One of the first things we ask about a new DNA match is this: is this a match on Mom’s side, or Dad’s?
We all have two copies of each autosome (i.e. chromosome 1 through chromosome 22): one copy in each pair comes from Mom and one from Dad. Unfortunately, the testing company can’t tell by looking at our DNA if a segment that matches someone else is on our maternal copy of that chromosome, or our paternal copy.
We need to compare our DNA to known relatives who have tested; then we can begin to figure out how our new matches fit in our family trees.
If you’ve had both of your parents take an autosomal DNA test at the company where you and your new cousin match, it’s easy to tell maternal or paternal. But what if you don’t have DNA tests for both parents?
GEDmatch.com has some tools to help us.