An Elusive Grandfather’s Granddaughter Agrees to a DNA Test

When there is no paper trail, DNA has the potential to open genealogical doors.

And that’s what I am hoping to do. I have a relative who was adopted by two different families in the 1890s. The first set died when the relative was small child and another family took him and a brother (perhaps biological, perhaps not). His biological parents are unknown. The brother cannot be located after the 1900 census. After the relative and his wife had four children, he left the family and was never heard from again. The possible unknown connections for him are significant. A DNA test may relatives from his family of origin.

And, given that he was only in his early thirties when he left his wife and children, it is possible that he had other children.  Basically what is really known about this man begins when he was adopted by the second family in the 1890s and ends when he left his wife and children around 1918.

A granddaughter and daughter of this man has agreed to a AncestryDNA test.

While I’m waiting for the results, I need to review the paper trail of the ancestry of this granddaughter so that I can make the best use of the test results when they arrive. The DNA test will not just contain information about the person of of interest–the tester has other grandparents as well. The ancestry of her other three grandparents is relatively well-documented–at least through three or four generations beyond the other grandparents of the person being tested. Sifting out the elusive grandfather’s matches from those of the known grandparents will be one of the first things that I need to do.

Fortunately this will be made easier by the nature of the tester’s ancestry. Until the tests have been taken our discussion will and analysis of this problem will be somewhat vague. The tester’s paternal grandparents are from rural Missouri and almost entirely of Southern United States ancestry hailing from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The tester’s maternal grandmother was virtually entirely French-Canadian. It is hoped that the elusive maternal grandfather (born probably in Chicago), the adopted man who evaporated after he reproduced, has a background that is distinct from these individuals.

That won’t be known until the test has been taken. The analysis of the results will by partially stymied by AncestryDNA submitters with no trees or with incomplete trees.

I’m hoping that enough of the matches of the tester have trees that I can determine how some of them are related. Then I hopefully will be able to see what matches are shared with those “determined people” that I can eliminate as being matches of the elusive grandfather. That’s the plan.

We will have an update when the results are back. Stay tuned.

AncestryDNA is running a sale through 15 August and now is the perfect time for me to purchase these two tests.


2 thoughts on “An Elusive Grandfather’s Granddaughter Agrees to a DNA Test

  1. Michael, are you using Gedmatch and Genome Mate Pro to map these connections? Particularly since you are administering the kits and can maybe drive the process yourself? I’ve just started using those tools for that mapping process, and I’ve found that not only does it makes that sifting go much more intuitively, but it opens you up to more matches from other testing companies.

    Warm regards,
    Deb Dean

    • I am on mine and will on these when the results come back. My results are a little easier to interpret because there’s not the black holes that there currently are in this person’s lineage. I figured it was best to muddle through with an “easier” person’s results before working on ones that may be slightly more complicated.

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