DNA Matches: Not For the Faint of Heart

I have been trying to understand.

Really, I have.

Had purchased three major tests: AncestryDNA (2016), LivingDNA (2017) and FamilyTreeDNA (2018).

Got the gobbledygook results from the first, and transferred it to My Heritage, GEDMatch and some other place when recommended by my more knowledgeable friends.

Notices flooded my e-mailbox every other day. “You’ve 236 matches!”

I scrolled the list and saw numbers … lots of numbers … I felt that I was drowning in numbers; numbers that I did not, and still, do not understand.

DNA Painter and the Chromosome Browser are extremely colourful and creative, but not knowing WHAT i should be doing with them, did not create the vibrant recreated displays that I had seen on YouTube.

To add to my dismay, I was unable to return to Ontario, last year (2018 in Guelph), to see my kith and kin genealogists.

Uncertain, what triggered the idea, I opened my autosomal results in ancestryDNA and looked at my circles. The most of them were connections to my late Gramma Rabbit and her French ancestors, but I was interested in only three: my Mother’s paternal line.

The first circle held two (2) connections, besides me, to my twice great grandfather: Thomas ATKINSON, Junior and his wife, the former Sarah Ann CAWARD.

My first match, I recognized as my American cousin, Rosemary, who has been corresponding with me since 2013!

Back then, we discovered that her great-grandmother Mary, was my great-grandfather’s eldest sister. Mary was the eldest of ten children, while my great granddad was the youngest son and eighth (8th) child.

DNA confirmed, without a doubt, we had done our paper trail research properly up to this point, but there are still so much “Root Rot!” Root Rot is not something you want in your yards filled with Scottish Pines, Canadian Maples or massive Sequoias — and certainly not your family trees!

I have used the term “Root Rot” for over 30 years to describe a segment of the family tree that has been dormant for 3 or more generations. Nothing more is know about the persons listed.

Did Floyd die in World War I? Did his sister ever marry, or did she remain at home caring for her aging parents? Who took over the dairy farm that had been in the family for those first three generations?

And those 236 DNA matches? Are now, an unbelievable 682 from which I have confirmed 71 cousins that have supplied some answers to reverse the emptiness of Root Rot in my ATKINSON Family Tree!



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