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Only a gazillion 12 marker matches?

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  • Only a gazillion 12 marker matches?

    I'm helping a cousin find his birth father. He contacted me after he and my father match at a 1st - 2nd cousin level on ancestry. I know what side of my family he comes from and I have a very narrow list of who his father could be (long deceased, my new cousin is an older gentleman). So I advised he take the yDNA test here because I was certain he would come up with a list of matches with my surname...that's the family line I just know he is from.

    Turns out he already did the 12 marker test, which I find worthless really. But it did serve to tell me that there is not one man of my surname that matches him. There are a few men on that short list of mine that are still from that same family line, though these men descend from the daughters. So I looked up the surname of their husbands and there were a handful there...though these names are not much more narrow than Smith or Jones.

    Gosh. I feel like I'm not making any sense here!! I'm sure my reasoning is sound genealogically.

    My big problem is this... with this 12 marker test he has 2600 matches... 106 pages x 25. I urged him to upgrade to the most markers he felt he could afford so he got the 111. I'm so stumped that he still only has 12 marker matches! Are you telling me that out of 2600 matches, plenty of whom have done the 37 marker test at the very least, don't match this man any further than 12 markers?!

    How could this be?! (And where to go from here?)

    Thank you!

  • #2
    What Y-DNA haplogroup has he been placed in? He needs to join the project for his deepest subclade which has one.

    As for finding the father, autosomal testing may be more useful at this point. Which autosomal tests has he taken?
    Last edited by georgian1950; 24th May 2019, 10:33 PM.


    • #3
      His haplogroup is R-M269. Finding who is father was is his only motivation for doing DNA testing.

      He has had autosomal done with the big 3 companies. I'm familiar with how to find bio parents that way and have done it several times. I really figured the y-DNA route would prove fruitful since I expected to see an abundance of one surname and I could use that as either a clue, or a way to prove or disprove theories.

      What situation causes a man to have so many 12 marker matches, with no names repeating with any frequency to get excited about? And that out of all of those, none would match at a higher level?


      • #4
        because R-M269 is the most common European haplogroup
        It is a very old parent branch of ones full haplogroup label (formed over 10000 years ago)
        R-M269 is only a partial haplogroup, not full haplogroup. One has to do yDNA SNP testing to determine a more recent child subclade branch one belongs to .

        FTDNA only predicts basic haplogroup of the first 12 markers.

        Most people who are R-M269 have tons of 12 marker matches due to this, and that is why, especially for R-M269, most 12 marker matches will be irrelevant as thousands of unrelated people will share the same 12 marker STR Signature.
        The more markers tested the more refined to his specific line (patrilineal matches within the last 500 years)
        If he has very few higher matches, then that means his specific patrilineal line has yet to test and not present in the FTDNA database.
        Time may change things as more people test that share his STR signature.


        • #5
          If he has 12 marker matches, but no 25 marker matches, he must have one or more unique marker values in the 13 - 25 group of markers. Does he have a value of zero for any of these markers? The bad thing about having unique values is you may not have matches. The good thing is that when you do get a match there is a higher probability of having a common ancestor.


          • #6
            The Y-DNA test will rarely tell you or help you unless you have the fathers dna to test against to compare or know his ancestry (for example if the test showed that his father were of African ancestry or Native American ancestry...). I got VERY lucky with the Y-DNA test when my brother tested (in place of my father-my father is adopted) as all the males in an entire family association of what turned out to be my father’s birth father’s surname tested. So he ended up matching hundreds of people but approximately 70 men all with the same surname & all quite closely. And eventually when I did the Ancestry test I matched a man as a 3rd cousin (my father would be his 2nd cousin) & we were able to work out who could be his possible birth father on this mans tree. The name matched the surname of those 70 men. BUT there is a feature at Ancestry where if you were to create a family tree & put in the man you are guessing to be the father you can see if under filter & common ancestors whether your dna matches with trees start popping up as matches to you. You will need to make sure & create the tree with this man to go back at least 4 generations to get the best shot. If your dna matches do start matching & they show as having the same ancestors then you know this person is correct. If there is no match- either no one from the family had tested (not likely) or it’s the wrong guy.