Who is my great grandfather? A brick wall that is tough to cross!

+7 votes

I recently did a write up, a family mystery. Thought I would post here under questions too because not sure how much leverage my post will get there. Would like to ask for assistance and hopefully somebody can guide me. At a dead end here! A so called "Brick Wall." 

My grandfather was the result of an affair and his real father's name was never mentioned. Is there any possible way or technique to try work around such a dilemma? All of this took place in Port-Louis, Mauritius and my family are of French, Creole and British decent.

His mother's name was "Louise Cécile Laure Geffroy" born 20 SEP 1920 • Grande Riviere, Mauritius (my great grandmother) and her first marriage was to "Joseph Louis Julie" born 10 AUG 1910 • Mauritius. She then married common law to a "Cassam Sulliman" and finally her last marriage was to a "Joseph Charles Philippe Ducasse." She passed away 18 MAY 2012 • Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

She had an affair with an unknown man while married to "Joseph Louis Julie" around 1938 and as a result "Joseph Maurice Julie," my grandfather, was born. He was registered as "Julie" and "Joseph Louis Julie" was added as his father on his birth certificate but this is not true. How do I find out who this secret lover is, who my real great grandfather is?

We know that the man which "Louise Cécile Laure Geffroy" eloped with while married to "Joseph Louis Julie" might very well be of Creole decent but how on earth do we find out and where do we begin?

Maybe somebody here finds interest and will be willing to assist. Any advice is welcomed!

WikiTree profile: Joseph Maurice Julie
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Jacquès Julie G2G4 (4.1k points)
edited by Jacquès Julie
Thank you all very much for the awesome and informational replies! Very much appreciated! I have decided to go ahead and buy 3 different DNA tests. Hold thumbs.. Will keep you all posted

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Y-DNA would not help your search, contrary to Marion's suggestion. There are a few reasons for this. You would need to test at least 2 males to check your theory and that would mean first finding another descendant or male relative of the "secret lover" who is willing to test. Additionally, Y-DNA is relatively expensive ($129 to $169 at Family Tree DNA for the cheaper tests) and these tests' results are a bit harder to interpret. 

You are better off doing an autosomal test -- 23andMe, Ancestry DNA, or MyHeritage. Most are on sale right now; and even at regular prices they can be considerably cheaper. With an autosomal test, you are not limited to males - the sex really doesn't matter. In your case, it's probably a good idea to test two or three people still, as that could help firm up any ambiguity. There's a bonus with this as well, since you won't just have your test takers to match against, but hundreds to thousands of others in these companies' databases. Just make sure that you and your relatives that test are all testing with the same company. Ancestry is a bit bigger (15+ million users) compared with 23andMe (10+ million users) and MyHeritage (2.5+ million users), however 23andMe and MyHeritage have better tools for checking relationships (a "chromosome browser") that would be specifically helpful to your case. Additionally, if you test males with 23andMe, it will also give you some info on whether they have the same Y-chromosome. 

For your case, you should test yourself and/or one (or more) of your aunts/uncles on that side who are also descended from your grandfather, as well as one (or more) of your grandfather's siblings (your great aunts/uncles) if some are descended from the same father. It will be possible, from the amount of DNA that each of you share, to determine if there's a full-sibling or a half-sibling relationship between your grandfather and his siblings. The people who are closest to the uncertain relationship are the best to ones to test. 

There are good statistics on how much DNA should be shared: https://dnapainter.com/tools & https://dnapainter.com/tools/sharedcm

Additionally, from these tests, you will have other DNA matches, some of which will be related through your grandfather's biological father. I'm not sure how common DNA testing for genealogy is in South Africa, but this might be a long shot... but after that it becomes a matter of patience. Try to figure out which test is most commonly used in your neck of the woods, since that will likely give you the best shot. It doesn't hurt to test with multiple companies (besides hurting one's pocketbook), so if you're able, that may also be worthwhile. 

by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
selected by Shaun Doust
+3 votes
She might have run away but was she already pregnant? Y-DNA might help,  Have you considered doing it?
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Thanks Marion! She didn’t run away, her husband eventually passed away. Not sure if he know that he wasn’t the father but the truth came out eventually to the rest of the family when he passed. We are a lot darker than the rest of the Julie’s so definitely feel that there is no resemblance or hardly any for that matter. I have not considered yDNA. I’ll google because I’m not sure I know what that is and how it would help if both grandfather and his mother have passed away. What do I have to compare to?
If you add DNA to your tags one of the DNA bowfins will likely see it and help
Thanks so much for the assistance.. I think I will take the advice and purchase a test. Any suggestions on where to buy and what to look for? Which test is it that suits the search, where do I start? I'm a complete noob to DNA so any suggestions are appreciated.

I used Ftdna, but you might like to read this

Family Tree DNA ("FTDNA") only has ~1 million people in its database. 23andMe has over 10 million and Ancestry DNA has 20 million. So one is 20x more likely to find good matches with Ancestry DNA or 10x more likely with 23andMe, compared to testing with FTDNA. Testing with FTDNA should be a last resort when other, better options are available.
I was recommended Ftdna, and am satisfied with them. I don’t have the extra money for Ancestry and other paid sites. I live in Australia and was paying for one test for myself and one for my son. What with postage costs and exchange rates, my disability payment won’t stretch any further.
Don't forget that you can often transfer you raw data for free or a small fee

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