Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"Long Lost Cousin" Takes a DNA Test

I knew I had some first cousins who are children of the brother of my father. I've known their names for decades. I had never met them or if I ever did, it would have been at my grandfather's funeral when I was about 9 years old and I don't remember. Then, once I grew up and started working on my genealogy, I knew they lived somewhere in California. They had relatively common first names and Miller for a last name and they lived in California. I really had no hope in finding them. The Bixenman family history books, written by Sister Catherine Seemann around the year 2000 listed the children of these cousins.

Then around a year ago, a name appeared in my Ancestry DNA match list that matched one of these children and the in common matches were my known Bixenman and Miller relations. I figured this had to be my first cousin once removed. I sent him a message, asking if his mother was "X" Miller and if she was, could he pass along word to his mother and aunts and uncle that I'd love to be in contact with them.

A few months later, a familiar Miller name appeared as Facebook friends of some of my cousins and eventually, once he found me, I saw a friend request for my one and only first cousin that has my Miller surname. I accepted his friend request and sent him an invitation to join the private Facebook group for our Miller/Doran/Kelly extended family.

Back around March, I asked if he would be willing to take a few DNA tests for me. I want him to take a few of them because I'd like to have him on Ancestry to narrow down my paternal matches there, plus I'd like to have him test on Family Tree DNA for the same reason plus get his yDNA test done. He agreed and I had a Family Tree DNA test kit sent out to him for their Family Finder (autosomal) test. The results came back with no surprises. His test results confirm he is a full first cousin to me and my other paternal cousin that has been tested.

The most interesting piece of his Family Finder test is that he also has the pileup regions on his chromosomes 6 and 14 that I have and he matches the same enormous number of matches I do on these pileup regions. While it doesn't help us narrow down how these people are related to us, at least it confirms that it's not a bug in my test results. These are real DNA matches.

I'll be having the yDNA test done for this cousin whenever Family Tree DNA has a good enough sale going for them. I fully expect a 0 genetic distance match with him but I want to confirm it. If we have a bigger genetic distance, he may match another line closer than I do and it could help narrow down our Miller line matches. For Father's Day, they only had $10, which, for a test costing $119, that's not a great sale. I'll also get an Ancestry DNA test sent out for him the next time they're on sale.

--Matt

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