Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Spelling and DNA

Here's some exciting news, or seemingly so! I am a member of ancestry and took their autosomal dna test awhile ago, but I haven't checked on my matches for a long time. When I did so today, I realized that I have never searched for matches with those who have the surname spelling of SOMERS in their family tree. The surname spelling used by my Freistett Sommer family in America became almost immediately SUMMERS (at least in my branch), although some of the early generations kept the German spelling of SOMMER. But the Canadian spelling eventually became SOMERS, so I wondered if a match might appear between me and somebody with the name Somers in their family tree.

There were 9 matches between me and people who have the surname Somers in their family tree.  Of those, 2 have their family tree locked or unavailable, and of the other 7, one was a descendant of both Anna Catharina Sommer (m. CHAPPELL) and Eva (Magdalena or Salome/Sarah, m. ALLEN), both daughters of Mathias and Christiana! The possible range of this match is 5th-8th cousins, which is exactly right if the common ancestors between Canadian and American Sommer's are Matthias Sommer and Anna Barbara Hubscher of Freistett. Looking more through the family tree of this dna match (a female, btw), most families listed are Canadian going way back, and mostly in New Brunswick. I don't see any other way I could be related to this person except through the Sommer family of Freistett.  Pretty cool, eh?

Two main lessons in this episode:  One. Even though I have taken the autosomal dna test, I have found that it helps my paper genealogy almost not at all. But now I have new respect, especially seeing that the DNA of females does indeed matter to establishing family connections. Two. I've always known that the spelling of surnames can be and often is all over the place, especially the farther back you go. I wasn't, however, remembering that consideration when reviewing DNA matches. It's more work to check every alternative spelling, but if you have some awareness of geographical regions and the married names of your female ancestors, you might recognize and confirm some previously elusive connections.

1 comment:

  1. Now that I've discovered this method, I'm having a little fun with it. Just discovered another match (this time, a male) who descends from the Canadian Sommer females. These matches go a long way in confirming the other recent evidence that Mathias Sommer was of Freistett.