Disconnected Branches

I haven’t written about the Beaton/Batten Mystery for quite some time, but I work on the DNA connections that I get daily. I thought that it may be of interest to you as to what I do with the matches and perhaps you may want to incorporate some of these practices in your own DNA research.

First of all, I’d like to review what the Beaton/Batten Mystery is. My great-grandfather; William (Willie) Beaton was born in Kingston, Ontario and was adopted by the Beaton Family. His sister; Annie was born in England and was adopted by the Batten family in Pittsburgh Township, Frontenac, Ontario. Despite being separated at a young age they knew about each other because Annie was referred to in William’s obituary. After  DNA testing several people in the adopted Beaton family I discovered that William wasn’t connected to the Beaton family putting to rest the family story that William Beaton Sr. was Willie’s father.

Over the years I’ve tested different members of my mother’s side of the family to gather connections and to help with triangulation of connections. So I’ve tested every one of my mom’s siblings that are alive as well as children of those of my mom’s siblings that are no longer alive. I’ve also tested several of my mom’s cousins. Through my research, I’ve searched several scenarios; including whether Willie and Annie were British Home Children, abandoned neighbor children or orphans.

Testing different people create opportunities to separate various lines in the family. By testing my mom’s cousin; Margaret O. I’m able to see matches that only apply to the Beaton/Batten mystery. Also several recent matches to other  2nd cousins I can again connect to matches that only connect to the mystery.

So each day I look at the kits that I admin and see what’s new. First of all, I start with Ancestry and go one by one through each of the kits that I administer to see who is new to the list. You can do that by going into your matches and then clicking “New”. If you look into these matches and see who they connect to you can slowly start to identify how they connect.

As I work with each person, if I’m aware of a family connection, then in the notes I put “connect to Kottman line” or “connect to the Beaton/Batten Mystery”.  This makes it easier when looking at your large list to see the connection.  If they are an absolute connection then I may decide to use the star as well.

If I find a person that does connect to the Beaton/Batten Mystery then if they have a tree I look at it.  My new approach is to always look at the pedigree view. Later I may look at the family view but for now, I don’t want to get lost in the vast amount of names they might have. (I know that often people don’t have trees but there are ways to work around that as well and that will be another post). What I’m looking for in their tree is a great-grandparent or great-great-grandparent or further that has a familiar name. 

I’ve been working on this mystery for quite some time so it gets easier and easier to see the names that mean something in the mystery. Such as Lisbonee, Passey, Wilcox, Grantham, Rycroft, Harris, Baylis. I can also look at the people that we have in common with to see if there are names that are in their list that also are in the new matches list.  If I discover a name that means something to what I have already then I add that branch into my tree that I have called the ICW Tree.

The ICW Tree or as I call it; Theory tree (Mirror tree) is where I’ve put all my DNA connections. Initially, it started with my mom’s best match who had a huge tree. Then as I find new matches, I add them to the tree. If the new match is not connected to anyone else in the tree but it’s an important surname then I just add them to any one of the families as a child and then once I create their profile I go into the profile and prune the relationship where it says edit relationship.

So for instance, if I have a Grantham surname but they don’t yet connect to the other Grantham’s in the tree then I’ll take the matches most distant Grantham relation in the Grantham line and then keep adding the direct line and their spouses until I get to the DNA connection. So it might look something like this.

You’ll notice I put my match in and put DNA as a sort of middle name. This makes it easier to see all my DNA connection when I do a search. So this becomes a floating branch. I also put their DNA information in the suffix part of the name (see below).


Which then makes the profile then look like this. So you can easily see the centimorgan and segment information.

If the person connects to more than one member of my family then I put each of the cM and segment numbers in the notes for that DNA match.

If you admin more than one kit it’s easy to see how everyone relates to a match if you go to the matches profile name and then you can check each of your kits. In the example below, you can see that this person is not a match for me but they admin a kit M.L that does match me. Also if I click on Select DNA kit I will get a list of all the kits that I admin for and it will tell me when there is a match for each kit. Note that this appears to be available when you go to the Ancestry.com site and may not be available if you are going to Ancestry.ca so you may want to try switching sites.

After I gather all the information I can from each of the matches  I then I take the new disconnected branch and expand on it bringing it both forward and backward in generations. I’m careful that as I add each person I search to see if I may have that person on my tree on another disconnected branch. The idea is to take all the disconnected branches and find the common couple that is in Kingston, Ontario area at the right time.  Through my research, I realized that many of the surnames I’ve mentioned before were from Oxfordshire so any Oxfordshire connection is also important.

To take it even one step farther I sometimes taken the DNA that I administer and link it to different people within the ICW or Theory Tree to see how the tree reacts. If I get new ancestry discoveries it tells me that I’m working the right path. But that’s another post.

As you can see it’s a long and arduous project but I know I’m getting closer and eventually, I will discover who my great-grandfather Willie Beaton’s parents were and perhaps I’ll be able to understand what might have happened to him and his sister, Annie and how they came to live in two households.



  • I love this methodology! I do this through the paper trail add matches from PEI, Canada to my tree and leave disconnected. I hadn’t thought about doing it with the DNA matches. Thanks for writing up this post – it’s very helpful!

  • 1turbineguy says:

    I found this quite helpful. While an accomplished genealogist, I have found the DNA information quite difficult to consume and comprehend. To the point that if a match has a shallow or non-existent tree, I generally lose interest in exploration of cousinship situations. Possibly your laebelling methodology will lead me to end this lethargy.

    • Thank you glad I could help. I plan to write in the coming weeks about how you can gather information from non-existent trees and from those that include only a couple of twigs.

  • Mimi Miller says:

    I love your story because it is so similar to my search for my great grandmothers Lydia Jane Cabbiff’s family in Ontario. She was orphaned at 6 and lived in a foster family for ten years. At the same time there was what all family researches believe is her brother, named Jonas Canniff in the same township, same years with another foster family. She mostly lists her parents as unknown in docs but once called them Lillie and Jonas. He has done the same thing listing his parents as unknown, but on his marriage license as Jane Lucas and Jonas Canniff. My ggmother also,named one of her children Jonas Canniff Maxwell. I have not found even one positive dna match with Jonas, and few confirmed with her. They are not BHC, I already tried that avenue. But one day, with DNA I WILL FIND THEM.