Monday, July 17, 2017

Don’t ignore the 12 marker matches

If you have been following the blog for any length of time you will know that my all time #1 brick wall ancestor is James Simmons born 14 Aug 1764. I am trying to solve the big mystery of who his parents were using yDNA. My paternal uncle matches two men at 110 out of 111 markers which is about as good as you are ever going to see at this level of testing. As of yet the three lines do not connect even though all three lines are back far enough in time for the connection to be right at out fingertips.  My line is proven and one of the other lines is proven.  The third line, the one that goes back in time one more generation than the other two, is unproven. I have been unable to get ahold of the that tester for over two years. The other researcher and I are in the process of trying to prove that third line up the chain but we have 3 connections that we haven’t been able to prove yet.

In the meantime, if I drop down to 67 markers I pick up three more matches but they aren’t good ones.  Different surnames and genetic distances of 6-7.  When I drop down to 37 I have no new matches there to content with. When I drop to 25 I pick up a lot of matches but the genetic distance is too far off and there are no surname matches.

But when I drop to 12 markers…

I pick up four men with the surname Simmons that are a 12 out of 12 marker match.  All three only tested at 12 markers so I am not seeing them at the higher levels.  All three are in the right haplogroup. One of the four has a tree that leads back to the right area of the country. The other three don’t have trees. One of those three has his brick wall ancestor listed and he is in the right place.  Another has his brick wall ancestor listed but no locations. The third has his brick wall ancestor a good 3 generations farther back in time and in England but no pedigree so I don’t know if that is valid or not. Normally I don’t put too much stock in 12 marker matches but these have some promise.

That’s the good news.  That bad news is that none of the four has answered my emails. I have politely asked for their Simmons lineage and I requested they consider upgrading to 67 markers.

While I impatiently wait for a response I am actively working with what I have, one pedigree and three brick wall ancestors. I will be seeing what I can match up on FamilySearch and on Ancestry. I might even find my testers there and can try and contact them that way.

Next time I will tell you about a couple of little tricks that I do in Legacy to help me with this.


  1. Reading your post with great interest. My #1 brick wall is my Gould line, so like you, it's my maiden name. My brick wall was born about 1833. From each generation, only one descendant, a son. Therefore, I had my brother do a YDNA test 6 years ago and have upgraded to 67 markers. Only 7 matches have ever shown up and none are the same surname and none in the right area. Of course, my brother's test is also on Ancestry and GedMatch.
    I can't wait to see what you turn up. I will go into FtDNA today and drop those markers and look for new matches, which I haven't done in a long time.
    Thanks Michele.

    1. I've only been working on this guy for 25 years so what's a little more time :)