Strange conflicting readings from 23andMe "DNA Relatives"

+2 votes
Hi..I have a bit of a head scratcher--but it might be a stupid question.  When I go to 23andme and click on "DNA Relatives", it shows my 4th, 3rd, ect cousins.  I have a couple baselines for people related to me from "Kobel" (my paternal grandmother's side) and baseline for people from the "Dean" (my paternal grandfather's side).

So I figured that I could sort of narrow down which side the "DNA Relative" was by clicking on them and seeing our "common relatives".  If I see an established "Kobel", then I assume they are related to me through that side, and the opposite for "Dean"....However there are numerous times where I click and it seems that they have both?  


How is that possible?  The only Kobel and Dean hookup I know was my grandpa and grandmother.

Am I doing it wrong? Is that a bad method to try and narrow down which side the DNA Relative is on?  Is there a better method?


Confusedly yours.
in Genealogy Help by Kevin Dean G2G1 (1.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Hi Kevin,

You could be doing it right!

I had a similar experience, and I was absolutely confounded by it for a time. My parents were born and raised in different parts of North America, from different backgrounds.  It didn't make any sense at all.  

Then I started connecting my female ancestors to their parents in WikiTree and the database began to show me distant connections. It turns out that my parents are 7th, 8th or 9th cousins, depending on the path you take.

It accumulates to a number of matches on GEDMatch and 23andMe who share segments from my mother, and from my father. I've learned that sometimes a genetic prediction of a 2nd cousin is the result of a complicated soup.

It's actually very interesting. I'm starting to be able to identify segments of  DNA that come to me from more distant ancestors.
It may have been stated, but I find that the commonality between two different families is usually due the siblings and in that generation and their extended families.


1 Answer

+2 votes

Apparently there are more -- or closer -- connections between the Kobels and the Deans than you were aware of! Some of these people may be related to both sides of your paternal ancestry.

You can use 23andMe's DNA comparison tools to try to narrow down the connections with your DNA relatives. If you know the relationship to one of your DNA relatives (for example, a first cousin), look at your other "relatives in common" with that known relative. When you and your known relative have a relative in common and the three of you have a match on the same DNA segment, there's a good chance that the third person is related to you on the same side of your family as your known relative. 

A number of my 23andMe DNA Relatives match on the X chromosome -- often only on the X chromosome. If you find an X chromosome match, you as a male can be reasonably sure that the match is on your mother's side. The "X chromosome" section on your WikiTree Family Tree and Tools page will give you more information on who a particular person could have inherited parts of their X chromosome from.

Also, you can compare 23andMe's Y-chromosome haplogroup determinations to help narrow down the relationships. If you find a DNA relative named Dean who shares your Y haplogroup, it's possible that you both descend from the same Dean paternal line (more refined testing would be needed to verify this). If you don't share a Y haplogroup with another Dean, you can be pretty sure you aren't related on the paternal line.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

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