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 Jimâ€™s DNA tested through 23andMe some years ago, and weâ€™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 Weâ€™ve Found
Many things we expected to see were English, Irish and French percentages that would be quite high. What we werenâ€™t sure of was whether or not there was any Native American in Jimâ€™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 Jimâ€™s paternal side of the family. We know now that what we suspected was true, but weâ€™re still on the hunt for the elusive ancestor who brought that DNA into the family.
Â What? We Have Jewish Ancestors?
Another surprising bit was that thereâ€™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 familyâ€™s northern European lines. As the 23andMe page explains it, â€œYou share DNA history with 23andMe customers that have reported full Ashkenazi ancestryâ€.
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 â€œwe adaptedâ€. Who knows what they truly looked like? I mean, after all, â€œsomeoneâ€ had to be attracted to them, right?
Itâ€™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.