Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vick Ancestors in Scotland?

Today a lady who 23andMe’s Relative Finder predicts is my 5th cousin (with a range of 3rd to 9th cousin) accepted my contact request. Since Relative Finder predicted we are 5th cousins, we would be expected to share 4th great grandparents. My 4th great grandparents lived in the 1700s. Finding the shared ancestors will be a challenge, but if we were able to link our pedigrees it would be very satisfying.

The lady I match was born in Glasgow, Scotland. It is highly likely that our match is through my father’s line since my mother has been tested and she doesn’t match the lady. I looked to see if I have found any links to Scotland in my father’s line. Unfortunately, I haven’t done enough research to be able to connect our pedigrees.

In the time before surnames have been used I may have had at least one patrilineal ancestor who lived in Shetland or Orkney. I base that on an analysis of my Y-DNA done by Professor Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University. He said the few markers he used in his analysis have been found in a small number of men there with ancestry to Norway.

I have asked the lady to look at the surnames in my father’s pedigree and to see if any appears to be Scottish. If she finds one, I will try to extend the pedigree for that surname. The lady doesn’t appear to have done any genealogical research, so she is an example of how finding someone who wouldn’t be likely to order a genetic genealogy test can be very useful. The 23andMe database is loaded with people like her. When a member of our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project sends me a screenshot of a match, I enter into a spreadsheet the matches’ name, the chromosome, and the start and stop positions of the shared segment. Maybe another member of our project will match this lady. Maybe we will get really lucky and we will all share the same segment. Yesterday I noticed a case where a man who matches my mother probably matches another man my mother matches. The second man’s matching segment is contained within the segment my mother shares with the first man. Already we have several cases like this in our VICK and Allied Families DNA Project. So, it isn’t impossible that we will find another match with the lady from Scotland, even though it is a very long shot. Wouldn’t another match be very interesting especially if the match has an extensive pedigree?