Thursday, July 3, 2014

The "New-to-me DNA cousin, or a scam" guy is back!

On May 15 of this year I did a post about an email I received in my junk mail folder. Some folks emailed or commented on the post that they too have received the same email from a Nelson Zego, so we all assume that it's a scam, especially with the mention of Tuscan DNA! Here's the original email just in case you missed it.

I'm sorry to be bothering you, but I have news for you. My name is Nelson Ivandro Lima Zêgo, was born in Santo Antão island - Cape Verde.
 I Did the dna test - family finder in family tree dna match and told me that we are cousins. 
Testing my I'm 56% West africa (bantu people), 36% European (French, Norway, germany, Russian, spanish and tuscan) and 8% Middle East (turkey Jewish and north africa jewish).
My facebook is ivandro Zêgo
Nelson Zêgo

Well, I've just received this email, below.

If we are cousins ​​or not, I do not know. It says that the gedmatch.
You should send a message to the administrators of gedmatch to take me off your list of primes. In the gedmatch Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 6.4.
I do not blame the gedmatch says. I am not a scam. Your problem is that you have a black cousin.
With all due respect and in the name of a race (black) I wish you good health, luck and humility.
Be well

Obviously he's now monitoring this blog. If he doesn't want his emails posted he should stop sending them.

OK, so what's going on here? The first thing I notice is that he has way better luck getting on GEDmatch than I do, what with it being down so much lately! He wants me to contact the administrators to take him off my "list of primes". If he's the real deal why doesn't he just make his name and contact info private? And however did I miss the "list of primes"?

He has gotten a bit more savvy since sending out the first email because now he knows terms like MRCA. But at a MCRA of 6.4 even if he's the real deal I'm not too keen about that poor quality match. And he is no longer referring to FamilyTree DNA and Family Finder as he did in the first  email, but has shifted his focus to GEDmatch. Deeper pool to fish in, or should I say pfish in?

But really, saying that my "problem" is that I have a black cousin?! What a clever argumentative gambit: I'm a racist! That's a first for me! But since he's claiming to be my cousin wouldn't I too have have checked my countries of origins/ethnicity and already know that I'm at least partially "black"? Then I'd be racist against myself. How would that work??

Poor Nelson Zego. I wish him as he has wished me, "good health, luck, and humility". Humility?

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  1. Hi Diane,
    I've had you earmarked for sometime in my blog listings. I have a similar but opposite problem. I have been trying to get the attention of a African relative of mine from I can say however your "supposed" relation to this man at 6+ generations would not mean you share race. Most likely the ancestor you share would be in his 36% European. He does provide a Facebook account and if you are also a user of you can research his claim. It has become a trend to take the raw data from a testing company and do individual research through gedmatch's many algorithms so I wouldn't dismiss his claim on just mentioning a second company. As a policy however I don't deal with anyone more than 4 generations removed simply out of relevancy.

    1. He finally shared his GEDmatch kit number and so I ran the one-to-one utility. We have a match on Ch 20 at 9 cMs and 771 SNPs, and that's not a real impressive match.

      I really agree with you that 4 generations is the cut-off point for relevancy. But at least now I know that he's not a spammer! I was wrong about that.

      And I get what you're saying about him not being an ethnic match. My SSA ethnicity/country of origin is from Ghana and on my Mom's side and right there at 4 generations back. This guy's match is from Dad and yes, it's an Irish or German connection, so you nailed it with your comment that it' most likely from his 36% European ancestry.

      It's been an interesting saga:)

      Thanks for stopping by, Diane

  2. I absolutely disagree that 4 generations is the cut-off point for relevancy. The generation number has only vague relevancy to begin with. The projected generation has more to do with the amount and size of DNA shared than it does with actual generational connection. The amount and size of the DNA shared is determined by the 50% of DNA we inherit from each parent and the 50% of DNA they inherit for each of their parents and so on through the generations of ancestors. By the time you are looking at 4th cousins, you have had a lot of 50% choices to go through and a lot of variations depending on chance. For example, two sisters who are both my 1st cousins once removed show up with 99% confidence as cousins in different generations on Ancestry. That has far more to do with the amount of shared DNA each of us has with the other than it does to the reality of the actual lineage connections between them and me that we are certain about. On the other hand, I have made contact with a suggested 4th cousin with 95% confidence on Ancestry who turns out to actually be a 5th cousin. Through effort and cooperation we have been able to ascertain the person by person connection between us in our family trees. I have also had matches where the person is suggested to be my 3rd cousin but also is suggested to be my paternal Aunt's third cousin also with the same amount of confidence...and my 1st cousin doesn't even match even though we are all on the same side of the family. The DNA is helpful in finding DNA cousin. A good family tree is also needed. And you need to take the projected generations as a guideline not an absolute.

    As far as the African DNA is concerned, just because you do not share a particular bit of DNA from a particular region does not mean that the connection between you is not through that area of the world. The 50% DNA from each parent thing is at work here and the further you get from a cousin the more likely it will be that that sort of matching will not occur. In my particular case, I have 9% African DNA and 90% European DNA. My 1st cousin has 7% African DNA and the rest European. Our African DNA is very different. My Aunt has more African DNA than both of us, and it does not match either of us closely. My Aunt also has 5% Irish DNA. My 1st cousin and I have Irish DNA as our highest percentage of DNA. Should we claim we are related to my Aunt through the Irish DNA or is it more likely that I am predominantly Irish because all of my mother's family is Irish and my cousin is predominantly Irish because her father was Irish/Scot? The reality is we can't tell.

  3. Oh and Diane, for the record, Nelson Ivandro Zego and I also match on Gedmatch. We match only on Chromosome 2 at 14.2 CM and 3792 SNP at estimated generation 5.0. Some might characterize that as a less than impressive match too. The reality is that Ivandro and I have figured out our lineage connection from person to person and we have found that we share many other DNA matches both on gedmatch and Ancestry. We are actually 4th cousins once removed through the Senna line of our family.