Frequently Asked Questions

FamilyTreeDNA FAQ pages: Types of Tests, Paternal Y-DNA, Y-Results, Group Projects, Markers, SNPs, OLD: After I test, Markers, SNP, SNPs/Deepclade, Y-Tree. ISOGG pages: Y-DNA Project Help

Looking at the Y-DNA Classic or Colorized Results Charts I can’t find my result?

To view all results, please set Page Size to 6000 or click through the pages at the bottom. Use Ctrl+F on Windows and Cmd+F on MacOS to find your kit ID.

I do not find my kits results listed on the Classic or Colorized Results Chart pages. The kit is listed on the SNP page. What is the reason?

Only kits with Y-DNA STR markers tested at Family Tree DNA are listed (Y-DNA111, Y-DNA67, Y-DNA37, Y-DNA25, Y-DNA12) in the Chart pages with groupings. Kits with SNP results only (Geno 2.0, SNP Pack) are not.

What does the heading line above each group in the Results Chart pages mean?

This is the group description, and typically provides three bits of information. First is the major branch of the J2-M172 tree where the group is located, J2a or J2b. Second is a “breadcrumb format” description of the cumulative SNPs on the branch of the Y-phylogenetic tree that leads to the group’s assigned Y-haplogroup. For example, “L558>M67>Z7671>CTS900?” indicates the group belongs to the parent J-558 haplogroup, to its derived haplogroup J-M67, and so on down to the haplogroup defined by the SNP named CTS900, which in this case has a “?” appended to indicate some uncertainly about this final assignment. If someone in the group has done NGS testing with YFull analysis, then the breadcrumb may end with their YFull ID, which anchors the group in the YFull tree.
Third, additional information may be appended. This can include the Y-STR genetic distance criteria used to form the group (e.g. GD≤10/67), and suggestions for the group members to consider. For example, additional testing may be recommended in order to assign them to a more recently formed haplogroup or more specific group, or to help further the J2-M172 project’s research.

My group description on the Results page says: Grouping pending until Privacy Setting “Who can view my DNA results in group projects?” is changed to “Anyone” for public comparison. 

Please see the “Privacy & Sharing” section of the Y-DNA Project Help page in the ISOGG Wiki for an explanation and instructions for changing this. We use public comparison tools (Y-STR Haplotype comparison, Y-SNP clade predictors, geographical origins maps) and believe in the public sharing of Y-DNA and Y-ancestor data to allow and facilitate scientific research, together with geographical, ethnic and clan projects for example. See additional reasons in the ISOGG Wiki. If it is very important for you not to change this Privacy Setting, please let us know and we will move you to a “prefer Privacy Settings restricted to Members” group. You will have the advantage to find GD 1/12 matches in the project as well as access to the Activity Feed.

I’m a very private person and wonder what personal data people will have access to.

Your DNA-Matches as well as Project Administrators can see the name and email saved for the kit. If personal privacy is critical to you then we suggest you use a pseudonym and an email address without a personal name in it. Once the kit is at FTDNA there is usually no need anymore to save the full name and address with the kit. Just a functional email is important. The genetic data (Y-DNA) and MDKO (the oldest known direct paternal line ancestor information) can be seen by project members and, given the privacy setting listed above is changed to “All,” are available to all accessing the project (public). The Y-DNA and Y-ancestor data is very important for the success of genetic genealogy and should not be hidden or omitted; if the ancestral surname is preferred to remain private at least give a time and region of origin and save the coordinates to allow geographical comparisons.

I have only Y-DNA12 matches even if I did Y-DNA37 or higher. Which of the matches is relevant?

Y-DNA12 matches are only informative if the Most Distant Ancestor of both kits can be traced back to the same surname or location. If the Y-DNA12 match also tested Y-DNA37 or higher (37 or more Y-STR markers) and does not match anymore it is unlikely that there is a connection in genealogical time (the last 500-700 years). Upgrading STR-Markers only in a few cases reveals new matches but is useful to reveal more distant matches (historical time) by comparison in a project like J2-M172.

I have no Y-STR matches (above Y-DNA12). Is this uncommon?

There are quite a lot of J2 kits with no matches, indicating no shared ancestor within the last 500-2000 years. The reason might be that the FTDNA database is enriched for certain European ancestries (British, Irish, Ashkenazi, Rhine area) but has fewer samples from typical J2 areas like Italy, the Balkans, France, Fertile Crescent, etc. because fewer men from these areas do Y-DNA testing and there was less migration from there to the USA and other regions that do DNA-testing to a much greater extent. You can also try searching in Y-STR databases (see next answer).

Can you find surnames associated with my Y-STR haplotype? Can you search for matches of my Y-STR haplotype?

If you have a FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA kit join J2-M172@FTDNA and we will group you with kits that are nearest to you (usually Y-STR37 or 67 needed).
Our focus is haplogroup research which can help to connect to the Y-history in the last 1,000 years. We are volunteers and cannot carry out research on relations in individual family lineages (genealogical time, private haplogroups) in this large project which includes the entire J2 haplogroup and over 4,000 members. You can try to ask for Y-STR haplotype help in the J2 Facebook group.
If you have no FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA kit or no matches with your FTDNA kit you may research yourself in the Y-STR databases with your haplotype to find associated surnames and origins: ysearch.org, yhrd.org, (smgf.org unfortunately shot down by Ancestry.com)

How can I find my oldest “surname” and origins (clan, tribe)?

If you have many matches at Y-DNA37 with deep genealogy (old Most Distant Ancestor) try to upgrade you and the matches to Y-DNA67 or better Y-DNA111 to see which match is the nearest. If the nearest match has good genealogy and is interested to do further testing (maybe funded by you) consider doing a NextGenSequencing for you and your match/es which calls SNPs from over 12 mbp of the Y-chromosome (callable loci). Get time estimates for Y-DNA111 and SNP differences (YFull Interpretation suggested). Work with your match/es on genealogical and historical research.

My (old) results showed me as J2a4 [example]. Why is my haplogroup name not used here and in the project group name?

The older “hierarchical” or “longhand” haplogroup names are very volatile as the tree gets refined constantly. Always include the terminal SNP you have been tested for. In the example here, the haplogroup name at FTDNA stated completely would be J2a4-L26. You can find name versions for the following test providers: FTDNA, Genographic Project, 23andMe

I have 12 (or 25) STR-markers. My kit was not grouped and I do not have matches. Why?

Only a rough grouping may be possible without a detailed Haplogroup/SNP test. STR-Marker upgrade and/or Deep SNP testing (with FGC Y-Elite, FTDNA BigY, FTDNA J2 SNP Packs, YSEQ J2 SNP Panels, chip tests like Geno 2.0 or Chromo 2.0) is suggested to find distant matches.
J2 is a very old, diverse and widespread haplogroup. For example, the most common subgroup J2a-L26 is still 16200 years old, in contrast with the common European R1b-L11,P311 haplogroup that was formed only 4800 years ago for example.

I have 37 or 67 STR-markers. What can you tell me?

Depending on your haplotype and SNP tests, a basic to good clustering may be possible. Advanced SNP testing is often suggested.

Why do you often suggest doing advanced tests like BigY or SNP tests?

BigY or advanced SNP Tests are needed to refine or confirm an assignment to deep clades, and to confirm matches not clearly in one haplogroup (overlapping haplotypes).