Putnam/ Dougherty family genealogy

Archive for the ‘DNA’ Category

The Dougherty y-Chromosome Story

Last week was the y-chromosome story for the Putnams. Let’s take a look at my mothers brother’s y-chromosome. Just like my brother the Dougherty cousins haplogroup is R-M268 or R1b1a1a2. In order to  actually connect to each other on the y-chromosomes we might need to go back somewhere between 4,500 to 10,000 years ago to find their common primeval ancestor for that connection. Which is not going to happen in this lifetime.

For my genetic genealogical purpose we will only go back as far as my uncles, fathers, father. That would be John Lyle Dougherty who was a civil war solider the family had learned of from his son John Edwin Dougherty.

Dougherty Paternal Line

Here is the Dougherty y DNA line from our great grandfather to my cousin. Now I have three 1st cousins who are recipients of the Dougherty y DNA and they are represented here by the oldest son of my uncle Bob.

William Dougherty’s Male Descendants


Click on image to enlarge.

John Lyle Dougherty had four brothers, as far as I know only Clark had children. (See chart above).This chart is my attempt to see who we know that would also carry great grandfathers y DNA. In looking at this tree we see my three Dougherty 1st cousins have 6 male 3rd cousins and 4 male 3rd cousins once removed. Note the pink tick marks indicate female descendants, for clarity I did not record here.

If you are one of the descendants of Clark and have taken a DNA test please let me know or if you have not taken a DNA Test please let me know. We should talk.

The Y-chromosome Story

Last week I explained a little about mitochondrial DNA. So this week I thought I would do something similar for yDNA. 
A very simplistic explanation as I understand it follows. Humans have 22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes (the ‘x’ and the ‘y’ chromosomes). A female receives an ‘x’ from her mother and an intact ‘x’from her father. The y chromosome determines the sex. If you receive a y chromosome you are a male if you don’t then you are a female. Males receive an ‘x’ from their mother intact and a ‘y’ chromosome intact  from their father. Therefore only a male has the y-chromosome and it comes from his fathers, fathers, fathers, fathers, back to our genetic ‘Adam’. Along the way from the genetic “Adam” mutations in the y chromosomes have occurred. Approximately 4,500 to 10,000 years ago a mutation occurred at M269. Also known as R1b1a1a2, R-M269 is the Haplogroup that is found at a higher frequency in Wales, the Basque region of Spain, Ireland,  and Western Europe, decreasing in frequency as we move east across Europe.

Here is My Paternal Line

My maiden name is Putnam and my brother is the last in a long line of recipients of the family name and  y-chromosome. Our y-DNA Haplogroup is R-M269 which is the same as my Dougherty cousins, though they are not related through their y DNA in at least the last 250 years.  My brother has no male siblings, my father had only a sister, my fathers father, only brother had a different father. The next recipient of our line of y dna went to my great grandfather’s brothers, William and Edwin both of whom had male children. 

Joseph Putnam’s Male descendants
click image to enlarge

The magenta tick marks are for female descendents. This graph shows what I know so far. Unless there is a male heir, somewhere here, I know nothing about, that does it for this line. Joseph Putnam our original pioneer to California was an only child. When I originally wrote his story we had him connected to his grandfather Timothy Putnam (1760-1835) and Sarah (Hewitt) of Charlestown N.H., when in actuality he was the son of Timothy and Betsy Dickey (Hall) of Ludlow Vermont, Timothy and Sarah’s son. Betsy died in 1833 when Joseph was almost 10 years old. His father died the following year, he was sent to live with his grandfather who died in 1835. Read more of his story here .


My Mitochondrial Line

Mitochondrial DNA is passed down virtually unchanged from a mother to all her children, only the daughters will pass it on. Therefore it has been passed down from your mothers, mother’s, mother’s, mother’s back to one of the “ Seven Daughters of Eve” our ancestral “clan” Mother. This is a relatively new science, well 30 years ago new. In 1991 the remains of a man were found by climbers in the Italian Alps. He became known as the Ice Man. Carbon dating placed him at 5,000 to 5,350 years old. Due to the condition of how the body had been frozen for so long two different teams were able to get DNA from the Ice Man and link him to a living individual in their data base with precisely the same sequence in DNA samples. In the following decade research into this idea of linking the modern European man through an unbroken genetic line to primeval ancestors was conducted. To read more about this I suggest “The Seven Daughters of Eve” by Bryan Sykes Professor of genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University.

Those Primeval ancestors were seven women who passed their mitochondrial DNA unbroken through this maternal line. Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrina, Jasmine, These are called Haplogroups The bases for my Haplogroup (H1) trace back to a descendant of Helena, the name researchers bestowed on a clan mother who lived 14,000 years ago.

Here is my Maternal line

I am partial to my own mitochondrial DNA. Looking at this known Maternal line you will note that most of us are named Ada. This is the last of the line for Ada’s as well as the maternal line of DNA. Neither I nor any of my sisters had a daughter to pass our mitochondrail DNA on to future descendants.

Organizing your DNA Matches

William Westfall

J. E. Dougherty









Do you see a relationship?

In school they said that writing down what you are trying to learn will help imprint the information on your brain. That is often what I am doing when I write my blog. Currently I am trying to organize my family DNA Matches. Sorting out all these DNA matches is very tedious work. My list of matches has become unwieldy. Here are my screen shots of each of the websites. (Click on the images to enlarge.) I have blocked out the names of my matches and other identification info.

ada 23 and Me = 1173 matches

mm Ancestry = 820 4th cousins or closer

Doc# 1 –Family Tree DNA =604 on Family Finder and only 28 on the y67

ada My Heritage = 12,400

ada gedmatch  = 3000

Like me some of these matches have their DNA on more then one site. I would say that the total matches are probably closer to 5000 different individuals. Still, way too many. As with any project I’ve taken on, I try not to get overwhelmed by the tasks, but focus on the process, and take it one step at a time.

My objective with my DNA results are two fold.


  1. Determine who William Lyle Dougherty was.
  2. Complete the Dougherty/Putnam tree back to include all 4x great grandparents (64 family names).

The first objective may be the most difficult, so along the way I hope to solve who a few of the unknown 64 ancestors where.

On our Paternal line, the Putnam side of the tree, we were only missing one couple of the 3x great grandparents. Madeleine, my sister, has been doing a marvelous job on that line.

  • Our 3x great grandmother Julia Marsh had been a stumbling block for years until I was contacted by one of my DNA matches on gedmatch, In looking through my DNA matches list of ancestors the only names that  were familiar were Marsh and Crissey. That was all that had been listed on Julia’s death certificate, “Father: Marsh”- “Mother: Crissey”. No first names. Julia’s birth place had been listed as being in several different states in various records so without a first name it was near impossible to determine who her parents were. but with the help of this DNA match we were able to finally give first names to Julia’s mother (Hannah Crissey or Cressey) and father (Augustus Marsh) and complete that side of our tree for our 32 which lead us to sources that showed Augustus Marsh’s parents as Samuel Marsh and Abigail Briggs and we now have leads on Hannah’s parents.

On Our Maternal Line, the Dougherty side, which I mostly work on, I have not been so lucky. I have 4 holes in the 3x great grandparents.

  • Joseph Ferguson’s mother is unknown and while his father is supposed to be a David Ferguson MD of Dublin Ireland I have not proven that yet.
  • Also Joseph Fergusons first wife was a Mary Agnes Hall. Her mother was supposedly an “Ester Hall” and her father was listed on her death certificate as Lambert. Those two have not been found, nor the reason Mary Agnes went by Hall instead of Lambert….? Many questions there that might be solved by DNA.
  • Then there is my William L. Dougherty, my mothers fathers line. It stops with Wiliiam who is my 2x great grandfather.


Determine how you are going to keep track.

Determine how best for you to keep track of each of those matches. Spreadsheets can be down loaded from most of these sites. Some sites allows you to add notes to your individual matches. Some researchers use Evernote, others may prefer pad and pencil. Me, I love spreadsheets.

Look at the Closest Matches

You probably know those first few matches. Maybe you even bought the DNA Kit for them.

  • Indicate actual relationship (ie. Sister)
  • Note most recent common ancestor (ie. Booth/Robinson) I also color code for quick reference.
  • Record shared cMs (centimorgans) across segments (ie. 2886 cMs across 42 segments)

Determine relationship

On the next closest match that is a total stranger (ie. ‘match A’) look to determine their relationship to you. This is where the real detective work comes into play.

  • How may centimorgans (cMs) do you match? (Click on image to enlarge to estimate relationship.)
  • What is their surname? Sometimes the surname is the obvious connection. But you still need to verify the relationship. Even when the surname is not common like Smith or Jones we still need to verify the relationship.
  • Do they have a tree or an ancestor list? As done with discovering the match that tied in with Julia Marsh. Look for names that appear in both trees.
  • No tree? Look for trees elsewhere. If they are on Ancestry maybe the tree has not been connected to their DNA  or is private. If you are on gedmatch.com, check if they have a gedcom file.
  • Look for the next closest match to both you and ‘match A’ using the DNA website for triangulation (FamilyTreeDna.com), shared common matches, or clusters (MyHeritage.com). These tools may give you leads to others that do have trees or ancestry lists that will help identify your relationships.
  • Contact the person who is listed as manager of the DNA match.
Message to DNA match

There are lots of suggestions out there on how to get responses to your email to a DNA match. The reason your matches do not have a presence on their DNA website maybe because

  • They are not looking for the same kind of information from their DNA test that you are looking for.
  • Life has gotten in their way.
  • They do not have any information.
  • etc.

Be mindful of all these reasons when you trying to contact them.

Utilizing clusters, triangulation, and/or shared matches you may need to build a dummy tree. The Genealogy Girl has a blog on how to use Ancestry.com to do that. She calls it a Master Match Tree. You most likely can also do it on MyHeritage.com or even on a poster board. I used Ancestry.com, they will give you potential hints as you build out the tree that you can consider.

I’m thinking that if your eyes haven’t glazed over you are probably ready for a break. I know that after 3 hours of searching for common ancestors I’m ready to call it quits.

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