08 May 2010

The Popularity of Edgefield County

As I've stated in previous posts, my Family Finder DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA gave me five "close relative" matches and a large number of speculative matches. As of yet, I haven't identified a common ancestor with any of the matches, thought there are a few promising leads. And just about all of those leads lead to Edgefield County, South Carolina.

My matches and I have been exchanging a variety of family tree charts and websites while we look for matches. Here's what we've seen so far:
  • My closest match, a predicted 3rd cousin with Mr. A Peppers, might match a Parish / Paris family in Edgefield County.
  • A 4th cousin match with Mr. E Hill might match a Harris family in Edgefield County.
  • A 4th cousin match with Ms. M Barton doesn't match any surname, but we both have a large number of ancestors from Edgefield County.
That's 3 out of 5 matches that might be traced back to Edgefield County, SC! Now, the way the matches are made is by comparing segments of DNA to see if individuals share identical segments on the same chromosome. With all of these Edgefield matches, I have to wonder if we're all related.

On the FTDNA website, I can compare up to three of my matches at a time. You can see three different colors on this chart and can see that each color has a long segment and a lot of little ones. The green segment is my 3rd cousin match and the blue and orange are my 4th cousin matches. You can see that in two places the green and orange match and in one place the blue and green match. But these are very small matches, so we don't all descend from the same recent ancestor. It might be that we share a very distant ancestor though...

Out of all the people in the world who might have taken this test it strikes me that so many of my matches look to have descended from the same location. I do have a lot of ancestors from the Edgefield County Area (which broke up into Greenwood, Saluda and McCormick Counties), but I have equally large amounts of ancestors from Emanuel County, GA, Elbert & Hart Counties, GA and Lexington County, SC. I guess it's just up to who takes the test... but it still strikes me as odd.

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