For several years, I had attended lectures on genetic genealogy and I read articles on the subject, but I balked at having a genealogical test performed on my own DNA because I really didn’t have a compelling reason to do so.
After thinking about the possible uses of genetic genealogy, I realized that DNA could provide the answer to a nagging question about my Niedziałkowski ancestors. Over the years, I had obtained convincing evidence to consrtuct a pedigree for Franciszek Niedzialkoski extending as far back as 1718, but I had couldn’t find documents to convincingly connect my own Niedzialkowski ancestors with Franciszek’s line. At best, I had anecdotal evidence from my uncles, a single reference on my grandfather’s immigrant passenger manifest to his uncle Franciszek, and evidence that my ancestors resided in a house owned by Franciszek Niedzialkoski. I have still not been able to find sources of primary information that could prove the relationship. Specifically, I have not found my grandfather’s birth record, my great-grandparents’ marriage record, or my great-grandfather’s birth record.
Three of my Niedzialkowski/Niedzialkoski cousins agreed to take the DNA test, and the results prove that our families are all closely related.
And so, with the great success I had with the Niedzialkowski DNA project, I decided to have our own (Danko) Y-DNA tested. My Y-DNA belongs to haplogroup R1b1b2a1a and, while it was very interesting to see the migration patterns of my forefathers, the results of my own Y-DNA test had not led me to any great discoveries about my family.
In this past week, I discovered that my DNA matches the DNA of two other persons on 24/25 markers. According to Y-Search, this close a match indicates that the probability of a close relationship is very high.
Here’s what’s interesting, though. Neither of my matches knows anything about their patrilineal ancestors, each carries the surname of a matrilineal ancestor, and both live in Ukraine.
Additional DNA tests may help the three of us determine whether or not we really are all related. Proof of a genetic relationship among the three of us may help my matches discover more about their own ancestry. Perhaps they will discover that they, too, are members of the Dańko family.
Oh, and by the way, I’ve seen a photo of one of my matches. From the facial resemblance in the photo, we could well be related.
Written for the 65th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy – Happy Dance.
Copyright © 2009 by Stephen J. Danko