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Awkward - My wife and I share matches in Family Finder

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  • Awkward - My wife and I share matches in Family Finder



    So my wife and I decided to take start our genealogy project so our descendants can have some history about their past and at the same time we can learn about out past. What I didn’t expect to find was that we both have some of the same matches in our family finder results! Thankfully we don’t match each other. However, we do have a match that for her is listed as a potential 2nd-4th cousin and for me is listed as a 5th to remote cousin. We have only just received our results but I’m guessing that somewhere along our ancestry, my great great uncle married her great great aunt – or something to that effect. Is my thinking correct on this? Seeing as our ancestry is from the same city on the same island (Santiago, Dominican Republic) I can totally see the lines crossing at some point. We just started our genealogy project and I expect it to last for years or decades to come but I thought it was interesting that with enough research, we can link our family trees at some point in the recent past.

  • #2
    This happens more than you think.

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    • #3
      very common! I suggest uploading your DNA results to gedmatch to help with the searching as well. It is free and accepts DNA uploads from all the major testing companies (you can see matches from ancestry and 23andme that also uploaded).

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      • #4
        My cousins cousin

        I have found that although I have relatives in common with my husband we are not genetically related to each other it looks like people in both our families from what I call the other side that had married into the family were related to the other side of his family and mine sometimes rather an impressive list but the descendants will go back through him or me but not both of us. Its as if we had been dancing around each other for thousands of years and finally met.

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        • #5
          I completely understand

          Originally posted by auntyheather View Post
          I have found that although I have relatives in common with my husband we are not genetically related to each other it looks like people in both our families from what I call the other side that had married into the family were related to the other side of his family and mine sometimes rather an impressive list but the descendants will go back through him or me but not both of us. Its as if we had been dancing around each other for thousands of years and finally met.
          My wife and I lived in 3 states at the same time and 2 cities at the same time before ever meeting. We actually attended the same conference of about 10,000 people years before meeting.

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          • #6
            RGuz - Out of curiosity, you could do a one-to-one comparison at Gedmatch to see if you and your wife share a segment. I think the default is still 7 cMs, so lower that to pick up any population match.

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            • #7
              You shouldn't feel awkward about it at any rate. First cousin marriages were legal in all states before the Civil War and such marriages were very common, to say nothing of more distant cousins marrying. First cousin marriages are legal in many states today. Google "cousin marriages" to find various articles on the topic.

              If your ancestors lived in another country, you have to check on customs there.

              I read once that the passing of laws in the US was an over -reaction to findings in the then very new field of genetics.

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              • #8
                does not indicate Consanguinity

                sharing matches does not indicate you are related in the manner you suggest.

                for example if your uncle married the Aunt of your wife their children would both be first cousins to both of you , yet you would share no DNA with your spouse. So you can both have close matches and not be related to each other.

                I have such an example in my family, a third cousin of my Mother Married a Second cousin of my father...thus I have matches who share DNA with both my parents yet my parents are not related. Although all Europeans probably have a common ancestor if we go back 1,600 years.
                Last edited by jova99; 22 February 2017, 08:58 PM.

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                • #9
                  I teach Genealogy and, in my Beginners class, I get the participants to do the usual math check - each generation doubles the number of people.

                  So, if you assume an average 25 years per generation and go back to, say, the year 1000 (say 39 generations, you would have 137,438,953,472 sets of parents or 274,877,906,944 individual people in that generation of your ancestors alone!

                  There is one BIG problem with this - the population of the Earth wasn't anywhere near that number!

                  I could have come back a few generations, but this one seemed like fun to use!)

                  Of course, the truth behind this is that, along the way, families DID inter-marry. Children in families moved to another, neighbouring village, stayed there for one, two or more generations and, at some stage, another member of the same family came along and married them - not knowing they were, in reality, cousins.

                  OK so this is for Europe, Asia, maybe the US continent. But if you look at younger places - take Australia for instance - settled by Europeans in 1788, so that by the mid-1800's, van Diemens Land (a good example) was still young, had small villages and people were just starting to spread out. Again, a family would grow, spread to neighbouring villages, and then, only 1 or 2 generations later meet someone and marry - again not realising they were in fact cousins.

                  In my wife's case, this has happened in the last 3 generations before her which has given rise to a 1st cousin of hers being, not only her 1st cousin, but her 3rd cousin by way of one line AND also a 3rd cousin by way of a completely different line! So boy - can it get complicated - and open your eyes when you see this relationship show up.

                  And, as I am just finding out, it also plays havoc with DNA tests because - especially in my wife's case - I have to take into account the THREE different family lines who have mixed (in recent times (i.e. since 1875) in her family.

                  On the other hand - it does save paper when printing out her pedigree as the lines, being duplicated, don't have to be printed twice (or now three times!!)

                  hope this is clear (and not as mud

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                  • #10
                    How do you know they didn't realize they were cousins since cousin marriages were legal, much approved
                    of and common??? I'd never assume they didn't know it! Cousin marriages were often deliberately arranged in order to keep property in the family. And when not forced, they were often encouraged. Freedom to choose your own spouse is a relatively recent idea, starting about the mid 1700s, though the poorer classes may always have had a little more freedom.

                    "The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800" is a very informative book. It's thick and scholarly but you can learn a lot from it. However, if you read Victorian novels, you can pick up a lot. Most people don't read classics, but I have always enjoyed them. My grandmother introduced me to Louisa May Alcott's (author of "Little Women") books practically before I was old enough to understand them. There's a cousin marriage in one of her books and the cousins had grown up together.

                    My great-grandparents on my Sicilian side were first cousins and I certainly think they knew that before they married. They lived in Termini Imerese, a town where everyone seems to have been related in multiple ways. My ancestors there were fishermen for generations. I don't know how long marriages were arranged by parents there or what part, if any, rights to fishing grounds, boats and crews may have played in choice of spouse. Similarly my 2nd great-grandparents in Rollingergrund, Luxembourg were first cousins. They were blacksmiths for generations and always seem to have married the daughter of a blacksmith, so I'm assuming there may have been some sort of custom there, but I don't know for sure. Perhaps it was the custom for an apprentice to marry the daughter of his master, but I don't know that as I have no access to apprenticeship records in Rollingergrund.

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                    • #11
                      Americans have been so indoctrinated with this taboo about cousin marriages. But it only started about 150 years ago. States passed laws against laws against first cousin marriages. But I'm not sure England ever passed any laws against it although it became much less common.

                      In Kentucky, where I live, it's still considered taboo and it's illegal.

                      It would take some research to find out how cousin marriage customs changed over time in each European country.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MoberlyDrake View Post
                        How do you know they didn't realize they were cousins since cousin marriages were legal, much approved
                        of and common??? I'd never assume they didn't know it! Cousin marriages were often deliberately arranged in order to keep property in the family. And when not forced, they were often encouraged. Freedom to choose your own spouse is a relatively recent idea, starting about the mid 1700s, though the poorer classes may always have had a little more freedom.
                        As I said in my post - in the case of new settlements (and I specifically mentioned van Diemens Land in Australia - now called Tasmania), this was only settled in the early 1800's initially by convicts but, starting around the 1820's, free settlers and those given their Ticket of Leave after serving their sentences. These people then started to move all around the state.

                        And yes, whilst that initial first generation of 'movers' would have known each other, the 2nd and then third generations (especially the children of the females) start to lose contact with their original family members.

                        As an example, I recently visited a place called Deloraine in Tasmania looking for cemetery information. When we called in at the local information centre there were 4 people on duty there - after a couple of enquiries, it turned out that all four were related to my wife - the closest being a 4rd cousin once removed but, all related. To add insult to injury, my wife only knew one of them and that one was the only one I had in my data and my data is quite extensive when it comes to her relations in Tasmania (all 16 Gt Gt Grandparents came to Tasmania as free settlers in the period 1835-1855). As you can imagine, and most researchers know only too well, we may have the older generations in our data very well covered, but when it comes to the current generations we are, usually, sadly lacking.
                        Last edited by serowe; 23 February 2017, 04:30 PM.

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