Mystery Monday: DNA Connection – But Where?

I shared a while ago about my grandparents getting their DNA tested for me and that I had been impatiently waiting for results. Those results had actually finished quite some time ago and I’ve been slowly learning and playing with the results. I haven’t done enough to merit a blog post… yet.

My chromosome browser with my maternal grandparents selected

My chromosome browser with my maternal grandparents selected – It isn’t surprising that I share more segments with my grandmother; I definitely take after her 🙂


I do make sure to always answer emails about possible connections (something I have heard isn’t done as often as others would like). One thing immensely neat about having my grandparents DNA is that I can begin to narrow down connections as well!

To explain, I was emailed by someone, we’ll call him John Doe for the moment, saying that we have a 3rd-5th cousin match, which he is hoping may be able to solve some brick walls for him. So, to see what side he is related to, either my dad’s or my mom’s, I can now check to see if he is related to either of my grandparents – and he is! To my grandfather specifically; and he’s listed as being a 2nd-4th cousin. Nice, right? Which means that John Doe and I are probably 4-5th cousins, so we have a 3x or 4x great-grandparent in common.

I LOVE that I can do that now!

John Doe happens to be looking for a very specific geographic location – Canada. The lineage he is going after happens to be French Canadian. This is also excellent because my grandfather’s paternal line  and my grandfather’s maternal grandfather all came over from central Europe; making it much easier to pinpoint what family we may be connected with.

With that, I have it narrowed down a bit. My 4th great-grandmother came from Montreal. Her name is Ellen (Belgard) LaValley. Her parents are Joseph and Sophia (Levereaux ) Belgard – all French Canadian.

So, I may have found the connection. Now comes the mystery – how are the two families connected?

At the moment, he is making a tree with his information, and I’m doing the same with my information and we are hoping to meet somewhere in the middle. And so far… we haven’t.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’m chasing down the wrong lineage. There is my 4th great-grandmother, Martha (Dean) Pape, whom I can’t yet confirm her parents names, and therefore can’t say for sure that her lineage is not French Canadian.

The line could also come from the LaValley’s, whom I only have as far as Joseph, Ellen Belgard’s husband, who came from New York but whose family could also be from Canada.

So many choices! Just think if I couldn’t have narrowed it down as much as I had! A moral of this story – get your family members tested! And as far back as you possibly can!

I did hear that my 2nd great-aunt is still alive (sister to my great-grandmother – and connected to the line I’m currently chasing), but I’ve never met her and I think it may not go well if I showed up and asked her to spit in a tube… 🙂


Stay tuned for more on this mystery! It has become my research focus for September!



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  1. It’s wonderful that your grandparents took DNA tests! Sadly, all four of my grandparents have passed away, so I don’t have that opportunity.

    Good luck with your DNA research!

    • Nichelle Barra

      Thanks! I am grateful I had the opportunity to test my grandparents 🙂

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