Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are We Related? DNA Says "Yes"

A couple of years ago I had my DNA tested.  Both MtDNA (DNA from my mom) and Autosomal (the 22 numbered chromosomes as opposed to the sex determining ones).  My brothers and I bought our dad a kit for Father's Day one year and now my brother has been tested.  I still haven't figured it all out.  I may never have a complete handle on it.  But, there are people out there that know what it is all about and my reading list gets longer as I find them.

You've heard me say before that I subscribe to a podcast called Genealogy Gems.  If you are into genealogy you really need to check out this website. There are free podcasts and they also have a Premium Membership, that has a fee involved.  I invested in the premium and it has been well worth the modest cost, for all the information I have gleaned from listening.

Lisa Louis Cooke is the host and she has an expert in DNA that contributes to each podcast.  Her name is Diahan Southard and she is very knowledgeable on all things DNA.  So I continue to listen, in hopes that I will learn exactly what the results mean or at least have a better understanding.

My results were downloaded onto Family Tree DNA and that site searches for matches.  I receive something several times a week that says they have found a match to my dad. This week I had an email inquiring about my Autosomal DNA.  The email said they were trying to find the grandfather of a relative and I had come up as a close match.  In this case, close meant third to fourth generation.  I didn't recognize the surname given but thought I would do a little research.

The family lived in a little town in northwest Kansas.  I had never heard of the town and decided to look it up.  The town was started in the late 1800's and people were there primarily because of cattle. However, the railroad did come through at one time.  I decided to look into the census, in the time frame they gave me, to see what I would find.  It was so interesting.  This little town was a melting pot of people from all over the world.  There were folks listed from France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Austria, Hungary, just to name a few.  They were from many states too.  I found this fascinating!  What took them to this little town way out in Kansas?  It appears that it was fertile land with lots of good grazing for the cattle.

I looked through the entire census of this small town, in hopes I might recognize one of my family surnames, that might help us get a clue as to how we were related.  There was not one.  And as far as I knew, I didn't have any relatives in Kansas.  However, the DNA says otherwise.  So I am just as curious, at this point, to know the connection.

I have had other inquiries, as well.  One woman was trying to find her birth parents and we were somehow related on my mother's side.  I gave her what I could but have no clue if she found out anything concrete.

More and more companies are starting to offer DNA testing.  Have you had yours done?  Did you find out anything surprising or exciting?  Let me know if you did!


sage said...

I haven't had my DNA tested, yet. Wonder if my siblings have?

Terri Hatch Politi said...

Great question! Would love to know.