Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dr D finally meets Your Genetic Genealogist

Dave Dowell and CeCe Moore @ Jamboree 2011
Long lost cousins separated for at least three centuries were reunited at the recent Genealogy Jamboree 2011 in Burbank earlier this month. We probably will never know exactly how we connect. However, an exact match on the entire 16,569 locations on the mitochondria is currently thought to show a match within the last 200 to 400 years. CeCe traces her direct maternal line back to early 18th century Finland. On the web she is 
Your Genetic Genealogist.  In that blog persona she invites readers to "DISCOVER AND UNDERSTAND THE FASCINATING WORLD OF GENETIC GENEALOGY." 

My story is a little more convoluted. It wasn't my mitochondrial DNA test that was an exact match for that of CeCe. It was my surrogate and first cousin Ruth. Ruth is the daughter of my Dad's sister. Therefore, I asked her to test to try to establish the ethnicity of my paternal (Ruth's maternal) grandmother. Most of you know that my mitochondrial test gave me information about my maternal grandmother's line only. So far on that latter line I have had no exact matches. On the other hand, Ruth has had three exact matches in addition to CeCe. Two of those still live in Finland and the third knows from family tradition that his ancestors are Scandinavian.

I am becoming increasingly convinced that researchers should resort to DNA testing only if they have a genealogical question it might answer. My question, when I asked Ruth to swab her cheeks, was to determine if my sixth great-grandmother Marjory OINS/OWENS was Swedish or Welsh. Marjory first shows up in the written record on January 8, 1736. On that day she married as his third wife, Henry STEDHAN at Old Swedes Church in what is now Wilmington, Delaware. Henry's grandfather had immigrated from Sweden to the North American colony of New Sweden in the middle of the 17th century. Although the community in which this wedding took place was a pretty tight ethnically Swedish community, OINS/OWENS sounded Welsh to me. 

As far as I am concerned Ruth's match with CeCe and the other three convince me that Marjory was ethnically a Finn. Since I found the match I have discovered that Finland was part of Sweden at the time New Sweden was settled. In addition, many historians believe that over half of the colonists who came to New Sweden were ethnically Finns. At one time there was a settlement, now long extinct, that was named Finland.

Now that Your Genetic Genealogist and Dr D have finally been reunited, we are talking about collaborating on a book. If all goes well you should see it in 2013.


  1. Very interesting. This is the first time I've heard of an exact mitochondrial match.

    I'm starting to agree with you about having a specific question to answer before DNA testing. I've been disappointed with my results and I think it is because I didn't have specific goals beforehand.

    Congratulations on your match!

  2. Thank you Tonia,

    I don't recall seeing other Full Mitochondrial Sequence exact matches. I wonder how many have tested to this level since this test became almost affordable a year or two ago.

    Even if we have articulated a specific question, we may be disappointed with the results if no match is yet in the database. However, too often I find that individuals don't take the right test or test the right relative to give themselves a chance to learn what they would most like to know.

  3. Marjory OINS sounds to me like Finnish name Marja Oinonen. It just has been shortened :)

  4. Thank you for that observation. You have given me a fresh research lead! :-)

  5. The Swedes and Finns in New Jersey ...