Monday, October 10, 2022

. . . and Our Second Great Grandparents


If the problem of dropped genetic connection can manifest as close as third cousin, that puts us in an iffy position when our testing hope is to fill in the pedigree blanks on some missing second great-grandparents' names. If we're talking third cousins, we're talking second great-grandparents.

In this month's research quest, guess whose names I've barely gleaned?

Fortunately for me, though my paternal grandmother immigrated to the United States as a toddler, she obviously traveled in the care of her parents. When that grandmother, born Sophie Laskowska in her native Poland, finally breathed her last, sixty six years later in New York City, her death certificate provided me with confirmation of her parents' names.

Once again, because those parents—my great-grandparents—also died in New York, I was able to obtain their death certificates, as well. The gift on those documents was the revelation of names of my ancestors who never came to this country. From those reports, I learned that my Laskowski second great-grandfather was named Mateusz.

With my attention riveted to DNA reports at this weekend, it was a simple matter to jump over to the ThruLines section and see the report for matches linked to this second great-grandfather, Mateusz Laskowski.

I confess, even though my mind knew that some third cousins who are truly part of my family tree will "drop off" the genetic family chart, I was disappointed to see the count of DNA matches linked to Mateusz Laskowski. There were only seven matches, six of them belonging to the same line as mine: through Mateusz's son Antoni, Sophie's father.

My flagging spirits rallied—momentarily—when I realized I had unearthed a record naming Mateusz's father's name. I scrolled to the next section at Ancestry's ThruLines to see how many matches I connect with there for Bonaventure Laskowski.

Surprise: only seven matches. The same seven matches, incidentally, which appeared when I looked at my ThruLines results for Mateusz's generation.

Perhaps I have drawn the "unlucky winner" card for this DNA contest, and I got the recombined leftovers from the Laskowski genes when all my third cousins got the opposite side of the deal. But I doubt that. There might be another factor at work here. After all, now that we're dealing with international aspects of genealogy, when it comes to DNA testing, all those Polish third cousins may have zigged one way while I and my American cousins zagged the other.

Remember that old DNA mantra, "fish in all three ponds." If I'm relying solely on finding answers with my DNA test at while all my Polish cousins are customers of another company, we'll never know about each other. Remember, the only way to find a DNA answer is if both missing puzzle pieces test at the same company.

While is certainly expanding its international reach, there is another DNA testing company—adding a fourth "pond" to that old DNA mantra—which already has a presence established in Europe. Fortunately, I've already tested at that company, as well. It's time to roll up my sleeves and start examining my matches there, for I already have several who are clearly from Poland or, sporting a Polish surname, are living in other places in Europe. Tomorrow, we'll begin examining the DNA results at MyHeritage.    


  1. Hi, I am new to your blog but am finding it really interesting reading. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I have 8 aunts and uncles. But on my mothers side there were never any cousins. On my fathers side there are 9 cousins but they have either passed away or refuse to take a DNA test. I have found some great second cousin X removed but not many. So I go down other routes of research and still find it fulfilling.

    1. Welcome, Joan! Glad you joined in the conversation here. It is indeed frustrating to experience scenarios like you mentioned. Always looking on the positive side, I tell myself I haven't found those matches...yet. But you are right, there are other ways to find answers. Hopefully, during this month, we'll be exploring some records from Poland to add to what can be inferred from those DNA matches.

  2. I am bookmarking this months story!!

    1. I know you are researching Polish roots, too, Miss Merry, so I hope some of the resources we cover this month will be helpful for you.


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