I am big on visualization–when it serves a purpose. I don’t like making charts, graphs, etc. just because I can and only because someone may be impressed with it. This chart, grouping my ancestry into what I’ve generally called “pools,” puts on paper what has been in my head for years.
The pools are geographically based except for one: the Neill-Rampley pool. I created that pool because three members of the Neill family married into the Rampley family between around 1900 and 1910, making many of us descendants of both. Descendants of the other pools also tended to marry descendants of the same group or they remained distinct from the other group (except for my one ancestor who married into another group either because of happenstance or the fact that they moved). I have been aware of these groupings for years and have found them helpful in analyzing my DNA matches as well. Most of my DNA matches can be placed into one of these same groups.
The Neill-Rampley group actually has origins in three distinct areas: Ireland, generally Maryland, and Virginia. Because they were part of a larger pool, they were called puddles (I realize the analogy starts to fall here). More distantly-related DNA matches in this group usually fall into one of these three groups. The Irish puddle could have been two separate puddles because the two members of the Irish immigrant couple were from distinct regions of Ireland. I could have done the same thing with the German pool as it is highly likely, based on the immigrants in that group, that my Germans are from three separate regions of Germany as well. In hindsight I may do that as it will be helpful in analyzing my DNA matches from those portions of my family.
Sometimes just trying to put on paper what is in our head can be a learning process in itself.