Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2011-12 > 1322831771

From: Jim Bartlett <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] a problem with ATDNA testing
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2011 08:16:11 -0500
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

Mary Alice

I understand your point of not pursuing folks who show an atDNA match with you, but only share a surname, and no more info than that. In many of those cases, particularly with common surnames, I don't bother to contact them either - there is just too much to do that would be more productive, than to chase matching surnames.

If the surname is unusual, or one of my brick walls, I do send one follow up email to try to get a little more info. My great grandfather was a WEHRLE, so I'll chase that, a little. If I see a PLUNKETT, RUCKER, HIGGINBOTHAM, HATHAWAY, TIMBERLAKE, etc, I'll email the info on my Patriarch just to check.

I guess my main thought is that everyone who shows up on my FTDNA or 23andMe match list, has already been screened by those companies and has at least one large DNA segment in common with me. Both companies feel each of these folks is probably my cousin. I don't know all of my ancestors, so many of these matches are probably from ancestors I don't know about - we won't be able to find a Common Ancestor until both of us have that ancestor in our tree. So that rules out a lot of matches, too.

The matching-only-on-a-surname issue is one I try to avoid by providing Patriarch (or Matriarch) information (names, dates, places) with each of my surnames. So instead of listing:
I list:
BAKER, Robert (the Gunsmith) 1660-1728 Lancaster Co, PA

or I'd list:
HILL, Sion W b 1654-1705 Surry Co, VA

These only take up one line on a page; when listed alphabetically, they are easy to scan or search. And most genealogists who descend from these common surnames will recognize their own ancestry immediately, if they are from this line (AHA!).

Sorry about the segway into my system, I really was just going to agree with your point to not spend a lot of effort chasing someone's tree based on surname alone.

Jim - from my iPhone - FaceTime!

On Dec 1, 2011, at 9:31 PM, "M. A. Farrell" <> wrote:

> Nelda, you are making no sense at all to me. Just because someone shares a
> surname with you somewhere in time, doesn't mean they are a relation! I have
> great interest in and have documented so much of my family back even 9
> generations.
> Sorry; I am more interested in old long-dead people than I am in living
> 4th-5th cousins. There are a couple of exceptions to that statement, but at
> this time no more than two.
> You inserted in this mail, "companies.... state YOU HAVE NO MUTUIAL ATDNA
> measurable SEGMENTS. Again that does not make you not related...." Pretty
> well describes "unrelated" to me!!! There is no reason to start an
> investigation into a non-match when I would need to go back 200 years, doing
> their lineage documentation, just to see if a connection could be made. I
> don't have time or desire to spend weeks or months on people whose dna match
> is so small as to not be significant. If you want to spend time,
> investigating everyone in the world to see if you are related to them, you
> must have a lot more time than I do.
> I still cannot see any useful reason to investigate persons who show no
> matching dna. Mary Alice

This thread: