Having exhausted all avenues for my four closest matches, I turned to the next closest – the 3rd – 5th cousin matches. There were 17 of these.
At first I found this a bit daunting, then I discovered the ‘In Common With’ option.
As I understand it, if I have a match with two people, and they have a match with each other, this will show as an ‘In Common With’ match.
Their match may not be my match. This happens in smaller communities such as the Australian colonies where there were only so many families around. It actually took me a week or so to figure this out. But having done so, I could use the chromosome browser to see if we matched on the same segment. For every segment, I can only have two distinct matches, one on my father’s side and one on my mother’s side. If I match two people on the same segment but they don’t match each other, then they must be matches on my different sides. It seems so simple!
Actually, it really is that simple. What makes it hard is when you have no guide marks to work with. 21 pages of matches at 10 matches a page = 210 matches. How on earth could I have 210 matches and not find a single common ancestor? I was beginning to wonder if I was adopted. Either that or I’m just really really bad at genealogy.
First of all, I finally found a match who shared a surname with me. In fact, he shared two surnames, Waller and Warren.
In my tree, Martha Waller was the wife of John Dunstall. She was born in 1822, the daughter of soldier Michael Waller, and she married John Dunstall in 1839. They then emigrated to South Australia on the Lalla Rookh arriving in 1840, accompanied by Martha’s fifteen year old brother William Michael Waller.
This lady is another brick wall for me. There is a book about the Dunstalls called ‘The Dunstall Road to South Australia’ researched and published by a group of Dunstall descendants who did a truly excellent job. I refer to the book often. In this book is a print of John and Martha’s marriage certificate which has saved me from purchasing it. The book also gives Martha a birthdate, October 9th 1822 but no location is given for her birth. I have been unable to find any record for a Martha Waller born on this date. I have, however, found a Martha Waller born in India on 9th Dec 1822, child of Michael and Ann Waller at the British military barracks in Meerut, India. This one seems eminently likely but does not explain the date in the book. I have not heard back from the publishers of that book and suspect it is too long after the print date to get in touch.
After a possible contact for Annie McLeod I had some hopes for a Martha Waller hint too.
My Warren connection is a family in Cork, Ireland back in the 17th century. Wallis Warren arrived in Ireland with Cromwell’s army or shortly after and settled on land with his family. He married Elizabeth Knolles and they had, amongst other children, a daughter Anne born around 1680. Anne married Richard Gumbleton and they settled in Ballygarron in Cork. This line eventually descends to my maternal grandmother, while Martha Waller descends to my maternal grandfather.
I sent off my email and looked further.
Next I spotted three matches who all showed a common surname McNeal and a common location of Prince Edward Island. These guys had a match in common with each other and also with Cecilia Williams, my adoptee 2nd-4th cousin. I sent an email to the lady who managed all three profiles, although I could not match a single one of the names.
Only three others had gedcoms attached and I perused carefully. There was no common name at all, not between myself and their famiilies, not between any of them and each other. All three however had a location of Virginia somewhere in their tree. I didn’t email them at all. If my 2nd cousin match looked like being a 5th cousin match, then chances were these were actually 8th cousin matches and I just didn’t have my tree out far enough.
So I went back to extending my branches to see if I could improve the odds and actually make a connection.