How do I know this is my Grandmother from her DNA which I don't have??

+5 votes
WikiTree profile: Elizabeth Conway
in Genealogy Help by Donna Reed G2G1 (1.9k points)

Elizabeth Donnelly

 in the 1861 Census of Canada

View 1861 Census of Canada

Name: Elizabeth Donnelly
Gender: Female
Age: 31
Birth Year: 1830
Birthplace: Canada West
Marital Status: Married
Home in 1861: Sidney, Hastings, Canada West
Religion: Roman Catholic
Film Number: C-1033
Page Number: 82
Household Members:
Name Age
Elizabeth Donnelly 31

Elizabeth Donnelly

 in the Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915

View Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915

    Name: Elizabeth Donnelly
    Baptism Age: 0
    Event Type: Baptism
    Birth Date: 1830
    Baptism Date: 12 Dec 1830
    Baptism Place: Mayne, Westmeath, Ireland
    Parish Variants: Coole, Faughalstown, Mayne and Faughalstown, Turbostown, Mayne and Faughalstown, Turbotstown
    Diocese: Meath
    Father: Francis Donnelly
    Mother: Bridget Walton
    Thank you so much. Folk are really nice to try to help me.

    4 Answers

    +4 votes
    Unless you have her take a DNA test, I dont think you can know. She was born almost 200 years ago, judging by the date of borth - and there are no sources to prove her DOB.
    by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
    I think you are right!!  LOL.  I really meant things I would inherit like chromosomes. Guess it was a silly question, but if you don't ask, you get no answers. Thanks for a giggle on me. I don't even know where she was buried, so that is out.
    +8 votes
    Typically, you would find cousins who have also tested and match your DNA, and can each trace their linage back through your common ancestor -- your grandmother. Its not so much proof, as verification.
    by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (582k points)
    I'm trying, but it seems it just dead ends for all at Arthur and Elizabeth for all of us. It seems to go to Mary Donnelly 1796-1829 and she married an Oliver Duff and they had children I have tried to follow to get to Arthur, but no real luck so far. They we in PA. but I can't trace anyone to Canada West yet. THANK YOU.
    +2 votes
    Hi Donna,

    Not really a silly question at all. None of my three known grandparents took DNA tests and I have verified all three of them with several DNA matches. It will be a little bit challenging for you since you don't know their parents, but certainly not impossible. First I'm a bit confused about the relationship. It appears from your tree that Elizabeth would be your great grandmother rather than your grandmother? This seems much more plausible since she was born in 1830.

    There are two different approaches you can take to try to verify your relationship to Elizabeth and Arthur. One is to just take a DNA test and look for matches (it would also help to have your siblings test as well, wait for a sale unless you're in a hurry). You should probably try this first and if you don't find any appropriate matches you can then seek out other descendants of Elizabeth and Arthur to see if they are willing to take a DNA test (which you may need to pay for) to verify your relationship. If you can find second cousins with the appropriate amount of matching DNA it will verify your relationship to Elizabeth and Arthur to a very high degree. As Dennis mentions it is not really possible to prove very much beyond parent/child relationships with DNA, though with a combination of multiple DNA matches and documented evidence it is possible to confirm some relationships beyond much of a reasonable doubt. Judging by a quick search on Familysearch Elizabeth and Arthur had seven children ( ) so you should have a pretty good chance of finding a living descendant who has either already taken a DNA test or would be willing to take one. They also show Arthur's father as a Pat Donnelly but with no other information or sources.

    Also if one of Arthur's paternal line descendants can be located you might consider a yDNA test which is more expensive and not very likely to tell you anything directly about Arthur's immediate ancestors (though it can if you are very lucky). What it can tell you is about his more distant ancestry if that is something you are interested in. I believe Donnelly is a pretty popular surname so there is probably a fair amount of activity in the surname research going on.

    It's a longshot but there were only five Elizabeth's born between 1828 and 1832 living in Sidney in the 1851 census where Arthur appeared to be in 1851 and then they were both listed in the 1861 census. Here are links to the five:

    As I said it's a longshot but further research on them may lead somewhere. Hope that helps.
    by Paul Chisarik G2G6 Mach 3 (34.8k points)
    THANK YOU. I will try to do as you suggest. You are right, Elizabeth was my G. Grandmother, Arthur's wife. I'm going to be 81 in July and I'm the youngest of 7 children. I have a sister 96, a brother 93 and another brother 89. I have taken an ANCESTRY DNA test, but probably don't understand how to make the best use of it. Thanks again.
    Not to worry Donna, I'd guess that the vast majority of the people who have their DNA tested at Ancestry don't know how to make the best use of the results. It's pretty easy to get started. First you have to login to your account at Ancestry. Then look at the top of the page on the left side you'll see "DNA", click on that and you should see a menu, select "Your DNA Results Summary", this brings you to your DNA home page. Near the center of the page you should see a box that's titled "DNA Matches" which will have a green rectangle near the bottom that says "View All DNA Matches", click that green rectangle and it will bring you to your DNA matches page. Here you can see all the people who have matches with your DNA and are related to you in some way. They are broken down by the size of the match which roughly corresponds to how closely they are related to you. Ancestry makes an educated guess at the relationship and puts more closely related people at the top. If you have any they will show first cousins at the very top then second cousins and soforth. Theoretically second cousins should share great grandparents with you, though they could share any of your four pairs of GGPs. If you click on the "View Match" button on the right it will give you more information about that match. By clicking on the "Pedigree and Surnames" button you can see if they have a tree at Ancestry and for some matches Ancestry will try to figure out your connection (this requires a paid subscription to Ancestry). By clicking on the "Shared Matches" button you can see who shares a match with both you and this particular person which can help you determine how they are related. Having first cousins who have tested helps here as they can tell you which pair of grandparents a shared match is related to. That should get you started.

    Don't despair if the closest matches you have are third cousins as there's a pretty good chance that they may actually be second cousins once or twice removed in which case they will descend from your GGPs but will be your matches' 2nd or 3rd GGPs.

    Get that part figured out and then you can start thinking about uploading your results to FTDNA, MyHeritage and GEDmatch all of which allow you to upload the results you got from Ancestry and fish in more ponds as they say. And, of course, you are very welcome.
    You are so kind, all of you. I can get into my DNA, but not sure I use it to my advantage the best I can. There are 2 pretty close, but it seems they don't get to Arthur/Elizabeth either. I will keep blundering on!! THANK YOU
    When I pull up a relative on ANCESTRY DNA and it says we are related by a name, (Donnelly), and I click on that, do all those Donnelly names mean I am related to those persons?
    Yes, but it does NOT necessarily mean they are all related to you on your Donnelly line. They could be related on another line or by marriage or whatever. You will need to use traditional genealogy to verify those relationships . One thing that I find useful is to click on one of my matches and then go to "Shared Matches" and click on that. It will give you a list of people you are both related to.  It is important to note that those people are listed according to their likely relationship to you.  You can get a sense of what family branch you are looking at according to the shared matches.  The more people who have tested that you know your relationship to, the more likely that will help.  I have several distant cousins who have tested, so I can narrow down which grandparent branch that I am looking at. For me, it is complicated by two branches having intermarried.
    Thank you. I know that I have found some "relatives" put on by other folk that are not relation at all.
    +1 vote

    Hi Donna, the 1871 Canada census shows a George Dissett living with Arthur and family.  Perhaps this George is the father of Arthur's wife Elizabeth.  Note that Elizabeth is 37 years younger than Arthur.  One of the Elizabeths that Paul Chisarik found on familysearch is for an Elizabeth Doset.  Perhaps they are the same person.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1871 Census of Canada

    Name George Dissett
    Gender Male
    Age 72
    Birth Year abt 1799
    Birth Place Ireland
    Marital Status Widowed
    Religion Catholic
    Origin Irish
    Province Ontario
    District Prince Edward
    District Number 59
    Division 02
    Subdistrict Marysburgh North
    Subdistrict Number i
    Household Members
    Arthur Donelly 78
    Elizabeth Donelly 41
    Veronica Donelly 19
    Anna Donelly 14
    Patrick Donelly 11
    Daniel Donelly 9
    John Donelly 6
    Catharine Donelly 3
    George Dissett 72
    by Patricia Stockley G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
    I have thought of that and it may well be. I do have Dissett in my DNA but I was thinking it would be close if she is the Elizabeth. I will look and see how close the Dissett family is and write more.

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