What to enter as surname for known NPE at great grandfather’s Father.

+2 votes
I want to put my husband’s tree up here, but I don’t know how to approach this.  His great grandfather’s mother would never say who his father was.  So, the Paper Trail tree I have traces back to the family of his mother and disintegrates into a mess.

His FTDNA Family tree y67-DNA test says another surname of course.


-Should I enter his YDNA surname, or ‘Unknown’, or the papertrail surname?  

-Maybe I begin by first putting the papertrail tree up as is, with the family’s documented/source surnames?

Thank you in advance.


Editing this post 17 Nov 2021 to include the profile of the child/man who was born in 1913 who was never told his father’s name. The family who raised him might not be his biological family either.

I did create a profile ‘Unknown Unknown’ for the biological father because some people have linked him as the son of the man who married his Mother when the boy was 7.  She moved in with her newly wedded husband and left her son to be raised by his aunts and uncles.  -RW
WikiTree profile: John Anonymous
in Genealogy Help by RW Williams G2G2 (2.6k points)
edited by RW Williams
If you haven't determined the individual's recorded surname via a paper trail and you are going to create a profile for him, you should use Unknown as the Last Name at Birth for now.

DNA connections do not establish a birth surname (my opinion, anyway).
If you don't know who his father was, it's probably best not to create a profile for the unknown person. You could enter as much information as you do know about him on the son's profile. Generally the only time we should create a profile for an unknown parent on WikiTree is when we know two people are siblings. The only way to connect the siblings is with an unknown father or mother.

1 Answer

+5 votes
Best answer
The LNAB should be whatever is on his birth certificate or the first record you have located which includes his name.  You can certainly start by building back his tree through his mother's family.  Unless there is enough DNA evidence to positively identify his father (enough close matches among multiple descendants to  preclude brothers or cousins as the father) I would build back the possible paternal line, but only connect the suspected father to the son in the text of the biography,  "xxx's mother never named the father of her son, but Y-DNA matches between xxxx, yyyy, and zzzz, all descendants of (possible father) strongly suggest that this is the correct man."  

If you add the DNA tag to your original post I am sure there are folks here who can explain what needs to be done to positively identify the father and whether that is possible so many generations back.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (426k points)
selected by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz
Thank all of you.  It’s been a while since posting this question.  I’m now much more comfortable moving around in WikiTree and have actually worked some dna confirmations on my own tree!  (After watching a WikiTree YouTube session about the ‘Apps’ under the “Find” menu/tab - great info!). So I hopefully will be beginning to work on his family’s profiles sometime this week.  Yea!

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