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  • Lots of Beginner Questions

    I am new to this and have quite a few questions. Any advice, direction, or answers would be very much appreciated. Im not even sure if this is the correct forum to ask questions

    The situation:
    My dad is adopted and we know basically nothing (race of his mom, his birth hospital, and the area his mom worked in). I did 23andme for health info and unexpectedly came up with a "second to third cousin" match (I will call him Cousin A) with 2.89% and 8 segments shared. The craziest part....he has a bio and I found out he is from my current small town (really weird since where I currently live is not connected with my parents, where my dad was adopted, where we grew up, etc.). I requested him to share his info and he did, but he did not respond to my written message (admittedly probably not the best intro).

    My dad then took the test and Cousin A returned as a "second cousin" classification with the same paternal haplogroup and 5.93% and 18 segments shared.

    I was able to easily locate Cousin A on facebook as well as quite a few other family members (his dad, uncle, and some cousins) and I started a family tree on ancestry.com to try to piece things together and am having pretty good luck.

    My questions:
    1.) Am I correct in assuming that Cousin A is actually a first cousin once removed of my dads? We cant both be second cousins correct; also 18 segments shared seems like a lot?

    2.) Are there any other relationship possibilities? I am basically assuming that one of Cousin A's great uncles is my dad's father (btw my dad is mixed and his birth mom was white....Cousin A is black and we are assuming he is related on the paternal side).

    3) Due to the shared paternal haplogroup...Can I confidently assume that my dads father is a brother of Cousins A grandpa on his father's side (the paternal Uncle of Cousin A's dad)?

    4) I have reached a few walls in my family tree research. I am thinking that it might be worth it to contact the people I know are related to Cousin A, and Cousin A himself and ask for assistance. Is it creepy to contact them via Facebook? I havent fully thought through the contact portion...but I imagine I will be able to dig up some advice. Just wanted to run the facebook idea by people.


    I hope this makes sense and these questions are worthwhile. Thanks in advance for any insight!

  • #2
    Originally posted by nothereok View Post
    I am new to this and have quite a few questions. Any advice, direction, or answers would be very much appreciated. Im not even sure if this is the correct forum to ask questions

    The situation:
    My dad is adopted and we know basically nothing (race of his mom, his birth hospital, and the area his mom worked in). I did 23andme for health info and unexpectedly came up with a "second to third cousin" match (I will call him Cousin A) with 2.89% and 8 segments shared. The craziest part....he has a bio and I found out he is from my current small town (really weird since where I currently live is not connected with my parents, where my dad was adopted, where we grew up, etc.). I requested him to share his info and he did, but he did not respond to my written message (admittedly probably not the best intro).

    My dad then took the test and Cousin A returned as a "second cousin" classification with the same paternal haplogroup and 5.93% and 18 segments shared.

    I was able to easily locate Cousin A on facebook as well as quite a few other family members (his dad, uncle, and some cousins) and I started a family tree on ancestry.com to try to piece things together and am having pretty good luck.

    My questions:
    1.) Am I correct in assuming that Cousin A is actually a first cousin once removed of my dads? We cant both be second cousins correct; also 18 segments shared seems like a lot?
    Yes, that's correct. You would be one generation removed from whatever the actual cousin relationship your father and Cousin A have. The testing companies can only give estimates, with a range, for any match, since recombination across generations is random. So, they are somewhat conservative in the estimate ranges they give.

    Originally posted by nothereok View Post
    2.) Are there any other relationship possibilities? I am basically assuming that one of Cousin A's great uncles is my dad's father (btw my dad is mixed and his birth mom was white....Cousin A is black and we are assuming he is related on the paternal side).
    At 23andMe my known 2nd cousin and I share 6.35% of DNA in 14 segments, with the total shared being 473 cM. So that means that you basically multiply the percentage shared by 75 to get roughly how much DNA is shared measured in cM.

    A good source for getting ranges of shared DNA for different relationships is the Shared-cM-Project, run by blogger Blaine Bettinger. He's collected real life numbers for different relationships from many genetic genealogists and has a pdf file of the stats posted on July 31 at http://thegeneticgenealogist.com/wp-...-UPDATED-1.pdf. Page 2 of the file has a handy chart giving the ranges he's found in this project.

    Multiplying your father's 5.93% shared with Cousin A by 75 gives total shared cM as about 445 cM. According to the chart, that's about mid-range for a 1st cousin, once removed relationship or high sharing for 2nd cousins (like my 2nd cousin and me). Multiplying your 2.89% shared with Cousin A by 75 indicates total shared DNA of about 215 cM. That puts your relationship with Cousin A almost at mid range for a 2nd cousin relationship or slightly above mid range for a 2nd cousin, once removed relationship.

    Given the amount of shared DNA you and your father have with Cousin A and the number of segments shared, it does look like there's a good chance that your father and Cousin A are 1st cousins, once removed and you and Cousin A are 2nd cousins. However, you'll have to look at that chart for other possibilities that fit the numbers you've given. Ultimately, establishing the exact relationship with certainty or near certainty will probably involve testing others related to Cousin A and yourself to get more data points and to establishing the relationship through the paper trail.

    Originally posted by nothereok View Post
    3) Due to the shared paternal haplogroup...Can I confidently assume that my dads father is a brother of Cousins A grandpa on his father's side (the paternal Uncle of Cousin A's dad)?
    The shared paternal haplogroup may be an important clue establishing that your father and Cousin A are from the same paternal line. However, it probably depends on how common the haplogroup is. The haplogroup that 23andMe gives you is usually general and a few thousand years old, so it may be a coincidence that the two men have the same haplogroup. What is the haplogroup?

    If you could test yourself or your father and Cousin A for 67 STR markers at FTDNA, that would establish if the two lines are closely related in the last several generations.

    Originally posted by nothereok View Post
    4) I have reached a few walls in my family tree research. I am thinking that it might be worth it to contact the people I know are related to Cousin A, and Cousin A himself and ask for assistance. Is it creepy to contact them via Facebook? I havent fully thought through the contact portion...but I imagine I will be able to dig up some advice. Just wanted to run the facebook idea by people.
    I think you may have to tread carefully with this. It's probably not only a shock to this family that someone related to them has a son he didn't know or talk about, but this son is mixed race. Maybe it would be better if you had more information establishing the real possibility of a relationship, other than a strong DNA match. Most people are probably intimidated by the idea of showing up in a DNA database and would be suspicious. (I've experienced that in reaching out to someone whose ancestor may have been the biological father of my great-grandfather. He wasn't interested at all in testing to help my research.) So, if you could show a connection between the approximate date and place of your father's conception that meshes with this family that make the possibility that they're related to you more real. Your best bet is to work through Cousin A, if you can bring him around. If you can't bring him around, then you probably have nothing to lose by contacting Cousin A's relatives on Facebook for more information about the family and the potential that others would be willing to test.

    Originally posted by nothereok View Post
    I hope this makes sense and these questions are worthwhile. Thanks in advance for any insight!
    I wish you the best of luck in figuring this out. It seems that you're close to the answer. Please keep us up to date on any progress you make.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you!

      Thank you for your relpy! It was very helpful! I didnt know how to get the CM range, I hadnt even thought to look into the haplogroup more, and I appreciated the feedback on the contact portion.

      The shared paternal haplogroup is E1b1a7a.

      I have managed to trace the two potential biological fathers I have found both to the correct city at the correct time (D.C. area). I am stumbling though because the ages don't seem to fully align and their is some confusion about who is a full blood relation. Currently only one potential father seems to be a full blood relation (Paternal Great Uncle) to Cousin A.....but he would have been 46 when my dad was born (1966) which sets a warning off to me that I might be incorrect. I know that he could certainly have had a baby then, but I was just expecting younger I suppose.

      There is another Paternal Great Uncle I discovered...still a little on the old side, but he appears to be only a half sibling to Cousin A's grandpa. Based on the genetic matching I am thinking a half sibling wouldnt be correct. We wouldn't share as much genetic information if that were the case. I will look at the chart you recommended when I have some more time to research tonight and try to see what other relationships might fit the criteria. Thank you!

      Comment


      • #4
        Edit

        Not sure how to edit my former post, but want to correct the spelling of reply , and also say thanks again! Also "there" instead of "their". Sorry! Facebook and texting have ruined me!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by nothereok View Post
          The shared paternal haplogroup is E1b1a7a.
          My understanding is that E1b1a is a relatively common haplogroup among African-American men. I don't know how common E1b1a7a in particular is.

          You/your father (and hopefully Cousin A) can join the E1b1a Project at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/e-1b-1a/about. It has 614 members. The project results table is at https://www.familytreedna.com/public...frame=yresults.

          There's no subgroup for E1b17a, but that's because the project administrator has created groups based on the defining SNPs, not the long form name. His name and e-mail address are in the left column of the first page I linked to. I'm sure he can give you some good analysis in comparing you/your father's results to those of Cousin A, if you're all in that project.

          Comment


          • #6
            I just remembered that your initial post talked about results at 23andMe. So, you, your father and Cousin A may not have tested yDNA at FTDNA.

            If that's the case, you'll have to order yDNA testing to participate in the E1b1a Project, meaning sending them a DNA sample. So, the big hurdle may be convincing Cousin A to send a sample to FTDNA and order the yDNA test, although you can offer to pay for it.

            Comment


            • #7
              received a reply

              I went ahead and wrote Cousin A again and got a very friendly reply! He also informed me that his dad has a half brother whose age is more aligned (in his 20s when my dad was born). I just want to double check (I looked at the cm charts but I want to make sure) ...the half brother (so Cousin A's half paternal uncle) is a potential biological father? I think that would mean my dad and Cousin A are "half first cousins" although I think that is a made up term. I'm so thrilled that he was friendly and open. Im feeling close!

              Comment


              • #8
                half first cousin

                Cousin A could be a half First cousin to your father or a 1st cousin once removed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  update

                  Thank you for the info. Just a quick update...this weekend my dad and I met face to face with my dad's biological cousins (the first dna relatives he has met besides his own children). They were incredibly welcoming and nice. Everyone seems pretty confident they know who my biological grandpa is. They had photos and there were a lot of physical similarities...plus the stories add up (location, dates, the percentage of shared DNA, the haplogroup). The half uncle that I thought might be possible is actually from Cousin A's grandma....so she would have had to have a relationship with another man that happened to share the same haplogroup as her later husband and then that child would have had a son that he wasn't aware of. Our biological family is very keen to introduce us and to help us figure out as much as we can...in fact one of them is flying in next weekend to help introduce my dad to his probable biological father. It has been a whirlwind and so unexpected....but we are moving forward in wonder. Just wanted to update so I didn't let the thread drop off. Thanks for the help with my questions!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If the "probable biological father" will do a DNA test, it will prove or disprove paternity absolutely, beyond a doubt. I read one case where a woman thought she had found her biological father because all the facts fit, she looked like him, they had the same interests and both assumed they were father and daughter for several years and developed a close relationship. When autosomal DNA testing came along both tested and discovered they weren't related at all. Physical appearance can be deceiving.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you are going to meet this man, go to a drug store and get a paternity test kit and test father and son. You will really appreciate the peace of mind in seeing a DNA match. It costs a little but only takes a week or less.

                      I am adopted. When I met my birth mother she told me who my father was, as did others she knew. A DNA paternity test proved them wrong. My recent discovery of my actual birth father also started with a paternity test since those tests are fast and quick. Once I had confirmation I went forward with more detailed tests like Family Finder.

                      It was worth the confirmation since everyone connected to my mother's side, was wrong, even my mother. She just had not remembered correctly but DNA tests revealed all.

                      Matt.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry for the book

                        Good tip on the dollar store tests. I think everyone is operating under the assumption that he won't agree to any testing....but a simple instant test would be good to have on hand. In order to not stress anyone out the meeting actually is just with the premise of him being a possible candidate and his brother being the other possibility....in the hopes he will open up or remember something. He is the only living candidate so far, and the one the biological family seems most sure of, so it seemed like the best way to start.

                        I really welcome input on my assumptions too because I don't want to miss anything. The following is mostly for my own benefit but if anyone notices errors please let me know. This what we are all operating under.:

                        1. Fact: My bio grandma is white (adoption records)
                        2. Deduction: my bio grandpa is black (23andme, my dad is mixed; my dad appears almost fully black)
                        3.) Fact: my dad and I are related to Cousin A, 6%, 18 segments, 3%, 8 segments respectively. (All 3 of us have taken 23andme)
                        4.) Fact: My dad and cousin A share a paternal haplogroup (23andme)
                        5.) Deduction: my dad and cousin A's dad share a paternal haplogroup
                        6.) Assumption: My dad is related to Cousin A's paternal side. (Weakness....Cousin A 's maternal side could happen to have the same paternal haplogroup...I'll say this is a 4% chance).
                        7.) Assumption: There are no other possibilities other than a paternal half uncle or great uncle that would fit the genetic bill. I am discounting the possibility of there being like a double cousin since my dad is mixed race and Cousin A had very little white and a well known family history. (Weakness: Cousin A's paternal grandma could coincidentally have had brothers with the same haplogroup as her husband , I'll say 4% likelihood).
                        7.) Assumption: Barring the unknown, there are 3 male candidates who would create approx. the correct percentages, two great paternal uncles of cousin A and one paternal half Uncle (family tree research, conversations with the family).(weakness: I'll subtract 5% for the unknown, maybe a hidden great uncle is out there...who knows)

                        So that leaves us with 3 people with about a 29% chance each of being my bio grandpa.

                        9.) The half Uncle is through Cousin A's grandma (grandma hadn't met cousin A's grandpa yet)....so the half uncle isn't my bio grandpa unless he also happens to coincidentally share the same paternal haplogroup as his half siblings so I will remove him, but bump up my uncertainty (so another 4%)

                        So the remaining two candidates have about a 41% chance of being my bio grandpa.
                        We are weighting those percentages based on various facts (my dads complexion , the age of the people during the birth year, the relationship status, the location, the work location, the physical appearance). So I think mentally I am giving this possible bio grandpa 75% chance of being correct. If he doesn't acknowledge or remember anything we will go from there and maybe test another known cousin to eliminate some uncertainty (remove the uncertainty in number 6 and 9). And then maybe we can track down half siblings and see. I'm not sure.

                        I'm getting nervous about this meeting (I won't be there...my dad, cousin A and some other family are going)). I don't expect anything and am so happy that we found anyone at all...much less such a welcoming family. Still though, since I led the charge on all this I just want to make sure we have it all thought through. Hearing the stories of mix-ups gives me extra motivation. Having the paternity test on hand is a great suggestion. Thank you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I always write too much. Bottom line summary: Thank you for the heads up...I will proceed with caution and with the reminder that it is easy to make mistakes. For the bored/interested please check my logic.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            you may want to check the drug store ahead of time, not all of them sell those kits.

                            So it sounds like you have a common cousin matching both of you and you less than this man does. That means two grandparents in common. While you wait, look for relatives who also connect you by DNA to one or the other of the suspected grandparents' ancestry, maybe a 2nd or 3rd cousin.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It was him

                              The meeting went well. It was him. He knew about the adoption. He said he thought about my dad often, and within the last month had been praying he would get a chance to meet him before it was too late. The adoption was an unfortunate situation where it was technically illegal to get married (pre Loving in VA), her family was not accepting of the situation, she was young (just out of high school), and ultimately the biological mother felt she had to place my dad up for adoption. That decision ended the relationship. He told us her name and the town she lived in at the time. From there I found a high school senior photo of her and confirmed it was her. Now I am at a dead end. Guess I'll move over to the adoption boards.

                              We are having each of my brothers test with a different service in hopes of finding out more or being able to at least get her family information. Wish me luck....although I feel like I have already received my share. From the day my dad received his results it took under a month to meet his biological dad in person...and I just had my new relatives over for dinner this week, since a whole branch of them lives in my town (even though I just moved here for law school). So yeah just crazy coincidences all around. What a wild ride.

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