The other day I got an email from Katy, a new close cousin match for my Dad at family tree DNA, a 2nd to 4th cousin. I went and looked at where she matched Dad and saw two quite large segments, 34.47 cM and 18.87 cM. So I added those segments to Dad’s master spreadsheet and saw that the smaller one overlapped an 11.9 cM match with a known 3rd cousin on my WOLD line. But he was tested only at 23andme so I could not compare them. However because I am tested at both, as well as Dad, I could use the comparison with me to determine if they matched each other (see my post on alternate triangulation) and yes we all matched. So I wrote Katy back that she looked to be related on my WOLD line and she replied oh yes, my grandmother was a Wold!
My great-great-grandparents Jorgen and Anna Wold
Her grandmother was the granddaughter of my great-great-grandparents whose pictures are shown above. So they are her gg-grandparents too, making us 3rd cousins and my Dad her 2nd cousin once removed. I had received these photos from another 3rd cousin some time ago. My family no longer had those pictures. One delightful thing about finding new 3rd and 4th cousins is that they often have photographs and stories of ancestors that are new to you.
A long time ago I received an email from the husband of a possible cousin wondering if his wife’s WALD family was the same as our WOLD family. Naturally I suggested a DNA test and the results just came in. Yes she is a member of our WOLDs and is descended from my gg-grandfather Jørgen Oleson Wold via my g-grandmother Maren Wold’s brother Carl (Charlie) Wold. Below are the faces of four generations of my new 3rd cousin once removed’s ancestors.
Now for the details of how we used autosomal DNA testing to confirm this …
So many of these one segment DNA matches that I find with other testers are too far back to find the common ancestors. However those of us with Norwegian ancestry often have very deep trees thanks to the good records and the many farm books for each locality. So when you find a fellow genealogist with Norwegian roots who matches your DNA you get quite hopeful, and sure enough …
I had four matches, the colored lines in the picture below, for my Norwegian descended Dad on chromosome 16. However they span the centromere which is from 35335801 to 38335801, so initially these segments did not seem that promising.
Four people overlapping on Chromosome 16
from my one segment mapper tool
Luckily the most recent match had an extensive tree of which only a small piece was Norwegian. So perhaps it would be easier to find our common ancestor with less tree to look through. Note that using a tool to compare Norwegian GEDcoms does not usually work so well because of differences in naming conventions (patronymic, farm name, Norwegian characters, etc)
Here are the details of these segment overlaps from my master spreadsheet for Dad:
A Norwegian, who turned out to be a descendant of my gg-grandparents Jørgen Wold and Anna Knutsdatter of the Drammen area, tested his DNA on 23andme and came up a close match (3rd-5th cousin) to my Dad with 35 cM over three segments of matching DNA (0.48% shared). Most matches called 3rd to 5th have been just two segments and have turned out to not be that close but rather to share two ancestors. However Henrik was on GENI.com and an exploration of his tree found that he was descended from Jørgen Wold’s daughter Olava. This is the first time it has been so quick and easy to find a relationship! He is much younger than I am, so two generations further down the tree. Naturally I had to use the new DNAgedcom feature where I could compare him to all my shared profiles and see who else he matched. Here is the plot of his matches with my family and the larger shares (surnames removed for privacy except from my Dad and brother) created with my DNA segment mapper tool: