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Y DNA test questions

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  • Y DNA test questions

    I would like to purchase a DNA test but have a question as to which test would be the best for my goals. I'm new to all of this and apologize if I appear clueless.

    I am hoping to find out my true paternal surname. My grandfather William Hogan was born without knowing who his dad was. His mother gave him her maiden name.

    Would a Y test help achieve my goal and would testing my dad instead of myself be better? Is one of the higher number y tests better for my purposes? I also read y DNA passes generations about 95%. So I'm only 85% the same as my grandfather's unknown dad? Does that matter or is that how it works?

    2) My paternal grandmother's dad was adopted. Would a y DNA test help here or an autosomal test? Or for any usefulness, would I need ask my grandmother's brother or her brother's son to do a y test or autosomal?

    What DNA test kit would be best for my goals? Would family finder help in these at all? I do also want genealogy info on both my paternal and maternal sides but the two issues above have been the brick walls.

    Thanks for your time!
    Eric Hogan

  • #2
    Hello Eric!

    Yes, DNA testing might be able to discover families beyond adoption and lack of the parental record.

    Just a word of warning, there is nothing that can be done until enough of people from those families tested their DNA. How much is enough? Good catch, read on.

    We can advise you on a variety of topics in the forum. However, you need to study on your own about DNA inheritance. Get a decent book, browse on the Internet, read notes from the Family Tree DNA Learning Center, anything..., just get yourself to a point of a comfortable understanding how DNA is being passed to children and how much DNA and which DNA children share with each parent (for that you can start with

    Your Y-DNA test might help in finding the family of your grandfather William Hogan father. Depending on your financial resources start with either Y-DNA67 or Y-DNA37 test. Family Finder test might be helpful too.

    Your grandmother's brother should also take the Family Finder test and either Y-DNA67 or Y-DNA37 test, as they might help in finding the family of his father.

    Is there anybody else from your ancestors or their siblings available for testing? Your answer to the question has non-trivial consequences in terms who should be tested and reliability of predictions.

    Family Tree DNA has tests for:
    • autosomal DNA: test named Family Finder (for both of you)
    • mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): you do not need to test mtDNA
    • X chromosome DNA (X-DNA): not relevant for your searches
    • Y chromosome DNA (Y-DNA): tests for SNPs and STRs (both of you want an STR test, one named either Y-DNA67 or Y-DNA37)

    If someone very close (in terms of DNA!) to a man you are looking for had tested, then your search would be instantly over. Otherwise you might be waiting, or you would be talking to very, very distant potential relatives.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      It is always best to start with testing someone from your oldest generation of line in question, as their DNA will contain more information then yours about that particular line.

      If grandparent(s) alive start with them.

      I would only recommend testing yourself or siblings if only 1 parent or none are available to test.

      I would also recommend testing your fathers yDNA instead of yourself, to rule out any STR mutations that may have happened when his yDNA was passed on to you.

      For example my Father's yDNA (my Grandfather's actually) has a higher then average STR mutation rate. He has 3 markers different, one being a 2 Step) from his 1st cousin giving them a GD of 4 @ 37markers. His 1st cousins yDNA is the closest to our surname matches. My Father and his brother are also different on 1 marker, his brother is a GD of 3 to first cousin @37 markers.
      FTDNA Customer
      Last edited by prairielad; 24 October 2014, 05:49 PM.


      • #4
        3 groups that maybe of help to you

        Unknown Fathers Group

        Adoption DNA

        DNAadoption site and its Yahoo group
        mtDNA: U5a2c3a | Y-DNA: I-Z63
        Last edited by grahcom; 26 October 2014, 01:33 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by grahcom View Post
          Yes, but...

          Eric is looking for patrilineal information for two of his grandparents, and genealogical research coupled with DNA seems to be a better fit, than otherwise extremely useful information describing sources and tools for a very different era...


          • #6
            Well maybe the OP is capable of working out for himself if any of the links can be of any use to him.