Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another Adams Cousin

I have never had a shortage of cousins – particularly on my maternal side of the family. My mother was one of 14 Adams siblings who survived infancy. These included 10 girls and 4 boys. A 5th boy died within a few days of birth. My mom was the last surviving sibling when she died in 1998. It was interesting that of the 39 offspring these 14 produced, 18 of them were from the two oldest children. I think the timing of the Great Depression may have had as much to do with this difference in productivity as birth order but that is just speculation on my part.  

When I logged in to AncestryDNA last month, I was surprised to find the following result on my DNA page:
1st Cousin         Possible range: 1st - 2nd cousins    Confidence: 99%

The pedigree chart posted by this individual did not help me place this cousin among the twenty-five thousand or so individuals I currently have in my family tree database. The DNA information did not tell me whether this match was on my maternal or paternal side. However, the geographic locations in the pedigree chart of the “new” cousin strongly suggested this match was on my mom’s side. 

I sent an inquiry through the Ancestry message system and got this response from a person I will call Joe:

I believe is correct, but the exact connection may be difficult to pin down.  I was born 27 September, 1932, and adopted at birth by the parents in my family tree.  The doctor who delivered me was Dr. G. W. Carpenter, who I believe had an office in Utica, MO, at the time. Most of the people who had first-hand knowledge of my birth are now gone. I was reluctant to make inquiries that might embarrass anyone. A neighbor who grew up near Breckenridge vaguely recalled that my father was an Adams employed in a grocery store in Breckenridge, and my birth mother was a young employee.  As time permits, I'll try to find out more.

Only one other family member has been tested to my knowledge. That is a first cousin -- once removed who agreed to be tested so that I could establish the paternal haplogroup of my maternal (Adams) grandfather. My DNA sample establishes my paternal (Dowell) grandfather's Y-chromosome. Merrill's DNA had also been processed through the FTDNA Family Finder test.

It occurred to me that my new cousin "Joe" would be Merrill's uncle if Merrill's grandfather, my Uncle Frank, was also Joe's father. If instead Joe's father was one of the other Adams brothers, Merrill would be Joe's first cousin -- once removed. That is the same relationship I have with Merrill.

Since Joe had tested at Ancestry and Merrill at FTDNA, they had to be placed in the same database in order to analyze the nature of their relationship. Therefore, Joe downloaded the raw data from his test at Ancestry and uploaded it to a free site that among other features allows autosomal results from a variety of labs to be compared with each other. I downloaded Merrill's raw data from FTDNA and uploaded them to GedMatch.

When Joe's results were compared with Merrill's, they shared about the same amount of DNA as I shared with Merrill as a 1st cousin -- once removed. An uncle would have shared much more with a nephew. Therefore, my Uncle Frank is also Joe's Uncle Frank and is eliminated as a candidate to be Joe's father. 

I talked to a first cousin who would have been six when Joe was born. She said she "had a feeling" that she had heard Uncle Bud might have had a child with a woman other than his wife. Even if he did this does not prove the child was Joe. Actually, we need to remember that the DNA results viewed to date do not eliminate the possibility that it was Joe's mother (not his father) who was his Adams connection. However, circumstantial evidence suggests that we are looking for an Adams father.

Our search is now focused on the three Adams brothers other than Frank. A child of one of the three (who is also one of my previously known Adams 1st cousins) has agreed to test. We should know that result sometime in February.  

Of the remaining two possible fathers, one never married and has no known descendants. We will be tracing the descendants of the other to see if we can find one willing to test.

Stay tuned for future developments.


  1. There is never a dull moment. Love to read about new findings. Hope this puzzle will have a great ending.

  2. Susan, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your interest.