I’ve been using my 23 and me account along with the vast sources of the internet to contact and confer with genetic relatives. It’s been awesome and eye opening.
I was spoiled by success right away. My first contact through 23 and me was related to the Hathaways and I was able to triangulate with another genetic relative who matched me in the same spot on the same chromosome and also was related to the Hathaways. So that part of my genome is “Hathaway”.
Here is the gentle reminder I get from 23 and me almost daily…”not always so”. The things I think I know are not always the way things are. Genes care little for nice clean family trees or social rules or boundaries and borders between political states.
I am also reminded that, although I’m a Thompson, I’m also a Hathaway..as much as a person named Hathaway today is. I’m a Williamson and a Paull and a Dartt. I’m a Clarke and a Hutchinson and I’m a Sutherland.
So far, most of my genetic relatives are fairly distant. Falling into the 1700s. None much closer than that. Everyone so far at 23 and me shares less than 1% of my genome, yet I’ve been able to confirm that my Seelye tree is fairly accurate and so are my Hutchinsons. So..it would appear that my parents are my parents and that my grandparents are probably my grandparents…Of course there are no Thompson matches and no matches with any family related to them.
I could despair about that but before we go there I need to point out that my genetic matching has only been as good as my family tree. Genetic matches, for me anyway, are not often direct and they are hundreds of years in the past. So if you and I don’t have a tree going back at least to the 1700s, we are unlikely to find each other. Now we can get an idea of why I don’t have any Thompson or Williamson matches…I wouldn’t know one if I was staring right at it.
There are tantalizing clues though. I seem to be related to a lot of families from North and South Carolina. I’m also related to a cadre of Pennsylvanians. I’ve got people from Scotland and Ireland as well as Canada. I’m also oddly related to Ukrainians, Latvians and Lithuanians and several German families in Russia. Somewhere in the more remote past I’m related to Swedes, Finns and Danes and some segment of Ashkenazi Jews. The most remote match has been a man from Morocco.
Whatever ideas I have about my family and it’s identity, they have proven to be just that. Ideas.