I’ve been spending some time on a case of late where there is known Mexican heritage. This was the first time that I had gotten so deeply into Mexican genealogy and I learned several tips that sped me up along the way. But one thread seems to prevail among several of the DNA matches that we were using to find the unknown parents of this particular adoptee. The cousin DNA matches that had any significant amount of cMs that appeared promising were found to be DNA cMs inherited from both their mothers and their fathers.
Let me preface the rest of this post to tell you that one of the first things we did for this adoptee was to put her DNA through GEDmatch’s “Are Your Parents Related?” tool. Not having related parents is a good thing when it comes to DNA research. The pathway for DNA cousins and finding the unknown parents is much clearer if there are unrelated parents.
Now for the rest of the story – When we started looking at the DNA cousin matches there was a promising cousin that showed up on Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) with 88 cMs shared between the cousin and the adoptee and he had posted a tree to his account. For those of us using DNA to find unknown relatives you can recognize that as not being too bad of a match, right? And add the tree in making it a jackpot find! Except upon further examination of this particular match, I discovered that he had also tested his mother and his sister. And his mother was also a DNA cousin match to the adoptee. Now you would think going back a generation, there would be a larger cM share, right? Not the case here. The mother shared 39 cMs with the adoptee. And the son couldn’t inherit something from the mother that she didn’t have to give so that must mean that the remaining 49 cMs of the DNA share had come from the ’88 cM sharing DNA’ cousin’s father. Where else could it have come from? Now 49 cMs and 39 cMs are okay matches but not that great either. We do have two surnames to work with from the mother and father cousins but those surnames go back at least to 3rd cousin if not 4th cousin in a society and generational level where families had many children. What we thought was going to make work easier was not in fact something that was easily usable without great effort and puzzle building.
Not only did we find this one cousin among her matches but we found several of her cousins who had tested themselves as well as a parent had inherited shared DNA with my adoptee from both their mother and their father. The DNA puzzle just kept getting wound all around itself where I was no longer surprised to find family marrying family. I found a marriage between first cousins and I even found an uncle with a niece where the uncle was the younger child of a family and the niece was born of one of the older children of the family.
Moises Garza, a well known Mexican genealogist and prolific writer of Mexican genealogy, wrote an article just this week on this very aspect of Mexican genealogy that may be helpful to you if you find yourself working with Mexican genealogy. He wrote “a great resource that i keep going back to time and time over-again is Guadalajara Dispensas. Dispensas are marriage dispensations that had to be given by the bishop in order for a couple to get married. A dispensation would be required for many reasons but the most common one was because the couple was related to each other. You can further read more about dispensations on the following link.”
Here is the link as provided by Moises Garza: https://mexicangenealogy.info/guadalajara-dispensas-and-their-work-on-mexican-church-records/
If you are working Mexican genealogy you have to sign up for all the resources, blog posts, internet genealogical societies, eBooks, etc. that Moises Garza has offered. His work will put you light years ahead in your own Mexican research because of the incredible trail that he has already blazed.
Good luck on your own trail blazing and puzzle solving! So many tools and resources available to us today that would not have been ten years ago!