Wednesday, July 26, 2017


My 3x great grandfather John Cutter West

So a little over a week ago I got my Ancestry DNA test results back and started exploring them. Some things have changed since then:

The number of matches who are 4th cousins or closer has gone up ten to 459.

Today Ancestry introduced me to my Genetic Circles, which are made up of those people who share a specific ancestor with me. More on that in another post.

But last week I started going through my DNA matches, starting with the three closest cousins on the list. One I was pretty sure was from my Mom's side of the family. When I finally figured out how to navigate the list I realized that the other two matches were as well. None had a family tree on Ancestry. So I messaged all three the following "form letter":

My name is Bill West and according to my Ancestry DNA test results we could be 2nd or 3rd cousins.

My Dad was Floyd West Jr, son of Floyd West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker. He was born in Bethel, Me.

My Mom was Anna M. White, daughter of Edward  F. White & Agnes McFarland and she was born in Boston, Ma.

You can view my tree at

Msg me back if any of this rings a bell. I'll be glad to share information with you.
Bill West

I haven't heard back yet from any of the three, but they haven't logged into Ancestry since I messaged them.Two haven't logged in for over six months. This looks like it will be a long wait.

But I had a happier result on the other side of the family. I was looking through the rest of the list and saw a 4th cousin who had a profile photo that looked of a person who looked like my Dad's Mom. I sent her the "form letter" and got a quick answer. Our DNA connection was not through my grandmother. It was from my 3x great grandfather, the Elusive John Cutter West.

My brickwall ancestor.

But that brickwall was going to come down.

To be continued.


Wendy Callahan said...

Good luck working through your matches. It's so fascinating!

I think the most exciting thing for me was finding close matches I was able to identify. There is one I can't quite pinpoint as far as our relationship, so that's intriguing, considering they're a 2nd cousin match! I have a feeling that, somewhere along the way, there's a "non-paternity event." They don't share a match with my mother (or my mother's mother or my grandmother's first cousins who have tested), so they must be a paternal match.

Of course, I'm waiting impatiently for my father to take the test I sent him. :)

The whole reason I've done the DNA testing is also to break down a brick wall, like you! It's on my dad's side SO I'm hoping every day my dad will finally submit the test to Ancestry.

Bill West said...

Good luck, Wendy!