Most people that know me can’t help but notice that I am obsessed with family history. It has been almost a lifelong obsession; even as a little girl I was drawing family trees. I’ve always loved to read, and any book that had a family tree at the front or back earned extra points from me.
It wasn’t until 2017 that I started looking into DNA as a research tool for genealogy. I had already had my DNA tested (and Lonnie’s too) at two different companies (23andme and Ancestry), but like many people, I didn’t realize the full potential of a DNA test to match you up with people you are related to. So last year, I used DNA to finally discover the true identity of Lonnie’s grandfather. That question is now settled (although it still needs the paper trail to confirm it), and I moved on to help Lonnie’s stepmother, Laura discover her birth family. That has proved especially difficult. Laura’s granddaughter and I have been working on it for seven or eight months and, despite having worked on it daily and accumulating a huge file of data and correspondence, we can only say we know she is descended from the Andrews, the Flintoms, the Clicks, the Bordos, and a bunch of other people. Laura’s daughter has again filed paperwork to obtain her mom’s adoption records, which appear to be missing. Keep your fingers crossed!
I’ve managed to squeeze in a small amount of time to work on my own family tree. It is very satisfying to find DNA matches who are descended from the same people that, over the years, I have identified and researched and placed in my tree. And wouldn’t you know that the same ancestors who are my “brick walls” (dead ends on a tree branch) are the same ones whose descendants don’t show up in my matches?!?
Along the way, I’ve uploaded our raw DNA files to Family Tree DNA, My Heritage, and Gedmatch and managed to learn how to use chromosome browsers (which are not part of the ancestry.com service). I can ballpark tell you how closely you are related to a DNA match by the number of centimorgans you share, and I understand how the X chromosome is helpful in determining how you are related to someone. I knew none of this a year ago and can’t help but think all this work is good for my aging brain!
And how about the mug in today’s photo? It was a prize/gift from the head of a DNA group I’m a part of through our local genealogy society. I won it for being related to the most people in the group and for being the most enthusiastic! DNA is frustrating, but fun!
Happy National DNA Day!!!