Unknown DNA connection strategy ideas?

+1 vote
65 views
I've been trying to break through brick walls with DNA. When I took the test I confirmed a good portion of my known tree.  But now I've ended up now with a genetic mystery and cannot find how this ancestral couple connects to by because the "paper trail" doesn't match what little I do know about my brick walls. Please bare with me as I 'try' to explain.

The 'mystery' matches descend from a couple that originally come from Hesse. Their descendants immigrated to the US in the mid-1800's and eventually settling in southeastern Minnesota in a small town along the Mississippi river. One descendant of this couple married a spouse that came from the Grand duchy of Baden which is the same 'state of Germany' my late father's paternal grandmother's family were from. As far as I can tell, this Baden ancestor has no connection to my late father's family. Eventually a few of the 'mystery' matches ancestors moved and lived in the same area of Iowa along the Mississippi river as my father's paternal grandmother and her family was living. Other than what I so far stated "on paper" there is not any obvious connections between these two families.

My father's paternal grandfather is one of my brick walls but the few pieces of documentation that we have for him (German identification papers) states he was from, at least in 1866, Pfullendorf, Germany and born in 1822. Making him 27 years older than my father's paternal grandmother.

My other brick wall on my late father's side is his maternal great-grandparents. What little information I have on them is his 2xgreat-grandmother was born in Ohio circa 1830. Her spouse is a total mystery.

Per Ancestry DNA I share 180cm' 153cM, 99cM. 95 cM, on down with these 'mystery matches'. In theory, the higher cM matches should share at least a 3xGreat-grandparent with me.

Besides myself, these 'mystery' matches only match two of my close relations. Both 1c1r and share the same grandparent/grandparent couple. Thus far these mystery match do not match any of my other **known** family matches. What complicates thing is that my father's parents were first cousins. My father's paternal grandmother and his maternal grandfather were siblings and I know their family history. My paternal grandmother was also one of twelve so I have a lot of matches with known family history (and a lot of overlap).

I've tried building out my 'mystery matches' trees trying to find a connection. I've tried clustering but I end up with one huge cluster and some smaller ones with a lot of members that have no trees. The ones who have tree are folk with cM in the low 30's and don't connect to either mine or the mystery matches. I've tried DNA painter and WATO but they don't give me a clear picture because of Dad's double brick wall and all the over lap. Any other suggestions? Could it be that since there is pedigree collaspe in my tree these match reflect something farther back?
in Genealogy Help by L. Harrington G2G4 (4.5k points)
To answer your last question, yes. Since you have endogamy, then those shared cM totals could definitely be inflated. Even if they're not ... you still have to be a little careful. My uncle shares over 200cM with a 2C2R. That's his great-grandparent but his match's 3x-great-grandparent. So it's possible you could be in the situation of that match.
Thank you for reply. It's so difficult to be absolutely sure since I don't have "independent" documents on the parentage of my great grandmother's children. Other than German identification papers that belonged to the man *listed* as the children's father ,in which the dates of their births are written inside the back cover, there are no other documentation 'at the time' of these births (no baptismal, or city, county registration of the births.). I cannot even find definitive proof of when this set  great grandparents married.

1 Answer

+1 vote

My other brick wall on my late father's side is his maternal great-grandparents. What little information I have on them is his 2xgreat-grandmother was born in Ohio circa 1830. Her spouse is a total mystery.

When you say "Her spouse is a total mystery", do you mean total as in you don't even have his name? Either way I would look into probate records -- probate records have worked wonders in my lines for around that time period and area. Also, I would continue with the usual approach of looking at collateral families.

by Dina Grozev G2G6 Mach 9 (95.6k points)
Yes as in I don't even know his name. I have four possible given names for her spouse from documents my great-grandmother stated her father's name and also from information on her brother (or half brother). Neither of them gave the same first name for their father twice on any record. When my great-grandmother was listed in the 1870 US Federal census, she was two year old with her mother. Her mother was working as a servant in the household and no father present. Her brother who was 9 years older isn't in this household in 1870 and he doesn't appear in census records until 1880 and not with my great-grandmother or her mother. I know that he is at least a half sibling because I am a DNA match with his descendants.

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