Friday, January 1, 2021

New Family Discoveries 2020

John B. Kendall, the brother of Polly Kendall (Luther's mother), moved to California after the gold rush began. He appears in the census in 1860 in Nevada City as a "miner", but later served as a Justice of the Peace, working in the courthouse on Pine St.


Nevada City about 1856, when John may have arrived; photo by Julia Ann Rudolph (c. 1820-c. 1900).

I made some progress in reconstructing the family of Henry Stickel and his wife Eva, including tentatively identifying descendants of their son Nicholas (a Harriet Stigler married to Joseph Leander Smith) and their daughter Polly, who may have had a son John Smith who first married Margaret Slaughter (a daughter of our ancestor Frederick Slaughter and his wife Katherine Stickel, Polly's sister) and secondly married Sarah Botts. All of them are listed in the Salem Baptist Church records in Guernsey County, Ohio.

I also found that Eva may have a connection (shared DNA segments) to the family of Leaner Fry Morgan and Enoch Fry, both of of Fauquier County Virginia. Perhaps her maiden name was Fry.

Leaner Fry Morgan died June 23, 1859.

On the Slaughter side, it appears that many Slaughters from Chester County, PA ended up in Delaware County, PA, and they may be related to our Philip Slaughter and his presumed father Jacob Slaughter. Jacob left some money to his grandson, also named Jacob. Some of these Delaware county Slaughters may have been his descendants. Some of them were cordwainers like our ancestor Philip Slaughter.

Shoemaker working in the Philadelphia Almshouse during the 1870s in this illustration by Alice Barber Stephens. (Library of Congress)

Finally, we are waiting on DNA results for a descendant of Jesse Kennedy, who seems to have been related to the father of Jackson Long.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Why Mary Bearmore's mother may have been Rachel Crownover

Mary Bearmore's mother has never been explicity identified, but I suspect that she may have been a Rachel Crownover/Covenhoven, a (previously unidentified) daughter of John/Jan Crownover/Covenhoven and his wife. The rationale for identifying her is explained below:

1)  Descendants of Lucretia Long (Yoho), daughter of Mary Bearmore, had identified Lucretia's mother as Rachel Crownover. Oral history from William Jasper Yoho (1858-1947): "Now William Henry was his son and his wife was Luceta (probably Lucretia) Long. She was born in Pennsylvania and came to Ohio with her family when she was six year old. Her father's name was James Long and his wife was Rachel Crownover." Indeed, Lucretia was the daughter of James Long and she did move from Pennsylvania to Ohio with her family before 1830 (she was born in 1823). We know that her mother was not a Crownover, as DNA evidence clearly links the Long descendants to the Bearmores. It seems likely that they simply missed a generation in the oral history.

The death certificate for Lydia (Lida) Long Crownover, according to information from her husband, identified her parents as James Long and Lucy Long.

2) The probate record for Jonathan Bearmore indicates that Lydia Crownover (presumably Lydia Predmore Crownover), was a major creditor of his estate. Apparently he had property in the amount of 11 pounds 13 shillings 1 penny that belonged to her and was sold at the auction of his estate but was not included in the list of articles sold or in the estate inventory. The entry describing the above information is crossed out, but she is listed among the creditors in the final record for the above amount. She seems receive about 1 pound 6 shillings 2 pence worth of wheat and rye grain in the sale; that sale is handwritten in after the other items, along with some leather sold to the Administrator, Benjamin South (brother of Jonathan's wife Keziah).

I have not seen any other records for this Lydia Crownover in Greene County; however, I strongly suspect that she is related to the deceased. Jonathan Bearmore came from Middlesex County, New Jersey about 1797; the Crownovers are from the same place. Most of the creditors appear to be in Greene County in 1798 tax lists, except for Joseph South, who was the father of the deceased’s wife Kezia South (and I note that he was the largest creditor, with Lydia the second largest).Lydia was not directly related to Jonathan's second wife, Keziah South.
Judy Burns noted the following in reviewing the estate records:
"The notes represent a list of debts owed by Jonathan. Number 9 appears to say that he owed Lydia Crownover for the items listed below but that Jonathan sold them in 1797 before he moved from Jersey. The people that he sold them to include two Furmans – Andrew and Archable. I have researched Furmans for almost 20 years and have not seen those given names before. The name Joseph Story rings a bell but I can’t remember from where I recall it. Major South is Keziah’s brother and the debt to him is dated 11/20/1797 and is for furniture and bording? work. Elijah South (another brother) moved to Greene County around the same time that Jonathan did. I imagine they traveled together. He is owed for turnips and two days work. Jonathan also owed William Furman, my gggg grandfather, for wheat, corn, and oats. Those debts would have been accumulated after he arrived in Greene County. Joseph South apparently signed an affidavit making his claim (dated 5/6/1790) against the estate. I wonder if he was trying to retrieve the dowry provided for Keziah. It would be better that the money came back to him than to be used to pay the rest of Jonathan’s debts. The estate record includes payment to Jacob Bowman for tutoring Samuel and Lucrece Bearmore....Jonathan moved to Greene County and appears to have died within a year. It looks like he borrowed a great deal and came to Greene County on a shoestring."
It seems that he might have been selling Lydia's goods after Jonathan moved to PA, perhaps the goods were a dowry from Lydia for his first wife?

3) James Long and Mary Bearmore had the following daughters:

a) Lydia (probably after Lydia Predmore, since the name does not appear among the Longs)

b) Rachel (James' sister, perhaps Mary's mother too?)

c) one or two named Mary (mother)

d) Nancy (possibly named for Nancy Covenhoven, who would have been Mary's aunt if my supposition is correct)

e) Dorcas (James' sister)

f) Lucretia (Mary's sister)

4) I presume that Jonathan Bearmore had two wives, since there's a wide gap between his first three children (George, Mary, and Lucretia, born 1780-1781) and his last two (Joseph b. 1792 and Samuel b. 1790). Also, the latter two are named in the will of Keziah's father, Joseph South as "her two sons" in 1811, while the other three are not mentioned. They would have been 21 or under at that time, so perhaps there were legal reasons for the distinction.

"1811, May 2. South, Joseph, of East Windsor Twsp., Middlesex Co.: will of. Wife, Sarah, use of plantation whereon I live, and moveable estate, for life, after which to be sold. Son, Joseph, tract (70 acres) as heretofore given him, he paying $100. Son, Elisha, $5 Son, Isaac, $120 Grandaughter, Nancy Danser. $20 Residue (after debts are paid), into 13 parts. Sons, Elija and Benjamin, each 2 shares. Interest of 1 share to daughter, Kesiah, and after her death to her two sons, Samuel and Joseph Baremore. Sons, Major and Charles, each 2 shares. Daughters, Mary Danser, Sarah Danser, each 1 share. Grandson, Gill Jewell, 2 shares. Executors---son, Charles, and Abiah Danser*. Witnesses ---Sarah Man, Jas Mershon, Allison Ely, Jr. Proved Jan. 18, 1813 1813 Jan 18. Inventory. $2,173.23; made by Andrew Rowan, Allison Ely. *Sighed by mark. File 10437 L."
Estate records for Joseph mention: "Joseph Baremore for his legacy left in the hands of the deceased...." and "By cash paid to Keziah Baremore."

5) John/Jan Covenhoven's wife has not been clearly identified (see separate post), and his children are not fully identified. There is a gap between the son Thomas (abt. 1764) and daughter Jemima (abt. 1767) that would fit with the expected birth for James's presumed first wife. Ruth Crownover (married to a descendant of theirs) suggested that Rachel might be a child of John and his wife, whom she thought was Mary South. Their children generally went by the name Crownover. She had written that, "John Covenhoven 1719-1778 and Lydia Pridmore left New Jersey in the 1760s for Pennsylvania. The son settled in Huntingdon county with a large family, the father and rest of the family went to Berkeley county, VA in 1772." Note that George Bearmore (Jonathan's father) lived in Fauquier Virginia for in the late 1700s before relocating to South Carolina.

6) I have found autosomal DNA matches with descendants of John Covenhoven and Lydia Predmore; most common among these are descendants of Joseph Crownover who married Sally Prigmore, who as a relative of Lydia's (and therefore likely their descendants would carry more DNA from the John and Lydia pairing).

Combined, I believe this information supports the hypothesis, although DNA testing would be extremely useful to validate it.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kennedy Family Connections Part 3

Here’s an update on the search for Kennedy connections. All of the lineages below seems very likely to relate to our Kennedys who descend from William Kennedy and Jane Gray:

A male Kennedy descendant of Daniel Kennedy, son of Jesse Kennedy of Greene County, PA, recently received new autosomal DNA results. He was a match to a descendant of Jesse Kennedy of Morgan County Ohio (through daughter Rachel Kennedy Leach). This is one of several matches between members of an AncestryDNA circle for Rachel and descendants of Daniel, and it supports the hypothesis that the two Jesses are one. However, information on Jesse Kennedy of Greene County is pretty sparse, and many trees appears to have unsupported inferences (e.g., that Jesse married a Rose Cary in Philadelphia).

A descendant of a David Kennedy married to Magdalena Troyer, who lived in Holmes County, Ohio, is receiving detailed Y DNA results, which associate him with a subclade of M222 that is very common among Kennedys of Ayrshire, Scotland. Hopefully, these results will facilitate more refined Y DNA testing to help validate connections among the Kennedys.

James Kennedy born circa 1798 who married Elizabeth Griffith 6 Jul 1820 in Franklin, Franklin, Ohio, USA and had sons William and Isaac.

David Kennedy married to Mary Wildman, lived in Greene County, PA. Had son Daniel Kennedy married Phoebe Ashby.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Kennedy Family Connections Part 2

Reconnecting Lost Kennedys

In the last post, I had conjectured that our Long family had a Kennedy ancestor that was a sibling of a Jane Kennedy (wife of James Morford), a Jesse Kennedy, and a James Kennedy. I continue to think that hypothesis is correct. Since then, I have come to believe that Jesse Kennedy had two wives and several children that we can trace down to descendants who share autosomal DNA with our family. William Kennedy and Jane Gray were parents of James Kennedy who married Ann Sill, the daughter of James Sill and Ann Baker. I suspect that James and Ann are the parents of Jane, Jesse, James, and perhaps a daughter who was the paternal mother of Jackson Long. Both of these hypotheses have considerable support from the autosomal DNA results. Below are some of the records for this family:

Kennedys in Frederick County Virginia Tax Lists

There are 5 Kennedys listed in the Frederick County Virginia property tax records in the late 1700s (Hugh, Jesse, Joshua, William, and James), but only Hugh is in the land tax records. I suspect that Jesse is the same one above, and that Joshua is the son of William Kennedy and Jane Gray.

Hugh Kennedy 

Hugh Kennedy received 233 acres "of Hite" in 1789. He maintained property (acreages sometimes at 269 areas and then at 232.75) through 1809. I don't seem him listed in 1810 or later.

For the personal property tax records, Hugh Kennedy is present in 1787 through 1802, with a slave<16 years in 1787, 1794, 1796, 1797, a slave>16 years 1798-1802. I don't have access to all the records from 1802 through 1810, but I see a Hugh Kennedy in 1811 and 1812.

Other researchers have shown the following for Hugh Kennedy the elder:
Event: Tax List 1757 Chester County Tax Rate, Middletown Township 1/0 ALSO LISTED: Patrick Hughes, Henry Hughes
Event: Tax List 1759 Chester County Tax Rate, Middletown Township 1/0 ALSO LISTED: Patrick Hughes
Event: Tax List 1761 Chester County Tax Rate, Middletown Township 'Inmate' 1/9
Event: Tax List 1779 Warrington Township, York County 153A, 2 horse, 3 cattle
Event: Tax List 1780 Warrington Township, York County 100 acres
Event: Tax List 1781 Warrington Township, York County 150 acres
Event: Tax List 1783 Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County, PA: 100 acres, no inhabitants.
"the 1783 Transcript of Taxables in Rostraver Twp. Westmoreland Co. lists Robert, William Sr., Hugh, and William Jr. at 100 acres each (thus 400 acres) with inhabitants of 2, 2, 0, and 7 respectively, But Hugh apparently got none*. He was not living on the land for which he is taxed here." (
*I question the idea that he received no share of the inheritance: Allegheny land books show that
Hugh Kennedy and wife Elizabeth transferred land to John Phillips in 1811, 115 acres of land that had been received by William Kennedy from John Creigh in 1773  (300 acre) and transferred to Hugh in 1784.
Event: Tax List 1786 Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County, PA: 2s, 1d
Event: Tax List 1791 Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County 3/.5
Census: 1800 Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County 02001//01001
Census: 1810 Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County 00101//01001
Note that Hugh Kennedy in the 1800/1810 census shows 2 boys born 1784-1790, down to one 16-26 in 1810. It seems unlikely that this is Hugh Sr. (who would have been 60 years old when those boys were born). Perhaps that is Hugh Jr.?

Joshua Kennedy

Joshua Kennedy is listed in 1790 and 1791 property tax in Frederick County VA. I think this is likely to be the Joshua Kennedy who was the son of James the elder who married Nancy Sill in Allegheny County PA after 1796 when and where she administered her husband Robert Gray's estate,  
Joshua Kennedy and wife Ann of Clermont County Ohio sold land to father George Sill of Pennsylvania, 1813. He appears in the Clermont County census in 1820 (with a boy born 1805-1810).
Robert Gray Birth 1756 PA
Nancy Sill Birth 1760 Death 1831
"Nancy their oldest married Robert Gray a man of Enterprise and was thought rich till he died insolvent and ruined my father he being surety for him. They had several children. I know little about them. She then married a cousin Joseph [sic-- Joshua] Kennedy a son of old James. I said would get drunk and he was a drunkard and lazy and they lived and died poor." Source: "A History of the Russell and Kennedy Families" by William Kennedy (Clay County, Indiana, 1858)
"There are several entries of "Martin Kennedy vs. Robert Gray" in the Allegheny County Court Docket, verifying that there was some legal quibble between the two men like the author alluded to. " Source: Charles Kennedy e-mail of 1-28-2009 to DAB.
Nancy Sill (daughter of George G Sill and Isabel Kennedy) was born Abt. 1760 in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and died 1831 in Old Swedes Church, , Philadelphia, PA. She married Robert Gray on Abt. 1778 in PA USA.
More About Nancy Sill and Robert Gray: Marriage: Abt. 1778, PA USA.

William Kennedy

William Kennedy is listed 1795, 1797, 1798, 1800, and 1802 for property tax in Frederick County VA.
Not sure which William this is--he seems young based upon limited property). He might be the same William Kennedy who appears with a Joshua Kennedy in 1820 Clermont County Ohio census (age 26-44 with a wife age 16-25, a son<10, and a daughter<10). William Kennedy might be the son of Joshua Kennedy.

James Kennedy

James Kennedy is listed 1793 to 1800, with 2 males over 16 in 1794 and later years for property tax in Frederick County VA. But tax records show a James Kennedy in Warrington Township, York County, 1781, 1782, and 1783 (Hugh Kennedy is in the list for  1779-1781).
1779 Tax list shows James Kennedy with no land, next to Hugh Kennedy with 153 acres. Could that James be Hugh Sr.'s son?
I am not sure which James is in Frederick County, perhaps Hugh's brother, Hugh's son, or perhaps that the elder James had a son James? There is a James Kennedy in Elizabeth, Allegheny in the 1790 census.

Jesse Kennedy

Jesse Kennedy is listed in 1793, 1796, 1798, and 1800 for property tax in Frederick County VA.
I hypothesize that he is the son of James the elder (and brother of Joshua).

Jesse appears to the father of Daniel Kennedy below. This suggests that he moved from Virginia in 1800 to Pennsylvania by 1806. I believe that this Jesse Kennedy married (2nd) Elizabeth Leach circa 1821. Jesse lived in Cumberland twp, Greene County PA by 1810:
1810 census: Males 1<10 (Daniel?), 1 16-25, 1 45+ (Jesse), Females 1<10, 1 16-25, 1 26-44
1820 census:
1830 census: Males 2<10 1 10-15 0 16-18 1 16-25 (Daniel age 24?) 0 26-44 1 45+ (Jesse)
Females 3<10 1 10-15 1 16-25 2 26-44 1 45+ (Elizabeth)
In agriculture 2.
Moved to Morgan County Ohio
1840 census

Daniel Kennedy

Daniel Kennedy was born 18 Jun 1806 in Greene County, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Hannah Ruse (or Rouse), came to Kentucky between 1830 and 1840. Together, they had 10 children: James, Eli, Samuel, Justice, David, Daniel, Mary Ann, Christopher, Lorenzo, and Christian. He died 12 Dec 1893 in Concord, Lewis Co., KY, USA

For more details, see:

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Kennedy Family Connections

Autosomal DNA evidence suggests that our family may be connected to a group of Kennedy descendants, specially, from four lineages:

James Kennedy born between 1770 and 1775 and wife Elizabeth--see for a full account of the family, who resided in Licking County, Ohio after 1806. Children include Rachel Kennedy, wife of John Richter, and Daniel Kennedy, husband of Ruth Smith.

Jane Kennedy born about Nov 1775 and married to James Morford 12 Oct 1790 in Frederick County, Virginia, resided in Greene County, PA after 1802 (Whiteley Township in 1810, Aleppo in 1820 and 1830). We have a mitochondrial DNA result for a descendant of Jane.

Jesse Kennedy (born between 1751 and 1775) who married (2nd) to Elizabeth Leach circa 1821. Jesse lived in Cumberland twp, Greene County PA between 1810 and 1830, after which he moved to Morgan County, Ohio. His daughter Rachel Kennedy (by 1st wife) married Emanuel Leach 1 Dec 1831 • Morgan,Ohio,  His daughter Hester Kennedy by second wife Elizabeth Leach was born 18 Apr 1829 Beallsville, Washington, Pennsylvania, USA, married 13 APR 1847 to George William Vickroy Morgan, Morgan, Ohio, United States, Death 24 Feb 1905 Hocking, Ohio, United States

John Canaday BIRTH: 22 Apr 1816 DEATH: 30 Oct 1895 - Ohio MARRIAGE: 3 Aug 1844 - Muskingum County(Muskingum), Ohio SPOUSE: Mary Osmond. This John might well be a son of James Kennedy and Elizabeth (above), as 1880 census shows parents both born in VA.

The working hypothesis is that the first three individuals were siblings, as they appear to have been born about the same time, likely in Frederick County, VA (based upon Jane's marriage there).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Getting extra out of 23andme and AncestryDNA tests: Y SNPs

After learning from the ISOGG website ( that both 23andme and AncestryDNA tests include some Y SNPs, I did some investigations to see what we might get out of those results.

23andme Haplogroups and SNPs

First, 23andme gives outdated haplogroup assignments, but by looking at the raw data, you can learn which SNPs they have tested. This turned out to be very helpful in evaluating an important lead. I had found a 12 for 12 match based upon FamilytreeDNA STR (single tandem repeat) testing with someone with the surname Morford. Because we had strong autosomal DNA matches with Morford descendants, and because the Morfords in question lived close to my Long ancestors in Greene County, Pennsylvania, I am pretty confident that we have a genetic connection to these Morfords.

It turned out the Morford descendant had done additional SNP tests that placed him in haplogroup R-P312. I looked at my dad’s 23andme results, I saw that he had tested positive for SNPs showing that he was positive for U106 and beyond that, L48, while being negative for L47. Because R-U106 and R-P312 are mutually exclusive haplogroups, we apparently could not be a match despite sharing 12 STR markers in common. So the search for the patrilineal ancestor continues! However, by leveraging the 23andme results, I was able to learn which specific additional SNP I could test to best refine my haplogroup.

I also learned that another Long cousin was assigned by 23andme to a slightly different haplogroup than my dad, who had an extra “d” at the end, indicating a slightly more refined haplogroup. The difference, it appears, is that the cousin probably had a “no-call”. Beware that such subtle differences can arise due to methodology not genetics.

Comparing AncestryDNA Y SNPs

Next, I explored Ancestry DNA, where two Barmore cousins had results. One of them had done a 12 marker Y test at FamilyTreeDNA, which placed him in haplogroup J2a1h. We wanted to confirm that the other Barmore cousin matched his Y DNA. I was pretty sure he would, because the two were matches at AncestryDNA (and GEDMATCH, based on autosomal DNA). After a query to CeCe Moore, I learned that Ann Turner had created a spreadsheet tool for exploring Y SNPs from AncestryDNA. I downloaded the spreadsheet from, copied in the raw data. The results showed that the cousin had 26 positive SNPs with haplogroup associations. Most significantly, they included 4 SNPs for which he tested positive that would place him in J2a1h2a1. This seems to match the Barmore cousin with the 12 marker result. This seemed like pretty convincing evidence that the two cousins indeed shared Y DNA, and allows us to focus on more detailed STR or SNP testing in lieu of spending money on another basic Y test.

Thanks to CeCe, Tim Janzen, and the team managing the U106 haplogroup project for answering my questions about how to get a bit more mileage out of my Y results!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Using Genetic Genealogy to Break through Brick Walls in Your Family Tree

Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy

Genetic genealogy is the process of using DNA tests to determine how people are related through shared DNA (by “blood”). To better understand this rapidly evolving field, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy ( has a useful guide and glossary for “newbies”. Also see “Definitions of the terms used in genetic genealogy” at the FamilyTreeDNA website for more definitions:
There are four main types of DNA used for genetic genealogy. Autosomal DNA is the most useful for general genealogy in recent generations, although all types may help to answer particular questions.
Y chromosome is passed only from fathers to sons, so it traces only a single line of descent (patrilineal). It is very useful for testing even distant relationships through that line.
Mitochondrial (mtDNA): passed only from mothers to children—single line of descent only (matrilineal). It is useful for testing even distant relationships through that line, but challenging to use due to surname changes that generally make it more difficult to trace female lines.
Autosomal (auDNA or atDNA): all chromosomes except the sex chromosomes—shared and recombined from parents, it represents all lines but is only reliable at detecting relationships within about 5-6 generations (see figure below).
See figure from Your Genetic Genealogist blog by CeCe Moore:
chromosome DNA is passed from fathers to daughters or from mothers to either sons or daughters, giving it a unique pattern of descent (see figures 2A and 2B). It can be particularly useful in narrowing relationships identified through autosomal DNA tests. Tests for autosomal DNA include X-DNA, but only FamilytreeDNA, 23andme, and GEDMATCH show your X-DNA results (AncestryDNA does not).

See figure from  which shows average percentage of X DNA from each generation. Note that you should not necessarily “expect” the average, because the X chromosome recombines somewhat unpredictably.
Also see the X-DNA Inheritance chart for females here: (shaded boxes show possible sources of X DNA).

A simple rule to remember is that X DNA cannot pass through 2 males in sequence.

Basics of Autosomal DNA Testing Strategies

Each of the companies offers the basic DNA test for about $99 (note that there are often sales throughout the year, especially around the winter holidays and DNA day on April 25). Buying multiple kits can save too. This site compares the three major companies: 
FamilyTreeDNA is particularly helpful for testing hypothesized relationships, because matches are generally responsive, and the site has the best tools for examining your matches in detail. FamilyTreeDNA also has good international coverage.
AncestryDNA is particularly helpful for identifying unknown ancestors and relatives of US origins, because it has the largest database of users in the U.S. with family trees and will generally yield the most matches. However, the site lacks tools for examining your matches (see below for how to get tools!). AncestryDNA is also in the process of extending its services to the U.K.
23andme may be helpful for finding living relatives, because they have a broad database of users (not just genealogists!). However, many users are anonymous and lack family history information, so it is challenging to use for genealogy. One perk of 23andme is that their test does provide haplogroup information for Y DNA (for males) and mitochondrial DNA—their results for the Y are not directly comparable to Familytreedna’s Y tests, but they can add some clues and help to exclude some families.
To get the most answers to your questions, you may choose all three, and FamilyTreeDNA accepts transfers from the other two companies for $39. (Alert: the newest version of 23andme (V4) does not transfer to FamilyTreeDNA or GEDMATCH).
The Geno 2.0 test from National Geographic provides “deeper” (=older) ancestry than is used by genealogists, but there is a free transfer to FamilyTreeDNA where the results may be useful, as they include some Y and mitochondrial DNA results.

Interpreting Autosomal DNA Results

The Centimorgan (cM) is a measurement of how likely a segment of DNA is to have been inherited from a common ancestor.
>10 cM block indicates definite shared ancestry.
5-10 cM block probable shared ancestry (most companies and GEDMATCH are using a threshold of about 7 cM to determine matches. GEDMATCH also uses 7 cM as a common threshold for matches based upon X DNA, although it is more complicated to interpret those values because men and women have different amounts of X DNA).
Smaller segments can indicate shared ancestry, but they may also be false positives (see post by Roberta Estes for more:

Table A: Likelihood based upon length of shared segment

Length of shared segment
Likelihood you and your match share a common ancestor within 6 generations (values will be different for endogamous populations)
>30  cM
20-30 cM
12-20 cM
6-12 cM
<6 cM

Table B: Likelihood of matching actual relatives

Shared  DNA
Average cM Shared
Likelihood of Matching
Mother, father, siblings
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, half-siblings, double first cousins
Great-grandparents, first cousins, great-uncles, great-aunts, half-aunts/uncles, half-nephews/nieces
First cousins once removed, half first cousins
Second cousins, first cousins twice removed
Second cousins once removed
Third cousins, second cousins twice removed
Third cousins once removed
Fourth cousins
Fourth cousins once removed
Fifth cousins
Sixth cousins or more distant
Triangulation is the process of determining that a particular autosomal DNA segment has been inherited from a common ancestor by identifying two or more cousins who share that segment. Note that this does not mean that all descendants of that ancestor will have that segment, but it suggests that the segment might be an indicator of descent from that family line.

Tools for Triangulation is a free, donation-supported site for comparing results across the 3 major companies. By donating $10, you can become a “Tier 1” member that has some additional tools, including Triangulation.
The Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer here: triangulates your FamilyTreeDNA matches.
Genome Mate allows you to keep track of your matches across the platforms from FamilyTreeDNA, 23andme, and GEDMATCH.
Matches in common: finding all matches shared by two or more individuals. This feature is available at FamilyTreeDNA and GEDMATCH.

Some Common Questions

Why does my known cousin not appear as a DNA match? The odds of matching depend on the degree of the relationship (see table above)—known cousins may appear closer or more distant due to random inheritance of DNA. As a result some cousins, even as close as 3rd cousins, may not appear in your match lists. Also, non-paternity may also account for a lack of a relationship—the presumed relatives actually had different fathers and/or mothers than what was expected.
Why does my sibling have different matches than I do? Because autosomal DNA is randomly inherited from one’s parents, siblings will have somewhat different autosomal DNA. Also, note that females inherit X DNA from their fathers and their mothers, while males inherit X-DNA only from their mothers, so brothers and sisters have different X-DNA results. For this reason, it may be helpful to have results from your siblings in addition to your own results.
Why do I have a relatively close match to someone, yet we cannot find our relationship? In cases where people actually know their recent ancestors, this result may reflect having more than one shared line of ancestry. You may look for “cousin marriages” in the trees of such individuals, which will increase the DNA passed down by those ancestors in common.

Supercousins or “Up cousins”: A person one or more generations higher (removed "upwards") than anyone alive in your direct line, whose DNA results can help you make connections.

Two pathways for searches

1. Find a suspected common ancestor based upon records or family lore
1. Find matches in common with one or more shared DNA segments
2. Find one or more descendants to test
2. Search the trees of those matches for families and places in common
3. Get DNA results
3. Identify likely common ancestors
4. Look if shared segments and matches in common support the hypothesis
4. Determine if paper records support a connection

 Ten strategies for using genetic genealogy to break through brick walls    

1)      Secure samples from the oldest generations: In your immediate family, recruit DNA samples from the highest generation available on the line of interest. Once processed and stored with a company like FamilyTreeDNA, DNA samples may be used for additional testing in the future.
a.      Note that siblings will have somewhat different results so it can be worth getting samples from each. In particular, males and females have different X DNA results.
b.      For general searches with a focus on U.S. ancestry, I recommend starting with AncestryDNA and transferring results to FamilyTreeDNA ($39) and (free or $10 to get triangulation).
c.       If you want to validate a hypothesized relationship, going straight to FamilyTreeDNA may be a more efficient solution because they offer more sophisticated analysis tools.
2)      Build a cousin network for genetic genealogy: recruit 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th degree cousins who share descent on your lines of interest to take DNA tests. Especially seek out “supercousins” from higher generations who carry more DNA from the ancestors of interest.
a.      Note that results from cousins who have multiple lines of descent from the same ancestors will have greater power to detect matches with those ancestors.
b.      Cousins whose ancestors were half-siblings of your ancestor of interest will have a weaker match, but their results can help you to isolate that paternal or maternal line.
c.       Living cousins who would have an X DNA, Y DNA, or mitochondrial DNA connection may be particularly valuable for validating relationships, including ones that may be too distant for autosomal DNA to reliably trace.
3)      Find the cousins to fill out your network: To identify cousins who would be helpful in your search, you can use Wikitree and other online family trees to identify living descendants who have tested or might be willing to test. Genealogy sites will generally yield higher responses, but even general sites like Facebook can work, although response rates can be low.
4)      Share your information so others can help you: Link your DNA results and all of your known surnames to complete family trees so that folks can better find points of connection—let them help you! Avoid posting partial trees (for example, your paternal or maternal family only) and clearly identify lines that represent a known or suspected adoption.
5)      Contact your matches but give them details to understand the connection: When you contact individuals with whom you share a match, be sure to identify the type of match (i.e., autosomal) and the name associated with the kit. Genetic genealogists often manage results from many individuals.
6)      Systematically search your DNA results using multiple strategies:
a.      Find matches in common with known relatives; make notes associating those individuals with the shared surnames and/or locations. Note that even if you can’t trace a particular matching individual to your family, you may be able to figure out where they connect to your tree, and triangulate on their results to find other matches in common.
b.      Search matches by surnames, particularly relatively rare ones (all three companies permit this, although Ancestry works the best, and AncestryDNA Helper tool allows you to search by full names. Based on paper genealogy, you may have hunches about which families are connected to yours. If you can find someone with a rare surname in that family, you might try searching for that surname in your matches.
c.       Search matches by placenames, particularly when relatively rare ( is best for this kind of search)
d.      Search matches by shared DNA segments (use the tools under “Triangulation”).
7)      Group and sort your results: Generate lists or spreadsheets that show clusters of shared matches by family group. You can also generate spreadsheets showing shared matches by DNA segments on each chromosome. If someone unknown shares one of those segments, you may be able to guess to which line they relate.
8)      Use the hints (shaking leafs) at AncestryDNA to identify folks who appear to share a common ancestor—contact those people and encourage them to upload their results to GEDMATCH so that you can search for matches in common and compare matching DNA segments.
9)      Break out the advanced tools: If you have AncestryDNA results, install Jeff Snaveley’s “AncestryDNA helper” tool (available in the Google Chrome store for use only with the Chrome web browser) to automatically obtain lists of matches and ancestors of matches. If you have multiple kits in your Ancestry account, you can use this to easily identify shared matches.
10)  Hunt for new leads: You can use the “Ancestors of Matches” results from the AncestryDNA Helper to find individual names (first and last name combined) that are particularly common in your ancestry. You can sort by the “incidence” column to determine individual names that appear multiple times. This is currently one of the best options when trying to trace a common surname like Smith.

Final word: Genetic genealogy adds a powerful scientific tool for family historians. You will want a skeptical frame of mind when pursuing possible leads and matches—do not discount that folks may be related along multiple lines or that family trees may have errors.