No announcement yet.

Maternal/Paternal matches

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Maternal/Paternal matches

    I linked a maternal match (my strongest match, and the only match known by me) to my FamilyTree in order to try and sort out some matches which might be on my unknown BF side.
    Out of 3300 total matches 131 came back as being maternal. How should I interpret this, surely the rest of the totals wouldn´t all be on my unknown paternal side?

    What would be the next steps to finding my unknown BF? I have no info at all about him.

  • #2
    No, the rest of your matches are extremely unlikely to all be on your paternal side.

    Are there other maternal relatives who would test for you? Your mother, her siblings, her cousins, her parents? Each maternal relative who tests will have a different combination of the maternal DNA, so would get matches who share the segments that your other maternal relatives didn't inherit. That would help filter more maternal matches, to raise your total for maternal matches.

    Try to figure out where your mother was living, where she worked or went to school, her activities during the time you were conceived. Then, if you see a match or matches who lived in that place in that time, you may have a lead for your birth father. If you have a brother who has the same father as you, see if he'll do a Y-DNA test; you might see a predominant surname in his matches, which might be your birth father's surname.

    Don't forget to add whatever you know of your maternal family to your profile (see Account Settings in the FTDNA Learning Center). You have a tree, so that's good. Enter the surnames of your maternal ancestors, and your earliest known relative on your mother's side. Yes, these things will probably attract more maternal matches, but then once you confirm their relationship, you can link them to your tree.

    I'm assuming your mother doesn't or didn't know who your birth father was, or did not want to share the information. And he is probably not listed on your birth certificate, either. Are there any relatives or friends of your mother who might know people with whom she was socializing before you were born?


    • #3
      Hello KATM,

      Thank you so much for your input!

      No there are no more maternal "material" that I think could test for me. My mother has passed away, she had no siblings (only half siblings in the US) and my grandparents are also deceased. She has one cousin that´s still alive (98 yrs old). What could she possibly contribute in my search for my unknown BF?

      I know exactly where my mother lived at the time of conception. She had more or less just arrived back from staying with her father in the US for a year, and I am not sure that she had started working again back home. Anyway, she then lived in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, where many people live. She was born in 1927 so it´s not likely my BF is still alive if he was about her age. As a matter of fact, I know that my mother knew who my BF was, but chose not to reveal that to me before she passed away.

      In retrospect, at a few occasion she made some strange remarks to the fact of my "father", without really speaking out, so I just dismissed it. I never knew that the father I grew up with, since I was born, was in fact not my BF. He told me when I was in my 50´s and I told him I was going to do a DNA test for medical reasons. My mother had then passed away and I think he knew I would find out that he was not my BF after testing, and he chose to tell me. The father I grew up with, and who I had a wonderful relationship with, when I asked him if he knew who my BF is/was he said that unfortunately he didn´t know. I believe him, I absolutely think he would have told me had he known. Now he has also passed away, so I am left without no clues.

      So, the father I grew up with (not my BF) is listed as my father on my birth certificate.

      I have no siblings so that wont be of any help either.

      I tested with FTDNA, and like I wrote so far I only have one well known match and he is on my mother´s side. However, I have uploaded my raw data also to MyHeritage, LivingDNA and GedMatch. I have seen on MyHeritage 3 more sure maternal matches! How can I possibly get those over to FTDNA to use for my research here?
      Last edited by santamonica; 21 July 2020, 12:35 PM.


      • #4
        Perhaps, just because of the size of the database, you should test with AncestryDNA, too.


        • #5
          Testing the elders
          As far as your mother's 98 year old cousin, two reasons to have her test (if she's willing and able), at least:
          • For phasing: she is on your maternal side, so she would at least be one other known maternal cousin, to help phase your matches into a maternal group. She'll have segments that you don't have, inherited from your maternal relatives, so will match people you don't. Even the segments she shares with you will likely be parts of bigger segments from your common ancestors.
          • For maternal ancestry: she is the oldest known relative you have, probably at least a generation older than you. It is always a good idea to test the eldest in the family, as their DNA is "closer" to your maternal ancestors. I know your primary goal is to find you birth father, but you may also want to research your mother's ancestry, and testing this cousin will help with that.
          In league with the above, do the best you can with traditional genealogy to build your maternal tree. Add collateral relatives as you find them. The more you know about your maternal side, the more likely it will be that you can identify matches who can't be from that side. Put your tree up at the places you do DNA testing.

          Test in "all ponds"
          As georgian1950 suggested, it would be very good for you to test at the other companies. Ancestry does sell their kits in many countries in Europe (but FTDNA, MyHeritage, and LivingDNA sell in more of them, at least per the linked page), and since you don't know the origins of your father* you should test there, and probably at 23andMe, just to "fish in all ponds." A relative or descendant of his may have tested at any of the companies.

          Although many Swedes (if your birth father might have been Swedish) have tested at FTDNA, MyHeritage is popular in Europe, so if your birth father was from another European country, but lived in Sweden, you may get matches there related to him. You transferred to MyHeritage, so keep checking those matches. You don't necessarily need to ask those people to transfer to FTDNA, as MyHeritage has a chromosome browser,** and other features (such as sorting by locations and ethnicity). I've read that MyHeritage will be improving their Ethnicity Estimates this year, and we expect FTDNA to finish working out the kinks to their myOrigins 3.0 in the somewhat near future. As you test with other companies, see if there are common amounts of ethnicities, so you can judge which ones to give more weight.
          *You probably know something, or a lot, of your maternal origins; what countries they came from, where they lived. As you review your matches, see if any stand out who are from places that are not from where your known ancestors originated.
          **You can use tools such as DNA Painter, which accepts uploads of the matching segments of your matches from any of the main genealogy testing companies. Even though the different companies may have some small differences in matching segment sizes for the same person, it should be close enough to compare, and ultimately to assign segments to particular ancestors.

          Do you see regions/ethnicities in your myOrigins results at FTDNA, your Ethnicity Estimates at MyHeritage or at LivingDNA, or by using the tools at GEDmatch, which do not represent the known ethnicities on your maternal side? Those may be from your birth father. About 50% of your DNA came from him, so even if he shared an ethnicity with your mother, there still may be another ethnicity reflected in his ancestral DNA which will be evident in your ethnicity results and in your matches.

          X Chromosome
          Another avenue is to check those matches who share substantial segments on the X chromosome (greater than 15-30 cM - must be at least twice the size of the minimum segment size you would consider for chromosomes 1-22). Use charts for the X chromosome inheritance path to see which relatives could have contributed to your X chromosomes. Your birth father had one X chromosome, which he passed to you unrecombined. He got that X chromosome from his mother, and it was recombined from her two X's, one of which was (again) an unrecombined X from her father. It will be most obvious in any male matches who share large enough X segments with you. Try to plot out those matches' X inheritance, if they have decent trees.

          Other tools
          • You may also try the Leeds Method (video here), to organize/cluster your matches into groups. Eventually, when you find out something about your birth father (even just his potentially different ethnicities), you can assign matches into one of the grandparent groups.
          • I personally have not made much use of other tools for Clustering, so perhaps others can address using that to help with your matches. At MyHeritage, there is an "Autocluster" tool in the Tools section (along with their Chromosome Browser and Ethnicities Map).
          Last edited by KATM; 21 July 2020, 02:00 PM.


          • #6
            Wow KATM, thank you so much for taking your time to try and help me out here!

            If I understand you right, testing my mom´s cousin will "only" contribute to the research of my maternal side, which of course is also interesting. I am about to contact my mom´s cousin´s son (my 2nd cousin) who I believe has done some research on that side of the family. I think I will leave it at that for the moment and concentrate on my unknown BF´s side (if possible).

            I have started a (maternal) tree on FTDNA where I have tested so far. I do plan on also doing a test at Ancestry... or should I maybe go with MyHeritage? I suspect that my BF could maybe of Finnish descent since on FTDNA and MyHeritage my ethnicity came back as 11-13% Finnish (the rest was Scandinavian) and I have never come across or heard about any Finnish descents on my maternal sides. Also after I had uploaded my raw DNA from FTDNA to MyHeritage the top match there came out as 568cM, Great-nephew, 1st cousin once removed, compared to my top match on FTDNA 555cM,1st Cousin - 2nd Cousin, and he is my known half cousin on my mother´s side. The top match on MyHeritage is of Finnish descent, and also his daughter comes up as quite a "strong" match on MyHeritage.

            Both on FTDNA and MyHeritage I get quite a few fairly high ranking Finnish (unknown) matches, so I´m leaning towards that path a bit.

            When it comes to X-matches I have very few male ones. I quickly took a look at my first 120 matches on FTDNA and only 7 of them are male ones. Is that a significant clue in any way?

            I believe I can´t use the Leeds Method unless I have tested with Ancestry, which I haven´t (yet...)

            I have used the AutoCluster in MyHeritage but I don´t really know what to do with it. I guess I have to try and read up on that.


            • #7
              Originally posted by georgian1950 View Post
              Perhaps, just because of the size of the database, you should test with AncestryDNA, too.
              Yes, I plan on doing that...and/or MyHeritage. Thanks for the tip georgian1950!


              • #8
                Originally posted by santamonica View Post
                Yes, I plan on doing that...and/or MyHeritage. Thanks for the tip georgian1950!
                You don't need to test at MyHeritage, since you've already uploaded your file from FTDNA to there. The only reason to actually test (at MyHeritage or any of these companies) would be so they would have your actual DNA sample, to use for any health or other tests they might offer. Perhaps you meant 23andMe?

                So far you've reported that your DNA testing/transfers at FTDNA and MyHeritage have yielded very good matches on your maternal side. DNA testing is a waiting game in many respects. You will most likely get matches to your birth father, but it's a matter of a) his relatives or descendants doing these tests, and b) your being able to recognize those matches. You may very well have some already, as you suspect with the Finnish matches. If your mother's ancestry does not include Finnish, this is a big clue for your birth father. You need to check their trees, surnames, and locations, save their information, and contact them. With persistence, you will get a lead that helps you to break down this brick wall.

                Since all but 11-13% of your ethnicity estimates was Scandinavian, I presume that your mother's ancestry was from countries in Scandinavia, such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, or perhaps Iceland. You may want to read this article by fellow FTDNA forum member khazaria: "Finnish Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries." Note where he mentions a couple of things:
                • There is a Finland DNA Project at FTDNA - perhaps you should check it out and see if you want to join it. The admins may be able to offer some advice.
                • "Of all populations, Finns are closest to Estonians followed by Swedes"
                If you are interested in your mtDNA as an historical topic, you could either do a test for it at FTDNA, or, if you plan on doing further autosomal testing elsewhere, 23andMe will give you an mtDNA haplogroup. The 23andMe chip tests certain locations of mtDNA in order to give you a good estimate of your mtDNA haplogroup, but does not always give you the exact branch of your haplogroup. For that, you would do a FTDNA mtDNA FullSequence test. But, an mtDNA haplogroup from 23andMe would give you enough information to see if your mother's matrilineal ancestry is associated with Scandinavian countries.

                Originally posted by santamonica View Post
                Wow KATM, thank you so much for taking your time to try and help me out here!
                I need to stop getting carried away with my posts - missed my lunchtime typing that post up! But, that's okay. I'm glad if it was helpful for you.

                Yes, testing your mother's elderly cousin would only be of help for your maternal side ancestry, but as I wrote, she would be very good for helping to sort out more of those maternal matches. The more maternal matches identified (by phasing at FTDNA), then your total list will have fewer unidentified, and thus possible paternal, matches. I would not miss out on testing this elderly relative, if she is willing to do the test, and you can afford to pay for it.


                • #9
                  Wishing you well santamonica. As an adoptee, I just closed a 60 yr chapter of my life of not knowing. It will be a marathon with a LOT of highs and lows, frustrations and excitements.

                  There has been some very valuable input given!


                  • #10
                    Thanks again KATM! I will be reading through your different pieces of advice again in order to see what my next steps should be.

                    RHTC, I am so happy for you that you have had closure now after a long search for your origins. I do realize that I have a lot of work ahead of me in order to try and find my BF. Hopefully it will be worth it, but if I don´t succeed I will at least know that I´ve tried.