Aug 21, 2013

Y-DNA Part 1 -- My head is spinning!

A while ago, brother Chris had his DNA analyzed, to find the Y-DNA history in our family, that goes back through Grandpa Bill Ortman's line. (When I had mine done, it was mt-DNA, the line going back through Grandma Walli.)  All this stuff is very complex and (at my age :) difficult to understand, but I've been puzzling through it.  First, the basic stuff we learned.


So much as it was with my chart, which started with "Mitochondrial Eve" in East Africa, this one starts with "Adam" (also in East Africa -- they had to be in the same neighborhood, right?), and much as mine broke up into smaller groups with letters representing groups that went off in different directions, so does this one.  Our path (through Grandpa Bill) went from Adam following the A, B, F paths, then K, then P, and finally to R, third from the bottom, in the brown part of the chart.  We are R-M269, as a matter of fact, which is easier to remember than U4b1a1a1 on Grandma Walli's side.

So what does that mean, other than a bunch of scientific notation?  Here's a migration map.


We are the green-blue-purple line coming east out of Africa and going to West Eurasia (much as our UB4 group did), and then heading west from there to Europe.  One more map; this one shows the distribution of the various groups in different areas. As you can see on the pie chart (ours is the top one on the left-hand side), the R-group accounts for almost half the Y-DNA in Europe.

So where on Grandma Walli's side, we come from a pretty unusual haplogroup (the people on the same branch of the tree), on Grandpa Bill's we are well-distributed, all over Europe.  

Unlike the Ancestry or Genographic DNA results I got, this one doesn't really give you the breakdown of countries or areas you're probably from, but it tells you where your matches are from.  This is where it gets a little bit hairy, trying to understand it, but maybe this will help:


When they compare Chris' DNA to other people who have been tested with Family Tree DNA, they look at 12, 25, and 37 "markers" on the chromosomes, places where they know what the normal sequences of the gene will be (I'll explain more about this in the next post) and what the variations are.  This map shows people who matched up on Chris' 25 markers -- if I understand this correctly, the people in orange match 24 of Chris' 25 markers, and the yellow people match 23 of 25 markers.  Interestingly, most of them live in the UK; only three show up in Germany.  (There are also a number in the US, mostly on the East Coast and one, interestingly, in Buraev, Siberia).  

Does this mean we're definitely related to these people?  Not quite.   Let's take one, DJC, who lives at St Mary Hill, Llangan, The Vale of Glamorgan, UK (isn't that a gorgeous address?).  If we had the same surname, the odds would be higher, but we don't, so the table tells us that we have a 28% chance of sharing an ancestor within the last four generations, and an almost 60% chance of sharing an ancestor within the last eight generations.  If we were to go back 24 generations (which almost nobody can, records getting very dicey farther back than the 1500's), we'd have a 98% chance of having a common ancestor.  The problem, however, is that in Grandpa Bill's paternal line, I can't get back past the fourth generation, Joseph Ortmann, because I don't know where he came from in Germany.  (That's why I'm working so hard on him.)  Until I can break through that brick wall, we don't have any way of comparing family trees with DJC (if he's willing to do so)  back eight generations or more.

So, enough for one day.  Here's a picture of a church in Llangan, UK, which is near Cardiff in Wales.  I think that while the Wormuths are in England in November, we should just show up at DJC's door and tell him we're his long-lost cousins.  We totally should do that, right?


Aug 10, 2013

Salt Lake City, here I come!

I've decided to make a pilgrimage to the LDS Library in Salt Lake City, toward the end of September, the mother lode in terms of doing genealogical research.  It's an 11 hour drive from where we are, which is less than I'd thought.  It's kind of frustrating to be searching for information and find out that what you want is only available on microfilm at the LDS library -- and I can only imagine how much I could accomplish in a couple of concentrated days on-site.

They say they have lots of people to assist you in your research, but just to be sure, I'm going to try to make an appointment with a professional genealogist to give me some direction, so I don't waste time heading off down the wrong road.  This is very exciting to me!  Maybe I can break through some of the "brick walls" that have been frustrating me.

Another cool thing is that you can visit the Mormon Tabernacle and listen to the organist rehearse, every day at noon -- not a Mormon, not religious, but I do like to sit in a church and listen to organ music.

You can also go to a rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Thursday evening -- that would be cool as well.  

So I'm excited!  I have so much fun doing this stuff that I'm really stoked about the whole idea.  But I have a lot of work to do before I go, so I'm not wasting time while I'm there.  

Aug 9, 2013

Brief update on Joseph Ortmann

So far, my attempts at finding more information on Joseph Ortmann (EDC's great-grandfather) have come up short.  I exchanged emails with a very nice man at the Jersey City Public Library, but he was unable to find any further information on Joseph's death.  He did say that obituaries were fairly uncommon until the mid-20th century.  He gave me information on how to order the death certificate, since I know the date and place; I'm going to do that and hope that it gives his place of birth.

I also joined the Hudson County Genealogical Society, and conversed with some very nice people there.  I discovered that the webmaster of the HCGS site has a Joseph Ortmann in his family history, but we quickly figured out that they were not the same person :(

So, I went back to and decided to take a kind of backwards approach -- since I'm pretty sure Joseph's father's name was Augustus, what could I find searching on Augustus Ortmann?  I found two possibilities, and am asking for help on following these on several of the German email lists (requiring me to write messages in German, which always winds up giving me a headache . . . ).  I found an "Augustus Wilhelm Ferdinand Ortmann" who was born in Brandenburg, in a year that fits the time frame, but no christening records suggesting he had a son named Joseph.  Brandenburg is near Pomerania (Pommern), where Joseph said he was from, but it's not in Pomerania itself.  We'll see if anyone there comes up with anything connecting Joseph and Augustus -- since it's relatively close, perhaps Joseph was born in Brandenburg then moved to Pomerania at some point?  The other one is a very long shot, because that Augustus is in Westphalia, which isn't near Pomerania at all.

I do feel hopeful about the Brandenburg one, in that two of Joseph's sons were called "Augustus" (the first son -- named after his grandfather?) and "Wilhelm," though that could be just a coincidence, I guess -- 

I did find Joseph's Navy enlistment record during the Civil War -- which gives the interesting information that he was 5'5" and had hazel eyes, light hair, and light complexion -- wish we had a picture!!  Anyway, here's the record:

He's 12 lines up from the bottom.  Hope you can read it.

I forgot to mention that when I was at the conference in Sacramento, I was passing by the table where the "Daughters of the Confederacy" were giving out information.  When I paused for a second, they asked whether I had any Civil War ancestors.  I said yes, but on the Union side, and they said that was fine, they could sign me up for the "Daughters of the Union Army" too.  I realized, when I thought about it, that Devin could be a member of both groups (well, Sons of . . .) because through his dad he has an ancestor, Louis Fate Earthman, who served in the Confederate army, along with his great-great grandfather (Joseph) who served in the Union Navy.  Pretty interesting, right?  You Ohioans might have the same situation through the Johnson family . . . 

I'll keep searching!  I just ordered four microfilms from the LDS Library in Salt Lake City that have Lutheran church records from Bremerhaven -- hoping to find more information on Grandma Sophie Berneburg's family, the Langers.  I'm looking forward to seeing those microfilms!


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