A Segment-ology TIDBIT
The Visual Phasing process looks at full chromosomes of three siblings to determine grandparent crossover points. The Leeds Method uses Matches over 90cM to group by grandparents. Great grandparents rely on 2nd cousins (2C) Matches which average 229cM. Even out to 4xG grandparents, we rely on 5Cs at an average of 25cM. What if your genealogy question or interest is more distant?
I recently broke through a 48 year brick wall. My known ancestor was Wilson BROWN c1751-1793 who died without a Will or any other document listing his wife or children. I’ve always known his name, because the marriage license of Keziah BROWN to Elliott BAKER in 1801 listed her father as Wilson BROWN, decd – but little else, except a probable brother Isham BROWN. Finally, the 1776 Will of James BROWN came to light – it listed 16 children including Wilson and Isham. With literally no Trees with Wilson BROWN, we have to find Match cousins from James BROWN – who would be my 6Cs.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
The average for a 6C relationship is 18cM – and over 70% of the segments are under 20cM. We have to find and use and group these under-20cM Matches in order to build a case for a 6C relationship. Boy, did I pick the wrong surname to test this out – BROWN. So I’m searching my maternal Matches with a BROWN surname below 20cM – there are many. I’m now down to 11cM, and the “hits” in VA, NC, SC, TN, KY area are showing up. Some appear to be single “hits” in otherwise large BROWN families (not helpful); but some are starting to group on particular lines (promising). I think by the time I get down to 8cM Matches, I will have a number of strong candidate BROWN families, with a number of potential cousins on each line. I’m letting these small segment Matches tell me lines I’m related to.
Now, I recognize that some of these small segments may be false. At the 7cM level, we expect about half to be false. But the flip side is half will be true (Identical By Descent). When I see what appears to be a single line of descent from a BROWN ancestor in the 1700s, I can well accept that it may be a false segment. On the other hand, if a number of Matches all descend from several children of the same BROWN patriarch, I’m more inclined to think that consensus indicates true, matching, segments. Even if we insist that half of these shared segments are false, we still have a lot of them which are true and all pointing to the same family.
In my case I’m sure my BROWN line is BROWN Y-DNA Group 40 – so a link to known Group 40 lines is another reinforcing piece of evidence. Also, from my Walk The Clusters Back process, I’ve identified almost all of my greater-than-20cM Matches to a Cluster and many of those to a Triangulated Group (TG) segment. Many of the under-20cM Matches have over-20cM Shared Matches (SMs). Sometimes there is a clear SM consensus (to a TG), and sometimes the SMs don’t have a clear consensus. When there is a clear SM consensus on a suspected “BROWN” TG, more often than not, I can build a Match’s BROWN ancestor back to the patriarch of a consensus group. This further reinforces these family groups.
BOTTOM LINE – If you are looking for cousins at the 6C or 7C or 8C level, you have to rely on Small Segments! And, IMO, when you factor in that they form a solid consensus group in one family, a high percentage of them will be true segments.
[22BP] Segment-ology: Who Ya Gonna Call? TIDBIT by Jim Bartlett 20230428