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  • finding Grandpa's father

    Just a note to ask if anyone has any ideas about solving my personal mystery. My paternal grandfather was adopted in Chicago in 1899, and I want to identify his biological father. There's no record of the names of his birth parents, although a very lucky autosomal match led to identifying his birth mother. She was the daughter of a prosperous northern Ohio family, and I've found no clues as to how she became pregnant; the possibilities range from assault by a complete stranger to a consensual event, possibly with a fiance, but there's no mention of her being engaged at that time, nor have I found records of her family bringing criminal or civil charges against the man they'd have regarded as her seducer. The Children's Home and Aid Society can't find Grandpa's file and believe it was lost in a fire in the 1930s. I don't see a pattern in my autosomal matches (both Ancestry and FTDNA) that suggests a group of people related to a mystery line that could suggest Mr. X or his surname. My Y-DNA111 has been disappointing; the best result is four matches at 37 markers, all different ancestral surnames, all with a genetic distance of four.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    • You can try seeking help from the DNA Detectives. They have a Facebook group as well.
    • Cast a wide net: Have you uploaded one or the other of your FTDNA or Ancestry raw data files to MyHeritage or GEDmatch? You might also test at 23andMe, to get more autosomal matches.
    • In your matches, pay attention to those who list locations in the same general area as where your paternal grandmother live, and at the same time.
    • Have your Y-DNA 37 matches tested at higher levels? If they have, but they don't show in your Y-67 or Y-111 match lists, then you can eliminate them from your consideration. The connection will be too far in the past. If they haven't tested at a higher Y-DNA level, you might contact them and ask them to do so, to see if they continue to match you.
    • Have you joined an FTDNA project for your Y-DNA haplogroup? They can give advice for any further testing, and try to place you in a subgroup of the project. Perhaps the surnames in a subgroup might help you.
    • If your father is living, has he tested anywhere? Has your mother or other known maternal relatives tested anywhere? It's best to test the oldest generation if you can. If you have known maternal relatives who match you at FTDNA, you can upload or create a tree at FTDNA (even if only with your known maternal relatives). Then you can link any of the known maternal relatives to their place in your tree, and the Family Matching system will sort your matches into those who are maternal. This doesn't mean that those not marked as maternal will definitely be paternal, but some will be.
    • You can use the "Not In Common With" tool at FTDNA to find out which matches do not match another match who you know is on your maternal side.
    • You can use tools such as DNA Painter and the Leeds Method to try to sort your matches.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by stennor View Post
      …. My Y-DNA111 has been disappointing; the best result is four matches at 37 markers, all different ancestral surnames, all with a genetic distance of four.

      Any suggestions?
      You have quite an admirable piece of research getting as far as you have.

      So no matches at Y-67 or Y-111? The person who I formed a terminal SNP with did not match me at Y-111. Interestingly, I haven't convinced that person or the subclade project's administrator, but a weak autosomal match is suggesting that my 2nd great, patrilineal grandfather was the culprit. They think the time for the formation of the SNP was much further back. I am waiting for results from AncestryDNA to compare us on the same testing platform before I come to a definite conclusion.

      If you can afford to upgrade to Big Y, I'd go ahead and do it. At least you would have a terminal SNP for your patrilineal line to aim for, however far back it proves to be. Then you always will have the possibility that a new Big Y tester forming a more recent terminal SNP with you.

      Good luck and I am looking forward to the rest of the story.

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