Sunday, May 4, 2008

DNA Doubles. Have you found your look-a-like?

Twenty two years on a genealogy research trip to Salt Lake City, I came across information on a group of relatives that left the east and went out to the upper mid-west by way of Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The descendants of my great grandmother’s brother were now living in and around Pierre, South Dakota.

We had made many trips to the Family History Library, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) (The Mormon Church,) usually flying commercially from Upstate New York. This time we had driven and on the return trip one morning we were filling up in Nebraska and upon looking at the road map it was just too tempting. Pierre was only about a 600 mile side trip, minor detail.

A telephone call to a man whose name and address had been located in the LDS records found him home, and he was happy to hear from a relative from back east, but I should call his cousin, who was REALLY into genealogy.

Another call found a nice lady that was thrilled to hear from a distant cousin and, “Do, please come and visit!” Didn’t have to ask twice. After a ride through the Bad Lands we arrived at her door, and were welcomed graciously.

The lady was my mom’s direct third cousin, so she was my third cousin once removed. Neither of us knew anything at all about each other before this meeting. She was intense and stared deeply at me throughout the short meeting. Her kids were all coming home for the weekend and they lived all over the country, so we could not stay long. She shared some family heirlooms, old letters, a civil war diary and we talked about our common ancestor, which she knew of, but had no information on any of his descendants, other than her own line.

After trading addresses and phone numbers, we were about to leave, when she proclaimed, “Ever since you arrived at the door, I was shocked by how you look EXACTLY like my brother when he was your age!”

Well we have all heard that before right? About two weeks after returning home there was a nice package of family records to add to my data base, and I had sent her a package as well. She sent a large family gathering photograph, you know the type, a family reunion where everyone lines up, short ones in front, and we all say cheese.

This photo had been taken probably in the 1920’s or 1930’s. Standing in the back row center was “ME!” Now I don’t mean looks a little like. It was ME! Unbelievable!

My mom was still alive and she knew that I had the genealogy bug and she loved it. She also knew that I had met people out west that were related.

So I showed her the group photo of the South Dakota people and asked her if she knew anyone. After a couple of minutes, she proclaimed, “Well I see YOU, but who the heck are the rest of these people?”

This story is extremely similar to one that was just recently published in the “Seattle Times” Newspaper, about a man by the name of Ron Schwert who had traveled to Konstanz, Germany to visit his ancestral roots hometown. Ron was on the trail of his German ancestors. Ron found out where the Schwerts were buried in Binningen, only 20 miles from Konstanz

After finding some of the graves he and his wife stopped at a local gasthaus. Ron explained that he was looking for information about the Schwert family.

The pub owner made a phone call, and soon Franz Schwert came in the door.

They were all speechless. Franz and Ron were doubles, separated by five generations!

Read the full story here:

Do you have a similar story? If so, just add it to the "comments" box of this Blog message and we can all share the fun.

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