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  • Confused about FamilyFinder match

    I recently signed up for FamilyFinder and the top hit is an X-Match, with 1,897 shared cms and the longest block of 195 (everyone else is below 72 shared cms, 2-4th+ cousin).

    The program suggests this match is a half-sibling, grandparent/child, or niece/aunt - but all those are impossible (only child, grandparents passed, no kids). Am I reading this right, that X-Match means it comes from my mothers line (I am male, the match is female). And if so, how close is this match or is there room for error and its possibly a cousin?

    Sorry about the vagueness, I just got into this aspect of genealogy and its a tad confusing.

  • #2
    Is the 195 cM on the X chromosome? That would be considered a "full match" on the X chromosome. If so, you are almost certainly looking at a half-sibling who shares same mother based on the other information you provided. Can you ask your mother to test? Did she place a child for adoption? Do you have any information on the match such as age or birth location that might help?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Camius View Post
      I recently signed up for FamilyFinder and the top hit is an X-Match, with 1,897 shared cms and the longest block of 195 (everyone else is below 72 shared cms, 2-4th+ cousin).

      The program suggests this match is a half-sibling, grandparent/child, or niece/aunt - but all those are impossible (only child, grandparents passed, no kids). Am I reading this right, that X-Match means it comes from my mothers line (I am male, the match is female). And if so, how close is this match or is there room for error and its possibly a cousin?

      Sorry about the vagueness, I just got into this aspect of genealogy and its a tad confusing.
      1,897 cM is too big to qualify as even a first cousin match. Using Blaine Bettinger's Shared cM Relationship chart (also the DNA Detectives Autosomal Statistics Chart seen in this blog post and the chart on ISOGG's Autosomal DNA statistics page), the relationships that also fit that large of a match (besides those that you've listed) include a great aunt or uncle, or a great niece or nephew. You have no full siblings, so eliminate the niece/nephew and great niece and nephew possibilities, as you did with your deceased grandparents. That leaves half-sibling, aunt/uncle, and great aunt or uncle.

      Does the longest block of 195 cM happen to be on the X chromosome? If not, what is the size of the largest segment on the X? If it is above about 20-30 cM, it should be a true X match, and since you are a male your single X chromosome does come from your mother. The match would then be on your mother's side.

      If the X segment is the large 195 cM segment, that would mean that it's a virtually full match on the X chromosome; that you and the match each got the same X chromosome. Along with 1,897 cM total shared, that situation would seem to indicate a half sibling through your mother. Tread carefully here, with any questions to your mother. Give yourself time to absorb what you may have found.

      Does your mother have a sister? Did your mother's parents have siblings that could possibly have done a DNA test? Is there any information in this match's profile, such as surnames and/or locations, that may give some clues?

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      • #4
        Camius, curiosity would get the best of me; and I would contact the match and simply say that you are a close match and are trying to figure it out. You could ask when she was born, and where, and the names of her parents; and if she would be willing to share any part of that information, it would be helpful. Just be cool and casual.

        But, what you ultimately decide to do, will depend on Your comfort level.

        Good luck and keep us apprised.
        Last edited by Biblioteque; 23 May 2018, 03:04 PM.

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        • #5
          Double first cousin might be a possibility. I share 1,512 with one of my double 1st cousins.

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          • #6
            Is the 195 cM on the X chromosome? That would be considered a "full match" on the X chromosome.
            Does the longest block of 195 cM happen to be on the X chromosome? If not, what is the size of the largest segment on the X? If it is above about 20-30 cM, it should be a true X match, and since you are a male your single X chromosome does come from your mother. The match would then be on your mother's side.
            The 195 is on chromosome 4. As far as I can tell, the X chromosome has 1 (or, specifically 1.66, so near nothing), which is odd if this is an X-match (or am I wrong?)

            Camius, curiosity would get the best of me; and I would contact the match and simply say that you are a close match and are trying to figure it out. You could ask when she was born, and where, and the names of her parents; and if she would be willing to share any part of that information, it would be helpful. Just be cool and casual.
            This is probably what I'll do, seems like there are good threads on her about making first contact.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Camius View Post
              This is probably what I'll do, seems like there are good threads on her about making first contact.
              Sure looks like a half-sister with a common father. The numbers are right and that is the most simple explanation. You wouldn't be getting an X-chromosome from your father, so of course there is no big X-DNA matching segment. The small segment match on X would be from the mothers being distantly related (far enough back where it is not worth worrying about).

              Jack

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              • #8
                Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained, opins we should generally dismiss any X under 15 cMs. Sorry, I do not have the link.
                Last edited by Biblioteque; 24 May 2018, 02:26 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Biblioteque View Post
                  Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained, opins we should generally dismiss any X under 15 cMs. Sorry, I do not have the link.
                  I'll go further than that and say that any X-matches are not worth the effort except if you are investigating relationship within the first few generations.

                  I am sure I have different reasons for my position than Roberta does, but almost all X-matches are not what people think they are.

                  Jack

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                  • #10
                    I am thinking I perhaps understand why they mention X-Match -

                    I believe cM shared does not include the cMs on the X-Chromosome -

                    SO - the mention of X-Match is just to let you know that your total cMs shared, if you include the X-Chromosome, is higher than the total they quoted.

                    Anybody think this might be correct?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by loobster View Post
                      Anybody think this might be correct?
                      No, I think it is just a little added on information, as in "by the way, you also have a matching X-DNA segment".

                      It's pretty useless information except for figuring out relationships within the first few generations.

                      Jack

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                      • #12
                        Long story short, I found out I have a half-sister, after narrowing down how we are connected it's likely we had the same donor (our mothers used a fertility clinic).

                        Here is my next question, as I am trying to narrow down lineage.

                        I've done the Big Y. In Y-DNA match, with 111 markers, I have 3 matches, distance 9, 10, and 10. They all share the same surname. Meanwhile, I only have a single genetic distance 0 with 25 makers but quite a few with 12 markers. My question: am I closer to those distant 111 markers (distance 9 and 10) than I am with the many 0-distance 12-markers?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Camius View Post
                          Here is my next question, as I am trying to narrow down lineage.
                          Hi Camius ... you'd be better to post this as a new thread, in one of the Y-DNA forums here. It might get "lost" in this thread, or not attract the attention of those who can give you a succinct answer

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