Friday, August 17, 2012

Narrowing Down Possibilites

I've been meaning to post about this a while ago and with some recent changes to the 23andme relative finder, I've decided to finally write this post!

By testing with 23andme and testing several family members, I am able to narrow down where certain cousins are related to me in my family. Recently I was able to add my grandfather to the list of tested relatives- after much persuading! This has helped tremendously to figure out who comes from what side of the family, yet unfortunately I haven't be able to confirm any of these lines except one.

Recently 23andme added another feature which allows you to link your parents, if you have them tested, and break up your matches into both "mother's side" and "father's side". Here are some screenshots from the new updates to Relative Finder.

New Relative Finder menu
Drop down menu which includes mother and father break down

Here are two distant cousins- "M" for Maternal and "P" for Paternal
For me this new update is both a curse and a blessing. The curse part of it is that practically all my cousins are related to me from my maternal and paternal side. except a handful of distant cousins that are too far away to actually determine how they are related to me. Puerto Rico's population is pretty small if you consider how a country like the United States has many constant, different inputs of cultures. Granted, Puerto Rico has a good number of different populations that can be found on the island, yet the population became a bit inbred after a while since some families have been on the island for such a long time. Most of my family, for example, has been on the island for at least 200-300 years so my mom and dad's side must have rubbed elbows somewhere along the genealogical tree; and 23andme does say they are 3-5th cousins, but I think the relationship is further because I've traced most of their lines through 3rd-5th generations and there is no overlap of ancestors from what I have found.

The blessing is that it allows me to separate the interesting matches I have easily. Now I don't have to enter the Family Inheritance: Advanced tab in Ancestry Labs to figure out where this cousin matches me or my mom/dad's side. Now I can just enter Relative Finder, look for their name and look to see whether a "M" or "P" appears. This is extremely helpful to sort out the Southern and Eastern European matches that keep appearing on my mother's side through her father. What's awesome is that since I was fortunate to test both of my mom's parents I can link them as well and break down the matches even further. Hopefully there'll be a sale soon so that I can test some members on my dad's side of the family in order to break down matches further as well. There are some interesting matches through my dad's side which I would love to know if they come from his mom's or dad's side of the family. 

Soon enough 23andme is expected to release a more up-to-date Ancestry Painting which will include more populations. Hopefully this will help out with sorting out cousins as well!

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