When the subjects of DNA & Genealogy collide…
By: Suzette Leclair, genealogist
|Recently, my friend Tom McMahon sent me an interesting link to
a blog entitled
“Généalogie Génétique”, started in August 2008 by Jacques
Beaugrand, founder and administrator of the French Heritage DNA Project.
We note that the subjects discussed at length are mostly about the Amerindian DNA, a subject of interest to a great many Canadians having Native ancestry in their family tree. And obviously, it was created in the wake of the controversy which followed the publication of an important article regarding the mtDNA results of four descendents of Catherine Pillard.
Professional genealogists around the world are all aware of the importance of verifying every bit of information before publishing the results of their findings, particularly over the web, as many so-called researchers will simply copy/paste it into their family tree without verifying any of the facts presented to them. Unfortunately, this is nothing new, and it’s not about to end, for as long as genealogies will continue to be published without being verified first.
Here is a case in point… Mr. Beaugrand’s latest post on the subjects previously mentioned:
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A match with the A10 mtDNA haplotype of Catherine Pillard
If you are a descendant in matrilineage of one of the women listed below, it
is possible that your mitochondria belong to haplogroup A, more specifically
to A10, the same haplogroup as Catherine PILLARD and her own descendants who
have her in matrilineage. The matrilineage is the uterine line: your
mother, her mother, the mother of your maternal grand-mother, &c. Only women
transmit their mitochondria to their children.
Grace Louise ALLEN
Marie Denise TRUDEAU
Marie Marguerite CHARON
Marie-Anne REGUINDAU JOACHIM
Marguerite DENOYON (or DENOYAN)
Marie Gilette BANNE (Fille à marier)
Isabau BOIRE (m: Marin BANNE bf 1626, Argences, Calvados (140020), France
Additionally, on the French Heritage Family Tree DNA site, they have a sample that leads back to Gillette Banne. The Haplogroup is listed as H1. Why would Jacques Beaugrand, the Administrator of that site, think that Haplogroup A10 is also linked to her (see above)?
As a genealogist, the subject of DNA fascinates me, although technically, it sounds like Greek to me. Although, a new science as far as genetic genealogy is concerned, I consider it to be an additional tool for genealogy research particularly when we are facing cases of missing documentation. I don't look at its technical aspect, but rather at what the results mean to a genealogist like me, simply another piece of information to guide me in the right direction.
At first glance, it did not make much sense to me that Gilette Banne (Fille du Roi) could
have the exact same DNA markers as Catherine Pillard. To be of the same
Haplogroup is one thing, but to have the same signature as another person or
ancestor, my gut feeling as a genealogist, was that there was something
wrong with the above mentioned matrilinear genealogy. Furthermore, how can
the same ancestor, in this case, Gilette Banne, daughter of Isabelle/Isabau
Boire, belong to two different Haplogroups, being A10 and H1...?
After reading his post, I noted that a name in that list, Delphine Bachand, looked very familiar to me, as I remembered researching it a while back. But I could not remember in which file that was or who for. A quick look in a few databases on my computer turned up nothing. But the name kept nagging at me overnight, as it sounded so familiar.
So the next day, I decided to browse thru my Pillard files on my computer, looking at every research I did after the first article on Catherine Pillard was published in Le Chaînon, Fall edition of 2007. One file under the name "Colon" looked totally out of context as the name was unknown to me. When I opened it, found only an FTW database under the same name. Out of curiosity, I opened it, and went looking for the Bachand name. And sure enough, a whole bunch of Bachand names appeared on the screen, with Delphine right smack in the middle of it ! That was the only thing in that file that looked familiar to me, as well as the name of her parents, every other name seemed foreign to me. How weird, I thought.
So I asked my daughter, Johan Robitaille, who’s also been involved with the Pillard DNA research. And sure enough, the owner of that database is a friend of hers, Elizabeth Colon Parker. It turns out that the file in question was sent to her in October 2008 by John Croteau, because Elizabeth’s DNA results were identical to John's, who is a descendent of Catherine Pillard. But Elizabeth’s matrilinear genealogy did not lead to Pillard, but instead to Gilette Banne, also a well known “Fille du Roi”. So he asked us to verify her genealogy, and to validate the results as listed above.
Delphine Bachand turned out to be a problem, as we could not verify her marriage record in Malone NY, hence, her parents, or her birth information listed in the database as April 1853 in NY. A quick research thru Ancestry turned up more than a dozen Delphine Bachand. Tracing each of them was time consuming, so we asked the database owner what else she knew about Delphine or her siblings. And that was the last email that I’ve been able to trace in my computer on that subject...!
Unfortunately, we were extremely busy at the time, doing research and publishing a series of article on the various genealogies of the individuals who participated in the original Pillard DNA project, and we did not pursue that research much further.
As the post of Mr. Beaugrand was still nagging at me, I decided to see what was wrong with the genealogy of Grace Louise Allen. When I got to Delphine Bachand, I encountered the same problems as before. But this time, instead of tracing all the Delphine Bachand’s found for the time period in question, I decided to check all the Bachand records I could trace in Chateauguay, Franklin County, New York, where Delphine and her husband have eight children baptized.
And one family in particular seemed to gravitate around Delphine and her husband, Hormidas Trudeau, being the children of Louis Bachand & Placide Achin. This was the typical situation of a close-knit family, and could not be just a simple coincidence. They had to be related, either as siblings or cousins…
So I decided to check them out, and went looking for some census records to see where they were from, and if by any chance, Delphine could be a member of their family. Nothing on Ancestry turned up, but on Family Search, the family was listed in St-Rémi de Napierville, on the 1851 Census.
Source: 1851 Canada East Census - Parish of St-Rémi de Napierville page 123 (Ancestry #123/150)
Once I got hold of the original census record, sure enough, the family had a child named Delphine, 2 years old, and said to be born in St-Rémi, therefore born about 1849-1850 as the Canadian census was taken in 1852 but listed as 1851. The database had her born in April 1853 in the state of New York, not quite right, but not quite far either.
Nothing for the Bachand family in the Drouin microfilm of St-Rémi for 1849, but 1850 turned up the baptism of Marie Delphine BACHAMPS, dated February 10, 1850, said to be born the day before, daughter of "Louis Bachamps & Placide Hachim", the exact same family who migrated from Napierville to Chateauguay, NY, sometimes after the 1852 Canadian Census. Now, we were getting somewhere, and it all started to make sense.
1850 St-Rémi de Napierville - Drouin microfilm #0251 1278 Image 6/46
So, let's start with Delphine Bachand's parents listed on her baptism record, and check the maternal lineage of that family tree:
- Placide ACHIN dit ST-ANDRÉ (Antoine & Françoise Varry)
- Françoise VARRY (Joseph & Françoise Benoit)
- Françoise BENOIT (Toussaint & Marie Louise Rouillé-Lamarche)
- Marie Louise ROULIER dit Lamarche (Joseph & Marie Joseph Adam)
- Marie Joseph ADAM dit Laramée (Guillaume & Catherine Charron)
- Catherine Charron (Pierre & Catherine Pillard
We can now conclude for certain that the maternal genealogy of Grace Louise Allen goes to Catherine Charron, wife of Guillaume Adam. Of all the 10 descendents of Catherine Pillard with an exact same mtDNA results, Grace is the only one whose genealogy goes to the youngest Catherine, born around 1680.
Here’s a list of the genealogies that we have verified to date for our Pillard DNA Project:
The last four candidates were traced to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in February 2008, and their matrilinear genealogies were not published, because they failed to respond to our request for permission to publish.
Here’s a good example of how DNA can come to the rescue of genealogy when some vital records are missing. As long as you don’t forget one of the most important basic rules of genealogy: always verify your facts first…
Rawdon, September 30, 2011
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