Saturday, March 12, 2016

Family History and My DNA

A couple years ago I dove head first into the DNA pool.  I had no idea what I was doing and can honestly still say the whole thing confuses me, but I am slowly learning.  How did I think DNA would help me in my family history search?  I envisioned all these people matching up with my family genes and answering many of my questions.  Well, that has not happened but lots of other fun things have.  I have had two cool connections that recently came from my DNA results.

One was a young lady who was adopted.  She is trying to find out some of her family background.  Our match was one of the first hints about her ancestry.  Now, mind you, it is pretty far back in the line, but it was my MTDNA so we know it came from one of the women on my mother's side of the family.

Another connection was a young man who was looking for information on his mother's side of the family and we had a close match.  I was able to send him some information on my 3rd Great Grandmother. He was so appreciative for the information.  Little pieces of the proverbial jigsaw puzzle I talked about in a previous blog, Jigsaw Puzzles and Genealogy.  A piece here, a piece there and a picture starts to form.  It may not be clear right away, but another piece appears and you get a little closer look as to what it really looks like.

For Father's Day, a couple years ago, my brother's and I gave my dad a DNA test kit.  He has been one of my greatest cheerleaders when it comes to finding out more about our family history, so we thought this might be another way to help move the process along.  After getting his results, I signed him up in the Hatch DNA Project website.  Not much has come from that, in the way of finding a direct line, yet. More and more people are getting tested every day, so that could change.

This week, I stumbled upon a Moore County, North Carolina, family website, which also had a DNA project.  Knowing that some of my dad's family had lived in Moore County, I decided to join that project.  The administrator sent a link to his family history site and I was so surprised.  I had been on that very site, the day before, looking for family members.  As it turns out, we have common ancestors.  My dad's 2nd Great Grandfather, Nathaniel Green Smith Marley, was married to one of his relatives.  I only found this out because of the DNA test.  This website is really well done and you can tell a lot of research has gone into it.  Check it out here.  Catherine Hunsucker is the family name that connects us.  She was married to Nathaniel Marley.

After getting dad to do his test, I sent in mine and talked my brother into doing his too.  We are still looking for our elusive 3rd Great Grandfather on our mother's side.  We have joined the Garrison DNA project, in hopes that as time goes by, we will get some information on who he was.

DNA testing for genealogy is still catching on but as I mentioned earlier, more and more people are getting tested which will increase the odds of finding other family members.  If you are thinking of testing, I would check into first.  Test with them and then you can transfer your results to other sites, such as Family Tree DNA, which will increase your possible matches.  I did not do that but wish I had.  I did encourage my brother to submit his through Ancestry first, which he did.

Every day I get emails about possible matches.  Most are so far out that they are hard to identify who the connection is, but every once in awhile, one will come in that is super close.  Those are the ones that will get your heart pumping.  If you have had your DNA tested, let me know what results you have found.  Who knows, we might find out we are related somehow!

Want a little better understanding of how DNA works?  Diahan Southard is the DNA Guide for Lisa Louise Cooke's website, Genealogy Gems.  She has many articles on DNA that you can find here.

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