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Which test to take?

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  • Which test to take?

    I have been contacted by a gentleman with my last name and whose ancestors of that name lived in the same small town as mine in Poland in the early 20th Century (and maybe earlier). I know my paternal lineage back to my 4G-grandfather. The other gentleman knows his ancestors' names only as far back as his father (deceased), who was a child survivor of the Holocaust.

    I took the Y-12 test many years ago and the Family Finder more recently. We are looking for advice on which test(s) he should take to see if we can identify a connection between us.

    If it is a Y- test, which one is the best for him to take for our situation? How advantageous would it be for me to upgrade my Y- level?

    Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    Family Finder

    He should take the Family Finder first.


    • #3
      Y-DNA gives the most definitive answer for a direct paternal line / same-surname connection.

      You could have him start with 12, although 37+ markers is usually best.

      If he does not match at 12, then you've ruled out a direct paternal line connection.

      If he does match at 12 markers, then it's a step in the right direction. However, I wouldn't draw any firm conclusions based on less than a 37-marker match, unless you happen to have a very distinctive haplotype.

      In my Palevsky project, I wanted 37 markers for the first few members, but I'm now OK with only 12 markers since both the haplotype and the surname are relatively distinctive.

      For a common surname like Goldberg or Cohen, I wouldn't trust a 12-marker match by itself -- too strong a possibility that it's a coincidental match that wouldn't hold up at 37 markers.

      Rappaport is probably somewhere in between, so I probably would go to 37 markers to be certain.

      Last edited by efgen; 29 September 2014, 09:47 PM.


      • #4
        Of course Family Finder.

        Also at the same time, since you know your Y-DNA haplogroup estimate... If you have lots of matches or you are in one of R haplogroups, think about a 67 Y-DNA marker test for both of you right away.

        Why? There is excruciating pain while waiting for results of an upgrade from 37 marker test to 67 marker one.


        • #5
          If you match with a Y-DNA test you know it is along your paternal line. If you match with Family Finder you don't know which line the match is from. Family Finder can miss matches as close as 4th cousins.

          I agree with Elise. I'd start with Y-DNA37 for him with a Y-DNA37 upgrade for you.


          • #6
            Originally posted by efgen View Post

            If he does not match at 12, then you've ruled out a direct paternal line connection.

            It is possible not match at 12 markers and have a common ancestor in the past 10-12 generations.

            I know a group of people that have a common ancestor in the past 10-12 generations that do not match at 12 markers and some don't even match at 37 but their matches do match the others at 37 markers so there is no question they are from the same ancestor. Most of them also have the same surname, only one does not, and half of them have documentation all the way back to the common ancestor.


            • #7
              For those of you recommending Family Finder -- why?

              He's asking about determining if two people with the same surname are related. That's what Y-DNA is for.

              And, the family is Jewish. So Family Finder by itself won't give a definitive answer to his question for two reasons:

              1) They could match each other on FF simply because of the endogamy within the Jewish population, and the match won't necessarily be on the direct paternal line.

              2) The connection may be too distant for Family Finder to show them as a match.

              I would recommend Family Finder in addition to the Y-DNA test, in case there's a very close relationship. But I wouldn't rely on Family Finder by itself in this scenario.



              • #8
                why Family Finder

                One of the two has taken the FF test already. Lowest combined cost.

                You get more info from a FF test by orders of magnitude.
                A negative Y or mt test has little value vs a negative FF test.

                My experience:

                FF 8 ancestors found.

                Y 1 ancestor confirmed he was already in my tree

                mt zero or worthless

                note another FF type test from another company has resulted in over 100 cousins found too many to count, plus thousands of connecting ancestors


                • #9

                  For me DNA testing is like a compass it indicates a direction but you still need a map ( family tree ) and landmarks (documation/facts) to get to your goal. The FF test will fill in more landmarks than other tests. A positive result on any test will not tell you how you are related unless you find someone with the missing parts of the map.


                  • #10

                    When testing for general purposes, your advice probably works for a lot of people.

                    But in this particular case, the original poster has a very specific question:
                    Do two men with the same surname share a patriarch?

                    The answer to this question will be clearly answered with a Y-DNA test. This is exactly what the Y-DNA surname projects were designed for.

                    More generally:

                    There are many different reasons why people test, so when advising people on what test to take, the advice should always be based on the tester's own goals. When someone asks what test they should take, before we give any answer, we should always ask a question back:
                    "What do you want to know?"

                    Once we know the person's goals, and whether they're trying to answer a specific question or solve a specific puzzle, then we can give appropriate advice. If we don't consider the person's goals, then we may steer them in the wrong direction and cause them to spend money on the wrong tests.

                    Last edited by efgen; 30 September 2014, 06:10 PM.


                    • #11
                      Elise and Jim Barrett are right from the scientific point of view.

                      Taking into account all the facts given in the initial post, my advice is to order Family Finder and Y-DNA67 for the other gentleman, and an upgrade to Y-DNA67 for Mr. Rappaport.
                      Since the other gentleman wants to connect to his extended family, both tests would be useful at the same time.
                      Y-DNA37 test is a sound scientific advice, but the wait time for an upgrade to Y-DNA67 is totally unnecessary. And can be eliminated by ordering 67 markers at once. That way less DNA from the vials is being used too...

                      After all three results are in, there would be time for evaluation and reassessment of future tests if any. Right now there would be too many unnecessary ifs.

                      By the way, I understand views of stanjohn, except I am actually using mtDNA results.


                      • #12
                        Thank you

                        I am grateful to everyone who has shared their thoughts, with special thanks to the moderator.

                        Ed Rappaport