Testing the boundaries

About a year ago I was in the midst of my own DNA testing. It was a time where I was so enthralled with my search that no test was too far.  My results had come back from my mtDNA Full Sequence test at Family Tree DNA.  It was before I found my half-sister on my paternal side. Anyway, the results had come back and it had aligned me with someone that was a genetic distance of zero named Jacqi.

Here I was with someone who was an exact genetic match to my maternal side of the family. Yet I had not even determined whom my birth father was. See I had a lot of clues about who my birth father’s name might be. So my focus was on him so that I could eventually tell my genetic relatives apart. I had been working on my own information for about four months at that time and was pretty close to figuring out how to separate the paternal from the maternal side. My hope was that a genetic distance of zero match on my mitochondrial DNA test Full Sequence would potentially yield an individual who could take an autosomal DNA test and prove to be within five generations of my birth mother.

Well after exchanging several emails with Jacqi I realized I had encountered an avid writer and expert genealogist. She was intrigued with my story and also wanted to work together to break her own brick wall on her maternal side. Although I offered to pay for an autosomal DNA test (Family Finder at FTDNA) she said she would cover the cost and by late December her results had come in.

Unfortunately we were nowhere near one another and she and I remain distant cousins. In fact as the mtDNA test goes if we are not within five generations of one another we could be in fact a thousand years apart. So hands down, Jacqi is my most distant scientifically proven maternal relative I know. Oddly enough her ability to write about her searches in genealogy have proven to be very similar in depth to my own nature.

Imagine that? A thousand years apart and still similar in nature. Is that mere coincidence or can it be that our natural desire to share through our prose actually is from a long line of storyteller’s a millennium in the making? The story does not end for us there. Every so often we independently try and push the maternal envelope of our ancestry trees to get past our maternal brick walls.

I took another look at the individual named Sarah A. Kinslow, my fourth great grandmother born on May 12th 1839. There are three records that mention her name and where she was born in Kentucky. She died on September 26th, 1913 and unfortunately that is all we know.

I may need to actually reach out to folks in Kentucky to try and piece together documentation that just may have not graduated to digital format online. Certainly there are great strides in how much we can do in front of a computer; although, as I have mentioned before, not everything can be found online.

I rarely get a moment to consider spending more than an hour looking at my own family tree. There are so many others who are searching for family, that it just does not seem right to spend much time on this. However, I have not forsaken my distant cousin and still wish to push this boundary back another generation sometime in the future.

My hope is that we won’t have to go back that far to find our most common ancestor. If you kept the math pretty straightforward a thousand years would be about thirty generations in ancestors. If that is the case for us, there just is no way we are going to map out just over a billion relatives to find our most recent common ancestor. However, you could postulate that in the next thousand years there may be enough connections in genealogical trees online that one could map that far back; as crazy as that sounds, it might be possible.