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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Genetics Proved the Paper Trail

Two nights ago on my sister’s Family Tree DNA website, I discovered that she is a genetic match with one of my blog readers.  A few months earlier, by examining our paper trail, my blog reader and I realized that we were 6th cousins.   George McNeil and Mary Coates are our 5th great grandparents.  The Family Tree DNA website revealed that this blog reader is also a genetic match with my sister.  I was elated because the genetic match confirms the paper trail! 

Sadly, I am not a genetic match with my reader.  Often, when my sister or I match with an individual and the other one does not, I am asked why this happens.  Most of the time, my sister and I do match with the same individuals.  However, one of us may share more or fewer centimorgans (cMs) with the match than the other does.  When the match is not a strong match, both of us may not match with the individual in question because the non-matching sister did not get enough of that DNA required for a match.  I’m sure that’s why I am not also a match with my blog reader.  The reader and my sister share a small portion of DNA which is enough for them to be considered genetic matches.  I just didn’t get enough of that DNA to meet the threshold set by Family Tree DNA to be considered a match.

According to the paper trail, George McNeil and Mary Coates are the 5th great grandparents of my reader and my sister and me.  Because they are our 5th great grandparents, my sister and I are 6th cousins with my reader.  Since Family Tree DNA estimates that my sister and my reader are 4th cousins, we may be related through some other families.  Not only do we share the surnames of McNeil and Coates but also the surnames of Stout, Wagoner/Waggoner, and Wilson.  McNeil, Coates, and Wilson are from our grandfather West’s maternal lineage.  Wilson is also found in our grandmother West’s lineage.  Stout is from our grandfather Hughes’ maternal line.  The name Wagoner/Waggoner is from our grandmother Hughes’ maternal lineage.  Therefore, we may share a closer cousinship through one of these ancestors.

Never the less, the three of us are cousins as proved not only by the paper trail but also by genetics.

Hopefully, in the near future my sister and I will find that we are genetic matches with others from our West family.

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