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  • Sanity checks for newbie…

    My dad was adopted and I’m looking for his paternal (my grandfather) ancestors, so I took the Y-DNA111 test. My dad’s real surname and dad (my grandfather) are unknown.
    I have only 25 total matches right now. For the most part, the surnames are all over the place.

    • At 12 markers I have 15 matches with a genetic distance of 0.
    • At 25 markers I have 5 matches with a genetic distance of 1 or 2.
    • At 37 markers I have 4 matches with a genetic distance of 3 or 4.
    • At 67 markers I have 2 matches with a genetic distance of 4.
    • At 111 markers I have no matches.

    Now my two 67 marker matches do share the same surname. In fact, to their surprise I was able to uncover that they are related along the Y line at the great-grandfather level. I do have one Y-DNA12 tester who also shares the same surname with my two Y-DNA67 matches.

    So, I’m trying to decide what’s next?

    I’m thinking the strategy should be to focus on the two Y-DNA67 matches plus the one Y-DNA12 exact match that shares the same surname? One challenge is we only have paternal line genealogy information back 5 generations right now. Is knowing the common ancestors of my two Y-DNA67 matches helpful like with autosomal DNA matches?

    Is it correct to say any reasonably close Y-DNA relative would share the same sub-haplogroup?

  • #2
    Originally posted by dojehu View Post
    My dad was adopted and I’m looking for his paternal (my grandfather) ancestors, so I took the Y-DNA111 test. My dad’s real surname and dad (my grandfather) are unknown.
    I have only 25 total matches right now. For the most part, the surnames are all over the place.

    • At 12 markers I have 15 matches with a genetic distance of 0.
    • At 25 markers I have 5 matches with a genetic distance of 1 or 2.
    • At 37 markers I have 4 matches with a genetic distance of 3 or 4.
    • At 67 markers I have 2 matches with a genetic distance of 4.
    • At 111 markers I have no matches.

    Now my two 67 marker matches do share the same surname. In fact, to their surprise I was able to uncover that they are related along the Y line at the great-grandfather level. I do have one Y-DNA12 tester who also shares the same surname with my two Y-DNA67 matches.

    So, I’m trying to decide what’s next?

    I’m thinking the strategy should be to focus on the two Y-DNA67 matches plus the one Y-DNA12 exact match that shares the same surname? One challenge is we only have paternal line genealogy information back 5 generations right now. Is knowing the common ancestors of my two Y-DNA67 matches helpful like with autosomal DNA matches?

    Is it correct to say any reasonably close Y-DNA relative would share the same sub-haplogroup?
    I've bolded your question, which is the key to possibly finding the answer you're hoping to find.

    The two 63/67 matches with the same surname are certainly worth investigating. One thing to realize is that a 63/67 match could represent a common ancestor anywhere from several hundred to possibly 200-300 years ago. It's less likely, although not impossible, that your common ancestor with them lived less than 200 years ago.

    So, the common ancestor probably lived within the genealogical time frame, since surnames came into use. This means that there's a good chance that their surname is the surname of your grandfather's unknown grandfather, although that's not assured.

    I would advise a two track effort on your part.

    First of all, find someone with the matches' surname who lived in the same town or even same neighborhood as your grandfather's mother around the time your grandfather would have been conceived. If you're lucky, perhaps you'll find someone who fits that description in a relevant census record. If you find such a person, he or a close male relative of his may be your grandfather's birth father.

    The other approach is to find others with the same surname as your matches who has a paternal line ancestor who lived in the same town or neighborhood as your grandfather's mother. Ask someone in that situation to test and be prepared to offer to pay for the test. You need to find someone with the matches' surname who matches you more closely than they do to ensure there's a more recent common ancestor than over 200 years ago.

    The key thing is to realize that DNA test matches alone will not give you certainty about who was the birth father of your grandfather. Only finding someone in the paper trail whose descendant matches you more closely than 63/67 will put you on the right track and perhaps give you the answer you're looking for.
    Last edited by MMaddi; 3 January 2016, 04:23 PM.

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    • #3
      I should add that, if you haven't yet taken the Family Finder test, you should. The Family Finder test can reliably find 3rd cousins or closer in the database and will find some 4th or more distant cousins. If your two 63/67 matches have Family Finder results or will take the test, you could see if they show up in your Family Finder match list and how closely.

      If they are showing up in your Family Finder match list, then you can see what's the estimate of how closely related to you they are. If neither shows up in your Family Finder match list, that probably means they're more distant to you than 3rd cousins, which helps you see how much closer you need to get in that line to find your grandfather's birth father.

      Your grandfather's father would be your great-grandfather, so anybody who shares him as a common ancestor with you would be your 2nd cousin or perhaps 2nd cousin, once removed. You may luck out and get some matches in your Family Finder list who are roughly 2nd cousins. They are potentially more clues about your unknown great-grandfather, although you have to remember that you have four sets of great-grandparent couples.

      Basically, you want to use your yDNA and Family Finder match lists together to hone in on your unknown great-grandfather.
      Last edited by MMaddi; 3 January 2016, 04:25 PM.

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      • #4
        Thanks so much MMaddi

        Your feedback is very helpful and greatly appreciated

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