Family DNA results, part 2–Genetic Communities

Genetic Communities™

Genetic Communities show where your family probably lived in the past few hundred years. We create these by identifying groups of AncestryDNA members who are genetically connected to each other.

As science improves and our DNA database grows, the communities you’re connected to might change. (quote from Ancestry.com)

I have a (possible–40% confidence) Genetic Community–“Norwegians in Sørlandet.”  Sørlandet literally means Southland. This is a geographical area on the southern coast of Norway not a governmental region. It roughly corresponds to two present-day counties (formed around 1900) in Norway–Vest-Augder and Aust-Augder.

My brother’s DNA shows two Genetic Communities–“Western Norwegians” (Likely–60% confidence) and “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” (Possible–20% confidence).

The “Western Norwegians” and “Norwegians in Sørlandet” overlap in the map shown on Ancestry. When I look more at these Ancestry Genetic Communities I think that “Norwegians in Sørlandet” are a subregion of
“Western Norwegians.” At this point I’m not sure exactly what that means.

When I read about genetic communities on Ancestry it is clear that they are changing as more and more people test their DNA on Ancestry. Right now there are 300 genetic communities in Asia, Europe, North America and South and Central America.

Within North America, for example, there are three regions and then within those three regions are United States (four regions), Canada (four regions) and Mexico (three regions). Drilling down into the United States shows there are four regions–Northeastern, Southern, Midwestern and Western–which also show more regions! This is all rather confusing though interesting.

My brother shows a possible genetic community within the Midwestern United States–“Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.” Within that genetic community there are 5 more genetic communities! When I look at the map for this genetic community I can hover over circles see “Settlers of Central Ohio and the Potomac River Valley,” “Settlers of the Potomac River Valley,” “Settlers of West Virginia,” “Setters of the Upper Ohio River Valley,” another circle which shows “Settlers of Central Ohio and the Potomac River Valley” further west, and “Settlers of Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Southern Iowa.” Within these large circles are lots and lots of little circles, but I don’t see anything which tells me about those little circles.

I think these genetic communities can be valuable and certainly give hints about our genetic genealogy. My brother and I already know we have Norwegian ancestry, but don’t know for sure where they came from so the genetic communities shown give us places to start. We also know that some of our ancestors came from northern Ohio along Lake Erie. This isn’t a genetic community yet. However, I think we probably had various ancestors who came west into Ohio possibly along the Ohio River Valley.

I do like that Ancestry provides a historical perspective about the areas as well as where the people migrated from. It also shows our matches for each of our genetic communities.

  • My “Norwegians in Sørlandet” genetic community shows I have 33 DNA matches.
  • My brother’s “Western Norwegians” shows 15 DNA matches.
  • And my brother’s “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” shows 96 DNA matches.

The overview for “Early Settlers of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa” talks about the Ohio River Valley opening up after the Revolutionary War and that English, German, Scots and Scots-Irish moved to the frontier.

Ancestry’s overview of “Western Norwegians” says they were usually farmers or fishermen. They managed to live through wars, winters and economic depressions, but the cheap land in the United States encouraged many of them to move to the Midwestern United States where they often became farmers. Others became fishermen in the Northeast and Northwest.

My takeaway
  • Genetic Communities™ are going to grow and change as more people test their DNA and as science improves.
  • They give us hints about our DNA and genealogy. I think I can look at the Norwegian genetic communities and the matches my brother and I have and tag those matches as belonging on our paternal grandfather’s line since his parents both came from Norway.
  • The U.S. genetic community my brother shows is a little more difficult to figure out. For one thing Ancestry has only a 20% confidence this is correct for my brother. I can take a look at the matches shown though and maybe say they all come from the maternal side of our DNA since our paternal is all Scandinavian and those ancestors came to the U.S. in the 1870’s and 1880’s.
  • Genetic Communities™ can also show us an overview of migration patterns for a group of people and history of the areas.

Have you tested your DNA with Ancestry? Do you belong to any Genetic Communities™? What was your takeaway after reading about your community? Have you tested with other DNA companies? Do they have anything like Ancestry Genetic Communities™?

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My family DNA results, part 1

My kids bought me a DNA test from Ancestry for my birthday this year. I’ve gotten the results back and it’s all so interesting–though I am still trying to understand it all! I got my brother to do his DNA, too, so I thought I would write a series of articles about what I think I’ve learned. This will help me figure things out in my own mind and I hope if I get things wrong maybe someone will comment and help me.

My ethnicity estimates are:
  • 68% Scandinavian
  • 15% Great Britain
  • 11 % Europe West

With the following low confidence areas:

  • 4% Ireland
  • ≤ 1% Europe East
  • ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula

What I know  about my ethnicity from my genealogy:

  • My VALLEY and JOHNSON families came from Norway and Sweden.
  • The WINTERS and HARMS families came from Germany.
  • My great-grandmother Lillie CHAMBERS thought her family came from Ireland.
  • The story I’ve read is that my MILLER family came from Germany before the Revolutionary War.
  • We think the McCULLOUGH family came from Scotland.
  • There are several family lines which were in the United States in the 1700’s and we don’t know for sure where they came from and in some cases I’m not confident putting them into my family tree since I don’t have evidence they belong there. The PICKERING family probably came from Great Britain.

As anyone can see from the above information I haven’t really taken my genealogy across the pond. Based on what I am quite sure about I’m surprised I didn’t show up with more Irish and Western Europe (German) ethnicity. And I was surprised I show up with 11% Great Britain.

From what I have read these ethnicity estimates are just that: estimates. Also right above the Ethnicity Estimate on Ancestry it says “Thousands of years ago” so that seems to indicate this is not necessarily something that shows up in my genealogy.

My brother’s ethnicity results:
  • 63% Scandinavian
  • 23 % Europe West
  • 10 % Ireland

With the following low confidence areas:

  • 2% Europe East
  • ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula
  • 0% Great Britain

Since my paternal grandparents were 100% Scandinavian and their families were probably in Norway and Sweden for a long time the fact that both my brother and I are so high with our Scandinavian ethnicity makes sense to me. He shows a bit more Europe West than I do (23% as opposed to my 11%) and quite a bit more Ireland than me (10% versus 4%). I’m surprised he shows 0% Great Britain and I show 15% Great Britain.

I do need to remember these are “estimates from thousands of years ago!” And I have read that the Vikings traveled into Germany and, of course, Great Britain and Ireland–and I’m sure they left some DNA behind! They were even into Russia and Eastern Europe. The ≤ 1% Iberian Peninsula both my brother and I show is surprising though I don’t think it’s very significant.

Well, I hope I haven’t made a bunch of incorrect assumptions based on my ethnicity estimates. I think the biggest takeaway for me is that the ethnicity estimates might offer a hint, but I shouldn’t use these estimates to say “I have Irish ethnicity” unless I have genealogy to back it up.

To anyone who has more experience with DNA  can you tell me if I’m on the right path with this?

A book for Central Oregon history buffs

crooked-river-countryCrooked River Country: Wranglers, Rogues, and Barons (linked to Amazon)

by David Braly

Published by Washington State University Press, Pullman, Washington, 2007

331 pages, includes a Select Bibliography, Chapter Index of Personages and a separate map in a pocket in the back cover

Synopsis from GoodreadsCrooked River Country is a sweeping account of north central Oregon’s thrilling history, primarily the years between 1800 and 1950. Bordered by intimidating natural barriers, the rough country and harsh winters produced equally hardy inhabitants.

Legends include Billy Chinook, Chief Paulina, Elisha Barnes, James M. Blakely, Newt Williamson, James J. Hill, Johnnie Hudspeth, and Les Schwab. In the early 1800s, only Native Americans, fur trappers, military expeditions, and missionaries roamed the forbidding setting, but after mid-century, pioneer families discovered lush pastures nestled in the expanse between the Cascades and the Blue Mountains.

The homestead boom sparked deadly Paiute raids and conflicts over grazing rights. As land became more precious, Native Americans were forced onto reservations and Vigilante ranchers terrorized settlers. Moonshiners fought back. Dishonest politicians and capitalists exploited land claim laws and stole vast amounts of timberland.

Steamship and railroad lines further opened the region, and the territory gradually became less wild. Big eastern lumber companies arrived and constructed the largest pine mills in the world. The stock market collapsed, and citizens faced severe economic depression intensified by prolonged drought. New Deal programs, good rainfall, and World War II eventually spurred industrial and population growth.

Crooked River Country presents the captivating and thoroughly researched saga of the region’s astonishing transformation.

I bought this book last week on Amazon and so far I’ve only read a couple of chapters and browsed through the book. I looked through the Index of Personages for any of my ancestors who lived in that part of the country and found my great-grandfather Lee MILLER. He’s mentioned in a paragraph about Paulina, Oregon.

Paulina had been founded in 1870, and its post office was established in 1880 with John T. Faulkner serving as postmaster. Livestock baron Bill Brown sometimes listed himself as a Paulina resident. Cornett had a stage station there, but the big businesses in the early 20th century were the Paulina Cash Store, operated by Lee Miller and George Ruba, and the Hotel Paulina, built by Elmer Clark in 1906. The hotel had a lounge, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, and eight bedrooms upstairs. While a few homesteaders filed for land in the vicinity, the Paulina area remained a ranching district. (from Crooked River County by David Braly, p. 187)

It’s always nice to see a name I know in print! The book starts with early history of the area and continues to the early 1950’s with the last chapter talking about the growth and importance of Prineville, Oregon after WWII when the post-war building boom created the need for more lumber. The first chapter explores the area as a whole and defines Central Oregon as a larger area than how it’s defined today.

I grew up in Central Oregon and my parents were born there. My Miller relatives came to Oregon in 1847 on the Oregon Trail so even though I don’t live in Oregon any longer I have deep roots there. And lots of relatives all over Oregon. I think I will learn a lot more about the history of the area I grew up in.

About David Braly

From the back cover: He’s a Prineville resident, a former journalist, is a popular author of numerous articles about the West. He was selected as a 2005 Spur Award finalist for best Western short fiction.

Baptism record: Ole Sevill VALLEY

I’ve found a baptism record from the First Lutheran Church in Stoughton, Dane County, Wisconsin. The baby’s name is Ole Sevill and his parent’s are Fred and Katinka VALLEY. His birth date is 17 October 1886. The baptism date is 7 November 1886. I believe the baby was later called William and that he was my grandfather Peter VALLEY’s younger brother.

Even more exciting is to see the sponsors’ names–Sophie Kleve, Olive Wallesverdh, Hans Kleve and Konrad Wallesverdh. Katinka’s maiden name is Wallisverg so I think at least two of these sponsors are her relatives.

Having the sponsors’ names gives me new names to search for. I found the record on Ancestry. However, if I had just viewed what Ancestry had recorded–the parents’ names, baby’s name, date of birth, date of baptism–and not looked at the original document carefully I wouldn’t have seen the sponsors’ names.

Source info:

Baptism Record, Ole Sevill Valley, born 17 Oct 1886, First Lutheran Church, Stoughton, Wisconsin, U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940.

Peter Coleman VALLEY and family–what my Dad told me

The VALLEY family is my Dad’s Norwegian part of our family. My grandfather died when I was a little girl, but my Dad related what he knew about his father’s family:

My grandfather–Peter Coleman VALLEY–didn’t know too much about his parents. He was born in Wisconsin and he left home after his dad died because he didn’t get along with his mother. Peter said “my mother took up with other men.” After he left home, he lied about his age (he was 16) so he could join the Army in 1900. He was in the Philippines and later in the Boxer Rebellion in China during the Spanish-American War. [My father says his dad was born 28 August 1884, but military records when he joined the Army show 18 April 1882 and later military records show 28 August 1882.]

1900 Census showing Peter Valley in Puerto Rico with other military

Peter’s parents came from Norway and their names were Fred VALLEY and Katinka Pauline WALLISVERD (or WALLISVERG or WALLESVERD or WALLESVERDH or some other spelling!). Peter didn’t know where they came from in Norway, but he thought the family name was changed from Neseldolen [my brother tells me the spelling should be Nesledalen] (which might mean nettle valley–and maybe it’s a Norwegian farm name?? Because he thought they came from a place called Neseldolen. [Nesledalen]) He also thought there was a family connection in Trondheim, Norway (a harbor city on the west coast of Norway) who might have been a ship’s carpenter or harbor master, but didn’t know a name.

Peter had a younger brother named William VALLEY (born in 1886). They also had a younger half-brother named John HOOD (born in 1894). They were all born in Wisconsin. Peter moved to Minnesota after he left the Army and married my grandmother Olga Tekla Laura Nora JOHNSON. Her parents were Swedish. Peter worked in sawmills in Minnesota and moved his family to Bend, Oregon in 1919 to work in a sawmill there. My grandparents lived the rest of their lives there.

Some questions I have:

  1. I have found very little information about Fred VALLEY. I’m not sure when he died. This year I did find a state record for a Fred VALLEY who died in 1898 in Wisconsin. Is this my Fred VALLEY? I need to get a copy of the death certificate to find out what information it shows.
  2. I found a Lutheran church record in Stoughton, Wisconsin for the baptism of William VALLEY in 1896, but I haven’t been able to find any birth record for Peter VALLEY. Differing records show he was born in Gilman, Taylor County, Wisconsin, United States. Another record shows Pierce County, Wisconsin as a birth site.
  3. I found a New York Passenger List which shows Godfred Vallesvar and Katrine Vallesvar arriving in the U.S. in 1883 and planning to go to Stoughton, Wisconsin. Is this Fred and Katinka VALLEY?
  4. Is John HOOD Peter and William’s half-brother?

I am thinking of going on a research trip to Madison, Wisconsin to search for state records for the VALLEY family and also do research at the Naseth Library (a Norwegian American Genealogical Society) also in Madison.

Source info:

Year: 1900; Census Place: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Military and Naval Forces; Roll: 1838; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1241838; found on Ancestory.com

What Lillie Marks CHAMBERS remembered about her extended family

Lillie’s father was William CHAMBERS. Either he or his father was one of four (or maybe six) brothers (Alexander, James, John and William) who left their family home and father (also named William CHAMBERS) in Londonderry, Ireland after some sort of quarrel with him. The brothers came to Ohio.

Her other grandfather–John D. MARKS–lived in Illinois. One of his daughters (Mary) was Lillie’s mother. She died when Lillie was a baby. Lillie remembers that her grandfather loved to tease. She used to ask him what the “D” stood for in his name. He would answer, “Devil, I guess.”

Arthur is a recurring family name–one of Lillie’s brothers was named Arthur and Lillie and Lee MILLER named their oldest son Arthur Lyle MILLER. A family member was named Daniel and called “Black Daniel,” apparently because he was “Black Irish.¹”

¹From what I read about “Black Irish” there’s a lot of debate about where that term comes from. Whether it is describing someone with black hair and eyes and a dark complexion or a derogatory term toward the Irish or some group of Irish people. This term isn’t often used in Ireland. See Irish Central

 

 

Notes from my mother about Lillie CHAMBERS and Lee MILLER

This information is from handwritten pages my mother wrote in a notebook probably around 1954 (based on the other pages in the notebook). Her grandmother Lillie Marks CHAMBERS MILLER died in 1956. [I have seen Lillie also spelled Lily in different documents and at different times–even by my mother!]

I have added additional notes [using brackets] from things my mother told me when I was a teenager and first became interested in our family history.

John Leland “Lee” MILLER family, L-R: Gene, Lee, Lyle, Lillie–about 1905, in Oregon
Lillie Marks CHAMBERS
  • born in Bates County, Missouri 9 June 1870
  • Since Marks is Lillie’s middle name MARKS might be a family name
  • Two brothers–Arthur and John
  • Two sisters–Ida and Emma
  • Went to teacher’s college in Bates County, Missouri [later my Mom called this a Normal school–which I learned is the name for schools which taught teachers]
  • School was a private school at that time
  • Lillie and Arthur traveled to Oregon
  • Arthur had a mine at Black Butte in Grant County, Oregon & later homesteaded in Fox Valley
  • Arthur went to Portland, got sick there and died at St. Vincent’s Hospital
  • Lillie taught school [in Grant County, Oregon], met Lee MILLER and they were married 14 September 1895
  • Lillie and Lee’s children–Lyle–my grandfather–(born 11 July 1896 in Canyon City, Oregon), Gene (in 1900) and Joe–J.C. (in 1908)
Lee MILLER
  • Family came across the plains to Oregon
  • They were a pioneer family that settled near Creswell, Oregon
  • His mother’s maiden name was Douglas
  • Douglas County and Douglas Cemetery near Creswell was named for them
  • There were two brothers–Lee and Cyrus [I’m not sure if my mother meant there were two sons or that Lee MILLER had two brothers in which case she may have written down “Lee” instead of the other brother’s name]
  • Lee MILLER had a livery stable in Canyon City, Grant County, Oregon
  • Mom thought the livery stable burned down and the family moved to Izee, Grant County, Oregon
  • Later they moved to Paulina, Crook County, Oregon and had a store there that went broke at some point
  • Lee MILLER died when Lyle was 16
  • Lillie started teaching school again and taught for many years in rural communities in Crook County, Oregon.
  • Lillie thought one brother lived near Denver

Next I will write about the information in the notebook Mom wrote about Lillie’s grandfather and family.

I will come back to Lee and Lillie’s family with information I’ve found in records and try to prove or disprove these notes.