Finding Margaret

Many blogs offer valuable tips on how to understand DNA results or use DNA tools. It can be harder to find posts that provide a practical example demonstrating how to integrate DNA in our research process to answer a genealogy question.

In early 2019, I wrote an article called “Identifying the Parents of Margaret Kosmachek: a Case for DNA” for the Minnesota Genealogist, vol. 50, no. 1, spring 2019, p. 24-30. At the time, it was not a completed case study. The article was intended to illustrate how DNA testing can help genealogists discover new places to do documentary research, and also how further testing might be needed to support a hypothesis or address new conflicts.

Dave’s dad died when he was two and his mom passed away when he was 12 or 13. He was raised by his mother’s family and knew little of his father’s line. Dave’s daughter was curious to find the identity of his paternal grandmother Margaret’s parents. The 1940 census said she was born around 1890 in Wisconsin, but we couldn’t find a birth, marriage, or death record for Margaret, and we couldn’t find her in any census records before she was married. Dave thought Margaret and her husband retired out-of-state in the early 1950s, but he had no idea where.

As you might guess, DNA testing saved our bacon! If you would like to read the educational piece I wrote on “Finding Margaret,” you may now read it online here.

(And if you attended the Indiana State Library’s workshop,  “Using Genetic Genealogy to Advance Your Research” in November 2019, you may recognize the case from my presentation there.)

I’m very grateful to the editors of the Minnesota Genealogist for their help and support. Best of luck in your own genealogy projects!

© April 2021,    Ann Raymont, CG®

5 thoughts on “Finding Margaret

  1. smpfamily

    I like how one discovery led to another, and DNA matches provided more information to identify the family. Finding the 1900 census took quite a bit of effort. I am impressed. By choice or necessity, the family Americanized their name phonetically, which made the search even harder. In Polish, they may have been Kaźmierczak, from the given name Kazimierz, “Casimir.” To hear Kaźmierczak pronounced in Polish, click on the speaker icon at The Polish name Lewandowski ( is the seventh most common surname in Poland. These names are found all over Poland today!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Better of the Genea-Blogs - Week of 28 March to three April 2021 - Search My Tribe News

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