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  • Susan Weinberg

The DNA Rabbit Hole

Updated: May 10, 2022

One of the areas of genealogy that attracts many people is DNA. While I am deep down the rabbit hole of genealogy research, I hesitated for some time before taking a deeper dive into DNA research. It was only when I received an email from a woman who reported that her husband had a high level of DNA connection to my late father that I began to pay close attention. I had heard of those “non-paternal events” which essentially mean the father isn’t who he is expected to be, but I hadn’t anticipated anything nearly so interesting within my own family.

The level of DNA match is measured in a unit called a centimorgan (cM). A parent-child relationship would typically have around 3500 cMs and other relationships scale down from that to a distant cousin at 8 cMs. Different testing firms can vary in the amount, but the basic relationships are fairly consistent. Long ago I had convinced my father to get his DNA tested and had then uploaded our DNA to GedMatch, a site that provides tools to analyze the data. They had languished there for some time as I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Neither did I know what to do with the string of emails I was receiving from the original testing company announcing matches. Now I had new motivation. Read more at

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