Part 7: When There Is No Drama—Write It Up!

DNA EamesThis is our last look at using DNA to support our “documentary tree.” It is now time to write it up.



Here is a list of the parts and the links to the other posts:

Disclaimer: This is only an example of how I would incorporate the evidence offered by DNA if I had to do my portfolio over. I have no idea if my “solution” would be acceptable or not. Guidance on the topic is slim, but I am using the website to guide my DNA documentation, because it is all I have at the time of writing. Also, this field is changing so rapidly that this post will be “old news” in a very short period of time, but may still provide the future reader with a perspective and help them formulate questions they might not have thought of.

Because the portfolio asks for proofs of two relationships, I will focus on only one of them. The written inclusion would be similar for the other. It also takes a little more writing to get this evidence presented…it’s not like Dad says Son is his heir in the probate record.

Here is an extract from my KDP, the proof of the relationship between Hendrik Jans Bode and his father JMCB. All new insertions are in italics:

Narrative Proof

Who were the parents of Hendrik Janssen Bode born 14 February 1848 and christened in Westerhusen, Ostfriesland?

The original parish record provides direct evidence of parentage. On 14 February 1848, Hendrik Janssen Bode was born to the married couple Jan Middents Cornelius Bode and Antje Gerjet Eckhoff in Uphusen, Ostfriesland.[1]

The parish record of birth of Hendrik Janssen Bode with the names of his parents provides an original source, primary information and direct evidence of the parent-child relationship with Jan Middents Cornelius Bode and Antje Gerjets Eckhoff. The continuation of life events provides supporting context (See Table 1).

Additional evidence supporting a familial relationship between Hendrik and Jans Middents Cornelius Bode/John C. Bode exists:

  • Hendrik appeared with John C. Bode and Anche Bode in the 1860 census.[2]
  • Four additional bullet points are included.

DNA evidence supports the conclusion:

Bode1, a AncestryDNA test taker, was identified as a “third cousin” with a shared amount of DNA of 28.3 cM over three segments. He also provided a family tree indicating direct linkage to Jan Middents Cornelius Bode and Antje Gerjects Ekchoff through their son, Cornelius.[3]  The hypothetical relationships look like this: 

Jan MC Bode-Antje Eckhoff


                        Hendrik Jans Bode                               Cornelius Jans Bode

                                    |                                                             |

                        John Henry Bode                                 John Cornelius Bode

                                    |                                                           |

                        Gertrude Bode                                     (Wm.) Henry R. Bode

                                    |                                                           |

                           Jill Morelli                                               Bode1

 Test takers are in bold; all others are deceased.

 It is predicted that 3rd cousins should share an average of 74 cM with a range of between 0 to 217.[4]While 23.8 cM is lower than average, it is within the range.

 The documentation of the lineage of Jill Morelli is as follows:

[Insert Jill’s documentation of lineage here for Jill to Gertrude, Gertrude to John and John to Hendrik.]

The documentation of the lineage of Bode1 is as follows:

  1. Bode 1 to (Wm. Henry R. Bode.
    Bode1 recorded that (Wm.) Henry R. Bode was his/her father. We can rely on that.
  2. (William) Henry R. Bode to John Cornelius Bode
    William D.H. Bode appeared in the 1910 census for Butler County in the household of his father, John Bode. John Bode was also the enumerator lending credence to the accuracy of the relationship.[5]
  3. John Cornelius Bode to Cornelius Jans Bode
    The birth of John Cornelius Bode and the parents’ names of Cornelius Jans Bode and Hilke Ammerman Bode was recorded in the Ridott Christian Reformed Church, Stephenson County, Illinois, on 12 November 1867.[6]
  4. Cornelius Jans Bode to Jan MC Bode.
    The pastor recorded in the parish records of Westerhusen, Ostfriesland, the christening ofCornelius Jans Bode by the parents, Jan Middents Cornelius Bode and Antje Gerjets The christening occurred 12 August 1843.[7]

 There are no identified gaps in the pedigrees. The pedigrees have been confirmed as accurate and the depth of the research reduces the opportunity for pedigree collapse of which there is none identified.

 There are no facts in conflict. Name variations are within reasonable interpretations, ages are in alignment, the family members are consistent and the timeline is consistent without gaps. The evidence supports the hypothesis of the research question.

Records checked with no findings relevant to this research question include:

Blah, blah, blah….


While other evidence could emerge, it will probably corroborate rather than refute the conclusion that Hendrik Janssen Bode’s parents were Jan Middents Cornelius Bode, also known as John C. Bode, and Antje Gerjets Eckhoff, also known as Antje Bode, and who was born on 14 February 1848 in Früchtenborg, Ostfriesland.DNA and documentary evidence are in alignment.No evidence is in conflict that cannot be explained.

Let’s do a quick revisit of the press release from the website to see if we met the criteria outlined:

  • Planning the DNA Test: Since this wasn’t a “big problem” our plan was simple, using simple tools.
  • Analyzing DNA test results: We took some time doing this, and incorporated findings from the “Shared cM Project,” for example.
  • Extent of DNA evidence: We addressed the minimal amount needed for substantiating the links of both test taker’s trees.
  • Sufficient verifiable data. This is more problematic because most of the information is behind a privacy wall.
  • Integrating DNA and documentary evidence. We did that in the proof of the relationship.
  • Conclusions about genetic relationships. We included the statement about DNA in the conclusion.
  • Respect for privacy. We complied with the Genetic Genealogy Code of Ethics by not revealing names of individuals who were still living. Bode1 and VD1 are not the names used in Ancestry.

I hope this series has, at a minimum forced you to think about your options and how you plan to approach the changing requirements of the inclusions of DNA into our portfolios and family histories.

That completes the series. I hope it has made some sense and alleviates some of the angst about inclusion of DNA when there is no drama.

[1]Westerhusen Evangelische-Reformierte Kirche (Westerhusen, Ostfriesland), “Kirchenbüch, 1706-1875,” Hendrik Janssen [Bode] (1845).

[2]1860 U.S. census, Stephenson Co., Ill., pop. sch., Ridott Township, p. 27, dwell. 183, fam. 174, John C. Bode.

[3]“AncestryDNA Results for Jill Morelli,” database report, AncestryDNA( accessed 30 October 2018), predicting 4th to 6th cousin genetic match with user “Bode1”.  “Bode1” identifies his great great great grandfather as John Middents Cornelius Bode ; no kinship to Bode1 or Jan has been proven.

[4]Blaine Bettinger, “The Shared cM Project 3.0 Tool v. 4,” DNA Painter( accessed 31 October 2018). Insert 28.3 into the percentage calculator.1““

[5]1910 U.S. census, Butler County, Iowa, population schedule, Madison township, enumeration district 82, p. 8A, John Bode; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed 31 October 2018). William D.H. Bode is described as John’s son. John Bode was the enumerator lending credence to the enumeration.

[6]Shirlee Munda [(address for private use),] to Jill Morelli, original transcription, c. 1982, “Transcription of Bode Entries at Ridott [Christian Reformed Church],” Personal Correspondence Folder, Bode Research Files.

[7]Westerhusen (Hannover, Preussen, Germany) parish records, “Kirchenbuch, 1706-1875″, FHL 1,417,993, left and right side separate, Cornelius Janssen Bode christening entry (12 August 1843); digital image, FamilySearch ( accessed 30 October 2018).

5 comments on “Part 7: When There Is No Drama—Write It Up!

  1. Marcie Garnett says:

    Jill, EXCELLENT series! Thank you.

  2. Dana Leeds says:

    Wonderful series, Jill! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lisa Gorrell says:

    I was thinking that for a proof argument, one would need at least two other test takers of different lines that match, ie, from three children of the MRCA. I didn’t use DNA in my case study, though I had one or two testers who matched me and were descended from the MRCA. I hadn’t thought about we could take the word of the tester to his/her parent.

    • Jill Morelli says:

      Probably wise. You can take the word of the test taker, because if that person isn’t related genetically–you will know. I had this situation with my “Finding a Father for Molly.” (To be published in the December Q) 5 brothers and their 5 grandchildren. One tester said to me “Rumor has it that he was not my grandfather.” Me: “Well. we’ll find that out, won’t we?”

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