52 Ancestors, week #9 An Unusual DNA Result

I will begin with my actual ancestry (in my opinion) based on the paper trail I have uncovered (using 32 3rd g-grandparents, sort of; I am making an educated guess on four of them and of course my DNA goes a lot further back than a 4-generation paper trail):

Ireland 6.25%
Scotland 1.56%
Wales 18.75%
England 12.50%
Canada (English) 9.38%
Lithuania 25.00%
France 1.56%
Acadia (France) 25.00%

In summary: 75% Northern European (48.4% UK & 26.6% France) and 25% Eastern European (Lithuania).

Last year, my mother, a cousin (a child of my paternal grandmother’s sister) and I tested our DNA at 23andme.

The surprise?? Add “trace of Native American” to the list!

My mother’s results: 0.2% East Asian & Native American on chromosome 14.

My cousin’s results: 0.2% East Asian & Native American (which could be on my side of the family or her father’s side to whom I am unrelated) on chromosome 9 and 14.

My results: 0.4% East Asian & Native American on chromosome 6 and 14.

I will admit that I know very little about DNA, but  it appears that I got .2% East Asian & Native American from my mother and .2% from my father. Since “cousins” don’t get the same DNA, it is difficult to assess if the Native American on my dad’s side is from his maternal or paternal line, without having other cousins test.  Although my cousin and I match on chromosome 14, it happens to be within the same area that I match my mom.  We don’t match on chromosomes 6 and 9, but it could be that we both inherited different DNA from our common Native ancestors.


My Ancestry.com DNA is a bit different, showing <1% Asia

DNA ancestry

FTDNA shows 100% European +/- .01%

DNA 3rd

Differences with AncestryDNA might be due to their matching base pairs while FTDNA and 23andMe match using centiMorgans. 23andMe and FTDNA use different minimums for cutoffs which explains the differences between them and 23andme. The differences usually don’t occur between close relations, so perhaps I do have Native American Ancestry on both sides but back many generations.

Then there is GEDMATCH (a free site where you can upload your DNA from any of the three testing companies to help get more matches – and it has some pretty neat comparison tools)- lots of choices, none of which I understand.  I need fit in some study time!  Here is one of the charts I created there.


Next, I read Judy Russell’s blog post about DNA percentages,  

She says:

“Forget them. They’re cocktail party conversation pieces — and little more. The science just isn’t there yet to back them up”.

Bummer. It would be fun to claim some Native American DNA. Luckily I found her blog post AFTER I went in search of my Native American Ancestry.  My mother is 50% Acadian.  I had “heard” that many Acadians married Mi’kmaq Indians. I hadn’t found any in my line, and hadn’t contemplated that we might have a Native American grandmother, but based on the DNA results, decided to work on expanding those lines.

I do believe that I have found at least one Native American on my mother’s side.

My mother’s maternal grandfather was an Acadian, Pius (Paul) Roy(Roi/King).  The line descends from Jean Roy (Roye/LeRoy) dit Laliberte born in St-Malo, France about 1648 and Marie Aubois, half Indian. They were married about 1686 in Acadie.

There is quite a bit of controversy among her descendants as to whether we can claim to be of Mi’kmaq descent. Her daughter Ann’s marriage record names her as Marie “Sauvagesse” (feminine form of sauvage, which translates to indian) and doesn’t specifically state that she was a Mi’kmaq.

Roy news

One of my Acadian cousins  had a great point, he surmises  (shared with his permission): “Marie was married in Acadie and is presumed to be Mi’kmaq, as that was the tribe controlling that area around Port Royal, and because she is on that list of Mi’kmaq marriages. It is not absolute proof; she could have been a Huron, or even a captured Mohawk, who was integrated into the Mi’kmaq tribe, but even then she would be considered Mi’kmaq, as much as immigrants to the U.S. are thereafter considered Americans”.

I am still learning, but there are many blog posts and books discussing the relationships between the Mi’kmaq and Acadians, Wikiedia offers some history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mi’kmaq

Maybe a post for another day, but I find it interesting that many of my ancestors are intertwined throughout history.

The census of 1707 as per Delabat allowed the creation of a map that depicted the early families of the Melanson Settlement, along the Annapolis River, in Port Royal, Acadie , where Charles Melanson and Marie Dugas were the first to settle.  Six farms were included, residents of five were Melanson descendants [note: Jean Belliveau married Melanson’s daughter Madeline and Alexandre Robichaud married daughter Ann*].

My Jean Roy dit Laliberte was the head of household of the 6th home. He and sauvagesse, Marie Aubois, lived in a home that was set  back, near the forest’s edge, away from the rest.  Roy was not a member of the Melanson family nor related to it by marriage.  How he ended up as part of the settlement remains a mystery.

Melanson Settlement

Fast forward 200 years and 5 generations to 27 December 1910, Gardner, Massachusetts.  My mother’s grandfather Pius Roy married Laura Marie Melanson  – their 5th g-grandparents were neighbors Jean & Marie (Aubois) Roy and Charles & Marie (Dugas) Melanson!

The two lines follow (click to view a larger version):

Roy and Melanson

Perhaps not all that unusual. Pius and Laura would each have 256 5th g-grandparents (128 pairs) and for many years Acadians typically intermarried. But unusual enough given the millions of people in the world. The Melanson Settlement is 512 miles from Gardner and the marriages occurred in a time period when transportation had not evolved!


*Research Bulletin #250, “The Melanson Settlement (1664-1755) published by Canadian Minister of Environment. R61-9/250E ISSN: 0228-1228


5 responses to this post.

  1. Your blog is SO informational – great resource! Thanks!



  2. Posted by John on July 7, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    A brief note relating to the discussion of the Roy family in the 25 February entry. We know that Jean Roy la Liberte and Marie Aubois lived at Cape Sable where he was employed by Jacques de Saint-Étienne de la Tour. Saint-Étienne de la Tour’s wife was Anne Melanson. It was a very small community. After the death of her husband ca. 1699, Anne Melanson left Cape Sable with her children to join her brother and her sisters at the Melancon settlement. The likely explanation for the presence of the Roy family at the Melanson settlement is that they accompanied Anne and her family there. (Anne remarried to Alexandre Robichaud — and is therefore the immediate neighbour of the Roy family on your map). I would also note that Jean Roy probably met Marie Aubois at Cape Sable (not Port Royal) and that given the location she was almost certainly Mi’kmaq.



  3. Posted by saxotenor on May 28, 2017 at 11:48 PM

    Hi, I agree with John’s post of July 2014 about the Roy family leaving Cape Sable with Anne Melanson. One thing though, nowhere is it mentioned where Jean and Marie could have met… so saying most certainly Mi’kmaq is a stretch. It is a good possibility, nothing more.



  4. Posted by Aaron Michael Roy on July 10, 2017 at 10:31 PM

    I am also a descendent of Jean Roy Dit Laliberte! Jean Roy, Joseph Roy, Thomas Felicien Roy, Lazare Roy, Timothé Roy, Arthur Roy, Gerald Roy, Randall Roy, then me! Thank you for sharing your information!! 🙂



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