Monthly Archives: January 2015

Yet another Boob-Boob or how science really works

In a previous post on DNA testing I discussed how Autosomal DNA tests might help by-pass the road-blocks that all genealogists hit at some point.  Here in Ireland we just hit the road-blocks a little earlier because of the destruction of many Irish records in 1922
Initially I had linked to two preliminary investigations described in my DNA page which showed some promise. Since then I have acquired some additional information which seems to have undermined (destroyed) the conclusions reached. I have removed the two examples from my DNA page. One of these is now reproduced here followed by a description of the additional conflicting information.

Clugston Genealogy

Two of my great grandparents, Samuel Clugston & Maggie Kennedy, were married in Tullylish Presbyterian Church in 1874. Their respective siblings, William Clugston & Lizzie Kennedy, were married in the same church in 1868.

General Register Office:

William Clugston, Accountant, Belfast (father, John Clugston, farmer) married Lizzie Kennedy of Banbridge (father, William Kennedy, farmer) on 21st May 1868 in Tullylish Presbyterian Church. Witnesses: John Anderson and Maggie Kennedy

Samuel Clugston, Accountant, Dungannon (father, John Clugston, farmer) married Maggie Kennedy of Lenaderg, Tullylish parish (father, William Kennedy, farmer) on 6th March, 1874 in Tullylish Presbyterian Church. (by John Morison): Witnesses – James Anderson & Maggie Sands

The baptisms of Samuel, Margaret & Lizzie are recorded in Tullylish Presbyterian Church to John & Margaret Clugston of Lisnafiffy & William and Rachael Kennedy of Lenaderg respectively. However the marriages of neither of the latter couples, which must have taken place before 1845 (when civil registration of non-Catholic marriages commenced) are recorded in these registers. A search in Tullylish & Seapatrick Church of Ireland and in Banbridge Non-subscribing Presbyterian Church also proved negative.

This study focuses on an attempt to identify the maiden name of William & Samuel’s mother, Margaret Clugston.

There are numerous records linking the Clugstons to the parishes of Tullylish & Seapatrick back at least to the middle of the eighteenth century. A little care is needed since the townland of Lisnafiffy is divided into three moieties with one being in Tullylish & two in Seapatrick. The landlords of the Tullylish moiety & one of the Seapatrick moieties back to the 1660s were the Waring family.
In Griffith’s Primary Valuation John Clugston holds two blocks of land totalling 27 acres in Lisnfiffy/Tullylish while Henry Clugston holds 34 acres in Lisnafiffy/Seapatrick. Inspection of the map associated with the Valuation shows that the two farms were in fact contiguous. Robert Clugston held 8 acres in the neighbouring townland of Drumhorc. The landlord in all cases was Henry Waring.

John & Margaret Clugston of Lisnafiffy are buried with some of their descendants in Tullylish Presbyterian graveyard. John died in 1878 aged 68; Margaret in 1879 aged 64.Their son Robert died in 1910 aged 63. This is consistent with the assignment of lots 1 & 2 in Lisnafiffy, Tullylish in Griffith’s Primary Valuation to this family since the name of John Clugston is cancelled and replaced by Robert in 1878.

More detail on the Kennedy/Clugston families can be seen on my web site under Kennedy of Tullylish.

John & Moses Clugston are recorded in Lisnafiffy/Seapatrick in the Tithe Applotment Books in 1828, Wills for John Clugston of Lisnafiffy are recorded for 1801 & 1851 (sigh), John and Aron are recorded in the Freeholder Voters Records:

Clugston, John – Lisnafiffy 1769.
Clugston, Aaron – Lisnafiffy – 1789.
Clugston, John – Lisnafiffy – 1819. (Landlord – Rev Thomas Waring)
Clugston, Aron – Lisnafiffy – 1819.
*** [Both the above have lives stated: John, Aron & Archd Clugston.}

and John Clugston of Lisnafiffy is recorded as a householder in Seapatrick in 1760.

Other Clugstons are recorded in the neighbouring townland of Kilpike. It is unclear whether these various Clugstons are related or not.

DNA results:

Family Tree DNA provides three separate tests for Y-Chromosome (male specific) DNA, for Mitochondria (passed through the female line) and for Autosomes. The latter represent the bulk of an individuals DNA and in principle can detect all matches.
Here I describe the use of the latter (Autosomal DNA) test to investigate the Clugston family.

Autosomal DNA testing was described to me as a crap shoot with no guarantees. Like any other genealogical investigation the desired information may or may not be present in a given set of results. In other words I did not set out to investigate the Clugston family directly; rather one of my matches appeared to implicate the Clugstons.

Image of matches from family tree family match

figure 1

Figure 1 shows the first page of my results. Tommy was my closest match with an estimated relationship of 2nd-4th cousin. He replied to my e-mail but was unable to identify a common ancestor.

I next looked for others in my list of matches who shared the same segment of DNA with Tommy & I (figure 2).

list of matches that Tommy and I ahare in common

figure 2

and identified a total of five as shown (figure 3).

picture of matches in a chromosome browser

figure 3

In principle each of these could represent maternal or paternal line matches.
Stephen & Susan replied to my e-mail but to date we have not identified a common ancestor; Lynda did not reply. My interaction with Roy proved more successful. He identified ancestors – Orr & Anderson – associated with the townland of Lisnafiffy in the period 1750 to 1850. This suggestive but in no way conclusive.

There are a number of supporting facts:

  • Maps associated with Griffith’s Valuation show a number of Anderson farms   in Lisnafiffy close to the Clugston farms.
  • The baptism of Margaret Anderson 23:10:1815 to John Anderson & Jane McMunn of Kilpike is recorded in 1st Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church (Banbridge). This is the year that the birth (from the Tullylish gravestone) of Margaret Clugston may have taken place.
  • Witnesses of the marriages of William & Samuel Clugston in 1868 & 1874 include John & James Anderson respectively.

The above, while suggestive, does not constitute proof.

In the absence of a formal paper trail we are again thrown back on DNA. It is possible that one of the other matches identified may yet produce a paper trail leading back to some individual (an Anderson or indeed some other name) associated with Lisnafiffy or a neighbouring townland and provide further evidence.

Paternal DNA lines:

I’ve pushed this line of thought as far as I can. Nominally I’ve been careful to describe the putative match as a pointer rather than a fact. It is however difficult to avoid considering the whole package as almost factual. The only check on my thinking/enthusiasm is hard earned experience in the actual practice of bench science.

This is where the scientific method really kicks in. A scientific hypothesis is always provisional; it is always contingent on the next piece of data.

This leads me to challenge my inferences with a further experiment (or at least be conscious that further data might challenge my current assumptions).

Recently I asked a paternal line cousin to take the Family Finder test. Any matches I have with him are paternal line. He shares my match to Roy ( In fact he had matches to all of the five individuals identified as sharing a match on chromosome 6.); therefore this is a paternal line match and the DNA link to the Anderson’s of Lisnafiffy (maternal line) vanishes.

The genealogical pointers remain and could still be valid; they are no longer supported by DNA evidence.

In other words – Back to square one!

Update: Recently I noticed that two of the grandchildren of Margaret were given the second name Brown. William and Lizzie Clugston named a son Hugh Brown. Perhaps more significantly John and Rachael Clugston named their eldest daughter Margaret Brown, possibly after her grandmother.