I've been working at GEDmatch and 23andMe.com looking for a cousin connection since, what, March? Yeah, it's been a while. A couple hundred emails later and we finally have a true cousin match. Listen, brothers and sisters, if you think that you'll swab a cheek or work up a lot of spit and send that sample off, then magically get a whole boat load of genealogy back, it just doesn't work that way, sad to say, or at least not for me. I kinda thought and hoped that it might, but no great big genealogy truck driven by a DNA cousin has pulled up and dumped a ton of stuff in my lap.
So here's what worked for me, and heavens knows if it was just a fluke or if it would work for others. I attended a Ce Ce Moore's seminar held at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society here in greater San Diego, and she spoke about triangulation and other sophisticated techniques, but I'm a simple person and just did it the best way I could think to do. Ce Ce Moore is wonderful and I do think that I've gotten this far because of her information:) Thanks, Ce Ce!
1.) On 23and Me.com as well as GEDmatch.com, I check back about once a week to see if new matches have popped up. At first I didn't have a feel for how long it took for new matches to show so I went from every five minutes to once in a blue moon. Once a week feels about right for me now, and since Monday is my day to work on DNA stuff, that's when I go check.
2.) The avalanche has started! As prices drop lots of new players are on the field! 23andMe.com has said that they are on target for reaching their goal of one million users by the end of the year. Impressive. And, I'm kinda shocked when I check into GEDmatch and find a couple hundred new people I match with.
You need a systematic way to cover this because a lot of them won't be matches that are close enough to bother with, at least not for me to bother with because I don't have that kind of time because of the laundry and all the rest getting in the way of me doing genealogy.
3.) There are two kinds of matches in my book: those with nice trees with a surname list and some locations and those who have a "mystery tree" or no tree at all. The really cool players are the ones - and you can spot them right away on 23andMe.com - who have a lot of surnames and locations. The other guys want you to supply a tree for them to pick over... and they never get back to you because they don't know what they are doing, bless their hearts. At least that's been my experience. Finally they say, I guess our match is just too far back. And it might be, but I'll never know because they have a mystery tree.
4) Go for the closest matches first, and for me that's less than fourth cousin on 23andMe.com, and the dozen closest matches on GEDmatch with the largest total number of autosomal segments. And while there, check out the green highlight on the kit number (in the left column) which indicates that the results are newer. I like GEDmatch's generations matrix because from that I have a clue as to how far back the match might be. I like it when it's four or less:) Whoop!
5.) Make contact and wait. You might hear back and you might now. I don't take it personally... anymore;)
Oh, yeah, about my match on 23andMe.com, Cousin Andrew. You know how I'd hoped that some DNA cousin match or other would show up and drive up the big genealogy truck with loads of info and drop it in my lap? Well not here and not with Andrew. He and his dad, still with us, don't know diddly about their ancestors. So ya know what? Mom, Aunt Betty, and I drove up the big genealogy truck and dumped it all right in his lap, charts, reports, photos and all! Genealogy good deed done for the week:) That felt great!!
From Aunt Betty's file:
Probably the wedding portrait of my great grandparents.
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