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I had a client who felt I was an idiot and not qualified to be a genealogist because the records I found did not agree with her DNA results. What she meant was my findings did not agree with how she thought she fit into the Ancestry trees of her DNA matches.

DNA is great for proving a blood relationship and I’ve had fun reaching out to cousins I didn’t know and sharing photos and stories, but DNA results don’t equal a family tree.

For example, in my DNA results, I have a C.M. who is a “Close Family -1st Cousin.” My parents are only children so I cannot have a 1st cousin. However, the DNA does not lie.  Did one of my parents have a sibling they didn’t know about? I reached out to C.M. and she told me she was the child of my biological father. I was not surprised since the affair was a factor in my parent’s divorce, and I knew I had a half-sibling.

C.M. knew her biological father was David M. and his mother was Barbara M. living on Long Island, New York.

Unbelievably, there were two Barbara M.s living in the right place at the right time and C.M. picked the wrong one. Her Ancestry tree had the right name, Barbara M., but the wrong husband, the wrong parents, etc. I knew both Barbara M. and her mother. I had visited with them often, heard the family stories, and inherited the family documents. I am confident I have the correct Barbara M. in my Ancestry tree and I have the sources to support that conclusion.

So the DNA is correct, C.M. and I are close blood relations, but we don’t have DNA tests for David M. or the two Barbara M.s and we have to turn to the documentation to prove the relationships.  The results are only as good as the research.

This is why I told my client to request a Stato di Famiglia from the town, which would either confirm my findings or prove I am an idiot.