Of Fathers and Sons and DNA
August 30, 2012 11:17 AM Subscribe
My father's grandfather was adopted with very little paperwork or evidence trail as to his biological origins. Earlier this year, my father's uncle got his DNA tested. Unfortunately, the closest Y-DNA relative we've isolated from the tests is 13 generations back. But, I have a related question: All of the matches, through multiple services (having manually entered the data into other services) have a wide variety of non-repeating last names. Given that Y-DNA matches father-to-son, wouldn't there be at least some
posted by thanotopsis to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been trying to work through this in my mind, and I can isolate only a few instances in western society where the last name from father to son may differ: 1) adoption, 2) cultural (son takes a traditional reworking of the father's or family's name), 3) Immigration (named after a trade or place of origin), 4) random circumstance.
Given that a generation is, approximately, 20-25 years, I would imagine that our common male ancestor lived approximately 160 to 225 years ago.
Of those matches that are 13 generations back, I've collected 4 different surnames. I've tried to pull genealogical records on those people to see if there is something about their location or heritage that may be familiar to my research, or to each other, and I've hit a big fat zero, zilch, nada.
I've just sent in my DNA test last week, and I'm eagerly waiting the results to see if there is any clarity offered by having two males of the same line tested. But, given the complete lack of meaningful results so far, I don't have very high hopes.
My question focuses on this: At what rate, statistically speaking, should I expect the reasonable spread of last names along the Y-DNA line going back X number of generations?