No announcement yet.

Reasons for poor Cousin Matching Results

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Reasons for poor Cousin Matching Results


    I have several thousand matches at FTDNA, ANCESTRY & 23ANDME, of which the closest is 3rd to 4th cousin. I have a researched family tree all back beyond 1800 and some into the early years of colonial 1600s. All of my US ancestors within my pedigree are born pre confederation 1776. After that time my pedigree is Canadian and European directly. The problem is, I have only 1 or 2 matches that show any promise. I have concluded this is due to 1 of 3 reasons, and would appreciate everyone's feedback on which is likely my situation:

    1. I have a lot of non-paternal events in my pedigree leading to a lack of common names.

    2. Because the databases are substantially American represented, and my living American relatives today would all be no closer than say 5th or 6th cousins.. or maybe 4th cousin 1R at best... maybe one cannot expect names and regions to line up?

    3. These distant matches are flat out full of errors

    I would be interested in knowing if many with colonial roots manage to match surnames and regions in the least, or actual MCRAs at best? I'm batting nearly zero!

  • #2
    Distant cousin matches

    My situation is pretty much the same as yours. Don't expect anyone to give you a coherent answer though. I have 317 proposed matches and about 8 confirmed. I might have been able to get a couple more confirmations, but over 60% of my matches do not bother to contribute a GEDCOM or even a list of surnames. I have provided a GEDCOM and a list of surname, so some of the non-contributors may have looked and my information and decided there was no way to determine a common ancestor.

    I believe that the vast majority of my matches and everyone else's are many generations removed and therefore making it very difficult to find a common link.

    I have put a lot of effort in trying to make sense out of my FF matches. I took the test when it was first offered and I still try almost daily to research a match or two to see if I missed anything.

    I have also communicated with several of my matches and to date have found not a single one of them who is happy with the results they are getting from FF.


    • #3
      Mostly #2, with some explanation:

      Because you have so many genetic 7th, 8th, 9th cousins, and because the odds of their having tested is very much greater than the odds of your 3rd to 5th cousins testing, you will probably match a vast number of the more distant cousins mostly from the American lines.

      It's hard to rule out non-paternal events or errors in genealogy completely, but usually your second explanation is the main reason. I have a number of predicted 4th cousins that are actually something like 9th or 10th. The American founding population was small, and so these cousins are often something like simultaneous 11th and 8th cousins, which makes the odds of matching each other greater.