A New Latvian DNA Match – Otis with Schwechheimer Ancestry

Otis, as well as my mom, has Latvian ancestors. He also shows as a match to my mom and other family memebers at AncestryDNA where he tested. At AncestryDNA, Otis shows as the first in the list of probable third cousins by DNA. That means that Otis and my mom could have shared 2nd great-grandparents.

The Known Genealogy

Here is the genealogy of my mother’s dad who was born in Latvia:

Otis tells me that he has Schwechheimer in his ancestry. One of my mother’s great grandparents was Rosine Schwechheimer. Rosine’s dad, my mom’s 2nd great-grandfather was Johann Gottfried Schwechheimer born 1772. However, Johann was married to a Gangnus, so it is possible that Otis and my family are related on more than one line.

Otis’ Schwechheimer Line

Otis has recently looked into his ancestry and updated his tree. Here is his paternal grandfather’s Schwechheimer Line:

In order to get back to Johann Schwechheimer, on my mom’s tree, I need to go back over 100 years from Otis’ grandmother Antonija. That could be difficult.

Otis’ DNA

I’ll look at Otis’ DNA and then get back to the genealogy. Otis kindly uploaded his DNA to gedmatch.com. There I can see his first 8 matches are with my family:

  1. First Otis matches my mom
  2. Then my two first cousins
  3. Then me and my four tested siblings

This is how Otis matches my mom at Gedmatch:

Otis also matches my 2nd cousin Catherine:

Otis matches my newly discovered (through DNA) 2nd cousin, Anita from Latvia:

Otis, my mom and Anita all match on Chromosome three, which is a likely triangulation of DNA. Triangulation by DNA is strong evidence of a common ancestor.

AncestryDNA’s Shared Matches

AncestryDNA has a helpful utility called Shared Matches. The first unknown shared DNA match between Otis and my mom is Valdis. Valdis’ mom was Klara Schwechheimer born in Hirschenhof. That is where my mom’s father’s side was from.

This adds evidence that the match between my family and Otis’ is on our Schwechheimer lines. My mom and Otis have about 29 Shared DNA Matches at AncestryDNA. I note that my mom’s great-grandmother Rosine Schwechheimer was one of 15 children, so this may help explain some of the matches.

Back to the Genealogy

My favorite source for Latvian genealogical research is:


It would make sense to try to find Antonija Schwechheimer:

Otis has her born 3 Mar 1884 in Latvia. I looked through the HIrschenhof Parish records of Lipkalnes for that time period and did not see Antonija.

From there I went to the Raduraksti List of Latvian Inhabitants. There I found two Antonija’s but they had the wrong birth years:

The elder Antonija had a father named Georgs. Perhaps this Georgs was a brother of Otis’ Antonija. The elder Antonija did not have a birth place listed, but her place of origin was listed as Irsu which is another name for Hirschenhof. I also found different spellings for Schwechheimer. On a different page of records I found two children of Georgs Schwechheimer:

They would have been born in Hirschenhof around the time that Antonija would have been born.

Here is the record for Alexander:

I must say the handwriting is quite impressive. It looks like Alexander’s father was Johann Georg married to Anna Charlotte Müller. These are the prime suspects for Antonija’s parents at this point.

I did find another version of the birth records and found this:

That means that Antonija was baptized Margarethe Antonie on 26th (sechsundzwanzigste) February 1884 and born on the 20th (zwanzigste) of the same month. That means that I was on the right track with the parents.

Finding Antonie’s Grandparents

Now that we have Antonie’s parents, we need to find her grandparents. The best way to find this is through a marriage record for Antonie’s parents. Fromholds was born in 1878 according to Raduraksti’s List of Latvian Inhabitants. That means that I should start looking for a marriage before this time.

It appears that Antonie’s parents married in 1871:

I found this in an index a few times, but I couldn’t find the actual wedding record. The full records apparently are not available online.

Anna Charlotte Muller

Anna Charlotte was born in 1850. Her father was Ludgwig Muller. He may have had another first name. Anna Charlotte’s mother was Margaretha Hormann.

Johann Georg Schwechheimer

This is probably Otis’ Johann Georg:

I say probably, because there was another Johann Georg born in 1853. This is where a marriage record would come in handy.

This Georg had two Schwechheimer parents: Gerhard and Jacobine. [However, see below where a different wife to Gerhard is proposed.]

The tree is looking better:

Under this scenario there is a double chance of matching Otis on the Schwechheimer Lines.

More Schwechheimer Research

My next step is to look at Gerhard and Jacobine Schwechheimer. I didn’t see their marriage record at Raduraksti. I would expect Gerhard to be born in the 1800-1827 era. Turns out I have a Gerhard in my own tree at Ancestry.

That is enough to get me back to where I wanted to be. Gerhard’s parents were Johann Gottfried Schwechheimer born 31 January 1772 and Anna Charlotte Maria Gangnus born 1 April 1780. This reference was from a book written by Gustav Gangnus in 2003.

A Schwechheimer/Gangnus Tree

I had called this a Schwechheimer Tree but the common ancestors to the tree are actually Schwechheimer and Gangnus:

Here Otis and I are fourth cousins. Otis is a 3rd cousin once removed to my mother. The reason that it is important to have Schwechheimer and Gangnus in this tree is that the DNA that Otis and my family share could be either from one or the other.

[Note: See update to the above here.]

A Few Discrepancies

I should note that I am not 100% sure that I have the right Johann Georg Schwechheimer born in 1847. However, he does appear to be the most likely candidate. For some reason, Johann Georg Schwechheimer was a popular name.

Secondly, my Gustav Gangnus book mentions that Johann Gerhard Schweccheimer married Anna Charlotte März. That means that the record I was looking at may have been wrong or I may have read it wrong. It is also possible that the reference that I have may have gotten the different Johann Georg’s mixed up. Or there may be a third possibility.

Thirdly, as this was a colony, there were only so many families to marry into. There will likely be a matrix of further out relationships which I have not tracked.

Mapping Schwechheimer/Gangnus

Here is my DNA match with Otis:

From what I showed above, it is likely that all or some of this DNA is DNA that Otis and I got from Gottfried Schwechheimer or Charlotte Gangnus. For now, I will assume that all this DNA is from that couple.

I have a profile at dnapainter.com. There I choose ‘paint a new match’. I copy in the above DNA locations and put in the common ancestors:

Schwechheimer/Gangus shows at the top of the key and the DNA is ‘painted’ in on my maternal side. Those new segments show up on the bottom side of Chromosomes 3, 12 and 17. The color for Schwechheimer/Gangnus is what I would call perriwinkle.

Expanding Chromosome 3

On Chromosome 3, the blue segment overlaps an orange segment. That is fine. The orange segment is my match with my Latvian 2nd cousin Anita. I had mentioned a while ago that we probably triangulated on Chromosome 3. That means that the DNA that Anita and I share, we also share with Otis on that part of Chromosome 3. That means that the three of us get our DNA from that spot from further back in time going to Schwechheimer/Gangnus. Here is an expanded view of the middle of Chromosome 3:

Getting the Numbers Up

I like to look at how much DNA I have mapped. Before Otis, my DNA was 34% mapped overall and 22% mapped on the maternal side. Now I am 35% mapped overall and 24% mapped on the maternal side. For reference, my paternal side is 46% mapped. Here is the whole map:

I now have Schwechheimer in the right section in the key.

Summary and Conclusions

  • There is room for further research. There is some confusion as to who was the wife of Gerhard Schwechheimer born in 1809.
  • I haven’t focused on Schwechheimer Genealogy in the past. This seems to be an area which could use some attention.
  • At some point, it would be interesting to sort out the more distant relationships. I know that I descend from two different Gangnus Lines. Otis like has multiple lines that match mine.
  • I was able to paint in Otis’ match on my chromosome map. This ‘painting’ showed a predicted triangulation between Otis, Anita and myself.
  • Due to some prolific Schwechheimers in the past, there appear to be other matches out there and room for more DNA analysis which will help the genealogical research.
  • I was able to expand Otis’ genealogy and put him firmly in the Hirschenhof Colony in Latvia.

Here is a map of the Hirschenhof Colony:

5 Replies to “A New Latvian DNA Match – Otis with Schwechheimer Ancestry”

  1. Im a Schwechheimer as well and my grandparents are original from Hirschenhof/ Helfreichshof. I was there about four years ago, very interesting. A Lady, who was a former teacher in Helfreichshof is taking care of the small museum they have there. I will go there again, as Riga is a very beautiful city as well.

    J. Schwechheimer

    1. Thanks for writing Jan. My wife’s friend lived in Riga for a while and wanted us to visit. I wish we had. I still have some Rathfelder relatives living there.


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