Cousins

by Laura

“You have a MATCH!!!”

“I have a WHAT?!?”

“A match! Your DNA test results are in and you have a match! A really good one. Close to you. Second Cousin. You have a cousin who matches you on your DNA!!!”

David and I were in The Dalles in Oregon, the second day of return from our California Trek. We had stopped and found a lovely little town with a great breakfast place, in the middle of evergreen forests, along the Columbia River. Just beautiful! And a nice relief from the heat that had been Portland. And California. And Nevada, before that…

We were gassing up the bike, when The Intrusive Genealogist pinged me a quick message.  So I called her ASAP. Since I hadn’t a clue about what I was doing, I had given her what she needed to monitor my account. My DNA test results were in. Apparently, I had a close genetic match: “jimbuffalo”, with a private tree.

I was reeling. It had never, not once, occurred to me that my DNA would actually match, in some way, someone else. I frantically tried to get Ancestry up on my phone to see for myself. What I saw was, by far, the single most incredible piece of information I had ever had. Not only did my DNA match this guy (Possible range: 1st – 2nd cousins; Confidence: Extremely High), but I had a Third Cousin match, and about 12-14 Fourth Cousin matches; not to mention 50-odd pages of “Distant Cousins”. For someone like me, who hadn’t a clue about where I originally came from, I suddenly had a lot of…cousins?

Not to mention, by the way, my whole reason for doing this showed that I am no way, no how German. I’m Irish. Thoroughly, more than half, more than three-quarters, Irish…with a smattering of Great Britain, Iberian, Scandinavian, and Caucasus for giggles. But no German. No Italian, French, Russian… just Irish. A lot.

But…but…I didn’t really truly WANT to go on some epic search for my “Birth Family/ies”. I didn’t WANT to get involved with folk that might relate to me. I didn’t WANT to open this can of worms, or shake long-locked skeletons from someone’s closet. I did not want this information. My life had finally settled. It had been ten incredibly difficult years to get to this place of inner peace and personal contentment. No one told me about THIS part of the DNA test.  At least, not so’s it connected in any real way.

I couldn’t think about anything else. I was consumed with this info. David and I left Oregon and continued our trip home, but, all that time, I was trying to fit this information into my world, which was suddenly, irreversibly, and undeniably changed. While I always knew, in the back of my mind, there was “another family” out there somewhere, I never thought a simple tube of spit would suddenly connect me to them, whoever they are.

Well, the toothpaste was out of the tube now. And I couldn’t wait to get home and figure this out. Who are these matched Cousins???  and how do they relate to me???