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MIRROR TREE RESOURCES

Mirror Tree Steps if You Have No Known Parent or Biological Family 

1. Take an autosomal DNA test at all three major companies (AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe) if you can. Transfer at least one of those kits to GEDmatch.com (a free site supported by donations). Males can also do Y DNA testing at Family Tree DNA

2. Starting from the closest match, build out that match's tree at Ancestry.com (make it private and non-searchable) in order to use the AncestryDNA hint system.

3. Identify the in common with (ICW) matches/shared matches with the match in step 2.

4. Build the trees of the I CW/shared matches and find the common ancestors between these matches. NOTE: The closest match may be at any one of the three companies.

5. Determine who is descended from all these common ancestors.

6. Connect your Ancestry DNA to these descendants; see if you get matches through all of the branches or only some of them.

7. Repeat for each match working back through all your match lists.

8. Eventually, you find the same people in the trees of your various matches. This will be pointing toward birth family. Remember to consider all the information that you collected during the preparation phase.

If you are stuck, ask one of our volunteer search angels for help!!

Mirror Tree Steps if You Have Known Parent or Biological Family

1. Build your tree back on all other branches as far as you can into the 1700s at least.

 

2. Identify matches down all those known branches. Those are not the matches you are interested in.

 

3. Identify the matches with unknown connections.

 

4. Starting from the closest match that you can't connect to your tree, build out that matches' tree at Ancestry.com in order to use the ancestry DNA hint system. 

 

5. Identify the ICW matches/shared matches with the match in step 4.

 

6. Build the trees of the ICW/shared matches and find the common ancestors between these matches.

 

7. Determine who is descended from all these common ancestors.

 

8. Connect your AncestryDNA to these descendants; see if you get matches through all of the branches or only some of them.

 

9. Repeat for each match working back through all your match lists.

 

10. Eventually, you find the same people in the trees of your various matches. This will be pointing toward birth family.  Remember to consider all the information that you collected during the preparation phase.

Cousins Defined

First Cousin or Full Cousin

Children of your parents' brothers and sisters. You and your first cousins share one set of grandparents.

Double First Cousins

If a pair of brothers marries a pair of sisters, their kids are not only first cousins, they're double first cousins: They have both sets of grandparents in common.

Second Cousins

You and the children of your parents' cousins are second cousins and share at least one great-grandparent. Your child and your cousin's child are second cousins.

Third Cousins

You and the children of your parents' second cousins are third cousins and share at least one great-great-grandparent. And so on with the fourth, fifth, and sixth cousins.

First Cousin Once Removed

A relationship that is removed is one that exists in two different genealogical generations. Generation refers to the order of birth, a genealogical level. Your aunt and your mother may have been born 20 years apart, but they are still of the same generation. Your parent's first cousin is your first cousin once removed. The child of your first cousin is also your first cousin once removed: your grandparent is that child's great-grandparent. You can do the whole "removed" thing for every category of cousins—second cousin once removed, and so on. But by then you'll probably drive everyone completely crazy.

For more information regarding family member relations, please visit Better Homes & Garden's to continue reading.

Additional Mirror Tree Resources

Documents shared from DNA Detectives

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