Saturday, October 19, 2019

Relative Finder Cousin Connections

Relative Finder 23andmeMy Relative Finder results at are pouring in.  Every few hours another distant cousin contacts me to compare family trees because our DNA profiles show a match.

I have 527 cousin matches in the database.  Most show as fourth or fifth cousins although this is just a range which could vary from 3rd to 7th cousin.

Yesterday I excitably compared notes with 2 cousins to see where we connect.  Today, there are two more notes from even more cousins.

These matches are from autosomal DNA testing which means it could be from any one of the surnames in my family tree, not just on direct maternal or paternal lines.

At the 5th cousin level we have 64 ancestors (and 64 surnames). You can appreciate the challenges this will be at sorting out where the connection will be.

Relative Finder DNA Match Chromosome 7Cousin DNA match on chromosome 7 (in blue).  Source –

The most promising DNA match is with 3 individuals representing 3 generations – a grandmother, her son, and his daughter

It is important to note we can’t see the other person’s raw data or medical genes.  This is comparison at the basic level only and protects the privacy of our DNA sequence.

Using the Family Inheritance – Advanced Tool provided by we determine the size of our match in centiMorgans.  A centiMorgan (cM) is a unit of genetic distance along a chromosome that takes into account how often recombination occurs in that region. A region with few cM undergoes relatively less recombination. 

Closer relationships tend to have longer segments because there have been fewer opportunities for recombination to occur.

[The Family Inheritance - Advanced Tool can be found under Ancestry Labs by Lawrence Hon on the website.  You need to be logged in to view]

Our match is on Chromosome 7 and is a good chunk of DNA – 16 cM

(The blue area in graph above and the numerical results below show the match)

Comparison – Chromosome – Start point – End point – Genetic distance – # SNPs

Joan Miller vs. Cousin Connection 1 – grandmother 7 37000000 52000000 16.0 cM 3183
Joan Miller vs. Cousin Connection 2 – Son 7 37000000 52000000 16.0 cM 3139
Joan Miller vs. Cousin Connection 3 – daughter of above individual 7 40000000 52000000 13.0 cM 2487

Note that their names have been removed to protect their privacy.

This family has KERRs and CARRs in their family tree!  (my maiden name is KERR).

My newly found cousin speculated that while we might both be related to some of these Kerr ancestors, our connection to these Kerr’s is too far back to explain the large size of our match.

He has sent me the family tree of his mother’s mother’s family which I’m reviewing for possible connections.

What fun!  This takes the detective game to a whole new level.


6 Responses to “Relative Finder Cousin Connections”
  1. Wow! Just think who you could shake out of your family tree!

    I’m curious about your choice of 23 and Me… have you also gone through Family Tree DNA? Do you know if the two services are very different?
    Denise Levenick´s last [type] ..The Tale of Poor George

  2. Hi Denise,
    I have ordered testing from FTDNA too although the results aren’t back yet. 23andme had a fantastic sale on before Christmas plus they test for the medical genes so I added them on the spur of the moment.

    Thanks for visiting!


  3. It will be interesting to see a comparison to 23 & Me’s Relative Finder and FTDNA’s Family Finder. I had been thinking about the FTDNA test because we had used them for Y DNA testing but went with 23 & Me because of the big sale.
    Linda McCauley´s last [type] ..23 and Me Results – 614 Matches in Relative Finder

  4. Hi Linda,
    That’s the plan – to compare the two services. I am putting together a talk for those interested in doing DNA for genealogy; maybe two talks – one on the basics and the second on how to interpret the results.

    It is lots of fun making new cousin connections :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Linda

    In case it’s of interest we have a page on the ISOGG Wiki comparing the Relative Finder and Family Finder tests:

    The Relative Finder part of this page needs to be updated once more information is available on the version 3 chip.

    Debbie Kennett´s last [type] ..More Bristol marriages

  6. Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for reminding us of that resource. It is excellent.


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