DNA Origins – My Genetic Tree

For the past couples of years I have been Studying my genetic family tree, which in principle is our second family tree, our first being our Genealogical tree which includes the names of all of our ancestors. Our genetic tree is much smaller and includes only the ancestors we have inherited DNA from.

These genetic ancestors are responsible for our ethnicity, our bodies, our facial features, Hair and Eye colour and even some of our health issues.

A full Study of our genetic ancestors is much easier when you have a good and well researched tree to work with, the bigger your tree the more genetic connections you find.

I also think it’s important to utilise all available resources and tools. Make sure your tree is online for a start and make sure your raw DNA data is attached to that tree. Otherwise you will be working blind and you will literally need to comb through every Match, every tree, every branch one by one. That’s a lot of unnecessary work and tiresome too.

I have been researching my family tree on and off since 1997, and as a result I have Built up a full tree over those last 21 years. My tree currently has 52,037 people, and attached to that tree is 39647 family records, with the potential of adding a further 80947 more records that Ancestry Hints associates with my family tree.

Maternal Genetic Tree

I have so far tested 3 family members that belong within my maternal Grandparents family group, for the purpose of this post I am going to briefly talk about my grandmother’s genetic ancestors; What I have so far found, my DNA matches, and how lost DNA can leave big areas missing in our tree’s where no cousin matches exist and so no inherited DNA.

Below is a four generation pedigree beginning with my grandmother Joyce Margery Plaskett, the blue DNA markers you can see indicates ancestors I share DNA with, the green DNA Match marker’s indicates ancestors that I share in Common with a cousin via shared DNA. I find it easier to work like this as I can clearly see which branches belong in my genetic family tree. These marker’s can be followed further in time, once a genetic branch has been identified we will then know that our DNA has been inherited through their ancestors and so on. We can work out the basis of our ethnicity like this too, or at least give us a closer understanding of which potential ancestors gave us our ethnicity.

Genetic Family Tree
Genetic Family Tree

The genetic tree above has been made possible by testing descendants of my grandmother (my grandmother has not been tested). From this raw data I have been able to identify that out of all 16 of my grandmother’s 2x Grandparents DNA has been inherited from 13 of these people.

Three ancestors are missing from this gene pool and not only has no genetic connection been identified with these people, but no connection has been identfied with the places their ancestors lived either. No Matter how far in the past I search. So It’s currently safe to say that these are not my genetic ancestors.

Ancestry DNA matches can be found by searching shared locations where ancestors lived, it’s a good tool to use when no obvious surname is shared.

Barbara Cowie Genetic Tree

Barbara Cowie (1815 – 1904) is my 4x great-grandmother and my grandmother’s 2x. Barbara is one of my genetic ancestors and an ancestor I share with a DNA matching cousin. The Pedigree below shows Barbara’s known 4 generation Genealogical tree and her genetic ancestors. Out of a possible 16 2x Grandparents, Barbara has passed to my family group DNA from 5 of these people. 3 of which are all related to each other and share close common ancestors, many times over.

Barbara Cowie Genetic Tree
Barbara Cowie Genetic Tree

My DNA through these family members can be followed back even further in time (one generation at a time with shared matching cousins), until I reach the birth of my 13th great-grandmother, Elizabeth “2nd Countess of Moray Suo Jure” STUART (1563 – 1591), My genetic tree stops through this branch with Elizabeth (or at least seems too). What is interesting is that Elizabeth is the granddaughter of King James V of Scotland (1512 – 1542), and my family group DNA shows a Scottish Ethnicity of 27% and a Scandinavian Ethnicity of 9%. I have no known Scandinavian Ancestry except through these Scottish branches. King James V of Scotland’s grandmother was a Danish princess, so Scandinavian.

I have shared this before, but the likeness between my self and my 15x great-grandfather is very good. It’s likely that James not only belongs in my Genealogical tree, but my genetic tree too.

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I love all things Scottish, I guess it’s in my blood, below is a recent photo of me wearing my Gordon ancestral Tartan (Gordon Modern Dress).

Gordon Tartan - Gordon Dress Modern
Embracing my genetic heritage.

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