Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Kirk Family

DNA evidence has been extremely useful in confirming my Kirk family as well as moving the family back several generations.

Lucinda Kirk
Lucinda Kirk was the wife of Henry Ridenour of Mercer Co. Missouri per my Aunt Blanche and mother of Thomas Riley Ridenour, my great grandfather.  The only census record for Lucinda and Henry can be found in the 1850 Mercer Co. Missouri census where they are listed with a daughter, Hester, age 2 indicating that they married about 1847.  In the 1860 census, Lucinda is missing but a 4 month old daughter, M.M. is enumerated indicating that she likely died in child birth in February of that year.  This is the only paper trail that I have found on Lucinda.

Because Lucinda named her son Thomas Riley, we suspected that Lucinda was a daughter to Thomas Riley Kirk.  In the 1840 Anderson Co. TN census, there were 2 females age 5 to 9 listed.  In 1850, there is only Nancy, age 15 and that would be consistent with Lucinda being the second daughter, married and living with Henry Ridenour in 1850.  This was confirmed by a strong DNA match with Wiley Clark Kirk’s grandson who is listed in Thomas Riley Kirk’s 1860 census as Clark, age 20.

Thomas Riley Kirk
Thomas was born 1790 in Virginia per most census records and his children’s birthplaces are listed as Tennessee.  There are two Kirk families in Tennessee, both with similar names.  In 1850, his wife is listed as Patsy and Martha in 1860.  Carrie Kirk lists her name as Martha Gwinn and their marriage as September 15, 1825 in Anderson Co. Tennessee. 

In 1998, Margaret Summitt sent me a transcript of the Kirk family history by Effie Lenore Kirk written about 1950 and based on bible records and family interviews.  In this, Thomas, John and Elijah are named as sons of John Kirk and that seems to be confirmed by census and land transactions in Anderson Co. Tennessee.  Effie was a descendant of John Kirk Jr. who married Eva Nausler while we descend through his brother, Thomas.

John Kirk
John purchased land in Anderson Co. Tennessee in 1807, witnessed by Elijah and sold land to John Kirk Jr. the same year.  In 1808, there is a Giles Co. Virginia land transaction from John Kirk of Anderson Co. Tennessee to an Isaiah Givens establishing that John’s family was in Giles Co. Virginia before coming to Tennessee.

Per “Kirk Families of Early Fauquier and Giles Counties” by Edgar C. Smith, there were two different Kirk families with similar names living in Giles Co. Virginia.  He references them as the Green Valley Kirks and the Stinking Creek Kirks.  Our Kirk line came from the latter as it was noted in the assessor’s records that John Kirk had moved to Anderson Co. Tennessee in 1807/08.

In 1801, Thomas Kirk of Montgomery Co. Virginia died naming as heirs 6 sons, 2 daughters and his wife Margot and a land grant to the same named heirs of Thomas Kirk, placed the acreage on Stinking Creek thus establishing Thomas and Margot Kirk as John’s parents.  Marriage records for these same children can be found in Montgomery Co. Virginia.

Thomas Kirk d. 1801
Thomas’ wife, Margot is named by others as the daughter of William Duncan and Ruth Rawley.  And while I have yet to search for the paper trail to confirm, I suspect that this is the source for the name Riley being passed down through the generations of our family even to one of my uncles.

Thomas is where my Kirk paper trail ends and the DNA investigation continues.

John Kirk d. 1730 Stafford Co. Virginia
John Kirk of Stafford Co. Virginia who married Francis Mason is thought to be the father of Thomas.  His wife who remarried William Clift and Joseph Kirk “eldest son” of Orange Co. North Carolina are named in land transactions.  From Max Kirk on Gedforum:

1757 June 15. Frances Clift of Culpeper County, widow, to George Roberts of
same, planter. For L100 current money. 400 acres which was granted to Joseph
Cooper by patent 24 June 1726 and by deeds of lease and release 2-3 Oct. 1727
recorded in the County Court of Spottsylvania was conveyed by Joseph Cooper to
John Kirk of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, who was then husband of said
Frances Clift, and 11 Feb. 1728/29 John Kirk did make his last will and testament
whereby he among other things bequeathed to his wife Frances all his lands, and
his will was recorded in the County Court of Stafford 8 July 1730. Frances after
the death of her husband intermarried with William Clift who is since dead...
Witnesses: Wm. Green, Thos. Slaughter, John Field.

1757 Apr 22. Bond of Joseph Kirk of Orange Co. N.C., to George Roberts of
Culpeper County. George Roberts hath agreed to purchase of Mrs. Frances Clift
400 acres whereon Frances Clift now liveth which was bequeathed to Frances Clift
by John Kirk her former husband... Joseph Kirk being eldest son and heir at law
as well of John Kirk, deceased, as of Frances Clift, and being satisfied that it was
the design of his deceased father that his mother should enjoy the 400 acres
forever... Joseph Kirk nor his heirs shall not demand the 400 acres. Witnesses:
Adam Menzies, James Slaughter, William Kirtley.

1768 Sept 5/6. George Roberts and Elizabeth his wife of Culpeper County to
Joseph Burt of Cumberland County, Pa., and William Green of Culpeper
County... 184 acres in St. Mark's Parish... on the bank of Mountain Run by the
mouth of a gully... in an island of Thorney Branch standing among rocks... part of
a tract containing 400 acres which was granted by patent to Thomas Cooper 24
June 1726 and by Cooper sold to John Kirk who died thereof seized and by his last
will and testament bequeathed the same to Francs his wife...Witnesses: Benja.
Roberts, Wm. Delany, Joseph Roberts.

I have several maternal DNA matches with descendants of the Mason family of Stafford Co. Virginia but yet to find any evidence confirming this relationship.  However, I do have two separate DNA triangulations indicating that our family is descended from John’s parents, Christopher Kirk and Ann Wright.

Christopher Kirk d. 1721
There are two separate DNA triangulation's to indicate that Christopher Kirk and Ann Wright were the grandparents of Thomas Kirk d. 1801 Montgomery Co. Virginia.

Chromosome 5
Chromosome 19
Lucinda Kirk
d.1850 Mercer MO
Carrie Nelson's
Uncle Ray

Thomas Riley Kirk
d.1882 Mercer MO
Clark Kirk's 

John Kirk 
d.1850 Anderson TN

Thomas Kirk
d.1801 Montgomery VA
Christopher Kirk
d.1821 Lancaster VA
C. Jones

W.H.Mitchell &
D. Akins

Christopher Kirk
d.1705 Northampton VA
M. Abrams


DNA testing has not only confirmed family testimony about the Kirk line but has aided in moving the ancestral line back to the immigrant, Christopher.  We are also fortunate in being able to identify the Kirk haplogroup as R-P312 from one of his direct ancestors.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Genome Mate: 23andMe Ancestry Composition

There's a new feature in Genome Mate that will allow loading of the 23andMe Ancestry Composition (AC) file from DNAGedcom into Genome Mate generation zero base segments.

Step 1:  Download or Create AC File

The Ancestry Composition file can be downloaded from DNAGedcom or created manually.
  • DNAGedcom:  On> 23andMe > Download 23andMe > Enter Email address > Enter 23andMe Password > Enter 23andMe Profile Name >  Check Run AC > Get Data and wait for it to finish processing
  • Manually Created File:  DNAGedcom is the preferred method of getting this data formatted correctly but a comma separated values file with similar data will also work or the AC file from DNAGedcom can be edited prior to import into Genome Mate to include just the desired segments.  Sample format:
Chr, Origin, Bar, Start, End, Level
Chr:  This is the chromosome number.  Note how X is formatted differently
Origin:  This is the label to use on the Segment
Bar:  1 is maternal, 2 is paternal
Start:  Segment start point
End:  Segment end point
Level:  This is the how the segment is to be layered with 1 being to bottom layer
Save the file as a CSV file (i.e. file name is {something}.csv) 

Step 2:  Import AC File

Every time the AC file is imported it will replace existing AC or generation zero segments. 
In Genome Mate > Import Data > Select Match Data Source: 23andMe > Load Ancestry Composition Segments > Select Profile Name > Select file named {email name}_{profile name}_23andMe_AC.csv

Step 3:  Set Option

Since the AC data can clutter up the display, the ability to toggle it on/off is included as an option.

In Genome Mate > Options > Check Show Ancestry

Step 4:  View Segments

AC segment data will automatically be displayed on the main page chromosome map but may be covered by segments defined from DNA matches.  Open the Segment List to see the Ancestry segments for all chromosomes:

In Genome Mate > Segments > Check Ancestry

Hovering over a segment will show it's origin.

Step 5:  Changing Colors/Swapping Bars

Since the AC bars are not defined as maternal or paternal at 23andMe, they are randomly assigned to bar 1 or 2. If through data analysis, it becomes apparent that they are reversed, the bars can be switched.  On the reversed chromosome, right click on an AC segment then click on the swap icon next to the segment color selection.

Finally note that the matches contained within an AC segments can be view on the main page by checking the Segment box.


Genome Mate's continued development, support and enhancements on the internet are funded by your donations.  If you use the application, please consider making a donation through Paypal.

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Genome Mate: Segments Option

In Genome Mate, a segment is defined as a slice of DNA associated with a set of ancestors for the current profile person selected.  Segments are a way to defined what DNA for the profile person was inherited from which of their ancestors.

Let's first describe how to set up segments then move on to the Segments Map.

Creating Segments

Segments are created automatically when on a Match Details page, the ICW is set to start with M for maternal or P for paternal, AND the confirmed ancestors (MRCA) for that match are selected.

This creates a temporary segment that will be shown on the chromosome map at the top of the main page and on the Segment map.  Note that confirmed ancestor selections are only available if a gedcom has been uploaded for the profile person (Profiles > Select Profile > Load Gedcom File).

To view segment information, on the Main page, right click on the segment on the chromosome map and the Segment Details page will be displayed showing the surnames associated with those ancestors and the matches that were used to create the segment.

Segments Detail Page

A temporary segment is created when setting the ICW and confirmed ancestors on the Match Details page.  If that information is changed in the Match Details page, then the temporary segment will also change.  

When you are confident of a segment's definition, make it permanent by clicking on the Save button and you will be given the option of naming the segment id and marking the ICW of other associated segments with the segment id.  You may also add comments to the segment description.

Use the Delete button to remove permanent segments no longer wanted.

Segments Map

Segments Map
To access the Segments Map, on the Main Page click on Segments.  This displays the segments for all 23 chromosomes in either a map or table format.  To manually add a permanent segment, click on the Add Segment button and fill in the information.

There are times when mapping an ancestor is desired but intervening ancestors are not known as in the case of adoptees or in trying to push through a family tree dead end.  Adding a manual segment allows for the identity of the known segment.

Final Comments

Some thought needs to be given to how to use permanent segments and how to assign segment ids.  It took me several attempts to settle into what was acceptable for my data.

It is recommended that you backup your database and experiment before settling on a particular course of action.


Genome Mate's continued development, support and enhancements on the internet are funded by your donations.  If you use the application, please consider making a donation through Paypal.

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Genealogy: The Paper Trail

DNA genealogy research is painstaking, detailed analysis of both DNA matches and the paper trail to confirm shared ancestors.  Excluding adoptees, about 90% of the matches with whom I share DNA have not put together a basic family tree so trying to find a common ancestor can be difficult.  This blog is dedicated to the paper trail.

Getting Started

First, get a genealogy program like Roots Magic to record your findings.  Starting with yourself and moving backwards generation by generation, try to answer these questions:

Who was this person’s parents and why do I think so?
Who did this person marry and why do I think so?
Who were this person’s children and why do I think so?

Exact dates are nice to have but not necessary.  If I don’t have a date for a marriage, I assume they were married before their first child was born.  If I don’t have a birth date, I assume that males were at least age 21 and females age 18 before they married.  While this can vary somewhat, it puts you in the right decade for evaluating the reasonableness of your research.

Source Data

It is important to answer the question “why do I think so?” with references to source material.  The quality of your sources determines the potential accuracy of your research.  It often takes more than one source to adequately establish the answer to one of these questions.  For example, before a marriage takes place, both families are probably residing in the vicinity so not only do you need a marriage record but proof that the family lived in the area at the time.

Family Search (free) and Ancestry (paid) are great resources for data but be aware of the that not all source data is equally reliable.

Sources can be classified as primary, secondary and questionable.  Most people can document the first few generations of their family with primary sources.

Primary sources while they can contain inaccuracies are often the most reliable information.  In a perfect world, we would document our genealogy with primary sources such as:

Birth, marriage & death Certificates
Wills, probates, etc.
Land records - deeds, leases, etc.
Bible records
Pension records

Secondary sources are less accurate and subject to errors of memory or clerical mistakes. Some of these include:

Transcriptions, extracts, and abstracts
Bible entries predating date of bible
Events recorded at a later time
Historical narratives
Cemetery Markers
Diaries & Letters

Questionable sources are those that give you a clue to where to look but should be confirmed with primary & secondary sources.  These include:

Family Histories
Family Stories
Family Genealogies

In the beginning, I must have made all the mistakes that someone new to genealogy can make and that are too numerous to list here.  Finally, I settled into this simple but adequate approach for establishing a paper trail of my ancestors.

~ Becky ~

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Genome Mate: Import Data Page

The Import Data page is the main function for imputing bulk data into the application.  To update your database with new matches just load a new version of the input file.  Genome Mate will skip duplicate data and just add the new matches and relatives.

Genome Mate accepts data from several sources.  Some data is copied and pasted from browser pages while others can be imported from a comma separated values (*.csv) file from different sites.

The format of these files is determined by the site creating the file so it is important to select the correct option when loading.  If you have difficulty loading a file, send the file and a description of the issue in an email to

There are two types data that may be imported:

1.  DNA segments shared with a Relative
2.  Relative specific data such as surnames, ICWs, email address, etc.  

When DNA segment data is imported, a table will be presented for you to review prior to adding the data. Please review any messages and if everything is okay, press the Add Data button.

When Relative data is imported, it will be automatically updated.  

Import Data Page

Step 1 - Select Data Source

Choose the origin of the DNA data segments to be posted to Genome Mate - 23andMe, FTDNA, FTDNA or Ancestry (relative data only).

Step 2 - Set the Criteria for Adding Matches

This criteria can be modified on the Options Page but overridden here for the current import.
  • Minimum cMs - Only import DNA segments having a cMs greater than the value shown
  • Minimum #SNPs - Only import DNA segments having SNPs count greater than the value
  • Add New Relatives - Check to automatically add a new relative record if one is not found
  • Show Duplicate Matches - Display duplicate matches in the table and rejects report

Step 3 - Select the Import Option

The import options for the selected data source will be presented.  See these links for more specific information about each:
Rejects and Summary
After the data has been processed, a table of DNA segment matches will be displayed along with any error messages.  If it looks okay, press Add to load into the database and get a process summary.

For relative data only like surnames, email addresses, etc., Relative records will automatically be updated and a process summary shown as well as a list of any rejects.  The most common problem loading Relative data is the present of a new line character in the notes field.  If this occurs, delete the data in the original file and reprocess.

Backups & Restores 

Backups are recommended before loading new data to ensure that work is not lost!


Genome Mate's continued development, support and enhancements on the internet are funded by your donations.  If you use the application, please consider making a donation through Paypal.

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Genome Mate: Match Details Page

The Match Details page is the main page to use for documenting what is known about about a particular DNA match. It is opened when a DNA segment on the main page is selected.

Match Details Page
Before explaining this page in detail, let's take a moment to talk about how Genome Mate stores information. There are two types of records kept.

  1. Relative record - retains data about a relative such as surnames, email, family tree link, etc.
  2. Match record - retains data about an individual DNA segment match between the profile person and a relative
Ideally, there should be one Relative record and multiple Match records, one for each segment on which the profile person and the relative are related.  In practice, there may be multiple Relative records because of different key values from the testing companies but these may be merged into one record on the Relative Details page.  The matches for each company cannot be merged but duplicates are easily identified on the main page as they are colored according to source.

The Match Detail pages is for a single DNA segment match between the profile person and the relative. At the top of the page will be the relative's name, segment data and the source (23andMe, FTDNA, etc) of the match.  Starting left to right:

Column 1:
  • Relative - Name to be displayed for the Relative
  • Contact Name - free field to enter name of relative's contact
  • Phone - free field to enter contact's phone number
  • Relative Note - Note to be displayed with relative information
  • Family Tree - URL of relative's family tree with clickable link to open it in a browser window (for Windows users only as it crashes on a Mac)
  • Email - Email address of the relative's contact with clickable link to open the default email client and format a form letter (for Windows users only as it crashes on a Mac)
  • Match Key - this is a read only value showing the key for the relative for this match source (23andMe, FTDNA, etc.).  Right click to copy key to clipboard.
  • Match Note - Note to be displayed with individual DNA segment
  • ICW Group - Anything can be entered into this field to group common DNA segments.  However, if known, it should start with M for maternal and P for paternal.  There are radio buttons for quick entry.
  • Research Comments - this is a free field for entry of information or correspondence with a relative.
Column 2:
  • Profile Overlaps or Triangulated Matches - If triangulated matches are available, they will be displayed in the top box and clicking on the circle icon next to the title will toggle the profile overlaps display. Otherwise, only profile overlaps will be displayed.  Right click on box to copy to clipboard.
  • Enter Surnames - The surnames of the relative's ancestors should be entered here separated by a comma.  They will be stored in the Relative's record.
  • Surnames in Common - This is a list of the surnames found in common with the Profile person's ancestors from loading their gedcom in Profiles taking the ICW group into consideration.  Right click to copy to clipboard.
Column 3:
  • Connection Information - When a common ancestor is found between the Profile person and the relative and confirmed through triangulation on the current segment, the MRCAs can be selected here from the Profile person's list of ancestors.
  • Possible Connections - This is a list of the profile person's ancestors associated with the Surnames in Common.
  • Gedcom Compare - This opens a page to compare the Profile's ancestors to those of a gedcom from the Relative.
  • Connections Details - This is a read only box.  Hovering over a name in Possible Connections will display more detail about that person.  Clicking on the All Details button will display more information about all the names in Possible Connections. Right click to copy to clipboard.
  • Segments Overlapping - This is a read only list of relatives on the same side of the family who also have a match on the same segment of at least the minimum segment length (set in Options).  It shows common surnames between these relatives.
Bottom Buttons:
  • View Relative - Opens the Relative Details page
  • Add ICW - Alternative way to collect ICW data for 23andMe and GedMatch
  • Delete ICW - Allows deletion of ICW data for the Relative
  • Delete Segment - Delete's the current match record open
  • Delete Matches - Deletes all of the Relative's match records and their relative record.
  • Update Segment - Global update feature to set all matches for a relative to the opened match record values.  Back up your data before using this.  It will update and close the page.
  • Hide Match - Indicates whether to display this match record on the main page
  • Save or OK - Saves changes and closes page
  • Cancel - Closes page without saving


Genome Mate's continued development, support and enhancements on the internet are funded by your donations.  If you use the application, please consider making a donation through Paypal.

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Genome Mate Overview

Genome Mate is a desktop tool used to organize in one place the data collected while researching DNA comparisons. Besides data storage it has many features to aid in identifying common ancestors.  See Genome Mate Home Page for details on installation.

The purpose of this overview is to link together the documentation for each function and update it as individual pieces are available.

Main Page

Main Page with Graph Option

The main page of the application is made up of four sections:

  1. Chromosome Map
  2. Navigation Bar
  3. Filter Bar
  4. DNA Segment Graph or Table

Chromosome Map

At the top of the main page is a plot of identified common ancestors for the selected profile and chromosome.  It is generated automatically when a DNA segment has been identified as maternal or paternal AND the common ancestors between the profile person and their relative have been selected.  See blog on Chromosome Map Segments for detailed information.
  • Left click on a segment to display overlapping DNA segments
  • Right click on a segment to open Segment Details page

Navigation Bar

The navigation bar is used to access various functions and reports within Genome Mate. Starting left to right:
  1. Database:  To set up new or change between existing databases
  2. Profiles:   To set up new or change profile data including the loading of a gedcom
  3. Surnames:  List of profile's surnames with option to add alternative spellings
  4. Ancestors:  List of profile's ancestors as loaded from gedcom
  5. X List:  List of profile's X chromosome donors as loaded from gedcom
  6. Relatives:  List of Relative records imported with access to a Relative's Details page
  7. Segments:  Graph or Table of all 23 chromosomes with access to Segment Details
  8. Import Data:  Functions for importing data from 23andMe, FTDNA and GedMatch
  9. Backup:  Backs up the current database to a selected file location
  10. Restore:  Restores database from a selected backup file
  11. Options:  Set application defaults, export data and compare gedcoms
  12. Support:  Frequently asked questions and support email address
  13. Donate:  Paypal donations for application development and support on the internet

Filter Bar

The filter bar is used to determine which DNA Segments are displayed in the graph or table. From left to right:
  1. Profile Name:  Selects whose profile data to display
  2. Chromosome:  Selects what chromosome data to display for the selected profile
  3. Search:  Searches relative names and match keys 
  4. Surname:  Searches relative surnames
  5. Maternal:  Displays DNA segments with 'M' as first letter in ICW group
  6. Paternal:  Displays DNA segments with 'P' as first letter in ICW group
  7. Both:  Displays both Maternal and Paternal segments
  8. Hidden:  Toggles if should display DNA segments that have been marked as hidden or that do not meet the display settings in Options.
  9. Source:  Toggles whether what source (23andMe, FTDNA, GedMatch, CoA) of DNA segments to display.
  10. Graph:  Toggles whether to display the graph or table.

DNA Segment Graph or Table

In this section, DNA segments are displayed based on the filter options selected.  On the graph these are the options available:
Match Details Page:  Click on one of the DNA segments to access Match Details
Reset Filter:  Press ESC key to reset filters
 Individual DNA Segment Line Options:  
Overlapping Icon:  Left click to show just segments whose start and end points overlap this one or right click to show overlapping segments page.
Profile:  Name of the profile person for the DNA segment
  ICW Icon:  Hover mouse over this icon to see what overlapping segments have relatives in common with this one.  Left click on icon to set an ICW group value for all of the ICWs on the overlapping segments.  Right click to use this match's ICW to set the value for all of the ICW's on the overlapping segments.
ICW:   This is the ICW group value that can be assigned on the Match Details page or by using one of the ICW Icon options listed above.  The ICW group must start with M for maternal or P for paternal, if known.
Chr:  Chromosome number
Start:  Start point of DNA segment between profile person and relative
End:  End point of DNA segment between profile person and relative
cMs:  DNA segment centimorgans 
Plot:  The segment plotted on the chromosome using start and end points

 Additional Resources


Genome Mate's continued development, support and enhancements on the internet are funded by your donations.  If you use the application, please consider making a donation through Paypal.

Copyright © Beckins LLC 2013-2014