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Maternal matches versus Paternal matches

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  • Maternal matches versus Paternal matches

    My Family Finder maternal matches outnumber my paternal matches by a ratio of 10:1. The simple answer is that there have been more people tested on my mom's side of the family than on my dad's side of the family. I get that; but I have six distant cousins that I linked to my family tree that make me wonder about the accuracy of FTDNA's maternal/paternal assignments to matches.

    The six distant cousins range from 2nd cousin, 2R, to 3rd cousin, 2R; and they all go back to my paternal great grandfather in some way or another on both my family tree and on their trees (three of them have very detailed trees).

    Only one of the cousins shows that he is a match through both my father and my mother. Two cousins show that they are matches through my mother only (they are related to my mom's side of the family, but they would be in the range of 5th-6th cousins to me through my mom). The remaining three cousins don't have any 'paternal', 'maternal', or 'both' icon next to their name.

    So, does anyone have any insight as to how accurate those 'paternal', 'maternal' and 'both' icon assignments are?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  • #2
    If you have used the linking function correctly (i.e. linked cousins with a proven relationship) then what you see is very likely to be accurate.

    The only time it might not be accurate is if unbeknownst to the testers there is an another relationship between the testers in addition to the known maternal or paternal relationship.

    People assigned as maternal or paternal are assigned by FtDNA if they share the same segment of DNA with you and someone you have linked to your tree who is a third cousin or closer.

    I have intentionally not linked two sisters whose kits I manage to each other because then loads of the matches would be classified as maternal and paternal and it wouldn't be helpful. Likewise a niece or nephew descended from a full sibling wouldn't be helpful (but it would be helpful for the niece or nephew).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ltd-jean-pull View Post
      If you have used the linking function correctly (i.e. linked cousins with a proven relationship) then what you see is very likely to be accurate.

      The only time it might not be accurate is if unbeknownst to the testers there is an another relationship between the testers in addition to the known maternal or paternal relationship.

      People assigned as maternal or paternal are assigned by FtDNA if they share the same segment of DNA with you and someone you have linked to your tree who is a third cousin or closer.

      I have intentionally not linked two sisters whose kits I manage to each other because then loads of the matches would be classified as maternal and paternal and it wouldn't be helpful. Likewise a niece or nephew descended from a full sibling wouldn't be helpful (but it would be helpful for the niece or nephew).
      I finally got around to using the Chromosome Browser to compare these six cousins to my closest maternal and paternal matches, and I can now see why I'm getting the results I'm getting. Most of these cousins match on very few DNA segments with my closest paternal match.

      It stands to reason, because my closest paternal match is a 1st cousin, 2R (and the 1st cousin's dad was a half-brother to my dad), so most of these six cousins I linked to my tree have very little connection (DNA segments) to my 1st cousin, 2R.

      On the other hand, my closest maternal match is a full first cousin, so it stands to reason I would have a lot more maternal matches because my closest maternal match is very close to me, compared to my closest paternal match.

      Thanks for helping me out with this, ltd-jean-pull.

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