This is the second in a series of posts telling this tale as it unfolds. Since the case involves living people, identities will not be disclosed unless and until all parties have agreed to publication. You may have guessed this by the names I’m using, but just in case…
In the previous post, one-to-one comparisons on GedMatch.com between two different paternal cousins revealed Esmerelda did not match either one. One was her half-first cousin once removed, a close enough relationship that they certainly should have matched. Not only did she not match those known paternal cousins, there are no identifiable matches at all on her paternal side. The complete lack of shared segments between her and her cousins presented the distinct possibility that her paternal line was not what she thought it was– something had happened along the way.
Esmerelda has tested at two different companies. The GedMatch comparison used her data from Ancestry.com and her cousin’s data from Family Tree DNA. Esmerelda also tested through Family Tree DNA, and she didn’t match her cousin there, either. Why is this important? It helps rule out a faulty test. Neither tests were a match. Her cousin, however, only tested once. Is it possible that the cousin’s test was not accurate? Possibly, but not likely, especially since he matched another cousin from the same family. So who does Esmerelda match?
Besides her children, Esmerelda has three very close matches on Ancestry.com: a known maternal first cousin, and two unknown matches in the 1st-2nd cousin range.
Esmerelda had previously contacted Match 1 to try and figure out how they were related. Son 1 and Son 2 both matched Match 1, just a generation further away. Match 1 was sent five generations of Esmerelda’s surnames, not a single one of which Match 1 recognized. Match 1 stopped answering messages about a year ago. The previous assumption was that there was something amiss in Match 1’s family. But taken together with the GedMatch results, it was becoming clear that the secret may lie in Esmerelda’s own family.
Match 1 had only ten names in her family tree, and no maternal information at all. Research into her paternal side revealed a distant common surname, but not remotely close enough to explain their 1st-2nd cousin match.1 Esmerelda and Match 1’s parents were all from the same general area, although there was no obvious connection between them. Looking back two more generations separated the families geographically, making it unlikely that the connection was more than one generation, two at the most, away. And the closeness of the match suggested that it may be even closer than that. Esmerelda was getting nervous.
- Although no common relative could be identified by comparing six generations of the two trees, the research into Match 1’s family was still useful. More on shared matches and that surname in the next post. [↩]