Regular readers know I have families with whom I have multiple relationships. Another one of my triple cousins has completed a DNA test at AncestryDNA. Fortunately he passed the test and fortunately this is one of my “multiple-relationship” families where no one else has tested. We are related in the following ways:
- Samuel and Annie (Murphy) Neill–our great-grandparents (Charles Neill for me and Sarah (Rampley) Neill for him) are children of Samuel and Annie. This makes us 3rd cousins through the Neill family.
- James and Elizabeth (Chaney) Rampley–our great-great-grandparents (Riley Rampley for me and James Rampley for him) are children of James and Elizabeth. This makes us 4th cousins through the Rampley family.
- Augusta and Belinda (Sledd) Newman–our great-great-great-grandparents (William Newman for me and Edward Newman for him) are children of Augusta and Belinda. This makes us 5th cousins through the Newman family.
As we have mentioned in earlier posts, given the distance of our relationship, we may not share DNA from each of these common ancestral couples. AncestryDNApredicted that we were fourth cousins and that we share 71 centimorgans across 6 DNA segments. That’s actually a generation further than our actual closest relationship of third cousins.
Part of the reason why we have less shared DNA than one might expect given the number of shared relationships is that the connection is “concentrated” in our background and not spread out throughout our tree. For the DNA match, all three of these lines come through his mother. For me all three of these lines come through my paternal grandfather. If they were more “spread out” (coming through three of my grandparents, for example), there would be a higher chance of shared DNA.
While I have not completely analyzed my matches with this new cousin, he and I have shared matches who are known descendants of the Neills and the Rampleys (or their parents or grandparents). The Newmans are a little more difficult to figure out. This is partially because the relationship is one generation further back for both of us and (at least for me) many of the Newman descendants are also Rampley descendants.
It’s also a good reminder that it is important to be aware interconnectedness within your family–if that knowledge is possible. If it’s not–at least keep in mind the possibility that a family is more connected with each other than you originally suspect.