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Mystery - Recent Sicilian immigrants and 3rd to 5th cousin American Colonials

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  • Mystery - Recent Sicilian immigrants and 3rd to 5th cousin American Colonials

    Many of my matches are obvious.. we come from nearby villages in Sicily, but this one group of connections has me stumped - I am intrigued, however I wonder if Family Finder is just registering random DNA noise. I do not know enough about DNA to tell whether I'm wasting my time digging into this. What is interesting is I have 5 matches who match each other, and we match on the same chromosome.

    3 are 3rd to 5th cousin and two are 5th cousin to remote. The 5th cousin was able to confirm a connection right away with one of my 3rd cousin matches.. so for him the DNA did not lie. I checked my matches on Ancestry and I do show a distant match with this 5th cousin AND his cousins there as well. Same on Gedmatch.

    My family has a paper trail in Sicily and Malta going back several centuries. My mother came to America in the 1950's. My father's family came to America in the early 1900's, but returned to Sicily when he was just a child. They did not return until after WW2. I did not speak English until I went to school. What my DNA is doing in colonial America is a mystery to me. How am I connected to these families from NC, Arkansas, TN, Louisiana.

    It appears that some of these cousins have traces of Italian/MiddleEastern, but not all of them do. Some have a German ancestor in the 1600's. It is more likely that my ancestor met up with a German than that he was plowing a farm in Arkansas.

    Several of the families I match with have "free colored" "redbone" connections. My African ancestry is about 2% - I'm not sure that would account for 3 to 5th cousin.

    My grandfather did a stint as a Cook's Tour Guide in Egypt giving wealthy anglos a taste of authentic Middle Eastern experience - so he could have Genghis Khaned his mark onto chromosome 7 of all of these people.. but that seems a bit recent.

    3rd cousins match 18.88cm, 17.84, 17.59
    5th cousins 9.59, 8.41
    All overlapping the same spot. Is that relevant?

    Even if I can't find the exact ancestor to pin this on, it would be interesting to at least find the common line where the event may have occurred.

    Let's agree those 3rd cousin connections are optimistic... how far back should we be digging? Is this noise from 1000 years ago? Or an event from 250 years ago?

    Thanks much,
    Al

  • #2
    For matches in those size ranges I'd say 250 years is entirely plausible based on what I've observed. In fact I suspect the vast majority of matches all of us get here and elsewhere are in that kind of timeframe. If you think about it this almost has to be true given the number of matches. Not that many people have tested after all.

    I have a confirmed second cousin twice removed on 23andme that matches me on only one segment of about 13cM. This cousin and I share a pair of ancestors who were born in the early 1830's. That's well over 150 years ago.

    I have several 5th+ cousin matches on Ancestry where the likely common ancestors appear to date back to a couple born in the early 1700's.

    This is why it is so difficult to find most connections. Some of these smaller matches are likely noise of course but a lot of them are far enough back that very few people have reliable genealogies dating back that far.

    -Mike

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    • #3
      Thank you Mike, your experience is the confirmation I was looking for.

      So, the hunt is on.

      Cheers,
      Al

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      • #4
        I would also agree that these are matches worth looking at.

        You have a good clue with the 5th and distant that matches the 3rd to 5th. The way they match is fairly likely to be the way you match them in common. You did not mention looking at the matches in common but that might help too.

        Sicily has a long history and every period included new men coming to the island, from the Normans in the high Middle Ages to the Allied landings in WWII.

        There has been a long history of trade and exploration, both within Europe and to the Americas. I guess Columbus was the first Italian in the Americas. The first Italian in Arkansas was Henri de Tonti, who established the first European settlement in the 1680s. Italian immigration started in the 1600s to the East Coast. De Tonti's brother co-founded Detroit. Some of the French and Spanish activity included Italians. Wikipedia's Italian-American entry has more.

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        • #5
          Just for fun I did a quick look at De Tonti and he seems to have been in both Sicily and Arkansas in his life, making him an example of someone who could have left progeny in both places. That could give a twist to his title of "Father of Arkansas".

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          • #6
            New Orleans was also a port of entry for immigrants. And there is an enduring Italian descent population in that area. I have German ancestors who came in thru there. But now it looks like I also have an Italian ancestor who came that way. It seems my maternal grandfather as really an italian (NPE situation). That was in Madison, Wisconsin in the early 1900s. Now, FTDNA doesn't say specifically that he was Italian. But I know the situation there with my family, and it is a reasonable conclusion. Also I have a few heretofore unexplained Italian FF matches. A couple of these at east are in the Louisiana-Texas area. So now with the latest "My Origins" presentation, it all comes together.

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            • #7
              The last poster mentioned it, but Louisiana was actually one of the first place that Sicilians emigrated to before Ellis Island, so there could be a direct Sicilian match there.

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              • #8
                If you'd like can you post a screenshot of your new myOrigins result?? I haven't seen any other Sicilians' results and I'm curious to see how they compare to mine. Also where in Sicily are you from? Attached is my result (I'm 100% from Alcara Li Fusi for at least the last 4 generations on all sides).
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  I don't know how to do a screen shot on this MAC. I'm not very computer literate. But I can give my percentages: Norse (or whatever the official name for Scandinavia is) = 48%; Mediterranean = 20%; British isles (or whatever they are called) = 16%; and continental western Europe (or whatever..) = 16%.

                  Now then, I have my family tree put together, so I know where most of that goes. My big unexpected surprise was the 20 % Med. Up to now, I didn't have anyone from there in my tree within the past several generations (or ever). Assuming that "My Origins" is correct, and thinking about my maternal side in the early 20th century, I see an NPE situation with my maternal grandmother. Actually, it probably was a case of her finding herself pregnant and finding a husband fast. So my mother was born with the legal name different from her biological father's name. Well, that's the way it looks to me at this time. My grandmother and her siblings were scattered among relatives when she was young, due to her mother's untimely death. So she was sort of an orphan in and around Madison, Wisconsin.
                  Last edited by PDHOTLEN; 11 May 2014, 11:41 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PDHOTLEN View Post
                    I don't know how to do a screen shot on this MAC. I'm not very computer literate.
                    On a Mac, to capture the whole screen to your clipboard, use Command-Shift-Control-3. To capture a selection (gives a crosshair for you to use to select a portion of the screen), use Command-Shift-Control-4. You can then paste (Command-V) into a word processor document, graphics program, or whatever.

                    If you leave out the "Command" part for either (i.e. Command-Shift-4), it will save the image to the desktop in .png format, with the name "Screen Shot" + date. You can rename it as you wish, and save it wherever you like.

                    For more key commands to use with Mac OS X than you can shake a stick at, see http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1343. The commands above are under the heading "Application and other OS X shortcuts" on that page.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KATM View Post
                      On a Mac, to capture the whole screen to your clipboard, use Command-Shift-Control-3. To capture a selection (gives a crosshair for you to use to select a portion of the screen), use Command-Shift-Control-4. You can then paste (Command-V) into a word processor document, graphics program, or whatever.

                      If you leave out the "Command" part for either (i.e. Command-Shift-4), it will save the image to the desktop in .png format, with the name "Screen Shot" + date. You can rename it as you wish, and save it wherever you like.

                      For more key commands to use with Mac OS X than you can shake a stick at, see http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1343. The commands above are under the heading "Application and other OS X shortcuts" on that page.
                      Thanks for your information. I'll try it later when I have time. My gnarled old hands re not very agile for typing though.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sicilianu101 View Post
                        If you'd like can you post a screenshot of your new myOrigins result?? I haven't seen any other Sicilians' results and I'm curious to see how they compare to mine. Also where in Sicily are you from? Attached is my result (I'm 100% from Alcara Li Fusi for at least the last 4 generations on all sides).
                        My MyOrigin's results are the same as yours. My family is from Catania and Santa Caterina Villarmosa. Also from Malta. I can trace back Catania to the 1600's , Malta even earlier. As for Santa Caterina - unfortunately the online documents go back only to the 1800's and my local LDS library doesn't have any working machines that will read the microfilm if I order it. Having said that, if anyone from my mother's small town had traipsed off to America in the 16 or 1700's, there would have been talk about it.

                        There is an American Italian Research Library in New Orleans. When I have the time, I'd like to make a visit there, see if I can find any connections.

                        Cheers,
                        Al
                        Attached Files

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