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  • DNA test for family tree dispute?

    Which DNA test would I look into to settle a family tree dispute on where our line immigrated from?

    while working on my family tree, I came across 2 different distant cousins who have the same 4 Great Grandfather in all aspects except where he was born. One has England, one has Scotland.

    is there a DNA test that can help me decide which one to focus on more in my ongoing search?

    thank you,

  • #2
    Hi,

    One thing to consider is that DNA testing can go to perhaps thousands of years before there ever was an England or a Scotland, not to mention any of the other nations currently of the British Isles, yes, including all of the islands off of the northwestern coast of Europe (so named by the Romans).

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    • #3
      An autosomal test like Family Finder and its Population Finder feature can in theory give you a breakdown in percentages of ethnic/geographic ancestries. However, I don't think any of the autosomal tests' admixture analyses can discriminate easily between English and Scottish ancestry. In fact, Population Finder, until they increase the number of reference population samples (expected this year), probably gives people with either English or Scottish ancestry both Orcadian. It even gives many people with French or German ancestry Orcadian. To put it simply, an autosomal test will probably not do what you hope it will do in this situation.

      The other option is yDNA testing with 67 markers. Then you can look for close matches at that level, say 64/67 or better and see whether the matches have English or Scottish ancestry. This has a better chance of success than the autosomal test, assuming the two cousins have the same paternal line ancestor whose birthplace is in dispute. (It's not clear from the opening post whether the ancestor in question is the paternal line ancestor for both cousins.) However, I think there's been a lot of movement between England and Scotland over the last several hundred years, so even a yDNA test will have difficulty distinguishing English from Scottish.

      Frankly, if the two cousins share the same 4 great grandfathers and have different birthplaces for one of the great-grandfathers, I think the right approach is traditional paper trail research, not DNA testing, especially given the difficulties I mentioned above in distinguishing English and Scottish through DNA results. Has a third person looked closely at the supporting documents from each of the cousins' research? One of them is obviously wrong and a closer look at whatever document is giving the wrong birthplace may reveal that.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by cblarry View Post
        Which DNA test would I look into to settle a family tree dispute on where our line immigrated from?

        while working on my family tree, I came across 2 different distant cousins who have the same 4 Great Grandfather in all aspects except where he was born. One has England, one has Scotland.
        One question I have is if there are really two different men, or maybe there were two different men but of the same family.

        Records are often full of errors, and then transcriptions of the records can add more errors. I come across situations like this all the time in working on genealogy. For example, a fifth great grandfather of mine, who emigrated from Scotland, is listed in various trees as coming from one of three places in Scotland. It's all the same man, but some people put down his birth county, others put down the modern name of that county, and still others put down the port of his departure.

        It's not that doing a DNA test of some sort will not be of value, but my question is to whom will you then compare your results?

        Are there two separate lines of descent from two gentlemen, from which you know two different people have been tested?

        If I were in your situation I'd look for descendants (of the two names in different places) who have already done some kind of DNA testing, and figure out which ones you want to test against.

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        • #5
          Let me put my money where my mouth is …

          I am L21+, M222+, R1b1a2a1a1b4b.

          Anybody care to guess just where in the British Isles my family could be from?

          As the reality, I could be English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh or from who knows from wherever else!

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          • #6
            Sometimes the Family Finder test provides clues through clusters of matches in common.

            I have a 5th cousin who no one in the family matches, but we have matches in common with her. They are all in the same small region of Norway. The common ancestors with the 5th cousin lived 150 miles south of there in 1780. We will keep looking at the intersection of the trees of these matches in common. Just a clue, not a proof.

            Last week I was looking at matches in common and found several that seemed to match each other. Looking at their trees they came from three English counties. Looking up the places on Google Maps, I found they were all at the point the counties came together and within a 15 mile radius. They shared two surnames and both came from that area. So now they are hot of the trail of the relationship(s). I think I match them a different way, but it was neat to follow the trail.

            I have a similar thing happening where a bunch of matches in common seem to come from around one lake in Ireland. I had to get out the map to figure that out.

            These may be at the margin of genealogy and entering into population studies, but they are perhaps more focused than Population Finder.

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            • #7
              Thank you

              Thank you all-

              Here are replies:

              We are all of the same male line, they are children of my great grandfathers brothers ( dad's side )who had lived in different parts of the country and are now passed away.

              Up till the male in question, both trees and what I have been able to dig up are matches....or very close with small discrepancies.

              The issues arrive from poor or non existent records in colonial America in the 1700's. Which I'm sure everyone runs into from that era.

              If I do a y dna, and join a project of our surname, would that help narrow it down? I was thinking, if there are close enough matches, maybe the matches would point to a closer area on the isles..?

              Thank you again

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              • #8
                I think it may well be worth taking a Y DNA test as long as you are aware it will only inform you about your fathers, fathers, fathers, fathers line etc, etc You will learn something about your ancient YDNA line start to get an appreciation of how you connect to others beyond the paper trail and IF you strike lucky you may have some close Y DNA matches with paper trails just beyond your own brick wall.

                Earl.

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                • #9
                  Earl, you have a private message.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gtc View Post
                    Earl, you have a private message.
                    Oops, I meant to say clbarry, not Earl.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cblarry View Post
                      Thank you all-

                      Here are replies:

                      We are all of the same male line, they are children of my great grandfathers brothers ( dad's side )who had lived in different parts of the country and are now passed away.
                      And thus they are all your 3rd cousins.

                      If they are direct male line descendants of your common 2nd great grandfather, if you do Y-str tests you should match them (unless there are NPEs involved.)

                      That won't help resolve the pre-colonial ancestor problem, though. For that you need to find a man in the immigrant ancestor male's home country, who has also tested and has good enough records to at least point you in the right direction.


                      Fortunately for you, England and Scotland has many tested males, so you have a chance of hitting someone.

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