Today I realized that my DNA results are like fertilizer for my family tree. As each new cousin match comes to light if that cousin has taken the time to add their tree to their DNA I get an opportunity to see if I can understand how we connect. Of course one of the major challenges is that often that cousin hasn’t attached a tree. Sometimes because they don’t want to but sometimes it’s just because they don’t know how to connect their tree. In those cases, you just have to contact them and hope they reply. But if they are a more distant match you probably won’t try.
Thankfully two of my 5th-8th cousins on AncestryDNA took the time to attach their trees and I had a beautiful shaky leaf that took me to a tree that showed me exactly how we connected. Or rather how they connected to my Uncle, as it was his DNA they matched. I found it interesting that these people only connected to my Uncle and my brother. I manage my Uncle’s account but for my brother, I could tell because he’s given me access to see his matches. So when I get a new match I always go to that match’s profile page and then scroll through all the kits I have access to and see who they connect to in my family. The fact that my brother matched these cousins and I didn’t, reinforces that even though you and your siblings get 50% DNA from each of your parents each of you receives a slightly different 50%. That’s why it’s important to test as many people as you can if you can.
Have a look below to understand how you can see if your matches might connect to other kits. In this example, I’ve gone to a profile page. Then if I go to the Select DNA Test I can go through each of the kits that I admin or have access to and see who else might have a DNA connection. Keep in mind you can check profiles from a tree or through a DNA connect. Of course, it doesn’t always mean that you’re not a match, it might mean that person hasn’t tested.
Here is what it looks like when you do get a shaky leaf. Below are the two trees for those 5-8th cousins that my uncle and brother connected to. Each of them actually was my 4th cousins 2x removed. In one case my uncle shared 23.3 cM and in the other 7.9.
Let’s face it as a relationship gets more distant it’s a lot harder to discover how you are connected through DNA and we all tend to go for the more low hanging fruit. So had it not been for the fact that I and these cousins took the time to work not only on expanding our trees but also to attach those trees to our DNA we might never have found each other. I’ve reached out to each of these cousins and I’m still waiting for a reply. Even if I don’t get one I still know our connection.
So how is DNA like fertilizer? Well, each of these branches has been added to my tree and may help me identify more cousins.
I’m looking for cousins.