It seemed too easy—thanks to my DNA match.
It had been several months since I received my results, and I wasn’t expecting what I found. It all started with a DNA shared ancestor hint that connected me to a cousin who had another piece of my story. After reviewing the hint I confirmed we share 3rd great-grandparents. Dates and locations were the extent of my research on this line, so I quickly reviewed my cousin’s public tree and saw a picture for my great-grandfather, Finis Richard Phillips, who was my cousin’s direct ancestor’s brother. You can only imagine my excitement. I clicked into Finis’s profile on my cousin’s tree and there it was, a picture of him. I thought could this be? Has my dad even seen this picture? This would be his grandfather who died when he was 11.
And if it couldn’t get any better, next to the picture was a scanned newspaper article about him from the Sugar City, Colorado, Gazette, Nov. 3, 1916.
I learned he was running for Democratic Commissioner of the 2nd Commissioners District in southeastern Colorado. But that wasn’t the best part of the article—he was known by his friends as “Rosy.” That’s information I would have never found in a census record. Here was a piece of my story waiting for me to discover and now I can share it with my family. I was so proud to be his descendant and I had so much gratitude for this DNA match, whom I had never met, who took the time to share what she had with me.
A quick tip to make the best connections with your DNA matches: make sure you link the right DNA results to the right individual in your tree. If you took the test, link your DNA results to you in your tree. If you don’t have a tree that starts with you, I would highly encourage you do so to get the most out of your matching. You can only link individual results to one tree, but you can link multiple results to the same tree.
It’s your turn, take a DNA test. Then get others in your family tested and see what more you can add to your story.
About Anna Swayne
Anna Swayne has 9 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us. When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.
[…] More and more people are taking the AncestryDNA test which means we are finding more and more matches and are able to identify even more shared ancestors through DNA hints. This is exciting for me as a user—not only am I getting more DNA matches but AncestryDNA is doing the work for me to find a connection. (You can read my personal success story of how I found a picture of my great-grandfather through one… […]