Another Day at the Genealogy Office

Today, I corresponded with 3 women I’ve never met:

1) One was a 23andMe match to my mother who is searching for her birth parents.

2) One was a 23andMe match to my mother whose father emigrated from Pultusk, Poland, after WWII. Pultusk, of course, is where my mother’s father was born.

3) One was someone I’d corresponded with before, whom I first encountered on Ancestry.com. She is not related to me, but she is a 3rd cousin of 1st cousins of mine.

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DNA

In addition to traditional historical records searches and word of mouth, I am attempting to use DNA analysis in my genealogical research. I have had my DNA analyzed by 23andMe and Ancestry. I have also submitted my 23andMe raw data to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and GEDmatch. FTDNA does their own DNA testing, including much more extensive tests, but they also allow raw data from other services to be added to their database for purposes of matching with others. GEDmatch does not offer testing, but they accept raw data from other testing services also for matching.

Thus far, my DNA analysis experience has been intriguing and frustrating. I have discovered no new confirmed relatives, but the matching services have matched segments of my DNA with thousands of other people. I have learned a lot about how chromosomes are passed from generation to generation and how they change along the way. But Ashkenazi DNA offers special challenges, generating vast numbers of false positives. Perhaps I’ll make a separate post about why that is at some point.

For now, I am continuing to study my matches and develop new techniques to further analyze them. My goal is to find a legitimate match with someone I don’t know who can be verified as a new relative, perhaps still back in Europe. My hope would be that such a new relative would have information about some wing of the family that I have not been able to learn about via traditional means.