How can a Y-DNA test help confirm paternal link?

+4 votes
I have some doubt on my paternal side. How effective can a Y-DNA be? Ancestry does not provide one but on FTDNA, the list of cousins are not recognizable. Besides few people make Y-DNA tests and unless they do, I assume one cannot compare to see if they are on your paternal side. If I do a Y-DNA, is it easy and what would be the mechanics to associate a last name to that Y-DNA test? Thanks.
in Genealogy Help by Living Angus G2G3 (3.5k points)
edited by Living Angus
Hi Harry, I am curious about the purpose of the couple of lines of coding above the main body of your question. You had a similar instance on another recent G2G post.
I have no idea. I noticed it too. I usually write my question on Microsoft Word, and I copy and paste it. Maybe that's the problem. Sorry about that. Maybe I can edit it and delete the coding. I will try.
That was easy. :-) Thanks and have a great day

That looks better. Probably more folks will take the time to read it now smiley

2 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
A Y-DNA test is quite effective in saying that two males descended from a common ancestor. It isn't definitive that a child is the son of someone since the Y chromosome changes slowly but if two people match closely on a Y then they are descended from a common ancestor. Y chromosome only comes from the father so is always on the paternal side. The autosomal you have to do do a bit more work.

A lot of males do take the Y test. I have had a number of matches. To sort things out, you sometimes have to convince someone to take the test and you will need to buy it for them.

You still need to do the paper trail to nail things down but using Y can help.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (556k points)
selected by Susan Laursen
Doug is right.  I am the administrator for the SmithConnections Northeastern DNA Project.  YDNA is the ONLY way we have been able to unscramble the many Smith lines to the Northeastern U.S.  In our project, if a man's yDNA test matches one of our 94 family groups, he knows he can ignore all the other Smith lines in the world and concentrate his research on his paternal Smith line and how it matches with his Smith cousins.  We have several tests that have research and matches to the early 1600s and earlier. Most of these tests are exact matches after 10 or so generations.  YDNA is the way to go for a paternal line of forefathers.
Please note that a YDNA test will only help with your paternal line of forefathers (i.e. no foremothers).  So, a YDNA test will tell you about your George Angus line of forefathers.
+5 votes
If you have doubts on your paternal side in close generations then you are more likely to be able to resolve those doubts through analysis of autosomal DNA matches. Y-DNA can point you to a line to investigate, but not to an individual.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (685k points)
Thanks Lynda. But at this time, I am not looking for an individual. I only want a last name. If it's not the last name I have in my driver's license, that would be enough for me at this time. Then, I would be able to focus on something specific to search. How easy will it be to pinpoint a last name for sure? That was my main concern.
You may be lucky, or you may not. It all depends on who else has tested. I have tested my brother at Y-DNA with 67 markers in the hope of trying to figure out if my Crackett line might have originated as Crockett since the paper trail gets stuck in the late 1700s. At that level he has only two matches which are respectively at GD 6 and 7, so there is very little that I can conclude from this test. Others have had good matches which give useful insight into which names to search for.
Harry, bear in mind that Y-DNA testing will go back a long way. You may have hundreds of matches - only a few may share your last name. Like Doug says - the best way to use it to confirm paternal ancestry is to have someone you already have a paper trail to do the test as well.
You may not get a last name. My own Y DNA matches closely to the surname O'Neill. There had been a family myth of being related to the O'Neills which is somewhat confirmed, but the name change would have occurred before about 1765. Then there are possible NPEs (non-paternal events) which confuse the paper trail.
My main goal is to know if there's a good chance I can confirm first to third generation. The probability of having a cousin that close who have made the Y-DNA test is very slim. So, if my main goal is to confirm a last name based on the first 3 generations, the Y-DNA test may not be the solution.
If you can find someone descended from the same common ancestor and get them to take the test, it would be a strong indicator. Add the autosomal in and a paper trail. For near generations, autosomal probably works better. For further back, Y is more stable. I'm currently working to find a couple of direct male line relatives from earliest known ancestor in North America and some from a suspected father or sibling. This goes back 7 generations. Then I would know if they were relatives or not. This is a paper trail that, while not difficult, is time consuming and I get distracted.

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