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Unknown Paternal Grandfather - Best tests after FF and Y37?

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  • Unknown Paternal Grandfather - Best tests after FF and Y37?

    So, I got a rather big surprise a while back, in that I am not related to any of the multiple descendants of my paper genealogy paternal grandfather's brother and sisters. I have confirmed, known DNA connections through 3 of my other 4 grandparents (so my father and mother are not adopted).

    So, either my grandfather was adopted as a baby (in the late 1800's) or a different man is my biological grandfather.
    I have no perfect matches at Y-37 and there are 3 fairly common surnames appearing among the only 5 total Y-37 matches. None of those names seem to be over-represented searching matches' trees.

    I do have only one very distant cousin (4th-5th) matching both autosomal match and GD=3 at Y-37.
    I have both autosomal and Y-37 tests at FTDNA (as well as autosomal data on the other large DNA matching services).

    I feel no closer at determining the surname or who is my biological grandfather. Now, the kicker . . . the first match on any service that I can't attribute to the other 3 grandparents (by shared DNA) is at 3-4th cousin level. I do have many 'shared matches' with this cousin, but even more distant). This unknown grandparent seems to have no common cousins for several generations back.

    Do I go for Y-67 or Y-111 or go for more SNPs for a more defined haplogroup? (BTW, FTDNA Y-37 assigns my haplogroup as R-M269, (23andMe says: my haplogroup is R-L48 and my nephew (brother's son) tested at 23andMe is R-Z159).

    Also, it seems almost impossible for me to believe I have no closer matches (except my immediate family) than 3-4th cousin through this unknown grandparent. - Is that common? Does that give any clues?

  • #2
    67 markers might help but usually as you go up in markers, your number of matches goes down. I have seen the opposite so anything can happen.

    R-Z159 is good enough for now. You can refine that later if the need appears.

    You did not mention AncestryDNA. Due to their database size, you should test there. No brainer IMO.
    See what pops up. Use the color dots to keep track of the first 100 or 200 matches. See who does not belong to any of your 3 known grandparents. Hopefully they have trees.

    You should transfer your 23andMe results to MyHeritage for free (or FTDNA to MH). If you get interesting matches you can pay to unlock tools. One tool that could be very helpful is the AutoCluster. And dont forget GedMatch, which also has AutoCluster in Tier One

    I have a similar situation with a well documented great grandmother, and I cannot find any DNA matches to either of her parents.


    • #3
      Thank you for the suggestions. I have already tested with 23andMe, Ancestry, and uploaded to GEDMATCH, besides FTDNA.

      Yes, I track and label all of the matches by which grandparent they are through.

      Some of the matches (presumably) through the unknown grandparent do have trees, but the common ancestors between the trees are back in the late 1700' to early 1800's (fairly distant cousins). They don't match the surnames from my Y-test results. I am just shocked with so many matches from all the tests, the only ones that appear are so distant. With all my other grandparents I see plenty of matches in the second cousin range.