It has been awhile since I’ve done anything with my DNA matches, so I decided to go hunting for low-hanging fruit. I started by looking for people who match both me and my mom, since that cuts list of potential surnames to sort through in half. Then I focused my efforts on people who have uploaded a gedcom file to their profiles.
Which leads me to the question. . .if you haven’t uploaded a gedcom to your profile, why not? It’s so much easier to connect the dots and figure out the relationships when looking at a pedigree chart, rather than simply a list of surnames.
The stars must be in alignment, because I hit pay dirt on the very first one I looked at.
The match (I’ll call her Cousin S. for the purposes of this post) had several surnames in her profile that are found in my tree: Alexander, Cunningham, Davidson, Patton, Roberts, and Tucker. This could have taken me any number of directions in order to find our common ancestor.
But by looking at the pedigree chart, I was able to quickly zero in on John Alexander and Rachel Davidson. I knew I had Alexanders who married Davidsons and I knew there was a Rachel Davidson somewhere in the mix. I checked my RootsMagic file and there they were. John Alexander and Rachel Davidson are the parents of James Alexander and Rhoda Cunningham of Buncombe County, North Carolina, who are my fourth great-grandparents.
I went back to Cousin S.’ pedigree and she showed a daughter, Mary, who married Robert A. Neill, as her next Alexander ancestor.
Her Mary and my James were siblings.
Cousin S. and I share 55.45 cM of DNA on chromosome 5.
Family Finder said that we were in the 2nd to 4th cousin range and suggested a relationship of 3rd cousin. It made the same suggestion for Cousin S. and my mom, even though they share 71.74 cM. The paper trail tells us that we are 5th cousins once removed on this Alexander/Davidson line. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have other ancestral lines in common as well.