DNA Testing – A stuggle

I was reading my friend’s, “The Legal Genealogist”, blog post: Big Sale and Big Y and thought I would take a moment to share my experience.

A couple of years ago, I did a Y-DNA test from Ancestry.com and got the results and details. Haplagroup J2A was the results and took “my line” back 10,000 years, or some out of this world number. All I want is back to about 1650. So that didn’t do anything for me.

I then found that my Surname has a DNA Project on Family Tree DNA, so at my expense, transferred my results over to FT-DNA. I even had to talk to the FT-DNA folks at a conference to make that all happen. Very nice folks there, very helpful. When the results finally were posted, I have 3 “new” cousins. Actually, I knew one of them, talked to him on the phone, and found that we descend from the same son of Capt. John Worthington. The other 2 people are cousins, one of which had 2 surnames as part of his name, so there was not doubt about the connection. BUT, there was NOT a “hit” across the pond. That is, no one from the UK matching the J2A. So, I let it sit for a couple of years. In fact, it hasn’t changed.

So, Ancestry.com came up with New and Improved DNA testing. I get “cousin” hits several times a week, for 5th to 8th cousin’s. Wow, gonna find something here, even had a couple of closer cousins in these results.

You are supposed to be able to compare your Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) to these “hits” / cousin hits, so I have been keeping my AMT up to date, so that I can compare.

Looking at these other AMTs has been very disappointing. Very, very few common surnames, and only location matches to a state, no closer.

Here is the view that I received:


50% Scandinavian ?????? That’s no where close to J2A.

27% Irish ??? A great-grandmother married an Irishman, in fact I carry his surname as the name most of you know me by. No blood link there.

But the kicker is 5% Great Britain. All of the published genealogies of the Worthington Surname gets back to the 1300’s in England. 5% ???

There is something that I must be totally missing here and am certainly NOT spending any more money on DNA testing. I am struggling to understand the two sets of test results from Ancestry.com. Now, I do accept “new technology”, but there should at least be some common ground for the two sets of tests.

I have blogged about this before: News at 11: Just found out that my “brick wall” may now be a ” black sheep”

So, Judy, of The Legal Genealogist, lets talk. I guess my real question here is, how close do “the numbers” have to be, in the y-DNA testing. to be considered “cousins”? Is it possible that the notion in that previous blog post might be worth looking into?

5 Responses to DNA Testing – A stuggle

  1. You’re comparing apples (your YDNA results) with oranges (the autosomal, or AncestryDNA results), Russ. That’s why this looks like fruit salad! The new AncestryDNA tests are comparing DNA that comes from your Mom’s line as well as your Dad’s, from your maternal grandmother, as well as your paternal grandmother, and isn’t necessarily the Worthington line at all.

    • Russ Worthington says:


      Oh, I got that, which is why I have my entire line in my AMT and look across all of my information for those connections in the AncestryDNA results. Even my mother’s line, back about the same as my Dad’s is in Great Britain.

      I viewed the two tests as Apples and Bark from an old tree.

      It’s been many generations that my lines have been on this side of the pond. All I want is a connection to ONE person about 1650. I thought the yDNA from AncestryDNA and the numbers over to FT-DNA would help with that piece, but it’s not working.

      That is another reason I thought that the “new and improved” AncestryDNA was going to help. BUT, it’s thrown more cold water on many “Worthington” genealogies. That 5% Great Britain, is what I really don’t get.

      I need to catch up with one of your DNA presentations soon.

      Thank you,


  2. Jade says:

    There’s a lot of confusion bred of comparing test results of people being tested today.

    Consider the historical error built in to emphasis on people who have lived in X place for 4 generations as indicating *origin* in Central Europe or East Africa. That goes back to about the year 1900. But what about the previous action-packed 5000 years, the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires? Consider the histories of the Vikings/Rus, of the Romans (importing Legionaries into Britain who were from all over Europe and even Eurasia), of the Normans, of the Celts.

    And recent studies are shedding a lot of light on population migrations both Eastward and Westward through all of Asia.

    This field of relational DNA is in its infancy and needs much more sophisticated correlations with population histories.

  3. Jana Last says:


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/11/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-november-22.html

    Have a great weekend!

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