DNA Shared Matches

Ancestry.com gave my husband a list of his 50 top matches of DNA from their database. For each match they found, I could click on a button that would reveal any matches that my husband shared with that match. Some of his matches didn’t share any other match with him. Sometimes a couple of their shared matches didn’t make his list of top 50 matches. I made a table of his shared matches. It was pretty big so I made a smaller table that only includes people in his top 50 who have at least one shared match with him AND a second or third cousin.

I purposely cut off people’s names for privacy reasons, but anyone who shares DNA with my husband and the others in the table should still be able to figure out who’s who.

Ancestry explains that a 2nd cousin could actually be a great aunt or a 1st cousin twice removed. The 2nd cousin would have 5 to 6 degrees of separation from my husband, a 3rd cousin would have 6 to 10 degrees of separation, and a 4th cousin would have 6 to 12 degrees of separation, but most likely 10.

DNA does NOT “share and share alike”. Every person gets half of his DNA from his mother and a half from his father, but the half given from each parent can vary from child to child. I noticed that some of my husband’s matches might be siblings with the same surname, but their shared matches were not always the same. Thus, it can definitely be worth it to have more than one family member take the DNA test.

I made this chart to see if it could help me determine who might be my husband’s maternal cousins versus his paternal cousins. I don’t think I succeeded. The same DNA might not be the DNA in shared matches. For example, ab, bc, and ac each share a letter of the alphabet with each other, but it is not the same letter of the alphabet. Since both sides of my husband’s family had many siblings and cousins and settled in the Cleveland, Ohio area 100 years ago or more, it seems possible that some of his relatives listed on the chart are actually related to BOTH his father and his mother, but more distantly than 4th cousin on either side.

Like so much of genealogy research, one answer will produce more questions. It becomes such a fascinating puzzle!

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