Monday, February 11, 2013

What Do You *Do* With DNA Matches?

My first post since the birth of my newest descendant! Little Rowan is 5 weeks and 3 days old. Her brother, Gavin (age 10), adores her. Her father dotes on her, but has the flu right now, so the 3 of us are doing our best to avoid him! I'm sleeping on the couch with Rowan, and avoiding the bedroom, mostly to keep her from getting sick. Though I am nursing, so that means she is getting plenty of antibodies from me.

Life is normalizing for me. That is, I have a routine and plenty of energy, so I am able to resume many of my pre-baby activities. This includes genealogical research and blogging, so on with the show!


I have two DNA kits at Family Tree DNA.

The first is my mtDNA and I hope to upgrade to Family Finder this year. My mtDNA matches aren't really exciting, because we probably share ancestors hundreds, if not thousands, of years back. Still, you never know if that one elusive distant cousin with all the answers might show up... 

The second is my ex-husband's mtDNA and Y-DNA. His mtDNA shows some close matches.

But it's really the Y-DNA that interests me, mostly for my son.

I only have 5 generations of ancestors for my ex-husband on his paternal side. Only five Hawksley men accounted for in the records available.  When you get to the 6th generation, there is only "? Hawksley" and his wife, "Mary Goodwin" (whose parents are another mystery).

It is funny that we have the wife's name and details about her origins, siblings, and family in general (New Jersey, 6 siblings for whom I have names and descendants, her father was a loyalist named Goodwin, her mother's maiden name was Workman), but no information on her husband beyond "Hawksley, an Englishman".

So my ex's Y-DNA is particularly interesting to me. I know he would also be interested to know the origins of his family, since no one on his father's side really knows anything. 

Family Tree DNA shows me 6 matches, 5 of which are "12 of 12." That means there's about a 70% chance my ex shares a common ancestor within the last 12 generations with those folks.

However, the surnames are different, and that's interesting. I guess that means, somewhere along the line, there are half-brothers from the same father, but one of whom took on a different surname. Though I realize that is just one possibility.

Now, I wonder what I should do with those matches. Should I do contact those people who have given their contact information? Should I learn more about their family tree?

I thought Y-DNA was so much more straightforward to work with than mtDNA, in that surnames would match up, thus leading to answers if there were questions.

Instead, I have more questions, and the first one is:

Where do I go from here?

Copyright (c) 2013 Wendy L. Callahan

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