Tuesday 8 May 2018

Sometimes DNA Works

OK, I have made connections with a few cousins who share DNA. Some of them I probably would have met through other sources in any case but it was interesting to see how we matched up through DNA testing. Several cousins have tested on my maternal side but none so far it appears in my father’s line, which is curious. I am still waiting for results of Y-DNA tests done by a cousin which will hopefully give us information about our common 2nd great-grandfather (blog post: DNA Matches, 27 June 2017).

We have been teased with results for my wife. A few have matches of 1% and less. None so far have responded to emails to share information about our family trees so I cannot say the tests have any real foundation. Maybe this week we will hear from them.

But, finally we received more information from a cousin, Deirdre, who had tested on 23andme. She shared 2.22% DNA with Linda. The messages from Deirdre were timely as I was just working on writing up the family. Both are descended from common great-grandparents – 2nd great to Linda and 3rd great to Deirdre. They are 3rd cousins, once removed. Deirdre’s information gave us information about one line that also immigrated to Canada that we had very little knowledge about.

Linda’s mother, Jessie, had come to Canada in 1930, at the age of 21 (blog post: Passenger Ships – Part 3, 10 June 2014). Her passage expenses were to be repaid with work as a domestic servant in Calgary, Alberta. Here she met her future husband and together they stayed to raise a family.

Deirdre’s grandmother, Elizabeth, as a 19-year old, had arrived in Canada much earlier, as it turns out – in 1926. She was bound for Winnipeg, Manitoba, to join her aunt who had immigrated in 1906. One of Elizabeth’s sisters, Mary, came over in 1929, coincidentally on the same ship that Jessie sailed in the following year. Both sisters met their husbands in Winnipeg.

Interestingly, Jessie and Elizabeth were contemporaries, only two years apart in age, but had apparently never met. That despite the fact Jessie’s father, Alexander, had lived for a while with Elizabeth’s mother’s family in Govan, Lanarkshire. Alexander’s mother and Elizabeth’s grandmother were sisters, both of whom were born in the Shetlands and who came to the Glasgow (Govan) area together.

Alexander very likely knew Elizabeth’s mother, also Elizabeth, as they grew up in the same area and lived within blocks of each other for several years. We do not believe that Jessie ever heard much about these cousins, though. Certainly, the Canadian branch of the family in Manitoba never came up in any conversations. In fact, we never heard her talk about the Govan branches either. Perhaps we did not know enough to ask the right questions.

Anyway, now we know another cousin and we are looking forward to learning more about her family. Thanks to DNA tests. Perhaps we may find out why relatives growing up in the same area of Scotland did not seem to keep in touch.