An inside look at three generations of DNA matching to Russian and Ukrainian cousins

The new lifestyle of staying at home as much as possible is perfect for taking a second look at DNA matches. My DNA journey started almost 10 years ago and thankfully, so many close relatives and cousins have agreed to test.

This gives a great opportunity to share information from my DNA matches on Family Tree DNA that could help others figure out those not so strong matches.

Father’s mother’s family

My cousin Sveta’s family in Moscow has gotten into DNA by testing several relatives, helping give insight for DNA matching. She is my third cousin, whose great-grandfather was brother to my great-grandfather.

My father’s first cousin Eugenia, myself and I match to her. As you can see in the first image, I am the strongest match to her at 94 cms (total DNA strands). My son  only matches her at 79 cms.

Eugenia is a weaker match to my third cousin, whose great-grandfather was brother to Eugenia’s grandfather. She only shares 58 cms with Sveta.

Ten relatives of Sveta’s family have tested on Family Tree DNA. Eugenia matches closer with Sveta’s sister, 75 cms. Then, a little closer with Sveta’s two first cousins, 81 cms and 83 cms.

Children of Sveta’s first cousins also tested. Eugenia matches 65 cms and 31 cms with two of Sveta’s first cousin’s children.

When the DNA matching was moved up to Sveta’s mother, granddaughter of my great-grandfather’s brother, the shared DNA became interesting.

I matched the mother at 116 cms, Eugenia matched her at 124 cms and my son at 103 cms. The amount of DNA I shared with Sveta’s mother was about the same as Eugenia even though we are a generation apart.

Mother’s father’s family

Now, we move onto my second cousin, Tatiana, from my grandfather’s family in Kyiv, Ukraine. Our grandparents were siblings.

My mother is her strongest match at 442 cms. Her youngest sibling is pretty close at 426 cms. The family’s middle child is sharing DNA at 376 cms.

My shared DNA with Tatiana is close to my uncle at 300 cms but my son’s match to Tatiana drops much lower to 95 cms.

Mother’s mother’s family

On to my grandmother’s family through her niece, my first cousin once removed, Irina, in Smolensk, Russia. Her niece’s grandmother’s is my great-grandmother.

My aunt shares the most DNA with Irina at 921 cms. My mom only shares 796 cms with Irina. The family’s middle child is in the middle at 909 cms.

My shared DNA is 309 cms. (Yes, I made myself a twin on Family DNA. Read about why in the linked post below.) The shared DNA between my son and Irina is 113 cms.

Hopefully, sharing this information has reinforced the importance of seeing the value of the weaker DNA matches. Thorough family tree research on siblings of direct ancestors makes the biggest difference for DNA testing.

Have some DNA success stories? Post your comments below.

This Fall: Effective communication with Russian and Ukrainian DNA matches. Follow this blog with the top right button to catch that post.

Related posts:
DNA testing finally proves its value in finding 16th century documents
Interesting results with making myself a twin on Family Tree DNA
Three siblings go on a DNA test journey
A Russian-American’s insider view of the 23andme Autosomal Test
A Russian-American’s inside view of the new AncestryDNA test
A Russian-American’s insider view of the MyHeritage DNA test
A Russian-American’s insider view of the Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder Test

5 thoughts on “An inside look at three generations of DNA matching to Russian and Ukrainian cousins

    1. I am working hard to figure out my 80 cm+ matches. My family has been in the USA only since the 1950s so I have a lot of cousins out of there. My best success has been research-based. I am hoping my DNA research will catch something awesome soon. Thanks for the reminder on the Kyiv correction. WordPress doesn’t give a free spell check on free blog sites.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sonjia Wuestefeld

     Dear Vera I am so happy for you. How very interesting and rewarding for you! I wish that family from Ukraine would test but they do not seem interested in doing so.  I am second American born as are my cousins. My older relatives have passed. I just have cousins who have tested. and I have been able to piece family to their trees. Sonjia  

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Sorry your family won’t test for you. My oldest brother won’t test for me. I didn’t expect Sveta’s family to get so into the testing. I found them through, where so many cousins have been found. I still have a lot of work to do because I haven’t found that amazing DNA cousin match yet. Maybe others will through this post’s insight.


  2. Deborah

    Good morning, Ms. Miller,

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend.

    An accurate total cM added up from the 22 chromosomes, called autosomal, is what predicts relationships.

    Once a match hits the 200 cM range, it’s probably reliable, but, below that, the chromosome browser needs to be used.

    If there’s an X match, the chromosome browser always needs to be used.

    That 94 cM that you’re seeing, is not the true, accurate total. It’s probably the 30 cM of Longest Block.

    That 58 cM that you’re seeing, is not the true, accurate total. It’s probably the 19 cM of Longest Block.

    FTDNA adds up every scrap they can find, including 1 cM segments, which are meaningless.

    This jacks up the cM total, which, in turn, creates predictions much closer than they really are.

    So, you need to use the chromosome browser with every single match, and go into the numbers table, and manually add up segments on your own.

    FTDNA: How To Use The Chromosome Browser

    1. On the far left of your match, there’s a little box. Click on it. This will cause the match to be highlighted in yellow.

    2. Go up to the top left of the page, and press the Chromosome Browser button.

    This will create a separate tab and window to appear, and bring up the chromosome browser. This produces colour horizontal bars, showing which chromosomes you match on, and where on those chromosomes you match.

    Always change the default to 7 cM.

    3. Press on Detailed Segment Data.

    This will bring up a numbers table.

    Ignore everything you see under 7 cM, and add up only segments that are 7 cM or more, without including X.

    What usually ends up happening, is the new total ends up being the longest block, but not always.

    What’s the new total cM?

    Some of your screen show X matches.

    The minimum used for X is a lot higher than the normal 7 cM that’s used for autosomal.

    FTDNA also uses 1 cM segments for X matches, as well.

    In order for an X match to be valid, it has to be 1 segment of at least 15 cM or more.

    5. After you do obtain an accurate total, scroll down to the bottom and look at X.

    What’s the cM on X?


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