My ancestor Harriet Smith was born in the mid-1850s in England. Her birth certificate shows both of her parents (John Smith and Sarah Johnson). For the purposes of the birth registration, John and Sarah were recorded as if a married couple.
John and Sarah were married the month after Harriet's birth.
However, Sarah was baptised a year later and the baptism registration records her as Harriet, illegitimate daughter of Sarah Johnson. This baptism record also notes the date of birth, and given this was in a small rural parish I am certain that this is the same Harriet.
John and Sarah went on to have 8 more children.
Harriet does not appear on any census with her parents (she is with her maternal uncle in 1861, and in service by 1871).
Harriet's marriage certificate shows her father as John Smith.
The question remains whether John was actually the father of Harriet, particularly given he is omitted from her baptism record over a year after her birth and marriage to her mother.
I have been trying to use DNA to solve this problem. Fortunately I have been able to test the DNA of Harriet's granddaughter.
Harriet's granddaughter (E) matches with several descendants of Harriet's sister (or half-sister?) Eliza. Eliza was certainly a daughter of both Sarah and John. E matches with the following people:
- W (presumed 2nd cousin twice removed): 61 cM, 5 segments
- G (presumed 2C2R): 54 cM, 3 segments
- S (presumed 2C3R): 17 cM, 2 segments
- M (presumed 2C3R): 11 cM, 1 segment
These matches shown as a tree:
These matching segments seem smaller than I would expect for a full second cousin twice removed, although only marginally so. According to the most recent data of the Shared cM Project:
- 2C2R: average 74 cM, range 0 – 261 cM
- 2C3R: average 57 cM, range 0 – 139 cM
- Half 2C2R: average 61 cM, range 0 – 363 cM
- Half 2C3R: insufficient data
Note there is a small sample size for each of these relationships, particularly the half-relationships.
Clearly the shared cM for E and the cousins are within the range for both the full and the half-2C2R and 2C3R relationships, so it would seem to me that this DNA data is not particularly conclusive as to whether John was Harriet's father.
- Does this DNA data provide any evidence at all as to whether John was Harriet's father?
- If not, are there any further methods (either DNA or otherwise) that may be used to elucidate this relationship?