So, through AncestryDNA, I have met a third cousin. Her mother and my father were second cousins. We shared trees, and a little chit chat and that was it, because, after all, as AncestryDNA "matches" we have no more mystery to figure out. We know how we connect. I'll call her Becky. Well, AncestryDNA also has a button you can push on a match's page called "shared matches." I was looking at someone who is supposed to be a fourth cousin to me, according the the DNA analysis, and she didn't have a real fleshed out family tree for me to browse. I pushed the "shared matches" button and saw Becky there. So I match Becky and this person, J, matches Becky, too. Logically, that narrows down J's and my connection a lot, since I know how I'm related to Becky. J must be a relation on my father's line. Cool. So I messaged J and said, hey do you have any [my surname] in your tree, I think we must be related blah blah because of Becky. She writes me right back to say she doesn't know of any [my surname] in her tree, but it could be on her grandfather's side because he never knew who his father was. His mother raised him alone and gave him her own last name, but she took the identity of his father to the grave with her. Well, that was interesting, but honestly, family trees often have a lot of missing branches so I didn't immediately assume that's where I fit in her tree. She asked where my [my surname] family came from. I told her where my grandfather was from in Iowa, and that his father was from a little Illinois town called Sidell and before that they came from two different counties in Ohio.

"My grandfather was born in Sidell," she tells me.

No shit? Oh my word. She gives me her grandfather's name and birth date in 1929 and I do some sleuthing in the census records and find two lines of my great-grandfather's family living in the immediate vicinity at the time. One line is my own line, and a little back-of-the-envelope family tree drawing shows me that if my own great-grandfather, or any of his brothers or his father had sired J's grandfather, our DNA connection would actually be closer than fourth cousins. But that other branch of the [my surname] family living in the area would be the exact right genetic distance. In 1929, the elder male of that family was in his early eighties. He had two married sons, both living on the west coast. One of those sons had a son exactly the age of J's great-grandmother. So any of these men could have fathered J's grandfather, but it would probably have been during a visit home to see family (okay the 80-year-old was still living there, but I'm mostly giving him a pass). The young man is a tempting suspect, but he wasn't married, so I don't see the strong need for the mother to keep his identity secret, even from her own son. I'm thinking it might have been one of the two married men in their forties.

I laid all this out for J, and she responded excitedly, because she says it's a mystery they've always wanted to solve. Her father must be still living, because she told me she checked some of the facts with him and she gave me a correction or two. We'd be searching for his grandfather he never knew.

On some reflection, I messaged her again with my conclusion that, while those men are perhaps prime suspects, the truth is, if I'm depending on a liaison occurring during a family visit, I have to admit that there were six other "lines" of that family, including the families of sisters (but who had sons) who didn't reside in the area, but could have come to visit. In truth, the search needs to broaden to include all those lines.

She hasn't answered me. That was a week ago. I can't help but wonder. I mean, for me it's a fun logic puzzle, but for them--for her father this could be somewhat emotional and coming out of the blue. I mean, I'm the one who PM'd her with my cheerful "hey, we could be related" message.
blueswan: nancy drew silhouette (sometimes I feel like a detective)

From: [personal profile] blueswan

I'm working out a similar mystery with an ancestry match in the 4th-6th cousin range. I was contacted by a cousin, I'll call L. She is searching for her father's mother's family. Our goal is to identify her grandmother's biological parents if we can, as her grandmother passed away and her adoption records can't be released for several more years.

We think (thought) L. has identified the two failies which may have included the parents. Between our matching as distant cousins, and a mutual shared match which we can't connect through the usual searches, L is sure we are connected through my father's ancestors and this mutual cousin's family. Digging through census records cousin L has discovered her candidates for being her grandmother's parents were neighbours in the early 1900s, and both families showed up in the next census after a move to the city as actual next door neighbours. There is the matching dna, the girl next door proximity and obvious friendship between the two families, but we are at a standstill.

Or we were. Now, here is the kicker. A first cousin on my mother's side has recently tested and she shows up on L's cousin match as well. She also matches with the unconnected family as does myself, my sister and L's father.

L just had a baby a few days ago, so she has set aside her researching days for a bit. I told her I would see what I can do, but if my dad's family were numerous, my mom's family was huge. At least I know (The first thing I did at Gedmatch was check to see if my parents were related. They are not.) that the relationship is not on my dad's family's side, so there's a lead we can give up on chasing. At least if we fail to establish the families involved, in five years enough time will have passed that L can petition for access to her grandmother's adoption records.

For now it remains a mystery.
blueswan: (Default)

From: [personal profile] blueswan

I'm at a loss. I think it is possible there could be a connection, but we were so focused on the circumstantial evidence we never considered the connection in any other way. So now I'll see what I can do with it while she is otherwise occupied. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw my maternal cousin show up on that matching list yesterday. I was that surprised.

Your questions remind me very strongly of an ancestry video on youtube, one of Christa Cowan's, possible the one on matching cousins. I'll have a root around and see if I can find the one I'm thinking of, because it be useful to us both. Also, I need to print out her cousins chart again. It's the most useful one I've seen and I christened mine with coffee the other day. *G*
Edited Date: 2016-11-11 09:38 pm (UTC)


genealogy: Cover of the Register for Alameda County 1904 (Default)

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