When I first started work, MRCA stood for Multi Role Combat Aircraft. (I am showing my age!) It was subsequently called Tornado. In the world of genealogy, MRCA stands for Most Recent Common Ancestor. And that is the meaning that applies here.

Gedmatch produces an estimate of how far back I must look to find the common ancestor by comparing DNA samples. I have two matches with a score under 4 within the Roscommon Ancestor Projects cohort. (3.81 and 3.97 to be exact.)  Four means four generations. There are another 10 coming in under 4.5. Not much to go on. Some of these people have scant information available online. This is not a criticism as I fall into that category. I would publish more if I knew more.

My next step was to check my understanding of the numbers.

  1. Parent
  2. Grandparent
  3. Great grandparent
  4. Great, great grandparent

My equivalents, on the Roscommon side, are as follows:

  1. Grandfather: Patrick Stanly, born 1883
  2. Great grandparents: John Stanly, born 1823-25, and Brigid Scott/Ormsby, born 1840

(For an explanation of the Scott & Ormsby dilemma, see “Ormsby & Scott”)

I can, with a high degree of certainty, exclude my other three grandparents and their antecedents. Their roots, going back many generations, are firmly in the south east of England.

This means that, with a score of 4, the common ancestor will be a great, great grandparent. He, or she, should be one of four people.

  1. John Stanly’s father, probably born sometime between 1780 (possibly much earlier) and 1805. I will call him “Unknown male Stanley (1805)”.
  2. John Stanly’s mother, born 1780 to 1805. I will call her “Unknown Unknown Female (1805)”
  3. Brigid Scott/Ormsby’s father, born 1780 to 1820. I will call him “Unknown male Scott/Ormsby (1820)”
  4. Brigid Scott/Ormsby’s mother, born 1800 to 1820. I will call her “Unknown female Scott/Ormsby (1820)”

I counted back through the generations of the top matches. No one has a Stanley (or Stanly – the spelling varied in the 19th century) in their published tree. This is hardly surprising as I would expect to have discovered such an obvious connection much earlier. There is no Scott or Ormsby either. This is a pity, as it would have helped resolve the dilemma of which name is correct. This means that I am looking at the identity of a great, great grandmother.

Picture: Tornado aircraft – formerly known as MRCA