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  • Zero surname matches?

    My YTDNA results have led to zero matches for my surname.

    I have two theories. One is that at some point on my father's line, one of my direct ancestor was adopted. The second is that the test is wrong.

    I would love thoughts on my two opinions.

    More info just in case: my father is deceased so we can't test him to confirm my test. We are trying to locate the one male cousin I have on that line to test him.

    Thanks,

    Greg

  • #2
    Before you can conclude anything, there are some factors to consider.

    How many markers have you tested - 12, 25, 37, 67 or 111? How many matches do you have at each level of testing? What's your predicted haplogroup?

    Comment


    • #3
      It's also entirely possible that none of your patrilineal relatives has been tested. Compared with the number of men in the world, the number of Y DNA tests is extremely small. The test is probably correct (the STR or SNP values that it reports), but it is not logical to conclude (yet) that there is something strange about your ancestry.

      It is not always obvious, even to experienced genealogists, that permanent surnames are a fairly recent development. Y DNA patterns seem to be stable over a period of several centuries or even longer (for example, descendants of the early New England settler Edmund Rice are still recognizable today from Y DNA tests, even in at least one branch that was raised by Indians and ended up with a different name), but in some places, permanent surnames were not in use until the early 1800's or possibly even later (Prussian Jews, Scandinavia, etc.). Even in the English-speaking world, I have heard of families in Ireland or Scotland who used two surnames interchangeably as late as the middle of the 18th Century. In England, surnames were sometimes changed as a condition for inheriting an estate. And in medieval times, certainly as late as the 16th Century, in some parts of Europe, surnames might change every few generations for no apparent reason -- I have a family in French-speaking Switzerland that used at least 4 surnames between about 1450 and 1600, and it appears that not all branches ended up with the same surname. For these reasons, it is entirely feasible that the same Y DNA pattern might end up associated with more than one surname, without adoption, illegitimacy, or some other irregularity apart from fashion.

      One conclusion from negative Y DNA results that may be helpful, is that you now know that the other people having your surname who have been tested are not your patrilineal relatives, so you can focus your attention elsewhere!

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies

        John, thanks for the thorough reply.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the questions.

          Hi there. I have tested up to 37 markers. I had 8 matches with zero distance at 37. All with the surname Reilly. (My surname is Stroud). A Reilly who I matched actually reached out to me hoping I was a close relative.

          Before I add up all the matches, which is better for exactness? A higher or lower marker? Meaning is a match at 37 more precise than a match at 12? (Sorry for my ignorance).

          I'm new to this so I don't know if this is your predicted haplogroup question, but my Parent haplogroup is R-M269. Basically mostly Irish.


          Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
          Before you can conclude anything, there are some factors to consider.

          How many markers have you tested - 12, 25, 37, 67 or 111? How many matches do you have at each level of testing? What's your predicted haplogroup?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Greg View Post
            Hi there. I have tested up to 37 markers. I had 8 matches with zero distance at 37. All with the surname Reilly. (My surname is Stroud). A Reilly who I matched actually reached out to me hoping I was a close relative.

            Before I add up all the matches, which is better for exactness? A higher or lower marker? Meaning is a match at 37 more precise than a match at 12? (Sorry for my ignorance).

            I'm new to this so I don't know if this is your predicted haplogroup question, but my Parent haplogroup is R-M269. Basically mostly Irish.
            I'm taking you to mean that you have 8 matches at the 37 marker level who have no differences with you on any marker. In other words, 8 exact matches. If I'm misunderstanding what you wrote, please correct me.

            Matches at 12 and 25 markers for men who are R-M269 (most common haplogroup among men with European ancestry) are notoriously unreliable. They may represent a common ancestor as many as 4,000 or more years ago.

            When you get matches at 37 or more markers, they are the ones to look at. That's especially the case when you have 8 exact matches, all with the same surname. This does call into question whether the true surname associated with your paternal line is Stroud. There may have been an adoption or something of that sort.

            If any of the 8 matches have tested 67 or 111 markers, it would be worthwhile for you to upgrade to those levels. (You'll see the number of markers they've tested next to their names in your match list.) Then you could compare at the higher levels and get a better estimate of how long ago a common ancestor may have lived, which will only be an estimate based on average mutation rates and probability.

            You should also reach out to these matches to see if any of their recent paternal line ancestors (their father or grandfather, for instance) lived in the same town where your father was born. A DNA test can tell you that something is amiss, but only paper trail research will find out what happened.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
              A DNA test can tell you that something is amiss, but only paper trail research will find out what happened.
              That's true to a certain extent. A Y-DNA test isn't going to get you any closer to the truth probably. But if you have enough matches with the same surname with GDs of 0 and 1 to be fairly certain that there was a break in the direct male (surname) line, you may be able to get somewhere with autosomal testing, Family Finder here, and atDNA tests at the other two companies as well. If you are lucky enough to get close matches, you may be able to find out when, where, and who, but maybe not how and why.

              This happened to me, and after studying the situation and deciding on the most likely scenario, I had to find a descendant of the "suspect" to do an atDNA test to find out if he matched my mother and he did. But that was when atDNA testing was new and databases were tiny. These days you could probably just test and find close matches. The main problem now is that most people who do DNA tests do not have trees and don't answer email. The main thing is to test the earliest generation in the line you're interested in. The sex of the person doesn't matter. My cousin did the Y-DNA test, but my mother did the atDNA.

              Of course, although I found out that my great-grandfather was the son of a neighbor instead of the son of my 2nd great-grandmother's husband, DNA can't tell me whether it was rape or adultery. I have a pretty good idea from what I've found out about the people involved, but even then, I can't be absolutely certain.

              Now that databases have grown, my mother has 4 more close matches who are descendants of the real father, plus one not quite as close. But they are all at Ancestry.com.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks again for the answer

                Yes, I have 9 matches at the 37 marker level with no differences. In fact, one of the matches has already contacted me thinking we were a close relation. Thanks for the info below and taking time to answer this. I'll try to find someone who was in the same town. Sounds like more work for me to get closer to an answer. --Greg

                Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                I'm taking you to mean that you have 8 matches at the 37 marker level who have no differences with you on any marker. In other words, 8 exact matches. If I'm misunderstanding what you wrote, please correct me.

                Matches at 12 and 25 markers for men who are R-M269 (most common haplogroup among men with European ancestry) are notoriously unreliable. They may represent a common ancestor as many as 4,000 or more years ago.

                When you get matches at 37 or more markers, they are the ones to look at. That's especially the case when you have 8 exact matches, all with the same surname. This does call into question whether the true surname associated with your paternal line is Stroud. There may have been an adoption or something of that sort.

                If any of the 8 matches have tested 67 or 111 markers, it would be worthwhile for you to upgrade to those levels. (You'll see the number of markers they've tested next to their names in your match list.) Then you could compare at the higher levels and get a better estimate of how long ago a common ancestor may have lived, which will only be an estimate based on average mutation rates and probability.

                You should also reach out to these matches to see if any of their recent paternal line ancestors (their father or grandfather, for instance) lived in the same town where your father was born. A DNA test can tell you that something is amiss, but only paper trail research will find out what happened.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good info

                  Interesting information. I have noticed the lack of family trees (which will prompt me to add mine as soon as I can). Good idea to try other services.

                  I wonder what percentage of people are finding out that their line is not as straight and clear as they thought?

                  G


                  QUOTE=MoberlyDrake;441874]That's true to a certain extent. A Y-DNA test isn't going to get you any closer to the truth probably. But if you have enough matches with the same surname with GDs of 0 and 1 to be fairly certain that there was a break in the direct male (surname) line, you may be able to get somewhere with autosomal testing, Family Finder here, and atDNA tests at the other two companies as well. If you are lucky enough to get close matches, you may be able to find out when, where, and who, but maybe not how and why.

                  This happened to me, and after studying the situation and deciding on the most likely scenario, I had to find a descendant of the "suspect" to do an atDNA test to find out if he matched my mother and he did. But that was when atDNA testing was new and databases were tiny. These days you could probably just test and find close matches. The main problem now is that most people who do DNA tests do not have trees and don't answer email. The main thing is to test the earliest generation in the line you're interested in. The sex of the person doesn't matter. My cousin did the Y-DNA test, but my mother did the atDNA.

                  Of course, although I found out that my great-grandfather was the son of a neighbor instead of the son of my 2nd great-grandmother's husband, DNA can't tell me whether it was rape or adultery. I have a pretty good idea from what I've found out about the people involved, but even then, I can't be absolutely certain.

                  Now that databases have grown, my mother has 4 more close matches who are descendants of the real father, plus one not quite as close. But they are all at Ancestry.com.[/QUOTE]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It seems to happen more frequently than one would expect. I joined this forum in 2010, I believe, and it seems like it happens to someone every few weeks. The reactions are different. There is another thread right now posted under another topic, where the poster is complaining that FTDNA ruined his life. If you go back through the Y-DNA forum and read old posts, you'll find numerous instances of unexpected results with Y-DNA testing.

                    Of course, it can happen with other types of DNA tests also.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good answer, thank you

                      Thank you for the further information. I will take the steps you outlined, this is very helpful. --Greg


                      Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                      I'm taking you to mean that you have 8 matches at the 37 marker level who have no differences with you on any marker. In other words, 8 exact matches. If I'm misunderstanding what you wrote, please correct me.

                      Matches at 12 and 25 markers for men who are R-M269 (most common haplogroup among men with European ancestry) are notoriously unreliable. They may represent a common ancestor as many as 4,000 or more years ago.

                      When you get matches at 37 or more markers, they are the ones to look at. That's especially the case when you have 8 exact matches, all with the same surname. This does call into question whether the true surname associated with your paternal line is Stroud. There may have been an adoption or something of that sort.

                      If any of the 8 matches have tested 67 or 111 markers, it would be worthwhile for you to upgrade to those levels. (You'll see the number of markers they've tested next to their names in your match list.) Then you could compare at the higher levels and get a better estimate of how long ago a common ancestor may have lived, which will only be an estimate based on average mutation rates and probability.

                      You should also reach out to these matches to see if any of their recent paternal line ancestors (their father or grandfather, for instance) lived in the same town where your father was born. A DNA test can tell you that something is amiss, but only paper trail research will find out what happened.

                      Comment

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