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Discussion in 'DNA Questions and Answers' started by Emmyw, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. Emmyw

    Emmyw LostCousins Member

    I am trying to help a second cousin of my brother in law, who recently had an Ancestry dna test done. She has been contacted by an illegitimate 'second cousin'. It may be impossible to identify the father, as it would seem that there were too many potential fits in the area at the 'right' time, but can anybody tell me, please, what I can deduce from that limited information - it is assumed that the 'father' is related, (the mother's name does not appear on the tree). Is there a simple formula that tells me I must therefore look for 'first cousins', or second cousins once removed, or??
    Thank you.
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Shouldn't the first step be to encourage either or both to become LostCousins members in their own right? There's a lot of useful information about DNA in my newsletters and they won't learn anything if they rely on other people to do the thinking for them.
    But that's what DNA is for.
  3. Emmyw

    Emmyw LostCousins Member

    Hi Peter - thank you for that. I hear what you are saying, but the benefits of LostCousins for this family is likely to be limited. My brother in law has recently discoverd that although it was always known that his grandfather was illegitiate, and raised by a single member of the family, the assumption that she was his mother was not in fact correct, and his birth registration was not under the same last name as his death registration. As a result, this part of the family tree now starts in Christchurch in 1886, so no known census data to use. I am trying to reduce the number of possibilities before suggesting that 'others' take a dna test.
  4. uncle024

    uncle024 LostCousins Star

    There is no simple formula in family history research, which is part of its addictive nature. In a case as you describe the best advice I can give from experience is to research both your brother in laws second cousin family and the illegitimate ‘second cousin’ in detail. By in detail I mean all bmd’s, census records, family members, etc. Don’t assume anything, even if it’s in a certificate!
    If you can find any living relatives on any of the twigs, ask them to do a DNA test following advice on Lost Cousins. But I agree with Peter, they should all join Lost Cousins.
  5. Emmyw

    Emmyw LostCousins Member

    Thank you uncle - I will keep plodding away. There are lots of second cousins to choose from, and my assumption is that it is a father (or not) of that generation, not all of whom are alive, and/or with issue.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Do they not have British ancestry?
  7. JimP

    JimP LostCousins Member

    I am in a similar situation as your contact -- my DNA test showed that the man listed as father on my grandmother's birth certificate is not her biological father.

    I have the father narrowed down to a particular family, based on the DNA matches, and the family was in the right place at the right time. There are several sons in the family who could be the father.

    The way I am approaching the problem is plotting all of the matches on the tree, and trying to determine, by the predicted relations, just where my grandmother fits into the tree. I am hampered because a good many of the matches have private trees, or no trees at all.
  8. Emmyw

    Emmyw LostCousins Member

    Probably, but I don't know any details. 'Isabella' had three children but the father's name was not recorded for any of them. Their births were registered as McLaren, but we don't know if that was her name, or a married name, (if she married), or the not recorded father's name. It is likely that they had Scottish ancestry, and it is possible that Isabella's surname was Murray. With any luck some more information will be dug up, but at the moment it is on hold.
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    If you want to use your membership of the forum to help your research into somebody else's family then she needs to join LostCousins - otherwise it's unfair to the other members who are her 'lost cousins'.
  10. Kane133

    Kane133 LostCousins Member

    It is possible to find who the illegitimate 'second cousin's' grandfather was. It will involve a lot of work and may possibly come down to one of a number of brothers but it is possible. To isolate the paternal grandfather 's (parent's?) DNA, will mean first identifying what DNA belongs to the other 7 great grandparents. The DNA matches that cannot be accounted for as coming from one of the 7 known great grandparent branches will be for/from the unknown grandparent.

    The next step is to build the research tree showing how all the unknown grandparent DNA matches connect. Once that is completed the final step is to consider where and how the illegitimate 'second cousin' might fit into the tree. Fitting will not only need time and location to make sense but also the amount of actual shared DNA to fit the expected DNA range for the proposed relationship with each of the DNA matches. There is an online tool called WATO (What Are The Odds) that is part of DNA Painter that is designed to see which 'hypothesis' best fits the matching DNA. https://dnapainter.com/ There are no short-cuts (I know from experience).
  11. Emmyw

    Emmyw LostCousins Member

    Hi Kane
    Thank you for that - I will look into it further. Unfortunately this whole thing originated recently because a tree I had been working on (my brother in law) was majorly disrupted, as we found that contrary to the family's understanding, the woman who raised his grandfather, and who gave him his surname, was not in fact his mother, so not a good starting point. I do appreciate your help.

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