Category Archives: DNA

Ancestry’s Updated DNA Ethnicity Estimates

Ancestry has announced updated ethnicity estimates for those who have taken an autosomal DNA test with them.

Yes, I realize that estimates are just that, I still have to wonder why a few groups have such a startlingly wide gap in numbers.

I’ve kept track of ethnicity percentages for both my husband and myself since 2019. Neither of us has had any surprises in the family tree and I’ve documented many of our lines back into the 1600s or, in some cases, even earlier.

Take a look at my estimates:

My paternal ancestry is Rusyn – all Eastern European in today’s Slovakia – so the 3% spread from 45-48 is quite accurate.

Many of my lines are colonial New England, leading back to the British Isles, so the change from 2% in 2019 to 28% now is unexpected, as is my Germanic Europe estimates.

I have no known “German” ancestry, which is a very fluid term, but since Scandinavia is separated out, I am quite surprised to find even 12% in that category. If I combine 12% with the 10% Norway, Sweden and Denmark, I think the number is way too high. I have one great grandmother from Copenhagen, Denmark, whose grandparents were Swedish and Danish. I have no known Norwegian ancestors.

The trace amounts for the Baltics, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are to be expected, given my family tree.

My husband’s results have been more consistent, with the exception of Germanic Europe, which again I don’t understand:

The Stufflebeans, and many of the people who married into the family, have all been traced back to villages in today’s Germany AND my husband has plenty of DNA matches corroborating the paper trail.

I’m not talking about 3X or 4X or 5X great grandparents – both of his paternal grandparents are of 50% German heritage.

6% was a big surprise in 2019, but in both 2020 and 2021, Dave now shows 0% Germanic Europe ancestry. Not possible!

It’s always interesting and fun to look at DNA ethnicities, but there is a reason why they are presented as ESTIMATES.

Have you found unexpected changes in your Ancestry DNA estimates?


New DNA Ethnicity Estimates on Ancestry

There is much chatter this week about Ancestry’s updated DNA ethnicity results, so I decided to venture a look to see how my and my husband’s ethnicity groupings have changed.

Here are my estimates from 2019:

Here are the 2020 results:

The numbers look slightly different, but I don’t think there is a substantial change.

Eastern Europe decreased by 1%. Both my paternal grandparents are Carpatho-Rusyn from Slovakia, so 47% isn’t far off from 50.

My paper trail has identified recent ancestors (2X greats) from Denmark and southern Sweden. As my Danish family lived far north and my Swedes couldn’t be any further south unless they were in the water, AND I have mariners in the family, a mix of Norwegian is very likely.

Further back, I can account for many English ancestors, along with a few Scots and Dutch. The Irish is probably from a Scots-Irish mixture somewhere (maybe in my pesky brick wall Carlisle ancestors.)

I have to admit that my ethnicity ESTIMATES are, at this point, probably not misaligned much from my paper trail.

Here are my husband’s 2019 estimates:

And his 2020 numbers:

Dave’s estimates are, I think, off by a fair amount. That is mainly because the Stufflebean line is heavily Germanic from the Palatinate. They arrived in the colonies in 1740 and intermarried heavily with other German speaking people well into the late 1800s.

Dave only showed 6% German before and Germany has disappeared from the 2020 list. It is NOT part of England and Northwestern Europe. However, he has TONS of DNA matches with all his distant cousins on the German side of the tree.

His paper trail isn’t as well defined as mine since his ancestors preferred to live where records don’t exist. These estimates seem to better represent his mom’s side of the family. The 1% African I assume is from one of his many Southern ancestors, also more likely to be through his maternal line.

Therefore, we seem to have one report which very closely matches research while the second report seems to have lost the paternal gene results!

Carlisle Quirks & DNA Match Curiosities

Many of you know that I’ve been harping on my Loyalist Carlisle family off and on for several years.

Most recently, I found an Ancestry ThruLines potential maiden name and father for Catherine, wife of Loyalist Robert Carlisle. In her pension application, she gave her age as 80 in 1840, so born c1760. There is no indication whatsoever of her home before she appears in Parrtown, New Brunswick, Canada, married to Robert Carlisle sometime between July 1784 and the summer of 1785.

Believe me, I have spent many, many hours tracking down any possible clues to her origin, looking at the Carlisle FAN club and middle names given to Robert’s and Catherine’s grandchildren. I’ve even researched all the Catherines who appear on the 1785 list of residents in Parrtown.

I have noticed, though, that many of their FAN club had hometown ties to New Jersey before they fled at the close of the American Revolution. The New Jersey connections probably can’t be attributed to Robert Carlisle, as he served with the Royal Fencible Americans stationed at Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia from 1775 onward.

Was there a reason, aside from coincidence, that the Carlisles left Parrtown for Kings County, New Brunswick and settled in an area with a heavy influx of former New Jersey Loyalists?

By the way, I have no answer – yet – to the New Jersey question. All my work seems for naught, as no new clues have emerged.

Therefore, I was quickly drawn into a ThruLines suggestion (remember, it is ONLY a suggestion) that Catherine might be a Stark/Starks/Starkey.

To summarize my previous ramblings about this, Lt. Gen. John R. Starkey is NOT the ancestor of Reuben Stark and his sister, Sarah. Furthermore, I have no idea where Starks originated as Catherine’s maiden name.

Reuben Stark and his sister, Sarah Stark Carnes/Carnes are documented children of Lt. Colonel John Stark of Morris County, New Jersey. Yes, we have another possible New Jersey connection.

Further Digging, Looking for Stark/Carlisle Connections

1. Ladies who have joined the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution submitted an original family Bible record belonging to John Stark to prove that generation. There is NO Catherine listed among John Stark’s children. Both Reuben and Sarah have entries in that Bible record.

2. Rather intriguingly, there is a daughter Mary Stark in the DAR database, who married a ROBERT CARLISLE. This Robert was close in age to mine, born c1758, who came from Ireland, but who died in Morris County, New Jersey, before June 1805 when his estate inventory was recorded.

3. ThruLines indicates that I share 19 cM on one segment with the descendant of Reuben Stark, but only 8 cM on one segment with the descendant of Sarah Stark Carnes.

4. Next, I built out family trees for those two descendants. Sarah Stark married John Carnes/Carnes/Cairnes. I’ve found all three spellings. There are many variants of this surname, but only a few have Loyalist history. No one seems to know the parentage of John Carnes who married Sarah. However, in 1785, Robert Carlisle filed a petition for land in New Brunswick with three other men – George Cairnes (Carnes), John Shaw and Edward Pendergrast. I have no further information about George Carnes or his origins.

5. Aside from the meager and weak Cairnes/Carnes connection, I find no names or places in common with Sarah Stark Carnes. The Carnes family left New Jersey and settled in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where they remained for generations. I have no ties to Pennsylvania in any way, shape or form. The maternal line of Sarah’s descendant hails back to Kentucky and Virginia. I have no names or places in common with that branch of the family either. I was born in Passaic, New Jersey, outside of New York City, and that is as far south as anyone in my family ever got!

6. I moved on to building out the family tree of Reuben Stark’s descendant. One side of the tree extends back through Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Ohio. That is another set of places to which I have absolutely no ties. My family hailed from Slovakia and colonial New England. The New Englanders back in the time of the Revolution stayed put for several generations afterwards.

7. Reuben Stark, himself, is interesting. He left the tri-state area and settled in Michigan, passing away in Livonia, Wayne, Michigan, which is near Detroit, reportedly in 1836.

I’ve recently researched two of Robert and Catherine Carlisle’s children, Robert Jr. and Daniel, who left New Brunswick before 1830 and settled in Kent County, Ontario, Canada, which is the destination on the far right end of the route.

Reuben had three daughters, Mahala Norris, Anna Eliza Smith and Pamela Durfee, plus two sons, John and James Duane Stark. I find no connections to any of these children.

Both Robert and Daniel Carlisle had children who left Canada and passed through/ settled in Detroit and La Porte County, Indiana, seen on the left end of the route. So, although Reuben lived in between places where the Carlisles lived when they left Canada, I find no commonalities or indications that the Starks and Carlisles ever met.

8. The 1850 census of Cass County, Michigan includes the family of Daniel Carlisle, born c1798 in New Hampshire. A quick look at his family shows that his father, Daniel Carlisle, was a Revolutionary war soldier from Cheshire County, New Hampshire. This Carlisle family came from Worcester County, Massachusetts, has no Roberts or any apparent Loyalist ties.

That pretty much summarizes my Stark investigation. DNA says we have a connection somewhere, but I’ll be darned if I can figure out where. There are just enough Carlisle appearances to make me wonder, but I currently think that Catherine (MNU) Carlisle has no family ties to the Stark family.

It’s a puzzlement and a frustrating one!