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    OK, on my FAMILY-FINDER, I have a Cousin, 5th-cousin-Remote. From her to where (I THINK) we match; she is 6/7th. I think I am at least 7th BUT could be more. IT is possible that I could be 8/9/10, which would also push her back. SO THEN, is our DNA closer then that or what?!?!?!?!?

  • #2
    The most likely explanation is that you and your cousin are just lucky, in the statistical sense, to have a detectable matching segment. The amount of shared DNA is extremely variable, especially for more remote relationships. This is the result of recombination and the random assortment of homologous chromosomes in each generation. Even for much closer relationships, such as 3rd cousins, the amount of shared autosomal DNA ranges from around 100 cM all the way down to 0. A single matching segment could easily come from many generations back, and among the countless descendants from a set of 8th great-grandparents, there might be someone out there who, if tested, would happen to have the same segment that you got.

    For distant cousins, as your post suggests, it is often very difficult to prove that the matching segment comes from a particular ancestor. In order to prove that situation rigorously, both of you would have to have very deep and well-documented family trees, and you would have to be able to rule out that the matching segment actually comes from some other part of your pedigrees. Proof becomes easier if you happen to find additional matches that descend through other branches from the same suspected common ancestor (and even better, if they all match on the same segment). As the databases for each vendor grow, we get more matches almost every day, and some of them will be just the ones we need to solve these puzzles.


    • #3