Sunday 27 December 2020

DNA Diary: Calling all Cousins!

Are you my cousin? Are you related to anyone mentioned in this blog? Why not take an autosomal DNA test and find out?

Or, if you have already tested your DNA, and if you have not done so already, PLEASE consider downloading your DNA file and uploading it to GEDmatch and/or FTDNA and/or MyHeritage, where you will discover another list of DNA matches. You never know where your DNA cousins are hanging out. It’s easy and FREE and it only takes about ten minutes. (You cannot upload results from other companies to 23andMe or Ancestry, but you can download your DNA file from them, for upload elsewhere.)

My DNA was tested with Ancestry and FTDNA and I've uploaded results to GEDmatch and MyHeritage. Both my parents are also represented at FTDNA, GEDmatch and MyHeritage and my maternal aunt and uncle are represented on various combinations of all these sites too. During the Christmas break, I plan to investigate uploading our results to FindMyPast / Living DNA and Geneanet, as well.

Seems, one of the best ways to make progress in genetic genealogy is to identify known close cousins - i.e. second, third or maybe fourth cousins - in the lists of DNA matches. There's a good chance any DNA match shared in common with these cousins will be related on the same family line. The new matches may provide clues to further flesh out your family trees and even create a window in a genealogy brick wall.

For example, several of my maternal Wynne/Hynes cousins have done a DNA test and shared their matches with me, hence all the progress made on the Hynes branch of my tree during 2020, e.g. The missing piece of the jigsaw - Mary Anne Hynes. However, no discoveries have been made on either of my mother's Carroll or Devine lineages, where no known cousins have tested their DNA. And, I only have DNA matches on my father's paternal Byrne and Mahon lineages, while his maternal O'Neill/Donovan line remains a complete DNA mystery.

But, if more genetic cousins were represented in all the DNA databases, progress should be far easier, and working together with my newfound cousins, we might be able to extend both our family trees further back in time.

If you have not yet tested your autosomal DNA, you may be interested in doing so. Some of the testing companies even have Christmas sales on at the moment. It's fun, and I'm always happy to help my genetic cousins, as best I can, with any questions they may have.  

This post was updated from a version written in June 2017. Image courtesy of PhotoFunia.

Update 23 January 2021: Given the number of privacy breaches at GEDmatch in the past year or so, I no longer feel I can recommend it for genealogy purposes, and have deleted my kits from the site.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Nollaig shona duit! / Happy Christmas!

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas
and a fun-filled 2021!

My Ancestors' Surnames

Sunday 13 December 2020

Signature Silhouette #11 ~ Michael Byrne

For many of my ancestors, we have no photographs, no treasured heirlooms, not even a funeral card to remember them by. But of those who could read and write, a few left their signatures behind. They often signed historical census returns, for example, copies of which still survive.

Apart from their descendants, a signature may be all that remains of them today. So, it's my intention to feature a Signature Silhouette for each of my ancestors, whenever their signature is found.

Here's one for my paternal great-grandfather Michael Byrne:-

Michael Byrne (1867-1927)

Idea courtesy of Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls and The Genealogy Girl.

Source of signature: 1911 Census of Ireland, Byrne household, Yellow Walls, Malahide, Dublin, The National Archives of Ireland.