|Connecting to DNA Cousins from Guadeloupe [Google Maps]|
DNA testing is something I initiated about 10 years ago, and I was fortunate to have stumbled upon it when I did. With testing, I have been able to make great discoveries - some of them thanks to the DNA itself and others to the people I have met and interacted with along the way. If you have been following my blog (Thank you & ¡Gracias!), then you know a few years back (8 actually to be exact!) I begun to unravel a previously unknown discovery in my family about a connection to the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe via my maternal grandfather's side of the family. At the time I knew very little about this branch but thanks to digging through documents and connecting with French Caribbean genealogists throughout these recent years, I was able to discover much more about this side of my family.
My research up until now has revealed two distinct sides in my 3rd great-grandmother's family, one side (her father's) comes from Guadeloupe while the other (her mother's) comes from Martinique.
|María Paulina Charles Lautin - 3rd Great-grandmother [Personal Photo]|
Unfortunately, there is not much information past María Paulina's grandparents. It seems that on the Jean-Charles side, the family might have been mixed-creole seeing as how her parents were enslaved themselves, yet a Y-DNA test points to European origins for the "Charles" line. It is important to note that this side of the family received their freedom from slavery before 1848, unlike most of the enslaved peoples did in the French owned Caribbean islands at the time, this allowed María Paulina's paternal Guadeloupean grandparents a chance to marry before they passed away. Meanwhile, the "Lautin" side is probably all African in origin. Julienne was born a slave (noted as "negresse" on her birth certificate in 1844) and Eglantine herself was brought over from Africa. Unfortunately, we have no idea who the father of Julienne was. We only have a potential clue - in Puerto Rico the father's surname was written down as "Pedro" and searching the records in Martinique has allowed me to identify a family with the surname "Pitroo" who worked on the slave plantation as the Lautin clan; there might be a possible connection to that family and only time and DNA will tell.
|Charles-Lautin Family Tree [Personal Photo]|
One of my genetic goals was to potentially one day find a cousin who descends via their maternal line all the way down to Eglantine Lautin, this would allow for a MtDNA test to potentially identify a region in Africa she would have originally been from. I have been able to find a genetic cousin via AncestryDNA but they haven't logged into their account for over a year so I haven't heard back from them. The question now became were there segments in my DNA linking me back to potential cousins in Guadeloupe and Martinique? If not, would my grandfather's DNA contain segments? Luckily I have been able to test myself and my maternal grandfather on 23andMe and AncestryDNA along with our Y-DNA line on FtDNA. Thanks to the suggestion of David (a French Caribbean genealogist), I migrated my grandfather's DNA to MyHeritage - which seems to be more popular in France.
After breaking up my DNA in DNA Painter into segmented colors of who gave me what, you can clearly see all the yellow segments below belonging to my grandfather.
|DNA Painter [Personal Photo]|
This DNA in turn comes from his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. meaning that though those segments cover much of my maternal DNA, I would have inherited genetic material from one out of eight 2nd great-grandparents on that side of the family with ties to Martinique and Guadeloupe. And since it is far back, the odds of me receiving many segments is low as well, but having my grandfather tested means there are more odds of him having more segments as well. Recently in my DNA, I have been able to identify two matches on AncestryDNA and one match on MyHeritage with clear connections to the island of Guadeloupe.
My first match shares DNA with my grandfather but not myself or my mother. Though they share 3 segments across 49cm it's possible that my grandfather was the last generation to inherit these segments. In their "shared matches" list they only share three matches, which is very uncommon for Puerto Rican matches to share such low and limited cousins, so I can probably rule out the fact that this cousin as remotely Puerto Rican. This cousin does however have on their shared matches a cousin who is Puerto Rican but connected to my grandfather via his Correa family which is tied to Martinique and Guadeloupe via María Paulina Charles. The first match I have no idea how they are connected and the third match is a cousin with is mixed Guadeloupean and I think African American. Since AncestryDNA does not share where they match on their DNA, I have no idea how to "chart" this for my grandfather on DNA Painter. The cousin I think is not on Gedmatch either, and I have reached out but no return message so far.
|Guadeloupean Cousin [Personal AncestryDNA]|
This 2nd cousin shares DNA across 3 segments as well with my grandfather but this time at 38cm, my guess is that these 3 segments are probably the exact same ones as the first cousin from above. However with this cousin, my mother and myself are said to share DNA with as well. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing where on my DNA these segments are located.
|Cousin with Guadeloupean Ancestry [Personal AncestryDNA]|
This was my grandfather's first official Guadeloupean cousin to first appear for him which was very exciting, since it helped to solidify all the research I had done in the past 8 years. As you can see below I was able to find this cousin by filtering his DNA matches by geographic origins and selecting "France". The segment is listed as only one shared segment but also at 38.3cm like one of my grandfather's AncestryDNA matches. You can also see that based on our trees we both have "Guadeloupe" as an ancestral place for our families based on the trees we have built. I have gotten a chance to chat with this cousin and our families both have ancestry from Les Saintes, which are a set of smaller islands belonging to Guadeloupe! It is possible that there are more matches amongst my grandfather's DNA matches who have a connection somehow to Guadeloupe but so far this is the only one I have been able to find on MyHeritage.
|Guadeloupean Cousin [Personal MyHeritage]|
Luckily, on MyHeritage you can see where in your DNA you share the segments. For my grandfather and this match, the segment is located on chromosome 11.
|Shared Guadeloupean DNA [Personal MyHeritage]|
My own personal chromosome 11 is inherited mainly in the same spot from my grandfather as the Guadeloupean match comes from but doesn't mean that I would necessarily share that same piece of DNA with that cousin, in order to better know I would probably have to transfer my own DNA into MyHeritage and see if I match this cousin as well.
|My Chromosome 11 divided into Grandparent Inheritance [DNA Painter]|
Interestingly enough, the region my grandfather shares with this cousin on Chromosome 11 is European on one side and African on the other and specifically the DNA on that side is registered as Nigerian. In a previous post, I took a look at inherited African DNA and I analyzed a bit the fact that Nigerian DNA was much higher on my grandfather's side of the family and potentially connected to María Paulina Lautin. If I had to put some money on it, I wouldn't be surprised if their shared DNA was on the Nigerian side via a slave(s) brought over to Guadeloupe. I'll have to read up on the African influx of slaves to Guadeloupe and see if any studies have been completed on which regions these slaves specifically hailed from.
|My grandfather's Chromosome 11 [Personal 23andme]|
Why no genetic connections with Martinique?
I'm not sure why I originally expected genetic connections from Martinique over Guadeloupe. Maybe because I discovered the former side first versus the latter, I expected that my genetic connections would happen in the same order. But taking a closer look it kind of makes sense why I might not have Martinican connections right away, we know that Eglantine was from Africa and Julienne's father probably was as well. Out of Eglantine's five children (one of them being my own 4th great-grandmother), only three (two siblings) went on to have children and who knows if they were were full or half siblings (I'm guessing half over full).
Nonetheless, this is exciting stuff! The next step would be to try and figure out how we're all related! It doesn't seem like we have any surnames overlapping with each other, but at the same time, knowing that my 5th great-grandparents from Guadeloupe were slaves means that they didn't carry surnames in the traditional sense we have come to know. My 5th great-grandmother only went by "Marie Lucie" and used no surname on documents while my 5th great-grandfather was known as "Jean-Charles Chaleau" and the children passed on both "Chaleau" and "Jean-Charles" as surnames depending on the time period.
Recently, a document was discovered on Terre-de-Bas (merci beaucoup David!) which mentions Jean-Charles as an uncle in a death record in the year 1853, which would mean he would be related to one her parents. As you can see, there is still much to be discovered and I'm hoping that our DNA will reveal more about our connections. This is also why it is important to explore various companies of DNA and search within your matches!
|Nº 1 Françoise - Décès 1853 [ANOM]|
I also can't wait to visit Guadeloupe one day!
|Terre de Bas, Guadeloupe [Guadeloupe Le Guide]|