Here a John, Thru a John, Messed up the John-John

Apparently the “Big Tree” at AncestryDNA has pulled information from some interesting submissions for my Neill family. There are basically two problems with what’s in the “Big Tree:”

  • John Neill (1774-1849) has left no documentary evidence to suggest he is the father of John Neill (my 3rd great-grandfather as shown in the illustration). The John Neill who was my 3rd great-grandfather lived in the general area of Drumachose parish from at least roughly 1830 until an unknown time. John Neill (my 3rd great-grandfather) had several children, including Samuel (my ancestor) and Alexander. Samuel and Alexander’s descendants have taken DNA tests at Ancestry.
  • The “Big Tree” apparently has three entries for John Neill all of whom are shown in the tree as siblings to each other. That is why the Alexander Neill shows up twice in my Thrulines.

Thrulines makes it appear that I share DNA matches with “descendants” of the John Neill (1774-1849). I don’t. All the matches are descendants of the John Neill from Drumachose parish–through his sons Samuel and Alexander.

As we’ve said before, ThruLines can be a sorting clue. Can be a clue. There are two key words there: can and clue.When the “Big Tree” is a big mess it can cloud the sorting process.


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