That’s right, I have 614 Relative Finder matches. I was just hoping to get a few.
I ordered the 23 and Me test around Thanksgiving when they started the big sale but waited three weeks before finally getting psyched up to spit. My kit arrived at their lab on December 18th and the initial results, which included my Maternal Haplogroup, came in on January 24th so it took just over five weeks. My main interest is in the Relative Finder part of the test and those results became available 2 days later on the 26th.
Relative Finder is basically a list of people who are predicted to be your cousin based on shared DNA. They provide a predicted level of relationship – like 4th cousin – but can’t tell you how you might be cousins. That’s up to you and the people you match to figure out.
614. Seriously.One of the first things I realized was that I should have been studying about this whole process while I was waiting for the results. Since I didn’t do that, I spent most of yesterday trying to figure out where to start. I still need to do a good deal of reading but here’s how I decided to approach things – at least for now.
Your profile can be set to either private or public. If you make it public you control which items you make public. Since I want to make connections with these potential cousins, I decided public was the way to go and included my name, country of birth, country of residence, ancestry, and, most importantly, family surnames. I added every surname I know through my 6th great-grandparents and even included some possible names for brick walls that are unproven.
Even though my profile is public, I still have to contact the people I match to see if they are interested in comparing family trees. Some people use 23 and Me for the health related part of the tests and they have no interest at all in the genealogy parts so there is no expectation that all of my 614 cousins will want to play “Who’s Our Common Ancestor?” with me. Since I have a website with most of my data I decided to add a page that might be useful in sorting out these relationships. I listed the same surnames that I included in my 23 and Me profile and added a link to my closest ancestor with that surname. I also included a list of some of the places where my ancestors lived.
The other thing I decided was to start by contacting the people on my list who have made their profile public and listed some of their surnames. I’m thinking they are likely to be the most motivated to figure out their connections. I did send one contact yesterday to someone who didn’t meet that criteria because at 3rd cousin they are the closest predicted relationship and so were first on my list.The thought of trying to figure out how I am related to 614 people is starting to seem like an impossible task. Heck the thought of trying to figure out how I am related to 25 people sounds pretty daunting. How can you even do that? I mean lets say I match with someone and we figure out we have a common ancestor. Is that then definitely the reason we matched or is it possible that we have some other common ancestor that one or both of us do not know? Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about this process.
This is going to be a long term project. If anyone has experience with 23 and Me’s Relative Finder, I’d love to hear any advice you have.