X-Chromosome & Recombination – an Example

The X-chromosome is passed down differently than the other 22 chromosomes. Since men only have one X chromosome, which they get from their mothers, when a man passes his X onto his daughters, he passes an intact X. As women have two X-chromosomes, one from each parent, when she passes her X onto her children, she could either pass along her paternal X, her maternal X, or a mixture (recombination), like with any other chromosome.

According to a study done by Blaine T. Bettinger (The Genetic Genealogist), in 14% of cases, the X-chromosome is passed down intact, with no recombination. Most X-Chromosomes undergo one or two recombinations. Here are the percentages seen among the 250 samples in the study.

Recombinations
Since I’ve done Visual Phasing using my results, my sister’s and my nephew’s, I thought it would be interesting to see how our X-Chromosomes compare. Here’s the overall view. The bottom shows the match between each of us and my mother. As expected, my sister and I share a full X with our mother (if we didn’t, she couldn’t be our mother!). My nephew does not.
Chr 23 full.jpg

First up, me. As a female, I received two X chromosomes – one from each of my parents. Since my father only had one to give me, from his mother (Sharpe), of course I got his intact. From my mother, I happened to also receive an intact X chromosome with no recombination. I got her maternal (Hicks) X chromosome.

Chr 23 Leanne

Next is my sister, J. She too got intact chromosomes from both parents, but in her case, she received our mother’s paternal (Prowse) X chromosome. So while we each received an X with no recombination, we received different ones.

Chr 23 Jayne

And finally, my nephew, R. As a male, he only received one X chromosome, from his mother (my eldest sister). Because of the way I charted them, it looks like this:

Chr 23 Ryan

But in reality, it’s all on one chromosome, so it would look more like this:

Chr 23 Ryan complete

We can see that R’s X chromosome underwent 3 recombinations. From this, we can also see what my eldest sister’s chromosome must have been – something like this:

Chr 23 Debbie

The recombination point could be anywhere within the red square. Where exactly it occurs is unknown, but we know there is one, and probably only one.

So, of my mother’s three children, one received her complete maternal X chromosome, one received her complete paternal X chromosome, and the third received a combination.

DNA never ceases to fascinate me!

52 Ancestors #9: Richard Rider (1766-1838)

We’re up to week 9 in the 52 Ancestors challenge. Over the past 8 weeks, as I have seen each prompt, I’ve thought of different ancestors I could choose, before finally settling on one. But this week was different. When I saw the prompt “Where There’s a Will”, I knew immediately who to write about – my 4th great grandfather, Richard Rider. Not only did his will give me valuable information about his children (including an explanation for something I had been curious about), it also gave me an impression of who he was as a person. And all this in about 100 words!

Richard Rider was baptized on July 18, 1766, in North Huish, Devon, England. He was the son of William Rider and Joan (Unknown). Richard married Agnes Pilditch on June 19, 1790 in South Milton, Devon. They had 8 children who were baptized in the All Saints Church, South Milton, 5 of whom survived to adulthood.

Rider Baptisms 2
South Hams, Devon, Parish Records, South Milton, All Saints: baptisms 1736 – 1812

The 2nd oldest of these children was my 3rd great grandmother, Agnes Rider, who married William Prowse in 1822 in East Stonehouse, Devon, and had seven children, including my 2nd great grandfather, Samuel Prowse (52 Ancestors #4).

In or before 1824, Richard & Agnes Rider and at least three of their children left Devon, England to settle on Prince Edward Island.  Richard and his eldest son, John, purchased lots 416 and 417 in the Royalty of Charlotte Town. They later petitioned to receive to adjacent lots of crown land, lots 415 and 437, which was granted on August 3, 1824.

PEI Public Archives and Records Office, Land Petitions, RG5, Series 4, File 36, 1824

William and Agnes (Rider) Prowse also settled in Charlottetown, though it is unclear whether they came at the same time as Agnes’s parents, or whether they followed later. One of their children, born in Devon before they emigrated, was Joseph Jarvis Prowse.

When I was researching Joseph, I came upon the baptism of one of his sons, which listed the mother’s name as Agnes Rider Prowse. Was this a mistake? Were Joseph’s wife and mother both named Agnes Rider? Further research would reveal that Rider was her middle name – her full name was Agnes Rider Jarvis!

So Joseph Jarvis Prowse, son of Agnes Rider, married Agnes Rider Jarvis. They must be related – it would be much too coincidental for them not to be.

It was Richard Rider’s will that would lead me to the answer.

To Joseph Prouse, one pound. To Richard Jarvis (son of William and Peggy Jarvis in England), one pound. To Elizabeth Grace Rider (daughter of Jane Bryenton), my bed and bedding. My son John may purchase lot 437 at a fair value decided by three or five other men. The proceeds are to be equally divided between my five children. I appoint my children John, Agnes Prouse, Peggy Jarvis of England, Grace Wise, and Jane Bryenton as Executors. All of my children are to have an equal share in my effects, after giving Jonathan Pillage Rider and Robert Herwood my watch to be valued and divided between them. Dated 1 Sept. 1837.

Early Prince Edward Island probate records, 1786-1850 / by Linda Jean Nicholson, 2005, Pg 224, Richard Rider (Estate File Will R-27. Two documents. Liber 3, Folio 150)

How very helpful to have his daughters’ married names listed! Based on this information, I was able to track down each of them. And look – one of them married a Jarvis! They had a daughter named Agnes, who later married her cousin, Joseph Jarvis Prowse.

Joseph Jarvis Prowse and Agnes Rider Jarvis

This still doesn’t explain Joseph’s middle name of Jarvis. Could he have been named after his mother’s brother-in-law? It’s possible, but I believe instead that William Prowse’s mother was also a Jarvis, though I haven’t yet determined whether or how she was related to William Jarvis. More on this when I profile William Prowse in a later post.

The other interesting thing about Richard Rider’s will is the grandchildren that are mentioned in it. At the time of his death in on January 4, 1838, Richard had at least 14 grandchildren, only three of whom were mentioned by name in his will:

  1. To Joseph Prouse, 1 pound. Joseph was the oldest of Richard’s grandchildren. At 13 years old at the time Richard’s will was written, one can imagine that Joseph was a help to his grandfather.
  2. To Richard Jarvis (son of William and Peggy Jarvis in England), one pound. Richard Rider Jarvis was 9 at the time. It is unclear from the wording whether he was with his parents in England, or whether he was on Prince Edward Island with his grandfather. I suspect the latter, as he was not listed with his family on the 1841 census of England. His mother and sisters emigrated about 1845.
  3. To Elizabeth Grace Rider (daughter of Jane Bryenton), my bed and bedding. Elizabeth was born on April 6, 1832 and was baptized 18 months later on October 30, 1833. Elizabeth’s mother, Jane Rider, married George Bryenton in 1835.
Elizabeth Grace Rider baptism
“Prince Edward Island Church Records, 1777-1985,” images, FamilySearch, Queens > Charlottetown > Anglican Church of Canada St Paul > Births, baptisms 1777-1939 > image 231 of 559; parishes, Prince Edward Island.

I can’t help but have kind thoughts about a 72-year-old man in 1838 leaving something as personal and practical as his bed and bedding to his 5-year-old granddaughter who was born out of wedlock. To me, it speaks of protection and safety – no matter what happens, she would always have a bed to sleep in.

The only other specific article mentioned in Richard’s will was his watch, which was given to Jonathan Pillage Rider and Robert Herwood “to be valued and divided between them”. I find that very curious – why not just give the watch to one person? The only way to divide it between the two is to sell it and share the proceeds. Usually a watch is something to be passed down, not to be sold. So while Richard’s will gave me some answers, it also left me with a question. And I’m okay with that. It’s the questions that keep me exploring my family history.

52 Ancestors #8: Bessie Hicks (1892-1965)

Every Christmas of my childhood, my mother wore a gold bracelet. Engraved on the back is “A.S.P. to B.A.H. Xmas 1913”. This bracelet was a Christmas gift from my grandfather, A. Samuel Prowse, to my grandmother, Bessie A. Hicks, two years before they were married. The rest of the year, the bracelet lived in a velvet box in my mother’s dresser drawer. I always loved opening that box and reading the inscription. As a child in the 1960s and 70s, 1913 seemed like an eternity ago. Now that I’ve been researching ancestors back to the 1760s, 1913 seems so very recent.

braceletBracelet inscription

My maternal grandmother, Bessie Hicks was born on August 31, 1892 in Midgic, Westmorland County, New Brunswick. She was the daughter of Arthur Hicks (52 Ancestors #2) and Morinda Wheaton. Bessie grew up on the family farm in Upper Sackville, the eldest of 8 children.

Hicks, Bessie - Birth
New Brunswick, Canada, Provincial Archives, Late Registration of Births, Code 1892-H-75, Microfilm F18782

Bessie attended Mount Allison Ladies College (now part of Mount Allison University), where she met her husband-to-be, Sam Prowse. They were married on December 1, 1915 at the home of Bessie’s parents in Sackville, NB.

Newspaper wedding of Samuel Prowse and Bessie Hicks
The Charlottetown Guardian, Dec 4, 1915, Pg. 5 (islandnewspapers.ca)

Following their marriage, Bessie and Sam settled in Sam’s home town, Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, where Sam was a partner in the family business, Prowse and Sons. Bessie and Sam had 4 daughters: Audrey in 1917, Hazel in 1919, Betty in 1923 and my mother, Florence, in 1930.

Samuel and Bessie (Hicks) Prowse, Audrey, Hazel
Albert and Bessie (Hicks) Prowse, with daughters Audrey and Hazel, 1920 Family photo collection.

The Great Depression spelled the end for the Prowse family business. In 1932, the family moved to Moncton, New Brunswick to start over.

Newspaper - departure of A.S. Prowse and family
The Charlottetown Guardian, May 17, 1932, Pg 5 (islandnewspapers.ca)

As I side note, I giggled when I saw my mother referred to in that article as “Baby Florence”.

The 1930s and 1940s were hard on the family, with little money and their share of difficult times. In 1939, Bessie’s 2nd oldest daughter, Hazel, then age 19, married with 2 children and pregnant with her third, lost her home in a house fire and then lost her husband in a car accident. Bessie and the two younger children moved to Riverside, New Brunswick to support Hazel. They later moved to Sunny Brae, New Brunswick and Bessie raised Hazel’s youngest son. Bessie was widowed in 1949, when her husband died of cancer.

Throughout these tragedies, Bessie was always the rock of the family. She made sure there was always food on the table and plenty of love to go around.

I’ve always felt a strong connection to my grandmother, even though I never had the chance to know her – she died in January 1965, when I was just 10 months old. My mother has often told me that I remind her of her mother, especially when I laugh. This is my favourite picture of her – she looks like someone who was not afraid to be silly, and I admire that in a person.

Bessie (Hicks) Prowse, Cedric and Maude Hicks
Bessie (Hicks) Prowse (centre), with her youngest brother Cedric Hicks, his wife Maude, and Bessie’s grandchildren. Abt. 1956. Family photo collection.

 

1932 Canadian Olympic Men’s Speed Skating Team

With the Olympics in full swing, I thought I’d share a postcard from my family photo collection, of the 1932 Canadian Olympic Men’s Speed Skating Team.

1932 Mens speedskating team.jpg

The third man from the left was my great-uncle, Harry Smyth. He was the husband of my paternal grandmother’s half-sister.

The full team was (left to right in the photo):

  • Marion McCarthy
  • Leopold Sylvester
  • Harry Smyth
  • Herb Flack
  • Frank Stack
  • Alex Hurd
  • Willy Logan

At the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, 31 men competed in 4 speed skating events. They represented 6 countries: Canada, Finland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United States. What? No Netherlands? Imagine!

The Canadian men took home 1 silver and 4 bronze medals, won by:

  • Frank Stack – Bronze, 10,000m
  • Alex Hurd – Bronze, 500m; Silver, 1500m
  • Willy Logan – Bronze, 1500m; Bronze, 5000m

I wonder what my Uncle Harry and his fellow Olympians would think of the 2018 Olympics? It’s a different world than they experienced 86 years ago. The outfits sure have changed! And there are a lot more women – in the 1932 Olympics, there were 21 female athletes (figure skaters) and 234 male athletes.

 

52 Ancestors #7: Clara Lockhart (1875-1906)

I struggled with this week’s prompt – Valentine. I do have a person named Valentine in my tree, but he was the husband of an ancestor’s sister. I’d rather stick to my direct ancestors for now than branch that far out. So I looked for people who were born, married or died around Valentine’s day. But again, all of the possibilities were on collateral lines.

As nobody was coming to mind, I decided to skip the theme and just pick an ancestor I felt like writing about. Since my first six 52 Ancestors posts have been on my mother’s side, I figured it was time to venture over to my father’s side for this one. And then it clicked. Lockhart. Lock Heart. Close enough to Valentine! And can you get a more romantic name than Clara Belle Lockhart? But this won’t be a romantic story. Quite the contrary, in fact – no happily-ever-afters here.

Clara Belle Lockhart was my great grandmother. She was born in 1875 in Perth, New Brunswick, Canada, the daughter of David H. Lockhart and Annie Emma Morris. Shortly after Clara was born, the family moved to Moncton, New Brunswick, where David worked as a machinist with the railway. Clara’s mother, Annie, died of consumption when Clara was 13 years old.

Lockhart 1881 census
1881 Canada Census, New Brunwsick, Westmorland (33), Moncton (F-3), Pg. 24

Clara married Robert Sharpe on April 15, 1896 in Moncton. While Robert  worked as a painter at the time of his marriage, he later worked on the railroad, as a brakeman. They had four children: Beulah in 1897, Helen (my grandmother) in 1899, John in 1901 and Vera in 1905.

Marriage Robert Sharpe and Clara Lockhart
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, RS141B7, Index to New Brunswick Marriages, Number 2683, Code B4/1896, F15581

In 1906, when my grandmother was only 7 years old, illness swept through the family. First came the death of 15-month-old Vera in August 1906. Three weeks later, Clara died, at the age of 31. Two weeks after that, 5-year-old John died.

Growing up, I knew my grandmother, Helen (Sharpe) Cooper – she died when I was 15. She always struck me as an unhappy person, but I knew nothing about early her life until I started exploring my family history, many years after her death. Losing her mother at the age of 7 clearly had a strong impact on her. She memorialized her mother in the names of her children. She gave her son (my father) the middle name Lockhart, and her daughter (my aunt) the middle name Clara.

So Clara Lockhart, who died at the early age of 31, lived on in the grandchildren she never knew.

Benefits of Visual Phasing

Visual Phasing is a technique whereby the DNA of siblings is assigned to each of the four grandparents. It is usually done with 3 siblings, though you can adapt the technique, as I did, with 2 siblings and a nephew.  As I mentioned in that post, I knew I want to try it as soon as I heard about it. I wasn’t really sure whether it would be helpful for me, but I was curious about the technique. While I was waiting for my sister’s and nephew’s results, I was chatting with a genealogist I know who referred to Visual Phasing as a “party trick”. She didn’t feel that there was much to be gained from doing it.

Having now mapped most of my chromosomes using Visual Phasing, I respectfully disagree – at least for me. Your mileage may vary.

Following are a couple of ways that Visual Phasing has helped me:

 1. I can easily identify whether a match is on a line of interest

The vast majority of my DNA matches are on my maternal grandmother’s side, as this line has deep Colonial American roots. As discussed in a previous post, I’m currently particularly interested in matches on my maternal grandfather’s side, as that’s where I’m attempting to break down a brick wall.

When I get a new match on GEDMatch, MyHeritage or FTDNA, I can quickly and easily figure out which side the match is on. For example, on GEDMatch, when I get a new match, I run a “Multi Kit Analysis”, select “Manual Kit Selection/Entry”, enter the new kit number in the 1st box, then compare it against my mother (FC), me, my sister (JK) and my nephew (RM):

Multi Kit Analysis

I click on Visualization Options, and select 2-D Chromosome Browser

Match Chr 11

For this match, I see that on Chromosome 11, she or he matches my mother (so I know it’s on my maternal line), matches R from 115 to 129, and matches me (L) from 119 to 129. I compare this to the phased chromosome:

Compare v11

As you can see by the the section outlined in red, this must be a Prowse match (purple). Since that’s my mother’s paternal side, the line I’m particularly interested in, I add this match to my spreadsheet as a match of interest. Doing this systematically has helped me develop a subset of matches to work with.

2. I have a much better understanding of how DNA is passed down.

When I first got my DNA results and started working with matches, there was a lot I didn’t quite get, like:

  • Why, with some matches, do I share the exact same amount as my mother, with some I share about half, and with others still I don’t share any at all?
  • Why do I match some people that my sister doesn’t, and vice versa?
  • How can my nephew share more with a person than I do, when he’s one generation farther back from the match than I am?

I have since learned that these are extremely common questions. I quickly learned that the stock answer is “because of the randomness of how DNA is inherited”. It was only when I started doing visual phasing that I really got it. It makes sense to me now. For example, with the match above my mother and my nephew (her grandson) share about the same amount with this person, I share a bit less, and J is not a match at all. And that’s totally normal.

It took seeing it for me to really understand.

I know that not everybody can do Visual Phasing. If you don’t have siblings to work with, you’re out of luck. But if you do, it’s worth considering. Of course, only you can decide if there’s a value to you – it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

For me, it was worth it. Plus, it’s kinda fun – but then again, spreadsheets and graphics make me happy.

What do you think? Party trick, or valuable tool in the genetic genealogy toolbox?

52 Ancestors #6: Joseph Providence Richardson (1774-1846)

This week’s prompt for the 52 Ancestors challenge is “Favourite Name”. I’ve come across some great names in my family tree – names like Snowball, Silver and Submit. But none of these are in my direct line. Oh no, my direct line is full of Williams and Johns and Elizabeths and Sarahs, with the odd biblical name like Hezekiah and Mehitable thrown in for good measure. So I decided this week to go with my 5th great grandfather, Joseph Providence Richardson. While I don’t know a lot about him, what I do know explains the story behind his name.

Joseph was the son of John Christopher Richardson and Mary Flintoff. If you’ve been reading my blog and these names seem familiar, it’s because they were one of the sets of possible parents of another 5th great grandparent, Charlotte Richardson, who was the subject of my Mitochondrial DNA research. But unlike in that case, there is no question that Joseph was their son.

Yorkshire

John and Mary were both born in Yorkshire, England and were married 1765 in Hutton Rudby, Mary’s home town. Following the birth of their first two children, they left their homeland for a new life in the Colonies. They were among the over 1,000 immigrants from Yorkshire who settled in the Chignecto Isthmus (the neck of land between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (Canada) between 1772 and 1775.

In April 1774, John, Mary and their two children, Christopher and Elizabeth, boarded the Providence in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. There were 72 passengers on board. When it arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia some 5 weeks later, there were 73.

That newborn, named Joseph Providence Richardson, was my ancestor.

The Richardsons settled in Sackville, New Brunswick, where Joseph became a farmer. He married Jane Patterson and they had 5 daughters and 3 sons, including my 4th great grandfather, John P. Richardson.

Joseph died on July 27, 1846, at the age of 72.

Joseph Richardson Gravestone
Photo courtesy of Mike Richardson. Used with permission.