Thursday, October 19, 2017


4th cousin
Here’s how it happened a couple of weeks ago.  I received a message on my Ancestry account from a cousin, I’ll call “J.”  Here is her message to me:

“You came up as a DNA match for me . Would you be interested in linking family trees? I am related to Hunter & Frampton.”

I wrote back and said that I would be very interesting in exchanging information.  My Hunter and Frampton lines are direct ancestors, so a connection is always good news.

Next, I went to my DNA matches on Ancestry and immediately began looking for this match. 

Here is what I found.

I’m only showing a portion of the pedigree in order to protect privacy.
My match is on the left hand side and J’s match is on the right.  So, we are connected via my 3rd great grandparents Isaac C. Hunter and his wife Emily Gillen.  I have no contact with any of their descendants so this was BIG news!

Ancestry match to Janelle

You’ll notice the name John E. Hunter on the right hand side.  I have never been able to find out information about that descendant of Issac & Emily.  He was a brother to my 2nd great grandfather James Gillen Hunter. 

TIP: Whenever, I look at someone’s match on Ancestry, I make a note in the “Add Note” portion of the DNA page.  I note how many centimorgens and any other possible, such as what part of the family they may be from, maternal, paternal etc.  That way the next time you review this person you will already have some information.  I learned this tip from another researcher.  Thank you Carol.

Ancestry match to Janelle-1

Now, 22 cm’s is not a lot.  Considering the small amount of DNA passed between 4th to 6th cousins, it’s lucky there is any match.  Having said that, she did not match either my brother or my maternal half brother.  She does match my Mom at 25.4 cm's.  
J's connection to me is 4th cousin once removed.

We chatted back & forth and armed with new information, I was able to learn more about John E. Hunter.  I learned that he’d been married and had a son, from whom this cousin descended.  The bigger thing I learned was that he served during the Civil War and there was a pension file for him.

I requested a copy of the pension file the next day.  Having received four other pension files, I know the worth of the information contained in those files.  I use Twisted Twigs to order pension files.  It’s much faster than ordering directly from NARA and also less expensive.  (Disclaimer – I have no association with Twisted Twigs nor do I gain any remuneration from mentioning the service, nor can I guarantee your satisfaction) 

I received the 111 page pension file for Lottie R. Hunter, widow of John E. Hunter a few days later.  I am currently going through the pension file, page by page and making notes, as I usually do.
Corporal John E. Hunter was a prisoner of war for a short time and he also received a gunshot wound to his shoulder, during his service.  He didn’t live very long after the war, dying at age 28.


How important is all the DNA testing many of us are participating in?  VERY!!!

I’d like to hear your stories of connections made through DNA.  Share them with me in a comment or on your own blog and leave a link in the comments.
As always….Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2017 Diane Gould Hall


  1. Excellent blog. Are you back in the blog saddle yet?

    Is this in your mother's line? If so, how do you get 22 cM with J and your mother doesn't? That makes no sense - your mother should have as much or more DNA with J. Please double check your mother's matches again for J.

    1. Yes, Randy, I believe I'm finally back. Yeah! I missed blogging. You are correct and someone else just pointed out my error as well. I misspoke. Not sure what I was thinking. My Mom is not on Ancestry as all the rest of us are. Just checked on GedMatch and she and the cousin share at just slightly more than I do with the cousin. Making the correction right now.

    2. And thanks Randy, for the compliment. I've just made the correction.

  2. Sounds like you have some great blogging material in the pension file. Congrats on the cousin connection. I wrote about 6 things I add to the notes on Ancestry last October and it is still one of the most viewed pieces. Early on I realized I was running out of room when I copy/pasted info. For the amount of centimorgans shared I've shortened it to 22.5 cMs 2 segs. cMs is the only word used in all notes and will bring up a complete list of matches with notes using the Chrome AncestryDNA Helper extension.

    Welcome back!

    1. Quiet for a while and now you can't shut me up Cathy. LOL! I don't think they give us enough room in the notes section on Ancestry DNA.
      Like you, I've shortened everything. I did not know about an AncestryDNA Helper extension. That would be extremely useful as opposed to clicking and looking at each match. Thanks for the tip.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.