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23andMe’s Relative Finder Success Stories at ISOGG

ISOGG, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, has a “Success Stories” page where it posts short summaries of just a few the many successes that genetic genealogy has helped people achieve.  Today I noticed that there are several new summaries regarding “Autosomal DNA Successes,” both of which were the result of 23andMe’s new Relative Finder (currently still in beta testing).

Relative Finder

As I recently wrote, Relative Finder is a feature at 23andMe that allows users to compare their autosomal DNA to the autosomal DNA of others to potentially find cousins.  This has long been done with Y-DNA and mtDNA, but this is one of the first times this has been done with autosomal DNA.

Success Story #1

The first success story is from someone who used Relative Finder to identify a huge number of potential cousins.  After connecting one of his or her potential 4th cousins, the individuals discovered that they have similar surnames from a certain location in common (in addition to DNA on chromosomes 3 and 10).  This individual also wisely noted that s/he now has “a good idea of the path that two of my DNA segments took through my pedigree to get to me.”  This is something I wrote about recently in “The Future of Genetic Genealogy – Tracing DNA To Individual Ancestors.”

Success Story #2 – A First?

The second success story is about two Relative Finder users who worked together to identify a line that they had in common, potentially identifying segments of DNA passed to them from a couple who were born in the 1730’s.  This is a very interesting result, and I wonder if it is the first time that genealogists have identified a segment of DNA that they inherited from distant autosomal ancestors (i.e. not their Y-DNA or mtDNA lines) outside of the medical realm.

Conclusion

I know I’ve mentioned this a great deal lately, but I again emphasize that geneticists and genealogists will be seeing much more of this type of success story in the future.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

4 Comments

  1. The line between genetic genealogy and genome testing for health reasons is quite sharp, the naysayers are beginning to disregard that line and lump all genetic testing together. That is a sad day for genealogists who are just now beginning to reap the solid rewards of having databases that are large enough to provide answers to sticky questions.

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