Autosomal DNA: WOW!

Autosomal DNA is good stuff! If you are doing genealogical research and have not yet done an autosomal test, you are missing out on the best resource of the 21st century. And my recommendation is pretty specific: Have your test done at ancestryDOTcom. Why? Because it has the biggest database around, and what you are hunting for with autosomal DNA testing are DNA matches — people with whom you share DNA.

Two days ago, a new match popped for me at ancestryDOTcom: A female. The photo showed a young woman, and she said she lived in San Antonio, Texas. We share 34 centimorgans (cM) of DNA across three segments. And we have 26 shared matches. Of those 26, twenty-two are positively identified. Four descend from my HUFFORD/CRIPE ancestors. Ten descend from the next generation up — my HUFFORD/PLANK ancestors. Six descend from the next generation above that: my HOFFERT/STIHLI ancestors. And two are from my CRIPE/DANIELS ancestors (intermarried with my HUFFORD/PLANK ancestor). The four who are unidentified are obvious — but unknown — HUFFORD descendants.

That told me that my new DNA match descended from Abraham HUFFORD (son of Casper, son of Christian) and his wife Elizabeth PLANK.

And the CRIPE/DANIELS info told me that my new DNA match almost certainly descended from one of two children of Abraham Hufford and Elizabeth Plank — either from their son John or from their daughter Margaret Rebecca.

How could I tell that? Because son John married a CRIPE and daughter Margaret Rebecca married a Cripe.

The DNA said that, absolutely, the descent had to be from the Hufford/Plank couple, and the DNA also made clear that the descent could not be from my ancestor (son Andrew). Instead, the descent had to be from a sibling of my ancestor Andrew. And that dose of CRIPE ancestry pointed to Andrew’s siblings John or Margaret Rebecca.

Only 34 cM of DNA shared, and I knew all of that less than 30 seconds after looking at the DNA matches. To give you an idea of how small a 34-cM share is, consider that a parent and child share 3,400 cM; that first cousins share 850 cM (on average); that second cousins share 212 cM.

I made contact with the young lady, wondering if she knew who her HUFFORD ancestor was. She had no idea. She thinks of herself as a “southerner” but remembered hearing that there were some Hoosier ancestors on her father’s side. She didn’t know much about them. Some basic looking found those ancestors in Porter County, Indiana, a place that was not home to many HUFFORD/PLANK descendants. “Home” for Hufford/Plank folks would be Carroll County, Clinton County, or Tippecanoe County. But I looked. And I found no connection.

Then I began searching on her mother’s side. After some difficulties because of multiple marriages and early maternal deaths, a name popped: Ida FISHEL. And I remembered another puzzle that I’d solved back in 2016:

Ida Fishel is named on page 61 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY. However, the editor of the book made a slight goof: He spelled the surname “Fisher.”

If the autosomal DNA says that you are a HUFFORD descendant, believe it!