When I sent the first message to Denise, my husband and I were travelling around Australia in our caravan. This is colloquially known as doing the “Big Lap”. There was plenty of time for thinking as the road unrolled in front of us. We stopped at Kidman’s Camp just out of Bourke, then drove into Queensland where we visited the Qantas Museum in Longreach. Crawling all over old planes and reading the history of aviation in the remote outback is a great way to appreciate modern technology. You can see our van parked in the distance behind the 747.
We visited the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument at Lark Quarry where a herd of 150 small two-legged dinosaurs was ambushed by a large theropod, 95 million years ago. As I was wrestling with the information I had found through Ancestry, the sheer immensity of time since those footprints were made in the earth somehow gave my findings perspective.
It was three days before I told my husband what I had found as I had to convince myself of the implications. From the start he was enthusiastic and excited. We both suspected that Linden Price was not my biological father. Could I somehow be related to the Turners?
A new match appeared on Ancestry. Her name was Alice* and she was also a cousin. She replied to my email that she too was related to the Turner family. Her sister appeared as a match and also her grandfather. Denise tested her mother and she came up as possibly….my half sister.
Each match corresponded to a certain number of centimorgans. According to Wikipedia in genetics, a centimorgan (abbreviated cM) or map unit (m.u.) is a unit for measuring genetic linkage. It was named in honour of geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan by his student Alfred Sturtevant. It is defined as the distance between chromosome positions (also termed loci or markers) for which the expected average number of intervening chromosomal crossovers in a single generation is 0.01.
Hmmm. Maybe if I just list them it will make more sense.
Denise’s mum 1,443 cM
Alice’s grandfather 988 cM
Denise 815 cM
Robin * (Denise’s cousin) 698 cM
Alice 240 cM
As Ted had brothers and a son it was possible that any one of them could have been my biological father. I was interested to find I had some matches on my mother’s side. There were common ancestors from both sides of her tree so at least I knew my mother was my biological parent. There were no matches on my father’s side.
* Not their real names.