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New to YDNA -Ancestor changed his name and trying to trace connections

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  • New to YDNA -Ancestor changed his name and trying to trace connections

    My great grandfather was a red haired scotsman, with thick accent. My nana knew him personally and spoke of him. From research however I can only trace him to England and from records it seems he was English yet I know this is incorrect. It has been suggested he changed his name and was a refugee of the clearances - going to England for work. So after my mothers family finder test brought up no clear results, my uncle (with direct paternal line) did a YDNA test (Y-37). As expected there were no matches that had a similar surname. And only one match at Y-37 again with different surname. I am new to this and not sure where to go next. Does anyone have any suggestions? How accurate is the Y-37? Are there any other steps or tests we can take that might help? The Haplogroup is R-M269. Thanks.

  • #2
    The more information you have (Y-DNA Markers) the greater the accuracy. If you are trying to determine if you live near someone by looking at their address you need a detailed address. If the address includes USA, that doesn't help very much. Lots of people live in the USA and it covers a lot of land. Haplogroup R-M269 is a very large Haplogroup and it includes many men. If the address includes Texas, that narrows down the location but that still covers a large area. Looking at his Haplogroup & SNP page FTDNA probably suggest ordering a SNP Pack. This will narrow down the Haplogroup. If the address includes Houston, the location is much smaller. I'm sure you get the idea. The more detailed the address is the easier it is to tell if your are neighbors.

    The same is true about Y-DNA. The more markers you test and the more SNPs you test will help determine the possibility of a close relative. What you do next depends on how much money you are willing to spend.

    I would want a minimum of 67 markers and maybe the first suggest SNP pack. Others will tell you anything less than Big Y 700 is a waste of time and money.

    Even with Big Y 700, you won't find a good match if the male relative you are looking for hasn't tested.


    • #3
      Y DNA sometimes gives you a very strong signal that you have found the right surname (and the patrilineal ancestor you have been looking for). If your Y DNA results happen to land in big, well-documented cluster with, say, descendants of Deacon Edmund Rice of early New England, or the Buchanan clan, you would have a substantial clue and a lot of potential correspondents to help you with it. Many of us, however, end up with matches having many different surnames, or else with no strong matches at all -- and when that happens, you are not much farther ahead than when you started. However, even these negative results can be helpful. For example, I now know that my McCoy ancestry is unlike any of the other McCoys who have been tested (Big Y places me out on a little twig of the haplotree, far removed from the main group of McCoys), and therefore, I can safely ignore the genealogies published by those families -- they aren't my patrilineal relatives! Or, if your traditional genealogical research has made you suspect that a particular neighboring family might be the source of your unknown great-great-grandfather, and another patrilineal descendant of that family has been tested, the fact that you don't match that man is probably enough to rule out that theory.

      For the Y-37 test, the fact of NOT matching someone who has tested likely means that you are not, in fact, a match within a genealogical time frame. However, there can be a lot of false positives in some haplogroups, so an upgrade to Y-67 is certainly a good idea. Once tested, you can just wait to see what develops, the person you are looking for might eventually turn up. New (weak) matches are still turning up for me after 10 years, and I'm still hoping eventually to find a match with someone from one of the McCoy families that I think are related to mine -- so far, none seems to have taken the test.