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test for wife's paternal line?

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  • test for wife's paternal line?

    Just need help figuring out what test to order for my wife. We would like to test her paternal line. Is there a test that does this? She does not know who her father was, don't even know his name.

    We just want to test her paternal line, as we are positive other relations out there somewhere. Not as concerned with her maternal line, just her father's side.

    Thanking all in advance!

  • #2
    If you truly mean her just paternal line - her father, his father, HIS father, etc., you want the YDNA test, but you'll need a known male sibling to do that. This may or may not be possible in your wife's case.

    But I think you're really asking about checking for relatives from her paternal SIDE of the family. The best bet to get the Family Finder test, and test both your wife and a close relative (other than siblings) on her mother's side. Ideally you could test your wife's mother, if that's a possibility for you. If not, a first cousin perhaps. The FF matches in common with your wife and her maternal-side relative come from the mother's side*, and matches she does not share with the relative are from her father's side.

    [* - Not 100% true, particularly if she's from an endogenous group like Ashkenazi Jews who are all distantly related to each other. But even then, matches closer than 3rd cousins are pretty much on the money.]


    • #3
      As SJ was saying, it depends on what you want to test. If you are interested in the purely paternal line (father-gfather etc.), or, in other words, the surname, you need the Y chromosome, that is, a known male of the family, which, in this case, doesn't seem to be available.

      The Family finder test will instead find relatives along all lineages. Realistically, it can find people up to third cousins. Fourth cousins are more fuzzy, and the test stops working essentially with fifth cousins. The test will not tell you the exact branch of the family, just the estimated relation.

      SJ was suggesting that you could establish which side of the family a relation is by doublechecking and testing another person on the maternal lineage. A relative on the maternal side should match both people, while a relative on the paternal lineage will match only your wife. However, this is not necessary. If you know something about the maternal side and have a genealogical tree there, you can check whether a given match fits in there.

      Be aware however that this test works only if by chance there's a relevant relative who has tested. This is often not the case, so the test may not return any relevant match.



      • #4
        I will side with the majority of posters here so far: the FamilyFinder test is your best bet. Be patient and take into account your wife's many distant cousins who will appear over a year or two. Sooner or later, she will recognize ancestral names that are part of her mother's side of the family. She will also see clusters of ancestral names she has never seen before -- they could be part of her mother's family but may very well be associated with her father.

        Let's say your wife has a definite male person to test from her dad's side: one of his male children or perhaps a nephew (from his brother). Then taking a Y DNA test would make some sense (for the male tester in question). But even then, the results from such a test provides a very narrow band of information about her father: his haplogroup, his subclade and perhaps a list of men he might only be distantly related to himself.

        Your wife essentially holds the most information about her father right now: in her autosomal DNA, which will be taken into account by FamilyFinder.

        One thing I suggest you both do right now: Make sure you have even just a basic family tree started at home, of her mother's family. Good luck to you both.


        • #5
          Thank you to everyone who replied! This does help greatly. And yes, I did originally mean we wanted to test my wife's father's father, etc. line.

          The autosomal test would be very helpful. I have my wife's mother genealogy well documented, so probably could deficier if there are any matches to her father's side.

          One last question....would the autosomal test show results for siblings (provided they also happened to take this test)? or is it only cousins?


          • #6
            If your wife has a half sibling, I suggest you do a FF test on your wife & her half sibling; that is if her mother isn't available for testing.

            You would know that, in theory at least, about half of your wife's matches are from her father's side & half from her mother's side.

            If she has a match that isn't shared with her mother (or half sibling), you would know that match is from her father's side.

            Also, is your wife shares more centimorgans with a match than does her mother, you would know that match is likely related to both your wife's mother & father.

            Timothy Peterman


            • #7
              Originally posted by ryanire View Post
              One last question....would the autosomal test show results for siblings (provided they also happened to take this test)? or is it only cousins?
              It would show everything -- parent/child relationships, siblings, half-siblings, cousins, etc. Of course, the test can't determine the exact relationship most of the time, e.g., if someone is a first cousin or an uncle, but it's pretty accurate up through second cousins. It falls off rapidly after 3rd cousins. There's a FAQ at the top of the page which goes into a lot more detail.


              • #8
                I really hate to throw any cold water on this discussion, but here it is. I have tested FF along with two of my half sisters. The results that we receive are odd and hard to decifer.

                My two half sisters are full sisters between the two of them (they have the same father and mother) while we only share the same mother. Some results we get match sister A and myself. Some of the results match sister B and myself. And some of the results match all three of us.

                Even more perplexing is that about 30% of their matches matche only one sister, not both.

                Family Finder is a great tool, but far from being foolproof.


                • #9
                  Not hugely shocking, since each of your sisters inherited a different portion of their parents' DNA. Are any of the not-shared matches between your sisters closer than suggested 3rd cousins?


                  • #10
                    I would look at the shared centimorgan count between the two sisters (should be about 2500 cms +- a couple hundred) & the ahared centimorgan count between you & each of the half sisters (should be about 1600 cms +- a couple hundred).

                    If this is roughly what you see, I suggest that FF is working normally for you.

                    Timothy Peterman


                    • #11
                      Sjadelson: None of any of our dna relations (except for us) are closer than 3rd cousin.

                      T E Peterman: I agree that FF is working properly and I have tried to assure my sisters that also. They are still perplexed as to why not all of their individual matches are shared matches, but I do understand it. The Cm relationships are as you suggested.

                      My purpose in relating this in the first place was to demonstrate that a non-match to a related person does not necessarily indicate that the person has to be related through the other parent.

                      In DNA, at this time, there are no exacts. Both DNA and paper trails are necessary to closely determine relationships


                      • #12
                        I agree with what you say, John, which is why I mentioned the <3rd cousin accuracy vs. >= 3rd cousin. A suggested 2nd cousin from the original poster's wife who didn't show for a close maternal relative is almost certainly from her father's side. If we're talking a suggested 4th, it's much more dicey without additional data points.


                        • #13
                          On average, siblings share about 50% of their autosomal DNA, with a likely variation of 45% to 55%, and occasionally lower or higher. But let's assume 50% for the sake of this discussion.

                          Such siblings only share 50% of their matches, especially when dealing with those more distant than 3rd cousin.

                          Similarly, half siblings only share 25% of their matches...

                          If you share a match with your half sisters, you know that match must be through your mother's side.

                          If you don't share a match with either half sister, you know it MIGHT be from your father's side, but could on your mother's side; one of the approximately 25% of your mother's genome that neither sister shares.

                          Timothy Peterman