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I've recently made contact with a DNA match I found on myheritage.com.

The match is shown as:

  • Estimated relationships: 1st cousin twice removed - 3rd cousin once removed

  • DNA Match quality: 1.3% (93.0‎ cM)

  • Shared DNA: 6 Shared segments 34.2‎ cM Largest segment

There are only three matches on myheritage.com shared by myself and my contact: my three full-sisters (who each share between 0.7% and 1.3% of the matches DNA). My contact does not match my maternal half-sister, which suggests (I'm open to correction) that the match is on my father's side of the family.

The ISOGG Automsomal DNA Statistics page indicate that our shared ancestor is somewhere at the level of a great-grandparent or great-great grandparent. Interestingly, we have great-grandparents who share the same name and come from the same area of the country at about the same period: James Harper from Dudley. There are no other possible matches in our trees, although we both have some gaps to fill.

I have accounts (with DNA data) on FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, Ancestry and Gedmatch as well as MyHeritage, however my contact is unwilling to transfer their DNA results to Gedmatch or FamilyTreeDNA, so I can't explore common matches at those other sites. They have only recently started researching their family history and don't have sources for their work.

As this could potentially break down a longstanding brick wall for me, I'm keen to explore the match as much as I can. What options exist for me to investigate further?

Note : I have only one known living relative on my father's side and he has already declined to take a test. I have other matches at other sites that may be on my father's side, but we have not been able to confirm that for certain or identify wherre it might be.

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Since you can't get your contact to upload their DNA to Gedmatch or FamilyTreeDNA, could you ask some of the people you match with on your father's side on those other sites to upload their DNA to MyHeritage? Then you could find out how well your contact matches those other tests.

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In addition to Dallan's answer, this could indicate that James Harper from Dudley is your common ancestor. Are you able to see other DNA matches that you have in common with this match (such as the "shared matches" feature on Ancestry.com) and see if James Harper from Dudley comes up in any of their trees also? It's hard to know for sure without being able to accomplish triangulation (shared DNA segments of three people from separate lines with the same person in their tree and good sources) because anyone could make a mistake when filling out their tree.

One thing you can do is study the downlines of the ancestor and your downlines of the ancestor and see if they seem to make sense. Does the family migration patterns and timelines of the two branches make sense? Do they have similar work trades and class indicators, such as number of children? Are the names and birth places congruent? Are the spouses part of the same close nit communities and families? Or do you have all of James Harper's children being born in one place, such as Ireland, and then this DNA match has their downline who they attribute to being James' child as being born in, say, Kansas. If it's really important to me, I'll go as far as re-researching their connection to the tree to see if I can find good sources or not and confirm that their line does in fact merge into my line through that ancestor (making the assumption that they got their grandparents and even great grand parents correct).

Summary: without DNA triangulation, you have to get a feel for the culture and congruency of the family downlines from you to your match and try to find another common DNA match between you and your match to see if they have the ancestor in their tree too.

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