Saturday, 21 February 2015

MANSONs of Caithness anyone?

Have had another great find from DNA testing this week.
Although I do suspect that at least part of it was under my nose, un-analysed from a while ago.

One of my larger matches on 23andme shared genomes, ie we can now see the details of where we match.
Turned out to be at a spot I already knew about two other, smaller, matches and had got as far as determining that we shared some unknown ancestor back up my father's side somewhere.
Needle in haystack.
But the haystack has just got quite a lot smaller.
It is looking far more likely to be my Caithness ancestral lines.

Although none of these matches were on GEDMatch where we could compare across all three companies, one had helpfully tested on both 23andme and on FamilyTreeDNA.
Where I could see that he matched not only myself, but also the late David FINLAYSON, and David's 1C1R who shares his James COGHILL and Isabella WATERS (married 1873 Dunnet, Caithness) as their most recent common ancestors.

But did I also match David there? Not according to FamilyTreeDNA.

Back to the wonderful GEDMatch to see if there was a match below the matching thresholds FTDNA apply. Yes, just below the FTDNA threshold, two segments, totalling 17cM in all, one right where I wanted it to be.

I don't, to my knowledge, have any known COGHILL or WATERS direct ancestry, but we all do have MANSON families - who doesn't if your ancestors come from Caithness? Not that I can see any immediate connection, but somewhere, somewhen, there is a common ancestor who gave us that shared bit of dna on chromosome 13.

My known MANSON ancestry is more from Watten, tiny bit further south than Olrig/Dunnet etc.

Love to hear from anyone with any of the above MANSONs in their ancestry, particularly if you've ventured into DNA testing for genealogy so we can share research and genetics, and hopefully begin to pinpoint which family lines are involved.

Pity that it didn't show up as David's paternal side as we had always considered that our FINLAYSONs just might be related, just back from the beginning of parish records in Bower.
Looks to be a bit far for atDNA to prove, even with the inter-related Caithness families ensuring dna survival beyond the normal expected inheritance probabilities down the generations.

My RootsWeb WorldConnect database LornaHenderson will be updated shortly to include the relevant bits of the above pedigrees, or more accurately, the one or two missing linkages to connect up people already there, as many of David's "cousins" married my "cousins",  in Caithness, Australia, and New Zealand.

Thursday, 19 February 2015


Take your pick?

My WorldConnect database LornaHenderson has been republished to include, amongst all other updates, some of the family/ancestry of Gilbert THOMSON and Margaret NEILSON of Wishaw/Shotts/Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire (emigrated to Pennsylvania).
Somewhere back up either family's ancestry is a common ancestor to several descendants of William HENDERSON and Helen Sinton WIGHT.
But which side is it, the THOMSON or the NEILSON?

It could be yet another clue to the elusive Amelia MILLAR of Kippen's ancestry?
Or some other curious connection from the Scottish Borders ancestry of Helen Sinton WIGHT?

If you recognise any of these names, particularly if you are a descendant of a sibling of either Gilbert or Margaret and would be willing to see if you get a dna match with any of us who inherited this bit of shared dna, please do get in touch.  We mostly use FamilyFinder*, but as long as the dna file is on, comparisons are possible across testing companies.

The theory is that a descendant of a sibling of Gilbert's or Margaret's should show up as an excellent match with the descendants of Gilbert and Margaret who have a good match between second cousins.

If one side of the family also show up as a match to the HENDERSON/WIGHT descendants but the descendant from the other side's sibling doesn't, we've figured out whether it is THOMSON or NEILSON.

* using this link to order a test will give a small contribution to

Monday, 2 February 2015

It gets better

An update to my tentative dna success story about Amelia MILLAR of Kippen, Stirlingshire.

My Ancestry dna match has uploaded to, where I was  able to compare results with several other kits.
Bingo has become BINGO in as far as we do now know that yes, from my ancestral side of the fence that bit of shared dna has a common ancestral line at James HENDERSON and Amelia MILLAR between the extended HENDERSON/MILLAR family kits I can compare, so the shared anecstry with my match is somewhere back up from that couple - and looks unlikely to be the HENDERSON side.

Looking good that the connection is to his David MILLAR and Elizabeth CHRYSTAL - but more work needed to confirm it fully.
As he has also transferred to FamilyTreeDNA, we should have more data to work with shortly.

Love to hear from anyone recognising this couple as their ancestors and has either already undertaken dna testing, or is willing to join in the fun, or has research to share.

This really is the closest I've come in 40+ years to finding out something concrete about Amelia MILLAR's ancestry.