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Struggling to Understand How to Interpret Matches

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  • Struggling to Understand How to Interpret Matches

    In August I uploaded my Ancestry DNA test results and immediately got a lot of 2nd to 3rd and 2nd to 4th cousin matches. One or two were easy to figure out since they're on my paternal side, which I have extensively researched. The others must be maternal side, some have the X match, some don't. I should mention my mother was adopted in 1925 and there is NO identifying information other than her birth mother's age and location of the birth. Can I deduce that the male person with the highest match (134 Cm's and longest block 25, with an X match) inherited his DNA from my maternal side?? None of his ancestors can possibly be on my paternal side. Thanks for any assistance.

  • #2
    I suppose it depends on the definition of extensively researched! I manage one kit that I can take almost every line back to at least the mid 1700s.

    To help matters a first cousin's son is at FtDNA so there's over 100 blue matches who triangulate with the 1C1R. So, should be easy huh?

    NO! Far from it. Not..one..single..match that is on the blue paternal tab can be linked via the paper trail. There is just one other paternal cousin that I can work out, but he doesn't match the 1C1R. Mind you, they'd be 5C1R to each other and the likelihood of matching is slim.

    A paternal 2nd cousin matches at MyHeritage but doesn't want to transfer unfortunately. It would be immensely useful if he did as he's connected one generation further back on the patrilineal line which is the main line the tester is interested in. We'd be able to narrow it down to the paternal grandfather's line.

    Many of these "blue" matches appear to be in the States in places like Virginia, New York and the Carolinas and from what I know of the family history there are some possible explanations even though we don't live in the Americas.

    Quite a few of the blue matches are Irish, and any connection will precede Irish records as the most recent ancestors born on Irish soil were born in the 1790s.

    So, you're not alone. I will say that for the same kit I have worked out two matches that I think go back to a couple whose 11 children were born in Aberdeenshire between 1761 and 1780, but neither matches have replied. One is at Gedmatch, where they have a tree & one at MyHeritage where they've have no tree at all but I recognised a very Aberdeenshire surname and place which tied in with a tree on Ancestry - it leads back to the same couple.

    By contrast, another tester with less recorded history has more known cousins. But we're all trying to fill those same gaps in the tree so perhaps more descendants are motivated to test.

    My theory is that in general people with the "posher" lines are less inclined to test because they're worried an NPE might turn up!
    Last edited by ltd-jean-pull; 21st October 2017, 06:36 PM.

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    • #3
      I'm sorry that was so long-winded!

      I don't think you can always assume that because someone doesn't match your known paternal cousins then they're not from your paternal side.

      I see Roberta Estes mentions a new triangulator tool in her blog. I'm going to give it a try. You might find it usefull too.

      And an update - the MyHeritage match has added a tree (within 24 hours of me making contact) but no reply to my message yet.

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