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Adoptive mom - looking for son's maternal heritage

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  • Adoptive mom - looking for son's maternal heritage

    I have an 8 yr old adopted son. He is my biological nephew, my brother was his birth father, so I know the heritage on that side of the family. My son is interested to know his heritage on his birth mother's side of the family too. I know her name and a little about her, but I don't have that information. I really just want to choose a test that will let him know he is 50% French, 20% Irish, etc., because at 8 yrs that's what he is most interested in right now. Has anyone done the Family Finder test? It lists ethnic percentages as one of the features, so I was hoping this one might provide the info I am looking for. I am new at this, so any info/help is appreciated! Thanks.

  • #2
    Family Finder will provide ethnic percentages - but be aware they will also provide "cousin" matches. While most will likely be such distant cousins that it won't mean much, there is always the possibility of it linking to a close relative. I don't know his situation but if you're not comfortable with getting in touch with his birth mother's side of the family, I wouldn't recommend a DNA test. But I believe 23andMe (which provide the same type of test as Family Finder - it's an autosomal DNA test) have the option to opt out of matching your DNA with other people and only provide the ethnicity results.

    Also, keep in mind that whatever company you test with, the ethnicity results are only an estimate and typically vary depending on the company. They are very subject to interpretation - for example, AncestryDNA said I was 55% British, while FTDNA said I was 0% British! Believe it or not, there is some sense to it but it's complicated. If the only thing you're interested in is ethnicity results, in my experience, 23andMe was the most accurate.

    ETA: Also be aware that there is no category for "French". The ethnicities unfortunately can't be that specific. Any French heritage would fall under "Western and Central Europe" which include several other surrounding nations of France, including Germany.

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    • #3
      Thanks for that info. I don't mind getting "cousin" info but wouldn't want the cousins to be automatically notified or anything like that. Thanks for the 23andMe recommendation, I will look into that more. Its too bad that the results vary so much from test to test and that specific countries can't be identified but I can see how that would be difficult. We are just looking for something more to go on so 23andMe may work for us. Thanks again!

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      • #4
        You can also entirely opt out of matching, here (at FTDNA).

        W.

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        • #5
          I found National Geographic Geno 2.0 was a good choice for some of my family members who only wanted to learn about their ethnicity.

          Susan

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          • #6
            Originally posted by similligan View Post
            I found National Geographic Geno 2.0 was a good choice for some of my family members who only wanted to learn about their ethnicity.

            Susan
            Doesn't that focus more on deep ancestry? I get the impression the OP is looking for more recent info than that.

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            • #7
              I live in one of the states where it is illegal to buy 23andMe, so I can't compare Geno2.0 to that, but I thought the results were fairly comparable to the complexity I see with Ancestry and FTDNA. I gave four kits as Christmas presents when they first started offering it. I had done research on two of the families and the representative populations were surprisingly good matches.

              I just thought this might be a safer option for an 8 year old. He would get some ethnic info, plus Y and mitochondrial haplogroups and those could be interesting to research. There could be a lot of entertainment value.

              Susan

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Germanica View Post
                Doesn't that focus more on deep ancestry? I get the impression the OP is looking for more recent info than that.
                Yes, you're right.

                Geno 2.0 basically takes into account ancient migrations and reports percentages from that viewpoint. For instance, virtually all Europeans have some what is called Mediterranean which goes back to the original farmers from the Middle East who brought agriculture to Europe within the lat 5,000-10,000 years. People with recent southern European ancestry will have more Mediterranean in Geno 2.0 than people with recent northern European ancestry, just because southern Europe is closer to the Middle East and has had more mixing with Middle Eastern people, as recently as 1,000 years ago. But basically all will have some of it.

                The myOrigins percentages reported in FTDNA's Family Finder test are based on both recent and deep ancestry - from 1,000 to 10,000 years ago. So, you'll probably get a more useful picture of recent ancestry from myOrigins than from Geno 2.0.

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                • #9
                  Family Finder would probably be the best place to start. If it triggers an interest in him then he could move on to Geno 2.0 and other tests.

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                  • #10
                    Total privacy sharing

                    These are the settings that would give him privacy while enabling to see his haplogroups and myOrigin results.

                    In Match and E-mail Settings tab
                    https://my.familytreedna.com/account...spx?subtabid=1
                    use these settings






                    Then additionally in Privacy & Sharing
                    https://my.familytreedna.com/privacy-sharing.aspx
                    use these settings





                    W.
                    Attached Files

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                    • #11
                      If you do the Family Finder test, you wouldn't even have to put in your son's name or a known e-mail address for him. Start a new e-mail. It seems like a lot of people do use a username and special e-mail address for reasons of privacy.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by keigh View Post
                        If you do the Family Finder test, you wouldn't even have to put in your son's name or a known e-mail address for him. Start a new e-mail. It seems like a lot of people do use a username and special e-mail address for reasons of privacy.
                        Yes..., but if he shows up in the Family Finder results as a half-brother or son..., using John Smith as a name would not help at all!

                        I recommend using his first name and initial of his last name (the one he legally uses now), so when you are together looking at his results you can avoid unnecessary questions.

                        Of course, as I indicated earlier, adjust the privacy and sharing settings.

                        W.
                        Last edited by dna; 17 January 2015, 05:31 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Another thought...

                          Before deciding on anything about your son tests, do the tests together with your husband***. Analysing them would give you some level of comfort when later navigating with your son, and also allow you to learn interpretation details that are difficult to discuss without real examples.

                          You son might, but only might, even have the same major haplogroups and origins (as shown in myOrigins) as you.

                          W.

                          *** Yes, I had read your first post. You did not mention having a husband, I just made an assumption. My proposal is valid in either situation.
                          Last edited by dna; 17 January 2015, 05:35 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dna View Post
                            Yes..., but if he shows up in the Family Finder results as a half-brother or son..., using John Smith as a name would not help at all!
                            Yeah, he's still going to show up as a close match to someone, (if there is a close match), and that person might want to find out more and contact them asking questions and stuff. If they don't want contact with the mother's biological family, it's best to disable the match options entirely in the settings like you showed before.

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                            • #15
                              Thank you everyone for all of this info. Opting out of sharing info with matches and using Family Finder should work well for us. We are looking for basic info at this point.

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