Wednesday, 2 November 2016

More adventures in DNA discoveries

Recently, the results of my sister's AncestryDNA test arrived. I'm continually fascinated by what can be learned from genealogical DNA tests, but am by no means a genetic genealogist.

I was curious to see what would emerge from a full sibling's DNA test, and I wasn't disappointed. Sure enough, matches to my sister's DNA are being identified that are absent from my own DNA results.

I'm the administrator of my sister's and brother-in-law's DNA tests, which, like mine, were also autosomal tests. While my sister and I have generally the same origins, the percentages of our origins aren't identical. Unlike me, her DNA shows 66% Ireland, 13% Europe West, 11% Scandinavia and 5% Great Britain, with traces of other regions. I'm more Viking, but less Irish, but we share the identical amount of Europe West DNA. Europe West, by the way, encompasses France, Germany, Belgium and Holland.

The day after we got her DNA results, one of her matches contacted me. This is a match that I don't have on my own DNA results. But my sister and I share the same 4th great grandparents, James Knox (abt 1729-1760) and Elizabeth Clark (abt 1729-) in Northumberland, England with this new contact. Exciting stuff! We've share our respective information with each other, and are adding to our own trees.

After all that excitement, this week, I uploaded sister's and brother in law's raw DNA data to GEDMatch, and while I was doing that, looked again at my own GEDMatch matches. The top match there had contacted me last year -- we are 4th cousins once removed and share the same Nova Scotia 3rd great grandparents, Elias Nelson (1783-1871) and Elizabeth Forbes (abt 1783-aft 1871).

But the second top match, with whom I share more 41.1% centimorgans of DNA was a mystery. So I emailed that contact, who turns out to be the match's son, and a pretty knowledgeable (and modest) guy when it comes to genetic genealogy.

By doing some mysterious calculations (I confess that anything to do with numbers gives me a twitch) and comparing our respective trees, my newest cousin quickly narrowed down that our common ancestor is likely an as yet unknown ancestor of my Scots maternal great grandparents Frank Matheson (1833-1909) or Annie Ross (1849-1922). He also triangulated (more twitches here) our DNA numbers with a third person's, who -- good grief-- has a PhD in biology and teaches genetic genealogy. She took the calculations one step further, leaving my head spinning even now. I'm still pondering the several reports these two new contacts sent me and now have two new surnames to research in Scotland: Grant and Cumming, based on the triangulation exercise.

The never ending story continues....

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