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Attempts to Use Family Finder Testing in Conjunction with Y DNA Testing in the Oliver Surname Project

This webpage is an attempt to show which Oliver Y groups have men that have also been tested using the Family Finder Test at FTDNA. One would hope that some women and men who are related to these men could then use fourth and fifth cousin connections to find potential lines of descent they might explore using paper trail genealogy.

Family Finder and other autosomal DNA tests are more accurate at finding close relatives (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and 1st cousins) then more distant relatives. Nevertheless the results sent to participants do list relatives as distant as 4th and 5th cousins.

By 14 December 2013 there were 35 people who did the Family Finder test and were members of the Oliver surname project. The table below shows the breakdown of these people into various cohorts.

Oliver Men in Groups Ungrouped Oliver Men Oliver Men not Y Tested Women Total
12 8 2 13 35


Oliver Groups with at least one male tested


Example: The Light Yellow Oliver Group

Note that the names of the participants and their Fathers are not shown to protect the privacy of the individuals.

Mr. 227823 has not been able to trace his line of descent, but Mr. N10566 and Mr. 25937 have. They share a common ancestor 5-6 generations back: John Oliver, Sr. born before 1750 in Albermarle, Virginia and died in 1827 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. He is likely the common ancestor for all 3 men. John Oliver, Sr. may be at or beyond the limit of resolution of this test, however.

This test did not pick up the relationship of Mr. 25937 Oliver to Mr. N10566. However both are shown as 5th or remote cousins to Mr. 227823.

Mr. N10566 also matches another Oliver, but he is Mr. 15939 Oliver in the Blue Group! Now this is possible since they could be related through their maternal lines.

All men inherit their Y chromosome, in entirety, from their father, and this is also true of the other chromosomes. However, over time, only very tiny changes occur in the Y chromosome - that causes the difference in markers among men in the same group.

On the other hand, the autosomes undergo crossing-over between the maternal and paternal chromosome and so over the generations, the changes in inheritance of an autosomal chromosome are very large. This is one reason two distant relatives may not be picked up by the Family Finder test, yet still be picked up in Y testing. The other reason is that two brothers may each get the opposite chromosome from each parent. This would rarely happen for all 22 autosomal pairs, but over the generations, the differences can increase. So not all distant relatives will test as such by Family Finder.

One would like to say that if there is a Family Finder match it means there is a genealogical relationship, but if the persons are reported as "remote" cousins - this may not mean a relationship we'd ever find in 10 or 12 generations.


Female Matches to the Light Yellow Oliver Group

With some cooperative effort, and doing autosomal testing at Ancestry and 23andMe also, Mr. 227823 has 18 other matches to female descendants of George Oliver born 1726 in Virginia, the patriarch of the pale yellow group.

He reports: "Of those 17 matches, three are descendants of George Oliver's younger sister; one is a descendant of George Oliver Jr. (b. 1760), the ancestor of #82002 in the Oliver project; seven are descendants of John Oliver Sr.'s daughters; three are descendants of George R. Oliver (b. 1785), and the remaining four are descendants of William Oliver (b. 1784), one of the other sons of John Oliver Sr."

Uploading detailed family trees is necessary to find connections. Uploading the data to GedMatch would although people tested at different companies to find more matches, but few people seem to do this step.


Useful References


This web page was first mounted on December 14, 2013 by Sheila Schmutz. sheila.schmutz@usask.ca and updated on December 19, 2013. This is a private webpage that is connected to the Oliver Surname Project.