More on My DNA Matches with My Latvian Cousins

In my previous Blog on Anita and Inese, my Latvian cousins, I went answered some questions that they had on DNA. However, I didn’t get to look at other common matches that I have with Anita and Inese.

Latvian Matches from Different Testing Companies

Anita and Inese tested at MyHeritage. This is a good testing company. However, other people test at different companies, so different analyses are needed based on what the companies have to offer. One good solution is to upload your DNA results to where the results from different testing companies can be compared. Anita and Ines have done this.

Otis  with Schwechheimer and Gangnus Ancestry

One of my closest DNA matches is Otis. His ancestors are from Latvia. My Latvian ancestors are for the most part German and lived in the German colony of Hirschenhof. This is the somewhat complicated tree showing how I am doubly related to Otis:

Now I need to add some closer relatives:

Note the double relationship to Otis. I also notice an extra Gangnus connection:

This shows that Charlotte Gangnus married a Schwechheimer and had Rosine who married a Rathfelder and had my mother’s grandfather Heinrich Rathfelder. Heinrich married Maria Gangnus. Here is a Gangnus tree:

This shows that Heinrich Rathfelder married Maria Gangnus who was his 3rd cousin. On the Gangnus side, I am a 4th cousin and a distant 6th cousin to Otis. On the Schwechheimer side, I am the same 4th cousin and a 5th cousin. This tree could also be drawn out wider to include Rusty, Cindy, Catherine, Anita and Inese. However, it would be quite wide as much of the tree would be repeated twice.

Otis and Triangulation Groups (TGs)

Otis is in several triangulation groups (TGs). Here is one of the largest ones on Chromosome 3:

A triangulation group is where three or more people match each other. It means that they have common DNA that came down from a common ancestor. When there is only one pair of most common ancestors, this makes things easier. In this case where there are three sets of common ancestors, I assume that the match is on the most recent of the common ancestors. This represents DNA from the latter part of the 1700’s.

It is also less likely that the match represents Markus Schwechheiner or Georg Gangnus. However, Otis and Gladys (my mom) and Otis and Cindy have relatively large DNA matches which likely represents the closer relationship. I didn’t include myself or my siblings in this analysis as each sibling gets half the amount of DNA each parent has.

Astrid’s Rathfelder DNA

Here is a tree I worked out for Astrid:

This was a difficult tree. The strangest thing was that Hans Jerg Rathfelder had two children both by the name of Johann Georg. He must have really liked that name. Apparently one child went by Johann and the other by Georg. Here I should note that Hans Jerg married Juliane Bittenbinder. This is important because a DNA match to Astrid could be either from Hans Jerg or Juliane. The good news about this tree is that there aren’t any obvious double relationships like we had with Schwechheimer and Gangnus.

A Few Problems with the Rathfelder Tree and with Astrid’s DNA

The problem with Astrid’s tree is that there were two Adeline Wilhemine Rathfelders. One was born in 1838 and one was born in 1844. If the 1844 Wilhemine was the mother of Friedrich Spengel, she would have been 15 at his birth.

In my Blog on Anita, I pointed out that the DNA matches as reported at Gedmatch showed that there should be a closer relationship to Astrid based on the DNA:

Here is what the alternative (younger Wilhemine) tree looks like:

This changes Astrid from a 4th cousin to my mom Gladys to a 2nd cousin once removed. Using the same analysis as above, I get this:

Here, the young mother tree seems to be a better fit by the DNA as seen at Gedmatch. This was the original idea that I had. So for now, I will just put those two trees out there until more information comes to light. In summary, the first analysis showed that the actual DNA matches were one generation closer than shown by the tree. By the second analysis, the DNA suggested that the relationships were about 1/3 generation further away than the young mother tree.

Any Help from Ancestry on Astrid’s Tree?

Astrid’s sister Ingrid has been tested at AncestryDNA, but the results have not been posted to Ancestry estimates that both Astrid and Ingrid are 4th cousins to Gladys. That would support the tree #1 theory.¬† Here is my mom’s match to Astrid at AncestryDNA:

Here is how that same match looks like at

Gladys and Ingrid’s DNA at Ancestry DNA

This shows that my mom’s DNA match with Ingrid was 75% lower than my mom’s match with Astrid.

This table shows that AncestryDNA favors Tree 1:

Under Tree 1, my mom is a fourth cousin to Astrid. AncestryDNA estimates a fourth cousin by DNA. My siblings and my cousin Cindy are all fourth cousins, once removed under Tree 1. By AncestryDNA my siblings are a fourth cousin and Cindy would be a fifth cousin.

Another consideration is that if Tree 2 or the young Wilhemine Rathfelder tree were the correct one, perhaps Otis above would be more likely to be matching with Astrid by DNA on their Schwechheimer side. Under the young Wilhemine scenario, Otis and Astrid would be 4th cousins and would have a greater than 50% chance of matching each other. However, at Gedmatch, they don’t match each other. This is not proof that Tree 1 is right, but just possible supporting evidence. Unless, I think of another reason, I will stick to my original tree for Astrid and her sister Ingrid.

Triangulating with Astrid

On Chromosome 10, Astrid matches Catherine, Inese and Anita:

If we have the right tree, the TG would look like this:

Anita’s TG on Chromosome 17

Perhaps Alexander got the Chromosome 17 Rathfelder DNA and Leonhard got the Chromosome 10 Rathfelder DNA.

Wolf at MyHeritage

Wolf had his DNA tested at MyHeritage. This is the same place where Anita and Inese had their DNA tested. I wrote a Blog about him here. Like many others descending from the colony of Hirschenhof, it seems like I match Wolf on different lines. The closest match is through Schwechheimer, like with Otis above.

The difference is that I match Wolf a generation earlier than I match Otis. Here is how Gladys and Wolf match at MyHeritage:

Gladys’ Latvian Matches at AncestryDNA

It is possible to group matches by looking at shared matches at AncestryDNA. I have done that and tried to look at just my mother’s father’s side. He was the one from Latvia.

The point of this is that my mom has a lot of Schwechheimer matches, but only two matches that are on the Rathfelder line. Those two matches are sisters: Astrid and Ingrid. Some of these people fell easily into groups and some did not. I also see tha I have two columns for Schwechheimer in orange and blue. It could be that the blue line has Schwechheimer in it, but I am more closely related on another line. Someone named Valdis matches both the orange and blue group.

Summary and Conclusions

  • My grandfather was a Rathfelder, but I am not finding many DNA relatives with the Rathfelder name.
  • My great great grandmother was Rosine Schwechheimer from the German Colony of Hirschenhof. I am able to find many DNA matches with people who have Schwechheimer ancestors.
  • I took a second look at Otis. He is a close DNA match on the Schwechheimer side. However, we also share Gangnus ancestry.
  • I looked at one of my few Rathfelder DNA matches: Astrid. I compared two possible trees with two Wilhemine Rathfelders. One tree would have favored a Wilhemine giving birth at an early age. Based on a match I didn’t have with Otis on the early birth tree and suggestions by AncestryDNA matches, I favored my earlier tree which had Wilhemine giving birth at a more reasonable age.
  • I took another look at Wolf. He also matches on the Schwechheimer Line, but one generation further back than Otis.



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