When viewing your DNA “matches” take some care before you assume what the connection is or that there is only one connection. It is possible that:

  • one person has a “error” in their tree;
  • there was an adoption early in the lineage that was completely undocumented;It’s usually easier to figure out the relationship when the matches are closer.
  • the father (or mother) shown in an online tree really is not the father (or mother);
  • one of the “parents” was married more than once and the “parent” is actually the step-parent;
  • you may be related to the person in more than one distant way.

Don’t jump to a conclusion about “where in the tree” the match has to be. A recent match for me indicated a distant relationship to an individual. It turned out that we were distantly related on two families–one in Indiana in the 1820s and another in Ontario about the same time period. There was absolutely no connection between the Indiana and Ontario families at the time.

It just happened that a hundred years later an Indiana descendant  and an Ontario descendant married in Illinois in the 1930s and that another Indiana descendant and an Ontario descendant married in Michigan around the same time.



3 Responses

  1. I have not had a DNA test yet. How does my DNA get connected to people in my past since they did have a DNA test?

    • Your DNA is only connected to you in the testing sites. Based on the amount of shared DNA, relationships are estimated. Ancestry.com does not allow for chromosome mapping where a researcher attempts to determine what DNA came from what family. Other sites allow for that analysis, but it’s a slow process.

  2. I have had a half sister show up as a cousin in my DNA results. Several distant cousins have shown up. We have had fun trying to trace the mutual ancestor.

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