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Y-DNA "proxy" test

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  • Y-DNA "proxy" test

    Seeking advice please. I've been suffering regrets (I think it's a lockdown thing) about not asking my late father to test, and have been considering mitigation. My father had no brothers and no male first cousins, and I don't have a Y chromosome myself. However he does have living male-line second cousins, at least one of whom might be willing to test at my expense.

    Does this make sense? I don't have a specific brick wall in the direct male line, more a fading away into inconclusive parish records, but I am interested in what could be learned.

    I am pretty confident that the genealogy is correct, because I have an autosomal DNA match with the cousin's sister at an appropriate level, so there is only a single opportunity for a NPE.

  • #2
    As long as this cousin and your father share the same patrilineal ancestor, through their direct male line only, it is valid. So, if you have proven to your satisfaction, through traditional genealogy and DNA appropriate relationship, that this 2nd cousin to your father is indeed just that, I say go for it. Testing relatives such as this for the purpose of Y-DNA haplogroup or other genetic genealogy reason is often what is recommended when people do not have a closer relative available to test. Roberta Estes has a blog post from 2016, "Why Test Y DNA," which gives examples of how to search for appropriate relatives for a Y-DNA line. It includes some reasons for what can be learned from such testing.

    There may have been some mutations in the Y-DNA of this 2nd cousin's line, which would differ from your father's, but it should otherwise be fine for even a Big Y-700 test, if someday you want to invest in that.

    You may want to also have a Family Finder test done for this second cousin to your father at the same time. Second cousins have the same great-grandparents, so the matches shared in common with them will relate back to the shared lines of the great-grandfather and great-grandmother they have in common. See "Are You DNA Testing the Right People?" for examples of figuring out who to test.

    If this second cousin to your father is getting on in years, ask FTDNA to send extra vials (usually 2 extra). That way there will be more DNA sample available for any further testing you may decide to do, such as further Y-DNA tests.


    • #3
      Many thanks KATM for your very helpful response.

      One further question if I may, would I add the kit to my own account ? On Ancestry there is a way for DNA data to be "managed" by the active genealogist, while retaining absolute rights to the owner of the DNA data, but I don't see that at FTDNA ? The cousin would not want to do research himself, though he has a general interest.


      • #4
        No, FTDNA accounts don't work the way Ancestry's do. Each person who tests at FTDNA has his/her own account, with a separate account number and login.

        But yes, as the active genealogist, you can manage the kit. For convenience, you can use the same email address (in the accounts you manage) as a contact for FTDNA and for any matches to use to contact you. There is room for two email addresses, but one will be the primary (designated by the checkbox), which will display in the profile information and be used by FTDNA to contact you. The other email address will not be seen by the matches.

        FTDNA used to have something in their Privacy Policy concerning access to an account by the person who paid for the testing. It is mentioned in a post to an FTDNA Forum thread from 2016. But, I don't see any similar wording in the current Privacy Statement or Terms of Service. In any case, you'll need to come to an agreement with the 2nd cousin (once removed, to you) about your access to the kit, or managing it. Most of the time, if you pay for the testing, people will allow you manage the kit and have log-in access.

        Many times people will agree to do a test, but are not interested in doing research (such as this cousin of your father's), viewing the results, or in checking matches, etc. But the bottom line is that the DNA is owned by the person who submitted it, so they should have access. I have always given the kit numbers and passwords to the people who tested for me, even though I manage their kits (all have the same primary email address for contacting me). I don't think any have checked their accounts, beyond an initial look. The last time I ordered a new kit, the kit number and password were shown on the order confirmation screen. So if you place an order for a new kit, you should get that information first, and then can pass it on to the tester.

        At a later date, if you manage another person's kit and that person and you agree to have an additional DNA test done, you must order the test while logged into that person's account. Not doing so will entail problems, because if you are not logged in at all, the test will be for a completely new account. Always make sure that you log in to the existing account of the person whose DNA will be used for an additional test.

        There is a section in the Account Settings to set up beneficiary information. See "Account Settings - Account Information" in the FTDNA Learning Center, and scroll down to the question "How do I add my beneficiary information?"


        • #5
          Thank you KATM.