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  • What would you do next?

    Two men tested on this site to try to find out if they share a common great great grandfather.

    One man has a direct paternal great grandfather named Robert and the other man has a direct paternal great grandfather named Hugh. Both Robert and Hugh had similar last names but they spelled it differently. It is not a common surname at all.

    Robert and Hugh were born in the 1820s in Ontario. (Canada) No birth record has been found for either of them. Not surprising because such records are scarce for that timeframe.

    There are marriage records for both Hugh and Robert. One married in 1853 & the other married in 1862 in Ontario. Both Hugh and Robert list the same mother (including the same maiden surname) and the same father on their marriage documents. That makes Hugh and Robert appear to have had the same parents. However, their mother's maiden name is a common one. Hugh and Robert have geographical overlap on the 1861 census of Canada. They live in the same Township but then Hugh moved away by 1871.

    So now we have two men today who are researching their family tree. One is descended from Hugh and the other is descended from Robert. The two men both do a Y-67 test. They match but are not a perfect match. They are 2 markers off on Y-37 and 2 markers off at Y-67.

    Is there any FTDNA test that can shed further light on whether or not the two men share a common direct paternal GG Grandfather?

    Is it possible to solve this mystery with a DNA test?

  • #2
    Originally posted by SparkyMc View Post
    Two men tested on this site to try to find out if they share a common great great grandfather.

    One man has a direct paternal great grandfather named Robert and the other man has a direct paternal great grandfather named Hugh. Both Robert and Hugh had similar last names but they spelled it differently. It is not a common surname at all.

    Robert and Hugh were born in the 1820s in Ontario. (Canada) No birth record has been found for either of them. Not surprising because such records are scarce for that timeframe.

    There are marriage records for both Hugh and Robert. One married in 1853 & the other married in 1862 in Ontario. Both Hugh and Robert list the same mother (including the same maiden surname) and the same father on their marriage documents. That makes Hugh and Robert appear to have had the same parents. However, their mother's maiden name is a common one. Hugh and Robert have geographical overlap on the 1861 census of Canada. They live in the same Township but then Hugh moved away by 1871.

    So now we have two men today who are researching their family tree. One is descended from Hugh and the other is descended from Robert. The two men both do a Y-67 test. They match but are not a perfect match. They are 2 markers off on Y-37 and 2 markers off at Y-67.

    Is there any FTDNA test that can shed further light on whether or not the two men share a common direct paternal GG Grandfather?

    Is it possible to solve this mystery with a DNA test?
    From what you described, if the father of Hugh and Robert is the same man and Hugh and Robert also have the same mother, that would make the two men who are a 65/67 match to each other full 3rd cousins.

    The Family Finder test would have a good chance of establishing if they are 3rd cousins to each other. This type of autosomal test can successfully find about 90% of 3rd cousins in a database.

    However, that means there's a 10% chance that they are actually 3rd cousins, but there's not enough shared DNA to find them as 3rd cousin matches. Also, even if Family Finder matches them and estimates they're 3rd cousins, it won't tell you in which line they share a common ancestor. In other words, you may think the common ancestor is the father of Hugh and Robert, but it's actually a different ancestor in another of their lines.

    It's worth a try, but you have to check the family trees and see if there are other lines of ancestors around gg-grandparents or ggg-grandparents that might be alternative common ancestors for the shared segments. I know that French Canadians are very much intermarried and have multiple lines of common ancestors because of the small founding population. I don't know if that's the same with English Canadian ancestry from the early 1800s, but it may be, although probably not as strongly as with French Canadians. If there is something like what French Canadians experience with Family Finder, the test may estimate that the descendants of Hugh and Robert are 3rd cousins, but that may be an overestimate due to some intermarriage. In that case, they would be probably more distant cousins from common ancestors in multiple lines.

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    • #3
      Thank you. It sounds like the Family Finder test could be helpful.

      Any thought on any other further Y-DNA testing? Could any of it exclude the possiblity that the two men share a common direct paternal Great Great Grandfather?

      Y-111 or the Big Y?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SparkyMc View Post
        Thank you. It sounds like the Family Finder test could be helpful.

        Any thought on any other further Y-DNA testing? Could any of it exclude the possiblity that the two men share a common direct paternal Great Great Grandfather?

        Y-111 or the Big Y?
        Upgrading to 111 markers would just give you a better idea of the probability of how close the relationship is. However, remember that you're dealing with probabilities of STR mutations. That doesn't give you a definitive answer. It just makes an answer more or less probable. It will not tell you exactly how long ago the common ancestor lived, just the range of probabilities.

        Since Big Y is dealing with SNPs, which are more reliable than STRs (back mutation of SNPs is very rare, but STR back mutations are not uncommon), it's possible that you might be able to say if the descendants of Hugh and Robert share x number of novel variant SNPs, they are probably 3rd cousins through the father of Hugh and Robert. But that's still based on SNP mutation rate, another question of probability.

        So, the question is do you want to spend $595 each for a Big Y test and get an answer of it being likely or unlikely that the two are 3rd cousins? Or do you want to spend $99 each for a Family Finder test that will be 90% accurate in saying whether you're 3rd cousins or not? If it were me, I'd go for the Family Finder test first and, if it came back as showing 3rd cousin and I couldn't account for that by a common ancestor in another line, then I'd have to consider whether to spend the money for two Big Y tests.
        Last edited by MMaddi; 5 September 2014, 04:39 PM.

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        • #5
          Thanks M.

          I really want the other guy to add the family finder test. My kit already has it

          It is good to hear that idea confirmed (that Family Finder would help)

          Great info on the 90% chance of finding 3rd cousins and 10% chance of finding 4th cousins.

          I have been trying for a year to figure out a paper relationship to a predicted a 2nd - 4th cousin. It is most perplexing! I can only guess that the relationship is more remote than the shared percentage indicates making the shared ancestor a person back in Ireland born pre 1800. Might never figure that one out as hard as I might try!!!

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          • #6
            Are there other known relatives of Robert and known relatives of Hugh living that can be tested? They can be male or female. I've gotten mileage out of testing my eldest uncles and aunts...If you buy more than one kit, FF is still $79 I think.

            Also, if Robert and Hugh had daughters, and those daughters had sons who in turn had daughters [you get the idea...] you could expect large x-DNA segments to endure in certain descendants. Point being, FF test includes the x-chromosome which offers some odd strategies.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SparkyMc View Post
              Thanks M.

              Great info on the 90% chance of finding 3rd cousins and 10% chance of finding 4th cousins.
              I'm not sure where you got the figure of a 10% rate of finding 4th cousins, since I didn't state that. The figure I've always heard cited is that 40-50% of actual 4th cousins can be found by Family Finder and similar tests with other companies.

              Comment


              • #8
                Probability

                In my opinion, any further testing only can increase probability that these two man do not share gg-grandfather, but their male predecessor was further down.

                You were expecting that the distance of two occurs further down. Like for my cousin and my uncle separated by 11 paternal events (thus no Family Finder). The common ancestor in the 18th century...

                However, please read the thread titled ydna 67 match. The very first reply gives an example of a son having a genetic distance of two to his own father!

                P.S. Since Family Finder is not that expensive, you can do it, but do not expect miracles. Also, as hansonrf suggested, try to get more people from both branches tested in the Family Finder.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                  I'm not sure where you got the figure of a 10% rate of finding 4th cousins, since I didn't state that. The figure I've always heard cited is that 40-50% of actual 4th cousins can be found by Family Finder and similar tests with other companies.
                  My bad!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dna View Post

                    P.S. Since Family Finder is not that expensive, you can do it, but do not expect miracles. Also, as hansonrf suggested, try to get more people from both branches tested in the Family Finder.
                    .

                    For sure. I have one other fellow great grandson of Robert that already has Family Finder results. There are a couple more first cousins that I might be able to recruit. Aunts and Uncles are all long gone. The cousins are all in their 70s and 80s. As for Hugh's descendants, I am having a hard enough time getting one guy to test. Sadly not everyone is enthusiastic as I am! Once I do finally get him to add the family finder test to his current results, I will check if he is close enough to his cousins to ask them to help. Meanwhile I am trying not to scare him off by being too enthusiastic!

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