Charting My Cluster of Matches Originating in Limavady

Charts are helpful and I’ve made one in working through a cluster of my Neill DNA matches at  AncestryDNA.

The only column that has been removed as been the column for the URL of the match. That makes navigating the matches easier and is removed here for privacy reasons. The individual usernames have been removed as well.

Shared matches appear in clusters and one will see some of the same names over and over again. It literally feels like one is going in circles. The chart helps me to know which matches I have looked at and what “cluster” they were in.  Keeping track of whose shared matches I have added to the chart is helpful as well.

This chart is still in process and only includes some of the matches that I located. The chart was “started” by looking at a DNA match who had an ancestor born in  Limavady, County Derry, Ireland. That ancestor had the last name of Neill/McNeill. That’s the location where my own Neill ancestors were from and her earliest Neill ancestor was born in the same location as mine with a father of the same name. Our probable connection at  AncestryDNA suggested that our Neill/McNeill ancestors born about the same time in roughly the same place were at best brothers and probably no more than second or third cousins.

The chart was relatively easy to make because the number of shared matches was relatively small–largely because it likely is only catching some other descendants of one set of 3rd, 4th, or 5th great-grandparents. While that does have the potential to be a lot of people there are two things to remember:

  • other descendants of this couple have to test
  • that other tester has to be a biological match to me–that’s not necessarily going to happen with a descendant that far back

I started making a chart of the matches that I shared with this DNA match. Some had no trees associated with them. None had the place of birth of Limavady in their tree. Several of them did have Neill ancestors in their tree. None of them had any shared matches with other known descendants of Samuel Neill who have tested at  AncestryDNA (see our post on how this likely happened)–at least so far.  The good thing (from my standpoint is) that these matches were all in the same series of clusters that did not contain other DNA matches from my other families. That would be a problem and no matches from my non-Neill families does not prove anything, but it is consistent with my theory and suggests that I’m on the right track.

What is my theory? That these matches are relatives of my Irish immigrant Samuel Neill through some ancestor of his.

My chart also needs to include information on how I came upon this cluster of matches. How did I discover the cluster and how were additional people added? That was:

  • matches who had a Neill/McNeill ancestor born in NewtownLimivady, Ireland and were a match with me–turned out that was one person (name omitted here).
  • shared matches with that match and matches of that match–which I’m sill working on.

That information gets to my process and I need to include it for two reasons–because including my research process helps me to analyze that process later for completeness, methodological soundness, etc. and including that process reminds me of how I did it when I get stuck on other families.

made predicted
list of cousin
username shared shared cM segments relationship probable connection birth birth place
yes 23 1 4-6 Neill Letitia 1895 Nova Scotia
yes 37 3 4-6
yes 27.6 1 4-6
yes 22.8 1 4-6
yes 24.7 2 4-6 McNeill James
20.4 2 4-6 Neill James about 1877 Ireland
16.7 2 5-8 Neill James 1876 NewtownLimavady, Derry, Ireland
11.2 2 5-8 Neill Letitia 1895 Ireland
28.5 2 4-6
58 4 4-6

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