Philip Marlowe eat your heart out.


Since getting my 23andMe results, I’ve been lucky enough to come into contact with several of my distant relatives. One of the relatives goes by the name of Heather Concholar. I connected with her after matching with her grandfather, Dan Concholar, discovering that he’s actually closely related to my mother—relatively speaking.

I just made a “relative” pun, didn’t I? God help me.

According to 23andMe’s DNA Relatives tool, he and my mother are roughly third to fourth cousins. However, after cross referencing Dan Concholar’s results with GEDMatch (another very helpful tool for getting more detailed breakdowns of genetic matches), it shows that he might actually be a somewhat closer match than that as the site has their most common ancestor as 3.8 generations back, which would make him just about my mom’s second cousin X times removed.

This is probably a good a time as any to say that if anyone sees that I’m wrong about something here (as I probably am), please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message through the contact page saying so. I’ve already received a few helpful messages, and absolutely appreciate all the help I can get.

But back to the Concholars!

Heather and I exchanged a few messages back and forth before she shared her family tree with me through Ancestry.com. Knowing what I know now, I’m going to want to look at Dan’s great-grandparents’ siblings and their children in order to find my grandfather. This is super confusing, I know, so here’s that handy chart I shared in my previous post that has helped me immensely.

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Luckily for me, help came to me last weekend in the form of teacher, mother, and ancestry extraordinaire Liz Hoselton. AKA My girlfriend’s mom. After talking to her about my situation, she jumped on the opportunity to search through the Concholar/Smith family tree to find my grandfather with the type of excitement and enthusiasm I honestly didn’t expect for a subject as benign as my family history. I’m starting to find that ancestry junkies are just excited about history in general though. Go figure, huh?

Anyway, she was able to help me figure out which specific generation in Dan Concholar’s family tree with which we shared a common ancestor. It is this one!

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Apologies for the tiny-ness of this image.

More specifically, I’m directly descended from the sibling of one of these people. That’s where things get a bit tricky. I’m not just related to their brothers/sisters, I’m related to their kids, nephews/nieces, grandchildren and grandnephew/nieces, and their great-grand children and nephew/nieces, and their great-great-.

Well, you get the picture.

Mrs. H helped me plot out roughly where on my family tree I’d be related to these folks, estimating my great-grandparents being born at around the turn of the century (1900). We spent the day trying to verify and uncover the descendants of a handful of people, and even with that we barely even cracked the surface of the tree.

More on that later though . . .

Up Next . . .

  • History of the Boat People: brief overview on the Vietnamese diaspora following the Fall of Saigon and where my family fits in it all.
  • Ba Ngaoi’s Story: My grandmother’s story of survival, struggle, and love in the time of US extended military engagements in a foreign country.

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