11 August 2012

Two-fer: Surnames and pedigree charts in DNA accounts

I just got a two-fer with a new DNA match at Family Tree DNA.

While my match and her mother were perusing my surname list, Mom noticed a name in common with her current husband whose test results are due back in a few weeks. Not only do I match the daughter on my Ryan line through her bio father, I have a common ancestor with her step-father on my Hurt line. Two matches for the price of one. The family has photos of the Hurt line I don't have. They also have Ryan photos that may help me identify some of the photos I inherited when my grandmother died. Links made through DNA matches can help us with our traditional activities as well as provide new scientific information to further genealogical research using DNA.

I only learned of the Hurt line a couple of years ago while I was researching my Parker line in Milam County, Texas. My reasonably exhaustive search1 led through the district court indexes looking for all the surnames associated with my Parker line. The FAN club: friends, associates, neighbors, including in-laws. My ancestor surnames were not indexed, but the in-laws were. This led me to a court case that not only named my Parker ancestor and his Maples wife, but gave a maiden name to her mother, named all her sisters and half-siblings with the names of husbands for the women, and named my third great-grandfather and two of his wives.2

If I had not searched for those surnames of the FAN club, I would not have known I had a Hurt line and would not have known how I matched this Hurt cousin. If I had not included my ancestor surnames in my account at Family Tree DNA, we would know we had a common ancestor who passed DNA to us, but would have no idea who that ancestor might be.

In my DNA presentations I stress the need for a surname list and pedigree chart to determine how your DNA matches are related. If you don't include a GEDCOM file or surname list your matches won't be able to easily determine how you are related. This experience shows how important it is to include your ancestral data in your DNA account profile. Some of your matches may not contact you if they can't see how you might be related. Why spend the money to do a DNA test if the goal is not to determine HOW we relate to our matches?

Your research will benefit by including your surnames and pedigree in your account profile.

1. Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 3d ed. (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2009).

2. Milam County, Texas, District Court Minutes, D:329–334, Nancy Stovall, et al. vs. Lizzie Richards, et al.; and District Court Civil Case #3402; District Clerk's Office, Cameron. This case settles the estate of Richard Hurt, father of Monterey Carise Hurt Maples, naming Monterey's daughters and children of the deceased daughter. It also names other heirs of Richard Hurt.

© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved

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