A few months ago I received back my DNA results from Ancestry (I’d waited for a sale to do my DNA test). My ethnicity estimates mostly match what I know about my ancestors as I can trace many distant ancestors to Great Britain and Wales but at this time I have no knowledge of any Scandinavia ancestors. Also I definitely can trace a significant line on my father’s side back to Switzerland and wonder if that 4% represents the right percentage. But I do understand that these estimates are based on statistics, shared DNA, and continuing research that is still in it’s early stages so I won’t dwell too much on the details of this overview ethnicity report.
I’m personally more interested in using the DNA results to find shared ancestors to see if we can collaborate on researching and telling the stories of my ancestors. My Ancestry summary report currently shows 68 shared ancestors and 667 4th cousins or closer – far more than I expected! (This image will help me keep track of the numbers as there were 66 shared ancestors about two weeks ago).
I’m in the midst of reaching out to these 68 people with whom I share an Ancestor Hint – they are individuals with whom I share DNA and who have shared a tree at Ancestry that links to them and includes an ancestor that we share in common. Over the past month I’ve been reviewing their shared trees, adding some collateral lines (siblings of my direct ancestors), reaching out to these new cousins, and in many cases using this new information to find more sources about my ancestors. Some of the trees folks have shared online have taught me a lot more about my ancestors (the records of the children often have names of parents which helps verify relationships). In a very few cases the information just doesn’t seem to match available sources so in those situations, I’ve written to the person with what seems like an error in their tree asking if they have any sources for the tree they’ve shared as the siblings that they show who don’t appear in any records. Some folks get back to me, others don’t but that’s just fine as they might not be into research at this time in their lives.
I still have a lot to learn about using DNA for genealogy and thank those who write blogs about using these tools and those who answer questions posted on DNA focused Facebook pages.
I’ve also tested at FamilyTreeDNA (results were returned yesterday) and I already found a match with a descendent from Elias Cranmer and Hannah Sprague and think I found my first shared Shackford ancestor there already!
For the next few months want to refocus on sharing the fascinating stories of those ancestors I have discovered. Just have to accept that I don’t have to get the research totally completed as these are blogs that can always be updated when I learn more.
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