Friday, June 29, 2012

Genes Day Friday - Everything I ever wanted and more

I got some great news this week - the results for my Joseph cousin's autosomal DNA test came in! This was kind of a moment of truth for me - it was the first time I'd asked a relative more distant than a grandparent to take a DNA test, and I was hoping to prove the relationship we'd already documented on paper - that this relative was, in fact, my paternal grandfather's 2nd cousin. According to CeCe Moore, 2nd cousins share roughly 3.125% of their DNA. This would be my biggest match yet - even the cousin that helped me find so much data on my paternal grandmother's Zitzmann line only shared 0.77% of my grandma's DNA over four segments. When I went online to check this cousin's results, the percentages weren't available yet. So I trucked on over to the Family Inheritance: Advanced tool, to get an idea of how much DNA was shared in terms of how many segments and how long they were in cMs. When I saw the results, I was so happy I literally started shouting - nine segments, with a total match of 256 cMs! I knew right then that I had found everything I had hoped to find in this test - great big stretches of Joseph family DNA!! One of the segments was over 68 cM! Two of the segments were less than 10 cM, but the rest were either in the teens, or 49 or higher. The really amazing thing is I can now place these segments of DNA not only in my grandpa's genome, but in the genomes of his mother (Augusta Joseph), her father (Samuel Joseph), and his parents (Ludwig Joseph and Justine Witt). Not only that, they are also found in my grandpa's cousin, her father, and her grandfather, who was one of Samuel's brothers. Six descendants of the same couple, all with the same DNA!

A couple days later, the full results were in, allowing me to see all of this cousin's Relative Finder matches, including my grandpa. According to the Relative Finder, my grandpa and his 2nd cousin share 3.41% of their DNA - in other words, just the right amount for 2nd cousins! I didn't doubt the paper trail that I'd put together with the help of Jim Joseph, Pegge Marjamaa, my parents, and others. But seeing the DNA test confirm what we'd found was just so satisfying, I can't put it in words.

One thing that I'm looking forward to doing now is finding matches that match both my grandpa and his 2nd cousin in those shared segments. From what I understand, that means they'd have to be relatives of either Ludwig Joseph or Justine Witt (I don't have a way of breaking out which one, until I find a documented cousin related to just one of them, who shares one or more of the segments). It would be amazing to find other branches of the family tree out there, other Joseph/Witt descendants, who are researching their tree as well.

On a related note, my maternal grandma's cousin has received, completed, and submitted her autosomal DNA test! I'm still waiting for word from 23andMe that they've received it, after which it'll be another 2-3 weeks before her results come in. I'm eagerly awaiting these results as well - I'm really hoping to find some Native American DNA, proving that our common ancestor, Lisette Rainier, actually was a Native American. This cousin is one generation further removed from Lisette than my grandma (Lisette is her great-great-grandmother), butt 23andMe says they can find Indian DNA going up to five generations back, and this cousin is only four generations removed. It'll be very interesting to see what story her DNA tells. Of course, if I could find a direct maternal descendant of Lisette's (daughter to daughter to daughter link) that would be willing, I'd like to have her take an mtDNA test, just to see where Lisette's mtDNA haplogroup is from. That would be pretty telling as well.

I've still got autosomal resutls for my mom and maternal grandma I need to do more with. But these breakthroughs on my paternal grandparents' sides are just phenomenal and I can't get myself to stop pulling at these threads until they dead end. Why just today, a contributor to the German-Bohemian mailing list I'm on (who has been kind enough to transcribe some of the birth and marriage records for my Zitzmann family I've been finding), emailed me with the birth records for my 3rd-great-grandparents, Johann Zitzmann and Theresia Dorfler! I'd seen their marriage record, but now I have their birth records as well! Not only that, he's offered repeatedly to help me read and understand the records, as he knows I'm at a severe disadvantage in just trying to make out the letters, let alone get them translated. I'm still amazed that one DNA test has led to all of this knowledge and documents about my family's history in Bohemia (a place I have decidedly more interest in now than ever before).

On top of that, I went back to the Family History Center last weekend to see if I could get some more Joseph records out of the microfilms I ordered. Sadly, the scanner was broken, but I did have my phone with me, and I got some pretty good digital images of some records I think may be of relatives of mine. One record was for a known relative - the birth record of Gottlieb Joseph, my great-great-grandfather Samuel Joseph's oldest brother. The records are in Polish, so the record gives his name as Bogumil Jozef. The name Bogumil threw me, and I wondered if this were the same person as my Gottlieb, even though the date (1862) and place (Kepa Kikolska) matched other documents I'd found of Gottlieb. I went to the SGGEE site for help in understand Polish names, and was surprised to see that Bogumil was the Polish equivalent of Theophilus. How could Bogumil, Theophilus, and Gottlieb all be the same name? Then it hit me - Theophilus is Greek for 'friend of God', from Theo - God, and philia - love (like brotherly love). Gottlieb means the same thing! Gott - God, and lieb - love. They literally translated his name from the Greek Theophilus, to German Gottlieb, to Polish Bogumil - Bóg - God, and miłość - love. (For the sake of honesty and full disclosure, I just now looked up the Polish words. But I did know the German and Greek!).

Anyways, things are going better than ever. I have more discoveries than I can shake a stick at, more geography and history and politics and religious jurisdictions to learn about, and more DNA results still to come - aside from the afore mentioned maternal grandma's cousin, I've got mtDNA results pending for my dad, paternal grandpa, and maternal grandma. My grandma and grandpa's results could be ready next week! My dad's probably won't come in until the end of July sometime. But that will give me time to (hopefully) digest some of all this crazy goodness I've found, and organize myself somehow so I can do more with the DNA results I've already got. I know, not likely to happen in just 3 weeks, but I'm sure gonna try!

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