When the Matches Do Not Make Sense

When you don’t know much about the ancestry of a DNA test kit, the results may appear confusing. Sometimes they appear confusing even when you do.

A recent new match to my own DNA kit initially confused me. It had shared matches with known relatives of:

  • my great-grandfather Trautvetter,
  • my great-grandfather Neill, and
  • my great-grandmother Neill.

This new match was not a close relative to me at all. The new match had a very short tree that luckily I was able to trace further back. Then the seemingly confusing matches made sense. The new match was:

  • A descendant of my 3rd great-grandfather Trautvetter (explaining those matches).
  • The match had an ancestor whose cousin married a cousin of my great-grandfather Neill (explaining why we had some Neill matches in common and why the match actually had no biological connection to my Neill ancestors).
  • The match also had another ancestor whose cousin married a cousin of my great-grandmother Neill [maiden name of Rampley] (explaining why we had some Rampley matches in common while the match had no biological connection to my Rampley ancestors).

There are other reasons why matches may not make sense, but always keep in mind the possibility that there may be connections you are not initially aware of. In this case, just because the match shared matches with my Trautvetter, Neill, and Rampley cousins did not mean that he was a descendant of an earlier ancestor from all of those families.