I have been making good progress connecting some of my Italian DNA matches to each other. Eventually I will have to figure out how they connect to me, but connecting them up makes me feel like I've accomplished something!
I have been working through my Italian DNA matches on AncestryDNA, creating new online private trees to trace their family lines. In some cases I've been able to trace back several generations more than my matches have in their trees, at which point I generally share my work privately with that match.
However, another option is to create a family tree for a group of matches that match each other, either via the Shared Matches listing (which really needs to be included for all matches, not just 4th cousins and closer!) or by common ancestors in their family trees. I suspect this is similar to the DNA circles idea, but since none of my test kits have any DNA circles, I have to make up my own. :)
So far I have successfully linked two out of three shared matches on the Larro / Lerro common surname. I was able to fairly quickly connect two of the matches as 2nd cousins with common ancestors Domenico Antonio Larro and Mary Josephine Perri. I think I may have spilled the beans to the two of them that they are actually second cousins, but maybe they had already figured it out. :)
The third match is more challenging. She is the daughter of an adoptee, and his father, George Larro, is the connection point. But she has very little information on this ancestor, and trying to connect with living cousins, some of whom don't want to know about the family line abandoned by George so long ago, is difficult. We have some theories on how he might connect to the tree, but I am leaving that to her to pursue.
In addition to these shared matches, I have a connection-by-marriage with another DNA test taker who shares these same three matches. However, he and my father's DNA tests do not show up as matches to each other on AncestryDNA. Our marriage connection is via my Giordano line and his Lerro line, and that shared line makes my cousin in Italy his cousin, too, through opposite sides of that marriage. But we suspect we are related by blood as well, since we have a number of shared DNA matches. Not only do we share on the Larro/Lerro group above, but we also share matches with the group I connected back in March. So we are both convinced we are cousins. We just have to figure out how!
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