ancestor story, dna

John Baptiste Jerrain – Part Two, Promising DNA Matches

grandma deane, 5.10.2017 fanchart, crop copy

If DNA matches were going to lead me to answer the John Baptiste Jerrain riddle, I needed to be targeted in my match analysis.  My own matches wouldn’t likely lead me to a breakthrough very easily, I’m pretty removed from John.  But my Grandma had also tested and John is her great-grandfather.  Her matches just might be the ticket to my answer.

My first step was to view my Grandma Deane’s DNA matches.  Once I was there, I decided to use her first cousin, we will call her Cousin Peg, to help me comb through the list.  Cousin Peg descends from Seth Maffit & Emma Esther Jerrain.  Using Cousin Peg and Grandma Deane’s shared match list allowed me to completely wipe out half of Grandma Deane’s tree.  But could I isolate it even further?

Yes!  What I was looking for was a cousin who descended from the parents of John Baptiste Jerrain but not from John himself.  A person fitting that description should be a third cousin to Grandma Deane and Cousin Peg.  So in order to find these potential cousins, I started from Grandma Deane’s match list:

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Next, I scrolled down and found Cousin Peg in Grandma Deane’s first cousin list and clicked on “view match”:

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Now I was looking at Cousin Peg’s match page to my Grandma Deane:

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Next, I switched to shared matches between Cousin Peg and Grandma Deane by clicking on “Shared Matches” in the center and had this list of shared matches:

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So far, so good.  But I want the third cousins that Grandma Deane and Cousin Peg have in common so I scrolled down to that portion of the match list:

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There were a handful.  I methodically went to each of these shared 3rd cousin matches and looked at their shared matches and their trees.  At one point, I got myself down to a very targeted list of only 6 matches.  Trying to recreate that scenario today produced MANY more matches because the testing database has grown so much.  But on that day in July of 2017, I found myself looking at 6 matches.  Two of those matches were 3rd cousins of Grandma Deane who also matched Cousin Peg and one was a 4th cousin to Grandma Deane who also matched cousin Peg.  Importantly, two of those matches had trees and DID NOT have any surnames in common with us.  Here is Ziggy:

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Ziggy has a tree but it was not attached to his results.  Ziggy is a 3rd cousin match to Grandma.

And here is Penny.  Penny has a very tiny tree attached to her results and is a 4th cousin match to Grandma.

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Penny only has one surname in her tree – Goyette.  But guess what?!  Ziggy has a much larger tree.  A tree that has ZERO surnames in common with my tree.  But he ALSO has the surname of Goyette in his tree.

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There was no obvious connection between their Goyettes but I was totally okay with doing that work myself to see if there was something going on here.  Diahan Southard’s words were roughly – your best matches are the ones that you have no surnames in common with.  Those trees just might point you to the surname you are missing.

What if Goyette could get me to the parents of John Baptiste Jerrain somehow?  It was definitely worth a shot!

If the Goyette name was the key, I needed to connect James Goyette, son of Ruth to Antonine Goyette and Josephine Sheff, parents of Edward R Goyette.  Time for some good old-fashioned genealogy research!


…to be continued…



note – Grandma Deane is deceased and she gave me ownership and rights to her account.  All other user identities were masked and where a name was assigned it was chosen from TV shows I’ve recently watched.  😉  Also, 3rd cousin matches to Grandma Deane who also match Cousin Peg may or may not match Cousin Peg in the same way that they match Grandma Deane.  I am making the loose assumption that they MIGHT match in a similar way.  I’m not trying to PROVE the parents of John Baptiste Jerrain solely through DNA matches, I am trying to identify possible people to research in the hopes that I will be led to the parents of John Baptiste Jerrain through records.


7 thoughts on “John Baptiste Jerrain – Part Two, Promising DNA Matches”

  1. Fascinating to see your thought process. I wish I could apply this to my own research. But there are just too many 3-4 cousin shared matches and almost all without shared surnames!

    1. Thank you, Amy. Yes, exactly! Your experience is the one I’m having with the matches on my John Costello side. It seems to be very complicated by the fact that surnames are a more recent convention in the Jewish population – harder to connect shared surnames when relatives don’t necessarily share a surname the way they do in other places/groups of people.

      Never fear – I have a different trick for you that has been working on my John Costello matches. I’m still trying to figure out how to explain it well but that is my next big writing project I’m going to tackle after I finish up my posts on John Baptiste Jerrain. Hopefully, there will be something in there that you can apply to your matches. ❤️

      1. Yes, welcome to my world! No surnames before 1800 and thousands of matches!! I look forward to your “trick” to sort this out. 🙂

        1. I know, so hard! Hopefully I can figure out how to explain it well. I’ve definitely been thinking it through. 🙂

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