I bet you think this blog is about unexpected parentage but it’s not! I had a wonderful surprise in late January that I just have to share.
I have tested with Ancestry.com, National Geographic, 23andMe, and MyHeritage.com. The reason is that the companies’ tests are not identical. I wanted the large database that Ancestry offers, the amount of Neanderthal and Denisovian identified by 23andMe, and to better explore my eastern European background at MyHeritage. I uploaded the results from Ancestry.com to GedMatch and FamilyTreeDNA, too. This gives me an even larger match potential.
Typically, I get emails from the companies telling me when I have a new match but it’s usually for a 4th or 5th cousin. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t receive an email from MyHeritage.com with a 1st cousin once removed or 2nd cousin match. I was working with a Client and showing her how to explore matches when I logged on to MyHeritage and discovered I had a new closely related match. WOW!
I have to admit I was anxious to get in there and start investigating. Minutes after I left the Client I was online looking at the small family tree associated with the match. None of the names were familiar. I was certain I was going to find an unexpected parent result. I messaged the submitter questioning our relationship. I provided my email address if they preferred to correspond that way.
The following day I received an email that surprised me. The online tree didn’t match any of my family’s known names because it wasn’t for the individual’s DNA sample. The person was overseeing the DNA for a “friend” and had linked it to a tree that had no genetic relationship to the friend.
The person who managed the DNA checked with the DNA owner and was given permission to share their connection with me. Surprisingly, they were not a 1st or 2nd cousin but a 4th cousin. We shared 5 segments, the largest being 74 cM. I hadn’t thought much about DNA from that particular line I haven’t researched adequately.
I wrote back thanking the manager and then received another email asking if I had family photos. I did not but responded I would love to see one of my great-grandparents.
A few hours later I received the photo above which not only shows one of my paternal great-grandmothers but also her parents, my 2 times great-grandparents! I had never seen them before.
I so greatly appreciate this distant cousin sharing the photo with me. Turns out, we live only 2 hours from each other. I will be updating those lines this weekend and sharing my findings with my newfound relative.
DNA matches can provide more than unexpected parentage – they also can unveil unexpected photos.