DNA By Names?

+2 votes
My Question is, Can my DNA match's Tell me who I am by Names? The Question Comes about as, I have Done many DNA tests, never have done any work on my own surname because of brick walls or questionable sources.

What I have is to a 3rd or 4th grandfather. I know my mothers side well, Very Well. But That is the problem I find Myself in. When I go to FTDNA and I look at my matches, I see names from the early colonists connected to me, Almost every Name, I know from early settlers that are documented in my family tree as being in the area , in court, or in documents, Not all are my mothers sir names though.

But all have My Y DNA? These connections are from 1700s. and the closer match's, I can see coming over Later, but to have Crow's and Nesbitt's and names like that way back for me, must mean that I am related to those Martins? of Early N.C. and the Places the Names existed in history and are all the same places my Mothers side occupied and even went  first! @ a genetic distance of 4

James Troy Abt. 1805

John Dooley b. 15 July 1823

Abraham Nesbitt ba1790 PA

Solomon Shell Carroll, b 1790 NC, d 1862 TN

Thomas Flanagan, b. 1821, d. 1887

SPRINGER, John b.c. 1733, Newport, RI
Genetic distance of 3

William Martin b.1723

Jaspar Newton WESTON (1833-1907), Blount Co., AL

James Kelly, 1868 - c1902
genetic distance of 2

William Maloney, b. 1854 and d. 1918

John Hart, b. abt 1640

Daniel Dillon, Crusheen, Ire.; to U.S. 1900
genetic distance of 1

William Connor Martin, b. 1811 and d. 1906

Samuel Andrew Martin, born 29 Sep 1849 in TN prob.

Samuel Martin b 1821 d 1867

these are Y DNA match's to me. If you happen to run across them! I do find a profile here or there of a name with no sources but as having kids. But mostly, Profiles of these names do not even exist Here.
in Genealogy Help by David Martin G2G6 (8.6k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
You should indicate how many markers were used in your Y-DNA test. If these are 37-marker matches with a GD of 2 or 3, then they probably have no value for determining any information about your family tree.
Good reference for people wasting money on y 37 tests? Thanks.
In fact if you spend a penny less than (big y.) Your wasting your time and money
You want an article where people talk about their bad experiences with y-37 tests? Or...?
Have you tried serching online with the full name, b and d dates?I have often found books on families stories about people or families, other trees which even if unsourced may have some hints, find a grave while not a source in itself often has attached biographies names of family, wills etc. Good luck!

2 Answers

+4 votes

(David, just to clarify, I easily slide into "lecture" mode...and few of those types of posts end up being...er...brief. So I'm typing to a general audience; not specifically directed to you.)

My first yDNA test was a 12-marker panel back when that was all FTDNA offered. Testing 37 STRs is now considered the entry-level test and, though I'm always a fan of deeper testing (in everything, not just the Y) if money isn't an issue, the 37-marker can still serve informative, important functions.

As with mtDNA, I think that yDNA testing should be done with a purpose in mind. The two types of uniparental DNA don't have the numbers of test-takers that our $59 autosomal tests do, and they can't tell us as much--at face value--about the most recent generations.

That purpose very well could be, "I just want to see if any matches show up." Perfectly valid; but potentially disappointing if close matches are hoped for without underlying hypotheses to check.

As negating evidence (not to be confused with "negative evidence"), a 37-STR test and an HVR1+HVR2 mtDNA test can be quite useful. In other words, if B and C both show descent from A, but that lineage is in question, learning that B and C are of different haplogroups solidly puts the hypothesis to rest: they are patrilineally (or matrilineally) unrelated in anything close to the genealogical timeframe. And in genetic terms, the genealogical timeframe is very recent.

Further, for yDNA, if you're dealing with a fairly mature study with data from multiple participants, it may well be that a 37-marker test plus one or two single SNP results, which can be obtained through FTDNA or YSEQ, is all you need to place you on the correct familial branch even if the MRCAs are not known. My own Williams subproject is an example. There are 36 test-takers in the project now, and if someone unrecruited happens to pop up that's a solid 37-marker match, we can fairly accurately assign him to one of the established branches pending the additional verification of SNPs or more STRs.

It's also important--because so many people have become familiar with autosomal testing--to keep in mind that yDNA really doesn't work in the same way. For one, it can't be as predictive as autosomal testing. By that I mean an ability to pinpoint generational distances and cousinships. Back to 2g-grandparents, the very nature of meiosis and independent assortment give us the ability to form a pretty good guess of the relationship based on the shared autosomal DNA and the number of in-common segments.

Since the Y chromosome never recombines (I'm ignoring the PAR regions because we don't use them for genealogy anyway), its only changes come about via mutation. Even the most volatile STR markers--CDY, DYS710, and DYS712--at their fastest have an average mutation rate of 0.0353...or 27:1 odds that the marker will change at any given birth event. So the number of repeats in any single marker doesn't really tell us anything; it's the variances when looking across a large number of repeat differences that give us any genealogical info.

If the purpose for testing is "to see if any matches show up," definitely start with the 37-marker unless the cost of the Big Y is like, well, lunch money. An unfortunate misconception that sometimes ends up disappointing folks who start with the 37-marker and then upgrade is that more STR markers tested doesn't mean a likelihood of seeing more matches. Generally speaking, if two men aren't a match at 37 markers they won't go on to show as a match if more markers are tested. It can happen--that FTDNA doesn't report someone as a 37-marker match but does at 111 markers--because of the way FTDNA limits what is and isn't shown as a match. But it's fairly rare. For example, if two men are a calculated Genetic Distance of 5 at 37-markers, they aren't considered a match; if those are the only dissimilarities they would then be shown as matches at the 67 and 111 levels because FTDNA's reporting thresholds for those panels are GD7 and GD10, respectively.

Another possible point of frustration can hinge on deep ancestry. Take Scotland as an example. In the Lowlands the use of patronymics gave way to inherited surnames generally during the early part of the 16th century. But it took two more centuries before the Highlands had similarly standardized. Back to our Williams subproject as example, we have six surnames in that "genetic tree," five of which (the sixth is still being researched) have good evidence of not being the result of non-paternal events. Analysis of the various SNP bifurcations indicate the MRCA of all those surname lines lived circa 900 AD, probably in southwest Scotland or northern Wales. Same patrilineal line, different surnames. At 37 markers, I have two GD4 matches shown to men of one of those surnames and we know the MRCA had to have lived between roughly 900 AD and 1100 AD.

Which leads to the last item. Those who come to yDNA testing with a background in looking at autosomal results can misconstrue the yDNA term "genetic distance." With atDNA we typically think of that as a step-wise generational thing, e.g., the generational relationship between 2nd cousins aligning to the shared great-grandparents. With yDNA, it doesn't work that way.

In an oversimplified nutshell, with yDNA "genetic distance" refers to the estimated minimum number of birth events required to display the STR differences shown. And there's no implication there of consecutive birth events. Take a GD of 1. This indicates that there is a difference among the STRs that would have required at least one generation for the mutation to have happened. Doesn't mean it was one generation ago, or even a half-dozen generations ago; evaluating that depends upon the specific STR because the average mutation rates can vary quite a bit. That GD1 could show up between a father and son--but not in the son's brother--or it could have happened with the 5g-grandfather. To make it more complicated, STRs can also perform a circus trick called "back mutation," where, in this example, the son might have a different repeat count at CDY, but the son's son reverts back to the father's count.

A GD of 2 means that two such separate events occurred. And, again depending upon the STRs involved, it's usually highly unlikely that these two independent mutation events happened in the same generation. Ergo, a GD of 2 means I'm not as closely related as I am to the GD1. That's how I can be a GD1 with a known 4th cousin, and a GD4 to someone with a different surname I know I'm not related to until at least 1100 AD...even though the numerals 1 and 4 make it seem like they shouldn't be that far apart.

A final piece of advice: for anyone taking a yDNA test, if you aren't doing it as part of an established hypothesis--like our Williams subproject--it's always a good idea to join one or more of the volunteer-run group projects at FTDNA. There are surname projects as well as projects driven by geography and haplogroup. You can join multiple projects. If an unexpected surname is peppering your Y-37 or Y-111 results, join it. In its matching services, FTDNA doesn't show you the other person's actual STR values. But if all involved have the proper level of preference settings selected, results will be anonymized to the kit numbers and will display the STR values in the group project.

by Edison Williams G2G6 Pilot (343k points)
Wow that's alot.

So, I agree. It took me some time to come to that. I think if your serious you need to get the big sequences done. The little tests are just bait to a rabbit hole. So that brings me to this: Here's a question. On ancestry.com, I never get new peoples added to my #matchs. Do they just not inform you of new matches. Even though the new testers must see a match to me?.

Do you have to keep buying tests to see who is added to your new matchs on that site? I get new matchs all the time on ftdna.

I got one today from ftdna.
David, you probably get new matches every week. If you go to your DNA matches page at Ancestry, you can filter by unviewed matches or by newest matches.
Thanks I will check that out.
+2 votes
David, I can see your yDNA kit # in the FTDNA Martin surname project. There are three other men with the surname Martin who are a good match to you and all have the surname Martin. You are all in Group 26. They have each listed their earliest known ancestor in their Martin line. Do you understand that your match with those three means that you all share a common Martin ancestor in a genealogical time frame? Have you corresponded with those 3 matches, and asked them to share their trees with you, at least their direct Martin lines? I always recommend that yDNA matches create a WikiTree profile for themselves, include their DNA test information, and add what they know of their male line to WikiTree. With some research and some luck, you may be able to find your common ancestor. Let me know if you have questions, or if I can help.
by Kay Wilson G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
Well that is more promising than y-37 won't do anything. I did know about the names in the study.

And find no profiles or source for them. If we could source and find those names in wikitree. I think that is what I am looking for. Also the names I posted. I would like to see them profiled here. It could start to solve 100s of DNA riddles.

Because I am not alone in sharing their trees. It has to exponentially grow.  This would be too big of a project for a hillbilly genealogist like me.

Any Idea who on here could?

It would be the 4 profles. To a child at least.  I have never had any luck contacting those matchs. I am sure I have tried. I will try again.

If no profile exists.And they would be unsourced. But do I need to search for these profiles and create one if it doesn't exist. Just on that match you mention.

That is really why I dont throw more money at testing. No one ever contacts you back.

Thanks Dave.
Have you tried looking on Find A Grave for a William C. Martin, born 1811, died 1906? That would tie to the information for kit #220423. From that you might be able to find more information about him, so that you could start a profile for him on WikiTree, which might lead to more information to add about his parents and his male children. Your goal should be to find out as much as you can about his male Martin line, because at some point in time it will intersect with yours. It looks like you're on Ancestry. Use the search function on Ancestry to look for more information about him. Be sure when you add profiles to WikiTree that you indicate your sources--when you found the information you're adding to WikiTree.

It's easier if your matches communicate with you, but not impossible if they don't. Have you asked for help from the Admin for the Martin yDNA surname project? She might also have information that could help you.
I really havent put much work into it. As you can see. I did spit in several tubes. I will fire up the laptop and give it the old wikitree try.
Well the William Martin Abt 1723.

2 of them match a father and son.

Frank lewis Martin jr and sr.

The third match is William vest Martin to william 1723..

These are from the 2 franks 3rd and 4th generation matchs.

The other is Mr Loen kemp Martin who matches me at 0 generations.

Whats it mean?
So I found a whole mess about these people? Of course. Its a link on the the intenet about the the (Elder James Martin ) in the internet archive's. And some controversies of course.

And I cannot get wikitree to let me paste from my phone. You cannot hold control and v? Just one of those wikitree things. Evidently this is some controversy. But I match all the people involved?

You will have to google it.
I won’t attempt to provide any sort of detailed explanation of yDNA testing, as that can be found from 
any number of sources. 1 will state only that yDNA testing compares Y-chromosome results, and Y- 
chromosomes are only passed directly from male to male. Thus, males with identical or near-identical Y- 
chromosomes almost certainly share a common direct male ancestor. yDNA testing should not be 
confused with AncestryDNA or similar DNA testing. They are known as Autosomal DNA testing: they 
offer unique opportunities for understanding ancestral connections, but most do not highlight Y- 
chromosome results. 

Neal L. Martin (kit # 908905) paid for yDNA testing through Family Tree DNA, where Lewis Franklin 
Martin, Sr. (kit #109818) and his son, Lewis Fra nk lin Martin, Jr. (kit # 798617) have existing 

results. They are all part of Group 26 of the Martin Surname Project, belonging to Haplogroup R-M269. 

Neal is a genetic distance of 1 from both Lewises. Their lineage to Simon Martin is as follows: 

• Lewis Martin, Jr., b. 1958, d. 2008 

• Lewis Martin, Sr., b. 1933, d. 2013 

• James Cecil Martin, b. 1901, d. 1969 

• James Henry Keener Martin, b. 1875, d. 1962 

• William Henry K. Martin, b. 1831, d. 1926 

• James Nathaniel Martin, b. 1796, d. 1864 

• Simon Martin, b. 1756, d. Before 1813 

In addition, Neal has nine Martin cousins with a genetic distance of zero. The challenge is discovering 
the lineage of these people, though that has been possible in a few instances. 

1 DNA Matches - 

DNA Matches — 

mtDNA Family Finder Y-DNA mtDNA Family Finder Y-DNA 

Q Martin) 

Q Martin 

Test: All 

Test: All 

James P. Martin 

; t Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

Mr. Martin Schatzl 

Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

Melvin D. Martin 

Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

Rodney Duane Martin 

Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

Mr. Aubrey Allen Martin 

Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

William Vest Martin 

Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

4 , Mr. Fernandez Martinez 


Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

^ Mr. Glenn Martin 


Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

Mr. Loren Kemp Martin 

Y-12 (Distance: 0) 

- ' 2 > m t 1 Li_i2 m 

Page 16 

Elder James Martin and his brother, Simon Martin 

[According to his wife Nora, Lewis Franklin Martin, Sr is also a zero genetic distance to Melvin D. 
Martin, Loren Kemp Martin, Rodney Duane Martin and William Vest Martin. Though that would seem 
to be an impossibility for Neal and Lewis to share the same zero genetic distance cousins, given the 
mutation that seems to be in Lewis’ line. They likely are a genetic distance of one.] 

One match is to William Vest Martin, who died in 2007. He, too, is a descendant of Simon Martin. The 
fact that he shows a zero genetic distance to Neal, while the two Lewises have a distance of 1 shows that 
the latter have a mutation that occurred at some point in James Nathaniel Martin’s line. The DYS 38911 
Loci has a value of 29 in his line, while Neal’s and William’s lines have a value of 30. William Vest 
Martin’s lineage is as follows: 

• William Vest Martin, b. 1826, d. 2007? this cant be right?

• Isaac Alvin Martin, b. 1878 

• Theodore S. Martin, b. 1852, d. 1926 

• James Henry Martin, b. 1821, d. 1908 

• William Martin, b. 1793, d. 1862 

• Simon Martin, b. 1756, d. Before 1813 

Another match of zero genetic distance was to Loren Kemp Martin, who died in 2017. He traces his 
line back to William Connor Martin, b. 1811 in Rockingham County, NC. Rockingham is on the 
Virginia/North Carolina border along the Great Valley Road, possibly suggesting that Simon Martin had 
been bom not far to the north, which would have been the far edge of the western frontier in 1756. Even 
as early as 1790, there were about a dozen Martin families living in Rockingham County, totaling over 50 
white household members. 

One more match of zero genetic distance is to Aubrey Allen Martin, who died in 2018. He traces his 
line back to John Martin, Sr, b. 1764 in Maryland. In the 1800 Census, he was living in Spartanburg 
District South Carolina. It would seem any shared ancestor would be farther back than James’ and 
Simon’s father. 

The following is a link to an FTDNA white paper on interpreting y-12 DNA results: 



So I am genetic distance of 3 and 4 respectfully for Frank Lewis and his son. But 0 distance to

Mr. Loren Kemp Martin
email FTDNA Tip note GEDCOM Viewer Y-DNA37    FF   
William Connor Martin, b. 1811 and d. 1906 R-M269 7/11/2019

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