Question of the Week: How has Y-DNA helped with your surname research?

+21 votes

imageHas Y-chromosome DNA testing helped you with your surname research? If so, how?

Please answer here or on Facebook. You can also use the question image to share on other social media. Thanks!

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

Wow!  YDNA is the ONLY way to sort through all the various Smith lines. 

I have an observation, my Lee family is NOT part of the Virginia Lee family.   We were Quakers that came from Nottinghamshire.   DNA testing has proven a lot about who we are not, but, still working on who we ARE.

Hi Robin, Have any of these living Lee men done a yDNA37 marker test?  Any matches? Also, have you joined the Lee DNA Project?  

Yes, and yes, my brother and 3 male "cousins" listed under Edward William Lee in the chart have done DNA testing.   They are matches as they should be, and they joined the Lee DNA project, we have yet to be able to connect them to the other people in the "sub group", they were put into.
To some degree yes, but disappointing as I cannot connect through triangulation due to family that shows either no interest or has privacy concerns. It infers relationships between myself and others on Ancestry's autosomal testing, to which I was told on Wikitree that it is not conclusive enough to set my father, grandfather, great grandfather to anything more than confident. So, regardless of definitive paperwork and autosomal DNA being done, it has little value. Two adult children and a grandchild have done the autosomal DNA and this doesn't really help. Parents being dead and no siblings puts things at a standstill. Triangulation through perfect strangers connects me to my 11th great grandfather at best. Despite legitimate birth certificates I cannot say whether my own father can be "proven" to actually be who he said he was. I was disappointed to tell my sons that their lineage cannot definitely be "proven". those that have legitimate sources and DNA both are lucky in that regard. I just wonder if birth certificates with a seal will someday will have any merit as you only need to "sign" a birth certificate and not prove it genetically. Though Wikitree does not consider even DNA to constitute "absolute proof", I think most genealogists on Wikitree would consider a tree "questionable" or in some ways "lacking" without saying as much.

Hi Mark, are you a member of the Hough DNA Project?

You can transfer your autosomal DNA test to for free.  That will be used to create a FamilyFinder account for your autosomal test.  I think it costs $19 to open the contact information for your FamilyFinder matches, but the transfer is free.  

I recommend that you make the transfer, then use your test ID to join the Hough project.  I also recommend that you do a YDNA37 marker test as that will tell you about your paternal genetic ancestors only.  (YDNA is passed from each father to each of his sons, so it will be a continuous line of Hough forefathers.)

Hi Kitty,

I have already done the yDNA37 testing from familytreedna and uploaded the info. No, I didn't Join the HoughDNA project as there a lot of irons in the fire right now. Most family I actually know are local but have no interest beyond the standard autosomal test. What makes it even harder is that they all seemed to go in different directions. Ancestry, MyHeritage etc. with all different trees and no communication. I see where people have viewed my tree, maybe to get info to validate their work, but no help in return. I don't think they are that interested to be honest. Their choice of course. I am not up to speed on the technical details regarding DNA and may not go that far if there is no-one to really match against. I'm still looking for my other potential dads, the milkman, mailman etc... lol.frown

My dad was a milkman. laugh

Hah! I knew we had something in common.lolsurpriseHave truck will travel...I need a couple days for a breather. Not a covid19 thing, just a breather. We had a tree fall in our backyard from storms that rolled through, killed my fence. That's what I get for living next to the woods!

Funny you  should ask this seems that not only are there Sephardic Jewish roots on my mother's side but there is a Mizrahi Jewish connection on my Father's side that I wouldn't have known about. I believe the family changed their name to Guyon and converted to Catholicism, sometime between 1400 and 1500 (this is just a theory). The surname  Guyon is originally found in France in the mid 1500's. The family starts out in Jordan, Israel area, makes their way to France, and eventually ends up in Quebec, Canada. The best that I can tell is that they may have been avoiding persecution or rejection but I can't prove it. After putting my DNA results along with the map results together, I'm hoping I can find sources to match the DNA results to prove (or disprove) my theory.

All these years I thought I was just Sicilian/Canadian French!

Oh, and I may be the milkman's child! Ya never know!

Thanks for asking!

Connie (Derosier) Carter
So, in 24 hrs, my theory has proven correct! so my Y-DNA plus the Wikitree+ Maps feature together has helped me identify my ancestors of Jewish origin. This family of mine, at least the ones that I have found so far, hid among the Parisian French, Canadian French and Belgium French, going by an alias and hiding their religion so no one would no that they were Jewish. So yes, this is on my Paternal grandmother's side the testing was very helpful. and the map feature pinpointed where they came from and who the family was really. I need to do more work on my family tree but I got a close relative anyway. Thank you so much for the tools to make this happen!
I joined the Pennington Research Association's project on ftDNA because I had hit a brick wall at William Henry Pennington (abt 1802 Virginia - d 1837 Coweta, Georgia). Out of the 30 some Pennington families the Y-DNA test indicated that I could only be related to Pennington Group 10, which has narrowed down my search window significantly. Two other participants in that study have a 0 and 1 genetic distance through a same ancestor on their side. So I can trace back from their known to the first common ancestor and then begin researching options from there. Current best candidate is a Henry Pennington (abt 1754-1812).

36 Answers

+27 votes
Best answer
Yes. My father's Y-DNA test revealed that the man he believed to be his grandfather couldn't have been biologically related to him. I would be surprised if my great-grandfather knew that his eldest son wasn't, in fact, his biological child, particularly since my dad and my grandfather were named after my great-grandfather, Marshall Mullings.
When Ancestry estimated that my my dad's first cousins were likely second cousins given their amount of shared DNA, we knew something was wrong. (My dad did show the expected amount of shared DNA with his sisters.)
It was only when he took the Y-DNA test from FTDNA that we understood why my dad only shared half as much DNA with his first cousins as one would expect. I knew that the Y chromosome, like the patrilineal surname in our culture, passes down virtually unchanged from father to son. My dad's father had two brothers, and they each had sons; the Y-chromosome markers of these male cousins should have been identical (or nearly so) to my father's, but they weren't even close to being the same.
When we received the results, FTDNA added my dad to the surname group "Hutchinson," instead of "Mullings," which is his last name. He did not share Y-chromosome markers with any other Mullings males.
Earlier I had discovered that my great-grandmother had been married once before she married Marshall Mullings. I assumed that my grandfather was the son of her first husband. My hunch was wrong. 
After some research, I found that my great-grandmother lived with an orphan with the last name of Hutchinson. They were both six years old at the time. I discovered that we shared DNA with other Hutchinsons, and that they had a common ancestor. By comparing the DNA tests of these matches I was able to determine that this Hutchinson was almost certainly my great-grandfather.  
by Lisa Mullings G2G6 Mach 1 (16.1k points)
selected by Connie Carter
Bravo! for your perseverance and insight, Lisa! (and a bit of luck). I wish I could find information on my father's line, but his most "recent" ancestors aren't "giving" me enough to research. Brick walls are hard to break.
Luck and technology were definitely on my side. I'm sure my great-grandmother would have never imagined that this secret would be discovered almost 50 years after her death.

Well done, you! Yes, luck, technology and open mindedness! I had a similar, not quite the same, situation when a man contacted me a couple of years ago who discovered that his 'father' was not his biological father and that an uncle of mine was! My new, best cousin was in his 60's when he discovered this. We now get together on a yearly basis when I return to Wisconsin, and we keep in touch by email and phone. It is something to have these surprising discoveries and we have to recognized that unexpected surprises will occur with DNA.

I attended a seminar given by Blaine Bettinger back in early February (pre-pandemic). He spoke eloquently of these surprises, become prepared for them, and know how to talk with family when they do.
+9 votes
Y-DNA hasn't helped my research yet but some day I hope it does. My Scheurer folk are just to difficult to find with records. So far five Scheurers have tested that I know about. Hoping that many more Scheurers test and we can get to the bottom of this mystery.
by Betty Fox G2G6 Pilot (170k points)
+14 votes
Really the only way it has helped is to exclude possible connections.  But on the bright side, it proved we're Baty/Beatty and not Smith or Jones.  Based on the long Y-DNA trail we can trace ancestors back to the England-Scotland borderlands in the 14th century.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+9 votes
I am hoping someday to take the test to discover the paternal ancestor of my great-great grandfather, Henry Hughey. Right now he is brickwall!
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
If you were serious about trying to overcome your brickwall I would think taking a Y-DNA test woud be one of the first things you would do.

FTDNA is the only company doing Y-DNA testing. They also have Surname Projects.

1st, when you take the test FTDNA tells you whic other men you match. and theretically you should match other men named Hughey.

2nd, if there are more than one Hughey DNA line in the US or World (in the database) and you join the Hughey Project (I assume there is one) the Results Page on the Surname Project will indicate you are from one line of Hugheys rather than another. THAT gives you direction. It either tells you you are on the right track or it may indicate your spinning your wheels trying to prove into a family in which you do not relate.

Once you have your direction you can contact others of your lineage and also continue on with your research

My suggeston is, why wait. Take the test. Women do not have that option but you as a male, do.

I would also take an autosomal test with FTDNA, Ancestry and any other company you can affford to pay. Use the Y-DNA test along with the Autosomal test in tandem. One will help the other and your matches in each of the other company datasbases supplement other databases.

.If you were serious about trying to overcome your brickwall I would think taking a Y-DNA test woud be one of the first things you would do.

FTDNA is the only company doing Y-DNA testing. They also have Surname Projects.
1st, when you take the test FTDNA tells you which other men you match. and theretically you should match other men named Hughey. If not, you may have a problem and if fthat is the case, you will know to you have to work that problem out.
2nd, if there is more than one Hughey DNA line in the US or World (in the database) and you join the Hughey Project (I assume there is one) the Results Page on the Surname Project will indicate you are from one line of Hugheys rather than another. 

THAT gives you direction. It either tells you you are on the right track or it may indicate you are spinning your wheels trying to prove into a family in which you do not relate.
Once you have your direction you can contact others you match continue on with your research
My suggeston is, why wait ?. Take the test. Women do not have that option but you as a male, do.
I would alsosuggest you take an autosomal test with FTDNA, as well as Ancestry and any other company you can affford to pay. Soe of the companies you can upload frm one copany to another for free or a discounted price
Use the Y-DNA test along with the Autosomal test in tandem. One will help the other and your matches in each of the other databases will supplment another.
if a male has done an autosomal DNA test, do they have to do the Y-DNA test separately, or can the relevant data be extracted from the autosomal results?
Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes - 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes (X and Y chromosomes). Y-DNA testing is separate from autosomal testing, and is done separately.
ahhhhh, got it. thanks!
My pleasure.
YSEQ also does YDNA testing.
Hi David

I hope I did not sound sarcastic or whatever in my initial comment. It was not intended to sound that way. I hope it was not taken that way. I was trying to be constructive in what I was saying.
A point of clarification on Mic's question and Rothko's answer, if testing with FT-DNA, both autosomal and Y DNA are done from one sample, but you need to order both Family Finder (atDNA) and Y-DNA tests - usually Y-37. If you get strong Y-37 matches, you can upgrade to BigY by paying more, but a new sample is normally not required.
+9 votes
I've been using my yDNA test to help connect up all the Fulkerson lines on the tree. Since I've been trying to make WikiTree the place for Fulkerson research, it's been a journey (not a destination) to try to enter as many profiles as possible and it's great to note that 24 hours later I have a new profile connected through DNA. I'd like to believe that one day I'll have all the data from on WikiTree and have expanded on it as well.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+7 votes
No.  It hasn't been helpful.  But then, neither has mtDNA.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (209k points)

I think whether or not a given DNA test is helpful really depends on your expectations.

Often, YDNA and mtDNA are only useful in ruling out possible matches. For example: two men surnamed Smith think they may have a common ancestor in the direct male line X-generations ago. If they test and one is R1b and the other is I1, then they can be assured they have no common male-line ancestor going back many thousands of years. However, two Smiths who test as both R1b on only 12 markers may or may not be related within a genealogical timeframe, that's not enough information to know for sure.

mtDNA is even more difficult to use due to women taking their husband's surnames and the general genealogical neglect of female lines. 

I think a lot of people end up disappointed in their tests because they don't quite understand that YDNA lines mostly split long before the introduction of fixed surnames. They think, for example, there's one big family of Lees, not anticipating that there may be several, if not dozens, of separate Lee lines with completely different YDNA.

+9 votes
Not at all yet. However, my questions about my latest y test garnered several responses that helped me to understand my results better.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
+8 votes
Y-DNA has connected, genetically, me through my known most recent common ancestor, Josiah Blankenship, that is, my third great grandfather, to the original emigrant to the colonies, Ralph Blankenship, who would be my 7th great grandfather, or thereabouts.

Were more people with the Blankenship surname to do Y DNA testing at an advanced level, we'd know that tree a little better, and we might begin to place people, by genetic signature, on various branches of the tree.

Beyond that, because I've done the Big Y at FamilyTreeDNA, there is the chance that with more testing we can make those connections beyond emigration to our antecedents in England. I'm very curious about relatives in the British Isles, and I see much potential for making more progress on my line, our line when it comes to people with the same surname, by doing so.
by Frank Blankenship G2G6 Mach 7 (73.7k points)
edited by Frank Blankenship
+8 votes
I found through autosomal DNA testing that I didn't really know who my paternal grandfather was. Everyone was dead, and I had a 90-year-old mystery. To help resolve it, I took a Y-DNA test. It helped only in that it hinted at just a few surnames, one of which, unfortunately, was Jones. Jones turned out to be correct. I think I could have resolved the issue without Y-DNA, but it was a good hint.

I hope that it will eventually help with a brickwall a few generations further back, but it hasn't yet.
(Jones is unfortunate only in that it is so common.)
by Jamie Cox G2G6 (10.0k points)
+11 votes

YDNA study has been remarkably helpful in the Beasley Surname Study. Two important factors, early on, we had a density of tests that establish strong root lineages. And, Beasley is a name, moderately common, that does not appear to have arisen anywhere but from England, and perhaps certain areas of England. A large outreach (in 2008) of southern families established a cluster of relationships now called Blue Group based on the color selected for the heading on the FTDNA chart of YDNA tests. The Blue Group has a Northern Branch (mostly Beezleys) and a Southern Branch (mostly Beasleys and Beesleys).

As the number of tests grew, there was a clustering named Yellow Group which turns out to be the most widespread, numerous, and oldest Haplotype. This group includes all four major variants, in order of frequency, Beasley, Beesley, Beazley, and Beezley. From the Yellow Group, we have found at least two NPE offshoots, named Brown and Purple Groups. We also found one certain NPE offshoot from Blue Group called Green Group and a likely offshoot, Red Group. We have established four additional confirmed Haplotype Groups.

We do have a scattering of isolated tests with no match. We need to have a lot more testing in England as well as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, where the great majority of Beasleys (all spellings) reside.

by Douglas Beezley G2G6 Mach 3 (31.3k points)
very cool!  But what will you do when you have a full rainbow of colours!?!  you will have to use chartreuse and eggplant and mauve, etc :-)
That could be an issue. Because everything is based on the connection with the FTDNA Y chart, there are a limited number of colors available. Some are similar or shades of other colors. Fortunately, the Beasley Surname is much more integrated than some because it appears to be from a single origin.

The other colors we use besides those mentioned above: Teal, Olive, Gold, Orange, Grey.
+6 votes
I have not been able to break my brick wall on the Sutherland that came from Scotland around 1846. I did find out that our DNA matches Sinclair. My brother and my 3rd cousin both came back as matching Sinclair  DNA. So, somewhere way back, someone changed a name or some other hanky panky went on. At least FamilyTree DNA has huge participation in the Sinclair project. Hoping for a breakthrough, but not holding my breath.
by Janice Sutherland G2G6 Mach 5 (56.0k points)
+6 votes
As of yet, I've not done any DNA tests at all. However, I cannot go any further back for one of my ancestors, James Dowding, as I have his marriage record and death record (allowing me to give an estimated birth year based on age at death), but no baptisms appear to exist for him at all (very unusual for the early 1800s) and he was born decades before BMD registrations were introduced in the UK.

Once I've finished up some work on my other branches (I always seem to be busy with something), I hope a Y-DNA test could potentially help solve this mystery.

Edit: neither the marriage or death records mention his parents
by Anonymous Dowding G2G6 Mach 3 (31.8k points)
reshown by Anonymous Dowding
+10 votes

My father, Donald James Smout, was born in Melbourne, Australia on 15 March 1926, and my mother was Grace Mary Smout (nee Smout), also born 15 March 1926, but 130 miles further north. 

They met because they had consecutive appointments one day, with a careers counsellor in Melbourne, who was so excited by the coincidence that he arranged a meeting  between them. They became engaged, and Don began researching both Smout families, perhaps because he and Grace had to prove they were unrelated before they could marry. 

Don’s Smouts were Welsh, and arrived in Victoria, Australia in 1854. Grace’s parents were English Smouts who arrived in Victoria in 1924. 

Using FTDNA Y-testing, I have confirmed that they were distantly related, with the two families' Y-DNA, and that of several Smoots, forming a new branch on the Y-tree. They share R-BY40367, which also includes a number of Smoots, but diverge after this SNP. My maternal English Smouts are sitting at  R-BY161053, and share a relationship with the Smoots. My paternal Welsh Smouts are at R-BY98750. I have no clear time-frame to the junction between the families, but it must precede the emigration to America of a William Smute/Smoot in the early 1630s, as his descendants share SNPs with my English Smouts. 

I have been very pleased that we found this connection, and still hope to find a genealogical trail to fill in the gaps!

+9 votes
Yes, Y dna testing alerted me to the fact that previous researchers were on the trail of the wrong Harrison line. There were SO many in VA in the 1700's and they intermarried to boot. My Y line turned out to be I-M253, instead of the Presidential line (that others had followed) which is a different haplogroup entirely. My original autosomal test from 23andMe actually indicated my Y haplotype---and for me the more extensive Y test was mostly unfruitful. I-M253 is not real common in the US. So, no close matches.
by Charles Harrison G2G Crew (470 points)
+7 votes
So far the is answer is no, I took the Y-DNA test at FTdna and it came back with no Y matches. ( Y12, Y25, Y37)

I would love to do the Big Y but that's outside by budget LOL, hopefully something pops up.
by Bradley Showell G2G Crew (780 points)
I wonder how often that (no matches) happens with Y-DNA. I administer a Y-37 that also has zero matches.  The haplogroup seems to point toward middle-eastern origins.

I don't think Big-Y would help you right away, but it might help build the overall haplogroup tree, and maybe in the future you would get some feedback from that.

Generally, as you go to a higher level of matches, you get fewer matches -- not more. But, there can be exceptions.
+9 votes
Yes! My birth surname is HATFIELD and I was always told as a child that we were related to the "feuding" Hatfields (as many Hatfields were). The Hatfield Y-DNA surname project was started in 2002 and my dad was tested in 2005. Once he had a match to four other men who had a solid paper trail back to the "Pennsylvania" Hatfield line of Captain Andrew Supplee Hatfield (1737-1813) I knew my true Hatfield lineage.
by Elaine Powell G2G1 (1.2k points)
+8 votes
I had a brick wall at Joseph Price b. Abt 1765, who married Elizabeth Keener in 1784. Joseph appeared to begin his existence with that marriage. No prior records could be found.

There were many Joseph Prices from many locations to be found, but no connection could be found. A Y-DNA 37 test found a Benjamin Price in 1720 in NJ as a very close match. In his family there were two Joseph Prices b. 1765. One married someone else and died in SC. This Joseph Price had extensive documentation and clogged all normal search results with irrelevant information, so this line had been ignored for 20 years as not being related. But knowing that there was absolutely a connection led me to the other Joseph Price who had almost no documentation EXCEPT that had married an Elizabeth Keener.

I found the documentation and the connection, and now have my Price line from Wales on back as far as I want to go, through Lord Rhys in the 11th century.
I have a bunch of YDNA matches with Prices from central area, Kentucky and Tennessee. Can't make sense of them as I don't have any Prices in my family tree.
+6 votes
Really hoping it will. We have a profile where we have managed to demonstrate that his father had to be an unknown different person. Someone in the family has taken a Y-DNA test. Hopefully it turns up something. Morris-20373

Now, myself personally, my male line goes back before 700AD. A Y-DNA test would confirm that this line is accurate, and that there wasn't any funny business in the tree. What is the best Y-DNA test to push back for proof as far as possible?
by Ben Molesworth G2G6 Pilot (146k points)
You can do a Big Y-700 test from FTDNA, but that runs about $500, and it's mostly only useful if you have other Molesworth men who are connected via paper trail to compare your results with.
Thank you. We have a very good paper trail back 7-800 years, and then interesting speculation back another 500 years. There is dispute in the family, 800 years ago, where we believe a Lindsay changed his last name to Molesworth. Apparently the English Lindsay line aren't willing to welcome the Molesworth name change, but apparently American Lindsay's don't have a problem with it.
+5 votes
My experience with my "Y" and Mt DNA test results to date have been a total waste of money. 2 different Haplogroup results, from 2 different companies for both tests. The 2 tests I had with myFTDNA were expensive and I have been told that the Big Y DNA test results from myFTDNA, Haplogroup result R-M269 was much further from the mark than the much cheaper 23andMe "Y" DNA Haplogroup result R-Z2961. Furthermore, I found very few matches. But that is not the companies fault - your distant ancestors need to have had their DNA tested. Overall I was disappointed with the cost and the results. When you are desperate you tend to believe all the Hype. Be warned buyers beware.
Stan, you only had one y-dna test, the one at ftdna.

23 and me does not offer a Ydna test. Their test is an autosomal test. They do, however, tell you what your haplogroup is.

Actually both haplogroups you have are the same. Both are R haplogroup, one is more refined and further down the haplotree than the other.

Go to your ftdna personal page and look for the haplotree button. Then look on the R tree and follow the tree down to each of your haplotypes. One is further down the tree than the other.

R is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe.

On your y page you should see your list of matches and the genetic distance.

Your surname is hogan. There likely is a hogan surname project. You should join- it’s free- if you not already done so.

The surname project should have a results page showing your matches as well as the Hogan’s you do not match in the project .

Feel free to contact the project administrator if you have questions

Good luck
Hi Mick,   Let me first thank you for your informative email and your suggestions. I also had the Mitochondrial test done Mt DNA test with myFTDNA test, but that led nowhere, just two Asian names, as "supposed" matches, who were not even from the same Haplogroup? - a total waste of time and my scarce and well-earned money. The el-cheapo Autosomal test with 23andMe provided a more recent and up-to-date Y Haplogroup result than the hugely more expensive Big Y test with MyFTDNA.  I feel I was ripped off "that's how helpful I believe their test results were in general terms. I still have no idea as to what the difference is between my two different Mitochondrial Haplogroup test results B6a1 and B7 mean? There may be someone out there who knows if they are closely related in some way to one another or one or both numbers are just figments of someone's imagination??? You pay out good money, you expect your results to be up to date and factual. And if these results are not true and/or correct these DNA companies have some explaining to do.  I'm 74 and my time is fast running out, I have spent over 25 years looking for and chasing after documental records without any real success. Trying to find just one of my distant, Irish, Hogan, relative or ancestor. The DNA test avenue is my last resort.  I have Autosomal DNA tests with Ancestry, MyHeritage, 23andMe and the Big Y DNA test at the following markers.  Y12, Y25, Y37, Y67 and Y111 with myFTDNA, also a Mitochondrial and Mt DNA test with myFTDNA. - I'm fast running out of DNA tests and DNA test companies.  And yes, I have joined up on the Hogan name and the Irish DNA sites including GEDmatch with 4 GEDmatch numbers. Plus as you mention my Y DNA matches and their generational differences. I have a number of names on the Y12 marker but their percentage generation differences away are between 4-8 generations at about 50%  I also have about five name matches on one of the other Y marker figures  I think there may be one or more Y marker figures with 0 matches. There is one name that repeats itself on 3 of the Y marker sites - a very unusual name. When I contacted this person he seemed disinterested and very abrupt - claiming our possible relationship in generations was too far away plus his surname on his email address was different.  I felt he had some sort of hidden agenda as to why he did the Big Y DNA test, and I was not part of it, - whatever it was he never said?  So now I am back where I started from over 25 years ago and no further advanced or ahead and none the wiser.  I am fast running out of options. Many thanks, Stan Hogan, Sydney, Australia
Stan, as for the disinterest from your YDNA match -- people take DNA tests for many different reasons. One of the most frustrating things as a genealogist is understanding that those people's reasons may not be our reasons, and they may have no interest whatsoever in helping you with your genealogy. In fact, he may have gotten an "unexpected" result that he is totally in denial about (it happens!). Genealogy is a hobby that will introduce you to some of the most selfless, helpful people imaginable AND some of the most disinterested, unfriendly people.

Stan, you have my sympathy with lack of matches and lack of responses. atDNA I can understand for reasons Jessica mentions, but once someone commits to Y-DNA, you would assume they have a purpose in mind. One atDNA match insists he did Y-DNA with Ancestry and can't be convinved otherwise. I did an Ancestry test and copied the results across to the major web sites "just in case", with resonable results and now over 40,000 matches, but only a few close enough to be of interest. Ask ladies of the same surname if they can put you in contact with a related male - spouse, sibling, cousin etc.

I started at Y-37 and after initial disappointment, more matches did appear. After one Big-Y test a small group of us eventually persuaded 16 people to do Big-Y and create a wide tree under R1b-DF27. For a bit more information see July2020 additions to the blog "Can Y-37 and/or Y-111 determine cousin distance".

You mention Y-37 thru Y-111, which are STR tests, but have you actually done Big-Y-700 ?. Its an SNP test and a quantum leap better than STR tests, but proportionally more expensive. Until you have several Y-37 matches in the right surname group all willing to do Big-Y, the expense is not justified. I actively chased more people; a second cousin in NZ, an Australian cousin of a female match and a guy from the phone book, recently ex N.Ireland. With me plus these three plus another Y-37 match from Canada we have the bones of a Big-Y 'Upritchard and like surnames group'. For better resolution we probably need around 10 people, preferably more like 30, to get an estimated common ancestor from NZ back to N.Ireland then back to Wales (anecdotal evidence, supported by 1 Big-Y match), and a few more closer 'cousins' to resolve my personal tree back about 5-6 generations. Lots of likely people In N.Ireland, but no interest in testing so far.

So patience, which is not my forte, and time, which is running out for both of us, is the next slow step. An unusual name like mine helps. Keep searching.

Hi Alan. Many thanks for your email and your many interesting thoughts, comments, and suggestions. I think the big problem is trying to get more people to have DNA tests. Also, my problem is trying to find common/linked Irish ancestors as far back as 4 generations to my GG grandfather Garrett Hogan, said to have been born somewhere in Ireland about 1799. Trying to find actual records is basically impossible. Also, I don't know if he had any siblings, or uncles, aunts, or cousins? And who knows were any of extended family are in the world today, never mind Ireland? The other problem is his relatives might be few and far between? Then, of course, there is the old age problem - are they interested in finding long lost family members? I have found (as Jessica suggests) that many people who have DNA tests are not interested in communicating with DNA matches close or otherwise. In my experience it seems to be the majority, most often they will not even reply to your emails, I'm finding it's just like I'm hitting my head up against a brick wall - for the fun of it. But the search goes on.

Without a doubt getting more testers is the biggest problem. Have you looked at the Griffiths Valuation (of Ireland, 1864) ?. It yields 4494 Hogans in 1864 which is quite a lot even if you remove duplicates and landlords, and not helpful unless you can get a location more accurate than 'somewhere in Ireland'. Garrett Hogan returned only 3 people, so if he is named after his father or was a Irish tennant before emigrating, your chances are better : County Westmeath and parishes Kilbeggan and Castletowndelvin. Just locating these places will be a bit of a challenge !. You might find online records for the churches in these parishes back then. With 4000 families, give or take, there are A LOT of descendants alive today and you would think a few have been keen enough to test, so look at all the genealogical test sites you can find. Enter a brief family tree in each one as it is free and you might get a response. Use my email link if you would like more information. Keep calm and carry on !

Hi Alan, Again many thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. I have looked at, the Griffiths Valuation but seem to get bogged down and lost, my age is sadly catching up on me. I'm an "old" 74 if you know what I mean. I struggle with computers and using sites - even this site is a total mystery to me, (I answered you twice the wrong way and had to retype my message to you) I never sure of what I'm doing, I try something and then hope for the best that it works. I sometimes ask one of my sons to do things for me. ie; when he comes over to visit. It is like every time he visits I'm asking to do something - my wife feels I'm always harassing him - which in some ways I am. But I do not have any other option? My problem is where I'm trying to find records to my Irish links, there does not seem to be records available. And to make matters worse I don't really have any real or factual information just where in Ireland Garrett Hogan came from? As you have suggested, I have joined many different Irish related sites, Hogan surname sites, Irish DNA sites, Irish County sites, and an Irish Ancestors world DNA site. But I have not been able to find any actual Hogan surname relatives with low generation matches, most of these are 7 to 7.5 Generations away and none of the people had any information on the early Irish connections. There have been a few 4.2 to 5.0 and 5.5 but all the people I contacted had no idea or knowledge of Hogans in their family - nor were they interested if they had. They were each on other Surname searches and journeys. What is your email link I don't know where it is or where to look? My email is Maybe I not suposed say this?
Stan - I may be able to help.  I am an administrator of the O'Neill Project at FTDNA.  Less than half of the members have the O'Neill surname (including me).  Further down the tree from your R-Z2961 is M222, I wouldn't be surprised if you are in this group.  This would put you in Northern Ireland, and Hagan is a common name (which could have been written as Hogan somewhere down the line).  If you join the O'Neill Project, and allow me to have limited access, I can take a look at your data and see where you best fit with our members.  I understand the age concern - I am 77.

Fred Mulholland
Hi Fred

Many thanks for your response, I have been trying to work out how to contact you for at least 20 min I finally got here, but I'm not sure how? I really struggle with using these sites although I find Gedmatch more user friendly. Since my posting, I have had yet another (expensive) DNA test the Big Y 700 with myFTDNA, you can see I'm becoming more desperate, I have no idea what M222 means. Sadly the one match result was exactly the same, My new Y Haplogroup is now R-BY39919 which seems to be a rare Haplogroup. Fred I will try and join the O'Neil Project and give you the access as you suggest. I struggle on this site in particular - too many options, etc to navigate. Thanks again for your response, Regards Stan
+6 votes
Y DNA has definitely helped me in my research. After years of traditional genealogy research on my maternal grandfather, including proving a Mayflower connection, my cousin did a Y DNA test. That test proved my grandfather's family was not the family I'd been researching all these years. Our surname wasn't even close.

On my paternal side Y DNA has allowed me to rule out a long standing myth regarding the father or my 3rd great grandfather. While the surnames fit the halpogroup doesn't. This realization hasn't yet led me to determine which individual was his father but it has led me to the correct line.
by Dee Bekman G2G5 (6.0k points)

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