Thursday, July 10, 2014

My AncestryDNA Results

My results are in for the AncestryDNA test I took in May.  (My father's results are not in yet.)

Before the results were published, a cousin contacted me.  She is my mother's second cousin.  Our common ancestors were John D Preston (1859-1928) and Bridget Sheehey (1856-1916).  Her grandfather, George Preston, was a brother to my great grandmother, Anna Preston.  Previously, through DNA testing at 23andMe, I made contact with a descendant of another sibling, Hannah.

1900 federal census:  Independence, Warren County, New Jersey  USA
Household of John D Preston
I am descended from Anna Preston.  Last year, we met descendants of Hannah Preston.
In this post, we meet a descendant of George Preston.

My AncestryDNA closest matches are predicted to be 3rd to 4th cousins.

I don't know how the first person is related to me.  He has no genealogy information under his profile.  When my father's results are available, I will check if this cousin matches my father.  If not, the match is likely through my mother.

The second match is my Preston cousin.  We both attached family trees to our profiles.  Ancestry tagged her tree with a little leaf to let me know that Ancestry has a suggestion as to which ancestor in our trees may be the common ancestor.

John D Preston is indeed our common ancestor.  Bridget Sheehey, our other common ancestor, was left out of this suggestion.

This newly discovered cousin provided me with information on her branch of the Preston tree.  I followed them through the census and retrieved some of their vital records from the Archives in Trenton.  As a coincidence, in the 1920 census in Newark, New Jersey, we have George Preston and his wife, Margaret [Fallon], living a few houses away from my paternal great grandfather, Howard Lutter, and my great great grandmother, Clara Uhl.

1920 federal census:  Newark, Essex County, New Jersey  USA
South Ninth Street
The Prestons were living at 164 South Ninth Street.  The Lutters were at 158.

Finding George Preston's birth certificate provides me with a narrower time frame for when the family relocated from Dutchess County, New York to Warren County, New Jersey.  George's birth certificate for November 12, 1886 is the first found in New Jersey for the couple John Preston and Bridget Sheehey.  Strangely, the next two children, Hannah and Anna, had no certificates.  But Henry, born 1897, and Walter, born 1899, were issued birth certificates.  If the child count is correct, I am still missing some children.

The branches lost contact, but through the internet, we reconnected.  My grandmother's notes reveal that she continued receiving news about the family.  She wrote that George (her maternal uncle) had one son.

Now I have tested my autosomal DNA at the three major companies:  23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and AncestryDNA.  I have close and distant relations at all three.  Unlike 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA, AncestryDNA does not reveal which pieces, or segments, of my DNA that I have in common with my matches.  This information is necessary to figure out the connection to more distant relations.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Y-DNA Results at FamilyTreeDNA

My father's Y-DNA results are in at FamilyTreeDNA.  No matches.
This is a 37 marker test.  The lowest level of testing, 12 markers, provides no matches, so the 25 and 37 additional marker tests would not show any matches.

Y-DNA testing is for men only, as only men have a Y chromosome.  A father passes his Y chromosome to his male children almost unchanged from the version he received from his father.  This genetic inheritance pattern is particularly useful for genealogy.

For my particular genealogy, my father's direct paternal line is the shortest discovered line.  It is also the most recent line that left Europe for the United States, about 1881 for Hermann Lutter, my great-great grandfather.

Hermann Lutter had a brother, Otto Luther, who had only female children, so the Y chromosome was not passed on to his descendants.  I found only one grandson of Otto, but no marriage or children for him, so Otto's line may have ended.

In his will, Hermann mentioned a sister, Ottilia Michel, and her three children in Neuhaus, Thueringen, Germany.  I have not located them or any of their descendants.  They would not carry the Lutter Y chromosome, but they would likely share autosomal DNA with my father.

Autosomal DNA testing captures DNA inherited from all ancestral lines.  The trick is figuring out which ancestor contributed particular pieces of your DNA.  In comparison, Y-DNA matching can be credited to only one line- the direct paternal path of inheritance.

I will continue with traditional research on this line, as well as exploration of the autosomal DNA matches of my father and his siblings.  A Y-DNA match can appear at any time.

(If you would like to view a spreadsheet of people who match on their Y chromosome, please see the Bunch Y-DNA Project.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Subjective Marital Status

In the prior post, we saw the 1920 census entry for Clara Uhl, (ex)wife of Herman Lutter, listing her marital status as widowed.

This does not mean that her husband was dead!  If you do not have a death record for a "deceased" spouse, look for the person in the census anyway.  (Clara had three more years until Herman died.)

Marital Status:  Clara was divorced, not widowed.
Howard was married, but separated from his wife.
Lillian was single, but married John Kuhl two months later.

In this case, I knew that Clara Uhl and Herman Lutter divorced in the 1890s and Herman died in 1923.  In the 1920 census, Herman resided nearby with his next wife, Emma Neubauer.

Double enumeration in the census, part five: Newark, New Jersey 1920

Howard Lutter was listed twice in the 1920 federal census.  When this happens, we call it a Double Enumeration.  The cause of the double count for Howard was marital problems.  He was staying with his mother, Clara Uhl, but was also listed in the household of his wife, Laura Winterton, with his young children.  The hint to check for a second entry was that in his mother's household, Howard was listed as married- but no wife was with him.

Gathering Loose Leaves of Trees

My great great grandparents, Patrick O'Donnell and Delia Joyce, were married in 1887 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.  While reviewing an online transcription of this church's records, I noted that Patrick and Delia were sponsors for the baptism of Mary Ellen "Otterbury," daughter of John Otterbury and Mary Campbell.  Delia Joyce's mother was Mary Campbell.  Mary was killed in 1870 by a train in Dutchess County, New York.  To date, I have been unable to connect Mary Campbell to her family of origin.

Otterbury is a name of interest to me because my mother shares DNA with R. S., who is also my father's third cousin.  R. S. has Ottenberg ancestors from Germany and then Jersey City.  By testing cousins in my mother's family, I was able to isolate R. S.'s match to the O'Donnell/Joyce branch of my mother's family tree.  An intersection between Delia Joyce, daughter of Mary Campbell, and "Otterbury" in Bayonne is a good lead to follow.
R. S. shares an amount of DNA with my father that is within a third cousin range, which is their documented relation.
R. S. also shares a small segment of DNA with my mother, her maternal first cousin, and two cousins of my mother's mother.
The connection between my mother and R. S. will be in my O'Donnell/Joyce branch.

John "Ottber" was baptized at St. Mary's one year earlier in 1886, likely to allow him to marry Mary Campbell in a Catholic church.  I have not found a marriage record for this couple in New Jersey, either through a church or filed with the State.

Mary Ellen Otterbury's birth in 1887 is shown in an index at

Remembering that these indexes are not records, I searched for Mary Ellen's birth certificate.  Mary Ellen Otterbury's birth does not appear in the New Jersey State index of births at Trenton.

The New Jersey Birth and Christenings index at presents a different spelling of Mary Ellen's last name- Aughtberry instead of Otterbury.

Mary Ellen Aughtberry shows up in the birth index in Trenton.

And here is Mary Ellen Aughtberry's birth certificate from the State- September 5, 1887 in Bayonne.
Her father is listed as John Aughtberry, age 33, of Sweden.  Her mother is listed as Mary Campbell, age 38, of Ireland.

These pieces of information are pieces of a puzzle, but I need more pieces to determine:
--- Does Mary Campbell, wife of John Aughtberry or Ottbury, have a relationship to Mary Campbell, wife of Patrick Joyce and mother of Delia?
--- Does John Otterbury/Aughtberry have a relationship to the Ottenberg in cousin R. S.'s family tree?