Every now and then I check my AncestryDNA account to see if I have any new DNA matches. Last night I found something interesting - my dad, whose account I'm the administrator of, had a DNA match to someone who had Stutzmans in their family tree. My dad's mother's maiden name was Stutzman(n), and I've been able to trace the family somewhat far back into Germany, but more successfully on the lines that married into the Stutzmanns, not the Stutzmann family itself.
Now, this DNA match wasn't a close one - within 4-6 generations, which could mean as far back as 8 generations, but Stutzman isn't a common name, so I decided to see if I could find a connection. This person had the Stutzman line traced back only one generation, but it was easy enough to use Ancestry to dig a little deeper. This person's family traced back to the Stutzmans of Somerset County, Pennsylvania - to the Pennsylvania Dutch. As I said, Stutzman isn't a name I come across a lot, but any time I do, it's almost always as part of the Amish and Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania, and later in Illinois and Indiana. If any of you watched the Katey Sagal episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?", she was descended from Christian Stutzman and Barbara Hochstedler, the progenitors of many of the Amish and Mennonite Stutzmans of Pennsylvania...including, the forebears of the Stutzman my dad connected to genetically.
But my Stutzmanns come from the Pfalz Rheinland region of Germany, and the Pennsylvania Stutzmans come from Bern Canton, Switzerland. My Stutzmanns were also Lutheran, not Mennonite. And then there's of course the matter of the extra "n" at the end of my Stutzmann family name. Yet, I had always wondered if there was a connection between my German Stutzmanns and the Swiss Stutzmanns, because even today if you Google Stutzmann, the people who come up are often from Switzerland. I can trace the Stutzmanns only back as far as the early 1700s (I know, I say "only", but that's not that far for my German family tree lines!) - is it possible that before they were in Germany, the family came from Switzerland? Is there a point, further back than I've been able to find yet, where the two families intersect? Or did I get so excited by seeing the Stutzman name in this tree that I got tunnel vision, and that's not even where the DNA connection is??? Could it be another line altogether??
There's still a lot I need to learn about genetic genealogy. There's still a lot I don't understand, obviously. I know there are ways to determine on what line and when people might intersect genetically, but I don't know how. I might need to spend more time on a website like The Genetic Genealogist, who often does a great job of breaking down the scientific mumbo jumbo of genetic genealogy into layman's terms. But for now, my dad's DNA connection to this Stutzman individual will remain a mystery.
Have you ever gotten a DNA connection and thought you probably knew where the connection was, but couldn't figure it out? Or found out the connection was on a completely unexpected and surprising line?