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Why would these DNAs not match anyone??

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  • Why would these DNAs not match anyone??

    I have a 111-marker Y-DNA test result and I know that the paternal line goes back to a very specific region in Belgium (based on genealogical research, supported by the DNA). A friend with the (approximate) surname as mine who lives in that very specific region has also run a 111-marker Y-DNA test. We don't seem to share anything even down to 12 markers.Our families are separated by at least 350 years. Shouldn't there be SOME matches even at the 12-marker level?? Will I see matches from international submissions? Thanks.

  • #2
    I suggest you start by reading the Y-DNA matching information here

    You will see all of your matches in the FTDNA data base who have elected to allow you to see them and who meet FTDNA's matching criteria. When were surnames adopted in the region you refer to? Maybe two unrelated lines adopted similar surnames. Maybe an event occurred in one of the lines you are unaware of.


    • #3
      Thanks, I will review the suggested material. In response to your question, the surname existed as far back as 1366 but the spelling is variable. Nonetheless, the surname is present in that small area of what is East Flanders for hundreds of years.I think it would be unlikely to have multiple similar surnames in such a concentrated area.


      • #4
        There was a relatively long period (easly several centuries) in some parts of Europe such that surnames were not passed ONLY paternally. Sometimes surnames were conferred on a son-in-law (sometimes only as an alias, but at other times, the surname apparently stuck), perhaps because the father's only heir was a daughter. It is often difficult to work out these situations, because in many areas the relevant documents, such as feudal tax records (terriers), testaments, religious donations, etc. have been lost. Thus, a possible explanation could be that one or another branch used a surname from a maternal ancestor.

        Another situation that would result in more than one biological family having the same unusual surname turned up in French-speaking Switerland. Many families took their surname from a place name, and those place names sometimes referred to some very small feature, such as a small farm, a hill, a crossroads, a field. I found at least one case where the original family who occupied such a place, and the name of the place had become their commonly used surname, had died out. The next family who held the land in tenancy from the local Seigneur originally had a different surname, but eventually their original surname was replaced with the place name of their farm! It is likely that there are medieval examples where places were named after the family who lived there, and the opposite situation, families named after the place where they lived -- and, possibly over a span of generations, both mechanisms successively influencing family names.

        During the period when family names were not stable and reliably transmitted only by paternal inheritance, it often happened that families, or branches of families, were known simultaneously by two or even more family names -- the same phenomenon that gives us the "dit" names in French-speaking areas. I wish we had more information about Y-DNA in these areas to help us untangle the fragmentary paper trail.
        Last edited by John McCoy; 29 May 2021, 10:55 AM.


        • #5
          Thank yoiu very much, John. This does make sense; oddly, however, the individual in Belgium who recently took the test has some remarkably similar facial features/structure with some of the family in the U.S. although centuries have intervened in the genetic pool. This is a mystery.