I’ve been working with DNA for a little over a year, after many decades of traditional paper genealogy. My goal has always been to track all the descendants of all my immigrant ancestors. (When I formed that goal, I didn’t realize I had colonial ancestors for 2 of my 4 grandparents.)

One of the problems of traditional genealogy is losing track of people when they marry and move or change their names. DNA has been successful at finding some those missing descendants, without excessive invasion of living people’s privacy. They chose to test and share their DNA. I’m using 23andMe, and I love their chromosome browser. It is essential for how I work, which relies heavily on DNApainter.

Of course, I also have been working with DNA for my mom, brother, and 4 of my kids. I have extensive paper genealogy on their dad’s side, because his ancestors are all German, immigrated to one particular area, and then stayed and intermarried in that same area for 175 years now. I actually added nearly everyone in that particular township on the 1850 census to Family Search, and worked hard to untangle the confusion. But that repeated intermarriage of families, although it might not rise to the level of endogamy, DOES make it harder to identify which DNA segments come from which ancestors, if there are multiple common ancestor couples. I’d been putting off working on the kids’ paternal side, while I learned more about DNA, using 23andMe’s site, how to use DNA painter, how to best organize matches, how to discover additional information by inferred matching, and so on. (Seriously, feel free to browse all my posts.)

I switched over to the kids, and a looked at a fairly close match, which after research, I identified as MP, a 2nd cousin, once removed to my kids. The kids’ dad’s paternal grandmother was the person who funneled the DNA to them, and thus, the shared ancestors were her parents. There was quite a range in the shared DNA, with 11 separate segments that one or more kid shared with the match.

This diversity of segments, along with inferred matching, enabled me to tentatively identify 10-11% of their paternal chromosome with just this one match. The direct segments were funneled to my kids by their dad’s paternal grandmother, and for each segment that one kid got, but the second didn’t get; well that segment had to come from their alternate paternal side grandparent. In this case, their dad’s mom.
The result is this much of a difference between the highest match and the lowest.

Now I mentioned up above that there are many matches for my kids that have multiple routes to shared ancestors. Because I added all those 1850 township residents, and their descendants as far as I could find, I’m very confident that this particular match has only one path to a shared ancestor couple. That’s very important.

There was just one child, my youngest, who got one particular segment. I decided to focus on that. I looked at the shared matches between the youngest and MP, and examined the profiles of any who had a “yes” in the “Shared DNA” column. I closed any profiles that didn’t share DNA on that singular segment, near the start of chromosome 4. There were 9 matches in common with MP and my youngest, and most distant match was the perfect jackpot in terms of a match. BS had 27 ancestral surnames and locations, everything needed to fully research and identify their ancestors. Two of those surnames, and only two, matched my kids’ fan chart, so it was easy to make the link. BS is a 5th cousin, once removed with the common ancestors born in the late 1790s in Germany. The path to those distant ancestors does indeed run through the ancestor identified as the DNA funnel in the match with MP, confirming the path. Although few of those other 8 matches have much in the way of details in their profiles, I now have a roadmap to their potential connection to my youngest. I’ll keep working on research, and examining how each relates to each other, until I figure out the next match.

Each identified match allows me to tag a specific segment or segments as having been funneled to my kids by a particular ancestor – the child of the Most Recent Common Ancestors. While not every one of those 8 other matches is likely to be from a 5G-grandparent couple, they will be descendants from somewhere between my kid and that ancestor. They could even be from farther back, but that is less likely.

This is an example of how to combine everything – traditional genealogy, DNA segment matching, and inferred matching, to help you learn more about your matches, and the people who contributed DNA to you.