Category Archives: DNA

Dealing with DNA Results

I don’t think I’ve written anything here about DNA testing, so I think it’s time to start. A history first, then my brand new odd find.

I got started with DNA testing on Facebook. FamilyTreeDNA had a contest for a free mtDNA test, which I won! It was the cheapest mtDNA test, I matched every Jewish genealogist that had tested, and it didn’t give a complete haplogroup result. All it told me was: K. So apparently, I’m kosher. ;-)

But it was my start.

I eventually ran the Autosomal test. I was both intrigued and frustrated by the results. I had so many pages of matches, none very close, and I had no way to connect to them genealogically. I couldn’t even know which side of my family to try to search to find a connection. They were from all over Europe.

One rule of DNA testing is to test the oldest people in the family. I convinced my mom to do the test. A test was sent to her and I got results. After a long while, I finally uploaded both of our results into I found a second cousin listed, who had mentioned testing at 23andMe.

A few months before that, I had found a lost branch of our family through research. I soon came across an email from another cousin asking about her matches on 23andMe, where she matched that second cousin and another person. She sent me what that person wrote, but I originally didn’t know who it was.  Reviewing that email a year after it was sent, I knew exactly who she was! And there she was on GEDmatch, along with her father, right at the top of my results.

And that was my first DNA match that brought me to a cousin. Just after that connection, that cousin matched another cousin, closer to her but in that same previous lost branch of the family, who had also tested on 23andMe.

The moral here is, put your DNA results on GEDmatch. Everyone. Now. Your cousins tested on another site.

At the time that I convinced my mom to test, my dad didn’t want to. However, forward a few years and I bought a test for him when it was on sale, and when my parents visited me during a layover, I handed him the test kit and he sent it in.

I’ve been getting a lot of distant cousin matches on FamilyTreeDNA, as expected. Just tonight, I finally uploaded his data to GEDmatch. Their new fast upload worked so fast. In the past, mine took days and my mother’s took weeks (because they had some kind of problem at that time). I can’t run a one-to-many match on him yet, but I can look at my matches on his DNA.

GEDmatch has a feature to separate my DNA by parents, since I had tested one, so I have a code to match just my dad’s side. That’s only half of his DNA, but it’s something. I’m using that until his results are ready. I’ve looked up a few matches, but no one is anywhere very close yet.

And that’s where I am now. With a strange result.Dad and his match

This is the chromosome browser result for this particular match. I use GEDmatch’s 7 centimorgan default lower limit and I found this person, who was given an MRCA (most recent common ancestor) score of 4.0. (So a fourth cousin? Or a fifth cousin? I forget now.) This one chromosome is the only match they share that is more than 7 centimorgans, but that bigger chunk is 41.8 centimorgans. That’s a significant match.

How does someone match one large significant stretch of DNA but nowhere else? What does this even mean?

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