Friday, December 21, 2012

Close Cousin Revealed at 23andMe

Last year, a close cousin appeared in my Relative Finder matches at the DNA testing site 23andMe.  Little was revealed about this mystery man except that the match we shared, 5%, placed us in a second cousin range (sharing great-grandparents).  23andMe allows you to contact a match three times.  I sent notes twice.  When the website allowed me to sort my matches based on which parent was the match (you can only do this if you have a parent in the database), I discovered that this person matched my mother.  He did not appear in her Relative Finder because their relationship was too close to be revealed without the consent of both parties, and he had not chosen this option on his end.

Last week, he came forward!  He is a first cousin of my mother and her brother.  His father was a brother of my maternal grandmother.  We did not know of each other until we connected at 23andMe.  Why?  My grandmother was the youngest of five children.  Her mother, Anna Preston, died in 1921, soon after my grandmother was born.  The four older children stayed together while my grandmother was sent to live with other relatives who were willing and able to care for a baby.  They were not close and the death of my grandmother almost twenty years ago further separated us.

We'll explore the DNA studies available through this new cousin in upcoming posts.  For now, my top genetic matches in the database are my parents, my maternal uncle, my maternal first cousin once removed, and my paternal first cousin twice removed.

23andMe Relative Finder
Top matches for me
The M indicates a match to my mother.
The P indicates a match to my father.