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improve hits by adding Y-DNA to my autosomal when comparing to others autosomal tests

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  • improve hits by adding Y-DNA to my autosomal when comparing to others autosomal tests

    Can I get improved matches by adding Y-DNA test to my autosomal test when comparing to others autosomal tests?

    My paternal line is not 100% confirmed – sitting at 50% with the 2 known possibilities (deceased)! But no potential DNA candidates/volunteers at this stage.


    I have done an autosomal test (Ancestry) and uploaded on several sites.
    The matches I receive are few and all weak – best match is just 1% (71.7 cM – 4 segments shared – largest 31.7 cM), the majority are a fraction of that.
    The research area is in Belgium where DNA testing has not gained much popularity.

    Is there any point in doing a Y-DNA test until I get stronger matches?
    Or find a male living relative of my 2 suspects?
    And which test would suffice.

    Thank you J

  • #2
    If you are trying to determine your patrilineal line, by all means take a Y-DNA test. You probably won't find a close match, but the information should help you rule in or out candidates from the autosomal testing. If you can afford Big Y, I would go ahead and do that. Otherwise test to whatever level which you can afford.

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    • #3
      Thank you georgian1950.
      Can you recommend a good source to get/read info on how to use a Y-DNA test result to filter the candidates from autosomal tests?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Paraf View Post
        Thank you georgian1950.
        Can you recommend a good source to get/read info on how to use a Y-DNA test result to filter the candidates from autosomal tests?
        At FTDNA, once you have Y-DNA results, you can use Advanced Matches to filter your matches. But filtering will only show you those males who have done Y-DNA testing and autosomal testing (if you choose those filters). Some of your other male autosomal matches (Family Finder) may not have done Y-DNA testing, but would be Y-DNA matches to you if they had done so. That means that some of those who might be in your paternal line will not be identified using Advanced Matches.

        If you only want to get a general idea of your haplogroup, you can get that with a Y-37 test (an STR test). STR testing will give you an estimated haplogroup, enough to show which main Y haplogroup you're in, and usually down to some level of subclade for it. Upgrading to Y-67 or Y-111 will not change the estimated haplogroup, though. SNP testing will give you a more specific branch, but can take quite a few tests (individual SNPs or SNP packs) to get down to the terminal haplogroup that Big Y-700 will provide. The Big Y-700 test also includes the STR markers up to 111, so keep that in mind. You may want to join a project, either a surname or geographic project, to get guidance for a testing plan. Once you know your haplogroup, you can join a project for it.

        When you write "no potential DNA candidates/volunteers at this stage," do you mean that you don't know of any siblings or cousins who are related or descended from your two known possibilities, or that you do know of some, but none will do a DNA test? If any exist, and they agree to do the Family Finder test and you match them, it would be useful.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the info.
          I have found a 1st cousin once removed which still needs to be located & asked to test (not sure of cooperation as I am an unknow to him so may be a trust issue). This my least likely line.

          The second line - I have (and still am) discovering large family structures. So far I have very little success coming forward to present day. Records on potentially living ancestors/relatives is very challenging.

          Is there anyway to look at 2 autosomal tests (with low match +/- 1%) and determine if it is more likely on the paternal or maternal side?

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          • #6
            • At what generation is your paternal line unconfirmed? Is it via your father, grandfather, or further back? A Y-DNA test may show one of the surnames you expect, or otherwise, but sometimes you'll find more than one surname common in your Y-DNA matches. This happens for various reasons, and can be from a very long time ago. You may find this blog post by Roberta Estes helpful: "Search Techniques for Y and Mitochondrial DNA Test Candidates." Scroll down to the section "Finding Y DNA and Mitochondrial DNA Candidates at FamilyTreeDNA" for the pertinent section.
            • For autosomal testing, I'm not sure what you mean by "low match +/- 1%." FTDNA doesn't show percentages for the amount of DNA shared with your matches, but 23andMe and MyHeritage do, and Ancestry when checking a match's profile. At any rate, the only way you can determine if a match is more likely to be maternal or paternal is to have a known relative in your match list, and then use the "In Common With" feature at FTDNA to see if they share the same match in common with you (23andMe calls this "Relatives in Common," Ancestry has "Shared Matches," and MyHeritage has "Shared DNA Matches."). At FTDNA, you can also use the Family Matching Feature I explain below, but you need to have a tree at FTDNA (myFamilyTree) that includes the known relative, so you can link them to the tree.
              • You may want to transfer your FTDNA autosomal raw data file to MyHeritage, and if you have not tested at 23andMe or Ancestry, think about doing that as well. This is known as "fishing in all ponds," and recommended for adoptees or those who have an unknown parent, but is also useful in general to find relatives who have tested at other companies. If you prefer not to test at the other companies, consider registering with GEDmatch.com to at least get some of the matches who have tested elsewhere.
              • If you get a match who you can determine is related either via your known maternal side or your unconfirmed paternal side, either at GEDmatch, 23andMe or Ancestry, you may want to see if they'll transfer to FTDNA (in Ancestry's case, since they don't offer a chromosome browser). See "DNA File Upload-Download and Transfer Instructions to and from DNA Testing Companies" for instructions. You can then use the Family Matching Feature here at FTDNA, where you can link a match to your tree, and then your Family Finder match list will be sorted into maternal and/or paternal lists; it also places an appropriate maternal or paternal icon with each applicable match in your list. At least your maternal matches will be marked in your list, and some of the other matches may be in the unconfirmed paternal line (this may be less helpful if your maternal and paternal ancestors were related in some way). The more known relatives who have done Family Finder at FTDNA (or transferred), and are in your match list so you can link them to your tree, the better the Family Matching Feature will work to sort your match list.
            • For the least likely line: be very cautious when approaching previously unknown relatives to ask them to do DNA testing. I think most people would be wary of a person approaching them for this purpose, especially if they had never heard of you, or perhaps only knew very vaguely about you. This is especially true depending on the culture, if the person comes from or still lives in another country. Proceed with caution, and get to know them first. Cultivate a relationship. You can try by writing a letter first to introduce yourself, and explain how you think you are related. See if they reply or contact you to confirm the relationship. Bring up DNA testing further down along the line, after you can judge how open they might be to doing such testing. You do not want to scare them off.
            • With the second line, if it does have large family structures, you may already have an autosomal match to one or more of the descendants. You're probably already trying to determine the possible common ancestor, and figure out the descendants and any married surnames for females. This will help if any of those descendants have done a DNA test and match you, if they provide a list of surnames, locations, and/or a family tree. Always pay attention to the "collateral relatives," who are the siblings and cousins of your direct ancestors. Their descendants will show up in your match list, so know where these collateral relatives and their descendants lived, and the surnames of the married women. Check censuses, obituaries, wills, and other records to find such relatives. This will help in evaluating your matches.
              • You may not be able to find records for descendants in the current generation, true. But if they show up in your match list, have posted a tree or include surnames and locations, and if you've researched their ancestors, you may be able to determine how they are related to you. It is a challenge, but that is how genealogy goes. DNA is a tool for genealogy, but you have to have good genealogical research to make it work for you.
            Last edited by KATM; 1 January 2021, 03:09 PM.

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            • #7
              Thank you again for all the info - I will do the suggested reading & research.

              On your first point - I am only at the father level, still looking to confirm one of two – No one alive who may have known something (plus stories may not be 100% accurate) & as its going back nearly 75 years, a taboo subject in those days. So far no match on surnames on the DNA matches and only a few weak matches on the autosomal test. I am sure this will improve over time as the testing becomes more popular/accepted (I am looking in western Europe & people I have communicated with seem to still be sceptical on DNA (privacy etc..), but this will change with time & success stories).

              Point 2. The % I stated was from MyHeritage. My original test was with Ancestry and I did copy the results to several sites including FTDNA. At this stage I am not aware of any relatives who may have tested. In view of the strength of the matches that do show I assume they would be very distant relatives.

              I will continue to as you suggested and hopefully I will have a lucky day in 2021! Thank you again for the guidance.
              Keep well & stay safe.


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              • #8
                One thing not obvious to everyone -- make surd you do the Y-DNA Test as an upgrade on the same Kit as Family Finder -- do not order it as a new test kit!!!

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                • #9
                  Why is that? thks

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paraf View Post
                    Why is that? thks
                    If you order an additional test without being logged in to your account and using the "Upgrade" button, then you will be sent a new kit, with a new kit number (new account). Most people do NOT want to have to log in to two accounts to check their results for different types of tests.

                    When you order a kit without being logged in, you are using the FTDNA order page. Once you select a test to order, you will see in the shopping cart that FTDNA asks if you are an existing user, and provides a link to sign in. This is so they can keep the same account number for all your different tests, and allows you to access all your results with one login.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by loobster View Post
                      One thing not obvious to everyone -- make surd you do the Y-DNA Test as an upgrade on the same Kit as Family Finder -- do not order it as a new test kit!!!
                      Sounds like he only uploaded his AncestryDNA results to Family Finder. If that is the case, he does not have his DNA stored at FTDNA, so he still would needed a kit to sample for the Y-DNA test.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by georgian1950 View Post

                        Sounds like he only uploaded his AncestryDNA results to Family Finder. If that is the case, he does not have his DNA stored at FTDNA, so he still would needed a kit to sample for the Y-DNA test.
                        Still important to order the test as an upgrade!!!!
                        When one does a Transfer, one gets a Kit Number. A "Kit" is what FTDNA calls its accounts. He has a kit. He has not sent in a sample.
                        FTDNA will know if it has no DNA from him, and therefore needs to send for sample collection. Do not know if it will add shipping and handling charge or not. But do not order as a new kit!!

                        You want the tests on the same Kit because
                        1) one has to log out of one to look at the other, as was mentioned above, if they are on separate kits, but more important
                        2) ADVANCED MATCHING is available if the tests are on the same Kit - you can choose to see those who match you on both tests, as well as on one or the other -- And if you match others on both tests, you will show up in their results if they choose Advanced Matching -- but neither if the tests are on different kits!!

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                        • #13
                          Thank you all for the info. Have ordered a kit from within my original kit# so all should be ok

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