Is there a way to find your DNA connection to a certain surname?

+2 votes
Does anyone know of a way using GEDmatch or anything that can help you find your connection to a specific surname?

I have a private tree on ancestry I use for mirroring sometimes to help try and figure out where or how I am connected to different DNA matches on Ancestry.... and I have a large handful of mirror tree shared ancestor hints with a specific surname.... but haven't found my connection to this surname.

I am thankful for any hints, tips, or tricks that might be able to help
in The Tree House by Stephanie Stults G2G6 Mach 3 (36.9k points)
edited by Maggie N.

What Peter said below.  (Although I would push for a Y67 test!)

When doing any kind of surname research, always think yDNA.

6 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
While the Y-DNA suggestions work to sometimes verify a line, you still have to have a connection to that line. I read the question as the writer having hints that a surname is one that she might be related but can't make a connection. Y-DNA can't do that, it can just validate when a connection is known.

About the only thing you can do is use trees of auDNA matches and see if anyone has ties to that surname and then hope that they documented. If they are a good match, contact them and ask for more details. This is what Frank Stanley suggests.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (402k points)
selected by Stephanie Stults
Thank you yes, that is what I was trying to say...... there is a common surname found through mirror trees, but I don't know anyone with this surname. I have only noticed that this surname has showed up frequently and the connection seems to be somewhere 6 or 7 generations back, making it harder to pinpoint.
+2 votes
The best way is to compare your tree with your match's tree(s) and try to find where they overlap (common ancestor)
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (533k points)
That is what using a mirror tree does
+2 votes
Find a male relative with that surname and pay for him to take a Y-DNA37 test at Family Tree DNA.

Then have that cousin and you take an autosomal test to determine you share the expected amount of DNA for your relationship with each other.
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (524k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
I don't know anyone with this surname
+4 votes
I think all you can really do is try to identify a common ancestor to those matches from their trees.

But in general, you need to analyze your matches, determining which groups of matches correspond to various sides of your family (in my experience, that means a particular great-grandparent or gt-gt grandparent) If a few of your matches match some members of a group, and don't match another group, then that's what part of your tree they're on.

The tricky thing is that even if you have a bunch of relatives with a given surname, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a surname of an ancestor.

For closer relations, the centimorgans can help, as well at the centimorgans between known relatives and that same match.

Really, it just takes a lot of work, and perseverance, with no guarantee of success (like everything in genealogy!) That just makes it sweeter when you find something.

As far as "tricks", all I can think is maybe if you haven't noticed the feature for searching for a match with a given surname (or geographic place)  in their tree. Sounds like maybe you've noticed "Shared Matches"., at least. The brand-new ThruLines might be helpful too (make sure you have your tree attached to your test results).
by Frank Stanley G2G6 Mach 6 (63.1k points)
+2 votes

If the name is not Smith or something else that is very common it is sometimes possible to use a surname search in both FTDNA and MyHeritage.  This assumes that you have a DNA test in either of these sites.  IF you find any matches there is no reason to assume they are Y DNA matches, only that a family file has at least one member with the matching surname.  This technique is not very efficient but it may connect a DNA test to a surname.  Naturally a Y test and surname is better but I am assuming you have either tried that approach or it is not appropriate.
by Philip Smith G2G6 Pilot (271k points)
+1 vote
First thing is, make your privet tree public. People need to see you as well. To see you need to be seen. Just trying to stealth hunt misses half the info. 3/4 of my ancestry matches have no available tree & do not respond to inquires. Same with Y-DNA on FTDNA. Why bother? If you can't help me how am I supposed to help you?
by Jesse Elliott G2G5 (5.1k points)

My "normal" researched and documented tree that I usually have connected to the DNA IS public...........but NEVER would I make a quick, unsourced, unresearched, mirror tree public. 

Other people will copy the information from your unresearched mirror tree and add it to their own.

That is how misinformation gets spread. 

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