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  • Large Cluster of Same Surname at 12 Markers Significant?

    Happiest of Monday's FTDNA Forum folks!

    I am in search of my significant other's unknown biological father and have been for the last two years, using all of the major DNA companies (except 23 and me, only because I haven't gotten to it yet) . We have practically no information to go on. No surname to go off of, only that he was conceived in St. Louis Mo. His mother does not want to help.

    I noticed, however, that on his y matches, he has over 50 1/12 matches with the surname Childress/Childers. This seems significant to me. I know this is not probably the surname of his biological father but surely is in that line. However, with the ins and outs of DNA it is quite easy to get super excited about something that does seem significant only later to realize you missed an important part of information which renders those finds insignificant.

    I need another pair of ears and brains to make sure I'm not missing something, or to let me know that I am in fact missing something.

    So, my question is simply. With that cluster of so many similar surnames at the 12 marker, is that a significant find and something that I should expound my search on? I have already started expounding it, however, how awful it would feel to find it a waste of time simply because I missed an important bit of information.

    As far as his other markers (up to 67) we have a few matches but nothing super close.

    Any help is truly appreciated!

    Everyone have a wonderful first Monday of November!

    Bilan Gomez (administrator for Timothy Matthews Dna)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Timothy Matthews View Post
    Happiest of Monday's FTDNA Forum folks!

    I am in search of my significant other's unknown biological father and have been for the last two years, using all of the major DNA companies (except 23 and me, only because I haven't gotten to it yet) . We have practically no information to go on. No surname to go off of, only that he was conceived in St. Louis Mo. His mother does not want to help.
    Oops! You should have acted sooner at 23andMe. Their test price was $99, the same as AncestryDNA and FTDNA. However, about a week or two ago, they just raised it to $199! The reason is mostly because the FDA is now allowing them to give customers limited health results, after forbidding them from providing any health results for the last two years.

    Needless to say, those of us who are genealogists and adoptees, not interested in health results, are up in arms about a doubling of price that will force many not to have relatives test at 23andMe. I guess FTDNA and AncestryDNA will be getting more of that business.

    Originally posted by Timothy Matthews View Post
    I noticed, however, that on his y matches, he has over 50 1/12 matches with the surname Childress/Childers. This seems significant to me. I know this is not probably the surname of his biological father but surely is in that line. However, with the ins and outs of DNA it is quite easy to get super excited about something that does seem significant only later to realize you missed an important part of information which renders those finds insignificant.

    I need another pair of ears and brains to make sure I'm not missing something, or to let me know that I am in fact missing something.

    So, my question is simply. With that cluster of so many similar surnames at the 12 marker, is that a significant find and something that I should expound my search on? I have already started expounding it, however, how awful it would feel to find it a waste of time simply because I missed an important bit of information.

    As far as his other markers (up to 67) we have a few matches but nothing super close.

    Any help is truly appreciated!

    Everyone have a wonderful first Monday of November!

    Bilan Gomez (administrator for Timothy Matthews Dna)
    I would not invest too much effort at this point in putting all your eggs in the Childress/Childers basket. The general rule in yDNA matching is that you can't be sure that matches are significant (common ancestor within a genealogical time frame) at the 12 and 25 marker level. Those levels are too low in resolution to be reliable. An 11/12 match may have a common ancestor within the last 200 years or there may be no common ancestor for over 1,000 years. This is especially true if the haplogroup is R-M269, the most common one among men with European ancestry.

    Matches at the 37 or higher level are much more reliable. Since your significant other has tested 67 markers, you should look at those as the most promising leads. In fact, it's only when a match at 67 markers is a 64/67 or 63/67 or closer that it's considered a close match.

    Have any of the Childress/Childers matches tested to the 37 or 67 marker level? If any have and don't appear on the higher level match list, then the surname probably isn't as significant as it seems to be.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it would be silly and unscientific to ignore 50 matches with basically the same surname.

      I have never heard of anyone getting 50 matches with the same surname.

      I matched 3 with the same surname and that was enough to prove my paternal lineage.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ec1970 View Post
        I think it would be silly and unscientific to ignore 50 matches with basically the same surname.

        I have never heard of anyone getting 50 matches with the same surname.

        I matched 3 with the same surname and that was enough to prove my paternal lineage.
        Let's use science. If there are 50 matches at 12 markers with the same surname then some of them surely had a 67 marker test. If none of those that had a 67 marker test match the 67 markers of Timothy Matthews then those matches are irrelevant. It's very simple and has nothing to do with silliness.

        Comment


        • #5
          Most people that show up as potential matches only test to Y-DNA12. And a few others up to Y-DNA25. You are basically telling these people that they paid Family Tree DNA for a useless test if 50 surname matches at Y-DNA12 is "irrelevant". Unless that surname is 'Smith'.

          Like I said, I was in a similar situation, found 3 surname matches using FTDNA and subsequently discovered autosomal matches using AncestryDNA and their far superior family tree matching. The AncestryDNA autosomal test proved the DNA connection to the suspected father who had the surname that was confirmed earlier with the Y-DNA test.

          If I had ignored the 3 surname matches as "irrelevant", that would have been pretty silly.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ec1970 View Post
            Most people that show up as potential matches only test to Y-DNA12. And a few others up to Y-DNA25. You are basically telling these people that they paid Family Tree DNA for a useless test if 50 surname matches at Y-DNA12 is "irrelevant". Unless that surname is 'Smith'.

            Like I said, I was in a similar situation, found 3 surname matches using FTDNA and subsequently discovered autosomal matches using AncestryDNA and their far superior family tree matching. The AncestryDNA autosomal test proved the DNA connection to the suspected father who had the surname that was confirmed earlier with the Y-DNA test.

            If I had ignored the 3 surname matches as "irrelevant", that would have been pretty silly.
            Some STRs are very common and even if a person also shows as an autosomal match it doesn't mean that the common ancestry is through the direct paternal line. Other testing would have to be done to prove that is where the common ancestry is and that includes getting a 67 marker upgrade or having enough family members from the person and the matches getting autosomal DNA tests. If the person and the 12 marker matches have also had a 67 marker test and they don't match at 67 markers then the match is not from genealogically significant time frame. The 12 marker match could even be from 4,000 years ago due to convergence of STRs.

            Of course everyone should also be getting autosomal DNA testing for themselves and as many family members as possible but the best way to prove beyond a doubt a common ancestor in the direct paternal line is with a 67 marker test. It is harder to do with autosomal DNA tests and most times there aren't enough people with autosomal DNA testing to prove beyond a doubt that DNA has been inherited from the direct paternal ancestor.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ec1970 View Post
              I think it would be silly and unscientific to ignore 50 matches with basically the same surname.

              I have never heard of anyone getting 50 matches with the same surname.

              I matched 3 with the same surname and that was enough to prove my paternal lineage.
              Here's what I wrote in my post above yours, "I would not invest too much effort at this point in putting all your eggs in the Childress/Childers basket."

              That should make it clear that I was not advising the OP to "ignore" the 50 Childress matches. I was trying to introduce some scientific reality into the perception that it's likely the surname of the unknown biological father is Childress or a spelling variation.

              I explained and Armando reiterated and elaborated why matches at 12 markers are unreliable because of the low resolution involved. That's usually because they're R1b, the most common haplogroup among men with European ancestry, and have the most common marker counts for all of the first 12 markers. Google "WAMH" or "Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype" to get more information about that.

              There are many people at FTDNA with literally hundreds of exact matches at 12 markers with many different surnames. Do you think that all of those hundreds of matches with differing surnames share a common paternal line ancestor with the person they match in a genealogical time frame, since surnames were introduced? I hope you don't claim that to be true, but it does show how unreliable a match at 12 markers can be.

              The best practice is to look at matches at 37 or, better, 67 markers for good leads on the true surname of a brick wall paternal line ancestor. If some of the Childress matches show up at 37 or 67 markers for the OP's significant other, then that's something to look into further. If none of the Childress show up as matches at 37 or 67 markers, then that's probably not the surname of the biological father.

              Comment


              • #8
                I envy those who have gotten hundreds of exact matches at Y-DNA12. I got three. Two of those only tested to Y-DNA12 and one tested to Y-DNA25 also with an exact match. All three had the same surname which is a surname that was only recently revealed to me before I pursued DNA testing as my potential biological father. So I didn't care if these three were related to me within the past century or more. I just wanted to see some correlation to this particular surname.

                And I figured that the OP was looking for a similar type of research direction. If I were him, based on these 50 surnames showing up at Y-DNA12, my research would go into Childers/Childress families in the area and time-frame where he was born.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ec1970 View Post
                  I envy those who have gotten hundreds of exact matches at Y-DNA12. I got three.
                  When you are in the R1b tree, hundreds of exact Y12 or Y25 matches is literal noise and annoying. The e-mails I get telling me of all my new relatives is truly annoying. I wish there were a filter only allow Y67 matches (and even then, the timeframe is likely hundreds of years to MRCA).

                  If I had three exact Y67 matches (or even 66/67), I would consider myself really lucky.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BBA64 View Post
                    When you are in the R1b tree, hundreds of exact Y12 or Y25 matches is literal noise and annoying. The e-mails I get telling me of all my new relatives is truly annoying. I wish there were a filter only allow Y67 matches (and even then, the timeframe is likely hundreds of years to MRCA).

                    If I had three exact Y67 matches (or even 66/67), I would consider myself really lucky.
                    Precisely because of the annoyance factor you mention, FTDNA does allow customers to change their settings for e-mail notifications of matches.

                    Log into your account and hover your mouse over your name in the upper right hand corner of the page. That reveals a menu - choose "Account Settings." On the page you're sent to, click on the link for "Match and E-Mail Settings."

                    Then you can change the settings for matches and e-mail notifications of matches for all levels - 12, 25, 37, 67 and 111 markers. If you turn off notification at any level, you won't be shown matches at that level when you log in to look for new matches.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ec1970 View Post
                      I envy those who have gotten hundreds of exact matches at Y-DNA12. I got three. Two of those only tested to Y-DNA12 and one tested to Y-DNA25 also with an exact match. All three had the same surname which is a surname that was only recently revealed to me before I pursued DNA testing as my potential biological father. So I didn't care if these three were related to me within the past century or more. I just wanted to see some correlation to this particular surname.
                      However multiple family members have to get Family Finder tests in order to triangulate on the common ancestors or a 67 marker test has to be taken to be sure the there is a common ancestor in the direct paternal line.

                      Originally posted by ec1970 View Post
                      And I figured that the OP was looking for a similar type of research direction. If I were him, based on these 50 surnames showing up at Y-DNA12, my research would go into Childers/Childress families in the area and time-frame where he was born.
                      It can't be stressed enough that that should only be done if there is a 67 marker match or multiple family members with close Family Finder tests that prove who the common ancestor is. Most 12 marker matches are too far back to be a Family Finder match with large enough segments to be reliable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                        Precisely because of the annoyance factor you mention, FTDNA does allow customers to change their settings for e-mail notifications of matches.
                        Was that modified recently? I swear I've visited that page in the past and not seen the granularity presented now. Anyway, thanks for the tip.

                        Comment

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