The other day, a new AncestryDNA match came to my attention. It was with Riikka and was at the fourth to sixth cousin level. AncestryDNA rated the result as “Confidence: High.” In fact, the little bar used to illustrate the degree of confidence was almost completely green. Looking into the match, I saw that it was “44 centimorgans shared across 5 DNA segments.”
That’s not very much shared DNA — but I’ll take it because the match information also indicated that she had a tree. Hooray for that!
When I opened her match information, I saw immediately that the first shared surname was Huuskonen, which is the spelling that my paternal grandparents used before coming to America and dropping a “u” out of our family name. The other surnames shared between our trees were familiar to me, including the maiden name of my grandmother: Hytönen.
I used Ancestry.com’s messaging system to contact Riikka as follows:
I am Wallace Huskonen, a cousin from America and we have DNA matches and surname matches. If you are interested, I can invite you to my Huskonen (spelling modified in America) family tree on Ancestry.com. My grandparents came to America in 1902 and 1903 from Vesanto.
Sorry, I don’t write or speak Finnish, but my brother Walfrid does, if you want to share with us.
Wallace Huskonen, Brecksville, Ohio, USA.
I was pleasantly surprised when she responded quickly, with information about her ancestry. It turned out that her mother’s maiden name was Huuskonen, and her family also came from Vesanto. Sadly, her mother passed away two years ago, but Riikka contacted her aunt. A quick response from Aunt Aune indicated that she had heard about my visit to the Vesanto area at the end of June.
So I was hooked. I entered Riikka’s information from her tree into my tree extending her line back a few generations.
Parent Suggestions: A New Feature from Ancestry.com
Then I discovered a new feature offered by Ancestry.com: Parent Suggestions. This is sort of a mega-hint in which Ancestry.com compiles a profile about a possible father or mother. You take a look at it and if you can confirm the suggested relationship, a simple click adds the suggested parent to your tree. Using this feature I was able to add several generations to my line and to Riikka’s line.
Then I found our common ancestor: Johan Pehrson Huuskonen, b 1688, d 1764, Horontaipale, Rautalampi, Kuopio, Finland. (Note that his given names are Swedish as the priests recorded records back then in that language. Later records would be recorded with Finnish given names.) In his profile, Ancestry.com told me that he was my fifth-great grandfather. Counting the generations for Riikka’s line, I learned that he was her sixth-great grandfather. Using a Relationship Chart (see below), I determined that we were sixth cousins, once removed.
This cousin relationship was within the prediction of our match calculated by AncestryDNA.
We have communicated some more using our email addresses rather than through the Ancestry.com messaging system. Riikka reports that she has uploaded her DNA raw data to other websites. I have too, so that gives us further opportunities for discovering other cousin matches in Finland, in the USA, and possibly elsewhere in the world.
On this cousin relationship chart: Our Common Ancestor Johan is placed at the intersection of column 1 and row 1. Along row 1, I placed Me under 5th Great Grandson in Column 8. In column 1, I placed Riikka at Row 9 under 6th Great Grandaughter. The intersection of Colum 8 down and Row 9 across shows our degree of cousinship: Ssixth Cousin Once Removed.
|Son or Daughter||Grandson or Daughter||Great Grandson or Daughter||2nd Great Grandson or Daughter||3rd Great Grandson or Daughter||4th Great Grandson or Daughter||5th Great Grandson or Daughter
|2||Son or Daughter||Siblings (Brother or Sister)||Nephew or Niece||Grand Nephew or Niece||Great Grand Nephew or Niece||2nd Great Grand Nephew or Niece||3rd Great Grand Nephew or Niece||4th Great Grand Nephew or Niece|
|3||Grandson or Daughter||Nephew or Niece||First Cousin||First Cousin Once Removed||First Cousin Twice Removed||First Cousin Three Times Removed||First Cousin Four Times Removed||First Cousin Five Times Removed|
|4||Great Grandson or Daughter||Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Once Removed||Second Cousin||Second Cousin Once Removed||Second Cousin Twice Removed||Second Cousin Three Times Removed||Second Cousin Four Times Removed|
|5||2nd Great Grandson or Daughter||Great Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Twice Removed||Second Cousin Once Removed||Third Cousin||Third Cousin Once Removed||Third Cousin Twice Removed||Third Cousin Three Times Removed|
|6||3rd Great Grandson or Daughter||2nd Great Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Three Times Removed||Second Cousin Twice Removed||Third Cousin Once Removed||Fourth Cousin||Fourth Cousin Once Removed||Fourth Cousin Twice Removed|
|7||4th Great Grandson or Daughter||3rd Great Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Four Times Removed||Second Cousin Three Times Removed||Third Cousin Twice Removed||Fourth Cousin Once Removed||Fifth Cousin||Fifth Cousin Once Removed|
|8||5th Great Grandson or Daughter||4th Great Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Five Times Removed||Second Cousin Four Times Removed||Third Cousin Three Times Removed||Fourth Cousin Twice Removed||Fifth Cousin Once Removed||Sixth Cousin|
|9||6th Great Grandson or Daughter
|5th Great Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Six Times Removed||Second Cousin Five Times Removed||Third Cousin Four Times Removed||Fourth Cousin Three Times Removed||Fifth Cousin Twice Removed||Sixth Cousin Once Removed|
|10||7th Great Grandson or Daughter||6th Great Grand Nephew or Niece||First Cousin Seven Times Removed||Second Cousin Six Times Removed||Third Cousin Five Times Removed||Fourth Cousin Four Times Removed||Fifth Cousin Three Times Removed||Sixth Cousin Twice Removed|