Tag: DNA

Friday Finds 10 Nov 2017


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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 ūüôā


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 Рall 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… ūüôā


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



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Tuesday’s Tip: GEDmatch.com

If you’ve had your DNA tested with one of the three major companies (AncestryDNA, 23andme, or FamilyTreeDNA), you should be using GEDmatch as well! GEDmatch is a¬†FREE website where you can upload your raw DNA data if you tested with one of those three companies and use their tools for genetic genealogy! Plus, adding your DNA to another database is¬†absolutely worthwhile in finding as many connections as possible!


Registering is very simple – you give a first and last name (optional alias), email address, and a password. Once you’re set up, you can upload your raw DNA:


Clicking on the test you used will bring up the upload page. Each page has either instructions there or a link to detailed instructions on how to get your raw DNA and how to then upload it to the system. It’ll take a bit to have the information processed, which I believe varies. While waiting for it to be processed (or before you upload), I highly recommend going through the Learn More section which includes:

The DNA for ‘Dummies’ section has WONDERFUL information for those who are just getting started in genetic genealogy. It’s a list of of resources that explain how to use GEDmatch, explains Autosomal DNA, discusses the X-Chromosome, and more.

Once your DNA has been processed, there are several fun things you can then do!

  • You can look at your admixture (which has many options – here I highly recommend reading through Kitty Cooper’s slides and explanations on this as well) – here is an example of mine using the MDLP Project, admixture proportions with link to oracle, and the World 22 calculator (it pretty much matches what AncestryDNA and FamilyTreeDNA say):


  • You can compare your DNA to others in the database using a one-to-many comparison (you decide the¬†CentiMorgan¬†range to narrow down your results), or a one-to-one match (where if you know someone else’s DNA kit number and you want to compare it to yours).
  • There is also a 3D chromosome browser you can use (see below for a link that explains how to use that)
  • and LOTS more¬†like “Are your parents related?” and “What color are your eyes?”

I am still learning about genetic genealogy and am by no means an expert, FYI. GEDmatch is something I am still learning how to use and how to apply that to genealogy but it’s a great tool for those interested in genetic genealogy!

Here are other resources that discuss using GEDmatch:


If I missed anything you want to add put it in the comments or leave a comment on my FB page!

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