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View Full Version : Do you care about finding distant cousins ?



Maciamo
17-02-10, 20:15
I have a deep passion for genetics. I am equally interested in historical population studies than in medical predispositions. There is one thing, however, which I really don't care about and that seems nevertheless to be one of the engines driving DNA testing companies : finding distant relatives.

23andMe has released a Relative Finder feature recently. Family Tree DNA has announced today that it would launch a similar service in a month's time. All Y-DNA and mtDNA testing companies already advertised their products as a way of finding long lost relatives, such as 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th cousins. But why would anybody want to know such distant relatives ?

I could imagine that people want to meet people similar to them. But sharing a bit of DNA does not guarantee any compatibility of tastes, opinions, interests or character. In fact even first cousins rarely share any of these compared to strangers. In many families parents and children or siblings do not even see eye in eye about most things.

Then cousins really do not share that much DNA with us. Theoretically first cousins inherited in average 12.5% of DNA identical to ours. That's just an average. It could be 20%, but it could just as well be 0%. Still theoretically, second cousins share a bit over 3% of our genome, not much than a great-great-great-grand-parent !

A third cousin will hardly ever have more than 1% of common genetic sequence with you, and beyond that (4th, 5th, and so on) you are pretty much as closely related as you are to your neighbours or friends.

If you come from the countryside and your family has lived in the same region for many centuries, like most people in Eurasia, then a haphazard individual from your county or province will generally be distant cousins of yours.

Knowing this I would rather try to find people who share my interests and tastes instead of looking for distant relatives. Why would one rationally pay money to have a small chance of stumbling upon such relatives is beyond my comprehension.

LeBrok
17-02-10, 22:04
I feel the same. I always preferred to spend time with people of same interest, than with my cousins. I wouldn't spend a dime to find one more cousin, I have a bunch of them already. I suspect it's more important for adopted people trying to find their roots, the mystery or lost relatives might have a strong calling side.
For some, there might be a strong group/belonging/identity instinct in action.

Cambrius (The Red)
17-02-10, 23:09
If I don't to pay for it, I'm cool with it.

Nasturtium
18-02-10, 00:50
I joined 23andme to find out my health history, as my father didn't stick around and I have not been able to find him or anyone else in his family. He was a liar, lying to my mother about everything from his age, probably first and middle name, and his ethnicity. He claimed to be French/Native American- NOT! Anyway, I joined before they offered up Relative Finder, but I opted in right away. Do I care about 4th and 5th cousins...Not really. I accept all invitations and post what I know on my profile for others to investigate...all based on my mother's side obviously. Still, you never know...The first think I ask any potential cousin is..."Do you have any Curry's in your line?" I know his last name was Curry, which is probably the only true thing I do know about him. Relative Finder could potentially do what the internet, my family, and a private investigator failed to do, which is find my father (or one of his relatives). :grin:

rogers
23-03-10, 13:29
@Maciamo (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/member.php?u=258)

That's just your opinion. I found relative finder quite fascinating. Why? because it told me a lot about my genetic make-up. Your country of origin or your ethnicity does not necessarily equate to who you are genetically.

I found some very interesting cousins. My ancestors are Croats, but I found I have cousins from the British Isles, Germany, Finland, and Croatia. I could trace back my Finnish ancestor to the Thirty Years War in Europe in the 1630's. So, in my opinion 23andme's RF was fascinating. It opened up my eyes to how early populations interbred, how and why they moved from country to country and why it partly explained why I look the way I do and to a certain degree behave.

Gwyllgi
23-03-10, 13:51
In my family tree most of the denizens either swing in it, or have been hung from it.

Couldn’t care less about any of them. My immediate family are all that I am concerned about. If any of the rest were worth a toss they would have come looking for me.

Shasta
25-03-10, 22:52
After working on genealogy for many years, I have learned I probably will not want to meet distant DNA cousins in person. Over the internet is fine though.

brianco
26-03-10, 01:15
"Why do you want to find distant cousins, you hardly speak to your 1st cousins."
I say, I speak to people with similar interests and if my 1st cousins were into this then we would speak more.

It would also be good to find where else in Europe my none mt and Y ancestors came from!

Just my view :smile:

Maciamo
26-03-10, 11:02
@Maciamo (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/member.php?u=258)

That's just your opinion.

It is my opinion, but so far 80% of the poll takers also don't care about distant cousins.



I found relative finder quite fascinating. Why? because it told me a lot about my genetic make-up. Your country of origin or your ethnicity does not necessarily equate to who you are genetically.

I found some very interesting cousins. My ancestors are Croats, but I found I have cousins from the British Isles, Germany, Finland, and Croatia. I could trace back my Finnish ancestor to the Thirty Years War in Europe in the 1630's. So, in my opinion 23andme's RF was fascinating. It opened up my eyes to how early populations interbred, how and why they moved from country to country and why it partly explained why I look the way I do and to a certain degree behave.
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You don't need the Relative Finder to learn about your ancestry and genetic make-up. The matches you will find in other countries will be purely fortuitous and will not reflect your actual ancestry. What you want is an autosomal test with a geographic comparison, like 23andMe's Advanced Global Similarity, or deCODEme's Map of kinship (http://www.decodeme.com/about-map-of-kinship).

At present such global or regional comparison are still highly unreliable though. Depending on what segment of DNA are compared your geographic matches will vary.

rogers
26-03-10, 11:40
It is my opinion, but so far 80% of the poll takers also don't care about distant cousins.



You don't need the Relative Finder to learn about your ancestry and genetic make-up. The matches you will find in other countries will be purely fortuitous and will not reflect your actual ancestry. What you want is an autosomal test with a geographic comparison, like 23andMe's Advanced Global Similarity, or deCODEme's Map of kinship (http://www.decodeme.com/about-map-of-kinship).

At present such global or regional comparison are still highly unreliable though. Depending on what segment of DNA are compared your geographic matches will vary.

Humm...that is what I did. I joined 23andme over a year ago and transfered my data to DecodeMe. You are talking to someone who is very versed in genetics and anthropology and probably way ahead of you.

Maciamo
29-03-10, 13:02
Humm...that is what I did. I joined 23andme over a year ago and transfered my data to DecodeMe. You are talking to someone who is very versed in genetics and anthropology and probably way ahead of you.

If you say so. It didn't transpire from your comment.

Aristander
30-07-10, 05:17
The only real interest I have in finding distant cousins is to try and find which line of people with my family name I originated from in Europe. My genealogy gets a little foggy around the late 18th century. I keep hoping that I will get a close Y-DNA match with someone in Europe who has a similar sounding family name. So far I haven't had much luck, the only matches I've gotten have been with people who I can trace to my line in the early 19th century, well after my family immigrated.
Something else I wonder about is how close genetically double first cousins are. I have a couple of double first cousins, my Mother and their Mother are sisters and my Father and their Father were brothers. One of them has a son that looks a near twin of my son, same height, weight, hair color (red) and eye color (blue). They are so close in appearance that my grandson (when about 2 years old) used to get really confused when his Dad (my son) and my cousin's son were together.

Ana72
10-08-10, 09:54
I'm not so interested as long as I have some with me.

Pallantides
10-08-10, 22:54
I'm most interested in finding about my own ancestry, not my connection to some American who's Norwegian ancestors immigrated to the US in the 19th century, thats not the reason why I had myself tested, of course I'll try to help them with discovering our shared ancestry as long as it don't preoccupy my time to much or they get aggresive because I don't have all the answers that they seek.

phoenix
04-10-11, 20:14
of course it is interesting

Dorianfinder
12-10-11, 12:27
Genealogists are always in search of supplementary evidence to support documentation and archival records. Genetics can be a very useful tool when one has invested the necessary time and effort in doing conventional genealogical research. Looking for cousins when you have no family tree to speak of is silly and a waste of money.

Knovas
19-10-11, 13:15
I personally like to have distant cousins spread all over the world. It's interesting for me to see this kind of connections. I payed specially to know my admixture proportions in the most accurate way as possible, but the other feature is also very good.

bertrand
27-10-11, 20:43
My family (paternal line) appears in Eastern France after the Thirty Year War, around 1650; the big question i would like to solve before I die is if the family came from the abroad (Germany or Switzerland) of if it was native of that region before the war. Since there are few records of that time, genetics (recent markers) could hopefully be of help.

Knovas
19-01-12, 17:50
Then, finding distant cousins could be helpful for your purpose. If you focus in the ones showing more cM sharing with you (having 4 grandparents from an especific region), this would be the best aproximation.