Which DNA test should I ask my brother to take next - he has taken the Y37 on FTDNA

+6 votes
Back in 2008 I talked my brother into testing at FTDNA with the Y37 test.  Now I am finally back into my researching and really interested in genetic genealogy to possibly help with a brick wall of our paternal line - 4 great grandpa.

I have been reading and reading here and over at FTDNA as to which test might give us more help with this brick wall and I am at a loss as to what test to have my brother take now.

I just sent in my sample to FTDNA and Ancestry for autosomal testing of myself.  Also I found a 3rd cousin and we just sent in his sample to Ancestry.

Should I ask my brother to do the Ancestry test or the Y-111 test or the BigY  test at FTDNA.  At this point I am really interested in cracking this brick wall if possible.

Any advice on which test next?
WikiTree profile: Cain-3719
asked in The Tree House by Karen Cain G2G6 (6k points)
Our brick wall is our 3rd great grandfather.  Am I right in assuming the autosomal testing will help with the more recent  - say back to about 6-7th generations?

What could I expect from having a SNP pack testing done or a Y-111.

So sorry for all the questions!  I have been really studying this but can't wrap my head around it.  Perhaps once I get my autosomal results back then I can understand better,

Thanks for all you advice!

3 Answers

+2 votes
Is the brick wall on his direct paternal line (his earliest male Cain ancestor)?  If not, then have Family Tree DNA run a Family Finder test on his sample already at their lab.

Be sure to register at GEDmatch and upload his Family Finder results there.  Also upload  your AncestryDNA results to GEDmatch and your 3rd cousins AncestryDNA results.
answered by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
Yes the brick wall is on our direct paternal line -- John Cain b. 1794 VA or PA.
If you have matches on his Y-dna sample who have tested more markers that he has, it would be worthwhile to match the number of markers. If he has no matches I would do the Family finder test.
+5 votes
My recommendation would be to do an autosomal test on your brother at Ancestry and transfer his results over to his FTDNA account. You are fishing in a much bigger pool at Ancestry. You might also see some benefits from taking his Y-DNA test to a higher level, but that depends on what his Y-37 test is showing you.
answered by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (619k points)
His Y37 results are in YSearch with ID# QJVY2
Autosomal DNA testing is less useful beyond about five or six generations and it is difficult to confirm that the shared segment is from the tester's direct paternal line (and not actually from some other line).

His Y-DNA37 test has already determined who his Cain cousins are.  Taking his Y-DNA test from 37 markers to 67 markers will not provide much more benefit (if any).
+1 vote
Have you joined your brother to the Cain Surname DNA Project?


If so, what is his Family Tree DNA kit number?
answered by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
Peter,  His kit # is 142397

Yes, I have joined the Cain surname project. It was suggested on there I have a snp done but I can't figure it all out sufficiently  yet so need more advice.  I am more interested at this point in finding more recent ancestors.  I am under the belief that the Ydna helps more with the very distant ancestors and origins.

thanks for any help.


Hello Karen,

Please add his kit number to his Y-DNA information on his DNA Tests page in WikiTree.

Your brother shares direct paternal line ancestry with 8 others in the Cain Surname DNA Project.  They are: 277124 29527 7739 43172 100010 66633 417060 and 16205.  Have you contacted them?

His Y-DNA37 results have already established who his Cain cousins are.  I don't believe a SNP test will provide additional information in that regard.

I recommend you invite each of them to join WikiTree and add their direct paternal line ancestry and Y-DNA information here.  If they don't want to bother joining WikiTree then get their permission and offer to add their information to WikiTree on their behalf.  

WikiTree can associate direct paternal lines with matching Y-DNA but missing ancestry.

Thanks Peter,  I have corrected the listing of my brother's test.

I sure hate to be ignorant but I cannot find in FTDNA where you have found the Kit #'s that we are matched with. And I have not figured out how to find the matches you have listed.

I did find one exact match with the surname Cain and the Derry County, Ireland (he tested only 12 though) and emailed him but have not heard from him.

Thanks for any help,

Hello Karen,

The kit numbers your brother matched are found in the Cain Surname DNA Project at https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Cain-Caine?iframe=yresults

The admin of that project should be able to help you communicate with his Y-DNA matches.

Sincerely, Peter
Thanks so much!  Just found it and I will contact the admin to get a little more help,

appreciate you time!


Hi, Karen. Visit the Cain/Caine surname project at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/cain-caine/about. There, on the left-side submenu--not the tab labeled "Results," but on the menu--you'll see an option for "DNA Results." Choose "Classic Chart" or "Colorized Chart." You can search for your brother's kit number; it's about a third of the way down the page. You'll see him grouped with several other Cains, and the STR values for those test kits are displayed.

I like to keep track of those surname project matches in an Excel spreadsheet so I can more easily compare the actual results side by side. Because STR markers don't mutate at the same average rate, I occasionally search for new estimated mutation rate information and add that to the spreadsheet for reference. If you'd like a copy of the template, send me a private message from my profile page so that I'll have your email address.

I'm firmly with Peter that yDNA SNP testing is not needed on your brother for your stated purpose. FTDNA's predicted haplogroup is pretty accurate as far as it goes, and there need to be specific reasons to dig deeper into subclade information. Just being curious and interested is a valid reason, though. :-)

Used to be the yDNA haplogroup differentiations were shallow enough that just a few letters and numerals, like "R1b1a1a2"...which is equivalent to you brother's predicted haplogroup of R-M269, would suffice. The trend now--and FTDNA is using it--is to use that "terminal SNP," in other words the deepest one tested and confirmed positive, as the haplogroup. For example, I'm R-BY3332, which is several steps deeper down the phylogenetic tree from, but on the same branch as, R-M269.

When you see matches that list something other than R-M269, there are two resources to help you determine if the match is deeper in the same subclade (which is a green light for you), or significantly different at a higher level. If significantly different, the two individuals are extremely unlikely to be related in the genealogical timeframe. For example, and R-M269 (R1b1a1a2) will be related to an Z283 (R1a1a1b1) only in an anthropological timeframe.

Sounds more confusing than it is. Sorry 'bout that. One place to compare is at the ISOGG's yDNA Haplogroup Tree: https://isogg.org/tree/. Click on the top-level haplogroup letter, in your case "R", and search for the SNP you're interested in (oh, and leave off the "R-" when you search; it isn't used).

The ISOGG tree is still considered a de facto standard, but it isn't modified as quickly as new markers are added to the taxonomy. For example, my BY3332 terminal SNP doesn't appear yet on the 2017 tree. A more complex reference is Alex Williamson's "Big Tree" at http://www.ytree.net/. If you see a haplogroup associated with a match to your brother's kit and can't find it anywhere else, you can look here. One simple trick is to use Google Advanced Search and construct the search term exactly like this (using my SNP as an example):

"BY3332" site:ytree.net

That searches for the exact SNP string, and limits the search to the Big Tree's website. Very useful.

Edited to add: again I spent too much time typing and Peter beat me to it.  :-)

Hello Edison,

Thank you ever so much for your search tip: "BY3332" site:ytree.net  !!

I wonder if there is a way to put such a search as part of a url?  That is to say, click on a link which uses Google to search for BY3332 at tree.net

Well, https://www.google.com/#q=%22BY3332%22+site:ytree.net kind of does it but it gives a lot of other hits

What I'm really I'm trying to do is 


but then have Z59 highlighted on the page at isogg.org/tree/ISOGG_HapgrpI.html

Sincerely, Peter

Since your comment, Peter, I've tried a dozen different ways to get Google to tell me how to get Google to automatically launch the top-ranked URL resulting from a Google search. Not only do I think I've totally confused the world's largest search engine, but I may have landed myself on some sort of Silicon Valley watch list.  ;-)

Because part of Google's revenue stream comes from having people see the ads and rankings on its search results, I'll bet your second option is the best we can get...and then we're dependent on the origin site not changing their structure, rendering the link invalid.

Somebody with a really big brain may come along and be able to figure it out....
Thanks for trying! ;-)
Thank you so much for these instructions. I did not know if I could add my brother's Y-DNA  to Wikitree. We are having the same trouble. My brother's result is R-M269. I see Tandy descendants on Wikitree have a H haplotype.  The one person on his marker 37 is a Taylor. There are no familiar names on the other markers, but lots of Medlen/Medin/Maitlin, etc. Our surname is Tandy. We both have had autosomal testing on Ancestry snd FTDNA, uploaded raw data to GEDmatch and DNA.land and have found no Tandy cousins.  Glad to know that adding another marker test may not help. And thanks for the tip to compare other testers' higher markers. Our last documented Tandy is a direct g-father born in 1805, New Hampshire.
Hello Pamela,

R-M269 is a Y chromosome haplogroup and is associated with the tester's direct paternal line only.  H is a mitochondrial DNA haplogroup which is associated with the tester's direct maternal line only.

Sincerely, Peter

Thank you both for the MtDna answer and for the question about the Cain DNA project. I have been looking for Tandy DNA projects, so this would not have occurred to me. My brother's FTDNA kit# via GEDmatch is T706019. Would this same kit number be attached to his Y-DNA test?

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