The Beaton/Batten Mystery – What’s New?

If you’re on Facebook, then you know that each day you get memories of posts you’ve done in years gone by. Some from last year and others from as far back as you’ve been on Facebook.

A few weeks ago, I got a memory, and it read;

ON THIS DAY 7 years ago

Ellen Thompson-Jennings wrote

Last research day in Kingston; it’s been great. I’ve learned more about the Beatons and the Battens. I still haven’t found out why my great grandfather lived with the Beaton’s and why Annie, his sister, was with the Batten family. I have many documents that may give me answers when I get my mom’s DNA results. So we shall see. That’s me, the optimist. Today it’s back to Queen’s for the House of Industry records and then perhaps back to the Anglican Archives.


It’s times like this that I realize I’ve been working on the Beaton/Batten Mystery project for a long time, but it also feels like a short time. I say this because when I wrote that Facebook message, I hadn’t even gotten my mom’s DNA test results. Wow.. was it really only seven years ago?

I do know that even though I don’t know the answer to my research question, I know a lot more than I knew seven years ago. My #1 research goal question is; Who is my great grandfather, William Beaton’s parents?

Since then, I’ve tested even more family members, and more people have tested in the world.

When I tested my mom, I could only test her at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) in Canada. A year later, you could do an Ancestry DNA kit in Canada, but unfortunately, she was already in the midst of her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, so by that time, there was no way to get a saliva sample. Then in the next few years, the other testing companies became a possibility, but it was too late again because, by that time, she’d passed away in 2015.

But thankfully, I was able to transfer her DNA to MyHeritage and LivingDNA. If you haven’t done that, it’s genuinely another opportunity to fish in all the ponds. You never know where your DNA cousins might have tested, so I like to take out all the guesswork and have our family DNA everywhere.

To do a transfer, all you have to do is download the raw data from the company you’ve tested at and then upload it to the other DNA companies. Note that you can download from all the DNA companies, but you can’t upload to Ancestry or 23andMe. So if you can’t afford to test at all the companies, then to get the best bang for your buck, you test first at Ancestry and/or 23andMe and then transfer the raw data.

Each of the companies you can transfer to gives instructions on how the process works, and below, you will find links to those instructions and the costs.

  • Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) cost $19US (to receive all your match list)
  • MyHeritage cost $29US (to receive all your matches and access to some tools)
  • LivingDNA cost FREE
  • You can transfer to GEDmatch but you need to know that this is a third party tool.

(I should also mention that if you’d like to use your DNA to solve cold cases involving violent crimes, then you’ll want to understand that you can opt-in or out (depending on the site) at FTDNA, GEDMatch, and there is another site that you can upload your DNA to called, DNASolves.com )

The most important thing to remember when transferring is that you should read the Terms of Service (I know they can be tedious, but you need to understand what you are signing up for.)

Ask other family members for DNA help.

As you know, I’m from Canada, and my family doesn’t have deep US roots, so this also impacts the number of matches I have at some of the companies. So to strengthen my DNA coverage, in the past seven years, I’ve also tested or transferred my mom’s four living siblings’ DNA to various companies. Also, when my mom’s siblings had passed away, I asked one or all of their children to test. My children know they aren’t getting an inheritance; they are getting a “whole lot of genealogy and DNA information… whether they like it or not“… lol.

Each day I check my matches and those of my mom’s siblings to see if there are any new matches that can help with the Beaton/Batten Mystery. There have been some distant matches, and I’ve become great at untangling this DNA bowl of spaghetti and adding them to my DNA Theory Tree and my WATO hypothesis.

If you’re not familiar with a DNA Theory Tree, I wrote about it in a blog called; Disconnected Branches ,where I talk about how you can add your DNA matches to one tree and they don’t get tangled with your regular tree. As you discover how each of your matches connects to you or each other, you can connect them into your DNA Tree. If you have a good match, you may want to have them as disconnected or floating branches that you can attach to others later as you discover the connection. You’ll also find more about this on the blog; Jumping from Genealogy Tree to Genealogy Tree.

I actually have two DNA Theory Trees, one for my dad’s side and one for my mom’s side… because, of course, I have two mysteries in my family. The key to these trees is to make them private and unsearchable so that no one thinks they are real… because it’s a work in progress.

I have also created a WATO hypothesis tree, well actually several … depending on who in the family I’m using as my hypothesis. I’ve also written about WATO or What are The Odds, and you can read that HERE. My WATO tree is a group of people who all descend from the same couple. It’s used to discover the odds for the best connection to the person who is the theory from my family.

So here’s what’s happened recently. I got a match in August, and he’s not a great match to me but is a really good match to my aunt and uncles. I don’t know how he’d be for my mom because this connection is on Ancestry, and I haven’t asked if he’d transfer to Family Tree DNA. For me, he’s a 9cM match, but my aunt he’s 108 cM, uncle D he’s 126 cM, and uncle R only 32 cM. Here you can see the randomness of DNA. My aunt and two uncles are all related the same way, but they each got a little bit different amounts of DNA from the common ancestor they have with this newfound cousin.

I have contacted this match, and they have told me who their four great grandparents are and, in fact, have given me access to their tree. As usual, I add him to my Theory Tree. He fits into my theory tree nicely as a descendant of Issac Walden and Elizabeth Beachy.

Note that I always only ask for grandparent names because people tend to be willing to give that information, and usually, I can find a tree that includes these people if I search for it on either Ancestry, MyHeritage, or FindmyPast.

When I add this new information and the connection for him and all the others to a WATO tree for my aunt, it becomes more apparent and evident who my great grandfather’s mother could have been. But still, something is missing.

The smoking gun, an unmistakable sign, .. a record … something that I can say …. HERE is a child born to this woman who genetically fits and furthermore, he’s born and then disappears to Canada. Well, maybe not the disappear to Canada part, but that he disappears. Something that makes sense.

My next step is that my mom’s cousin, a descendant of William’s sister, Annie, has quite a few DNA matches that connect to the Beaton Batten Mystery, but my family has no connection. This leads me to believe that William and Annie may not have been full siblings. In fact, when I do a WATO chart for my mom’s cousin, the odds are much higher for William and Annie to have been half-siblings rather than siblings. So they may have had the same father but not the same mother.

So there is more work to be done, and with a bit of luck, perhaps I will get new cousin matches that will help find the answer. Stay tuned.

Note: The post above contains affiliate links. This means I make a small percentage of the sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. This is a supplement to my income so I can continue  to support The DNA Angel Project and to make donations to the Alzheimer’s’ Society

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