Author Topic: where to start??  (Read 346 times)

Offline ali607

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where to start??
« on: Tuesday 09 January 18 22:43 GMT (UK) »
Hi everyone,

I spent many years researching my family tree in great depth many years ago. However there is one large blank and that is the question of my father's lineage. My dad is deceased. I am my dad's only biological offspring and I am female. My dad also has no FULL siblings. He has two half siblings; their biological father is from Eastern Europe. I have this hunch that in my Dad's line there is blood from outwith the UK hunch is Eastern Europe somewhere. I would like to get some idea about this through one of the many DNA tests. But I just don't know where to start.

My dad
My grandad b.1918 during the war - father unknown...he took his mothers surname which has been passed down to me. The unknown father is who I have a hunch was from outwith the UK...given that is world war 1 and then he seems to vanish.

Can anyone offer any advice as to what kind of test I could do to see if I do have blood from Eastern Europe or indeed, elsewhere?

I am starting from pure ignorance here!


Surname interests:
Salter, Fulford, Woodcock, Finney, Tissington, Driscoll, Shea, Maxfield, Collier, Hughes, Williams, Petty, Pearson, Prescott, Baldwin,

Area interests:
West Riding Yorkshire: Rotherham, Hemsworth, Darfield, Sheffield
Worcestershire/Staffordshire: Oldbury, West Bromwich, Halesowen, White Heath
Lancashire: Wigan, Aspull,
Nottinghamshire: Worksop
erbyshire:alfreton, ironville, codnor

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Offline familydar

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Re: where to start??
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 10 January 18 13:50 GMT (UK) »
Hi Alison

I think an autosomal test is the only type that may help with this, since you are female and it's your father who has the mystery background.  But I'd take the ethnicity estimates with a pinch of salt.

With luck you may get matches at near cousin level with others whose ancestry isn't in doubt, and that could give you some pointers as to who your father's father might have been.

You don't mention your mother but if it's possible for her to do the same test it would help you in establishing whether your DNA cousins are on your maternal or paternal side.

Autosomal testing is the most commonly available type of DNA testing for family history purposes.  It's offered by a range of companies.  I tested two or three years ago with FTDNA (their familyfinder test) and uploaded my results to GEDMatch (free) so my results could be compared with others who had tested with different companies.  However lots of people don't do this so more recently I also tested with Ancestry (they only do the one type of test) and that has resulted in a number of new matches.  You can upload Ancestry results to FTDNA but not the other way round, something to bear in mind, and you don't need an Ancestry subscription to see your results but it is something that I found myself sucked in to!  With FTDNA there's no ongoing subscription.  With both companies, you get to see new matches as other people test, it's not just a fixed point in time.  They both have periodic sales.  The cost of returning the Ancestry kit gets added on to your order (you get a pre-paid label) and it gets returned to an address in Ireland although I don't know where the processing is done.  With FTDNA you take it to the Post Office, I think it cost somewhere between 3 and 4 to send it to the USA.  Ancestry is spit in a tube (and it's a lot of spit!), with FTDNA you scrape something that looks like a soft-toothed cotton bud against the inside of your cheek.

There are other DNA testing companies out there.  If you've not done so, take a look at the DNA board here on rootschat to get a broader picture.

Jane :-)

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Offline clayton bradley

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Re: where to start??
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 10 January 18 14:05 GMT (UK) »
When you have done your DNA test, there is a lot of help on Facebook pages for DNA in genealogy (as well as on here, of course.) There are so many people who were adopted or who don't know their biological ancestors and are now trying to find out. cb
Broadley (Lancs all dates and Halifax bef 1654)

Offline Eric Hatfield

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Re: where to start??
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 27 January 18 02:56 GMT (UK) »
For what it's worth, my experience and advice is almost the same as Jane's. I started with FTDNA and the whole experience was good and inexpensive, then later also tested with Ancestry, which ends up costing a lot more. You can test with Ancestry and then upload to FTDNA, but the test isn't quite as good, and it doesn't cost much to do the separate test with FTDNA.

One thing to think of is the number of people from your region of interest who are likely to have tested with each company. I researched this before I started, and found that while Ancestry's database is by far the biggest, it was much more USA centric than FTDNA, and I calculated that there would actually be more matches in Australia (where I live) with FTDNA. And that proved to be the case - about twice as many matches at 4th cousin level. Not sure if it would be the same now (that was 2+ years ago) and in Europe where you are interested, but it's worth checking out. Also, is My Heritage more European based? I don't know.

But if you have enough cash, I'd suggest testing with both FTDNA and Ancestry, or else FTDNA and My heritage if they are mostly European, and then upload to FTDNA.

I also agree with getting your mother tested, because it helps eliminate many matches as not being from your father's side. I ended up arranging for an aunt, a cousin and a distant cousin all to test, and that really helped. But of course money doesn't grow on trees!

It may encourage you to know that after several years of hard and frustrating work, one of my mysteries was resolved very quickly when a good match was obtained between someone I didn't know and my aunt, and the mystery all fell into place. But that was after about 8-10 years of paper searching and 2 years of DNA with 5 tests. So it is worth doing and being patient!

It may be that someone will just pop out of the woodwork and solve your problem, but it may be that it doesn't happen that way, which means you have the hard task of trying to connect matches to you via their trees and yours., via paper records. This can be hard work, and will likely require several trails that don't lead anywhere before you hit on one that does. So you want to choose the best possibilities. There are several ways to do this.

(1) If your mum tests, chose people who don't match with her.

(2) Use the "in common with" tool in FTDNA and the equivalent in Ancestry to find who is in common with you best match, and again with your second best match, etc, then choose the person who has quite a few matches in common, because  you may find some common information there. FTDNA's chromosome browser is very useful here too.

(3) Obviously choose people who have good family trees, and/or who are cooperative and answer your emails.

Hop that helps.