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Finding my father

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  • Finding my father

    I am 3 years into a search for my biological father. I started with a name from my Mother, that being Michael Smith, and subsequently contacted a people finding company, this lead to nothing. I believe the Forename is correct however, I believe the Surname is incorrect.

    From this, I decided to use DNA to aid my investigation. I started with AncestryDNA. This has given me only 4th cousins, all on my mother's side.

    I then decided to take the Y-DNA37 test to ascertain my paternal surname. I just got my results back, and have a few names.

    The information is quite confusing for me and wanted a helping hand in pointing in the right direction. I want to be sure of the information I gather from this website before I start spending more money on any more research.

    I have 17 matches and the most common name is Butler. The top match is Whalen and I also have Doran. Does this mean that Butler is a good place to start? All of these names have a Y-DNA67 test, would it be advisable to upgrade to pinpoint?

    I am from the UK, so was extremely surprised to have any matches and was very sceptical in taking this test. These matches all trace back to Ireland.

  • #2
    First, your pending attachment will not be approved if it shows the names of your matches. This is for privacy reasons. It would be better if you told us the surnames, the number of each, and the genetic distances.


    • #3
      I have received conflicting advice on this subject. I have three adoptees in my surname project, strangely all use the same surname variant (not ours) from adoption, purely a coincidence. Each man has a different haplotype, and two are high matches (one each) for our two "main" haplos, I-m253 and I-p37.2. One man is not accessible, but the other is actively searching and I have put him in touch with sponsor/samplers whose families were in the same city and region at his time of birth and adoption.

      There is a Adoptee-specific project -GAGP -Global Adoptee Genealogical Project, you might want to JOIN if you have not done so already. If you are R-m269, you will need all the help you can get. Most all postings I have seen on this issue say that yDNA is too vague and Family Finder is better, and I have found the opposite to be true: so many of the trees and surname lists in Family Finder results are partly or wholly fictional, and analysis of trees based on atDNA strikes me as an act of faith that has little to do with genealogy. I am a contrarian on this issue, obviously, based on the JUNK genealogy posted about my surname of interest being "reinforced" by questionable atDNA results and Ancestry "Circles."

      The Y Projects are mainly all on FTDNA or WorldFamiilies, but there are autosomal databases with British-Euro results at MyHeritage, not by any means a recommendation, but merely pointing it out. They offer FREE upload of atDNA but I have experienced nothing as FREE in my past experience with them.

      I have issues with under-67 marker tests, so here is the conflict: most of my searching members will try to test for as many STR markers possible, 111. But at least one Haplo admin advises testing at the lowest 12- to 25-markers for a haplotype and then to focus on SNPs. In my opinion, that strategy is good for SNP analysts but not for surname searchers, because the match rate with under-37 tests is appallingly fuzzy to the point of being meaningless. If you know someone out there with 12-37 STR is a paper-trail relative, then maybe you can feel okay about that match, but the genetic distance will be useless for a searcher like yourself. The pool of low-res men will be huge compared to 67- to 111-marker testers, and you might not have any Big Y matches for years if you take that, but my recommendation to any adoptee is to take the highest res STR possible and then see if there is a general SNP Pack to add later. Finding your father and determining your terminal SNP are not exactly opposite goals, but if anyone in your father's line tested, their terminal SNP might not be obviously upstream or downstream from yours by sight. The hierarchical letter-number-letter scheme makes that more obvious, but FTDNA Projects do not show these, while some on might do so. Some FTDNA links pass through to those.

      EXAMPLE: I am I1a2a1a1a1b3 by ISOGG, but none of my cousins have tested beyond I1a. Seeing them as I-M253 and myself as I-F1997 (a Named Variant) in an FTDNA Project grid does not make our connection as obvious as our actual STR values.

      Haplo admins can be an enormous help with this type of search, but some are not interested in the present as a time-scale, and there is of course a privacy issue.
      I-M253 (I-A11036)
      Last edited by clintonslayton76; 11 February 2018, 02:31 PM. Reason: addition


      • #4
        Sorry, did not realise about the privacy.

        Out of 17 matches,
        Butler - 10 matches, with a genetic distance ranging from 1 to 4, 4 being at a distance of 1.
        Doran -2 matches at a distance of 3.
        Whalen- 1 match, highest match out of all, with a distance of 1.
        Gordon - 1 match, distance of 2.
        Dalton - 1 match, distance of 3.
        McLean - 1 match, distance of 4.
        McIntire - 1 match, distance of 4.

        Thanks for the response.


        • #5
          Thank you for the response Clinton, very helpful and informative. I shall have a look at the adopte project. So a higher test is recommended to narrow down the search?


          • #6
            I recommend 67-111, but you can see that some haplo admins moan when I suggest that more STR markers be tested, because SNPs are more reliable. But you need a haplo advisor on that, as you can do individual SNPs or a SNP pack, which might move your terminal SNP downstream in time, much less expensively than Big Y.

            I think that these higher res Y STR tests are the most on-point for paternity searches, but it is not a bad idea to do atDNA at as many services as you afford (altho I admit I have only done FTDNA FF: do as I say, not as I do, because I am not facing the challenge that you face.) I am also a member of the Guild of One Name Studies and encounter far more privacy blocks in the UK than in the US. One such attitude: I have some high personal matches for BLOOR in the UK, and when I tried to see the results, I was told that I have to find a connection before I can look, which just seems bass-ackwards to me. I am of course keen to find some kind of overseas connection, since we were clearly there before we were here.

            I do not know the adoption rights issues in UK or Europe, but here they are state by state and vary enormously.

            I think there is a spring sale, but do not hold me to that. You can expect Genetic Distance and Time to Predicted Ancestor to grow larger, so look especially at any that remain 0-7 gens if you UPGRADE.

            And if you JOIN GAGP or are in a Haplo Project, you should see a Project discount for upgraded tests.
            I-M253 (I-A11036)
            Last edited by clintonslayton76; 13 February 2018, 06:52 PM. Reason: editing