Lynne Taylor Montanari is a genealogist and mother. She uses DNA to research her own genealogy and help others find family.
Answer: I am 54, have been married for 28 years and live in New England. We have two sons. I do not have a money paying job; doing genealogy with the help of a lot of websites, town clerks, graves and other researchers is my main job.
So along with my family genealogy I also work adoptions… One of my friends is adopted and we found out from Massachusetts that her mother was also adopted in Ohio. Good news is we have her mother’s parents’ names and birth places. Another adoption line I help with is Europeans with unknown or partially known GI fathers. One is actually a 5th cousin to my dad. Another I am working with is a woman from Georgia. She was adopted and the agency in South Carolina does know her biological parents but will not release the information to her.
Question: What are your other hobbies and interests apart from genealogy?
Answer: I am also a Reiki/Master Teacher and love to play golf.
Question: What brought you to genealogy?
Answer: What brought me to genealogy were two deaths in 2010. One was my paternal grandmother at 96 and the other was my mother-in-law’s (Carolynne) second husband. My mother has an atlas with dots on certain cities in Canada for my dad’s family and Italy for her family. We knew very little beyond their grandparents’ names. My mother-in-law did not know her paternal line as she was told as a teen that her father was not her biological father.
Question: What is your favorite part?
Answer: My favorite part of genealogy is solving the puzzles. We joke that my motto is “you can run but you can’t hide from me.”
Question: How did you become involved in genetic genealogy? Have your or your family’s test results ever been a surprise?
Answer: The genetic piece was necessary to find Carolynne’s line. We found that her paternal uncle was still alive in his 90’s, and he consented to take a test for her. The old technology came back with 10% chance of being related. He then died. So we used FamilyTreeDNA for a paternal cousin and a maternal cousin was already in the system. Carolynne matched only the maternal one. So we waited.
To my ever loving joy a man in Galway used the family finder test and matched Carolynne with a shared cM of 151.95. When you’re looking for an unknown, 150 is spectacular. It meant Carolynne’s bio father was a second cousin to our Irish relative. He was extremely willing to help us. He had two of his grandparent’s siblings come to Massachusetts – one male and one female. After some false starts we started looking at the woman’s family. There were photos on line on ancestry.com and the resemblance to my husband and his mother was uncanny. We, at this time, don’t know which of the four deceased sons is her bio dad but we have people taking the tests. Sadly, Carolynne died in 2015.
With my grandmother, we were following the family lore of two French brothers came to Quebec and married local. Well the story was close but not quite right. It was a Frenchman and then his son who both married Native Americans. My dad took all the tests and has some interesting DNA. His paternal line is the unusual Q-L804 – a non-Native American branch in a Native American haplogroup. And his maternal is C1c a Native American line. Lots of fun there. We now have a paper source trail and the DNA to prove dad’s 7th great grandmother was an unknown Native American but his 6th great grandmother was Marguerite Caplan from Pabos, Quebec.
Question: What DNA tests have you taken? What family have you tested?
Answer: As far as DNA testing for my family – mother, father, paternal uncle, myself and my mother’s maternal cousin. Interestingly, is my Italian mother being 16% Ashkenazi Jewish and 29 % Middle Eastern. Who knew?
Question: Do you have advice for someone starting out in genealogy or genetic genealogy DNA?
Answer: Advice to people who ask me about DNA testing? I always tell them to start with family finder.
Question: What projects do you manage?