Reverse Engineering Someone Else’s Tree


Have you ever check out someone’s DNA tree and thought….. this isn’t a tree it’s a sapling. It’s hard to figure out your connected if they are your third cousin and they only have a bit of information and if they are fourth cousins forget it.  So what do you do?

You get out your tree program or a piece of paper and start gathering  the information they do have and start building a tree . As I’ve mentioned before the tree view on Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) could use some work. Your connection may not be familiar with how to create and upload a gedcom file or they may have done it manually. Also if you think about it if they are your 3rd cousin that means you have a common 2x great grandparent. If you do the math that means they would need to have all 16 of those  2x great grandparents.  That’s a lot.. and as I said if they are a 4th cousin.. now were talking about 32  3x great grandparents.

In the case of Ancestry sometimes you have matches and the person has their tree marked as private so that won’t help you at all.  I know people are hesitant about opening up their tree but if you want your DNA to work for you then you will probably have to open up your tree. If your really concerned you can always create a tree with limited details and attach that to your DNA and then have another private tree with all your research.

Whatever the reason for your cousins lack of tree or lack of branches you might just want to at least ask the question.  After all isn’t it all about finding other family members?


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