My husband and I recently did AncestryDNA. He came back with a DNA match (shared with his mother) that simply says "close relative". He has no idea who this person is, and his mother claims she's never heard of him.

The person in question does not have a tree, and it appears they haven't logged on to Ancestry for more than a year, so I don't hold out hope for an answer to messages.

That said, any ideas on possible relationship?

I am new to DNA testing and interpretation of its results.

  • When you say "shared with his mother," do you mean merely that your husband informed his mother of his match with this unknown person, or do you mean that your husband's mother also has a DNA match with this unknown person?
    – shoover
    Commented Feb 13, 2021 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


The Shared cM Project 4.0 tool v4 suggests these relationships for a match of 1,501cM:

  • 99%: Grandparent Aunt/Uncle, Half Sibling, Niece/Nephew, Grandchild
  • 1%*: Great-Grandparent, Great-Grandchild, Half Aunt/Uncle, Half Niece/Nephew, Great-Aunt/Uncle, Great-Niece/Nephew, First Cousin

* this set of relationships has a positive probability for 1501cM in thednageek's table of probabilities, but falls outside the bounds of the shared cM project (99th percentile)

If you know the age of this match then you can probably rule out some of those possibilities.

  • There should be a FAQ for this group that includes "check the shared cM tool" for all DNA-related questions, especially those of the "what does NNN matching cM mean?" type.
    – cleaverkin
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 19:07
  • @cleaverkin I was about to write one as a self-answered question when I found it had already been done.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 4:15

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