Michelle’s Story – Why Don’t I Match my Paternal Cousins who Tested?

Back Story

Michelle explained that her husband and children gave her the test as a 50th birthday gift, as there had been much investigation into his side of the family since the holidays, when I worked with them to find his biological grandparents. She was happy to receive the kit, and thought it would be great to learn more, as both of her parents had passed many years ago.

The results came in on Monday afternoon, and by that evening she reached out to me.  She explained that several of her paternal cousins tested, but she did not match any of them. We discussed the possibility of an NPE (not parent expected). My work began the next morning.

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Taking a First Look

She was able to provide me with information on her maternal matches, eliminating them from the scope of my work.  There were many distant cousins listed in her matches, and only one, close family match.  This person was listed as a potential first-to-second cousin. That alone was huge. Their common ancestors could either be grandparents or great-grandparents.

I sorted the matches into two groups. Then focused on the closest match and built out a family tree.  Not knowing if it was the paternal or maternal side of this match, I had to work up both sides.  There were several aunts that I looked into.  I was able to determine from their common matches, that this was the matches’ maternal side.  There were 3 male first cousins that could be her biological father.

Putting the Pieces Together

Now it was time to look at the other group of distant matches to see if any of them linked to the paternal line of each of the three possibilities.

There had to be more connections before I could narrow this down to a result, so I started to go back several generations to what would ultimately be Michelle’s Great-Great-Great Grandparents.  Moving back down from here, I was able to verify 3 additional matches that tied into this very large family.  Later I confirmed, this was her biological father’s paternal line.


I was then able to build out the maternal line and tie 2 more maternal cousins into this family.  There was only one possible conclusion.  It could only be a male child from one couple.  This couple was Michelle’s biological grandparents. They only had one son, her biological father.

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