FTDNA Family Finder results

The report from my Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) autosomal test arrived in an email announcing “New Family Finder Results.” The message went on to explain:

Family Finder uses autosomal DNA to connect you with relatives descended from any of your ancestral lines in approximately the most recent five to six generations. The myOrigins tool also provides analysis of your ethnic percentages.

The principal reason I purchased an autosomal test kit was curiosity about distant cousins. Would I be able to connect with relatives through the test results?

The Family Finder matches appeared very promising. The top name on the report predicted a 1st-3rd cousin relationship range with 359 shared centimorgans and a longest block of 57. I recognized the surname, Griswold, and not just because of the National Lampoon movie series which starred Chevy Chase.

One of my maternal grandmother’s sisters had married a man named Griswold. My mom used to talk about her Griswold cousins.  A closer look at the family tree shows Mom had ten Griswold first cousins, born between 1895 and 1920. Consequently it seems likely the Family Finder match person is no closer to me than second cousin or second cousin once removed. I promptly sent an email message introducing myself but haven’t received a response yet.

I had lower expectations about the report showing my ethnic makeup. Nonetheless I was a little disappointed. The myOrigins tool indicated my ancestors were 100% European (not a surprise); 58% from Western/Central Europe and 42% from Scandinavia. Scandinavia?? My mother was 100% Dutch! (Or to be more specific, half-Dutch and half-Frisian, but I certainly didn’t expect myOrigins to be that detailed.)

Digging a little further into the FTDNA user guide, I found “myOrigins Methodology Whitepaper” including a table of 36 reference populations (Armenian to Yoruba). No Netherlanders listed. The Norwegians, Swedes, Danes and Finns were all referenced there but no Dutch. Does that mean the area currently encompassing the Netherlands was populated by the Vikings?

As always, a new fact prompts more reading and research.

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