I first contacted Marlee April 2019, via Gedmatch. Marlee compared our results, and said “We are a match!! Five generations”.
Largest segment = 12.2 cM
Total of segments > 7 cM = 12.2 cM
1 matching segments
(Rough) Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 5.1
On June 23rd, we decided we would embark on finding our MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor).
Note 1: The further distant the common ancestor, the more varied are the possible relationships.
Note 2: The GEDmatch prediction could be a lower number when pedigree collapse is involved, which can happen in the case of Gottschee, an enclave of German speaking residents in what is now Slovenia. Or, GEDmatch may predict a higher number when there are extra generations involved.
1C share grandparents, gen 2.0
2C share great grandparents, gen 3.0 (around 50cM)
3C share great-great grandparents, aka 2nd great-grandparents, gen 4.0
4C cousins share 3GGG, aka 3rd great-grandparents, gen 5.0
The problem was, although Marlee had a well developed tree, my own family tree was sadly lacking in depth. I only knew that my grandfather had been born in Vienna, that his mother’s first name was Maria and she was unmarried so he took her maiden name…and that he was raised in Gottschee, so that is ‘likely’ where their roots were. That’s it!
Here we are a month later, July 22, 2019 – and Marlee has miraculously filled in all the missing details! I now know who Maria’s parents are, when and where they were born, and who my third great-grandparents are on Maria’s side, including their birthdates and marriages. On Maria’s maternal side, the family originated from Czech Republic (then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire). I had no clue where to find that information, and in no time at all, Marlee had hunted down the information online.
So, you are wondering, did we find our shared MRCA? Ha ha, not yet! However, since Marlee did such an excellent job researching Maria’s side of the family, including her siblings, we now know that we can exclude that side of the family from the list. The hunt is now on to determine who Maria’s partner may have been. This is when dna comes in handy to augment paper trails, as we do not currently have his name, d.o.b. nor a location. However, we have plenty of clues with shared matches on 23andMe, and Marlee will be uploading her results there soon as well.
I have no doubt with Marlee’s superior sleuthing abilities, hard work and determination, she and I will be able to follow each lead to a logical conclusion supported by a paper trail. DNA does not tell you with absolute certainty what your relationship is, merely that you share segments which have been handed down. In order to prove a relationship, you must have the records to back it up.
That is why your best bet is to hire a competent researcher like Marlee, to further your family tree when you hit a brick wall. I never in a million years would have guessed we would have come this far, in such a short amount of time. I’m so glad I reached out to Marlee, she’s genuinely such a nice person, too – I’m glad she’s my cousin!
Thank you, cousin. What an adventure it has been! ~Marlee
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