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Finding paternal grandfather relatives via X NON matches?

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  • Finding paternal grandfather relatives via X NON matches?

    Looking for relatives to my paternal grandfather, without the benefit of Y DNA info. My ancestry is well established for 3 of my 4 grandparents, and DNA matches line up well with the paper trail. But not so my paternal grandfather, who was a German immigrant (b. 1876) that obscured his roots pretty well. I've fished for DNA relatives for 4 yrs on multiple sites, and have scads of relatives for the other 3 grandparents, nothing lining up for my paternal grandfather. I'm one of 3 daughters, Dad (deceased without DNA testing) was an only child. No Y DNA info. I have my Mom's DNA, so that helps exclude some matches.

    I look for DNA relatives that are not a match to my Mom, and have no X-match to me, AND their pool of matches have no X match to me. I recognize this is not a perfect approach and doesn't filter out paternal grandmother lines that are autosomal matches only. I was hoping I might find a clump or two of DNA relatives that don't have any x-match to me, to give me some hints on my paternal grandfather, but this has been a very slow and unproductive approach. Should I be using a GEDMATCH tool? Any suggestions welcome, including to post this elsewhere if appropriate. (This is my first FTDNA post!) Thanks.

  • #2
    It seems to me the main obstacle you face is that your paternal grandfather left no other descendants and may not have had any other relatives who came to the US. You have already worked out the criteria that a genetic relative would have to meet, but now everything depends on whether such a person, assuming one exists, will take an autosomal DNA test and post the results where you can find them.

    While you wait for that event, I think you should renew your efforts in traditional genealogical research. There may be more clues lurking in unexplored sources. Be aware of the gaps in your knowledge of your mysterious grandfather and try to fill them in. For me, newly-digitized newspapers have been a gold mine, alerting me to unexpected chapters in the lives of several ancestors. Directories, court records, and the paper trail of immigration, naturalization, voter registration, and perhaps even a later passport application should definitely be explored. Don't give up!


    • #3
      Thank you John. Without making too long a post, I'll just add I hired a traditional genealogist in Schleswig-Holstein (where my grandfather was from) -- and he was worth every penny. Found christening church records for the man we believed to be my father's father, and I later found immigration records. But due to some lingering paternity questions, the story doesn't end there. Those remaining questions will only be answered via DNA, should a match be found. But I'm not finding a very elegant way to run my DNA filters.


      • #4
        If not already done so, it maybe advantageous to test your siblings also.
        You only received a random 50% of your father (on average around 25% of grandfather), your siblings would have receive others portions of this 50% you did not receive.

        On average testing around 4 siblings gives one close to complete coverage of missing parents DNA...Minus the Y if no sons available to test...
        Last edited by prairielad; 29 April 2017, 11:24 AM.


        • #5
          Yes, I've tested my two sisters. Used their results, filtered out my Mom's DNA, and used GEDMATCH to create a facsimile Dad. (Nowhere near as great as the real thing was, btw) Then tried to find some non-Xmatches to facsimile Dad. Didn't yield anything promising, but it has been a year or so since I was on GEDMATCH. I should try it again. Thanks for the reminder!