The Missing Shared Matches

There are reasons to sort out your DNA matches for those families that you have no desire to work on and who were not the “reason you took the test.” That’s not just because you may change your mind about one of those families. Sorting out the families you “weren’t going to work on” may help you sort out the ones you really are after in the first place.

A relative recently took a DNA test at AncestryDNA. The reason for the test was to possibly determine the identify of the maternal grandfather. The maternal grandfather was believed to have been born in Chicago, Illinois, around 1888 and was adopted sometime in the mid-1890s. He was the reason for the test. The other three grandparents were relatively well documented and not the purpose of the testing.

The adopted grandfather’s wife was of French-Canadian origin. Born in upstate New York in the 1890s, she and her father came to Chicago around the turn of the 20th century. Her ancestry can be traced into numerous families from Quebec. She’s almost entirely of ethnic French ancestry and most of it is well documented.

The testee’s father was born in Missouri, came to Chicago during the Great Depression where he met the testee’s mother in the 1920s–the testee’s mother was the daughter of the adopted man and the French-Canadian woman. The testee’s father’s family has been traced back several generations and with family generally from Kentucky, Tennessee and Southern US states east of those locations.

The testee’s DNA results were put into three pools of distinct matches:

  • French-Canadians
  • Missourians
  • everyone else

It was thought that “everyone else” would be relatives of the adopted grandfather.

And “everyone else” probably was. One of the fairly close relatives (FCR) who tested was a descendant of the adopted man and the French-Canadian wife. The relative was their great-grandchild. The testee was their grandchild.

I had the pool of French-Canadians and “everyone else.” They were relatives of the testee’s mother. The testee’s mother and the grandmother of FCR were sisters.

But when I looked at the shared matches of the testee and FCR they only had the French-Canadians in common.

Not one member of the “everyone else” pool was a shared match with FCR. And not one member of the “everyone else” pool shared any matches with the Missourians–relatives of the testee’s father.

There was a slight fly in the ointment.




5 thoughts on “The Missing Shared Matches

  1. I’ve studied my Chicago relatives. It’s possible you have a Canadian adoptee! There was a group of mine from French-Canada Ottawa who moved to Chicago in the 1890s – many were in the lumber-building trade. They went back and forth a lot, marrying friends from back home. My family was mostly of English-Scottish extraction, however. It’s certainly possible that the mysterious adoptee was actually French-or other-Canadian!

  2. My current problem also. I’m getting matches for French Canadians but I can’t figure out the common ancestor. Neither branch is well documented, mostly circumstantial right place/right time. Dates are in question. My research goes nowhere.

      • It looks like early 1800. My line is supposed to be 1804 in Prince Edward Island but various family members have been looking for him there for over 100 years. I thought possibly Prince Edward County but that’s been hard to find much of anything. My original trail was from N.J. to Nova Scotia as a Loyalist in 1783 but I can’t pin that down either. Everything looks hopeful until it doesn’t. My match family doesn’t have anything before birth of children in very early 1800’s. My ancestor could be a brother to theirs. Or a cousin. Or an uncle/nephew. Neither branch has enough information to know anything for sure.

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