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How do I best help my dad?

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  • How do I best help my dad?

    My dad is 94 and wants to understand his "roots". His parents were both from Lithuania and he was a first generation American born and raised in Chicago. Do I just do the simple DNA test or should we do the other more complicated tests? I don't quite understand what you get if you do the more expensive tests. Any advice? Also if anyone knows how to do research in Lithuania I would be grateful!

  • #2
    It depends on his goals.
    The more expensive tests, Y-DNA and mtDNA, are each limited to one of his lineages but trace back deeper in time, whereas Family Finder - the autosomal DNA test - can explore many more branches of his ancestry to find distant cousins most of whom will be between 6th-10th cousins but cannot tell you about relatives beyond about 14th cousins.

    If he wants to focus on his father's father's father's father's line then he should test his Y-DNA, especially at the 67-marker level (I think he won't need 111 markers).

    Since you mention Chicago, I assume his ancestry is Lithuanian Catholic rather than Lithuanian Jewish? The administrator of the Lithuanian DNA project here is David Zincavage. His personal homepage is http://www.zincavage.org/ His project is http://www.familytreedna.com/public/LithuanianDNA/ He wrote that vital records can be obtained from the Lithuanian archive headquartered in Vilnius at http://www.archyvai.lt/lt/lvat.html
    Last edited by khazaria; 22 October 2015, 08:12 PM.

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    • #3
      How much are you willing to spend?

      I'd go ahead and order the $99 (plus sample collection fee) FTDNA Family Finder test (autosomal DNA for cousin relationships) if you need time to make up your mind. By doing that you will have his DNA on file at FTDNA so that tests such as Y-DNA (paternal line) of mtDNA (maternal line) can be order at a later date using the original sample. I also think FTDNA's sample collection is easier for the elderly than the ones using the "spit in the tube" method. Someone else can help with the FTDNA's scraper to get the specimens from the inside cheeks.

      Jack

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      • #4
        Thank you for the great information. Those are great contacts, too.

        Dad was also interested in following both his dad and mom's information so would he need to do that MTA test too? That's where it starts adding up in cost.

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        • #5
          I was thinking more about $300 but I think the one I was that had all of the bells and whistles was almost $600. It's good to know that the original sample can be used for the other tests later.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MelissaC View Post
            I think the one I was that had all of the bells and whistles was almost $600.
            If by this you mean the $595 "Big Y", I don't think your father needs that level of specificity about what mutations he has or doesn't have and what finely-tuned subclade he belongs to. Just test the first 67 markers of his Y-DNA line and that'll be plenty to learn about his near and far relatives on that line.

            Honestly, the mtDNA line doesn't typically provide matches that are as genealogically useful as the Y-DNA and Family Finder tests, so you don't want to buy mtDNA first.

            I agree with Jack that Family Finder is the best product to start with.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by khazaria View Post
              If by this you mean the $595 "Big Y", I don't think your father needs that level of specificity about what mutations he has or doesn't have and what finely-tuned subclade he belongs to. Just test the first 67 markers of his Y-DNA line and that'll be plenty to learn about his near and far relatives on that line.

              Honestly, the mtDNA line doesn't typically provide matches that are as genealogically useful as the Y-DNA and Family Finder tests, so you don't want to buy mtDNA first.

              I agree with Jack that Family Finder is the best product to start with.
              Comprehensive Genome for males is $566 USD (y67, mtFullsequence and Family Finder)

              I agree that mtDNA will be the least productive genealogically and suggest Family Finder and at least yDNA 37.

              But keep in mind that being 1st Generation (parents born in Europe), matching in database may be limited.
              Last edited by prairielad; 22 October 2015, 09:41 PM.

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