I have an autosomal match of 1125 centimorgans with largest cm of 128 and a X dna match of 108 with largest cm of 67. 1 8 generations apart.

The lady I match to was adopted and knows nothing of her biological family.

I know we match on my fathers side because my mother and her share no dna.

My father died when I was 8 years old and his parents before I was born. I know very little about my fathers side of the family.

I was hoping you could help me understand how her and I might be related. The amount of centimorgans we have in common suggest we are first cousins or she is my half aunt. She was born 12 years before my father if that matters. Also she shows dna matches with distant relatives on both my paternal grandparents side.

What are the possibilities for our relationship?

Also when you have a x dna match does that mean my paternal grandmother is a direct match to her or could it also be from a sister of my paternal grandmother?

2 Answers 2


Congratulations on such a strong match. You and this woman are close family.

She is not your grandmother. The cM total is out of range, the age difference is unlikely, and she would know if she had a child that was raised by someone other than her.

She could easily be the full sibling of one of your father's parents. That's your great aunt. While many people who were given up for adoption turn out to be the half siblings of other children either of their birth parents had, it is not uncommon for a full sibling to be given away for adoption (or taken away from the family, or lost, or even switched at birth, though that one is fairly rare). Sometimes this happens under severe financial distress.

She can also be your father's half sister, your half aunt. With a 12 year difference between them, this is just as possible as being your great aunt. If this is the case, then your father and her would share a mother (not a father). Why? Because your father did not get any part of the X chromosome from his father and therefore could not have passed it down to you, his daughter. Your match would have gotten X from both of her parents.

If she is your half aunt, you can imagine that your grandmother had a child young, probably out of wedlock, gave her up for adoption, then went on to marry and have other children, including your father. This is a possible scenario and far from the only one.

The only other possibility given the numbers is that this match is your first cousin. This one is a lot less likely because there is a 30-40 year age difference between you. When you say "she was born 12 years before my father if that matters," the answer is that it does matter and I'm really glad you gave that bit of information. It doesn't eliminate the possibility of first cousin, but it makes it almost impossible.

In this case, your match would be the daughter of one of your father's full siblings (could be either a sister or a brother). This could only happen if your grandmother had one child very young and then had your father when she was much older, with the same man. This happens. Imagine your father's much older sister having a baby as a teenager and giving her up for adoption (or his much older brother impregnating a girl as a teen and either giving the baby up or not even knowing there was a baby).

Your next step is to find other cousins to test and see if they match her, and how strongly.

At the same time, take the step of working the paper genealogy. While she doesn't have a birth certificate stating her biological parents (though these are not impossible to find), she will know where she was born and adopted from, which religious organization (if any) was involved, and a few other facts that can help you narrow things down. I recommend as well that she get a search angel, which is a volunteer who helps adoptees find their birth families. Depending on which state she was born in and adopted from, it can be possible to find documents.


At 1,125 centiMorgans shared, the The Shared cM Project 3.0 tool v4 suggests these relationship probabilities:

  • 96.95%

Great-Grandparent / Great-Aunt / Great-Uncle / Half Aunt / Half Uncle / 1st Cousin / Half Niece / Half Nephew / Great-Niece / Great-Nephew / Great-Grandchild

  • 3.05%

Half Sibling / Grandparent / Grandchild / Aunt / Uncle / Niece / Nephew

I suggest starting by ruling a line through any that would not apply. Since you refer to her as a lady I have started by striking out those that only apply to males. You could perhaps use your age difference to rule out a few more.

  • Can't you eliminate some more relationships based on the X-DNA match? Oct 23, 2018 at 19:30
  • @EllenSpertus My experience is with autosomal DNA only, and I'm not much more than a novice with that. Feel free to add a separate answer that adds to or complements mine.
    – PolyGeo
    Oct 23, 2018 at 19:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.