2018 My Year of DNA Research

Happy New Years!  2018 was my year of joining the genealogy DNA party.  I finally decided to do DNA testing for both my husband and myself.  My initial findings didn’t differ from many people .. we had a few close matches but thousands of distant cousin matches (on ancestry.com I currently have over 33,000 matches).

In genealogy working with new record collection usually involves a learning curve. DNA is a little different from working with military pensions, deeds or civil lawsuits, with a steeper learning curve.  To motivate myself (and make sure I carried through), I did what every one does.  I volunteered to teach DNA classes to seniors at the local university.  Yeah, that’s what everyone does, not!  However, it worked for me; I held 2 * 6 week classes on learning to work with DNA and sorting through your matches, which forced me to get with the program, no way to back out. 🙂

Using “regular genealogy” I have so far identified 253 cousins, fitting them into my tree.  That still leaves thousands of cousins who, for one reason or another, I have been unable to identify.  I spoke with Dana Leeds, creator of the Leeds Method, and started using spreadsheets to color code and organize my DNA matches into family lines.

DNA Fan Chart

Of course, my next question was how many of my lines have been confirmed?  A picture is worth a thousand words, plus it just makes things easier to “see”.  Using TreeSeek.com I created a 9 generation fan chart and started counting and grouping matches.  The number beside each couple identifies the number of people who share the same set of common ancestors, our first point of shared ancestry.  This chart is a few matches out of date, and I have a couple of matches at a head scratching, 7th great grandparents; amazing what a pair of first cousin marriages will do for DNA testing.

While I haven’t confirmed every line, at my 2nd great grandparents I have confirmed 7 of 8 couples, and at my 3rd great grandparents DNA has confirmed 11 of 16 couples!  I’m pleased with the results, especially as most of the unconfirmed couples are European where testing has lagged behind the US market.

May 2019 bring new cousins and a break through on one of my brick walls!



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