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Using DNA to track birth family

(59 Posts)
Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 10:06:48

Dh has just had his dna results back. Turns out that as well as being a lot more British than he thought, he may have found a relative. In fact, the dna strand says possible half sibling/ aunt/niece.

Trouble is, all we have to go on is his mother's maiden name for a family tree and I feel like we're at a dead end. I think the mother may be related to a man who pops up in a couple of trees, who could be her father. I also think 2 of the men I found could be twins, but possibly Scottish, so I'm struggling to find birth records. I'm going round on circles.

Any experienced detectives offer any advice?

OP’s posts: |
round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 10:20:22

What is the shared cm?

round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 10:23:35

Sorry, that posted a bit quick.

1) what is the shared cm between them?
2) screen shot the closest matches, just in case they disappear and the shared matches. The only reason I say this is that sometimes people get a bit freaked by finding close relatives - some people only do ancestry to see what their ethnic make up is.
3) get all the information you do have and gently reach out to the closest matches. They may respond.

round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 10:27:39

Also can he get a copy of his mother's birth certificate? It's worth collating every tiny detail you do have, make a tree of what is known.

Happy to help if I can. It can be a bit of a slog tracking down unknown relatives, but with the high matches he has you have already had a major breakthrough smile out of interest what are his top 5 closest cm matches...don't discount 2-3 cousins, I had my major breakthrough via a second cousin on ancestry smile they held all the family secrets!

Scarftown Sat 10-Oct-20 10:30:57

I have done this for my mum. You need to spend some time building the trees but if you have someone that close that’s a great help.

If the shared match is that close. Do you have a name for them. Have they done a tree? If you want DM me some stuff and I’ll take a look. Little research for you.

PETRONELLAS Sat 10-Oct-20 10:34:57

I’m adopted. Irish heritage. Would this be ‘useful’ for me - what do you get back? Ethnicity and a website link showing matches?

round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 10:44:47

@PETRONELLAS it can be helpful if other people have also tested. I used ancestry to help my DM find out about her father and find her half siblings (also Irish). I had to do a fair amount of research as well, Tree research and DNA together.

Ancestry will show you your general breakdown, x % Irish, x % Scottish (expect Scottish if Northern Irish), x % English

It will also show you your shared DNA matches, if you get lucky you may find some high DNA matches at the get go, but don't be disappointed if you don't. My first break came from a 3rd cousin who had done a lot of research and knew roughly where we sat. I had no names, which did make it harder.

My next big break came from a second cousin who tested a couple of years later.
By having a detailed tree with some "blanks" I was able to give them enough information that they went asking the right questions off their parents.... and i found the answers.

Combine DNA with research, and a tree - is a solid way to go.

round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 10:48:59

Ps some people on ancestry are really helpful when you message them, others not so much. It is a bit of a mixed bag. But the helpful ones outweigh the not, if that makes sense smile

Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 10:58:21

Wow, quick responses! He's buggered off to swim and left me to it. I'm supposed to be working but it's nagging me.
Mother was 16 or 17 when she had him. She was Irish, but the dna points to massive Welsh links- he was born in Wales, but not in Bangor, which is closest to n Ireland, but st asaph. Now I'm wondering if she came to stay with a relative first. He was adopted locally too. Would be v word to think he's actually got relatives locally, as we always assumed Ireland, due to the mother and the v Irish sounding surname beginning with O'.

He did meet her once (25 years ago)but she made it clear she didn't want to see him again. We only know her name. No father.

Dna match is 1712cm across 44 segments.

OP’s posts: |
Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 10:58:40

And I've messaged all i could.

OP’s posts: |
Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 11:14:31

And the other close match is: 1083 across 28 segments. After that it's 3rd/4th cousin and 142 across 7 segments.

OP’s posts: |
loutypips Sat 10-Oct-20 11:23:56

Did you do the test though ancestry?

round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 11:24:14

Wow that's two really high matches? Do they match each other? Show up in the shared matches?

MoonahStone Sat 10-Oct-20 11:28:53

There are some good FB groups if you are on there to help you with this and some have 'search angels' who are experienced and will help you. AncestryDNA Matching is one fb group that I would recommend.

Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 11:33:29

Yes, he did the test through ancestry.
What's the shared matches? This shows 1 close family, 1 1st cousin then 2 second cousins. 1 second cousin got back to us, but I wonder if he's linked to dhs dad- who we have absolutely no knowledge of.

OP’s posts: |
MoonahStone Sat 10-Oct-20 11:33:42

If it was Ancestry he tested with don't read too much into the ethnicity bit as it's more a guide dependant on who else has tested and is on their database. They've just updated their algorithm and loads of people have found their ethnicity now looks totally different than with the earlier algorithm. Brits are suddenly a lot more Scottish 😂

Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 11:33:53

The two closer matches have the same surname in their trees.

OP’s posts: |
MoonahStone Sat 10-Oct-20 11:35:07

Get his Mum to test OP as will be crucial to split out the different sides of the family. Or maternal aunt/uncle if no Mum.

Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 11:37:17

Dh is v trad celtic looking with black hair and blue eyes. But he tans in a second, unlike my celtic family who have a touch of the ginger - and burn. We've also assumed his dh was a Traveller, as the mother only knew him for a brief period that summer.

But I could be romanticising heavily and she might just have wanted to protect his id cos he was married or something.

OP’s posts: |
Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 11:38:19

That's the trouble- he has nothing to go on. Don't even know if his mother is alive or dead. She'd be mid 60s now I think.

OP’s posts: |
round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 12:04:14

Hi @Mynameidontremember if you click on one of the matches in ancestry and then go to Shared matches - it will show all the DNA matches your DH and that individual share.
This will help you to tell if the high DNA matches are on the same family line or not.

round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 12:07:10

I found it useful to group the shared matches under different colors. Even when the link/side was unknown. It will tell you if you are looking at the same family line or different ones.

Mynameidontremember Sat 10-Oct-20 12:09:39

Just done it. That makes sense- the ones with the closest match have the same surname knocking around.

OP’s posts: |
round2again Sat 10-Oct-20 12:15:05

@Mynameidontremember fantastic - so two members of the same family, probably fairly close have tested. If you click on the person it should tell you when they last logged in. Also sometimes people put their gedcom number or an email on their profile.

You now have one group associated with a surname smile if you click on the little + sign below their name you can add them to a group. I'd create a new group under the ? Name.

Has anyone else in that shared group of DNA got decent trees (note not all trees on ancestry are good, some are a bit interesting - so always double check).

lljkk Sat 10-Oct-20 12:21:57

When I did Ancestry tests, I got to see the names of people that were close matches. You have actually googled the person's name, right? Some people never read emails so check other ways to find them.

Who does he cross match with (shared relatives with the close match), are there any other close relatives who match both?

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