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Is Family Finder a complement to YDNA & mtDNA tests?

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  • Is Family Finder a complement to YDNA & mtDNA tests?

    My wife bought me a Y-DNA37 test and now I'm looking to do another test but want to make sure I do something that complements the results I already have. I guess the obvious next one would be an mtDNA test, right?

    But is the Family Finder test complementary, or will I just get the same results by getting the mtDNA and joining the results I already have?

  • #2
    Originally posted by miamime View Post
    My wife bought me a Y-DNA37 test and now I'm looking to do another test but want to make sure I do something that complements the results I already have. I guess the obvious next one would be an mtDNA test, right?

    But is the Family Finder test complementary, or will I just get the same results by getting the mtDNA and joining the results I already have?
    Family Finder goes well with Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, as it tests a different type of DNA (autosomal) than the other two types of testing. I think I would actually prioritize Family Finder over mtDNA unless there is something you're specifically curious about investigating along your direct maternal line. Family Finder gives you a broad set of matches from your more recent ancestors along along all of your ancestral lines, not just your direct paternal or direct maternal lines.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by David Guetta View Post
      Family Finder goes well with Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, as it tests a different type of DNA (autosomal) than the other two types of testing. I think I would actually prioritize Family Finder over mtDNA unless there is something you're specifically curious about investigating along your direct maternal line. Family Finder gives you a broad set of matches from your more recent ancestors along along all of your ancestral lines, not just your direct paternal or direct maternal lines.
      I'm a little curious to see if I have any Jewish ancestry on my mother's side, since there are some indications of such a few generations back. It wasn't uncommon for people of Spanish ancestry to have that, so I'm wondering which test my reveal that better.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by miamime View Post
        I'm a little curious to see if I have any Jewish ancestry on my mother's side, since there are some indications of such a few generations back. It wasn't uncommon for people of Spanish ancestry to have that, so I'm wondering which test my reveal that better.
        The autosomal test Family Finder can give you decisive answers about this.

        I do this kind of analysis for Spaniards, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans all the time using Family Finder data uploaded to Gedmatch and they very often do have real Sephardic segments with the right kinds of matches and ethnic characteristics. And I can do this analysis for you, too, when the time comes.

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        • #5
          Family Finder

          I would choose Family Finder rather than an mtDNA test without a doubt.

          mtDNA can only show your mother's mother's mother's line. Your grandfather could have been 100% Jewish, but an mtDNA test wouldn't show it. Even if the suspected Jewish connection is on the purely matrilineal line, it's far from certain that mtDNA will prove it: certain Haplogroups are more common in Ashkenazim, but they are not unique. For Sephardic Jews there's very little correlation between maternal haplogroups and Jewishness.

          Family Finder will give you several hundred DNA matches covering every side of your ancestry. Those matches, plus "ancestry composition" analysis at places like Gedmatch (which is free), are far more likely to indicate if you have and Jewish ancestry.

          It's also much better value if you have any interest in genealogy in general. Combining Y-tests with an mtDNA test will only give you a relatively small amount of information about 2 of your 32 great-great-grandparents. Family Finder gives far more information and covers all 32 great-great-grandparents (and all 64 3xgreats, etc.).

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          • #6
            Thank you all! This has been such a great help. I order my Family Finder test today. Can't wait to see the results.

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            • #7
              I think this is a case of the tail wagging the dog.

              Most people will never get any matches at all on their Y or Mt DNA tests. The few that do almost all relate to a time before existing records that could make the matches meaningful.

              If the Y and Mt DNA tests have any use at all, it is as a compliment to Family Finder. At least with Family Finder you are guaranteed a few matches, even if they take a lot of work to understand property.

              But it's your money.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Frederator View Post
                Most people will never get any matches at all on their Y or Mt DNA tests. The few that do almost all relate to a time before existing records that could make the matches meaningful.
                There are hundreds of yDNA projects that prove you are wrong. yDNA can be extremely useful for finding matches and confirming relationships in a genealogical time frame. You are also completely wrong in your claim that most people never get any matches. It is accurate that mtDNA matches may not be related in a genealogical time frame, but mtDNA is still useful for confirming suspected relationships.

                It seems like your goal is to trash FTDNA (both here and in other threads) without having a clue about how to interpret yDNA and mtDNA tests.

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                • #9
                  The ability to say that John Smith belongs to one y-DNA clade, say R1b L21+, while Jim Smith belongs to another clade, say I1 or J2, is extremely valuable. John & Jim might live in the same county & old style genealogists may have speculated for decades over whether they are related; such a result, assuming it is triangulated, proves that they are not.

                  Y-dna is generally not going to provide a list of close relatives, unless they happen to test. But y-DNA adds a totally new dimension to genealogical analysis. The key values in future genealogy will be name, time period, geography, AND terminal haplogroup.

                  Timothy Peterman

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