Building Trees & Finding Cousins

Building Trees and finding cousins

I mentioned in my last post that my mom has a close cousin. Possibly as close as half first cousin or 1st cousin once removed.  I know her name but that’s it.  So, I’m trying to find her by building tress and filling in my speculative tree.  Before I would stop as soon as I got to a generation where it was clear they wouldn’t fit the profile for my mom’s biological father.  For example – if I came across a branch that only had girls in the 1940’s, I knew there wasn’t any reason to build out that part of the tree.  Now, I’m going back and filling in everyone and hoping to stumble across this cousin with a common name.

2nd Cousins? Maybe 1st cousins twice removed?

AncestryDNA puts cousins in categories as 2nd cousins and 3rd cousins but there are other relationships that are possible based on the shared DNA.  For example, according to, my mom’s “2nd cousin” that shares 250 centimorgans could fall into any one of these familial relationships – “Second cousins, first cousins twice removed, half first cousin once removed, half great-great-aunt/uncle”.

So where I was once only looking at the great grandparents of my “2nd cousin” I can now look at their grandparents as possible ancestors to my mom as well.  Keyword here is possible.  I still have to link my DNA and find shared ancestors.  But in this family, my mom has shared ancestors on both sides of her 2nd cousin’s grandfather’s family.  Those shared ancestor hints are Christian Klein/Gertrude Knopp and Joseph Lang/Maria Jordan.

BUT here is where I get confused.  My mom has a younger 2nd cousin match that shares 250 centimorgans as well.  She also has Christian Klein/Gertrude Knopp & Joseph Lang/Maria Jordan but they are a bit further back due to her being a bit younger and a generation added.  This younger 2nd cousin could be closer to a traditional 2nd cousin where the older 2nd cousin could be more like 1st cousin twice removed or she could be a half great-aunt.  When I start thinking about this stuff – my head really starts hurting lol.

I’ve mentioned this before but the 2 2nd cousins mentioned above have different ancestors getting to Klein/Knopp & Lang/Jordan… It was siblings of the Klein family that married siblings of the Lang family.  I’m not sure how to factor that in to the DNA relationship calculations.  If you have any advice, let me know.

Building Trees

So based on this information, I’m starting with the older 2nd cousin and filling in the tree all the while trying to find my mom’s closest cousin in the tree.  I’ve already done this at the real 2nd cousin level but didn’t look any closer.  I’ll be looking a bit closer and hoping for the best.  Hoping to find someone who fits the non-identifying information and may have had a way of meeting Mary Sue.  I have no idea where Mary Sue and my mom’s birth father may have met.  She lived in Louisiana so I’m assuming maybe he went to college in Louisiana or close to the Louisiana / Texas border.

After writing this, I did some more tree building and found some Kleins that moved to Louisiana in the 50’s.  I’m in the process of searching for his children, I know he has at least 3 but I haven’t gotten names yet.

Getting the Word Out

After finding my mom’s biological mother, I had mixed feelings about finishing the search for the other half of my mom’s DNA make-up.  She was too.  Mary Sue was different. Obviously, she knew about my mom but the biological father may have not known about the pregnancy.  I continued checking for new DNA matches but didn’t actively build trees like I did with her maternal cousins. But then a switch flipped.  I mean, I have proof that my mom is a direct descendant of German immigrants that helped form Fredericksburg, Texas and the surrounding areas.  I wanted to know more.

I’m proud of my family history and doubly blessed that I get to research my mom’s blood family history and adopted family history.  It’s driving me crazy that I don’t have a straight line to these ancestors that I know we’re related to.  After talking with my mom, she was interested in moving forward with the search.  I created the search poster found on the last post and I’ve been actively sharing it with communities around Gillespie County, Texas.

I’m hoping it may strike interest in others and move them to do the DNA test over at – use my link and you’ll get 10% off and I’ll get a referral credit.

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