Double Grandparents

Well it finally happened. Just when I thought I had an easy adoptee to work with that had lots of close relatives instead I took their closest cousin out three generations and found two sets of family members that caught my eye.

I thought I had made a mistake and was preparing to merge the two into one, when I noticed they were from the same two families, but with all different first names. I slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand and realized what I was looking at. A brother and sister in one family married a brother and sister in a different family. It was all-legit, but suddenly I understood why he had so many close cousins. They weren’t close.

So now what started as a small tree is now going to require extending every direction for quite some time. The first to second cousin I am working with may in fact me a 3rd to 4th cousin who just inherited too many chromosomes from both sides of the family since 1850 when these two families merged.

It is certainly not a rarity or odd that two siblings happen to fall for two other siblings in a different family. It just wreaks havoc on using genetic genealogy to find close relatives. This went from high tech DNA to low-tech old fashion genealogy and documentation in one fell swoop.

Oh well. At least this adoptees’ closest cousin seems to be based in large part several generations into North America. I am assured to get plenty of documentation to build upon. I found one obituary that took nearly two hours to flesh out all the family members it mentioned.

So if you are not familiar with what happens with double great, great grandparents like this, you basically get twice the chromosomes being passed along and inherited sporadically in such a way that all the cousins from those parents appear closer than they really should. However, that’s not all. Sometimes a bunch of similarities on specific chromosomes come together after a generation or two and suddenly we have really close cousins appear. They may be close or they simply may be the genetics of two similar families making it appear close.

Even building out the trees I had to pick a set of brother and sister I did not plan on working backwards in time. Otherwise I am doubling the effort for no reason at all. That’s what happens when you are both a husband and your own brother-in-law to your sister’s husband. Try thinking on that too hard and you may inadvertently kills some brain cells.