This new world of genealogy is getting harder to explain. We’re now taking DNA tests and using new jargon like “populations” and “ethnicity calculators.” We use different terms for ethnicities, like Natufian, Baltic and Basal Eurasian. And the new concept that there are no ethnicities, only places where our ancestors went through different periods.
But I must try to explain how this new era offers opportunities for discovery. There’s a website called Gedmatch where those who took DNA tests, can upload their raw data. Once uploaded, thousands of other’s DNA “kits,” are available to analyze and compare with yours. Quite by accident, I’ve discovered that my husband and I share a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of DNA. Probably best described as, we found our tribal intersection.
How I discovered this point of intersection, was by using a Gedmatch “tool” that let me enter his and my kit numbers to see if anyone matches some DNA with BOTH of us. About forty or fifty people came up. This was a huge surprise. I was able to take the eight highest matches and analyze them. Having their kit numbers allowed me to run all ten of us through an ethnicity calculator and compare. I think what might unite us is ancestry from Southwest and or Eastern-Asia.
I tend to get giddy like a kid when I think I may have discovered something, so I emailed all eight of the matches. Only one person responded. She downplayed my discovery. “Too small” of a DNA match and since it was her son’s DNA and none of her other children appeared on the list of matches, she couldn’t get excited about it. So basically, she pretty much rejected my finding.
I persisted though and wrote her back stressing the Southwest and or Eastern-Asian connection. That got her attention. “Well maybe,” she said. “It could be a Native American connection. We have several Cree ancestors.” She went on to say that the DNA testing companies don’t have markers yet for the Cree. I have been looking for my husband’s French-Canadian-Native ancestry for decades and guess what tribe it’s supposed to be? That’s right… Cree.
It’s late Sunday night as I write this. Tomorrow, I’m going to pursue this further. I could say, “Oh, it’s probably nothing.” But nothing about genealogy is inconsequential. There’s an otherworldliness to genealogy. It’s downright spooky.
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VII – DNA, Jumping Into the Gene Pool. A High Tech Gathering of the Tribes. Available here: