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Why upgrade beyond Y-37 when my 4 testers only match one another?

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  • Why upgrade beyond Y-37 when my 4 testers only match one another?

    I first started testing a small group of 4 known "JOHNSON" cousins several years ago. To this day, they only match one another (at a Y-37 level) among a huge JOHNSON Y DNA project of about 2000 testers. I'd like a list of compelling reasons to upgrade, at least one of my testers, to Y-67 or Y-111 with the hope of securing a few more matches. I'm finding all other JOHNSON testers (or any other prevalent surname) are washing out after Y-12, so I'm just wondering if the deviations are ALL occurring in the lower tiers. Please advise, and THANK YOU!

  • #2
    Sure doesn't sound like there's a compelling reason to upgrade, as you can already see that there aren't any really close matches in the Johnson project. But why not upgrade just one for now, to try to get a better idea where your particular Johnson fits into the haplotree? Johnson is a patronymic surname, so it is logical that there might be men with other surnames who are connected with your lineage but who now have different surnames. Have you spotted any close matches who are not Johnsons? Depending how far back the switch from patronymic naming to "modern", stable surnames occurred in your family, non-Johnson close matches might actually be informative, about the population that your family comes from.

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    • #3
      It is possible that there are recLOH mutations, which can throw STR matching out the window as that single change can get counted as too many steps at all levels above Y-12. A haplogroup admin would be able to help you determine if this is the situation in your case or not. If that is the case, then SNP testing is how you have to find out which group has the STR values from before the recLOH event and find those more distant matches. The family finder test could help point at which group as well if they are close enough in time and not related in some other way. I have seen questions asked in haplogroup projects about why someone doesn't have many matches, or who they are related to. Some have been told the right people just haven't tested yet, while others have been told that their are these mutations so their only option is to go to the largest (Big-Y) test to figure out where in the tree they fit due to not being able to make an informed guess as to which branch they belong to. But getting advice from a haplogroup admin would be best in helping you to determine a reason for sure as to why matches are washing out after Y-12.

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      • #4
        Remember, with a very popular name that is also a patronymic, there's no reason to expect all, or even many, of the Johnsons will cluster together, within a single surname project. Another way of saying this, the surname Johnson has undoubtedly arisen (as a patronymic) thousands of time, in unrelated families. You might want to consider how many in the Johnson project actually fall into a well-defined cluster, and how many such clusters there are within the project. Then compare with, say, the Buchanan project, where a huge number apparently form a single cluster and have a common origin.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by John McCoy View Post
          . Have you spotted any close matches who are not Johnsons?
          No, there are no other non-Johnson surnames above the Y-12 level, which boggles. Given this is a very early American family, one would assume that there'd be many testers downstream from a colonial patriarch of any surname. The only other reappearing surname also washes out above Y-12, and that surname (Whiteside) only occurs in 2 or the 4 testers due to a 1-step mutation between my Johnson cousin testers.

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          • #6
            If nothing else, by upgrading at least one of the kits, you may be able to prove that your family is truly unique, not related in genealogical time to any other that has been tested!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by amylou122 View Post
              I first started testing a small group of 4 known "JOHNSON" cousins several years ago. To this day, they only match one another (at a Y-37 level) among a huge JOHNSON Y DNA project of about 2000 testers. I'd like a list of compelling reasons to upgrade, at least one of my testers, to Y-67 or Y-111 with the hope of securing a few more matches. I'm finding all other JOHNSON testers (or any other prevalent surname) are washing out after Y-12, so I'm just wondering if the deviations are ALL occurring in the lower tiers. Please advise, and THANK YOU!
              BigY for at least one family member may not be a bad idea. I have first hand experience with having close SNP matches who do not match me on STR's at any level from Y12 through Y111. (Although odds are such persons won't be related "in a genealogical time frame" all the same, failing to match at Y111 indicates a LOT of mutations have happened since your respective lines parted ways. It's possible they're recently related, just not very probable)

              As to not seeing any Johnson surnames aside from your family cluster at 37 markers. We need to discuss FTDNA's filtering criteria, and how there are some polymorphic markers present at the Y25 and Y37 level which can cause extended family members(2+ generations removed) to fall outside the accepted matching range until you test for Y67 or higher.

              As an example from another discussion thread:

              Originally posted by The_Contemplator View Post
              Worth stating that the text mentioned from the FTDNA Learning Center is just an estimation. I would not go by those numbers. In one surname project, I have seen that two kits can still share a common ancestor in genealogical time frame even though they have a GD of 11 and do not appear on the Y111 match lists. I have not seen any false matches in that project. For the most part those that match at Y37 will still show up in Y111 with a few exceptions (in this surname project). One of which has two multi step mutations in the Y12 panel. This caused them to have no matches from Y12 to Y37. Once they went for Y67, they had matches.
              That last part is a big one to consider. For that kit holder, it is very likely their descendants would likewise inherit those same mutations(and maybe pick up a new one). Because of that, they'd remain "invisible" to the rest of their extended family so long as they only test up to Y37 and go no further. As in that example, it wasn't until the person tested for 67 markers that they started getting matches with other Surname project participants.
              Last edited by bartarl260; 8th July 2019, 11:35 AM.

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