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  • Confirming Relationship Widgets

    FTDNA offers a very nice feature where two folks who genetically match and have researched their common ancestor can then confirm that relationship - ie 4th cousin 1R etc.

    However, I get numerous folks requesting me to confirm that I am a distant cousin without any known paper trail between the test kits:

    "test kit name", would like to add you as a Distant Cousin.
    Please select an option and confirm.


    Am I missing something here? What purpose is there in confirming an UNKNOWN DISTANT RELATIONSHIP? Or more to the point, how is it POSSIBLE to confirm an unknown distant relationship? What's the angle here?

    thanks

  • #2
    At one time it was required to have a confirmed relationship to get some of FTDNA's reports to work so people were sending these request to everyone in their match list. FTDNA has removed this requirement.

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    • #3
      I think Jim's right. Some folks probably believe they still have to use the "Known Relationship" feature to view their Matches in Common.

      I usually confirm any "Distant Cousin" request, if only to let the person making the request know that my account is still active and I'm interested in hearing from them. I just have to hope that they won't take it as permission to assume a specific connection without solid proof.

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      • #4
        thanks guys. I'm glad there's a logical reason for it... as I was beginning to lose confidence in my fellow researchers lol! Maybe FTDNA should disable the ability to confirm an undefined relationship!

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        • #5
          There are still valid uses for the Distant Cousin option:

          1) Relationships more distant than the choices given in the menu.

          Otherwise, we'd probably have to list every possible relationship up to 10th cousin 10x removed While that may seem like overkill (especially the 10x removed), we do have customers who have identified 7th cousins and perhaps even more distant ones as autosomal matches, so we'd need to go out far enough to ensure that every reasonable possibility is covered.


          2) Known or Confirmed relatives where there's no paper trail connection yet.

          Example:

          Y-DNA has confirmed that several families are related to mine. However, I'm still missing the critical paper trail that shows the precise connections between my family and the others.

          So if someone from these related families takes the autosomal test and matches me, Distant Cousin is the only valid option until/unless we finally find the paper trail.

          Elise
          Last edited by efgen; 13 August 2014, 03:01 AM.

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          • #6
            Some people are really dense

            Originally posted by djknox View Post
            FTDNA offers a very nice feature where two folks who genetically match and have researched their common ancestor can then confirm that relationship - ie 4th cousin 1R etc.

            However, I get numerous folks requesting me to confirm that I am a distant cousin without any known paper trail between the test kits:

            "test kit name", would like to add you as a Distant Cousin.
            Please select an option and confirm.


            Am I missing something here? What purpose is there in confirming an UNKNOWN DISTANT RELATIONSHIP? Or more to the point, how is it POSSIBLE to confirm an unknown distant relationship? What's the angle here?
            There is no useful purpose to confirm that kind of relationship especially when they supply no information of any kind. I have several people that have been persistent in requesting a confirmation. They are never going to get any kind of confirmation when I have no idea who they are.
            I've even emailed them and told them "No information, confirmation not possible" and they still keep asking.

            I will keep dismissing their request until they supply some information. I have too many matches to waste my time and effort.
            Last edited by efgen; 13 August 2014, 11:20 AM. Reason: Just re-added the closing quote tag for clarity.

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            • #7
              Thanks Elise for your input and feedback.

              on 1) I agree that there are a large number of permutations of matches - more than one would want to put in a pulldown widget (ie 9th cousin 2R). However, I will stick my neck out to state that any two individuals - with a very distant papertrail connection - matching at FF really do not know the nature of their autosomal match has anything to do with their papertrail commonality. If I match 1 small segment with someone who turns out to be, on paper, my 7th cousin 1R, there is no practical way to confirm that the autosomal match IS due to that connection. It could easily be due to another unknown connection - because at the 7th cousin level, we have thousand of ancestors and certainly a few NPEs thrown in too. The only way one can really confirm a 7th cousin match is to have several individuals all with a papertrail to the MRCA all sharing the same segment. But the natural of autosomal recombination simply doesn't allow that to happen - unless many millions of people have been tested and compared. I know this because I've tried. A may see the smoke, but absolutely do not know from which fire it originated from.

              on 2) I can't argue that... although it must have a very low incidence rate. My nearest Y dna match is still likely > 1000 years ago.. so autosomal matching isn't likely. I have tested several of my grt grandparent lines with Ydna testing... none of them have yet to find a Y cousin with a GD<2 at STR 67. But OK, in such a case, confirmed distant cousin seems to fit. (by the way, could you share with us at what STR111 GD distance do you start finding autosomal matches from the same testkit?? I imagine it must be GD < 4?)

              Note however that none of the folks requesting me to confirm a distant cousin relationship have made ANY effort to indicate that there is a trace of knowledge on the known relationship. Thus, the widget is being widespread misused. Maybe FTDNA could add in the user manual that requesting complete strangers to confirm distant cousin relationships without any cause is not the intended purpose of the widget!

              thanks!

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              • #8
                djknox,

                Best not to overthink the Known Relationship field Its main intent is simply to document that you do indeed have a known relationship with a match and what the level of the relationship is. You don't need to correlate it with the actual DNA segments that match. As you've pointed out, there can also be multiple paths to a common ancestor -- but we only allow for one relationship to be specified.

                Regarding what level of Y-DNA match is most likely to show up as an autosomal match -- certainly those with the fewest mutations have the best chance. But I can't give a number due to the randomness of both Y-DNA mutations and autosomal recombination. I'm actually hoping to test this out a bit in my own projects soon. I need to start asking my Y-DNA surname project participants to order Family Finder

                As for strangers sending known relationship requests -- I personally agree, they shouldn't be doing so. I can check out what's currently on the Learning Center and see if maybe we can add some text about this to the appropriate section(s).

                Elise

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                • #9
                  OK Elise I will try not to think too much as it tends to slow me down

                  While on the topic, I am curious whether FTDNA has been improving their relationship predictor. I find it quite good in the 2nd to 3rd cousin range... but so so many matches at the 4th to 6th range are in fact far more remote. I think this has something to do with single segment survival rates being unpredictable wrt the qty of generations to MRCA. Thus I think most of the matches are with people who may never build their tree back far enough to enable the nature of the match to be ascertained.

                  I remain disappointed in the effectiveness of family finder... but hold out with the hope that it will one-day become more effective beyond 3rd/4th cousins. I think once a large qty of matches can be used for triangularization, more success will be possible. But that will require testkits of an order of magnitude greater than we have today.

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