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Getting Started On A Specific Search Path

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  • Getting Started On A Specific Search Path


    As you might guess from reading my post, I am completely new to this.

    I have a very specific ancestry path I would like to explore. I would like to trace from my great grandfather to his siblings and ancestors. I know the following:

    My father
    His mother, my grandmother
    Her father, my great grandfather
    My great grandfather had 4 daughters and no sons (If I understand, this eliminates YDNA searches from my grandmother)

    My great grandfather's surname is pretty unique and I believe traces back to Germany in the 1700's. There are lots of related people with the same surname extending from the 1700's to the 1800's. What I'm trying to learn is the path from the first immigrant to my great grandfather. So far, I have not been able to uniquely identify my great grandfather's siblings or father. If I was able to do that, I think I can fill in the rest.

    Here are my questions:

    What DNA tests might I take to help me identify this path?

    What other search methods might I use, since there is no YDNA from my great grandfather that can be used to trace backwards?

    What am I missing (since I'll repeat I am completely new to this)? :-)

    Thanks for any help you can give me to get started.


  • #2
    I think your approach should be pretty simple. Test Everywhere!!
    • AncestryDNA, due to its largest database and many trees
    • 23andMe, for another large database and excellent data
    • MyHeritage, due to its higher participation of European testers.
    All of these are on sale right now, so get at least one right now. Or get all of them. Each site above has major pros and cons. IMHO, you need the collaborative effect from testing at all major sites.

    I think your first goal is to find your third cousins from your great grandfather's siblings (if any). In general, third cousin matches average 50 cM, so the majority of them tend to be in your top set of matches. But you will have to look carefully as they tend to overlap with 2nd and 4th cousins. You might find an appropriate candidate for Y testing.

    You should also test one or both parents if possible. Your father since he would be one generation closer and your mother to eliminate your maternal matches. You can substitute very close paternal and maternal relatives for this phasing effect.

    If most of your 3rd cousins are still in Europe, that might be a problem as Europeans tend to test at a much lower rate than Americans. My wife is like that, but we did find quite a few Euro matches at MyHeritage. You can upload for free to MH, but the difference in uploading and purchasing tools, vs a real kit (on a sale price) is minimal, so you might want to do the real test.

    If you have any endogamous ancestry, you will have to work with (or around) those results.

    Unfortunately, FTDNA has the smallest database, so your odds of finding relevant matches are better at other sites.
    Last edited by mabrams; 11 December 2021, 08:05 AM.


    • #3
      You do not need to Test at MyHeritage.
      Both FTDNA and MyHeritage accept uploads from other sites.


      • #4
        d_w could follow this chart for a testing plan from the DNA Detectives:


        It doesn't matter if you don't have unknown parentage, it's just a plan for efficient testing.


        • #5
          All, thanks for the advice. Being new to this, I need to think and investigate the suggestions so it might take a while.

          Thanks again!