re:dna test results

Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. Genetic genealogy involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level and type of the genetic relationship between individuals.
mezzogiorno62
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re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 19 Jan 2015, 22:48

i recently recieved my test results from ancestry in order to determine any possible relationship to another member of ancestry.my paternal grandmother was born in barcellona pg messina"ignoti genitori"and although the birth parents are lost forever my grandmother was raised by her wetnurse and considered this woman and her common law husband her"parents" in every sense of the word.it appears there is some blood connection between myself and the member i noted at ancestry through this couple.but all it states in the test results are 5th to 8th cousins.this members great grandfather was the natural son of my grandmothers wetnurse,or her" adoptive" brotherit also seems pretty distant as we connect only 3 or 4 generations back.i had a feeling there might have been some blood connection between my grandmother and her wetnurse,as its most unusual this woman took such an interest in my grandmother as to take her to boston to reside with her older child-the great grandfather of the ancestry member i mentioned.maybe an aunt or older cousin.this is the problem.dna results confirm there is a blood connect-but just how are we related?any help in trying to determine just how we're connected-and how the wetnurse and her husband were related to my grandmother-woulod be most appreciated.thanks

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby Anizio » 16 Feb 2015, 08:55

what answer do you think you can get to that question.
5th to 8th cousins in very far back. If two people who were 7th cousins today were born in 2015, it would be like their last common ancestor was alive in 1700. So it would mean your grandmothers relation to the wetnurse was 200-300 years removed. You would have to go that far back on both her and her wetnurse's trees to find that connection in the records.
Not sure what other means of knowing you think there is, other than the DNA test you already did.
TIP: When asking for records from Italy, do NOT ask for an "estratto." ALWAYS ask for a "copia integrale." A photocopy of the original Act will contain more information

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 16 Feb 2015, 13:58

no idea.just trying to break it down since my only relation to this family would be through this connection.we should have connected through his great grandfather and my grandmother(brother and sister),but as it appears we don't it makes the supposed relationship very distant and really doesnt answer my question.genetics are fine but unfortunately they can't put names and exact relationships into the equation-only blood links.i know that if a couple married in the church,but not civilly,their marriage could be considered null and void,making their natural born children"illegitimate".its a possibility that francesco and his wife maria,my grandmothers wetnurse,were her actual parents as i cannot find a civil marriage for them anywhere,and in each of their natural childrens births their marital status is different.in 1872 theyre noted as married,in 1877 as unmarried,in 1880 the husband is noted as whereabouts unknown.all different.there are no easy pat answers to questions like these-no textbook solutions.this is why you have to dig constantly for answers.genealogy is not an exact science with all the answers in a how to book.i've found solutions to similiar problems when the textbook answer would have been to give up.thats why you never know where the answer is.have to keep gathering opinions and asking questions.thats how we learn.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby Anizio » 17 Feb 2015, 03:53

Yes all that is true, but genetics is not genealogy. Genealogy is records, there is nothing in terms of DNA that can help you. In my opinion, too many people rely on DNA in their genealogy - they are two different things.
TIP: When asking for records from Italy, do NOT ask for an "estratto." ALWAYS ask for a "copia integrale." A photocopy of the original Act will contain more information

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 17 Feb 2015, 04:23

i'm aware of that.all i'm saying is its unfortunate that genetics couldn't be more productive in the genealogical pursuit of records.genetics are fine in establishing your ethnic background and even linking you up with possible family connections as found at ancestry dna,but the hard work of record research is beyond all that.i've been researching family records for nearly 20 years,becoming quite knowledgeable in both french canadian and italian research.like most of us i started out with the books and the how to's and the generally accepted patterns of research particular to these 2 genealogical groups.but over the years i've learned that you have to expand and constantly invent new ways and methods of trying to obtain specific records.no guidebook is going to anticipate every pitfall and roadblock.i have trafford coles excellent book on researching italian genealogical records.it was and is a great resource.the best.but for example,in the area of researching children born ignoti genitori-unknown parents-he barely touches upon the specific problems and issues involved-and possible solutions.this particular problem is rampant in italian genealogy-especially in sicily.conversely i've only encountered it once in going back 10-12 generations in my french canadian ancestry.yet i hit this roadblock with my paternal sicilian grandmother's birth and i'm struggling to go back any further in her lines,barely 3 generations.for every person who can go back into the 1600s or earlier in their italian research,its more common for the majority to experience deadends like mine. if your family line is free of illegitimate births and you know every parish in every comune your ancestors may have lived in-in other words a perfect genealogical scenario-his book is heaven sent and a fountain of information.but as we all know,genealogy is rarely that uncomplicated.only in a perfect world would everything fall so neatly into place.this is why i constantly push the envelope.constantly ask questions.its rare,but asking the same questions i may have asked many times before has occasionally proven successful and put me in touch with others that have made suggestions that have proven beneficial.many right here in the forums.as they say,its not over until the fat lady sings.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby Jean Galata » 21 Feb 2015, 22:35

I have gone back to 1740 on both sides of my family. Until I searched my grandmothers, I never came upon anyone born ignoti genitori. Then out of the blue both my grandmothers were illegitimate. This is so very difficult. I know what you are experiencing. I have had my DNA tested through 23 & Me. I have found cousins through that, but not my grandmother's parents, yet.
Jean Galata

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 22 Feb 2015, 05:54

no idea where in italy youre researching.but sicily is rampant.the worst part of italy for ignoti genitori.my paternal grandparents were both born in italy.my grandfather in avellino-near naples.went back to my 2nd gg,but that only went back to the beginning of civil registration(1809)and i couldnt go any further back with parish records,as i didnt know the parishes and priests rarely if ever respond to letters,that ended there.but no ignoti.in messina sicily,my grandmothers birthplace,she was born ignoti-and the wetnurse who informally adopted her and whom i researched in place of my grandmothers natural mother,had a grandmother who was born ignoti.so effectively my paternal grandmothers lines ended,couldnt at least have hit the dreaded ignoti until my 2nd or 3rd gg-had to lose my lines at my grandmother.thats only 2 generations from me.and as i scanned the birth records in barcellona pg messina it seemed every few births were children born ignoti.thats not coincidence or just bad luck.as i said,this is epedemic in sicily,if not in other parts of italy.no idea how anyone there,with both the double whammy of ignoti and the inaccessibility of parish information can go any further back than a grandmother or great grandmother.i've heard of success stories like that-but in my 20 years of research never personally met anyone searching in this area with any great degree of success.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby jennabet » 22 Feb 2015, 17:54

mezzogiorno62 wrote:no idea where in italy youre researching.but sicily is rampant.the worst part of italy for ignoti genitori. went back to my 2nd gg,but that only went back to the beginning of civil registration(1809)and i couldnt go any further back with parish records,as i didnt know the parishes and priests rarely if ever respond to letters


Some people in Italy, particularly in rural areas and/or small paese, for example hilltowns, like to make jokes about: "Half the children in this town were fathered by the priests". Sadly, it's probably not much of a joke at all. If women found themselves pregnant as the result of having had affairs with members of the clergy, they were often required to give birth anonymously, causing the true bloodline on both sides of a baby born with ignoti genitori to be lost forever.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 22 Feb 2015, 18:13

whatever the reasons,in 20 years of italian research,i find sicily the worst.maybe because of the poverty.it just seems like every other birth there was ignoti genitori.i've read the records.its terrible.unfortunately i cant get past my paternal grandmother.even if i could have gotten back another generation or two.but not even knowing my great grandparents identities makes my ancestral chart look terrible.and thats only 5 generations.the moral system of the day dod no one any favors-either the children themselves or future genealogists.all this system did was protect the father of the child,as the woman was obviously stigmatized in every possible way.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby MaurizioPerrone » 06 Mar 2015, 15:48

Anizio wrote:… but genetics is not genealogy. Genealogy is records, there is nothing in terms of DNA that can help you. In my opinion, too many people rely on DNA in their genealogy - they are two different things.


This statement needs some clarity. Although "genetics" and "genealogy" are not the same thing, we happen to live in an era where "genetic genealogy" is beginning to offer some new avenues to enhance our traditional research methods.

Notice I said "enhance," not "replace." The study of one's genealogy will always require a careful analysis of a variety of documentation.

There are experts on the topic that can better illustrate my point, but I believe all researchers today should already know that, for example, in the case of adoptees, or those who for a variety of reasons may have unknown ancestry, genetic genealogy (DNA) used in conjunction with various record sources has already helped many people find their biological families. To say that "my father was illegitimate, but my aunt always said his father was Mr. Rossi" is merely hearsay and can't be proven no matter how many "records" one finds. But the same statement in conjunction with a close DNA match to Mr. Rossi's immediate family members becomes suggestive …

On the other hand, there are those with well-documented genealogies who take the DNA test and find they are not biologically related to certain relatives at all. The message boards over at the big DNA genealogy site are full of stories of folks who took the test and found that their father was not the man who was married to their mother (etc.). Caveat emptor!

For the fellow who started this thread, a DNA match to a documented descendant of the wet-nurse who raised your grandmother is also suggestive and should be pursued. You may already know that the "5th to 8th cousin" designation is merely an attempt to translate the amount of shared DNA to the average degree of relationship that amount of shared DNA usually indicates. One can often be more (or less) closely related in genealogical terms.

Now just how you pursue a suggested connection with this new DNA information is another story, but if you can find more descendants of the family of the wet-nurse who are willing to have their DNA tested, I think you may be able to make some discoveries.

In bocca al lupo!

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 06 Mar 2015, 16:32

my paternal grandmother was the surrogate daughter of the wetnurse.i've been in contact with the family of the wetnurse.we're both on ancestry dna.his great grandfather is the natural son of the wetnurse,and theoretically my grandmothers "adoptive" brother.according to the dna tests we are 5th-8th cousins,which is very distant as our connection isn't that far back.only a couple of generations.i would have thought,with a confirmed blood connection not going that far back,that our relationship would have been closer.the wetnurse was,in all probability,not my grandmothers natural mother,but maybe an aunt or cousin or some other family member.but as i said,genealogy is not genetics,so theres no way to determine just what the connection is.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby MaurizioPerrone » 06 Mar 2015, 18:53

mezzogiorno62 wrote:the wetnurse was,in all probability,not my grandmothers natural mother,but maybe an aunt or cousin or some other family member.but as i said,genealogy is not genetics,so theres no way to determine just what the connection is.


The difference between the definition of "genealogy" and "genetics" really has nothing to do with what we're talking about. But both play a part in what genetic/DNA genealogy is able to do.

Others who have had remarkable success through DNA testing and analysis among various relatives might disagree that there is "no way" to determine a connection. It's not guaranteed (and I realize also not always possible), but by testing a variety of relatives of the wet-nurse you may be able to greatly narrow down the relationship.

I also realize you know this, but to clarify my point; a DNA test kit does not claim to be able to trace one's family tree (and of course, as you know, it cannot on its own). However, when used properly it does have a rather unique ability to reasonably confirm what the paper trail says … or to provide clues when the paper trail is uncertain or unknown. It also has the potential to turn our perfectly documented family tree upside down.

The science behind what genetic genealogy can currently do is evolving, and I suspect there will be advances over time that will greatly enhance its capabilities. Who knows?

In your case, you have found one match to a relative of your grandmother's wet-nurse who seems to be related genetically to you. With the cooperation of other relatives of the wet-nurse (and a willingness to submit to a DNA kit), you have much more you could potentially learn from this information.

One observation: if the genetic match you found was to a great-grandson of the wet-nurse who raised your grandmother, and assuming your grandmother was also a daughter of this same wet-nurse, you and your match would be 2nd cousins 1X removed … or possibly half 2nd cousins 1X removed. I'm assuming you've perused various autosomal DNA sites to gauge the range of potential of shared centiMorgans at this level of relatedness? I think you might be surprised. Also, have you tried uploading both of your results to GedMatch for comparison?

In any event, I wish you the very best of luck as you continue your search!

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 06 Mar 2015, 21:12

thank you.so far i only have this one link to compare dna with.wish there were more.this is why i don't believe the wetnurse was my grandmothers natural mother,as the relationship would be much closer than 5th-8th cousins.i know that if a couple were not married civilly but only in a church ceremony the child could actually be considered"illegitimate" or ignoti genitori as my grandmother was.i don't believe the wetnurse,maria bonarrigo,was even married to her"husband"francesco landino,as in the birth record of their second child,a daughter,they were noted as"non conjugale"or not married.that means that even if this couple were the natural parents of my grandmother(highly unlikely)the wetnurse,although the natural mother,would be wetnursing her own child without being able to claim her as such.very odd these southern italian customs of acceptance.as i said,although it happened all over italy,it was particularly bad in the south and sicily,where my grandmother was born(barcellona pg messina 1883).

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby carubia » 31 Mar 2015, 06:46

I did a study of all the births in one medium-sized (about 5000 people at the time) comune in Sicily for the 1st half of the 19th c. (1821 to 1865 completely indexed so far, but I've looked through the other years up to 1929 as well), in a province, Agrigento, that might be the poorest in all of Italy. About 5% of the children were born to unreported fathers, even including the cases where the mother was known, so I think you're exaggerating the incidence of parenti ignoti.

As for your original post, it's already 4 generations from the other person to your GM's wetnurse, so if you share a common ancestor 6 generations back (5th cousins), then it might have been as recent as the wetnurse's grandparent.

Then again, in a small comune, almost everybody is probably related if you go back 9 generations (8th cousins). But Barcellona P.G. is not that small.

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Re: re:dna test results

Postby mezzogiorno62 » 31 Mar 2015, 07:20

my research is primarily in messina and avellino,the provinces of origin of my paternal grandparents.barcellona pozzo di gotto messina,a fairly large comune and my paternal grandmothers birthplace, does have an extremely high incident rate of ignoti genitori,my grandmother being just one of many-yet luogosano avellino, the birthplace of my paternal grandfather and a tiny comune in one of the poorest areas of southern italy,reveals no high rate of ignoti genitori there.not 1 incident found in my grandfathers lines as opposed to my grandmothers lines.possibly this problem has more to do with local social customs than poverty.i've been researching these areas for nearly 20 years.maybe ignoti genitori is just simply more prevalent in sicily than in other areas of italy.


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