November 21, 2014

23andMe And The 1004 DNA Relatives

When I began doing genealogy decades ago it never really was on my radar that we would be able to find and connect with cousins using our DNA. Now, here we are and our cousins are not only found, but verified by documentation and genetically. We had my husband Jim’s DNA tested through 23andMe some years ago, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many cousins of his paternal and maternal side have also used 23andMe as well and been able to contact us easily.

What We’ve Found

Many things we expected to see were English, Irish and French percentages that would be quite high. What we weren’t sure of was whether or not there was any Native American in Jim’s DNA. Just last year when his profile was updated by 23andMe it showed that there is a 0.1% of Native American blood in Jim’s paternal side of the family. We know now that what we suspected was true, but we’re still on the hunt for the elusive ancestor who brought that DNA into the family.

 What? We Have Jewish Ancestors?

Another surprising bit was that there’s also a 0.6% of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA in the line as well. As it pertains to the Wilkerson line, that was probably a mixing of DNA with some of the family’s northern European lines. As the 23andMe page explains it, “You share DNA history with 23andMe customers that have reported full Ashkenazi ancestry”.


And last, but not least, Jim also has 2.8% of Neanderthal DNA. I find this very interesting, and not because of any humorous aspect, but because, to me, it says the Neanderthals might not have survived to be a recognizable human in present time, but their mixing of DNA with other humanoids says “we adapted”. Who knows what they truly looked like? I mean, after all, “someone” had to be attracted to them, right?

It’s All Relatives

23andMe reports that, as of now, Jim has 1004 DNA relatives; 6 second and third cousins, and 344 fourth cousins. Over time, this number will likely increase. We have made contact with the closest ones with surnames like Boyert, Miller, etc. There are probably many more with whom we could connect, but their DNA profiles are private and not shared.

Mystery Stories With A Genealogical Focus

Some people are so entertained by the mysteries in their own family trees they could write a book. I know I am. What could be more fun than spending your spare time with some fictional stories like Mystery Stories With A Genealogical Focus to curl up with during the holidays? And, if you are a Kindle user, 53 of them are also available in that format. Ninety-eight of them have at least a four star rating as well.  Click the link, feed your addiction! :)

The Genealogist’s Guests is written by Ann Simpson. Ann Simpson lives in Falmouth, Virginia near the Civil War Battlegrounds of Historic Fredericksburg. Most of her paranormal writing takes place in the early morning before the family wakes and the spirits rest. A writer who lives on the land her ancestors camped during the Civil War. Where there’s no shortage of ghosts. There are power lines now where her ancestors camped, a place called Camp Mud. As Ann writes paranormal fiction she looks out the window at the power line, her ancestors nearby.

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How Genealogists Can Spread The Love Of WDYTYA Goodness

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For all the seasons that Who Do You Think You Are have been on there’s almost always a love/hate discussion the next day in the Facebook genealogy community. At first, everyone was happy the show was on and promoting the interest in family history. Then, little by little the critques began. The complaints ranged from there being too much detail that made the stories drag on, to not enough content that showed how many hours it took to find the juicy details.

Of course, what some people failed to take into account was that the show is just an hour long commercial for Ancestry.com. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but it should be understood by those of us who do all forms of research that by criticizing and nit picking the show each week we are doing more harm than good when it comes to promoting the fun of finding family history documentation. We’re darn lucky someone like Lisa Kudrow chose to promote genealogy by producing the programs.

The program has changed from a national station host to The Learning Channel that may or may not be as accessible. As time went by the format for the stories of each celebrity evolved to keep it interesting while staying within a set budget. I’m assuming all this, but I suspect it’s all true.  As has been said recently, many aspects of the episodes can be teaching opportunities for those of us who write about genealogical research. Not just teaching opportunities, but talking points as well.

Now, About Your Own Research

If each celebrity’s life leaves us with questions, that’s a good thing. We might find ourselves with new ideas for our own research. Avenues we haven’t thought of persuing like voter lists, criminal records, church histories, newspaper accounts, or even special censuses for states. Have you considered searching for a topic in Google books? Not just in Google itself, but in their books.

Even more ‘daring’…search for your ancestor by name in a general Google search of images. I’m not advocating just doing research online of course. Find out if your local library has a genealogy section. Maybe your local historical society has a few suggestions for you too. One more suggestion, ask your friends what kind of books they might have that you could use for research. Personally, I have a few genealogy books of my own and can do lookups in them if you ask nicely. ;)

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