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  #1  
Old 6th April 2015, 07:42 PM
robertalabama robertalabama is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 43
Gaining clues about unknown gg grandfather

One of the reasons I "bit the bullet" and bought the Family Finder test was to try to figure out the "travelling salesman" who fathered my great-grandmother.Within two days of my results coming in (in February), two
"mystery matches" who weren't familiar with each other, e-mailed me to try to figure out what we might have in common. Both are estimated 2nd-4th cousins. I match one on one chromosome and the other on a different chromosome. I share both blocks with a known second cousin.
The two "mystery matches" have a MRCA on their respective family trees. From the dates and places, I think it is very possible that a son of their MRCA couple was my mystery gg grandfather. Complete strangers have been so nice to share their information and help me.

I will keep looking for corroborating evidence, but one of the surnames isn't overly common, and I have found distant matches to two more with it from the same county.
Thanks, Family Tree DNA, and best of luck to all on their own searches.

Last edited by robertalabama; 6th April 2015 at 07:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 24th March 2017, 06:08 PM
KathyStone KathyStone is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 4
Unknown GG GrandFather

Hi there! I saw your post and am finding maybe the same road block for two reasons. 1)The "traveler" was a local and of course names have gone to the graves. 2)Therefore no last name to search and as I read about the Y Chromosome Kits, its just for males...2 names needed. I am a Daughter. What KIT should I be purchasing?
Looks like you've had a bit of success?
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  #3  
Old 25th March 2017, 04:47 AM
DaveInGreece DaveInGreece is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Greece
Posts: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyStone View Post
no last name to search and as I read about the Y Chromosome Kits, its just for males...2 names needed. I am a Daughter. What KIT should I be purchasing?
Hi Kathy,

It sounds like you haven't taken any DNA test yet (apologies if I'm wrong).

The main test you need to take is called "Family Finder". That looks at the DNA you inherited from both parents and all grandparents etc. and shows you a long list of people who share that DNA i.e. your cousins. However, it can obviously only show you other people who have tested at FTDNA (or transferred data here) so it's a matter of pure luck whether or not you get matched to close cousins. You can improve your chances by transferring your results (for free) to GEDmatch.com.

One problem is that your results will show cousins on every side of the family and you won't know which is which. Even on the sides of your family you know you will get lots of cousins with surnames you don't recognise. You'll have to do a lot of sleuthing to try and work out how all these people link to you and which ones might eventually reveal the name of the 'traveler'.

You haven't said which generation the 'traveler' was in, or what your family circumstances are, so I'll mention a couple of different scenarios and hopefully one will either fit your situation or be close enough that you can adapt it to your case...

If the traveler was your father, do you have contact with your mother? If you do, and she's still alive, consider asking her to take the same Family Finder test as you. You can then link the two sets of data and that will reveal all of your DNA matches which are on your father's side (since they will match you but not your mother). If you know your mother but can't test her, are there other maternal relatives who could be tested? Half siblings? Aunts or uncles? Maternal cousins? Their results won't be as useful as your mother's but they will still help you rule out some DNA matches and concentrate on the ones which might be your paternal side.

If the "traveler" was further back in your ancestry you can use a similar technique i.e. try to test other family members as well as yourself. You can test descendants of Mr Traveler (bearing in mind that half of your DNA matches will come via Mrs Traveler). If Mrs Traveler had other children by a different man, you can test that side of the family too in order to rule out DNA matches which have nothing to do with Mr Traveler.

Of course, plenty of people are adopted (or have no known family for other reasons) so testing cousins, aunts and uncles etc. isn't possible. Many people still successfully find family and solve mysteries based on their own DNA alone. But if you do have known family, try to test them. If you have an option, go for the oldest generation (so, if possible, test your aunt/uncle rather than your 1st cousin).

You mentioned Y-DNA. If Mr Traveler was your father then you probably won't be able to use Y-DNA. The only real exception would be in the unlikely even that your DNA test reveals a half-brother who also has an unknown father. His DNA might reveal the real surname of Mr Traveler, but it's down to the luck of whether or not other men with that surname have taken Y-DNA tests.

If Mr Traveler was further back in your ancestry it depends whether his child was male or female. If it was a girl, then the Y-DNA has been lost. If it was a boy and he's alive (or has a male descendent descended purely on the male line) then he will be able to take a Y-DNA test on your behalf.

But I'd stick to Family Finder first. Y-DNA is quite expensive and only yields results in some circumstances so it would be best to wait and then, depending on the results of the Family Finder test, start a new topic specifically about Y-DNA to get advice on whether or not Y-DNA tests might help you.

Good luck!
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  #4  
Old 25th March 2017, 04:47 AM
DaveInGreece DaveInGreece is offline
FTDNA Customer
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Greece
Posts: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyStone View Post
no last name to search and as I read about the Y Chromosome Kits, its just for males...2 names needed. I am a Daughter. What KIT should I be purchasing?
Hi Kathy,

It sounds like you haven't taken any DNA test yet (apologies if I'm wrong).

The main test you need to take is called "Family Finder". That looks at the DNA you inherited from both parents and all grandparents etc. and shows you a long list of people who share that DNA i.e. your cousins. However, it can obviously only show you other people who have tested at FTDNA (or transferred data here) so it's a matter of pure luck whether or not you get matched to close cousins. You can improve your chances by transferring your results (for free) to GEDmatch.com.

One problem is that your results will show cousins on every side of the family and you won't know which is which. Even on the sides of your family you know you will get lots of cousins with surnames you don't recognise. You'll have to do a lot of sleuthing to try and work out how all these people link to you and which ones might eventually reveal the name of the 'traveler'.

You haven't said which generation the 'traveler' was in, or what your family circumstances are, so I'll mention a couple of different scenarios and hopefully one will either fit your situation or be close enough that you can adapt it to your case...

If the traveler was your father, do you have contact with your mother? If you do, and she's still alive, consider asking her to take the same Family Finder test as you. You can then link the two sets of data and that will reveal all of your DNA matches which are on your father's side (since they will match you but not your mother). If you know your mother but can't test her, are there other maternal relatives who could be tested? Half siblings? Aunts or uncles? Maternal cousins? Their results won't be as useful as your mother's but they will still help you rule out some DNA matches and concentrate on the ones which might be your paternal side.

If the "traveler" was further back in your ancestry you can use a similar technique i.e. try to test other family members as well as yourself. You can test descendants of Mr Traveler (bearing in mind that half of your DNA matches will come via Mrs Traveler). If Mrs Traveler had other children by a different man, you can test that side of the family too in order to rule out DNA matches which have nothing to do with Mr Traveler.

Of course, plenty of people are adopted (or have no known family for other reasons) so testing cousins, aunts and uncles etc. isn't possible. Many people still successfully find family and solve mysteries based on their own DNA alone. But if you do have known family, try to test them. If you have an option, go for the oldest generation (so, if possible, test your aunt/uncle rather than your 1st cousin).

You mentioned Y-DNA. If Mr Traveler was your father then you probably won't be able to use Y-DNA. The only real exception would be in the unlikely even that your DNA test reveals a half-brother who also has an unknown father. His DNA might reveal the real surname of Mr Traveler, but it's down to the luck of whether or not other men with that surname have taken Y-DNA tests.

If Mr Traveler was further back in your ancestry it depends whether his child was male or female. If it was a girl, then the Y-DNA has been lost. If it was a boy and he's alive (or has a male descendent descended purely on the male line) then he will be able to take a Y-DNA test on your behalf.

But I'd stick to Family Finder first. Y-DNA is quite expensive and only yields results in some circumstances so it would be best to wait and then, depending on the results of the Family Finder test, start a new topic specifically about Y-DNA to get advice on whether or not Y-DNA tests might help you.

Good luck!
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