Proving family tree with DNA

Recently I decided to try and see if I could “prove” parts of my family tree by finding DNA cousins who linked to my paternal line via Y-DNA and my maternal line via Mitochondrial DNA. I figured it would be easy.

My AncestryDNA account has the most matches, so I decided to start there. I was in for a surprise! It isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Y-DNA is passed only from father to son. Using Thrulines in Ancestry, I went back to my 2nd great grandfather Andrew Robeson and began to look for matches that were male to male all the way to now. I found only one line out of 12 that was fully male from Andrew, but even it ended in a female 3C1R cousin. So I sent her an email asking if she had brothers who had done DNA test who knew their Y haplogroup. Well, she did have a brother who even had a son, but she didn’t know if he had done DNA. She would ask… arghh

The Mitochondrial side was even more frustrating. I did find a 2C2R cousin who is female and descended female to female from my great grandmother. Hooray, I thought, she is a true Irish Mito person! I sent her an email, but she is one of these non-responders. Patience is required. Yes, she is the only one out of 25.

I turned to MyHeritage. The Theory of Family Relativity is useful when checking individuals, but I don’t see a way to selectively pick those who stem from a specific ancestor.

Some people talk about offering to buy a test for individuals in my tree who fit the requirements. Not me… I figure “crowd sourcing” (lots of autosomal matches) is good enough proof that I descended from Andrew Robeson and/or his wife!  My 2 Big-Y test cousins and I come from Scotland in the 1600s.  Of course, 3 different surnames are involved!  So who knows who came first: Robeson, Grierson or Marshall. 🙂

If you have success stories along these lines, come tell us at the DNA Discussion group on first-Wednesdays at noon. Look for Zoom details soon.


” Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison


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