Autosomal DNA Updates and My Wife Sets Me Straight

AncestryDNA seems to be the hotspot for matches for me right now, but I’m still digging up things at 23 and me as well.

Another Elmore Match at AncestryDNA

I had another fairly large match come in at AncestryDNA. A person related to Halsey Orton Elmore through his daughter Blanche Pearl Elmore. A new second cousin two times removed in the Waughtel family. The match is predicted as a 4th cousin with 63cM and three segments. Shared matches include my original Elmore tester who is related to Halsey’s daughter Goldie Elmore, but do not include my first cousin or my big Elmore match that led to Maurice Elmore.

I have to say, the AncestryDNA shared matches feature is a mystery to me. I’ve seen through Gedmatch that shared matches exist and should show  up at Ancestry, but don’t. I’m not sure if Ancestry is disregarding some segments or what, but it seems kind of flaky. So I’m not really confident that I’m seeing all the information when I see (or maybe more importantly don’t see) a shared match. One more way the AncestryDNA tools are eroding my trust.

I made contact with my new match, but haven’t heard anything back. Of course, carting over to Gedmatch with them would be awesome as it might shed light on some of my dad’s other genetic matches. I do not have high hopes that that will happen.


Finally Some Finks matches (that I didn’t recruit myself)

I had a 4th cousin match pop up whose family tree contained a child and a single married couple. One parent private and the other named. Luckly they did the surname in the username thing, so I could see they are a Finks. I looked up all the Finks couples with male finks married to her named parent and started building a tree. Instead of a 4th cousin, this new match is a 2nd cousin 2x removed descended from a sibling (Earl Vivian Finks) of my Robert Finks.  Not having a family tree really defeats the purpose of the AncestryDNA site. Other sites allow you to look at shared segments, etc. Ancestry doesn’t do that…you just have the family tree and the “shared matches” which seems to be hit or miss sometimes. So if you don’t have a family tree to look at, you really don’t have much use for your ancestryDNA results. Thus I spend a lot of time trying to decipher a match’s family tree from whatever clues there might be.

I made contact with my new match, but haven’t heard anything back. Of course, carting over to Gedmatch with them would be awesome as it might shed light on some of my dad’s other genetic matches. I do not have high hopes that that will happen.

Another 4th cousin match has only private members in her family tree. The kit is managed by someone whose last name is Walsh like my grandfather’s cousin D Walsh. She shares matches in common with a person who has our Mitchell family and also our new Finks cousin above. The only time I’m aware of the Mitchell family meeting with the Finks family is with my second great grandfather Robert Finks and his wife Ida Mitchell (really Michel). I think this person might be related to Robert and Ida, but I’m unsure (again no real tree).

I made contact with my new match, but haven’t heard anything back. Of course, carting over to Gedmatch with them would be awesome as it might shed light on some of my dad’s other genetic matches. I do not have high hopes that that will happen.

Heartbreak Over a Totten Ancestry Hint

AncestryDNA gave me a hint about the Totten family, which is a family related to our Elmores way back. The match was a good size (at least 10cM). So I asked if they would upload to Which they did! I checked first to make sure they were related to my dad, then I checked them against his maternal family. it turned out they were a maternal match, also sharing a segment with my dad’s uncle on the Seelye side.

I think this is my first official family tree “miss”. I’ve had other matches over at Gedmatch pass all the tests I can put in front of them as far as what side of the family they are on so this is a milestone of sorts and a good reason to be skeptical of the DNA hints.

A possible Vandergriff match

Back over at 23 and me, I found a Vandergriff match, nice big one. Two good segments. I have family trees for one segment and the troubling thing there is that I had identified several families with Caldwells in their tree for that segment. None that I can see have Vandergriffs. My new match does definitely share our Vandergriff family (through the Carr line) but also has some dead end Caldwells herself. So I’m not sure if that Vandergriff match is real or if there are unknown Caldwells in my tree.

I found an AncestryDNA match who shared David L. Smith (married to Elizabeth Vandergriff). They didn’t seem opposed to but had not done it yet. I would love to compare them to the 23 and me Vandergriff match and also see if they in any way correspond to the Bolton matches. Still trying to tie those Boltons down.

My Wife Sets Me Straight on Goals

As I’m working on my own matches, my dad’s matches, my aunt’s paternal mystery and trying to connect a friend to the Elmers in her family, I end up messaging a lot of people. The vast vast majority of people do not respond. The majority of respondents may give a polite nod, throw up their hands or erect a barrier. A minor amount will be willing to work on it (they might post their results to Gedmatch for instance, or provide a family tree to look at). There is a tiny fraction of that group that actively participates actively beyond that.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know that I don’t think the data is the problem. The problem is normally people and dealing with their issues. The data is straight forward and easily had, but it has to be given by people who are complex bags of electrochemical signals with their own things going on. You put your message out without knowing who is on the other side or what their goals are, so you get that range of responses I mentioned before. Although what you really need is help, you end up doing a lot of hostage negotiations where the data you need to help yourself is being held hostage by someone.

My poor wife has to hear about this all the time. Especially with close relatives where I make contact and get no response and then, if I can, I build their family tree using whatever clues and then inform them of what I found… and still get no response. Rinse and repeat. It’s especially sad at ancestryDNA where having a family tree is kind of “the deal”. I’m not talking about ancient history here in many respects, the reason I can build these trees is because they are so close and maybe have one person who is not private that I can key off of.

So my wife hears this, daily about the bumps on logs and active stone-wallers and the mutes. I’m always asking her why. Why? Why do people go to the trouble of DNA testing and then just ignore the actual matches?

She finally said that my frustration is because my goals are different from other people’s goals.  I am desperately looking for information to fill in holes, gaps, find great grandparents or parents. I need the big data to come up with answers. Other testers, even in my immediate family are looking for validation. They want the test to tell them they are Irish or French or who knows Native American, but there is no real burden to prove anything or learn anything new. The test is the proof of the thing they already believe. Meanwhile, I am living in a world where our beliefs are false and I need evidence to find out what really happened.

I know that I should know that. It’s hard because you get wrapped up in finding the answer to something. In the case of my aunt, the clock is ticking because she’s dying from kidney disease. I am using these tools in a manhunt and the huge majority of people have probably signed up for entertainment value.

Some people use flotation devices to save lives and I use flotation devices to entertain my kids at the beach. Neither one is wrong, just different goals. Of course in genetic genealogy, I’m the one on the drowning side and other people are sitting on their floaties watching me sink to the bottom, so I’m going to be frustrated.

Information versus validation. A good thing to keep in mind.

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