DNA–More Surprises

Last post, I shared and explained the results of my mother, two of her sisters, and one brother.  The results were similar enough to show they were related, but each had differences that added color and mystery to our family tree.  I’m still perplexed by the Italian/Greek!

Mom’s first cousin, Marcia, took a test, as did Marcia’s nephew Ryan.  These are all Billingsleys (my mother’s paternal line) and we share the Billingsley-Brown, Morris-Walker ancestry.  What one immediately learns is that if Mom has a match who also matches Marcia and Ryan, then this is almost certainly a Billingsley match.  Note I said “almost.”  There is always a possibility that a random match matches my mom on her mother’s line, and matches Marcia on her mother’s line.  It’s just a coincidence that they show up together, leading me to believe there’s a Billingsley connection when there is not.  This actually has occurred.  My mother has a match on her mother’s Montooth line who is a match on Marcia’s mother’s Ashwood line.  So, the match shows up for both Marcia and Mom, but it is not on their common, shared line of Billingsley.   Our home county of Schuyler (IL) is quite inter-related, so this isn’t a surprise.  (Ancestry does not provide a chromosome browser, but Gedmatch.com does.  At that site and FamilytreeDNA, one can actually see which spot on which chromosome matches and make definite conclusions on relationship.)


The make up our our country is largely from Great Britain and Western Europe–or our immigrant ancestors were mostly from those regions.  It is logical to assume most of our DNA would also come from those regions of the world.  It is not surprising that mom and her siblings would match Marcia (their first cousin) on Western Europe, Ireland, and Great Britain.  There is a significant percentage of Scandinavian, too.  There is also Iberian Peninsula and Italy/Greece.  This would lead us to believe that the Italian/Greek and the Spanish or Portuguese ancestor is from the Billingsley side of the tree.  Obviously, the Finland/Northwest Russia is from Marcia’s mother’s side–that region did not show up on any of my aunts and uncle.

Marcia’s nephew, Ryan, also tested.


He is another generation away from the common ancestors, so his DNA will have the additional mix of his mother, as well as non-Billingsley grandparents.  Definitely, the Finland/Northwest Russian must be from his paternal grandmother’s line–it is not Billingsley blood (it does not show up on my side of the family) but it does show up with his aunt.

The Scandinavian is much higher in Ryan–perhaps his mother has Scandinavian blood too.  Ryan does show European Jewish, but it did not show up with Marcia.  That could mean that the Jewish DNA is not from the Billingsley line, or it could mean that Ryan’s dad got the Jewish DNA while dad’s sister (Marcia) did not.  Jewish only showed up in two of the four tested family members on my side of the family.  (I do believe the Jewish ancestry is on the Billingsley side of our pedigree.)

Ryan and Marcia are from my mother’s paternal side of the family.  Below are the results of Eldon and Ada who are from mom’s maternal side.


Eldons’ results come from FamilytreeDNA.  Their regions are grouped slightly differently.  Ireland is included in the British Isles.  Asia Minor would be part of Ancestry’s Middle Eastern but also the Caucasus.  Eldon’s results show a lot of Scandinavian.  His results also show Middle Eastern ancestry.  It seems clear that my mother’s Middle Eastern DNA comes from the Beghtol side.


Aunt Ada’s DNA starts off like Eldon’s, but with Southern Europe over Western Europe.  Ada also has some Asian DNA–it borders on the Middle Eastern.

Another cousin from the Beghtol line is Don Schroder.


Don is a distant cousin, and the only common line we have is the Beghtol line.  He shows Finland/Northwest Russia–that’s not in my line.   He shows some of the trace regions of my mom.  So it is inconclusive if the Italian/Greek is from the paternal or maternal side, or both.  But Don does show Caucasus.  I suspect that the Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Caucasus designations are actually all one–there’s just an overlap which has not been dissected yet.

In the beginning of my DNA studies, I lamented that all the kits did was create more brick walls in my research, connections that I could not explain.  That is quite true.  But DNA also has the ability to unlock secrets and reveal something you never knew.  It looks like all the participants have Scandinavian ancestors, and probably on both maternal and paternal lines.  Aunt Ada has 33% Scandinavian which suggests a close ancestor was from Norway.  I know of no such ancestor on Ada’s line, but now I will be on the look out for one.  There is one Norwegian ancestor on the Billingsley side–Hans Hansen van Bergen from Bergen, Norway.  He came to the colonies in the 1600s.  There must be other Scandinavians in the family–hiding up in the branches of the family tree.

It’s fun to speculate, but we really want answers.  As science perfects its understanding of DNA, we will get solid answers.  As more people test, we will get better analysis.

One of the goals of modern-day family historians is to DNA test the oldest members of your family first–before it’s too late and they are gone.  My grandparents were gone by the time DNA came around, but I did test my maternal grandmother’s brother and her aunt before they passed away.  Another cousin is working on testing my grandfather’s brothers or sisters.  My paternal grandparents are also deceased.  My grandpa has a couple of half-brothers in California–I’d like to see one of them test.  My paternal grandmother was the only daughter of her parents, but she had many half-brothers and sisters.  I will have to rely on the children and grandchildren of these half-siblings to carry on our DNA studies.  Even if you are not a genealogist, you probably know someone in your family who is–I bet they would love for you to test, or pay for a great-aunt/uncle or grandparent to test.

I am fortunate to have near relatives interested enough in the family history to have tested and shared their results with me.  I say a special “Thank you” to these cousins for allowing me to include their results in this article.



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