Friday, April 17, 2015

Science vs. Story

DNA testing hasn’t been very fruitful in terms of breaking through any brick walls. 


When I did Family Finder at Family Tree DNA, there were so many matches and so few obvious connections, that I almost wondered if it had been worthwhile. The closest match percentages seemed so low it hardly seemed useful.

Then I asked my mom to get tested. I’d read that going closer by one generation could make a noticeable difference, so thought it might be worth a shot.

I got her results today and actually found one of her 3rd cousins once removed. His match to her was 84.66%. It was her closest match after me and there was a likely connection in his family names. In his tree, I found the exact point of the connection. I never looked at him in my list of matches because it was only a 48.49% match to me. There were just too many for me to analyze at that match level. Now, of course, I realize I need to reconsider the importance of the percentage.

I scrolled through more of my mom’s matches and saw a name I was familiar with from my research. It was not a direct ancestral name, but I knew it was my 2x great grandaunt’s married name. As I reviewed the list of family names for this match, I saw many of my own distant family names, but most exciting for me was seeing one of my brick wall names. I hope he has more info than I have and I hope is responds to my email.

Now to figure out where on my dad’s side the gene pool deepened. My mom came back 100% European. I’ve got 4% Middle Eastern. Going back only a few generations, that percentage could become very significant. My hypothesis is that it’s my Swiss line where this happens. My earliest Schwab ancestor was the salt distributor for his district and also ran a tavern, perhaps exposing him for foreigners.

I’ve been looking for inspiration for a novel.  I think I found it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Family Finder DNA results

I wish I could get a handle on my results. I just don't quite grasp how to interpret or evaluate the information. I wonder about the accuracy of the results and I wonder about the statistical interpretation.

The traditional genealogy paper trail suggests my Dutch immigrant ancestor from the early 1600s was from southern Denmark or northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein), but I can't see how that would generate such a large Scandinavian percentage. The Southern Europe and Middle Eastern is a bit of a surprise, too. I wonder if those are just artifacts of my ancient ancestry.