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General => Ancestral Family Tree DNA Testing => Topic started by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 06 December 17 12:04 GMT (UK)

Title: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 06 December 17 12:04 GMT (UK)
My maternal side Grandmother was born illegitimate in 1895.  Could DNA testing possibly lead to finding out who her father could have been - possibly through cousin matching?  Is this something I could do or would a  brother be needed to do a test?

I find the topic of DNA advice a bit mind-boggling ::)  to understand so I am hoping that someone might be able to answer this question in a simple way.  I have been wondering for a while if this type of thing could be of help.  Can anyone enlighten me? :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Ayashi on Wednesday 06 December 17 12:24 GMT (UK)
If you are really really lucky you might be able to find shared matches between known cousins and other "unrelated" people around that point if you have multiple testers but getting something precise is probably unlikely. You would need to have a large number of testers for a start and secondly even the dna isn't that specific.

In my case, I have a few illegitimate children in the family.

My 2xgt grandmother had the middle name Uglow and we believed that the father was likely to be a brother of the aunt by marriage. DNA later showed that we have a lot of matches in the Uglow family. It is either the aunt's father or one of her brothers that is the guilty party, but although I may eventually be able to rule out the father (none of his wife's family appear to have tested as yet :/ ) I will likely never know which of the brothers was responsible.

My grandfather's mother, who was married with four children, ran off with the lodger and then had a baby. The lodger was on the birth certificate as the father and the child took his name, but either man could have been the father as far as we know. DNA later proved (although to be honest from photographs we already had it well pegged!) that her husband was the father.

My 2xgt grandfather was also illegitimate, but in his case there is no target to compare him to. He has no father on his birth certificate, nor on his christening or marriage. I cannot look into the ancestry of the candidate or candidates and find matches. In other words, he's a black hole. If I can find known cousins descended from him that would give me a point of reference with "shared matches"- if someone who cannot be linked to my tree has DNA in common with him, then I will know they are related to either him or his wife. If I have known cousins who are descendants of his wife's ancestors then I can further narrow down if a particular unknown match is related to her or him. I should add though that Ancestry's shared match function is pretty unreliable. I can't see that you would get a false positive though. I await the day when I have enough people tested to make this kind of investigation possible.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 06 December 17 13:47 GMT (UK)
Many thanks Ayashi, for your speedy and clear answer.  Oh, well never mind, who knows what new advancements may be made with DNA in the future.  It was very interesting to read about your own ancestors stories.

I guess many of us will have several ancestors or more who were then termed as 'illegitimate'.  No father was provided on my Grandmother's birth certificate and I have been unable to find any baptism record either.  She seems to have been brought up as her own Mother's sister.  However, a school admission record I found listed her previous school as having been in an area where her birth Mother moved to after marrying and having more children.  This makes me suspect for a time at least she may have lived with my Great Grandmother (her birth mother).  On her school admission record and marriage entry her Grandfather was named as her Father.

Thank you for taking the time to explain things.  I sort of expected that finding out the answer may not be possible yet but just wanted more clarification from someone (like yourself) who understands the DNA business a lot better than I do.  I appreciate your speedy response too. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: shellyesq on Thursday 07 December 17 02:06 GMT (UK)
I think it's possible if you get lucky. 

You could do it, or if your grandmother has any living children who are willing to test, it's best to test the older generation as they will have more of the unknown man's DNA than the next generation. 
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 07 December 17 07:12 GMT (UK)
Thank you for your post, shellyesq.  Unfortunately, the last of my Grandmother's children (my Aunt) died a few months ago in her late 80s.  I would not have been able to ask her about this as unfortunately she had dementia for many years.

I am not giving up however, as who knows in the future, DNA techniques may develop even further. :)

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: rlw254 on Monday 11 December 17 03:43 GMT (UK)
This is another scenario where testing a male from your grandmother's line could be very helpful. If you have any living uncles, or if there are any male cousins from an uncle, a YDNA test could point in the right direction for a surname match.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Monday 11 December 17 06:51 GMT (UK)
Short answer ..yes ..if you carn do good detective work
I already knew who birth father  of my grandmother was because her mother took him to court to pay

But finding descendents of his sister's in USA who shared DNA with my mum on Ancestry tests has confirmed that great grandmother didn't lie about paternity

Have you checked to see if there are any court records ? In 1900 they were called Affiliation orders .parish transcripts called them bastardy orders

I nearly missed my grandma's baptism record in church lists  because her mother was listed as Lottie Roberts not Charlotte.
Alsoon birth cert the baby girl had father's surname as her middle name
By the time she was baptised the mother had obtained maintenance payments so gave baby Maisie a different middle name which she used at school .

Good luck
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 12 December 17 10:16 GMT (UK)
Thank you rlw254 and brigidmac for your advice and suggestions.  Unfortunately, my Grandmother had only one son - my uncle - and he died several decades ago now.  His son is also now deceased. 
My Grandmother was born in South Shields, which was then part of Durham, in 1895, and as far as I am aware no affiliation orders would now exist.  However, if I am wrong then I would like to know about this as I would definitely explore such as avenue if it was possible.

You are fortunate, brigidmac that a court record exists and so you have been able to get closure about  who your great Grandfather was. 

I have tried all the Church of England Churches in South Shields without avail when looking for a baptism.  I would think it would surely have been considered quite important at that time for a baby to baptised and if only I could find out where -  perhaps her father might be named.

This was lucky that you did not miss out on finding your own Grandma's baptism.  A similar scenario happened to me when I was looking for my Grandmother's school admission record.  I had looked at a particular book and found nothing.  I closed the book and was just about to hand this back to the archive staff when a strong thought suddenly occurred to me that I needed to look again.  On the second search I found my Grandmother's name, her exact date of birth and the name of her Grandfather under the parent or guardian column.  Too many coincidences for this to have been anyone else but my Grandmother.  She was age 12 at this time.  It was also recorded that her previous school had been in a different named area and I know that this area was where her birth mother was living.  One intriguing thing was that the address recorded at the South Shields school was not the address of her maternal grandparents and family.  I did detective work on who lived there at that time and found that a widow and her family were long time residents at the address given.  I did wonder if one of the widow's sons may have been responsible for fathering my Grandmother and that she may have housed her as she was a possible Grandmother - but on checking one son was too young and the other died before Grandmother would have been conceived.  So I suspect Grandmother may have just boarded with the widow and family as a lodger perhaps.  It is all such a mystery!  I do hope somehow, someway, I may be able to get closure on this brickwall mystery eventually.

Thank you both again - I really appreciate that you have both made an effort to try to help by offering possible helpful and advice and suggestions.  This was very kind. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Tuesday 19 December 17 01:02 GMT (UK)
I would not have found the court order myself but a lovely lady at Cheshire records office checked to see if anything existed and then I paid for it .

It's worth asking the relevant records office for help on something like this and despite it being all computerised I like to phone with my queries first .

Good luck
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Dundee on Tuesday 19 December 17 01:22 GMT (UK)
This is interesting, not a bad result for a 1% match and some hard work.

http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-42256465

Debra  :D
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Tuesday 19 December 17 07:55 GMT (UK)
If your grandmother's father had other children.  Legitimately or illegitimately their grandchildren would show up as 3rd 4th or 5th cousin matches to you on Ancestry if the places of birth of their great grandfather s matched that could be a clue   again I was lucky that my great grandfather s family had emigrated to USA where a lot more people do the DNA testing also that they knew the country of origin of the patriarch .

You may be lucky if his later grandchildren are still alive their DNA may match your own

Good luck
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Yonks Ago on Tuesday 19 December 17 08:53 GMT (UK)
A sibling or Aunty or Uncle of his would also show DNA. I have heard where a lady found her birth mother on a DNA match of 10%. The mother did not do a DNA test but a distant relative of hers did. The lady who was looking for her birth mother looked at all her matches even down to the very low cM and saw that this person that matched her on 10% had a middle name which was her mothers maiden name and this was all the lady knew of her mother.
DNA gets weaker as you go back generations. But it is worth looking at all your DNA matches.

Yonks
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 19 December 17 09:29 GMT (UK)
Thank you everyone for these extra posts.  The next time I can get over to South Shields in the New Year I will ask at the records office to see if they may have an affiliation order tucked away somewhere.

I do wonder whether he may have died before my Grandmother was born?  When doing research I have come across people dying suddenly of illness which they likely would have survived today and occupational death such as mine accidents and death at sea.  My Great Grandmother 's brother was drowned at sea in 1902 just beyond the Shields piers when a storm started.  He was an apprentice pilot.  There was an attempt to save the two men in the boat but they only had time to save one and so my Great Grandmother's brother was washed away and drowned according to the Shields Gazette.  The man who was saved was called James Carter and he later gave medals to all his rescuers.

It would be fortunate though if my Great Grandfather had other children and if there might be a possibility of DNA matches through their lines.  Would an autosomal test be the one to go for? 

Merry Christmas Everyone :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Yonks Ago on Tuesday 19 December 17 09:46 GMT (UK)
Yes the Autosomal is family finder one [ FTDNA ] Do you have Ancestry Subscription..as It was Ancestry DNA which helped me knock down my 20 odd year old brickwall. Ancestry DNA do have a tool which you can put in a surname and or Place which matches you to those who are DNA linked.
Yonks
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Velma76 on Wednesday 21 February 18 01:10 GMT (UK)
I believe my DNA test may have done exactly this.

My maternal grandmother was born in 1926, and her mother never revealed the identity of the father.

My recent DNA test showed two second cousins in Ireland (309cm over 16), one of whom has been really forthcoming. He told me that he knew his connection with the other guy, their grandparents were siblings, but there was no obvious link with me. The family had stayed in the same region of Ireland for years, and I had no traceable history there.

But then he told me that three great great uncles had moved to Birmingham, were my great grandmother was, in the 1920s. It seems highly likely that one of them is my great grandfather. My mum is doing a test now, just to cut the odds down further.

I don't know if we'll ever be sure which brother it was, there's no-one left in living memory, but it's interesting to research. My new Irish cousin has told me of an ancestor who was a printed author, and things like that I never could have found out through genealogy alone, due to legitimacy.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Friday 25 January 19 03:49 GMT (UK)
Rivertyne lass
Have you decided to do DNA

Do keep us posted ...

And anyone else who solves this kind of mystery i think concrete examples really help show how to work with clues .
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: hurworth on Friday 25 January 19 06:12 GMT (UK)
Yes, it certainly can.

It took almost three years until a match that was close enough to really narrow it down turned up.  We believe the match's grandmother's brother was the father. 

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: jillruss on Friday 25 January 19 14:19 GMT (UK)
Absolutely! I've been 'lucky' twice, though I put it down to a lot of detective work as well as quite a bit of luck

My paternal great grandmother was illegitimate - born 1870 but no father's name on her birth certificate. Her mother would only have been about 14 when she was conceived and the grandparents passed my gt grandmother off as theirs on the 1871 census. I'd resigned myself to never knowing who her father was - until I did my DNA test and got a match with a lady in the USA, who was as determined as I was to find our - rather strong (46 cMs) - connection. The connection was actually with her husband's side.

We kept chipping away, even though she didn't have a tree on Ancestry, but we were making no progress until I checked out our shared matches (I was new to this at the time - I look at the shared matches as a matter of course now). This 2nd match had one chap - and only one - in England and. long story short (and it did take a few months!), that name turned out to be the 3-way connection. My natural great grandfather was more or less the same age as my gt grandmother; lived a few hundred yards up the road from her on the 1871 census - and emigrated with his parents and siblings to the USA soon after!! Since then about 4 or 5 further matches have arisen from the same US family - and most of them also match with my brother and my niece.

My second discovery was of a similar nature (53 cMs) but concerned my maternal great grandfather who was born 3 years after the death of his mother's first husband, and 3 years before her marriage to her second husband. Again, I'd pretty much given up trying to find his father. Again, it was the American lady's husband who was the link and again it took some finding. Eventually a surname she gave me for one of her husband's US ancestors triggered something in my head - not that I had that name in my tree but it sounded very much like a west yorkshire surname, and that's where my gt grandfather lived! From little acorns, and all that!! The US family hadn't even researched their tree back to England but had a vague inkling that family stories said that's where that line might have come from. Again, later additional matches proved to confirm it even more - and,yes, their family also emigrated to the US soon after my gt grandfather was born.

So, luck - yes - but, make no mistake, you'd have to be very, very lucky indeed if you just sit back and wait for the matches to come to you. They almost certainly won't. Keep chipping away (politely) give people access to your tree if its private and just keep the 'conversation' going.

I suppose that matches further back in time may prove more difficult to establish, especially if there's no census to help verify where they were living at the time, but I do currently have a third one (23.1 cMs)I'm working on and she was a 3xgreat grandmother born in 1805!!

Jill
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 29 January 19 10:37 GMT (UK)
Sadly, no, I have not gone ahead with getting a DNA test as yet.  I have put it on the back burner for now.  Mostly, the advice I have been given seems to be that the odds would be unlikely at present.  It is good to read about others though who have experienced success stories.

Also, I feel I still do not know enough about the subject at yet .. I confess, I still find the whole topic quite bamboozling.  Things like '46cMs' .. I just don't understand this at all I am afraid.  I don't have an Ancestry tree and my Mother and all her siblings have died .. perhaps all this goes against me as well. 

Sorry, to come across showing a lot of negativity after posting on this to sound people out regarding the idea .. but I think I may have to put this on the back burner for now .. perhaps until DNA advances further and my chances of success may increase and until I have educated myself more on this subject, which try as I might is still a bamboozling one to me.

Thank you so much to everyone for all your replies.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: shellyesq on Tuesday 29 January 19 10:47 GMT (UK)
I don't think you necessarily need to understand the scientific stuff to figure things out with DNA.  Ancestry (and other companies) will estimate a relationship between you and the other person.  After that, understanding genealogy can help you look at other people's trees and build off of them to look for a connection. 

Anyway, good luck in the future.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Sinann on Tuesday 29 January 19 11:08 GMT (UK)
Sadly, no, I have not gone ahead with getting a DNA test as yet.  I have put it on the back burner for now.  Mostly, the advice I have been given seems to be that the odds would be unlikely at present.  It is good to read about others though who have experienced success stories.

Also, I feel I still do not know enough about the subject at yet .. I confess, I still find the whole topic quite bamboozling.  Things like '46cMs' .. I just don't understand this at all I am afraid.  I don't have an Ancestry tree and my Mother and all her siblings have died .. perhaps all this goes against me as well. 

Sorry, to come across showing a lot of negativity after posting on this to sound people out regarding the idea .. but I think I may have to put this on the back burner for now .. perhaps until DNA advances further and my chances of success may increase and until I have educated myself more on this subject, which try as I might is still a bamboozling one to me.

Thank you so much to everyone for all your replies.
It's bamboozling to me as well, so I don't bother much with it, I also didn't have a tree on Ancestry but put on a simple one to go with the DNA, I can't see other peoples trees but still managed to find the family name and two likely candidates (brothers) for a child adopted in 1922. He was the grandfather of one of my matches, I had until than no idea he existed. You don't need to be an expert, you just need a match who is willing to help as I was with my match.
I was able to contact our shared matches and find how we all connected, this led to figuring out which family he was from, time of birth and place put the two brothers in the frame.
We hope some day some more matches will help to figure out which brother is the father.

My match also found the child's mother in a similar way, and new record releases meant finding his birth cert, sadly father not named.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: jillruss on Tuesday 29 January 19 14:52 GMT (UK)
I agree - I'm no scientist and I certainly didn't know much about DNA before I finally took the plunge.

I think its very much a 'learn as you go' process and, like most things, the more you look into it, the more you'll get out of it.

I hope you do soon feel ready to have a go - chances are, you'll not regret it.

Jill
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Spelk on Tuesday 29 January 19 19:44 GMT (UK)
An interesting read as I am thinking of doing the same to try fo sort out the father of my illegitimate grandmother. Had an autosomal DNA test with FTDNA who had already done my YDNA but no matches found.
There was earlier some talk about YDNA. In this case YDNA is no use. YDNA is only passed down through males so a Grandmother would not have any YDNA from her father.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: GailB on Saturday 02 February 19 08:50 GMT (UK)
I found the father of my maternal grandmother who was also illegitimate. It took about six months which isn't too bad. I tested with Ancestry and uploaded my DNA to ftDNA, MyHeritage and GedMatch. matches came from all of these sites. It was then confirmed by an aunt who had already been told but my mother never had.

I would say go for it.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 31 March 19 14:20 BST (UK)
My advice would be to test with AncestryDNA then upload your results to other sites such as MyHeritage. What you are hoping to achieve should be possible. I have been on the hunt for the parents of my mysterious great grandfather for many years and am now getting close to pinning them down thanks to new matches that are regularly rolling in on Ancestry. I now have a fairly good idea of which family one of his parents belonged to, but still have more work to do to identify the correct individuals. You may be lucky enough to have the information drop out easily from closer matches or you may need to put in considerable effort to do the analysis. Either way, you have nothing to lose and potentially much to gain by taking the test.
Unless you are worried about other potential surprises that might pop up and make you question your tree.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Spelk on Sunday 21 April 19 22:44 BST (UK)
I have had a result. A link with a woman in Canada shows that the step father of my grand mother was actually her father.  Job done.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Saturday 07 September 19 11:19 BST (UK)
I can't believe how long ago it has been since I started this post.  I have kept dithering about getting a test because I have had reservations due to often being bamboozled regarding the whole DNA topic. 

However, very recently I decided to finally bite the bullet and proceed.  I have sent off for an Ancestry.com kit.  They have sent me a link where I can track the progress of my kit and apparently it has now reached the destination country and left the receivers terminal so I expect it to arrive soon! 

After prevaricating for so long - now I can't wait for this to arrive and also get my results.  It would be amazing if I do ever find my unknown Great Grandfather!  I can but try.  Even if not I still might have other matches from people who may also have their DNA tested and I will find out my Ethnicity .. if there is not a large portion of Irish as in my paper trail .. goodness me!  No, I am sure that will be present.

Thanks for all the encouragement I have received and think this has certainly helped in overcoming my reservations.  I have also been somewhat inspired by a book I have read recently called 'Inheritance' by Dani Shapiro.  Although, hers is a totally different experience to mine - she was looking for a biological Father and discovered she had been conceived by an artificial insemination donor - I have been encouraged at how non-complicated the search can be.

I am now very much looking forward to this genealogical adventure!! :D
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Saturday 07 September 19 11:32 BST (UK)
Good luck RTL. To get the most out of your test you should prepare by connecting your result to your profile in a tree on Ancestry. Also watch the videos on Ancestry Academy and on Youtube so that you will be familiar with what is coming.
Give us a shout if you need any help in interpreting the results.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Saturday 07 September 19 11:39 BST (UK)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmbmAt5bm34

Thanks Craclyn, 

I am looking at this Ancestry clip at the moment and this does seem very helpful.  There do seem to be a lot of helpful videos out there.

I might well have to give a shout  ;D  I think I am no expert .. I daresay I will just have to learn as I go along.  It is reassuring that there are people on here to turn to for help if I do  get bamboozled along the way.
Thanks for your kind message.  :)

By the way, I have no tree on there - but I believe I can set up a free tree when my results come?
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Saturday 07 September 19 11:40 BST (UK)
Exciting!  I resisted the whole DNA thing for a long time, but now have the zeal of the convert - it’s really reinvigorated my interest in my own tree (which had ground to a bit of a halt).
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Saturday 07 September 19 11:52 BST (UK)
Thanks avm228, it is exciting! I have resisted for so long and now I want it done yesterday!  That is very encouraging that you feel you have now become a convert after having this done. 

It does all feel like an adventure is about to start! :D

I am quite interested in seeing my ethnicity - my paper trail points to English (one possibly Scottish - born in Edinburgh) and Irish bloodline ancestors only.  However, I have seen an early photo of my Great Grandmother and she does look a bit foreign.  I have also recently seen two childhood photos of my Grandmother's half siblings and if I did not know otherwise I would think they were foreign - although I could not pin point which foreign country.  They look darker skinned.  They were not foreign though - they were born in Durham to English parents.  One of my Great Grandmother's brothers was a Tyne Pilot.  The Tyne Pilots had nick names and this Pilot's nick name was 'the Arab' this was apparently on account of his looks and dark complexion.  I am curious as to whether I may have foreign links because of these things even though nothing shows on my paper trail.  I would be quite excited to see any foreign links if these do appear.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Saturday 07 September 19 12:16 BST (UK)
For what it is worth, my experience has been that 23andme (for which you’d need a separate test) is particularly good on ethnicity estimates.  My own is pretty straightforward - overwhelmingly English with a smattering of Scottish & Irish and remnants of a few Vikings in there, as expected from documentary evidence. But my niece and nephew have a more eclectic mix and 23&me is the only site which has yielded a bang on match to their known ancestry, and quite specific to locations (e.g. particular regions of Middle Eastern countries).

MyHeritage not so much. It has me at 0% English and mostly Scandinavian.

No doubt this will vary for different users depending on the size and diversity of the relevant database. But do be cautious about placing too much reliance on the ethnicity stuff.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: davidft on Saturday 07 September 19 12:35 BST (UK)

By the way, I have no tree on there - but I believe I can set up a free tree when my results come?

Just to say re setting up a tree there I would not wait until the results come. I would do it now even if you set it to private initially so that it is ready when your results come in and you get matches (hopefully) straight away. Good luck.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Saturday 07 September 19 12:59 BST (UK)
RTL, You can set up a free tree at any time. No need to wait for your results. I would recommend that you start now so that you have as much as possible on there and the connection linked before your results come in. You can either build from scratch or import a gedcom if you already have a tree on your computer or elsewhere online. Some of the automated functionality that suggests common ancestors will not work unless you have your kit connected to a tree which is either public or private and searchable.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Spelk on Saturday 07 September 19 13:39 BST (UK)
Just a correction to what I said earlier about having no matches on FTDNA. That was due to me stopping my results being compared to other results - which rather makes the test pointless.
Having corrected that I get plenty of connections on FTDNA. Mostly showing peoples trees which have common ancestors and no surprises.

My top three matches on Ancestry have me puzzled. The three people show as having common connections with each other as well as me. One of them is showing to be a likely first cousin which is quite possible as I know of 27 of them. But he or she does not have any tree uploaded so I'm not going to bother contacting them. The other two are likely 2nd or 3rd cousins.
One shows a tree with same people in my tree and I have been in touch with her (a second cousin) previously.
The other one has a tree with about 1000 people and looks OK with no obvious faults or gaps in recent ancestors but none of the surnames is familiar to me.
What I suspect is that there has been some "hanky panky" at some time. Sorting out whose tree has a wrong parent in it may be a bit delicate and difficult. 
In my tree I have a G2 Gmam whose parents I do not know but she is in a different branch so cannot be the source of the problem connection.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 08 September 19 10:02 BST (UK)
Thank you for advice that I can start a free tree straightaway - I had not realised that.

When I got home last night I found that my kit had arrived - good service, as this was ahead of predicted wait time of 7-10 days.  I won't do my sample or send off until tomorrow as I would like to at least get a certificate of posting before I send this off in case it might get lost.  I have successfully activated the kit.

Realistically, with regard to starting a 'tree' I might possibly have to wait until later in the week as I have a block of nightshifts coming up and will be running from pillar to post now until the end of the week.  Or is it possible just to start a tree (perhaps starting with my parents and working back) and keep adding here and there as I get time? 

I will appreciate any advice from anyone more familiar with the process.  Thanks in advance.

Added: Sorry for all these questiions - it is just I am hoping to get off to a good start and not inadvertently mess up at the get go.  ;)

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Sunday 08 September 19 10:29 BST (UK)
Do you have an offline tree in GEDCOM format? If so, the simplest (and best) option is to upload that, rather than starting from scratch.  Then the Ancestry software can interrogate your whole tree and find connections through the trees of your DNA matches.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Sunday 08 September 19 10:54 BST (UK)
Look forward to hearing your results
Look at your highest connection s first and eliminate all the branches you know about ..you can colour code anyone who descends from the other 7 great grandparents ...and for birth regions

Do you have any relatives who have done the DNA test too
It's very useful to see the links to people you know .
If you can get people of  the oldest generation to test the links will show more

My links to russian great grandfather don't all show.but my mums DNA connects to 2nd half cousins going down the line and relatives of her great aunts and uncles on the Russian side

We both connect to her cousin and half cousins  and can match to trees and documents on   father's side. But sometimes the more distant relative s don't show on mine .  There are a few tricks you can use to find a couple of names and photos from trees which are closed or unlinked to DNA.  But it will take a while .come back to this thread with specific questions when you have some potential family names  .
I'm happy to help if you want to pm me because you can't put any living names on here
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Spelk on Sunday 08 September 19 11:07 BST (UK)
Myself I did not want to upload the 5,000 people in my tree and most of it to be viewable to all and sundry. Once you put it out there people will treat it as public property and shamelessly copy it; and any errors you may have in it. I have seen numerous copies attached to stranger's trees of documents which I know originate from me.

So for the purpose of matching to my DNA results I loaded up a bare bones tree showing just my ancestors back to my G3 Gparents. No siblings or cousins. Giving dates and places so the people are identifiable. So that covers back to 4th cousins which is as far as I am interested.

To answer your question - yes you can start a tree with just yourself and add other people bit by bit as time permits.

Though living people will generally be "private", and so no details will be shown, one can usually easily find out their details. So to make it a bit harder I did not load up any details of me (called that person "me") and my parents and grandparents "P1" "P2" "GP1" etc. And to further confuse "nosy parkers" I shuffled my parents and Gparents.

Not that anyone with some research will have any difficulty determining who I am but I do not wish to hand out that info "on a plate".

PS - you can load several trees to Ancestry so you could have a simple tree made public for the DNA matching and have another tree which you make private so only visible to you and anyone you give permission to see it. I know of one distant relative who only has a tree on Ancestry. I sent him a Gedcom of the mutual branch of of our family and he had no idea what to do with it. Has no suitable software and thus if he ever stops subscribing to Ancestry he will no longer be able to view his tree let alone modify it. Not a good plan.

PPS - to be clear my Great Grandparents and the earlier generations are shown with names dates and places so any cousin up to 4th cousin can easily see how we are connected.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 08 September 19 11:38 BST (UK)
A bare bones tree will get you started, but if you want the full benefits from the automated functionality then it makes more sense to use a full tree with collateral lines included.
The suggestion of cutting out full names and details for closer generations and just using P1, P2 etc will probably prevent you from receiving Common Ancestors and ThruLines as the system cannot work out who you are. I had a couple of friends who tried this type of technique and they got no Common Ancestors until they replaced the information with correctly identifiable names and dates. Ancestry makes living people in your tree anonymous so their privacy is protected. Shuffling lines just creates confusion for your matches and for your own result analysis. It is probably better to have no tree at all than a tree that is deliberately erroneous and intended to mislead people.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Sunday 08 September 19 11:45 BST (UK)
If you are concerned about opening your tree to all and sundry, you can just make it private. It is still searchable by the software so that you are getting the best out of Ancestry’s tools.  If your linked tree is “bare bones” then you are not harnessing that power. You will get DNA matches, of course, but you won’t get the same number or quality of pointers to where the link is, because Ancestry does not know enough about your, er, ancestry.

If you just wanted DNA matches without tree links then in my view 23&me or MyHeritage are better options because they give you your segment data so that you can collate matches on DNAPainter.

X-posted with Craclyn but I agree that shuffling generations and removing names is a really bad idea. This is explained in Ancestry’s video tutorials.  You’re just sabotaging your own information and thus the usefulness of the DNA test on which you have spent £££.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 08 September 19 12:55 BST (UK)
I will just have to start with a bare bones tree and get all the bmd's up as soon as possible when work permits.  I am not a very technical person and know nothing of things like gedcom.  Heard of it, that is all.

It is starting to sound complicated already and I hope this will be suitable for someone like me, who is not entirely computer savvy/technical/DNA literate.

Oh well, it is too late now as I have already started the process.  I will just have to do what I can and make the best of what may or may not come. As far as I know, no known living relative has carried out a DNA test.  I will post about my results when these eventually come.

Thanks for advice and offers of help with understanding things further down the line.  It is sounding already that I might need this.  I am already starting to feel like the country hick come to town.  ;) Oh, dear! :-\
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 08 September 19 13:08 BST (UK)
Don’t worry about it being complicated RTL. Just take things one step at a time and it will make sense.
When you get your match list you will amazed at how many of your living biological relatives have actually tested. You may even find that you already know some of them.
If you have your tree on a computer then the gedcom process is fairly straightforward. Gedcom is just a file format that can be used to transport a tree between two different systems. You export a file from the tree you have already built then import it to Ancestry. Saves a lot of time rebuilding a tree. We can guide you through that if you tell us what software you use for your tree.
We may even find that we match each other. You and I have several common surnames in our research.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 08 September 19 13:30 BST (UK)
Hi Cracklyn,

No I don't have a tree on a computer.  I just have a tree on FamilySearch which I look at and can add to using my Kindle.  I can use a computer at the library. 

I have had an email from Ancestry about starting my tree and in these few moments have added full birth and death dates for my parents and Grandparents.  However, I have made an inadvertent spelling blip with Grandmother's first name - there is an edit button but nothing happens when I press it. I might have to wait until I can get to a library later this week. 

Also, I can't seem to get anyone up beyond Grandparents.  I have plenty of dates to add so this is a shame.  Perhaps I am doing something incorrectly or perhaps it might be something to do with the Kindle I am using. ???

Also I don't seem to have been asked to make a user name for my tree - I hope what I have started will exist and not just be a try out. ???

Yes, I have been wondering too if we might be related as I have also noticed we have several of the same names. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 08 September 19 13:43 BST (UK)
If I remember correctly the initial screen to create a new tree only goes as far as grandparents. Once you have added your parents you should be able to view the tree normally just by going onto your Ancestry account. It will have been automatically given a name which you can change by going into tree settings. You should be able to edit your mistake and add more people by going into the tree from your account rather than the initial set up screen. Good luck.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 08 September 19 13:51 BST (UK)
Just playing about in the mean time I have been able to sort out the above problems.  I have now edited name of Grandmother to correct spelling and can see more where I can add to. 

I will stop there for now as other things are pressing before my nightshift start tonight.  However, I hope to have lots completed before my results come back in predicted 6-8 weeks.

Thanks for your help and encouragement Craclyn and to everyone else who has advised/helped.  I am learning as I go. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 08 September 19 14:01 BST (UK)
You are welcome. Don’t forget to connect your DNA kit to you in your new tree  :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Liviani on Tuesday 10 September 19 02:10 BST (UK)
Following this thread with interest as the whole reason I did a DNA test was to find out who the biological father was of my illegitimate 2x great grandmother.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 10 September 19 19:17 BST (UK)
Hi Liviani

Were you able to trace your Grt x 2 Grandfather using the DNA route or is this still a work in progress for you?  Was this missing ancestor on your maternal side as mine is?

It would certainly give me hope if you have been able to discover your Great Grandfather but if you haven't I wish you success with this.

I think it is an amazing thing that it seems that DNA testing can now make things a possibility whereas one time it would have been a closed door.  :)

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Liviani on Tuesday 10 September 19 19:27 BST (UK)
Hi Liviani

Were you able to trace your Grt x 2 Grandfather using the DNA route or is this still a work in progress for you?  Was this missing ancestor on your maternal side as mine is?

It would certainly give me hope if you have been able to discover your Great Grandfather but if you haven't I wish you success with this.

I think it is an amazing thing that it seems that DNA testing can now make things a possibility whereas one time it would have been a closed door.  :)

It's still a work in progress at the moment. I done two tests one with Living DNA and one with Ancestry. I've discovered a lot of matches on my established lines but the vast majority are unknown. The DNA tests have only been done this summer. I've uploaded Ancestry Tests to FTDNA and MyHeritage (still waiting on MyH) and both to GEDmatch.

My unknown 2x great grandfather is through my paternal line, I do have a close-ish DNA match with this line, but can only confirm the already known people. No one knows who the 2x great-grandfather is unfortunately.

It follows this line me > my father > my grandmother > her mother > the unknown person


Thank you very much and I hope I get some answers soon. I like a good mystery! Did you find your missing ancestor (I'll confess I haven't read the full thread yet).


Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 12 September 19 10:32 BST (UK)
No, I have not found my missing ancestor.  After dithering for such a long while I have finally decided to try the DNA route.  I just sent off my sample on Monday and I am now waiting for my results to come back.  Hopefully, there might be some clues.  It is worth a try.  DNA is quite new territory for me    and  I have a lot to learn about this DNA stuff but I suppose we all have to start somewhere.  I know there are no guarantees that I will eventually find my missing Great Grandfather but I think I might regret it if I didn't at least try.

Good luck with your research - let's hope we are both successful one day. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Friday 13 September 19 07:11 BST (UK)
My granny was adopted we knew who her mother was just not where she went .also knew that she had a ' respectable' son from a letter granny had kept from her DNA came up with a match to this respectable son as 3rd cousin to me ... actually half cousin once removed .

Also found 3-5thcousins who were related to the birth father's family ...he hadn't had any of his own children ...the matches showing as 4-8thcousins were descended from his sisters so no names in common either...took a lot of detective work and most of them have private trees .
But one lady was able to provide me a photo of our mutual great great grandfather !

I was lucky that my mother did her DNA first so someone showing up as 2nd or 3rd cousin to her and not matching the known paternal cousin and half cousin who were on ancestry were worth investigating !

My advice is always to add as many details of brothers and sisters as you know . The missing great grandfather had 9 siblings and 3 half siblings who survived into adulthood.

I hope that inspires you .
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 13 September 19 09:56 BST (UK)
Hi brigidmac,

Thank you so much for this!  Your story is very inspiring and encouraging to me.

I am working in spare moments to build up a tree in preparation for results.  Starting from myself I have put my parents as 'private' although both are deceased.  I am concentating more on Grandparents and their families backwards.  Is this the right thing to do?  Or should I be putting up my Mother's (and her siblings) info up too - as they will all be Grandchildren of this unknown man?

My Great Grandmother was only 17 when she gave birth to my illegitimate Grandmother.  Six years later she married in a different area and had five more children.  Her children all did well in life and had very respectable and successful careers.  I have kept my Great Grandmother's husband and subsequent children private.  This is out of respect for a descendant (and their family) of one of these children who has been more than kind to me.  They only discovered through me in 2014 that my Grandmother was the daughter and not the youngest sister of their own Grandmother.
My Great Grandmother's other five children would have had no biological link with my missing Great Grandfather anyway.

Many thanks again for your post brigidmac.  Although, I know that are no guarantees your story has increased my excitement and sense now that it is the right thing to do now in trying the DNA route.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Friday 13 September 19 13:28 BST (UK)
You should be adding the collateral lines too. This all helps to identify where matches fit into place. You say you have put your parents as «private». If you find when your results come through that you have no matches showing Common Ancestors and no ThruLines then you may have to re-evaluate that decision. The system will be having to make guesses about how you connect to your grandparents if you have shut off information about your parents.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Friday 13 September 19 13:30 BST (UK)
Yes it is a bad idea to put parents as private, as it obscures the links between you and people further up & sideways in the tree.

Better to include them but omit their death details, so that the system (thinking they are living) treats them as private but still searchable by the computer.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Saturday 14 September 19 08:51 BST (UK)
Thanks Cracklyn and avm228 for this advice.  I certainly don't wish to scupper my chances so this weekend I will change my parents from private and put on birth dates (but not death dates so they still show as private).  At least this way it sounds like they will still be picked up in the system as a link.  I will do the same for their siblings who are also all deceased. 

I take it as they will still show as 'private' that I won't need to add information (apart from birth dates) such as marriages etc for my parents and their siblings?

For Grandparents, their family members and going backwards I am in the process of adding all dates for bmd and other things such as school & work information where I have these.

I am so glad I am on RootsChat as I think I would easily scupper my chances without having known why without all your advice - so I am very appreciative of this - thank you again. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Saturday 14 September 19 09:08 BST (UK)
Yes, that should work fine.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: DianaCanada on Saturday 14 September 19 16:19 BST (UK)
Just thought I would give you a little encouragement.
I tested via Ancestry almost 3 years ago and had my brother tested as well.  My father came from Lancashire and my mother from Sussex so that helped me sort out the matches most of the time.
My main goal was to find my unknown grandfather, my mother being born to a single mother.  I was able to eliminate the known maternal lines, and it helpful that my mother's half-nephew was tested as we have the same grandmother but a different grandfather.
It has taken me almost 3 years...Ancestry's relentless advertising campaign has meant I now have almost about 10 times as many matches as I did in 2016.  Another odd thing is that my brother has way more matches than I do, but his test has been very useful because of this.
I now believe I have narrowed my grandfather down to one of 3 brothers from Warbleton, Sussex.
I have lots of matches on the paternal side (BIG families) and have found some on the maternal side as well.  I also found a newspaper article about the brothers while they were serving in WW1 and photos were included! I have an unknown man photo amongst my mother's things, and it could be one of the three brothers ..I think one of them looks a lot like him.
The best match I have is to a woman who is the daughter of their first cousin, and another match to the grand daughter.
So it takes time and persistence, but yes, it can be done.
I also helped someone find their father through another relative's test...that one was a snap because of still-living people, etc.  And my former brother in law realized his grandmother was not the daughter of her supposed father, and figured out who was.  So there are three success stories!
My next project...identify my gr grandfather 's father...also from Warbleton!
Good luck and here's to your own DNA success!
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: barryd on Saturday 14 September 19 19:01 BST (UK)
I was just discussing yesterday with two ex soldiers could DNA testing discover who the unknown warrior buried in Westminster Abbey is. Possibly yes but probably will not happen. Good.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: shellyesq on Saturday 14 September 19 21:25 BST (UK)
I was just discussing yesterday with two ex soldiers could DNA testing discover who the unknown warrior buried in Westminster Abbey is. Possibly yes but probably will not happen. Good.

I have been to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the US, but I didn't know it was something that was done elsewhere.  So I have learned something today.  :) 
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 15 September 19 12:33 BST (UK)
Thank you so much DianaCanada for providing another encouraging story.  That is amazing that through DNA you have been able to trace through to one of three brothers and also to find their WW1 records and photographs! It sounds like you are able to veer towards one of these brothers in particular based on likeness in looks.

It does seem like DNA testing combined with good research and patience can lead to wonderful breakthroughs these days.  Also, due to the ever increasing number of people having their DNA tested this will surely get easier to form links.  I just hope that some descendants of my unknown Great Grandfather or of his family members may have tested - or yet may in the future - and perhaps this might lead to a breakthrough.

I watched an Ancestry video recently in which the presenter pointed out that although people and written records can provide wrong information "DNA does not lie".  I really like this idea that DNA can uncover the truth.

Thank you for your good wishes Diana and I wish you future success too in identifying your great x 2 Grandfather.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Miss Trees on Sunday 15 September 19 22:03 BST (UK)
Good luck with your results!

With persistence you may just find the link, but it may take time -- time for you to learn how to make sense of it all, and time for that one person that is key to breaking down your brickwall to finally decide to test. You could be that one person for someone else also :)

While you are waiting, build your tree, and when you get your results, look at your closest matches first and your COMMON matches. Use the colour tagging to sort your matches into branches as much as possible. You can start broad (maternal/paternal) and refine later. It is helpful if you have known family members who have tested which will allow you to figure out which side of the family an unknown common match comes from.
Also pay attention to anyone with people in their trees from the right area and time frame, and colour tag those also.

Please do not be discouraged if you email someone on your match list and do not get a reply. Keep plugging away. This seems to be a chronic thing with Ancestry matches who have only tested for their ethnicity. But there is another reason this may happen: When you send a message through the Ancestry messaging system, it is usually forwarded to the match's email. I have heard that sometimes people reply directly to that email instead of through Ancestry, which goes nowhere. So make sure to include your email address in any messages you send out.

My dad and I took the test about a year ago. There were some interesting results and we connected up to a first cousin of his in England, but both of us really wanted to know more about his paternal great grandfather's family in Ireland. It's been a long road and decades of traditional research just to get there, because my grandfather came to Canada alone as a young boy and knew very little.

I had found a family living in Ireland around the right time and they seemed like they could be the right fit for several reasons. I could not find the baptism I needed to prove it, but I still researched the heck out of them as the coincidences were too much to ignore.

Dad and I had a couple known close cousins come up on Ancestry from that side of the family, so I was able to tag some of our shared matches. There were a couple enticing ones. A couple didn't have trees and didn't answer emails. One was a man with surname from my *potential* 3rd great grandmother in Ireland, but didn't reply to email. One had a very small tree indicating he came from Ireland, did reply to my email, but had no clue beyond his grandparents and none of them had familiar surnames.
Finally just a couple days ago, a new match popped up. He had an Irish name but no tree and he was a common match with all the people above. He was estimated 4-6 cousins.

I emailed him right away. He emailed back right away. He said my surname sounded familiar and thought it had come up in his research years ago, which was "locked away" as he'd "completed" his tree. I replied did he recognize my potential 3rd great grandmother's surname. Yes he did. Then a day or so later he emailed me a scan of a hand drawn tree and there was my family in Ireland, with photos. The same one I had thought was mine but could not prove on paper. Boom.

He seemed keen to talk about our research together but sadly stopped emailing when I told him our common ancestor was 4 generations from my father. :( I think he was hoping for a closer link. Or maybe he's just on holidays, let's hope.

Are you on Facebook? There are several fantastic groups helpful to people new to ancestral DNA. I've also heard great things about the book "The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy" and have considered getting it myself. The author runs one of the groups on facebook.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Monday 16 September 19 20:44 BST (UK)
Thank you for your post Miss Trees with advice and an account of your own experience.  This is very helpful and encouraging to me and very likely, for others too.  I am entering into this with a realistic view that it all depends on who may have tested already or who might in the future and their willingness to communicate.  I am also prepared to have the mindset that it might take a lot more work and patience and I know there are no guarantees.  However, all these stories I have heard about DNA testing encourages me to think that there might be some hope now of discovering my Great Grandfather as opposed to likely no chance if I hadn't decided to go along this DNA route.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I had been putting off because I was hoping to wait at least until I felt I understood a little bit more about the subject of DNA.  I have found, and still find this whole subject a bit bamboozling.  However, I have decided now just to accept my limitations in getting my head around this topic in advance and to just now 'go for it' in the hope that I will learn as I go along.  Thankfully, there do seem to be a number of people on RootsChat who are quite knowledgeable and it is reassuring to think I can ask for help on here if I don't understand something along the way.  I certainly have a lot to learn but I daresay we all have to start somewhere.

Thanks also for your advice about emailing.  I will certainly be following this advice not to become discouraged if I don't get a response and to include my own email in any messages I do send out.  (As it happens I do know someone who was a bit disheartened recently through a non response to their communication).  I daresay, it is easy for any of us to jump to the conclusion that others choose not to respond/or are not interested but there could be any other number of reasons such as communication failure/difficulties, as you have mentioned, or they might be on holiday, or even ill etc.

Your own experience has been very interesting to read.  How wonderful to be able to more firmly establish your family line which  was not possible to 'prove' on paper.  I recently watched an on-line presentation by Crista Cowan in which she states "DNA doesn't lie."   It is marvellous that this process can help us uncover the truth, as with the best of intentions, people and paper trails can make/show mistakes or be purposefully misleading. 

I have just heard today that another RootsChatter, who appears to be a distant cousin on my Dad's side on the paper trail has now also sent off for a test!  So hopefully further down in the process we will be identified as matches.  I will have to look at a relationship chart to establish what degree of cousins this person and I might be - but it seems from my paper trail that we share my Great x 3 Grandparents in our bloodline.

Once again, thank you so much for your post Miss Trees - very helpful, interesting and much appreciated.  :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: DianaCanada on Monday 16 September 19 21:18 BST (UK)
Thank you so much DianaCanada for providing another encouraging story.  That is amazing that through DNA you have been able to trace through to one of three brothers and also to find their WW1 records and photographs! It sounds like you are able to veer towards one of these brothers in particular based on likeness in looks.

It does seem like DNA testing combined with good research and patience can lead to wonderful breakthroughs these days.  Also, due to the ever increasing number of people having their DNA tested this will surely get easier to form links.  I just hope that some descendants of my unknown Great Grandfather or of his family members may have tested - or yet may in the future - and perhaps this might lead to a breakthrough.

I watched an Ancestry video recently in which the presenter pointed out that although people and written records can provide wrong information "DNA does not lie".  I really like this idea that DNA can uncover the truth.

Thank you for your good wishes Diana and I wish you future success too in identifying your great x 2 Grandfather.

You're very welcome, and thank you for your encouragement about finding my great great grandfather (my grandmother's grandfather). One problem is having a lot of families from the same rural area - they get very intertwined!
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Miss Trees on Wednesday 25 September 19 06:21 BST (UK)
So I just ordered the e-book 'Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy' (second addition), and I do recommend it if you want something to read while you're waiting for your results.
It's quite easy to read, though some of it might not sink in until you actually get your hands dirty :D

I also recommend (If you're on facebook) the groups "Genetic Genealogy Tips and Tricks" and  "DNA Newbies". "DNA Detectives" is another which specializes in unknown paternity and biological family "recent and more distant".

Once you get your results I would also recommend downloading your raw DNA and uploading it to MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA, for even more cousin matching.

Look forward to hearing when you get your results and how much fun you're having with it!
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 27 September 19 13:29 BST (UK)
Thanks for this Miss Trees.

My tracker now shows than my DNA has been extracted and this being analysed and is now 'in progress'.  I like the way that everything is tracked and dated from the time an order is placed. :)

I am having a hectic time but hope you keep adding to my tree in readiness for results coming in whenever I can.  Estimated date is now October 16th but the kit arrived sooner than predicted so results might come sooner.

I have watched a Cristina Cowan video about how to cope unexpected results and I have been drawn to stories about people who have received surprises (or shocks in some cases).  I don't know why I am drawn to all this as I expect my family line to be predictable with what I know or have found.  ;D

It would be an eye opener if in my ethnicity estimates I have no Irish - I certainly am expecting this as there are plenty of from 'Ireland' ancestors on my paper trail.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Friday 27 September 19 18:27 BST (UK)
At least you are aware that there can be surprises  :) I didn’t get any surprises on my own close ancestry, but I did find a little surprise for a 1C1R who now has an extra daughter he was previously not aware of.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Saturday 28 September 19 09:40 BST (UK)
Yes, Craclynn, I am aware from what I have been watching and reading that people might get surprises (or shocks) when they send off to get their DNA analysed.  As I say, I don’t  anticipate anything like this in at least my close family line.  I have occasionally read of people almost blaming these DNA companies if they find out that things are different to what they expected.  Almost  like a case of ‘shoot the messenger’.  However, in my own case I am of the attitude that I would rather know the truth, whatever that may present itself as.  Perhaps DNA companies should have a disclaimer that people have to sign beforehand acknowledging that they accept that unexpected results might be forthcoming and on their own heads be it, perhaps?

I do wonder if someone else if they have tested might discover more now that I am getting tested though.  One of my Uncles married for the first time in the 1940s.  The marriage dissolved after a few years – they had had one, possibly two sons.  My uncle remarried and had another son.  I only knew his second wife and his first marriage seems to have been a bit of a hush up – even though my Mother did mention to me that he had  had a previous marriage.  I have few photos in the house of my uncle as a young man with a woman with a forties  hair style and then with the Auntie (his wife) who I knew.  I have now been questioning if these women in my photos are actually two separate women – first then second wife.  When I think of it they do look quite different women – I used to put it down to aging but now I am not so sure.
I am now wondering if his son(s) from first marriage have tested or any possible descendants of theirs that they might discover the side of their family that was missing.  I know my family and I would be very happy to welcome these long lost cousins if they do emerge.  My Uncle, his second wife and his son from second marriage are all now deceased.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 29 September 19 09:55 BST (UK)
Yes, if any of your uncle’s first family have tested they will show up in a fairly high position on your match list and you on theirs. Your test can provide some interesting information for them. Since you have not tested any immediate family your cousin would probably show as the first person on your list if he has taken a test with AncestryDNA  :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: shellyesq on Monday 30 September 19 19:12 BST (UK)
I recently read a memoir by a woman who had a surprise from DNA testing.  The book was called Inheritance by Dani Shapiro.  She took the DNA test on a whim with no expectation of discovering anything unusual and discovered that her late father was not her biological father, as she was conceived from donor sperm.  It was a well-written book, as the author was a professional writer even before all this, so I would recommend it to anyone who finds this topic interesting.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Monday 30 September 19 19:45 BST (UK)
I recently read a memoir by a woman who had a surprise from DNA testing.  The book was called Inheritance by Dani Shapiro.  She took the DNA test on a whim with no expectation of discovering anything unusual and discovered that her late father was not her biological father, as she was conceived from donor sperm.  It was a well-written book, as the author was a professional writer even before all this, so I would recommend it to anyone who finds this topic interesting.

I’ve just ordered this on your recommendation, shellyesq - looking forward to reading it :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 01 October 19 07:02 BST (UK)
Thanks Craclynn, I will be looking to see is this unknown cousin or descendants might have tested when results come through.😊.  I am still busy adding ancestors to my tree and expect I will have more to add when/after results come through.  If I add someone after I receive my results will potential matches be updated straightaway or does Ancestry only update on matches every now and then?  I have noticed that my predicted date of getting results had now moved much closer.  I am going to try to resist opening results if they come through before my next day off - it looks likely to be imminent.

I have also read the Dani Shapiro book (I mentioned this in post 26) and found this fascinating and would also recommend this to anyone else.  In fact it was after reading this book that I decided to take the plunge into DNA testing.  I expected to read about a long search but she was able to discover her Father relatively quickly using ancestry DNA testing.  What took longer was to build a relationship enough with donor Father to get answers about her biological heritage.  Her donor Father had expected anonimity when he donated so someone coming forward out of the blue took a bit of adjusting to.  As has been mentioned she had only taken the test on a whim and had not expected anything unusual so it must have all seemed like a lightning bolt experience. 
This book is well written and I found it very hard to put down until I had finished.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Tuesday 01 October 19 16:30 BST (UK)
New matches come in as they are processed. Usually a few appear each day. As you add more people to your tree you will see that the system is able to make more suggestions about common ancestors and Thrulines explaining where your matches may fit in. Tree changes can take a day or two to reflect in the Common Ancestors and ThruLines.
I bet you can’t resist a peak at your results as soon as they roll in  :) :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 02 October 19 07:30 BST (UK)
Thanks for this Craclynn.  Oh my goodness!  I see from an email that came in at 1 am this morning that my results are ready! !   :D

Even though I am tempted, I am going to try to wait until my next day off to click this open.  I want to be able to ponder on what is revealed and not rush things.  I really want to add just a few more ancestors' details too when I get time.  It is good to know that any matches are regularly updated as although I have managed to get quite a lot up I am nowhere near finished.

Thanks for everyone's help and advice which has seen me through to this part. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 03 October 19 09:45 BST (UK)
Hi Craclynn,
You were right after all, as I ended up giving into temptation last night and looked at my results instead of waiting until I had a complete day off.  It would seem that you know me better than I know myself. ;D
I am pleased to see my results do support my paper trail as my ethnicity estimate turns out to be 60% Ireland and Scotland which was further broken down into four more bullet points:
Ulster, Ireland
Louth & Monaghan
Monaghan
South Monaghan
I wonder if this means that broken down, these ancestors come from South Monaghan?  There is a baptism for a Joseph Conroy at a Roman Catholic, who did not live long.  I have long suspected that he was a brother of my Great x 2 ancestor James.  On the baptism entry it is recorded that he was the son of ‘James and Mary Conroy  (of Monaghan)’.  Thank goodness that someone put in that Monaghan reference.
I am also recorded as having 37% ethinicity for  England, Wales & Northwestern Europe, which was further broken down into two further bullet points:
Scottish Lowland, Northern England & Northern Ireland
England-Scotland Border
I also have 3% as Norway.

I have lots of matches, which is brilliant but nothing closer than a second cousin, who has no tree and a lot of third cousins and other lower matches.  I am buzzing at the moment now I have seen my results and I am so glad that I went ahead and went down the DNA route.  :D There appears to be so much to work on and eventually matches to try to get in contact with.  I can see some of my matches with particular ancestors that I have in my tree.  There are possibly a couple of blips or perhaps not – a Grandmother (Mother of my Father) – she was an only child but seems now to have a half brother.  That is a bit puzzling  - I don’t know if this is a bit of computer confusion.  Also, a Great x 2 Grandmother who was also illegitimate (but on my Dad’s side) is linked with a DNA match to the man who became the husband of her Mother my Great x 3 Grandmother.   I will have to try and work on what is happening there.  I don’t know if he might have been her Father or perhaps this might be some computer confusion or it just means that I match with a descendant of his wife?

I am pleased to see a DNA connection to a match who appears to be a descendant of my Great Grandfather Simon Peter Conroy’s brother James who went to America. 

Anyway,  I have lots to look at and loads to work on.  If I do ever get to find out who my Maternal side Great Grandfather is I will certainly let everyone know on here.  Thanks again for everyone’s help and advice on this post. :)



Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Thursday 03 October 19 09:59 BST (UK)
It’s fascinating, isn’t it! In my case it has completely reinvigorated my interest in my own tree.  It has not only helped me trace living relatives and break down brick walls, but also understand the narrative better.

E.g. my 4xg-grandparents (Scots-Irish) moved their whole family from Scotland to Massachusetts in the mid-19thC. Why? I just thought it was what everyone was doing at the time. I have now found they already had family there, and in turn those newly-discovered family members have yielded good US records which have enabled me to trace the family’s Irish origins back to a particular place in County Antrim.

Best of luck with the new adventure and keep us posted on any exciting finds :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Thursday 03 October 19 13:05 BST (UK)
I knew you would not be able to resist it  :) :)
Second cousin is a pretty good match to work with, even if there is no tree.
I am out and about at the moment, so I will read your post a bit more carefully when I get home. Have fun exploring.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 04 October 19 10:37 BST (UK)
Hi avm,
Thanks for your good wishes sent.  I agree it is fascnating .. I now wish I had got around to this a lot sooner.  That is marvelous to hear how much you have been able to discover about your own ancestors’ story and their move to America.  I did once hear a family story about my Grandfather having advised my Dad to go to Amerca (which he never did).  I used to wonder about that, thinking why would he want my Dad to leave all the family and go to live in a completely different country.  However, since I have started on my paper trail I have found that a number of my Dad’s ancestors made their way to America.  It is amazing what you can find out when you get digging.
I think you will enjoy reading the book ‘Inheritance’ by Dani Shapiro when it arrives.  She was able to find her ‘donor’ biological Father not because he had tested but because a relation of his had. 
Hi Craclyn,
Yes, a second cousin sounds like quite a good match.  I have sent them a message.  Or at least I hope I have – I can’t see anything which tells me that my message has been successfully sent.  I have included my email as advised on here.  I have been thinking about my results.  I have an ancestor – Edward Senior, who was originally from Middlesex and his family were from here too.  This part of the country is not included in my ethnicity.  Edward was a 2 x Great Grandfather – I wonder if these means I have not picked up the DNA side of his family?
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Friday 04 October 19 11:03 BST (UK)
Don’t worry about ethnicity at county or region level. It is not that specific. You also don’t know how long that line may have been in Middlesex. It may have been just passing through for a generation or two. Follow your matches rather than ethnicity estimates.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Friday 04 October 19 11:21 BST (UK)
I’m already halfway through “Inheritance” and much enjoying it! Dani Shapiro writes beautifully - I might look out more of her work afterwards.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 04 October 19 11:22 BST (UK)
Thanks for this Craclynn, I will do as you say and focus on the matches.  That is true - I do not know how long they were in Middlesex for.

Also, I have just seen a sent button and I have found messages that I have sent so far.   :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 04 October 19 11:29 BST (UK)
Yes, that was such a good read avm - I am glad you are enjoying this.  I like that she documents her feelings as she narrates her story.   It really felt like I was experiencing her journey with her and I am glad that she got her answers.  It must have been quite a roller coaster to discover things were not as she expected.  And to think if it was not for her husband getting a kit and her joining him in this on a whim, she may have always been in the dark.

I wish there were more DNA stories around like this.  This was a very hard to put down read. :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: dicko99 on Tuesday 08 October 19 10:42 BST (UK)
Just to add my encouragement to your thread, here's my story:

My late Dad was adopted and never wanted to know who his birth parents were. When I started building my family tree it always niggled that all the relatives I was adding on his side were from his adopted family.

I made some enquires about gaining access to his adoption records and it seems to be a very expensive business so I decided to take a DNA test in the hope of finding some matches on Ancestry. I got my Mum to take one too to help isolate my Dad's side matches.

Results came back and the best match on my Dad's side was a full first cousin living in the USA! Contacting her revealed that my Dad had a sister (born about 5 years before him) who wan't adopted but was raised in a children's home. Unfortunately her birth certificate didn't list a father either but I now knew that my Dad's mum was called Dorothy.

I then decided to build a new tree on Ancestry based just on DNA matches to try and unify all the matches but this proved to be a lot harder than I imagined and didn't yield much.

So I went back to the records and noticed that my Dorothy was working as a housekeeper for a widow in the 1939 census. Checking the 1911 census showed that the widow had a son about 2 years older than Dorothy who didn't marry until after both her children were born. Adding him into my DNA tree yielded a couple of common ancestors which seems to prove him to be my birth grandad!

Based on my experience I would recommend building as big a tree as possible, try to find as many aunts as possible and work out who they married as this is where new names come into your family tree.

Good luck!

R.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Gadget on Tuesday 08 October 19 11:11 BST (UK)
Sorry - wrong thread  :-[
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 09 October 19 09:57 BST (UK)
That really is a very inspiring story, thank you so much for posting about this, dicko99.  Congratulations on your success - this is the type of successful outcome, I daresay, many of us hope for.   This has certainly given me food for thought, as I am wondering if I did something similar if this might possibly yield some results.  Perhaps you or someone else might advise.

To explain what I am on about - this is the situation I have .. my Grandmother was born illegitimate in South Shields in 1895.  My evidence was firstly my Mother's say so and then I purchased the birth cert.  I later received information from a descendant of a half sibling of my Grandmother about what became of my Grandmother's birth Mother.
I then found a school admission record for my Grandmother at a South Shields school.  The record gives her exact date of birth and her Grandfather's name as her parent or guardian.  It also recorded that her previous school had been at 'Harrogate'.  I do know that birth Mother was living at Harrogate over this time.  However, an address was given in South Shields for my Grandmother which I did not recognise.  I did some further research (at South Shields library etc) to find out who did live there.  I found that my Grandmother's Grandparents had consistently lived at one address and that a lady called Hannah Davison and her family had consistently lived at the address given in the school record which was 123 Hedley Street (South Shields).

I have been wondering for a long while now if Hannah might have been some relation of my Grandmother's birth Father or if my Grandmother might have been boarded with her.  I do wonder about the boarding idea - my Grandmother was living with her Grandparents in 1901 & 1911 in South Shields.  So why would they pay for her to board elsewhere, even if they could afford it which I doubt.   I also have doubts about payment coming from birth Mother's side.  Hannah does appear to have one son who might have been a 'potential consideration' in the 1891 census (John W Davison) but I think he died before my Grandmother would have been conceived which rules him out.

What I am wondering is does anyone think it might be a good idea to try to link Hannah & her family to my Grandmother in my tree if even just for a brief period to see if any DNA connections might appear?  I presume to connect Hannah I might have to make it appear as if she was my Grandmother's paternal Grandmother and just put my Grandmother's  potential father as 'Davison' and omit death dates for Hannah and family so as to keep them private.  I do not know if Hannah might be any biological connection but I am wondering if this might be a way to find out.  If no DNA links appear I could quickly have them all removed.  I would appreciate any thoughts on this.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Wednesday 09 October 19 11:03 BST (UK)
Honestly I think you would do better to keep a completely open mind about paternity.  As I read it, the “Davison” theory stems from a single school entry from [date?] which suggests your grandmother was boarding at Hannah Davison’s house, though she does not appear to have been a long term resident there.

Was Hannah single/widowed?  It would have been very common for a woman unsupported by a man to earn a bit of money by taking in boarders. I think it’s a huge leap to suppose that a genetic relationship was the likely explanation.

Do you DNA results yield any promising avenues on this - clusters of relatives who don’t fit your known family?

Consider uploading your raw data file to GEDMatch and other DNA genealogy sites to extend your reach to possible matches.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: dicko99 on Wednesday 09 October 19 11:20 BST (UK)
Assuming you are using Ancestry as I am, I would suggest creating a separate tree to match your theory and attach your DNA sample to it. If you are worried about other people seeing it then make the whole tree as private and unsearchable.

You need to include as many ancestors of the suspect as possible then wait to see if Ancestry flags up any "Common Ancestors".

N.B. it seems to take a couple of days for this to update after you move your sample to a new tree.

R.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Wednesday 09 October 19 11:23 BST (UK)
It is worth a try. Link Hannah and her family to your tree and tag them with the tree tag hypothesis so that others viewing them will understand that you are experimenting. Maybey do it by putting in a father for your grandmother as a son of Hannah with surname Davison. Leave the first name blank or put in 5 underscores. Leave it for a couple of days to see if this theory generates any interesting Common Ancestors or ThruLines. I would use my main tree to do this and not a separate tree as suggested by dicko99. Moving your sample between trees is not recommended by Ancestry.

You should also search your match list for trees that include surnames from Hannah’s ancestors. You will probably get far too many with Davison in their trees to be able to make much sense of that, but if there are any unusual maiden names then they would be worth a look.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Wednesday 09 October 19 22:50 BST (UK)
Thanks for all these responses.  I am keeping a very open mind - this is not just me jumping to a conclusion - I just want to consider any possibilities. 

I am not worried about anyone seeing my tree but I did wonder how to handle having some people attached who may or may not be ancestors.  I don't want to mislead people by making it look like I have found my Grandmother's paternal side.  I only want the system to be enabled to make a link if there is a DNA connection.  I did'nt know about the hypothesis method.  I will look into doing this as soon as I next have a day off and some free time. 

I have been fortunate so far in getting responses from other descendants.  To start with I started firing off lots of messages but I am going to wait until next week at least before sending off more as it is getting hard to keep up with then responding back to replies.  This is brilliant though that people are responding. Not everyone but certainly more than I anticipated are responding back.  Most of my clear cut connections are coming from my paternal side.

Added: What puzzles me about Hannah is not that she might have taken in boarders - it is rather why my Grandmother was sent to live at her home at one point.  I do wonder about how the family afforded to board her elsewhere too.  Perhaps Hannah might have been doing a favour when she arrived back apparently from Harrogate.  I would just like to check out a possible biological connection, just in case.

The way things are going I likely won't have time to do this hypothesis until at least a couple weeks - but I do intend to get around to it.
 
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: angelfish58 on Thursday 10 October 19 11:32 BST (UK)
I would definitely give Craclyn's suggestion a go, I've had some interesting results doing that in relation to my illegitimate grandmother.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 11 October 19 15:50 BST (UK)
Thanks for this angelfish58.  That is very interesting that you have given this a try.  I am curious -did you manage to find your Grandmother's Father using this method? 

I have just added the Davisons' to my tree starting with a Davison with a question mark.  I am not sure exactly how to do the 'hypothesis method' so have just given this a go.  Now to see what might happen in the next few days.  If anyone can advise more on how to pose the hypothesis better - I will be grateful to hear about this.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: avm228 on Friday 11 October 19 15:54 BST (UK)
Under a person’s name and dates in their profile within your Ancestry tree is an icon that looks like a luggage label. Click on that and you will get various “tag” options including “hypothesis”.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 11 October 19 16:02 BST (UK)
Thanks avm .. I am just in the process now of changing them all to their hypothesis status.  I really appreciate your speedy help.  :)

Added .. there they are all updated.  :)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Friday 11 October 19 17:04 BST (UK)
You should take the question mark out of the surname field for your hypothetical Davison. Extra characters impact on computer searching and matching. If you feel a need to put in a question mark then you can push it into the suffix field so it will not affect algorithms.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 11 October 19 17:17 BST (UK)
Thanks Craclyn,

I have just amended this quickly as you have advised .. I wouldn't want to throw a spanner in the works just in case there is a biological link.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: KitCarson on Friday 11 October 19 19:18 BST (UK)
Great advice.  Will be using this for a couple of my lines.  Thanks, Kit
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: angelfish58 on Friday 11 October 19 21:15 BST (UK)
Thanks for this angelfish58.  That is very interesting that you have given this a try.  I am curious -did you manage to find your Grandmother's Father using this method? 

At the moment my sister and I think we've found her mother, all we had was her name from nana's birth certificate as nana was "adopted".
 I checked the 1901 Hartlepool census for women of the right name, narrowed it down by age to two likely candidates, I ignored married women (for now) as I thought they could most likely pass off a child as their husbands, I added both women to my Ancestry tree and traced their families. The first one had a couple of distant matches to my sister, but her ancestors were from towns in Co.Durham that we had ancestors from anyway but the second one has some much closer matches to both of us, so we are cautiously optimistic. In fact we have more matches on this line than on some of our documented ones.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 13 October 19 12:45 BST (UK)
That is great that you are able to now be cautiously optimistic through DNA matching combined with your research .. I do wish you success with this.

I am afraid the Davisons may have to go soon - my Thrulines continue to show no matches for my Grandmother and there has been no increase in my DNA matches which currently has been 289.

However, I am pleased to have found out this 'hypothesis' idea - which I think is a very good feature.  No doubt I will be using this again.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Miss Trees on Tuesday 15 October 19 00:57 BST (UK)
Re your question about using a hypothesis and worrying others might be mislead, I add a profile photo that says "testing" to my hypothesis individuals. Nobody can miss this :) I use the hypothesis tag also, but I'm not sure that other people see or notice the tag.

(And can't take credit for the idea, I stole it off someone else  ;D)
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Tuesday 15 October 19 08:10 BST (UK)
Adding this type of information in profile pictures creates frustrating hints for other users. If you want to add a visual effect then it is better to put an emoji into the suffix field so that you do not generate unnecessary photo hints.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: brigidmac on Tuesday 15 October 19 13:10 BST (UK)
Regarding thru lines they don't show up if your match has a different spelling
For instance a known match with shared photo has (h)Ellen  so doesn't match my Ellen

I have GARDNER sometimes spelt Gardener you can try altering spelling of ancestor and using box also known as to get different matches .you can always change back to your preferred spelling later.

Does anyone know if jus putting ' "also known as" tips work for thru lines ?
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 15 October 19 13:13 BST (UK)
Well, that certainly is an eye catcher sign!

With the 'Davisons' I ended up just putting the hypothesis sign on and I didn't add any death dates so hopefully they will have just appeared private to others.  I have since removed the lot as nothing has appeared to suggest a DNA link.  It was worth a try, I suppose.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Tuesday 15 October 19 13:17 BST (UK)
I will keep this in mind - I do unfortunately have some ancestors with unfortunate names which was spelled differently in several times.  One were 'McKetterick' - what a nightmare spelling wise in various records. ::)

In this case I can imagine writing 'also known as' with several variations to follow.  A good idea though.  Perhaps this one on marriage, this one on birth etc?
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: midlandslass on Sunday 27 October 19 15:43 GMT (UK)
My Gt Grandmother was  brought up in childrens homes in the late 1800's in Birmingham.
She knew nothing about her origins.
My Grand Uncle, her youngest son, is still alive at 97 and he agreed to do a DNA test.
Whilst I cannot pinpoint her mother I have very good clues to her grandparents from following the family lines of close matches.
When I started out in trying to identify her family I didn't have high expectations of finding matches, but I now know her mothers side were Scarfes and Tooleys from Lincolnshire.
Uploading the DNA to Gedcom was helpful in ascertaining the matches were on the maternal side.
I may never know her mothers identity but the DNA has certainly been very helpful in filling in gaps and narrowing down the possibles.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 27 October 19 15:50 GMT (UK)
Uploading the DNA to Gedcom was helpful in ascertaining the matches were on the maternal side.
I may never know her mothers identity but the DNA has certainly been very helpful in filling in gaps and narrowing down the possibles.

Do you mean uploading to gedmatch?
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: midlandslass on Sunday 27 October 19 15:52 GMT (UK)
 ;D Senior moment
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: scotmum on Sunday 09 February 20 12:31 GMT (UK)
Any progress?

By way of further encouragement, I haven't done DNA myself, but have recently been helping a lady in America who has. Her ancestor was born to a single mum, but the mum gave the child a not too common surname as middle name. When the child later married,  the middle name was used as surname, and a first name given for 'father' (which, fortunately, produced a not overly common in timescale, forename/surname combination).

Anyhow, add DNA into the mix, and descendants of three siblings from the 1830/40s, have each come up as matches to the lady I am helping, with one of the siblings also having the not overly common forename/surname combination, so looking good as the likely candidate, especially as the lady had already earmarked him as a potential, based on his name and location.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Thursday 13 February 20 11:11 GMT (UK)
No progress as yet with finding out who my missing Great Grandfather was, I'm afraid.  However, perhaps a breakthrough might still happen in the future .. I haven't given up hope!

On the plus side I have matched to people who are the descendants of my paternal Great Grandfather's brother who went to America.  Also just a few days ago I have been in contact with a lady who is a descendant of my paternal Great Grandfather's sister. 

I have also matched with a direct descendant of my paternal Great x 2 Grandfather's brother.  It is strange as someone who I am in contact with, who is a descendant of this brother has no DNA match with me.  However, she persuaded her Mother to have a test done and I have matched to her Mother.

I have also had matches to people who are descendants of some of my Mother's ancestors. 

So I can't grumble .. I don't regret having the test done.  That elusive missing Great Grandfather may yet be discovered one day .. especially as more and more people are tested.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Thursday 13 February 20 12:21 GMT (UK)
Pleased to hear you are getting some value from it RTL. The more matches that you manage to identify and add into your tree, the easier it will be to figure out which ones are not fitting in. This will help you to narrow down those that connect to your missing great grandfather. By looking for common ancestors in that group you should finally be able to make some progress.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Friday 14 February 20 14:57 GMT (UK)
Thanks for the reminder Craclynn to keep adding the matches to my tree.  I really do need to keep up with this.  After reading your post I have updated the link I have found with the lady I mentioned in my last post who is a direct descendant of my paternal Great Grandfather's sister.  I am also now starting to put people I can definitely track to known ancestors as 'starred matches'.  What a great feature 'Thrulines' is! 

With searching for my elusive Great Grandfather - the subject of this thread - I really think I might have my work cut out with this one.  My Grandmother was born in 1895 in South Shields.  Her birth Mother registered her a month later.  This Great Grandmother then is found getting married in Salford to someone not my Great Grandfather in 1901.  Why she was in Salford I do not know.  She then went with her new husband to his home area of Harrogate and they had five more children.  I have found a South Shields school record 1907 which records my Grandmother's previous school was 'Harrogate.'

Regarding 'Salford' I have heard from two separate people who say their ancestors are from the Lancashire area and that they do not recognise my names.  Perhaps they might have the missing link.  I do wonder what drew her to Salford - was she just working there perhaps or might there be some connection there with the elusive Great Grandfather?  In 1901 Great Grandmother is in Harrogate and illegitimate Grandmother is in South Shields with Grandparents as their daughter.  In 1911 she is also there with Grandparents but now she is correctly down as their granddaughter.
When she marries unfortunately she gives her Grandfather as her Father on the register.  I have her birth cert and no one is named as Father.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: scotmum on Friday 14 February 20 21:54 GMT (UK)
A good article to keep in mind when using ThruLines:

https://dna-explained.com/2019/03/11/ancestrys-thrulines-dissected-how-to-use-and-not-get-bit-by-the-gators/
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Saturday 15 February 20 12:49 GMT (UK)
Thank you for posting this scotmum.  I will read this soon.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Sunday 07 June 20 09:25 BST (UK)
Might this be something or nothing?

I have been working on a hypothesis idea as nothing has sprung out concerning who my Grandmother's Father may have been.

I have heard that sometimes an illegitimate child might be given the surname of the Father as a middle name.  My Grandmother was given the middle name of 'May' when she was born in 1895 in South Shields - likely a common female name anyway.  (None of her five half siblings born after her were given a middle name.)  However, working on the idea that her Father might have had the surname 'May' I have looked for a possible candidate. 

I found an 'Anthony May' and have put him and his family as a 'hypothesis'.  Anthony was born Newcastle in 1877 and he grew up in the part of Newcastle where my Great Grandmother's (born Newcastle 1878) family lived before moving to South Shields.  Anthony died in 1894 in South Shields.  His family appear to have remained in Newcastle.  However, Grandmother was born close to ten months after his death but might she have been a late birth?

As I say I have put Anthony up on my tree anyway as a hypothesis to try out.  Thrulines has come up with 3 additional generations in the line of his Mother who was Anne May nee Conway.  Now following this line I now have DNA matches  to two other people who have tested with shared fifth Great Grandparents.  So my question is - might this indicate that Anthony (or  possibly even  his older brother Daniel) could be a possible for a Great Grandfather or is this all too vague given that these two matches are with shared fifth Great Grandparents in the suggested line?

I would appreciate hearing any thoughts on this.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Craclyn on Sunday 07 June 20 11:41 BST (UK)
Sounds like you could be on the right track. Try plotting your matches on that line into the WATO (What are the odds?) tool at DNA Painter to see if they are fitting in with your theory. A new version was released in Beta last week so check that you go to V2.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Spelk on Sunday 07 June 20 15:02 BST (UK)
Rather than a "late birth" it could be that the mother was a bit late in registering the death and to hide the fact she gave a date of birth a month or so later than it really was.

Looking at the elder brother Daniel DAY it appears that he may have been married in 1893 and then again in 1896. When a man's wife is pregnant he might be inclined to look elsewhere for a bit of sex and so the elder brother, I would say, is equally likely to be the father. Daniel had children by his second wife so a good chance he has living descendants who could be DNA tested if they are willing. 
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Monday 08 June 20 10:56 BST (UK)
Hi Craclyn,

Thank you for this - I only have a free tree up which I assembled when I was getting my DNA tested.  I don't know anything about DNA painter, Beta or V2 but I am pleased that you think that I might be onto something and therefore that this might be worth further investigation. 

Hi Spelk,

Thank you for your post too.  It hadn't occurred to me that there might have been a possibility that my Grandmother's birth may have been falsely recorded late.  I have a copy of her birth certificate and she is down as having been born at the known family address (her Grandparents household) on 24 April 1895 and her birth was registered on 28 May 1895 by her Mother (who had .. 'no occupation' and I know that her Mother would have just turned seventeen, so in quite a vulnerable position.)

I wonder if this was something that might have happened much - falsifying a date on a birth cert?  Was the penalty heavy for registering late? 

Perhaps this might explain why I have never been able to find a baptism for my Grandmother - because I have used the starting point of checking as after her given birth date?  Everyone else in the family had baptisms and the half siblings which followed had baptisms.  This has puzzled me why Grandmother seems to have had no baptism (I have previously  checked the family Church and all the other local Anglican Churches) and I have wondered if this might have been because of the 'shame' which was probably likely in that judgemental period of time?  However, I would have thought a baptism would have been thought important  and perhaps a quiet ceremony could have been carried out, surely. 

I think now, in light of your suggestion I will check for an earlier baptism than given birth date as soon as the Archives and libraries reopen.  As the May family seem to have been Catholic I suppose I should also check to see if she may have had a Catholic baptism.  Although, I doubt this, as surely my Great Grandmother would have had to convert to being Catholic too and that seems a lot of effort. 

As it seems like this might be worth more investigation I will try to find out more detail about this May/Conway family and put it on my tree.  I could also now put these names on my surnames of interest when I contact people.  If Anthony was the Father, Great Grandmother could not have married him due to his early death and the other brother Daniel May as you say, seems to have been already married.  I wonder if I should switch the hypothesis of a 'Father' to Daniel May to see if this might reveal any more potential matches?

Thank you again Craclynn and spelk, I know there are no guarantees of success with all this, but I think I now have a promising avenue to explore.  Hopefully, I will be able to find out more detail about the May/Conway family once it becomes safe again for the libraries and Archives to reopen.

Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: Spelk on Monday 08 June 20 11:29 BST (UK)
Hi RTL,
Back in 12 Dec 2017 you wrote -
On the second search I found my Grandmother's name, her exact date of birth and the name of her Grandfather under the parent or guardian column.  Too many coincidences for this to have been anyone else but my Grandmother.  She was age 12 at this time.  It was also recorded that her previous school had been in a different named area and I know that this area was where her birth mother was living.  One intriguing thing was that the address recorded at the South Shields school was not the address of her maternal grandparents and family.  I did detective work on who lived there at that time and found that a widow and her family were long time residents at the address given.  I did wonder if one of the widow's sons may have been responsible for fathering my Grandmother and that she may have housed her as she was a possible Grandmother - but on checking one son was too young and the other died before Grandmother would have been conceived.  So I suspect Grandmother may have just boarded with the widow and family as a lodger perhaps.

That widow and her family were not called "MAY" I suppose.
Title: Re: Could DNA testing help discover father of my illegitimate Grandmother?
Post by: River Tyne Lass on Monday 08 June 20 13:24 BST (UK)
No, that lady was Hannah Davison. (See post 97) I checked her out and a son and have since discounted both as any connection.  Hypothesis testing brought up nothing I might add so I think she might just have been taking in an occasional boarder.