Thursday, January 21, 2016

DNA testing and Germans Records

Hello all,

Apologies for neglecting this page.. sometimes my life and research are so busy that I can't find the spare time to write here. 2015 was a busy year and also ended in some sad times for my family, as for the first time I lost some close family members, my grandfather Robert Mayville, and my young cousin Sydney Kratochwill. As a genealogist it's a strange thing to go through. I have been working hard to preserve my family's history and trying to document the memories and experiences of my remaining grandparents as best as I can. 

As far as my genealogical research in 2015, it all boiled down to two main things, DNA testing and German records!

I have been attempting to use DNA testing to try to break down some brick walls. I first tested my dad, in an attempt to find out more about our Paternal line, the Walter/Walters/Walther family. Our furthest back paternal ancestor is Simon Walter, who was supposedly born 10 Apr 1810 in "Neubeuren bei Wiesenfeld" and is a complete brick wall for me. No idea where that place is, as there doesn't seem to be a real place with that combination of place names, and I have no idea who his parents were.

Based on my grandpa's autosomal test results, which had quite a few matches with mostly English ancestry, I had suspected that perhaps Simon might not be from Germany as he had said he was. He was over 40 when he came to the U.S. and married Margaretha Kaemmlein, so I wondered if he had something to hide, if he perhaps had another family elsewhere. My grandpa's ancestors all immigrated immediately from Germany, so I had no other explanation for the matches with solely English ancestry.

So, my dad agreed to do a Y-DNA test, which traces only the direct male line. I did not get answers that I expected to get, and unluckily, no close matches to help solve my mystery... The results mention that my dad has the haplogroup 1-P37 (I2a). Interestingly this haplogroup is more common in eastern and southeastern Europe, and rare in Germany, but it is one that can occasionally be seen in Germany. We don't have any close matches but have some further away, with a genetic distance of 6 or more, which is not beneficial for my research. The matches have most distant ancestors from Poland, Ukraine, and Greece to name a few. 

I next wanted to try my luck with the Diebold brick wall. I asked my cousin to help me out, who is a direct male Diebold. He agreed and took the Y-DNA test for me. Our brick wall ancestor is Johann Diebold b. 18 Jul 1828, supposedly in "Elsass-Zabern." His parents were supposedly named, Joseph and Margaret Diebold (no maiden name given), but that's not much to go off of. Records for Bas-Rhin are online, but are not indexed. So, without an exact town name it's been impossible to find him.

The test results came back and from it we learned that the Diebolds have a haplogroup of E-L117. This haplogroup is most common among northern Africans but is also present in some Europeans, indicating a possible direct male ancestor who came to Europe from Africa around 10,000 years ago (or sooner, but for us that will be nearly impossible to determine). We unfortunately have NO matches at this time, so that also doesn't help in my quest right now.. so, for now I wait patiently and hope that someone will take the test.

On the Mayville Y-DNA front we have worked with the "French Heritage DNA Project" to map the genome of the Miville line. We are also hoping to find some Mieville/Miville descendants who still live in Switzerland today, in hopes that we can confirm where our immigrant ancestor, Pierre Miville, was from. We had a new, close match pop up earlier this week so we are excited to work out the connection with this new match.

Additionally, I am working on recruiting male Walsh descendants to take the Y-DNA test at, too. We may be able to convince one person who is known to descend from my Walsh line, and I am hoping to find a descendant of Martin Walsh (b. 1837) to take the Y-DNA test, also, as he is supposed to be a half brother of my ancestor John Walsh (b. 1810). I am hoping to find other Walsh descendants to take the autosomal DNA test.. it would be nice to get others who descend from the many Walshes who were in Dane Co., in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, to take the autosomal test in hopes of connecting our lines together and perhaps finding the place of origin for the Walshes in Ireland. 

It would be nice to find a male Tice descendant to take a Y-DNA test, too.

I also managed to take a test at 23andMe recently. I previously had autosomal kits at Ancestry and FTDNA, but had not yet tested with 23andMe, so now I am in all three major databases, plus (free comparison site). Below, for fun, are the ethnicity estimates provided by each company. On left is Ancestry's estimate, middle is 23andMe, and on the right is FTDNA. It's interesting to see how different their algorithms are.

(Click to view the full image)

My other big project of 2015 was to try to track down as many records or family books for the German towns my ancestors lived in, as I could. I spent quite a lot of time doing this, especially in locating records for Duengenheim and nearby towns where my Hagemann, Emmerich, and other associated families were from. I made a lot of progress with this and also made some new friends from across the pond who have been immensely helpful in tracing my lineage. I owe a lot to Gerhard and Remy.

There are still a lot of records to be found and requested from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They have many German records on microfilm, but it is a time consuming task, so I will probably have to wait until the summer to order more microfilms. That will certainly keep me busy.