My genetic genealogy activities – Feb 2015

Photo of "The maze, Longleat safari park near to Horningsham, Wiltshire, Great Britain"  © Copyright Brian Robert Marshall and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License 3.0.
Maze, near to Horningsham, Wiltshire, Great Britain
Photo by Brian Robert Marshall
via Geograph – Creative Commons License 2.0.

At times, I feel like I’m lost in a maze of DNA
possibilities. I start down what looks like it will be a great path only to
find it ends.  As I mentioned before my
Y-DNA tests have resulted in many frustrations. 
Tantalizing close but dead ends everywhere.   I think the biggest issue with the Y-DNA
tests is it seems like no one is doing them any more. Ancestry.Com quit their
Y-DNA testing. I don’t think 23 & Me ever did Y-DNA, which only leaves
Family Tree DNA.  In my case I’ve only
seen one new match with them in the past year and that person was very distant
– 80% likely to have a common ancestor in 8 generations.

I turned to autosomal DNA testing to see if that would
help.  It seems like that is the test
that everyone is doing.  I used FamilyTree DNA for my atDNA testing. What is really cool about their system is if you
can have a parent tested as well as yourself, you can then search “FamilyFinder” for matches that match both of you and for matches that match the child
and not the one parent.  In my case, this
allows for a search for potential matches to the “baby daddy.” 
Because my Y-DNA testing suggested that I am most likely
descended from a “Roberts” I’ve been looking at possible Roberts connections in
atDNA test results.  Again, a lot of
tantalizing paths, but dead-ends again. 
Then, I found a really cool new match in my atDNA results. Looking
at only my paternal side, the two closest matches to me were matching each
other on the same chromosome in the same segments as me. Wow!
Family Finder result showing same segments on same chromosome of LV, CMA, and myself.

As I understand it, with segments this large matching, they
have to have received the segment from a common ancestor.  I too have to have received the same segment
from the same common ancestor.  That
means if we can figure out exactly who is their common ancestor, that ancestor
has to be common to me. (Please – someone tell me if I have it wrong.)
Anyway, one of the lines is pretty complete. [LV] has the
vast majority of ancestors identified going back 5 or 6 generations.  Sadly, the other individual is new to
genealogy and only six of his 16 2nd great grandparents
identified.  Family Tree DNA suggests
that this individual, I’ll call CMA, is a 2nd to 4th
cousin.  First cousins share
grandparents, and 2nd cousins share great grandparents.  I decided to create a new working tree and
called it atDNA tree.  I added CMA to
that notional tree and added his known ancestors. He has six of his eight great
grandparents identified, so I decided to determine that ancestor for him.
It took a while but I discovered his grandmother was the
child of a second marriage of his great grandmother.  I found her first name, Mary, and the surname
of her first husband quickly, but his first name and, more importantly, her
maiden name eluded me. 
I found the complete family in a census record that provided
names and birth years for the children of that first marriage.  I then traced those children and discovered
one of them died in 1937 and a copy of his death certificate was available on
line.  That death certificate identified
both his father’s first name and his mother’s surname.  Voilà – I now have the names for seven of CMA’s
eight great grandparent’s.  I checked LV’s
tree, nope, not a surname match.
RAF Tilstock Inside the Maze 2 by Broomhalla - Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.
RAF Tilstock – Inside the Maze 2 by Broomhalla
Courtesy: Deviant Art
For the eighth one, CMA has a first name, just not a
surname. So, that will be my next task. 
If I can identify the eighth person, his great grandmother Catherine, is
not related to LV, then I’ll know that none of us are second cousins and I continue
with second great grandparents to determine if we are third cousins.  
My “brick wall” of learning the identity of my biological
father now has a new entrance into it.  It may be the entrance into a new maze, but it
is an entrance.  Entering the maze is
part of the fun of genealogy.   Wish me
luck and hope I don’t get lost. 

————- DISCLAIMER ————-

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