Monday, December 19, 2016

DNA results show different ethnicity and cousins for brothers and sisters

My DNA results are in, and so are my sister Linda’s. The results are unsurprising in some ways and baffling in others. Overall, one can make a good case that it’s wise to test multiple members of the same family, because the results can be quite different. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, given how different children in the same family can be in apearance and personality—but we also show up different cousins, ones that wouldn’t have been detected if only Roger had been tested.

Roger received more Italian genes, and specifically more Spadoni genes. His results show 37% Italy/Greece, 34% Great Britain and 14% Western Europe. Linda is 31% Italy/Greece, 35% Great Britain and 6% Western Europe, while I am 27% Italy/Greece, 11% Great Britain and a whopping 47% Western Europe. I suppose one could make a case that Northern Italy and Western Europe overlap, so in a sense I could have more Italian genes than Roger and Linda.

We have to keep in mind that these results are based on broad statistics of the predominant genetic makeup of people living in these European areas, and much more testing must be done to refine the results. Ten years from now, the database could be much different.

In any event, the most unusual finding, in my opinion, is that some people show up as only sharing DNA with Roger, some only with Linda and others only with me. Roger seems to have more connections on the Spadoni side. Only he shows up as related to 12th cousin Archbishop Anthony Burns and Gregg Matteucci, who has a Palmira Spadoni in his ancestral line. Roger and I both match with 5th cousin Donald Spadoni (the one who was a fire department chief in Chicago), but Linda does not.

I am tied to some people on the Seghieri side (our grandmother) that don’t show up in Roger and Linda’s test results. The most curious match/non-match is third cousin Cindy Krebsbach, the daughter of Joan Seghieri, from the family of Dante Seghieri, who immigrated to Minnesota in 1913. Cindy is also not flagged as a possible cousin for my first cousins Annette and Gary, and second cousins Lita Dawn, Maria and Lennie (granddaughters of Seghiero ‟Jim” Seghieri). I can easily imagine that a 12th cousin would not show up as a match, but why would a 3rd cousin go undetected in the results of so many other obvious cousins? The fact that I do show up discounts the possibility of a non-paternity event.

So far, I’ve created a list of about 20 people who match some of us but not all. For example:
Roger, Linda, I match with C.T., but Annette and Gary (first cousins) do not.
Linda and Gary match with KECISLAND, but Roger, Paul, Annette do not.
Roger is the only match with MRSB1129 (who has a private tree that includes the name Seghieri)
Only Roger and Gary match with L.M., but L.M. matches to E.L., a person we all match with.
AMR matches with Roger, Linda, Paul, Annette, but not Gary
AMR also matches to S.P., a person that Linda and Paul match with.
. . . and so the list goes on, growing each time I sit down for a research session.

Most of the people in our DNA lists are entirely unknown to us. First, because most people list only their initials, so we can’t find out the names unless we contact them through Ancestry’s messaging system—hoping also that they respond. Second, many people don’t have family trees attached to their DNA results, and third, most of those who do go back only two or three generations. So I know we are related to someone with the username malikoparadise, because she shares DNA with Roger, Linda, me and all of my Italian-American first and second cousins, I don’t know how because she has no family tree and has not responded yet to my message, and even if she does, there’s no guarantee we can match family trees. Other people have responded, such as Katie Decker. She’s a DNA match with Roger and Linda, and her family tree goes back to about 1860 in the Lucca area, but it’s not far enough for us to find the documented connection. She and I will work on that in the coming years.

All in all, if one’s been bitten by the genealogy bug, DNA testing is a great way to develop new leads, and the more people in one’s family tested, the more leads there will be. However, if one has a poorly developed family tree, it can prove frustrating. My results show 6,000 people who share enough DNA to be listed as likely cousins. One is a grand niece. Two are known first cousins. Four are known second cousins. Eight are suggested to be fourth through sixth cousins, and I’ve been able to determine the exact genealogical relationship with two of these. Most of the other 5,980+ are just names and initials on a list until we make contact and share information. But that’s certainly enough to feed one’s hobbying for another lifetime.