I have my cousin's DNA results but I don't know who did the test.

+6 votes

My cousin passed away and I have his results of a DNA test.  I don't know who did the test and don't know how to put it in.  His number is 13 24 14 11 12 12 12 13 28 12.  How do I read this?  

WikiTree profile: Gary Lemon
in Genealogy Help by Sunny Schellinger G2G Crew (560 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
As has been concluded below, there are clearly STR markers, which are the output of a Y-DNA test. Males whose paternal lines go back to the same ancestor will have sets of numbers that are almost identical to each other, so these act as a sort of "code number" for a family surname.

Since this IS a sort of "code number" it's absolutely critical that it be COMPLETE, that the numbers be IN ORDER, and not have ANY errors. It looks to me like there's an omission, and maybe a number or two out of order.

Early on, having only 12 STR markers was common, and that's what this appears to be. However, it has been noted that there are only 10 numbers here.

The first four numbers look fine (these are for DYS393, DYS390, DYS19, and DYS391).

But next there should be a "double number" - in other words, something that looks like "15-16". This is for DYS385, and perhaps the "double number" thing caused some confusion, so you skipped past it.

Assuming that DYS385 was skipped, the next four numbers are also fine (these are for DYS426, DYS388, DYS439, and DYS389i).

But then the last two (which are for DYS392 and DYS389ii) are a problem. 28 is too high a number for DYS392, and 12 is too low a number for DYS389ii. Might those last two be reversed? If the last two are 12 and 28 (in that order), then that works.
To add to what Frank said, it's even possible that this was an older Y-STR test from the now defunct Sorenson Molecular. They used to present STRs in numerical order, starting with two values for DYS19 (FTDNA never reported an "a" and a "b" value for 19 as Sorenson did), two values for DYS385, DYS388, two values for DYS389, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, and so on. Although the second value in the list contradicts that: each of the two DYS19 values would be between 10 and 19; 24 is way too many repeats. I don't know how Oxford Ancestors used to present their yDNA results.

There's also no assurance that these are even Y-chromosome STRs. It very well could be the result of a forensic/identification test, all of which use autosomal STRs, not the SNPs we're familiar with for genealogy. In fact, Sunny shows 10 values, and the basic standard for Interpol--and therefore the autosomal STR testing baseline in Europe and the UK--is 10 STRs.

Sunny's 10 numbers are almost certainly values of simple tandem repeats but, as Frank indicated, without the "Rosetta Stone" of a legend to tell us what they are, we can't do anything but guess.

Oh, another aside. I'm not very familiar with autosomal STRs and forensic testing, but for the commonly-tested Y-STRs we have a lot of history and a good handle on the observed range of values seen at each marker. That's how Frank knows the final two values can't be for DYS392 and DYS389ii. The observed ranges for those two are, respectively, 6 to 17 repeats, and 24 to 34 repeats.
Interesting history!

Trying to look into that more, all I'm finding is that an organization or company called "Oxford Ancestors" started off with a 10-marker Y-DNA test. From the sound of it, that might have even been the first one ever available to the public, back around the turn of the century, when this kind of thing was entering the public consciousness.

So maybe THAT'S what it is, and those numbers are perfectly accurate "as is". I haven't run into a list of which STRs they tested, though.

When I first looked into Y-DNA, it seemed to be all about 12, 25, 37, 67, and 111 marker tests, with the first two or three of those levels being basically obsolete (in the sense they they didn't even sell that level of test). Now there's even more than that. Maybe that was just what FTDNA used. Even those 12 marker tests seem "ancient" now, but maybe these numbers are from a test even older than that, and from a different company!
Update: I found a "Y-Clan Certificate" from Oxford Ancestors that shows 15 markers (apparently a later test, which probably includes most or all of the original). It has:

DYS19, DYS388, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS389i, DYS389ii, DYS425, DYS426, DYS385a, DYS385b, DYS437, DYS438, DYS439

It doesn't use that hyphenated notation for DYS385, but instead gives the two numbers (DYS385a & DYS385b) separately. They're not exactly in numerical order, so there's no telling what order the 10 would have been in.

1 Answer

+4 votes
Hello Sunny, welcome to Wikitree.  

Ok those numbers are markers in that person's Y DNA. A    y line test, tests your father, father's, father's line.  The numbers are unique to that set of closely or distantly related males.  Females can't take a Y test.  In general terms the more numbers matching the closer related to the match , meaning the gene hasn't had enough time to develop mutations which would change the number.  Most people who test y line do so at Family Tree DNA.  Also most join either their surname project, or whatever project comes up a match after testing.  Many reasons why a test might not provide a match to the expected surname too as it tests way back in time. Say maybe Kenny that lived on Post might match Posty or Kenny surname from when before last names were ever around.  And of course adoption back many generations or non paternal events can come into play.  Lots more information can be found on blog DNA explained by Roberta Estes to learn more. And Wikitree also has DNA help members.  I suggest finding a male in the line you know and funding a y test  at Family Tree DNA, if you don't get any answers from whomever is now in charge of your cousins kit.
by Loretta Morrison G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
Agree that those are Y-DNA test markers. It's kind of weird that there are only 10 of them. Modern tests test at least 37 markers. FamilyTreeDNA for a while had a 12-marker test that was popular.

Be aware that while most markers are a single number, some markers are expressed as a range, like "11-14". Maybe that will help you understand what you are seeing.

Anyway, an old test like that is pretty obsolete now.  If it's the only thing you have from a dead relative, okay, but otherwise, if you are interested, retest them.
Yes thank you Jamie, I was trying to keep it pretty simple .  But sometimes yes a marker or also called alles, is a number range. And there are 12, 37, 67 and the best to get the 111 marker test.  One past that is the Big Y.  Even if had a 12 marker test I would not recommend it, that pretty much just says you are a human that ultimately hails from a broad region.  If at all possible just go ahead and get the 111 test because you will end up wanting it anyway.
So if it was a yDNA test, then would that have come from FT DNA?
Yes most likely, if in the United States .  Most other companies only test what is termed autosomal DNA, representative of your DNA results over all from every branch of your tree.

And the numbers you gave are undoubtedly the beginning numbers in a y-line results sequence, although as Jamie points out only a partial list of even the lowest test level of 12 markers.

What folks here on Wikitree link are male y line kits which they must manage, and manage or have permission from the person in the profile whose tested then link FTDNA results via kit number.  And then they also may link autosomal results with  permissions again from kit owner from Ancestry, FTDNA, Gedmatch, or 23&me.  The numbers you posted in raw data form are not linked. You can find more in the help section under DNA about how to get and post DNA for matching.

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