DNA & A Question of Paternity: Part 8 – Analysis with a new match

In search of information to clear up the uncertain paternity of “Bob,” I analyzed various records and DNA results for Bob and his genetic matches and came up with a list of four possible candidates for Bob’s father. There were no plans to make contact with genetic matches or their family members for targeted DNA testing, so I waited to see if any new (close) DNA matches turned up. I didn’t have to wait very long.

A couple of months after my research narrowed down the possibilities to four candidates, Match X appeared, sharing 478cM with Bob – more than any other match to date (about the level of a first cousin once removed). Match X also shared DNA with likely paternal relatives of Bob, so Match X was worth knowing more about.

Match X appeared in Bob’s results at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA). So, I had Match X’s name (he was shown with the suffix, “Jr”) and an email address, but there was no family tree attached to the profile of Match X. Searching people finder websites, I found record of someone named “Match X, Jr” with an email address that matched the one with the FTDNA profile. This person had known associates/relatives including a Linda Diggory, a Lester Diggory, and a Lucinda Diggory (all names have been changed). Luckily, having already researched relatives of Bob’s genetic matches, the descendants of Helen Black, I recognized the surname Diggory. One of the four strongest candidates for Bob’s father, Gerald Lovegood, had a daughter Lucinda, who married a Lester Diggory. Ages estimated on the people finder websites suggested that Linda was younger than Lucinda and Lester, and that Match X was even younger. Other records suggested that Linda Diggory may be Match X’s mom, thus Match X could be the grandson of Lester and Lucinda (Lovegood) Diggory (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Family tree showing six genetic matches (labeled A, B, C, D, E, and X) – all apparent descendants of Helen Black. Results for Match X have only appeared on FTDNA (so far), so exact amounts of DNA he shares with the other matches A-E are not available. Matches A and B are not on FTDNA, but Match X does appear as a match with Match C and Match E. Match D is also on FTDNA but does not appear as a match in common with Bob and Match X. Since Match X would be a half second cousin twice removed to Match D, it is not a given that they would share DNA.

Conveniently, sometime after I had hypothesized this placement of Match X in the tree, the profile for Match X on FTDNA updated to include a link to a family tree listing his maternal grandparents as Lester Diggory and Lucinda Diggory.

Inserting Match X into the tree and updating the What Are The Odds? (WATO) analysis now leaves the only statistically possible placements for Bob as either the grandson or the great-grandson of Oscar and Patty (McGonagall) Lovegood. Including additional evidence leads to the conclusion that Bob’s father was either 1) a son of Frank Lovegood (son of Oscar and Patty), 2) Gerald Lovegood (son of Oscar and Patty), or 3) Gerald’s son George. Testing this more focused set of hypotheses through WATO yields the following probability scores (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. (click to enlarge) The family tree shown displays possibilities for the placement of Bob among the descendants of Helen Black (genetic matches A, B, C, D, E, and new match X). Possibilities that were found to be statistically possible (score > 0) are shown here in yellow or green (darker green colors and higher scores are more likely). See earlier post for more detail on testing hypotheses with WATO.

Figure 2 shows that while there is still more than one option for Bob’s placement within the family tree that is “statistically possible,” a single hypothesis, with Bob as the son of Gerald Lovegood and the half-brother of George and Lucinda, is more than twenty times more likely than any other possibility. Gerald was also one of the candidates that, according to records found, likely was in the right area at the right time to have been Bob’s father.

This is by no means proof that Gerald Lovegood was Bob’s father; however, by combining autosomal DNA analysis, Y DNA analysis, and paper record analysis, I have found one candidate who appears to be much more likely than any others. And though there is no plan to seek out new targets to genetically test this hypothesis, new matches appear all the time, so more convincing evidence could become available any day. 

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