And it’s probably the first of many, so buckle up. 

There’s nothing quite like the humbling sensation of realizing that you’ve been wrong about something—or at least, realizing that you might be wrong about something.

This is the current reality I’m facing as I’m realizing that I may have been going about my search through the Concholar/Smith family tree all the wrong way. Like I mentioned before, I’m mostly unfamiliar with interpreting GEDMatch information. As such, I took their estimate of 3.8 for our most recent common ancestor as gospel, thinking we were third cousins and therefore sharing a great-great-grandparent, and researching as such.

However, I naturally began to wonder about this estimate might be a little off, as I struggled to find someone who might be my grandfather. So I did what any other millennial would do when confronted with a question like this and crowdsourced my question to Reddit.

The response I got was from a user named Ancailleach and it, though not all too surprising, did throw me for a loop.

I have a confirmed match at that distance and it’s 3rd cousin once removed. That’s not to say that your match will be the same, but just to give you an idea.

Third cousin, once removed.

God dammit, I don’t even know what that means.

Luckily, the internet swooped in to tell me how much more difficult this process might take.


So if this graph can be trusted (as we all know, the Internet never lies), we can ascertain that Dan’s great-great-great-grandparent might be related to my mom, or his great-great-grandparent might be related to my mom. If it’s the former, this process just got a wee bit more difficult considering records get more and more hazy the further back in generations you go. This is especially the case with ancestors who are slaves or from Mexico (as is the case with the Concholar/Smith family).

So what the heck does this all mean? Well, first I’ll search through his great-great-grandparents and their descendants. If that continues to prove fruitless (meaning no one named Robinson who served in Vietnam shows up), then it means going back drawing board and searching through Dan’s great-great-great-grandparents and their descendants, which is pretty much my worst nightmare.


  • Don’t take anything you see on these ancestry sites as gospel. They tell you it’s an estimate for a reason, and even then there’s some wiggle room for them to be wrong.
  • Genealogy forums on places like Reddit and Facebook are bomb for learning new things. There are great communities out there and from what I’ve seen since everyone just wants to see everyone else succeed. It’s nice!
  • It might not be as terrible as it looks. So far as I know, Dan might still be my mom’s third cousin or even second cousin. So maybe my Gob Bluth status is more along the lines of this:


I seriously can’t get over the fact that I can put GIFs on this site. This is already so much cooler than my middle school Xanga blog.

Next up . . .

  • 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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2 thoughts on “I’ve (Probably) Made A Huge Mistake”

  1. I’m not super familiar with the 23andMe interface, but on Ancestry you can view shared matches meaning they have DNA in common with both of you. If they have something like that it might help you narrow down a specific line even if the cousin is a bit more distant.

    1. 23andMe actually does have a similar tool! I actually just sent my Ancestry DNA kit off to the company, so hopefully I’ll hear back from them soon. Excited to see the results that’ll come up with their database.

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