Jumping Down from My Jumped to Conclusion

There’s a school of thought that says one should never share misconceptions or mistakes that one makes. I don’t attend that school. It seems to me that it’s instructive to share those mistakes or conclusions made to quickly to help others to not make them. Writing about those mistakes also helps me personally as it reduces the chance that they are made again.

When I get a new DNA match to a descendant of one of my Trautvetter families, there’s always a certain level of excitement. It’s one of the families I’m somewhat stuck on in certain places and another match is another possibility to learn something about the family that I did not already know. Infrequently it is an opportunity to contact a new cousin, but given how many DNA matches communicate with me that is not likely to happen.

A review of my matches indicated a new match which we’ll call “KE.” KE and I shared four matches. Three of those matches were ones that I had already determined. Two were descendants of my great-grandparents, George and Ida (Sargent) Trautvetter. One match was to a descendant of George’s parents, John Michael and Franciska (Bieger) Trautvetter. The other match is undetermined. The fact that KE has no shared matches that are known descendants of Ida (Sargent) Trautvetter’s parents, grandparents, etc. suggests that KE is connected through the family of John Michael and Franciska (because there are numerous descendants of Ida’s parents and ancestors with whom I share DNA at AncestryDNA).

KE and I shared 23 cM across 1 segment. The descendant of my great-great-grandparents shared 73 cM with me across four segments. This suggests (but is not solid proof) that KE is more distantly related to me than the descendant of my great-great-grandparents.

I immediately began searching KE’s tree for some connection to the Trautvetter family, including looking for places of birth in Thuringia where the Trautvetter family was from. I also looked for places of birth in areas of the United States (particularly Campbell County, Kentucky, and Hancock County, Illinois) where known Trautvetter families immigrated. No luck.

Then it dawned on me.

KE is related to me through John and Franciska–not just John. KE could be related to me through Franciska’s family–perhaps descending from one of her siblings (she has full and half-siblings and that could account for the lower amount of DNA) or a sibling of one of Franciska’s parents or grandparents.

The more I got to thinking about it, the more likely it is that KE is related to me through Franciska and not her husband John. There are other descendants of John’s siblings and John’s parents in my matches. In fact there are quite a few and none of them show up as a shared match with KE. Going on probabilities, it seems more likely to me that KE is a relative through Franciska and not John.

The difficulty is that not much is known about Franciska’s parents other than the name of her father, her mother, and her maternal grandparents. That’s not much to go on, but it is a start and I need to refocus my work on KE operating under the working assumption that he is a relative of Franciska.

Back to the drawing board.


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