I have many DNA connections on Ancestry, I come from the Mormon genealogy on my maternal side, one great great uncle had 2 wives and 27 children! (Taylor line) Of all my connections on Ancestry I'm perplexed by a very close DNA relation I'll call 'Jane', whose listed between my half brother and half niece, so she's a very close connection, our cm number is 1142. I'm ready to hire a professional, but looking into it the cost is prohibitive.

Jane and I have been talking for several years now trying to figure it out. She has a complex background. She was not raised by her parents, her birth certificate lists the name of a father who she only met twice, he's long gone now. She doesn't have a lot of known family connections, all those she knows are on her mom's side, but her mom was not a straightforward lady in her stories and gave her away as a toddler to a couple she didn't know, to be raised.

She's about 18 yrs older than me, about 4 yrs younger than my dad, and connected on my father's side somehow. Our 'families' are from the West Coast/Northwest areas.

My dad does not know his biological father, so we have a gap, but with the close DNA connection to me it seems like she is either half sister to my dad, or 1st cousin is a second obvious match. But there are no matching names in her known tree (which is very lopsided and in question of accuracy with it being mostly through her mom, of what she knows) or mine, and of course I don't know my paternal side to know what names to look for.

What is the best way to find our connection?

I've tried doing surname searches in our trees, there's a small group of people we share DNA with, none of them are known to either of us. I've been looking on the Internet for tips on finding the connection.

I feel like this is an impossible situation, yet we're so closely related it seems it should be obvious, or easy. Unfortunately, it seems secrets, adoptions, lies and so forth are the most common thing we share with our ancestors.

1 Answer 1


The short answer: The DNA results tell you that you and 'Jane' are related, but you are going to need to do some paper chasing to get answers.

The longer answer: DNA Painter's shared cM project suggests a 96% probability that 1142 shared cM indicates a half Aunt/half nephew, or 1st cousin relationship (excluding Great Grandparent or Great Aunt because of your ages).

So work from either of those two possibilities, and start with what you know. Jane does have a birth certificate with a father's name on it. He could be your father's unknown father. Find out everything you can about him: census records, newspapers, birth, marriage & death records, his extended family. Build a picture of his life, and see if it could have intersected with your father's mother's at some point.

If you and Jane were full 1st-cousins, her biological mother would have to be your full Aunt (or her bio Dad your full Uncle). Are either of those scenarios possible? Could Jane's mother have been an older full-sister (or her father a full-brother) to either your mother or father, unbeknownst to them? It does seem unlikely, but you'll need to research her mother's life as well to rule this in or out.

My guess is that Jane is your half-Aunt. But without the primary record paper-trail to back up the DNA story, it will remain a guess.

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.