This series is about how I found my grandmother’s father with DNA.
To read the other posts in the series, click below:
Did you know that you can upload your Ancestry DNA test results to other select databases for free? A lot of people take a DNA test with only one company, so you can increase your chances of finding genetic matches by entering multiple databases. You never know where you’ll find your genetic matches; maybe the closest one is in a database different from you!
In my previous posts, I discussed my Ancestry DNA results and how I used my genetic matches to focus my research on a particular family. I had reasonably exhausted the potential matches in my Ancestry matches, and I knew it was time to dig deeper. In my genetic genealogy class at BYU, our professor told us about different databases we could enter for free. Currently, these are the databases that will allow you to upload a kit from another testing company:
To upload your results to another testing company, you’ll need to download your raw DNA results. On Ancestry, you can do this by going to the Ancestry homepage > DNA > Settings > Download raw DNA data. Each company is a bit different with their uploading procedure; see each website for the most up-to-date directions.
At the moment, you cannot upload a DNA kit to Ancestry or 23andMe. To enter these databases, you must take the test offered by the company. These two companies have the largest database, so it may be worth the investment to take both tests.
In March 2019, I decided to buy a 23andMe test. By this point, I had identified the family of Robert and Florence as the familial cluster that my grandma descended from. I also planned to work on some projects on my paternal side, so since I wanted to work both sides of my family, I tested myself rather than my mother or father.
The day I got the results, I knew I had found a big piece of evidence. My third closest match in the database, at 367 cM, had the same surname as the family I had narrowed my research to! I got in contact with the match via Facebook, and I found out that his grandfather, Donald, was one of the sons in the family I was researching. Talking with other family members of his, more pieces of the puzzle fell together. Donald had been in the same city that my great grandma lived in at about the time my grandma was conceived. Comparing family photos, we also noticed a distinct resemblance among us.
The shared cM project also helped confirm I had found the right father. If Donald was my grandma’s father, then my match and I would be half first cousins once removed. With 367 cM, this conclusion is possible. If one of the other brothers was my grandma’s father, then the 23andMe match and I would be half second cousins once removed. The average shared cM for that relationship is 0-341 with an average of 73, so it’s unlikely.
From this series, I hope that you have seen how powerful DNA can be as a genealogical tool and understand some of the best practices surrounding the research. This project was rewarding for my family, and for the new family that I have now connected with. How do you plan to use DNA in your genealogical research?