This method makes cousin connections clearer than black and white.
Earlier this week I gave up hope of meeting one of my 2018 Genealogy Goals because it was too broad and may never happen.
That goal: To find out why my parents share DNA. There's a set of ancestors in my tree that ties my father's and my mother's families together.
But now I have a fighting chance of meeting that goal this year.
A friend pointed me to The Leeds Method created by Dana Leeds. To read all about it:
- Here is Dana Leeds' description of her creation, The Leeds Method
- Here is her description of using DNA clustering to visualize your DNA matches
- Here is her exploration of using The Leeds Method with 4th cousins
I jumped right in and used Dana Leeds' color clustering method with my DNA match list from Ancestry.com. In the first column I added my parents' names with a 0 in front of them. I added my one 1st cousin who took the test, with a 1 in front of his name. And I added 3rd cousins with a 3 and 4th cousins (the first page's worth) with a 4.
The numbers allowed me to sort the names by relationship and then alphabetically. In the end, I used this method on 104 people.
|Assigning colors to your DNA matches reveals hidden treasures.|
What you'll do is pick one of your matches and see which matches they share with you. In one column, give that person and all their shared matches a unique color. Find the next person in your list without a color and view their shared matches. This time, in a new column, give this person and their shared matches another unique color.
I was seeing a lot of blue (my dad) and green (my mom). But it wasn't until my 10th round of adding colors to shared matches that I saw something amazing.
Three people out of 104 had both green and blue. They were a match to both my mom and my dad.
This is a breakthrough!
Of those 3 people, only 1 has a tree online. I saw lots of familiar last names from my paternal grandfather's hometown. So I wrote to the person who owned the tree. She administers the DNA test for 1 of the 3 important matches.
She told me that the DNA test was for her paternal grandmother, and that I must be a match to her father, too. Yes, I am! Her father is also 1 of the 3 matches. From what she told me, the 2 most important last names tying us together are Zeolla and Pozzuto.
As I explored her tree, I saw that facts weren't sourced, but I have all the vital records from that town on my computer. So I can look up people's birth, marriage and death facts.
After a while, climbing up and across this tree, I found this one couple. Nicolangelo Zeolla and Giovannangela Pozzuto were the parents of someone in this tree. Nicolangelo and Giovannangela are my 4th great grandparents!
|The Leeds Method helped me identify a potential shared branch for my parents.|
If I hadn't tried plotting the colors as suggested by The Leeds Method, I might never have found the right branch to research.
So where do I take this lead? I'm scouring the town's vital records for births and marriages of children in this family. I'll keep building out the individual families.
I hope I'm going to find a marriage of someone from this gene pool to someone with a last name from my mom's side of the family.
I'm more motivated than ever to find that cousin connection between my parents. And now, it really looks like a goal I can reach.