Oh grandpa, you’re so unique

When I decided to have my mother’s brother take a Y-DNA test, I was hoping for a large group of matches for his paternal line. I’ve read on Family Tree DNA’s forums that members have hundreds of matches at the Y-12 level, the lowest level of Y-DNA testing.

Grandpa, you gave me a measly three matches and none of the matches carry your surname. So frustrating. But I am hoping that I will get more matches soon from the people who bought the Y-DNA tests during the big sale in late April.

Thanks to buying this DNA test, I have learned that Family Tree DNA has 5,028 customers with Russian ancestral roots in its Y-DNA database. That number is a complete joke compared to the 18,923 customers with Irish ancestral roots in the  database.

So, I don’t know if I will bother upgrading my uncle’s Y-12  to Y-37 to test more markers on his paternal line. I will not likely get any stronger matches now so it will be another waiting game on this DNA test.

My current matches have a strong chance of being related to me in the past 23-29 generations. Those matches are completely impossible to confirm with my family tree or any family tree. An upgrade to the Y-37 DNA test could give me matches eventually to people who are related to me within the past 5-7 generations.

Family Tree DNA is the only company that provides the varied level of paternal line DNA testing. AncestryDNA has stopped selling its Y-DNA tests. 23andMe only gives customers a haplogroup for paternal lines.

Thankfully, the Internet is filled with information on Y-DNA haplogroups because I wouldn’t know what haplogroup R-M17 should mean to me. It sounds as if my grandfather’s roots are very Russian, based on this information.

Here’s a map showing the migration roots of people from my grandfather’s haplogroup. Please click on the image to zoom in.


For the $49 I paid for this test, it has been worth my curiosity. Right now, I am not sure whether it is worth spending another $99 to upgrade to the Y-37 DNA test.


6 thoughts on “Oh grandpa, you’re so unique

  1. I too have just had a family member do the DNA testing through Ancestry. His results showed that we are 76% Eastern European which falls into the Latvian area of which our grandparents are from. We had only one person listed as a second cousin match. I know exactly that my grandparents are from the Goldingen and Talsi area of Latvia. They left the area around 1905 when the revolution was going on. They came to the U.S. through Germany. The problem I am finding is that when my grandfather left he changed his name. I have tried to track the family through my grandmother’s name and have hit a wall on this end. Any suggestions would help. I have names and dates of birth.


      1. His Declaration of Intention shows Arthur Schmidt, but we were told that he had changed his name when he came to the United States. My grandmother Katrina (Bloomberg) came to the U.S. on the Ivernia to Boston, Mass. on 5/14/1908 with her sister Lena Puckahn (name of alien on the certificate of arrival form) friend’s name shown as Kate Puckahn, whom I think is my grandmother Katrina. The birthplace show Talsen, Russia which is correct as far as I know. On their marriage certificate my grandfather’s parents are listed as Joseph Schmidt and Ottily Purgail and my grandmother’s parents are Henry Bloomberg and Gertrude Sakis.


      2. His birthday in 1/6/1883. I don’t know if this will help any but he was a blacksmith. He also returned to Latvia in 1932 to visit relatives in Windau according to his passport.


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