Not so fast. Upon further investigation, I noticed something very interesting. The common ancestral couple is on my father's side, but my mother shares this match with me! This "Spofford" Cousin matches not only me- but my mother, my sister and my two nieces on Chromosome 14. Therefore, the match on Chromosome 14 must come from my mother's ancestry, not my father's. So, is this once promising match a total failure? Take a look at Chromosome 5. That little dark blue smudge is a match that my sister shares with this cousin, but my mother and myself do not. Now, that one could be from my dad's side!
|For a closer look, please click on the charts to enlarge|
Since I do not have my father's data at 23andMe, but I have tested his two siblings there, I checked to see if either one matches this cousin. Neither one does. This makes it impossible at this time to absolutely determine if this stretch of matching DNA on Chromosome 5 was inherited from the Spoffords. If, in the future, other matches show up that are descended from the Spofford or Hopkinson Families that will clarify the situation. Since I do have my father's data over at FTDNA's Family Finder, another possibility is to compare his raw data file with his Spofford Cousin at an independent project that compares data files from both companies, like GEDmatch (if she is willing to submit).
Because of the matching DNA on Chromosome 14, I examined my Spofford Cousin's family tree a bit more to see if I could determine from where that match might originate. I couldn't help but notice the surname Shellenbarger figuring prominently on her tree. I have written in the past about my mother's mysterious Stolebarger great great grandparents here and here and my theory that their often misspelled surname with its many variants could have evolved from a similar name. Sure enough, both the Shellenbargers and the Stolebargers were German immigrants living in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s and members of both families ended up in Iowa by the late 1800s. I could not find a solid connection, but this match will cause me to be more keenly aware of my mother's links to these Pennsylvania Dutch families, including our Roderick, Long and Roemig ancestors. This may even lead me to finally start that Stolebarger Y-DNA Project. In fact, I still have an unused kit sitting here waiting for a Stolebarger, Stolabarger or Stoalabarger male. Any takers?