His mother is probably my third or fourth cousin because we share 55 cM with the longest segment 35 cM on Chromosome 20. That is, I think, significant.
1) His story is really interesting and challenging. The problem is that his mother's great-great-grandmother, born probably in Germany, had an unknown father. The family thinks that this man was from England or Germany and the great-great-grandmother was born in the early 1850s.
2) The problem sounds impossible to solve, but we're going to try to work through it.
On my end of it, I have only five (out of 32) 3rd great-grandparents who were born in England and migrated to America in the 1830 to 1860 time period. There were no German-born ancestors in that group of 32 or even the 4th great-grandparents.
Those English family lines are very likely to be the connection that this match has with me. I went back one more generation in these family lines to find candidate males who might have been the father and were also related to me through a common ancestor.
3) The common ancestors may be:
* John Richman (1788-1867) and Ann Marshman (1784-1856) of Hilperton, Wiltshire. (my 3rd great-grandparents). I don't know earlier Richman or Marshman ancestors. I have some data on their descendants but not a complete tree for three or four generations.
* John Rich (1791-1868) and Rebecca Hill (1790-1862) of Hilperton, Wiltshire (my third great-grandparents). I don't know earlier Rich ancestors. I have some data on their descendants but not a complete tree for three or four generations.
* John Hill (1765-1825) and Ann Warren (1764-????) of Hilperton, Wiltshire (my 4th great-grandparents). I have some data on their descendants but not a complete tree for three or four generations.
* John Vaux (1747-1806) and Joanna Laver (1763-1836) of South Petherton, Somerset (my 5th great-grandparents). I have a pretty good database through three or four generations thanks to my Vaux cousins and their database.
4) So how should we attack this problem? My suggestions have been:
* We are looking for males who were born in the 1800 to 1830 range who fathered a child in the early 1850s. Those males have a common ancestor between his mother and myself.
* Use my RootsMagic database to create descendant reports for the candidate ancestors listed above. I did this today and sent them to him via email.
* Go through the list and identify candidates from the lists who might be a military man or a business man and was single in the 1850 time frame. I realize that a married man might be the mystery father, but almost all of those Wiltshire and Somerset males were farmers or laborers and would not be traveling to Germany.
* Perform more genealogical research on the candidates found and narrow down the candidates.
* Add the mother's raw DNA file to GEDMatch and see if the DNA results match on the same chromosome with some of my known Richman/Rich/Hill or Vaux DNA matches on GEDMatch.
Here is a screen shot of the first page of one of my narrative descendant reports:
5) What other tasks should we be performing? Are my assumptions correct? I would appreciate recommendations and suggestions for this problem. Thank you in advance!!