trains to Belfast, rented a car, and braved driving on the left side of the road to Country Tyrone. While on this adventure I was stopped a couple of times by armed British soldiers asking for my passport, the purpose of my visit and what my destination was. This was in June1981 … during the heart of the Bobby Sands hunger strike when Catholic and Protestant turmoil was fierce and tourists were indeed rare.

One quaint village after another and several wonderful people led to my meeting a sweet elderly lady who told me of Tally’s Bar in Galbally, a small village not far from the town of Dungannon. Finding Galbally and Tally’s Bar was easy enough. I asked around and was introduced to a very fine man named Patrick Tally. Was he the long missing link I had traveled so far to meet? I told him I was a Tally from America hoping to find my great-grandfathers roots and wondered if they might have any genealogical information about the Tallys they could share. After some cautious questioning and uncertainty he decided I was for real and welcomed me into his home where I met his wonderful wife and five children. I soon met several other Tallys and was treated like a celebrity, especially, when the children from the area found out that I was employed in the film industry and had worked with Linda Carter, aka “Wonder Woman”, a very popular show at that time on Irish television.

One evening when many of the neighbors from Galbally came to meet me and “hear my accent”, the children all stood in line for my autograph because of my “Wonder Woman” connection. I, of course, happily obliged … you never know when you’re going to get asked for your autograph again. Everyone treated me wonderfully, and I felt like a long distant cousin regardless of our bloodline. While they had limited written family history documentation, I knew I was not far from my genealogical ground zero. Across the street from the Tally Bar and home was a cemetery with two tombstones with my first and last name on them.

Unfortunately, these distant and long forgotten relatives that I had a thousand questions for brought me no closer to discovering my missing link. The genealogy material that Patrick Tally provided and the people we queried still failed to fill in the blanks. I left Ireland a more complete soul but with no definite new leads to my lineage.

Many years passed with The California Tallys and the Galbally Tallys always staying in touch. We were visited on a couple of occasions by 2 of the daughters of Patrick’s while here on vacation. When I first met them in 1981 they were just little kids and my visit was one more story they heard about me rather than an actual memory.

Finally in the summer of 2008, I decided to take my wife and daughter to Galbally and revisit the Tallys. Again, we were treated like royalty. The years, however, have still failed to provide us with any new information that positively defined our relationship.

A few years ago, I heard about Emily Aulicino’s DNA projects and research and decided to take the DNA test to see what might transpire. I found the entire process fascinating and since I had still never determined that I was indeed in the same family tree as the Galbally Tally’s I proposed the idea of DNA testing to Patrick Tally’s only son, Patrick Jr. Sure enough he was open to the idea and did the test. We recently found a 37 marker match!

Paddy, mother Betty, Terrence, Patrick Sr., Catherine and Noeleen

Although we may never know our common Irish male ancestor, this has been a remarkable and wonderful tool. It confirmed my family history theory and filled in another blank in the search for my ancestors. I would certainly recommend this project to those who have embarked on a similar genealogical journey.
---Terrence Tally Los Angeles, California June, 2009

A condensed version of this success story appears in Irish Roots Magazine, 2009 Fourth Quarter, Issue 72, page 20.

Talley-Tally DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Talley-Tally

July, 2009

DNA Testing Solves Mysteries and Brings Family Together, part 1

DNA Testing solves mysteries ...

Although DNA Testing is beneficial to genealogists, others who have tested with the Genographic Project or have tested out of curiosity have become interested in their family history. Many mysteries have been solved through good genealogy research and DNA testing as well, including these with Irish connections:

In 1948 Northwest Flight 4422 crashed in the remote mountains of Alaska. In 1997 the wreckage was found and two years later, a frozen human arm was discovered. Through the use of written documentation, fingerprints, and DNA, the arm was identified out of the thirty sailors on the flight using mitochondrial DNA which is found in every person’s DNA given to them by their mother. Hence, an international investigation began in 2007 by Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick to trace each of the thirty sailors though their female lines to find someone whose DNA would match that of the arm and thus identify the victim. She was able to locate Mr. Conway of Limerick whose mitochondrial DNA matched sailor Frances Joseph Van Zandt.

Thus a fifty year old mystery was solved, and Mr. Conway expressed his pleasure in being able to help and stated on the RTE news video: “I now know where I came from. I now know where I originated, and my, own family and my own children and my grandchildren will know in time where they came from as well.”

Frances Van Zandt Maurice Conway

Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick has solved many other mysteries using DNA testing and forensic techniques. See her Wikipedia bio at:

A shorten version of this story can be found in Irish Roots magazine, 2009, Fourth Quarter, Issue 72, page 20.

Interested in doing a DNA test?

Before ordering a test, understand what DNA testing can and cannot do for you. The following resources are easily accessible and are designed for the beginner in mind.

Web Sites:

Start reading at the beginning of the archives. This blog is designed for the beginner.


Click TUTORIALS on the right
World Families Net - many topics

Genetics & Genealogy - An Introduction
Genetic Genealogy DNA Testing Dictionary
Genetic Genealogy Glossary

The Genetic Genealogist...a blog to follow
Free booklet from Blaine T. Bettineger, Ph.D. (Click on icon to the right)

Wonderful beginners book on Genetic Genealogy:

Family History in the Genes by Chris Pomery
Trace Your Roots with DNA by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner
DNA and Genealogy by Colleen Fitzpatrick and Andrew Yeiser

Follow these easy steps to choosing the correct test.

1. Determine your goals. Are you just curious or are you testing for genealogical purposes? If you are only curious about your most ancient ancestry, order the cheapest test. If you plan to use the results for your genealogy, then order a 37 marker for Ydna and at least the HVR2 for mtDNA.

2. If you are a male you can test both your Y-chromosome dna (the top line; that is, the all male line of your pedigree chart if you are number one on that chart) and your mitochondrial dna (the bottom line or all female line of your pedigree chart). If you are a female you can only test your mitochondrial dna.

3. Matches when testing the Ydna are closer in time. By testing 37 markers, two people who match have a high probability of a common ancestor within the last 300 yrs. However, matches on the mitochondrial dna (mtDNA) can be up to thousands of years ago.

Colleen Fitzpatrick www.forensicgenealogy.info
RTE Video on Flight 2244:

1 Jan 2010

Irish Roots Magazine, 2009 Fourth Quarter, Issue No. 72

Irish Roots magazine is a must for those interested in Irish genealogy. What pleases me the most about it is that the term Irish Diaspora is commonly found among its pages. This is significant to the vast number of genealogists who claim Irish heritage and who are seeking to find their origins in Ireland. I am constantly impressed by the Ireland’s genuine interest in those who left Ireland over the centuries.

This recent publication features some wonderful articles including Tracing The Caledonia Irish, Irish Diaspora in Mexico, Clans of Ireland, and, of course the inclusion of genetic genealogy. DNA Testing - Solving Mysteries and Uniting Families was submitted by me, but those whose mysteries were aided by genetic testing actually did the writing while I organized and edited it. For this reason, I take no credit. My pride, however, is that the wonderful editors at Irish Roots asked me to do a DNA piece as they see value and interest in the topic. My hope is that articles such as this will inspire the Irish everywhere to test so they may learn where their cousins are and to locate their origins.

As each story was reduced to fit the magazine’s space, I will post them as originally written along with the related photos. Each one is unique, and each is considered a success of DNA testing by the participants.

You can find the Irish Roots magazine at some Barnes and Noble bookstores in the US, and this issue is on sale now.

To subscribe to Irish Roots in the US or Canada, telephone toll free: 1-877-363-1310
To subscribe by Fax in the US or Canada: 514-355-3332
To subscribe by mail for the US: write to Express Mag, PO Box 2769, Plattsburgh, NY 12901-0239
To subscribe by mail for Canada: Express Mag, 8155 Larrey Street, Anjou, Quebec, H1H 2L5

Email address: expsmag@espressmag.com
Payment method: American Express, Visa, Mastercard, check or money order


23 December 2009

Family Tree DNA Holiday Sale and Price Reduction

Family Tree DNA just sent the following reminder for their Holiday Sale which ends December 31st. However, they also mentioned new price reductions! These are fantastic savings from the original prices...or from the prices just a year ago.

Take advantage of this wonderful offer.

Dear Project Administrator,

2009 is coming to a close and we're finishing it off with an end-of-the-year promotion!

First, though, let me thank you for helping us make our recent Full Mitochondria Sequence sale a resounding success. Despite the challenging economy this was the most successful promotion in our company’s history.

Our Holiday Season promotion will bring back the discount that we offered this summer for the Y-DNA37, since this has been requested by many of our project administrators.

Y-DNA37 – promotional price $119 (reg. price $149)
Y-DNA67 – promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)
mtDNAPlus – promotional price $139 (reg. price $149)
SuperDNA – promotional price $488 (reg. price $665)

Orders for the above tests need to be placed and paid for by December 31, 2009 to receive the sale price.

IMPORTANT: since this promotion will run through the months of November and December, we encourage you to spread the word starting now, as the natural tendency is for people to order at the last minute, and we will not extend it beyond 12/31/2009. You may use our bulk email feature to notify existing project members about this holiday sale.

In addition here are the newly released permanent prices for the Full Mitochondria Sequence:

New kit (mtDNA Full Sequence) … $279
Upgrade from HVR1 … $229
Upgrade from HVR2 … $209
mtDNA Full Sequence after testing Y-DNA … $249

Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate your contribution to the sustained growth of the Family Tree DNA matching database, the best genealogical matching tool of its kind.

Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA

© All Contents Copyright 2001-2009 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.

01 December 2009

23andMe Success Story

The new rage in DNA testing is with 23andMe. They test autosomal markers for ancestry and health purposes. This means for your genealogy you can now match testers who are not on just your Ydna or your mtDNA lines. You can match people who are anywhere in your pedigree charts.

This last October I ordered their Complete Edition which includes data for my health and for my ancestry. You can order these separately, getting only the Ancestry test, if you wish. This story, however, is about my genealogy.

With 23andMe, at the moment, testers need to "opt in" to communicate with other testers. Under their section Relative Finder, I see that I have 239 people who match me. However, only twenty-one of them have allowed communication with testers. Of those twenty-one, only eleven have actually made contact. I am waiting for the other ten to open their email and reply to my invitation to share, one way or another: Accept or Ignore.

The company lists the Predicted Relationship which can range from very closely related to distant cousin. I happen to have one 3rd cousin who, unfortunately, has not opted to converse with anyone as yet. Most others are 4th and 5th cousins. I have two listed as Distant Cousins. The probable rankings for cousins are given in a Relationship Range from 3rd cousin to 7th, 8th, 10th, etc., depending.

Columns also give you the % of DNA Shared and the # of Shared Segments. Of course, the higher the numbers for these two, the better. 23andMe only deals with matching information within certain parameters, so other people could match you that are not listed. It is understandable that they want to provide matches that are reasonable. Also, remember that this isn't a full genome test. It only covers a bit over a half million markers. More people could match you if all areas were tested, but most of us cannot afford that.

Lynleigh was listed as my 4th cousin with a relationship range from 3rd to 7th cousin. We shared .23% of our DNA. While that does not sound like much, you must consider that it is enough to determine relationships as the comparison is based on having a block of result which matches. We match on one DNA segment, Chromosome 20.

This match can be seen under the link Family Inheritance. Here you compare your genome result with that of another person. A blue section appears where the match is.

Both Lynleigh and I share the same haplogroup: U5a1. However, in this testing, unlike mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA), that is not important. The mtDNA test deals with the all female line (bottom line of a pedigree chart for the person who is number one on the chart). This is not where we match.

On November 12th, I sent her a message stating that 23andMe found we are related. After she accepted my invitation to connect, I sent her a list of surnames for my 4th great-grandparents on both sides of my family also including the states that were relevant for each. I then refined it to add my direct ancestors' full names, a date, and the county for each state, hoping that a county would help narrow the search.

She sent me her list, and I commented on those that were directly or indirectly related:

... Eads is connected to my Simpson line.
... Bowling to the Talley line.
... Roberson could be Robertson.
... Stokes were near Stokers in Southside VA and NC.
... Powell is connected to Talley.
... Rodgers could be Rogers.
... Shelton is connected to Doolin.
... Simms connected to Canterbury.

Then I suggested:

"Maybe we should share more detail on some lines. For example where were your Eads in VA ... and your Jenkins in PA? Although Jenkins is a Welsh name, it does not mean we can connect them even if they are neighborhood due to the naming patterns. Mine were in PA in the late 1600s...some may have stuck around. I think that some of the Watson line (from Albemarle Co, VA) did land in NC or SC, but they are not in my direct line. SO ... some of these may be worth checking, especially if you and I have sibling info. This will surely teach people not to do just their direct lines!"

On November 13th, Lynleigh asked to Genome Share. This can be done on a Basic or Extended level. The Basic level allows you to see which chromosome is matching. The Extended level allows you to share health information. We decided to do the Basic Sharing, and we learned that the matching result is on Chromosome 20.

November 28th, Lynleigh found our common ancestor! Actually, her husband Yasuyuki does the genealogy and found it. Since I had only sent my 4th great-grandparents, her husband had to do my genealogy to be certain. Without a dedicated researcher, we may still be searching. Sending more information would have helped more easily.


23andMe predicted we are 3rd to 7th cousins, so they are pretty accurate.

Lynleigh's lineage:

1. William Simpson, b. 1750 Edgecombe Co, NC; d. 1813 Caldwell Co, KY
...+Mary UNKNOWN
2. Nancy Simpson, b. 1775 Caldwell/Livingston Co, KY; d. 1838 Gasconade Co, MO
...+John Eads, m. 1795 Caldwell Co, KY
3. William Eads, b. 1797 Christian Co, KY; d. 1846 Des Moines, IA
...+Rebecca A. Roberson, m. 1818 KY
4. Cyrene Eads, b. 1823 Gasconade Co, MO; d. 1906 Macoupin, IL
...+James E. Andrew, m. 1840 Des Moines, IA
5. Martha Leviscus Andrew, b. 1858 Macoupin Co, IL; d. 1940 Champaign Co, IL
...+Wililam Jackson Shelton, m. 1881 Macoupin Co, IL
6. Earnest Andrew Shelton, b. 1882 Macoupin Co, IL; d. 1955 Jersy Co, IL
...+Edna Alice Galloway, m. 1904 Macoupin Co, IL
7. James Glenn Shelton, b. 1917 Macoupin Co, IL; d. 1979 Champaign Co, IL
...+Marguerite Ann (surname withheld)
8. Lynleigh's parents
9. Lynleigh

My lineage:

1. William Simpson, b. 1750 Edgecombe Co, NC; d. 1813 Caldwell Co, KY
...+Mary UNKNOWN
2. Benjamin D. Simpson, b. 1777 Caldwell/Livingston Co, KY; d. 1853 Osage Co, MO
...+Mary (Polly) G. Roberson, m. 1808 KY
3. James Simpson, b. 1818 KY; d. 1849 en route to CA
...+Rebecca Syrene Miller, m. 1842 MO
4. Syrena Simpson, b. 1844
...+Henry Jefferson Williams, m. 1861 Osage Co, MO
5. Benjamin Franklin Williams, b. 1874 MO; d. 1952 MO
...+Tina Mae Simpson
6. Georgia Fay Williams, b. 1898 Pulaski Co, MO; d. 1980 Wyandotte Co, KS
...+Guy Franklin Doolin, m. 1918 Pulaski Co, MO
7. Emily's parents
8. Emily

Not only do I have a new cousin, I have a research partner!

In 23andMe results, you should consider all aspects of your genealogy. You must realize that any connection may be (and is more likely to be) through a line that crosses gender and/or from lines that branch off from any of your ancestor's siblings. As you can see from my connection with Lynleigh, each of us crosses gender in almost every generation.

From this experience I have learned a great deal. The following suggestions may assist you in finding your common ancestor more quickly:

1. If you have not done so, choose to correspond with those who match you on 23andMe. If you cannot find the link to "opt in" for corresponding, email the company at:
help(at sign)23andme.com

It is VERY important that everyone decides to correspond even if you are a novice at genealogy or DNA.

2. Research all aspects of your lineage, including the siblings of your direct ancestors and some of their descendants. I have always had the general rule of researching three generations either side of my direct line. You could connect anywhere along the lines and more likely along lines that branch off of your ancestor's siblings. All those descendants are important to finding the connection.

3. Set up a simple website with your lineage details or put them in a Word Document, including at least:

... a. Names, dates, and locations of all your direct ancestors and all their spouses.
... b. Surnames of all the children's spouses.
... c. If any of your lines have tested for DNA with other companies, refer to that project link.
... d. If you have found connections on lines through 23andMe, mention where those are in your lineage.

4. Write some details of your lineage in the Invitation. If you have set up a website, include the link.

5. Share as much detail as possible about your family either through your website or in a Word Document that you can copy and paste to the 23andMe messages you write to your cousins. At some point, everyone will be comfortable sharing personal emails.

6. Start searching and researching. DO NOT give up. The common ancestor is there!

Success is SWEET!

If you have any DNA success stories, email me so I can post them here. Perhaps another cousin is reading this blog!

29 Nov 2009
aulicino(at sign)hevanet.com