Monday, April 8, 2013

DNA Monday: Where Are the Cousins?

Generally, I'm having a blast with my DNA results from 23andMe because it's so fascinating. The thing that's been my obsession is trying to figure out what's the very best way to discover a cousin match from the test results. And now I can report that I have tested out a better way to proceed. Let me explain.

You need to know that I have only tested with 23andMe and I am stumbling my way through this uncharted wilderness without much of a map. The seminar a week ago with Ce Ce Moore has shed ample light on the scientific aspects of this work so that's to the good. She did mention, if I remember correctly, that AncestryDNA uses the Ancestry Member Trees and gives you a head start showing the section of your tree and the cousin match's tree that seem similar. That would be a big help! A clue, any clue, is a big deal!

My problem over here is that the cousin match folks, while mostly enthusiastic about working together to discover a connection, really do lose energy when looking at Mom's Big Tree on Ancestry with over 60,000 people! Where to start?

Alternately, of the folks who replied and are in contact with me and willing to discover where we match, few have trees on line. The one experience I had with a cousin match who did have a large tree on Ancestry gave me an insight into how difficult it is looking at someone else's tree and try to find that elusive ancestor with whom we share a bit of DNA. It's a pain!

So as mentioned here previously, my job is to provide them with a list of surnames going back maybe a half-dozen generations with the locations associated with each surname. This idea came from Ce Ce Moore at the seminar and it was a super good one! This last week I reached out to those cousin matches again and mentioned the list I was working on to get a reaction from them. All of them responded warmly! They would be happy to have a list of surnames and where each lived. One even replied with the longest message I'd received from him yet with even more of his surnames and locations. Cool! Am starting to see that you need enthusiastic cousins to work this problem because it is work.

I have to say that checking in with the prospective cousin match folks first before I went off to work on that surname and location list was a better idea... granted, any other person would have thought of a while back;)

Photos of the Ladies Aide Society (above)
and Children's Choir (below)
of the Congregational Church, Frostburg, Maryland.
Circa 1930s.


  1. I am enjoying being a fly on the wall of your DNA adventure. I am afraid to go down that road myself because I haven't finished looking into all the stories that were handed down to me -- and I am afraid my DNA might deny me some of that past. Still, your enthusiasm is contagious and maybe i will look into testing sooner than I think.... Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Leslie:) I love the stories too so I hear ya! Getting the DNA results actually put a foundation on the ancestors and their stories: confirmation that so many came from Ireland and Wales... and the realization that a surprising number came from Sweeden and Holland too! Then there's that one tiny bit of Sub-Saharan Affrican that I'm still after: that's gotta be a good story!!So far it's a blast.
      Cheers and thanks for reading and commenting, Diane