My New Match with Anita from Latvia

There has been some buzz recently on the genetic genealogy Facebook Pages about MyHeritage and how useful it is becoming. Not too long after uploading my DNA to MyHeritage, a new match, Anita, showed up as my top match. This was MyHeritage’s estimate as to our relationship:

I guessed that Anita was related on my mother’s side as my mom’s dad grew up in Latvia. I wrote to Anita and she kindly and warmly wrote back. Anita lives in Latvia, so she is my first Rathfelder relative living in Latvia that I have a DNA match with.

A Rathfelder DNA Testing Tree

I have had another Rathfelder descendant tested, Catherine. She is even more closely related to Anita. Here are some Rathfelder descendants that have tested.

The Old Rathfelder DNA Testing Tree

This is the tree I have been working with:

Astrid is related, but more distantly than my second cousin Catherine, my mom, my siblings and two 1st cousins. I’ll use a different method to add Anita to the tree:

This chart gives the relationships between each DNA-tested Rathfelder descendant. I am a 2nd cousin once removed to Anita. MyHeritage had me as first cousin twice removed to 2nd cousin once removed by the DNA. They were right.

The Leo Rathfelder’s Line

Anita’s great-grandfather was Leo Rathfelder. Here is my web page on that Line:

Anita descends from Vera. It will be interesting to hear what that part of the family has been up to in Latvia since 1944.

I had asked Anita to upload her results to and she went along with my request. Here is how we match there:

Gedmatch has an estimated number of generations to our MRCA as 3.1. The MRCA is our Most recent common ancestors, Johann Heinrich Rathfelder and Maria Gangnus. I am three generations away from this couple and Anita is four, so that is an average of 3.5 generations away. This means that Anita and I share more than the average DNA for our 2nd cousin once removed relationship. Also I note that quite a few SNPs were used in comparison which is good. The test at MyHeritage is apparently much better than the one at 23andme which does not currently meet the threshold for normal sharing.

The Kitty Munson Chromosome Mapper

One fun thing to do with DNA is mapping. Kitty Munson has an on-line utility to map your DNA. All the DNA I have above will be mapped to Heinrich Rathfelder and Maria Gangnus. Right now my map looks like this:


Heinrich and Maria are a sort of orange color on the maternal (bottom) side of my chromosomes. Anita should make a good contribution to this map. Previously, Catherine’s matches with me contributed to this DNA from these two great grandparents. Catherine has a large match with me on Chromosome 18, so Anita will not add anything there, but she will on other chromosomes.

Here is the new map with my matches to Anita added:

Anita added a lot of DNA to my Chromosome map on Chromosomes 3, 11, 14, 15. 16, and 19.

Anita and the X Chromosome

The X Chromosome is more of a female thing than a male one. I say this because woman have two X Chromosomes and men have one. This is the X Chromosome DNA match that Anita and my mom share:

Gangnus DNA

The DNA that Anita and my mother share is from the Gangnus side. How do I know that? Here is the paternal side of my mother’s DNA inheritance chart:

The maternal side (not shown) does not apply to Anita. My mom inherits X Chromosome DNA from the blue and pink areas but none from the white areas. This shows that at the level that my mom and Anita match each other, the DNA that they share has to be on the Gangnus side. That is because my mother’s father Alexander didn’t get any DNA from his father. He only got a full dose of DNA from his mother Marie Gangnus that he sent down to my mom.

Anita’s X Chromosome DNA inheritance pathway is a bit longer:

Anita got a full dose also of her grandmother Vera Rathfelder’s  X Chromosome from her dad. However, I think that Vera’s X Chromosome would have been a combination of her father and mother’s X Chromosome.

I have mapped out the X Chromosome for myself and four of my siblings:

The Rathfelder part is in green. Lentz is my mother’s mother’s side. That was the part I didn’t show on the bottom side of her X Chromosome inheritance chart. As I mentioned above, all the Rathfelder DNA on the X Chromosome came from Maria Gagnus, so it could just as well say Gagnus instead of Rathfelder. I am on the J bar. I got Lentz DNA from 100 to 140. My mom matches Anita from 114 to 144. That means that I should match Anita from 110 to 114 as my green Rathfelder/Gangnus X Chromosome inheritance starts at 110. When I check gedmatch for an X match with Anita, at first I didn’t get a match. That is because gedmatch sets the SNP level for matching higher than  the other chromosomes. When I lower the SNP level, I get this match with Anita on the X Chromosome:


Anita and Catherine’s Mystery X Chromosome Match

At first, I thought that I had stumped myself with this one, but I figured it out. Anita’s largest X Chromosome match is with her 1st cousin once removed Catherine:

I confused myself by the way I drew the DNA inheritance map:

Here it looks like the X Chromosome is traveling from Leo to Catherine’s father which is impossible. After posting a question to the ISOGG Facebook Page, I figured it out. Obviously Leo had a wife, Lidia Vasiljeva. This DNA was from her. I was focused on the Rathfelder side and forgot the Vasiljeva side that I’m totally unrelated to. So if Anita and Catherine are ever sitting around pondering their X Chromosome match with each other, they will now know that their match is a Vasiljeva match. Mystery solved.

Here is Marie (Maria?) Gangnus.

Other matches with Anita are from Marie Gangnus or her Rathfelder husband and we can’t identify which. Matches with Anita and my family on the X Chromosome would be from Marie’s DNA.

Other DNA Matches

This could be a topic for further research. Gedmatch has a way to look for people that match two other people. In this case, I’ll choose my mom and Anita. When I put these two names into the Gedmatch Utility, I came up with a short list including myself and my siblings.

One prominent DNA match was David. He matched my mom and Anita. This chromosome browser is from the perspective of my mom:

On Chromosome 14, my mom matches #1 Anita, #2 Catherine and #3 David. David tested at Family Tree DNA, so I’ll check there. Unfortunately David has no tree posted at either FTDNA or Gedmatch, so I may write to say hi.

Anita and Astrid

I’m a bit puzzled by Astrid. I had written a few Blogs about her previously. The most recent Blog is here. It seems like the DNA is telling me that Astrid should be more closely related than she is.

This table gives different matches to Astrid. If I have the tree right, then all these people seem to be off by about one generation. At the time I wrote the previous Blog on Astrid’s ancestors, I had thought that the higher matches had something to do with her being related to the Gangnus family also.

Summary and Conclusions

  • I was pleasantly surprised to find Anita through DNA matching. I would like to find out more about her family.
  • I was able to match much more of my Rathfelder/Gangnus DNA thanks to Anita
  • X Chromosome matches that Anita and my family and cousins share is really Gangnus DNA coming through the Rathfelder male line.
  • It is possible that this DNA match with Anita will make it easier to find other Rathfelder relatives.
  • The Rathfelder family has been separated for over 100 years between Latvia, England, and the United State (and perhaps other places). Now thanks to DNA matches and the internet, connections are being made again.


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