To date, I’ve learned much more through regular paper channels about my family. Getting documentation is actually helping me solidify DNA testing, not the other way around. It’s probably because it’s so early in this game, there just aren’t enough people who know enough about their trees to make any educated guesses.
When I contact matches, usually they are the only members of their families that have tested. So I am in a minority in that case because I can definitively place a match on my mother’s or father’s side. So far though, I have amazing clues that seem to add up to something, like the odd amount of Stinsons/Stevensons in some of my matches trees. But without a clear paper trail leading me to them, I have not the slightest idea where they might fit in.
To me, that means I need to be creative about finding more possible paper records for family members and also I need to help define the boundaries of my related families. Obviously the best next step for me would be to test either a grandfather or grandmother, but I have none of those left. So now I intend to feel around the edges of those people to see if I can get a picture of what they might be like.
Like judging the size of a planet by noting it’s gravitational pull on things around it.
On my paternal side, I have these four family groups defined by my grandparents. My grandfather is Finks/Thompson and my grandmother is Seelye/Campbell. I am lucky to have a living sibling of my grandmother and even luckier that he has agreed to test. So, I can define the Seelye Campbell line in a chunk.
Nicely I’ve gotten some recent nearer matches that appear to me to be on my Seelye/Campbell side. One on the Seelye side in the form of a Beadle who matches with a third great grandparent Beadle family. The second is a match on the Campbell side which carries a nice big chunk of the X for my dad. My dad’s X is an exact copy of one of my grandmother’s X chromosomes and so that maternal match makes complete sense. The common ancestors are third great grandparents to my father, The Abbes.
So getting my dad’s Seelye uncle tested may help bring all of that together and may help tie up many other matches as well. Hopefully he shares enough DNA in common with my father to split some people off into respective family groups.
Next, I need to help define the Thompson Finks family. My grandfather has no siblings that I know of, so we’re going to attempt to get a first cousin of his, on the Finks side, to provide their DNA. Because it’s a cousin it likely will not be as good a match as the Seelye Uncle, but the hope is that we can identify some of our Finks matches and help tie them up.
Last but not least, the Thompsons can come from a number of sources, most second cousins of my father. It may be possible to pull together at least one other direct descendant of Levi Thompson for testing as well as living Williamson relatives, but they will require a bit more work as they have not all been identified.
It’s good to remember that when I’m looking at results, I can help define Seelye matches, but I can also use the same results to define those who are NOT Seelye matches.
As an example, if my father matches up with the Finks tester on chromosome 2 220000 to 320000 and he has another match in roughly the same spot on chromosome 2 (an overlapping segment), but they do not also match the Finks tester, they then are not a Finks/Thompson match and are on the side of the chromosome inherited from the Seelye Campbell family. Whether they match the Seelye tester or not.
We can use one test to define it’s unknown opposite.