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Tested my Grandmother's DNA

Discussion in 'DNA Questions and Answers' started by jorghes, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    So I finally managed to test my grandmother's DNA and as the results have slowly processed through Ancestry I'm really surprised.

    Currently it lists my grandmother having DNA links (on Ancestry) of 532 4th cousins or closer... the largest number on any of other tests I've done was my mother's with 212 links to 4th cousins or closer.

    Even following Peter's steps, I'm not sure how I could manage to plow through all those DNA links, because of course they don't include those listed as having a link which is more distant than a 4th cousin. I haven't attempted to approximate how many pages of DNA matches my grandmother has... I can imagine it would be quite a few.

    I also swear one of my grandmother's 4th cousins links is a picture I've seen attached to a Lost Cousins member on the forum... though I can't remember which one... I would love to find out which one, as that is one of the people I'm not sure where they link in, and I don't have any other tests that match them that help me narrow it down.

    It does however make me reflect that it is a shame that I can't test any of my other grandparents. As many people have previously heard me mention, as a young member of the forum (I'm in my 30s) I probably should have a few more grandparents still alive, however the other three - my paternal grandfather and both maternal grandparents died by the time I reached the age of 12. One of them, my maternal grandmother, died almost 20 years before I was born.
    My paternal grandfather, whose legacy included a family tree of our paternal line stretching back 8 generations, his memoirs and notes and write ups of what he understood of the experiences of the paternal line according to his research, would have loved to have had his DNA tested I think.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    But that's not how the strategies in my Masterclass work.
    This suggests a connection with an endogamous population, in which case many of them won't really be 4th cousins - all the more reason to stick to the strategies in the Masterclass.
  3. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    I have started following your steps.

    My grandmother is a quarter Ashkenazi Jew, I would presume a large number of her matches will be from that population.
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    That seems likely, though I doubt that the number of matches in 1/16th of your tree could account for the vast increase in the number of (supposedly) 4th cousins. There may well be connections with other endogamous populations in the other 15/16 of your tree.

    I should mention that there's another reason why some people have more close cousins than others, and that's because they're Catholic, so families were larger. When I ran a competition in 2007 to find the member with the most 3rd cousins the winner had identified over 800, more than twice as many as the runner-up. (The average number of 3rd cousins shown in the chart in my Masterclass is 175, but of course few people will be able to name all of their 3rd cousins, so the 800 figure is quite outstanding.)
  5. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    One of the other branches were Baptist non-conformists with a habit of intermarriage within their own extended family and with a closed group within the non-conformists (don’t ask me how baptists then marry Ashkenazi Jews, because I’m not sure how that happened.)

    But I can’t really find any other DNA links with that particular surname when searching by surname through the DNA links, other than those who are only 2nd/3rd cousins. Which is strange, because over all research has that particular family back to the 1600s., and I would have expected a few more possible cousins.

    My grandmothers paternal side seem to have mostly been Ulster Scots.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Most of the descendants of a family who lived in the 1600s won't have the surname in their tree. - the proportion will halve with each generation.
    That will certainly account for some of the increase in 4th cousins - they are very likely to have married within their own community.
  7. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    The surname I refer to is still in existence (my great grandmother’s maiden name) and it’s one of those names that seems unique enough - the type that is constantly mispelled - but it doesn’t appear in any tree of a DNA link.

    Well, it looks like perhaps my grandmother’s family is three branches of insular community groups intermarrying... the Non-comformists, the Dutch Ashkenazi Jews and the Ulster Scots.

    Just a shame the Ulster line is so hard to trace during the time they were in Ireland prior to 1825.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    See my previous answer.

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