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Y-DNA testing helpful?

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  • Y-DNA testing helpful?

    I recently transferred my AncestryDNA to FTDNA, so I'm not yet familiar with everything here. My own surname/line has been a difficult one in that I can only get it back to my great grandfather. My question is...would having my brother (I'm female) take one of the Y tests be helpful? If so, which is the best one for my purpose, the 37 marker test?

  • #2
    Having your brother take a Y-DNA test could definitely be useful. You might want to check to see if there is a surname project for his surname. I would recommend the Y-DNA37 test as a minimum, but you may consider just going ahead and doing Y-DNA67 or higher.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I don't quite understand the difference between the tests. I don't know of any other descendants of my great grandfather who have done the Y testing, so how will it help if no one matches? Will it show matches further up the line, allowing me to attempt to fill in the gap similar to the autosomal testing? I'm somewhat confused since the Y testing is just the one line.

      I realize I'm probably posting this in the wrong area of the forum, and for that I apologize.


      • #4
        Imagine going back to your patrilineal ggggg...-father, then finding all his male descendants. Your brother Y-DNA will be matching all living of those male descendants. One always hopes that combined research efforts can bring some meaningful results from the paper trail. As it often happens that some family branches have much better genealogical knowledge than the other ones.

        Try reading or at least before trying to interpret Y-DNA results.


        As with any DNA matching, if nobody else from your family is testing...


        • #5
          I thought the same, but my son's Y-DNA testing has been the most rewarding of them all for me. It turned out we had an NPE five generations back and I'd been barking up the wrong tree with his paternal line for the last twenty years. I'd never have discovered this without the test.

          He tested to 67 markers and I'm very glad we went for that one. Y-37 would have given us more questions than answers. I'll upgrade to 111 when I can afford it, but we now know his true paternal line and I really like the certainty.

          It is a lot of money though and there is no guarantee that your brother will match anyone.

          I'm saving up to have my father's Y-67 done next .


          • #6
            @dna and Larzus, I have a very common maiden name attached to a great grandfather whose parents are said to have died the decade he was born, leaving him with a local family to raise. His only full sibling seems to have been a sister, who wasn't in that same household. I have matched a woman who possibly descends from that sister, but without supporting documents we are not certain. Determining the parents of my great grandfather has been a struggle and I have worked on it for about 25 years. IF my match's ancestors were the parents that still leaves me wondering as they seem to have appeared out of nowhere and probably only had these two children. So, getting beyond them would be fantastic. While my great grandfather had 5 sons...those descendants are known. I want to get past my great grandfather. I will invest in the Y-DNA test with my brother. He has agreed to take it. Now, I need to determine which one to order and find out how to order it. When I click to order ANY of the Y tests I am told it's only for males and I can't order it, and that's without being logged in.

            Does anybody know how I can order the test for him and administer the account? He will take the test, but isn't interested in genealogy and doesn't want to mess with matches, etc.


            • #7

              You have to purchase the kit as him. So logout from your kit and for a moment pretend that you are him.

              On the bottom of the page you would find that you can choose whether you want to test 37, 67 or 111 markers. If you can afford select either 67 or 111.

              On the next screen give his gender and his name.

              In the checkout, please uncheck "Billing address is same as shipping address", then you can use your address for your credit card and his address for shipment.

              Since he is entrusting the research to you, use your e-mails both for billing and shipment. Or if you can have another/separate e-mail address you can use for his testing, use that address in shipping.

              You have an e-mail address associated with your kit. Sometimes you would be receiving e-mails, either from FTDNA or matches, that would impossible to guess to whom they are addressed, so having two separate e-mail addresses one for your own kit and one for your brother kit is very convenient.

              I think you have to save (his) shipping information, before you Pay

              Have lots of patience waiting Good luck!


              Ask your brother that when he sends the package back to FTDNA, he is sends it with tracking (but no signature). Why? It seems that there are occasions when USPS takes weeks(!) trucking packages around the US.
              Last edited by dna; 14 February 2015, 11:04 AM.


              • #8

                Thank you so much. I will try ordering again. I had logged out completely before when it still seemed to know I wasn't male.

                One more question, or two actually. To get a list of matches, do I need to also order the Family Finder? And, if I order FF, does that give me matches on the Y line only?


                • #9
                  Y-DNA testing gives you separate matches, and they are only on the Y-DNA chromosome.

                  And mtDNA would give you separate matches too (it is of no interest to you at this moment).

                  But yes, if you can add Family Finder test for your brother that would offer additional matching possibilities, as you and your brother have randomly inherited different parts of DNA from each of your parents. Family Finder test does not test Y-DNA or mtDNA at all.


                  P.S. It is possible that your browser keeps a cookie that remembers sex of your kit, but while in the cart you should be able to change sex of the kit to be purchased.


                  • #10
                    Aha! I think I will switch computers to order, because I can't even advance to my shopping cart to change the sex.

                    As for the matches from the Y test... will it give me a separate match list for the two tests, a Y-dna list and a FF list, OR do they combine the matches for both tests?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Renegade6008 View Post
                      [----] will it give me a separate match list for the two tests, a Y-dna list and a FF list, OR do they combine the matches for both tests?
                      Separate lists. And the lists come with interfaces that are very different.


                      You really might want to study about both autosomal testing and Y-DNA STR testing, before your brother results come in. Otherwise you might be disappointed that you do not know how to use the results.


                      • #12

                        Thank you for all of your help. I was able to order the tests on my other laptop. No problem at all.

                        I will heed your advice and read up on the Y-DNA testing results, as well as the autosomal testing results. As I understand it, I have plenty of time before the results come in.

                        Happy Valentine's Day and enjoy your evening.


                        • #13
                          Yes you will have plenty of time to study about the tests before they come in, going by current schedules.

                          I'd echo that Y-DNA37 is the minimum useful test for surname lineage. You can upgrade later if required, but 37 markers gives you a good starting point, and its probably the best value test at the moment in price. Also, be aware that you will get a discounted test rate if you order it through a project, so check whether there is a surname project or even a geographic project that fits, and if so order through that. You can also join other projects later (eg haplogroup projects) once the results come in - joining projects doesn't cost anything, but you have the benefits of a project administrator to ask questions about the results and any matches, and also advise on further tests (which can usually be done on the same sample as an upgrade).

                          Don't worry about not getting matches right away. DNA testing is an investment in the future - as more people test, the database gets bigger, and more chance of matches. Once you get that first DNA test done then you know the results are recorded there as the "genetic signature" for your whole family line, now and for future generations.

                          Also, its worth checking with the Guild of One Name Studies ( whether your surname is registered with them, as that may also help get you past your brick wall. Many GOONS projects also have DNA projects associated (they have the "Guild" logo by the project name), and that provides a great way to work on linking DNA results with family trees.