Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Importance of DNA

For Christmas 2018, my sister, Cheryl, gave me an Ancestry DNA kit.  She said I would be the right person instead of her since I love genealogy.  I always wanted to do it but, truthfully, was afraid what I might find.  On February 12, 2019 I received my results.  Actually, they were what I expected except 9% Sweden.  My mother is 100% German and Sweden comes very close to Germany or it could be those darn Vikings invading Great Britain.

The DNA then lists your matches by the closest first.  There are 50 people on a page and I have 443 pages or 22,150 people listed with matching DNA.  This shows how long the Otwell side has been in the US.

I was intrigued with my #1 match.  Who is this person?  So I sent them an email. I received a response from Lynn who said my match was to her mother, Irene.  Irene is 96-years old and never knew her father's name or anything about him.  Well, that certainly got my attention.   Irene showed up as a 1st or 2nd cousin, probably 2nd cousin.  This would have to be one of my grandparents or their siblings as her father.  Lynn told me another match she received sent her papers showing they were from Alsace, Lorraine, which was sometimes German, sometimes French.

My mother's family on her mother's side came from Alsace, France.  My grandmother only had one brother, Raymond Miller.  I began to believe Raymond was Irene's father.  Lynn told me her mother lived in the Genesee/Bailey area of Buffalo.  So did the Miller family.  In fact, they lived about a block apart.

Lynn sent me the papers on her Alsace connection.  Unfortunately, I had to reply that none of my relatives were listed.  Again I began to look at my grandfathers and my grandmothers' brothers.  I then decided to look at our shared DNA matches.  I contacted the closest DNA person to us both but they did not respond.  I then tried Jacqueline G. and within minutes she sent me her phone number in Tampa, Florida. Jacque showed up as related to Irene and me as around 4th cousin.  The Miller family arrived in Buffalo on July 19, 1874.  I began to read their children's names and Jacqueline said, "My grandmother's name was Magdalena."  Jacque followed that line and sure enough her grandmother was named after her grandmother, Magdalena Miller, the sister of my relative Jacob Miller.  We now have a 100% match.  Jacque said it made her day to help Irene find her father.

I contacted Lynn with the news that Raymond Miller was 100% her grandfather and her mother's father.  This was all accomplished in less than one week.  Lynn said her 96-year old mother asked, "Is he still alive?"  Irene, Lynn and their family have the answers to many of their questions.  They have another branch on their family tree along with pictures and stories of Ray Miller and his family.  Irene Greene is my mother's, Delores Gerlach Sim, first cousin.

The use of DNA is amazing.  This is such a wonderful story that my blog partner, Mary, suggested that I add it to our blog to show the importance of DNA. We all shed a tear for Irene Greene and her family.

Welcome to my family Irene, Lynn and your family members.

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