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  • I'm completely lost

    Just got my results in and I can't make two cents out of them. I have a family tree built of over 1300 people I am 90% certain of based on family records. My Family Finder test has over 2500 potential matches and not a single one of them match with anything in my tree. Not even close. I already know I'm not adopted so I can't help but think I just threw away my money.

    I need serious help making sense of this.

  • #2
    I'm sorry that you are feeling completely lost.

    I too have thousands of matches, and had been in the database seven years, but until a couple of weeks ago, could not successfully verify ANY match through conventional research ("paper trail"). Then a second cousin I didn't know existed tested on Ancestry and transferred the results - and got an immediate match with me. We were able to work out the relationship straight away.

    One thing I will say is that you cannot work out much just by looking. Also, it's impractical to contact 2500 matches individually (though I expect there are some very dedicated FTDNA customers who have done that much and more).

    Unless you intend to dedicate the rest of your life to it, you have to have some kind of strategy for identifying the most promising matches, and approaching only them.

    Obviously, start with your closest matches. Don't just look at their profile - email them. Even if there are no obvious surnames in common, be honest, and explain that. "I can't see anything in your ancestry that looks similar, yet our match appears to be quite close. I wondered if you might know or have heard anything about any of these..." (Give the surnames you know of).

    Yes, it's laborious, but don't assume you're just instantly going to see how you're related to someone.

    Also, many people (I'm guilty of it) don't always get round to updating their tree and/or list of ancestral surnames when their conventional research has advanced. So just because it doesn't show on their profile doesn't necessarily mean they don't know anything about it. Ask the question.

    When you say not a single one matches anything in your tree, does that mean you have carried out an individual search of your matches for every surname on that tree? I'm sorry if I'm asking the obvious, but it's important to understand if you are saying you could see just by looking, or you have actually done every individual search, using the search box.

    Having said that, I'm not convinced the name search function is working properly at the moment. I just searched the surname Howlet, and returned only one hit. He did not have that, or any remotely similar surname in his surnames list, OR in his tree. So why is it saying he matches?

    Sorry - I hope I haven't made things worse.

    Be prepared that you need a lot of time, a lot of luck, AND a lot of effort to make the connections. They're not just going to be jumping out at you when you log on - not for most people, anyway.

    Comment


    • #3
      Not my expected results

      I agree RD... I also have been working on my family paper trail for over 17 years. There is not one adoption in my tree going back four generations, 1500 some odd individuals. My Au-DNA test matched three known cousins but my Y-DNA results did not match even one of my Surname. I am going back to the drawing board. Am I spending any more of my social security check on this? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me Family Tree.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the reply. I honestly don't know what I was expecting from doing this test. It was my impression it would make it easier to find connections to my existing tree. Out of 2500 possible matches, only 76 share any of my many surnames I have listed and of that 76 only 35 share an X chromosome. ( not even sure what that really means but it sounds important)

        I've been going over the FAQ pages and all I can say is that they just leave me more confused now. considering I already had 1300 people in my verified family tree I was expecting more from this test and truly expected it to be more helpful than to just start emailing strangers. Really wish I had just started with Ancestry now.

        I even tried calling FTDNA about it and all they could do was throw all the terminology at me that didn't make any sense. Then suggested I do more reading on the subject. My intention wasn't to make this a full time job. I was just hoping to make my efforts count for something.

        EDIT

        What really frustrated me was finding out that the tree matches are only based on similar sounding names and FTDNA doesn't even compare the name to the existing birth and death dates.

        the other issue I have is it telling me I have x amount of matches and when I click on a name it doesn't take me to that name in my tree. I have to manually locate it.
        Last edited by rdstewart92; 23 May 2017, 05:38 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rdstewart92 View Post
          Just got my results in and I can't make two cents out of them. I have a family tree built of over 1300 people I am 90% certain of based on family records. My Family Finder test has over 2500 potential matches and not a single one of them match with anything in my tree. Not even close. I already know I'm not adopted so I can't help but think I just threw away my money.
          Of those matches, how many are Close and Immediate? [Relationship range 2nd-3rd Cousin or closer]

          How many are just speculative? [4th-Remote, 5th-Remote]

          You say you have a family tree of over 1300 people -- but do not say - is that every single ancestor back to those born in or since 1850? 1800? 1700? 1400?
          (and how complete a listing of the descendants of each?)

          If you have specific living folks you are not certain about, convincing them to also test - often by offering to order and pay for a Family Finder Test for them as well as begging - is a good way to help confirm the relationship - tho probably only those you think are relatively closely related -- 90% chance 3rd Cousins will show as related (or related as 3rd cousins - never sure which they mean), but only 50% chance for 4th cousins -- etc.

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          • #6
            I'm sorry that I'm coming out venting like this. Its just frustrating to put in all the time and effort on building my tree with verifiable records and then having this test come back and realizing my job just got harder rather than easier.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by loobster View Post
              Of those matches, how many are Close and Immediate? [Relationship range 2nd-3rd Cousin or closer]

              How many are just speculative? [4th-Remote, 5th-Remote]

              You say you have a family tree of over 1300 people -- but do not say - is that every single ancestor back to those born in or since 1850? 1800? 1700? 1400?
              (and how complete a listing of the descendants of each?)

              If you have specific living folks you are not certain about, convincing them to also test - often by offering to order and pay for a Family Finder Test for them as well as begging - is a good way to help confirm the relationship - tho probably only those you think are relatively closely related -- 90% chance 3rd Cousins will show as related (or related as 3rd cousins - never sure which they mean), but only 50% chance for 4th cousins -- etc.
              None of the matches were close or immediate. All 2500 were speculative.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rdstewart92 View Post
                I'm sorry that I'm coming out venting like this. Its just frustrating to put in all the time and effort on building my tree with verifiable records and then having this test come back and realizing my job just got harder rather than easier.
                It sounds like you expected the Family Tree you put up on FTDNA to be doing a whole lot of the work for you.
                And unfortunately that is probably not going to be the case here. Tho it is always possible that eventually it will reach the point where it is more helpful than currently programmed to be.

                I never had the expectation that putting a Tree up here would do any of the work for me, have never put a Tree up on FTDNA, and from what I read, there have been repeated problems with Trees folks have put up, with trying to edit their Trees, etc, etc. so I am still not at all inspired to put a Tree up here.

                But I have found the Family Finder Test very helpful at confirming relationships. And got one very good lead from a person I contacted because of a few matches (to myself plus some of my relatives I had convinced to Test) plus an ancestral surname he listed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by loobster View Post
                  It sounds like you expected the Family Tree you put up on FTDNA to be doing a whole lot of the work for you.
                  And unfortunately that is probably not going to be the case here. Tho it is always possible that eventually it will reach the point where it is more helpful than currently programmed to be.

                  I never had the expectation that putting a Tree up here would do any of the work for me, have never put a Tree up on FTDNA, and from what I read, there have been repeated problems with Trees folks have put up, with trying to edit their Trees, etc, etc. so I am still not at all inspired to put a Tree up here.

                  But I have found the Family Finder Test very helpful at confirming relationships. And got one very good lead from a person I contacted because of a few matches (to myself plus some of my relatives I had convinced to Test) plus an ancestral surname he listed.
                  I truly thought it was going to give me usable results that didn't require sending out tons of emails hoping somebody might reply. My frustration is with the layout. considering every possible match was a speculative match I am not seeing any viable place to start. It just feels like building my tree via verifiable records was easier which it seems it should have been the opposite.

                  I would really like to understand exactly what the chormesome browser is really telling me. From what I see it really isn't useful to me. I'm sure its because I just don't understand what it is telling me. The ftdna instructions don't exactly help.

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                  • #10
                    I highly recommend that you read The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy which you can get at Amazon or maybe your local bookstore.

                    I tested my mother back in 2010 and her niece, nephew and 2 1st cousins since, and I've yet to break down a brick wall. It's almost impossible to find out what ancestors you share with a match even if they are predicted to be a 2nd-4th cousin. If two are more people share an overlapping segment on the chromosome browser, provide that segment is over 7 cM and preferably over 10 cM you probably all received that segment of DNA from a common ancestor. But beware. You have 2 of each chromosome, one from your mother and one from your father. It's possible that some people who match on a segment don't match each other, because one or more is matching your father's DNA and the other(s) are matching your mother's.

                    I have been able to verify more of my paper trail using Ancestry's DNA test than Family Finder, due to the much larger database, but they give you no tools at all.

                    I find DNA to be much more difficult than traditional research despite problems and expenses of obtaining courthouse records, films, etc.

                    Also a Y-DNA test destroyed the line of one great-grandparent. I had the probate records, etc. but those records just didn't reveal that my great-grandfather was the son of a neighbor, rather than of my 2nd great-grandmother's husband. So there can be unpleasant surprises!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MoberlyDrake View Post
                      I highly recommend that you read The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy which you can get at Amazon or maybe your local bookstore.

                      I tested my mother back in 2010 and her niece, nephew and 2 1st cousins since, and I've yet to break down a brick wall. It's almost impossible to find out what ancestors you share with a match even if they are predicted to be a 2nd-4th cousin. If two are more people share an overlapping segment on the chromosome browser, provide that segment is over 7 cM and preferably over 10 cM you probably all received that segment of DNA from a common ancestor. But beware. You have 2 of each chromosome, one from your mother and one from your father. It's possible that some people who match on a segment don't match each other, because one or more is matching your father's DNA and the other(s) are matching your mother's.

                      I have been able to verify more of my paper trail using Ancestry's DNA test than Family Finder, due to the much larger database, but they give you no tools at all.

                      I find DNA to be much more difficult than traditional research despite problems and expenses of obtaining courthouse records, films, etc.

                      Also a Y-DNA test destroyed the line of one great-grandparent. I had the probate records, etc. but those records just didn't reveal that my great-grandfather was the son of a neighbor, rather than of my 2nd great-grandmother's husband. So there can be unpleasant surprises!
                      I had both of my parents do that Ancestry test so I'm hoping to see better results going that way. I'm very disappointed in Family Tree DNA based on the results I received. With any luck I'll get some better info uploading to GEDmatch.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So if you have both parents tested at Ancestry, here is a suggestion that will help you and not cost you a cent. Do the free transfer for both of them to here. Then go into the family tree section of your account. If you already have your tree here, just link in your parents kits in the tree. If you do not have a tree, build a simple one of yourself and your 2 parents and link them. After the linking, you will see that the system will classify many of your matches into either a paternal or maternal category (on the matches menu) and you will have some basis for beginning to mutually explore the possible connections.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RoryBowers View Post
                          There is not one adoption in my tree going back four generations, 1500 some odd individuals.
                          Really?

                          We had two new cousins pop up on the same day FtDNA a few months ago that had multiple ICWs with people related to my maternal grandfather. E-mails were sent between the known relatives to see how closely we all were related. One turned out to be very distantly related to one set of cousins, but the other was closely related to us all.

                          The genealogy expert on one branch (I'm pretty sure she has just about EVERYONE covered from our mutual ancestors down) said that this wasn't a surname she'd come across before.

                          We now know how he is related, and it's complex due to intermarriage. He and I share three couples in our Ancestry.
                          No wonder he matched us all. He has the surname of the family that raised him.

                          The other one is just your "common garden" third cousin. We have no idea how he matches (very distantly) someone from the gt-grandfather's wife's family.
                          Last edited by ltd-jean-pull; 24 May 2017, 03:49 AM.

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                          • #14
                            A bit off-topic, but I'm somewhat surprised to learn Ancestry's database is larger than FTDNA's.

                            I had thought a major selling-point of FTDNA was their very large database.

                            I first tested with them back in 2010.

                            I only recently decided to take things a step further, and have other family members tested, and the decision arose of whether to stick with FTDNA, or test with a different company (the main contender being Ancestry).

                            As I will be the administrator for all of it, I decided it would be more practical to keep everyone with the same company, but I was also influenced by how large I believed the databases to be. I admit I stupidly didn't research this. I thought Ancestry DNA was a relative newcomer to the field, so assumed their database to be much smaller.

                            I know Ancestry.com, the parent company, has been around for years - in fact I was/am already a customer of theirs for the conventional research. But I thought they were new to genetic genealogy, and bypassed them for that reason.

                            Now I find it might have been better to get the additional family members tested at Ancestry, and just port their results over here.

                            This was what one of my matches who did the same was urging me to do.

                            I stupidly said I'd rather stick with the company I knew - but partly because of my belief in their larger database.

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                            • #15
                              As far as Y-DNA and mtDNA tests go, FTDNA does have the largest database because FTDNA and 23andMe don't do Y-DNA and mtDNA testing, but as far as atDNA (autosomal) testing goes, they may have the smallest database. Ancestry's database is enormous, but it's a database full of blanks as most people just want their ethnicity results. They have no trees. They don't have a clue as to who their ancestors were and most of them probably couldn't care less. No one answers email.

                              Ancestry doesn't give you a chromosome browser and doesn't tell you the location of the segment(s) of DNA you share with a person.

                              However, I have dozens of matches there that I can usually assign to specific branches of my tree, because some do have trees and shard matches sometimes are clear. I might be believing my whole tree was wrong based on the matches I get here at FTDNA were it not for all the close matches I get in known lines at Ancestry.

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