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How to find Paternal Great Grandmothers 3x Great Grandfather

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  • How to find Paternal Great Grandmothers 3x Great Grandfather

    I am trying to figure out a way to use DNA, if at all possible, to track down information on my my paternal great grandmother's 3x great grandfather?

    In my family tree, my great grandmother and grandfather died at an early age, which resulted in my 2x great grandfather adopting their children and renaming them to his surname. This makes researching that surname difficult using DNA, at least as far as my limited knowledge goes. I have done both the Y67 and mt-DNA tests, but these are straight lines.

    Any ideas on how DNA can be used to find this information on my 6x great grandfather who is the 3x great grandfather of my paternal great grandmother?

  • #2
    The change in surnames makes no difference at all to your DNA research, since you are aware of the change and the real, biological ancestry of your family. Your DNA matches will still match you in the correct way. Only some of your first and second cousins are affected by the change in surname. Third cousins and more distant will still have exactly the names they would have had without the adoption.

    It's not clear what you're trying to find out about your 6xgreat grandfather. For such a distant relationship, very few of your cousins will share significant DNA with you. You'll need a lot of luck to find one of those cousins who not only shares DNA but also has a very good paper-trail family tree to show that they are related to him. When using autosomal DNA (Family Finder results) the same is true for all 256 6xgreat-grandparents.


    • #3
      Basically, my sixth great grandfather is not confirmed to good genealogical standards by paper. It would be nice if DNA could help find enough cousins, where we could luck out and find new evidence to confirm with good certainty that he is our 6th great grandfather.


      • #4
        DNA wise, you may get lucky and contain adequate DNA to link/identify this ancestor by just doing a Family Finder test on yourself, but you will probably have to locate and test multiple descendants (paternal great grandmothers siblings and/or childrens lines)to accurately link DNA to this possible ancestor.
        Each line would have inherited and possibly retained different amounts/sections of this ancestors DNA


        • #5
          Agree with Prairielad

          As Prairielad said, using Family Finder might work. But it will require a fair degree of luck since you're looking for fairly distant family who may have inherited very different DNA from the presumed 6xgreat-grandfather.

          You can boost your chances by testing closer cousins first. If you test yourself and as many known cousins as possible you (between you) will have a wide selection of your 2xgreat-grandfather's DNA, which increases the chances that at least one of you will match the DNA of a 7th cousin descended from the presumed 6xgreat-grandfather.

          As an example of how difficult this could be, one of my known 5th cousins has tested and he matches my brother, but has no match at all with me or my sister. On a different line, my sister has no match to a known third cousin.

          Another thing to be aware of... If your ancestors were, say, from Old Colonial families then there's a chance of multiple lines of connection. So, even if you find a DNA match to a 7th cousin descended from your presumed 6xgreat-grandfather, the DNA match might be from a totally different shared ancestor.

          If your 2xgreat-grandfather was related to the presumed 6xgreat-grandfather on the direct paternal line (ie had the same surname) then you could try Y-DNA tests. You'd need to find a male cousin who is descended from 2xgreat-grandfather (or his brother) on the direct male line and get him to take a Y-67 or Y-111 test. Then find a male 7th cousin descended on the direct male line from the presumed 6xgreat-grandfather and get him to take a Y-test. You'd have to be pretty lucky to find a 7th cousin like that who just happens to have tested already: you'd probably have to actively seek out a man who is willing to test.

          If you do the Y-testing and there's no match, it doesn't necessarily rule out your presumed 6xgreat-grandfather: there could have been a "non-paternal event" (illegitimacy or unofficial adoption) in the ancestry of one of the two male cousins. You'd need to carry on testing other cousins on the two sides (i.e. known cousins and presumed cousins) to see if the results are consistent.


          • #6
            How to find Paternal Great Grandmothers 3x Great Grandfather

            Y-DNA will not help since the line of the person he is researching passes through at least one female.

            "How to find Paternal Great Grandmother's 3x Great Grandfather?"


            • #7
              Re Wanting to identify my paternal grandmother
              How can I find out who my grandfathers mother was as we don't have any name at all.
              My grandfather grew up in a private boarding house for orphaned children
              Is there a test?
              My dad is 91 years old so I don't have much time to get further tests if needed


              • #8
                Order autosomal tests from as many companies as you can afford. Ask for additional collection vials from the companies that will provide them. FTDNA will. The more ponds you fish in the greater the chance of a match. Multiple vials, collected over a few days, increases the probability of getting a good sample.


                • #9
                  Robyn Robertson,
                  To elaborate on Jim Barrett's good advice: FTDNA would most likely be the only DNA testing company to offer extra vials and swabs, since they offer other tests besides autosomal, which would require more DNA sample to do. For a 91 year old tester at FTDNA, requesting extra vials is a must in my opinion. See if they will send more than two vials, which is their usual amount.

                  For the other major companies (23andMe, Ancestry, and MyHeritage): they only offer autosomal testing, and thus do not have a need to store extra vials or collection tubes. The first two of those three use saliva samples to obtain a DNA sample, so you would have to check to see if they would actually send an extra collection tube. If an elderly tester, or anyone else, has trouble producing enough saliva for these tests, it's best to contact the company. They may offer a special sponge swab to collect the saliva. People have used other methods with which to obtain saliva from consenting individuals for this type of test.

                  MyHeritage uses vials and swabs to collect DNA, and theoretically might be able to send extra (FTDNA's parent company, Gene by Gene, processes MyHeritage kits). Yet an option to send extra vials does not seem to show up on the MyHeritage website.

                  I doubt that 23andMe would send an extra collection tube for the saliva sample they use. Their current policy is that if a customer's first sample fails, they are sent a second kit. If the second sample also fails, 23andMe basically gives up. They do not send a kit for a third try, but give a refund.

                  These other three companies that only test autosomal DNA seem to prefer to deal with one sample at a time. If the first try fails, they usually send another kit and have the tester try again. From that point, it's up to each company's policy. But, it's worth contacting them and asking if they would accept an extra sample initially, based on the advanced age of the person testing. Otherwise, time is of the essence, so see if your father can do these company's tests ASAP. If any fail, you could have time to try again.


                  • #10
                    The chances that there is or ever will be a DNA sample from your father's mother at any of these companies is probably zero.
                    However there is a possibility that a sibling or half sibling might have test results at one of them. Or a first cousin might.
                    Any of those would almost surely show as a very strong match. A child of a sibling, ie a niece or nephew of your father, would also be a very strong match to him.
                    Even a second cousin - ie a grandchild of a grand parent of your father - is basically certain to show as match. A third cousin has about a 90% chance of matching.
                    A child of a second cousin (a second cousin once removed) is probably a little more likely to show a match than a third cousin.
                    So there is a fairly decent chance of finding a match, that would be helpful, tho certainly not certain.
                    Have you read the posts in the Adoptees Forum here?