dna need more information

+1 vote
my half sister is trying to trace a link in to her fathers nameshe did a dna test with ancestory and i did 1 to  we still have no idea who her father is been trying to work this out for 4 years now . please any ideas how we go from here . she is over 60 years old now and we think we will never know who her father is thanks
WikiTree profile: George Watt
in Genealogy Help by Liz Gray G2G Rookie (160 points)
If you haven’t uploaded your informationto Gedmatch you should both do so.  That will connect you to more possible relatives beyond just those who’ve tested with Ancestry.

4 Answers

+2 votes

Hello Liz. What have you tried so far? And how big are your half-sister's closest paternal matches?

A good first step on Ancestry is to use the the groups to label the shared matches. There are some instructions here: https://www.danaleeds.com/dna-color-clustering-the-leeds-method-for-easily-visualizing-matches/

If you are happy to, you could also upload your DNA kits to other websites – Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage, plus Gedmatch as already mentioned – so you can find as many matches as possible.

by Katie Fuller G2G6 Mach 3 (34.8k points)
+2 votes
Hello Liz, If you and your sister are both in GEDmatch.com then look at the GEDmatch users who match your sister but don’t match you (on your autosomal DNA or X chromosome).  Many of them may be her father’s relatives. If your sister matches them on about 120 or more cM and they don’t match you at all then they are very likely relative of her father.

Are any of your mother’s siblings (or their children) who are still living willing to take an autosomal DNA test?  If so, be sure to also get their DNA into GEDmatch in order to also find  possible relatives of your sister’s father.

Your sister should test with every lab (AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Living DNA, MyHeritageDNA, and Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder) because a close relative of her father may have tested with a lab that she has not yet tested with.  Well she does not have to test with every lab because some labs will let her add her DNA (from a different lab) to their customer database.  Someone else knows which labs currently allow transfers from different labs.
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (613k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
I can report that FamilyTreeDNA accepts uploads of test results from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and possibly other testing companies. The upload is free, and there is a modest fee for using the DNA-comparison utilities.
+4 votes
Hi Liz,

The first thing I would do is look through your sister's DNA matches at Ancestry. You need to find 1st or 2nd cousins who don't also match you. The chances of someone who is a 1st or 2nd cousin on your mother's side not having a DNA match with you is essentially nil, so anyone who matches your sister at that level and not you is likely a descendant of her father's parents or grandparents. The ones that match both of you are descendants of your mother's parents or grandparents.

Once you've found these matches (if there are any) you need to look for their trees and then try to find likely candidates for any male relatives of the appropriate age who might have been in the right location at the time your sister was conceived. If those matches don't have trees available at Ancestry then you might consider reaching out to them for more information. Bear in mind that there is a reasonable chance that her father is still alive and that this could well be a very sensitive issue. I personally find that providing as little information as possible in my initial contact with matches seems to work best, perhaps it's less likely to scare them off. Usually just a basic email that you have a DNA match and would like to further investigate your connection.

If you don't find any matches out to 2nd cousin you can look through the 3rd cousin matches at Ancestry, but at this level you will probably be better off, as others have already mentioned, uploading both of your results to MyHeritage, FTDNA and GEDmatch as the tools at those sites are much better suited to investigating matches at that distance. Also be aware that at the 3rd cousin level it is possible for a cousin on your mother's side to match your sister and not you since 3rd cousins have about a 10% chance of not sharing enough DNA to show up in results. Let me know if you need clarification on any of this or would like more help.
by Paul Chisarik G2G6 Mach 2 (24.1k points)
+3 votes

Hi Liz,

There is a group on WikiTree called Adoption Angels that help people determine their biological parents. Here's a link to fill out an application to request help https://www.wikitree.com/contact/adoption/

The Leeds method, using GEDmatch, color coding your matches in Ancestry are all great tools to help you sort through DNA matches.

I find it helps to have a research plan to work through the steps. It's really easy to feel overwhelmed by sheer number of DNA matches and a plan will keep you on track and identify which steps should be answered first before moving forward.

It's super helpful that you are half sisters as you may be able to eliminate half of your search based on the relatives you have in common.

Good Luck,


by S Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (59.4k points)

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