Published May 15, 2017

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There’s been no more faithful reader of “Roots & Branches” than Eric “Rick” Bender, now of New Mexico but with long Pennsylvania roots.

And now he’s turned to DNA to try and disentangle – and maybe even extend – those roots.

Bender had tested with Family Tree DNA some years ago (in what must seem like the “dark ages” of DNA!) testing.

But when several other family members decided to take the plunge with AncestryDNA, Bender plunked down his $100, too, and added his saliva to the mix (Note: No, they don’t mix the DNA! This is a metaphor – perhaps a pretty bad one!)

Over a week’s time after Bender’s test results came in, he sent me a steady stream of e-mails showing a bit of a roller-coaster ride through the matches he received as a result, starting with: “My results are in from Ancestry DNA.  I have much to do!”

Bender had delayed posting a tree to AncestryDNA, unsure of how “public” to make that tree, which also gave him a ringside seat to the same frustration that many other folks exploring genealogy DNA.

“I have yet to upload my tree at, so I might be missing hits back from other people who don’t have a clue why I might be related to them,” Bender wrote.  “Now that I see firsthand how useless it is to have a match without a tree, myself. What good is it to know that ‘loneranger27’ by him/herself, without a tree of surnames, is a possible cousin?”

He found that the ethnic-percentage breakdowns pretty well matched with the data he’d received from FTDNA.  “The ‘Communities’ application is just a general (‘Susquehanna Valley,’ e.g.) history without any specifics (well, no tree, so I’m not surprised). There’s certainly much more – different – in these results than at FTDNA,” he wrote.

One of Bender’s goals has been to extend is surname line, which currently ends with a John Bender in the early 1800s. Unfortunately, most of the Bender matches seemed to come from third or fourth cousins … “so their knowledge of the family history is probably what I provided to their cousins 20 years ago,” he wrote.

But he did receive a cousin match that seems to corroborate his ancestor John Bender having had two wives.

There’s also a match that might help Bender with a grandmother whose “Indenture of Adoption” from 1889 he only recently found. “I found birth records in Michigan that caused me to suspect a little girl born to a Peasley family might actually have been my grandmother and that she had somehow been informally adopted into ‘my’ family,” Bender wrote.  “Ancestry matches me with one Peasley and numerous others when I allow variants in the spelling.”

Bender has much more to do – there are some 200 pages of matches depending on what types of searches he does.

His assessment so far: “It’s been fun; it’s been interesting; it’s worth $100, easily.”

1 Comment

  1. Lois Smith

    11 months ago  

    Hi Cousin! I just recently sent in my spit sample to ancestrydna also. Hopefully it will confirm our relationship and tie to Michael Schauer! Can’t wait to get the results!!!