Whose Y to Use? Paternal Ancestry for Ladies

Editor’s Note: This post does not reflect our current product offering. 23andMe’s ancestry product looks at the autosomes (chromosomes 1-22), the sex chromosomes (XY), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). For more information about how results are different for men and women go here.

One of the most exciting parts of 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service™ is discovering your genetic ancestry. Suddenly your family tree has branches that reach back thousands of years into the prehistoric past.gus.jpg

At present, 23andMe customers can trace two branches of their genetic family tree – one that follows the all-female line on the maternal side (through mitochondrial DNA) and another the all-male line on the paternal side (through the Y chromosome).

Not all DNA is created equal, however: males have both mitochondrial DNA AND a Y chromosome, so they can trace both their maternal and paternal ancestry. Females, who have mitochondrial DNA but no Y chromosome, can trace only their maternal ancestry.

So how can females discover their paternal history? One solution is to ‘borrow’ the Y chromosome of her most immediate paternal ancestor – her father. A female can have her father send his own DNA sample to 23andMe, then examine his Y chromosome as a way of understanding his paternal ancestry and her own.

But what if a woman’s father can’t or won’t share his DNA? By sharing 23andMe accounts with the right male relative, a woman can still discover both her maternal and paternal ancestry.

So whose DNA can a female customer use, besides her father’s? It could be anyone who shares his Y chromosome – her brother, paternal uncle (father’s brother), or even paternal grandfather (father’s father). The chart below illustrates some of the possibilities in one woman’s family tree; male relatives who share her father’s Y chromosome are depicted in blue.

You may look at the chart and ask: Why not her son’s Y? After all, he’s a male relative, too. But even though a mother shares 50% of her genes with each of her children, only fathers pass Y chromosomes to their sons. So any examination of her son’s Y chromosome would yield not her father’s paternal history, but her husband’s.

The woman whose family tree is shown here (“Me”) could determine her paternal ancestry using the Y chromosomes of males who are colored blue.

  • PatM

    I’m just learning about 23andme, so excuse my uneducated questions, but here I go. I have very few male relatives left. I still have my dad and there is also one of his first cousins (his mom’s brother’s son). They are both in their 90s. What can I learn from either of their DNA? Is it only about their fathers? Since the cousin is on my grandmother’s side, can I then learn about her side of the family? So in order to learn about both paternal and maternal lines on my dad’s side of the family, I’d have to get both their DNA?

    Whose DNA would tell me about my mom’s side of the family?

  • You can actually learn a lot about your own ancestry by looking at the DNA of your dad, his cousin and yourself. Let’s start with you. Your mitochondrial DNA will tell you about your all-female ancestry, i.e., your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother, and so on back a few thousand years (exactly how far back depends on what that ancestry is). Your dad’s Y chromosome will tell you the same thing about his (and thus your) all-male ancestry. And your dad’s mitochondrial DNA will tell you about his mother’s all-female line.

    So to sum up, having your dad’s DNA and your own will give you some information about where three of your grandparents’ ancestors came from: both your paternal grandparents and your maternal grandmother.

    Your father’s cousin is a bit more complicated. Basically, his Y chromosome will give you a little more another data point about your paternal grandmother’s ancestry. That’s because, even though your great-grandfather’s (your father’s mother’s father) Y chromosome didn’t get passed down to your grandmother, it did get passed to her brother, and then to his son (your dad’s cousin).

    I find it really helps to draw a family tree when you think about these things!

  • Clara

    I have a question and I’m hoping that what I’m doing is right. In my genealogy studies in 20 years I haven’t been able to get past one of my great grandfathers. I ordered two of your full sets and one of my male cousins did one. I sent the other to a male whose line I believe is the same as mine in other words I think we share the same male ancestor.

    Will the tests when they are completed tell me if they share the same ancestor confirming my research.

  • Hi Clara,

    If the male cousin of yours and the other male you sent the kit to share the same Y chromosome haplogroup, it would be consistent with them sharing the same paternal line. But it won’t be enough to prove that you all share the same great grandfather.

    I think 23andMe’s Relative Finder will be of great interest to you. Everyday people are connecting with cousins they never knew they had and building up their family trees. I was never really into genealogy, but since I’m started making connections, I’ve been learning so much!

    More about Relative Finder: http://spittoon.23andme.com/2009/11/19/introducing-relative-finder-the-newest-feature-from-23andme/

  • Arlene

    It says above: “So how can females discover their paternal history? One solution is to ‘borrow’ the Y chromosome of her most immediate paternal ancestor – her father. A female can have her father send his own DNA sample to 23andMe, then examine his Y chromosome as a way of understanding his paternal ancestry and her own.”
    –Will results from the Complete Edition yield the Y haplogroup? And if so, can this information be used to trace the surname?

    • Hi Arlene,

      Note that there is only one version of the service now — equivalent to the Complete Edition. 23andMe results will yield the Y haplogroup only for men, so in order to learn something about your paternal line you would need to have a brother or father or paternal male relative test as well, and then see what that person’s Y haplogroup is. Many surname projects do use Y chromosome information but they may be tailored to data from their own associated tests, for example the FamilyTreeDNA paternal line testing. However, 23andMe provides data on all of the other chromosomes as well. In theory, surname information could be combined with any such genetic data to trace ancestral origins but we can’t predict how useful it will be for particular individuals.

  • Kathy Lee

    Hi there,
    I have done the 23andMe complete… And had my brothers and father do the test as well.
    – Is there a way to ‘connect’ your results to theres so the paternal line on my profile (as a woman) ‘knows’ which person im connected to is my father and automatically comes up with the information? I.e. when you click on paternal line, it knows?
    – As a female, when i use relative finder, is it only showing maternal line relatives?
    – I’ve found a 4th cousin on RF, who tells me she was adopted. How can i find out if she is related to my maternal line or my paternal line?
    So many questions! I am so enjoying 23andMe. Can’t wait until everyone on the planet is using it!

    • Hi Kathy,

      Currently there is no way to connect the paternal line information from your brothers/father to your own account. Keep in mind that the paternal haplogroup represents just one line out of thousands in your family tree — traced through your father’s father’s father’s …[etc] ancestors. You have 22 other pairs of chromosomes that came from both your mother and father, which themselves are mixtures of the 22 pairs of chromosomes they each received from their own mother and father, and so on. Relative Finder matches can be based on DNA from any of those chromosomes, so they can represent potential relatives from either your mother or your father’s side. If one or both of your parents have also done 23andMe and are sharing with you, you can usually figure out which side the match is from by using the Family Inheritance: Advanced feature and seeing which parent also shares segments of DNA with your Relative Finder match. Hope this helps!

  • Kathy Lee

    Thanks Shwu,

    That was such an interesting link – i hadn’t played with the ancestry labs before.

    So i compared the distant cousin with myself, my mother and my father. And weirdly: although my parenst have nothing in common when compared, the cousin had something in common with both of them. Why would that be?

    Carole (cousin) vs. Kathy Lee (me) 11 40000000 65000000 13.0 cM 3438
    Carole vs. Kathy Lee 15 78000000 86000000 6.0 cM 1294
    Carole vs. Stephen (dad) 11 40000000 67000000 14.0 cM 3670
    Carole vs. Sue (mum) 15 78000000 86000000 6.5 cM 1309

    I’d love to find out who our common ancestor might be and where my family originally came from.

    • Hi Kathy,

      It is certainly possible for both of your parents to be related to your distant cousin through different lines. All that means is that you can trace your common ancestry with your distant cousin through multiple paths in the family tree. For example, perhaps your mother shares a g-g-g-g-grandparent with cousin, and your father shares a different g-g-g-g-grandparent with cousin. You therefore share two g-g-g-g-g-grandparents with cousin.

      If you post your question and results in the 23andMe community, there are many folks who would be happy to help you make more sense of what you’re seeing in RF and FI:A. Good luck!

  • Sherri Small

    I deffinatley want to get my DNA tested to see where my ancesters came from. I know that I can only get my mothers line from my own DNA, but I want to get my fathers as well. I believe, if my research is correct, it will lead to Scotland. The problem is…Both my full blood brothers are dead and my father is quite out of it, as far as his mind, and is afraid to do the test. I do have a half-brother. I found him by doing this ancester stuff. My father was married to someone else before he met my mother and they had a son. Will my half-brothers DNA tell me about my fathers line without things getting confused with his mother. She is NO relation to me and I don’t want things getting mixed up.
    Thank You, Sherri Small

    • Hi Sheri,

      Your half-brother, since he is a direct male descendant of your father, will have inherited his Y chromosome from your father and thus his paternal line, so his results will tell you a bit more about one line of your paternal ancestry. Note that you can still learn quite a lot (and arguably more) about your paternal side of the family tree from other features such as Relative Finder, which use information from across all of the other 22 chromosomes. Since you inherit a copy of each of these chromosomes from your father as well as your mother, they carry information about both sides of your family tree. Hope this helps!

  • Suzanne

    As a female looking at my 23andme test for health reasons, will my test provide just the maternal side for health issues or will I need a male relative to send his sample in to provide me with additional information? Everyone is talking about ancestry rather than health, although it may not be different, I wanted to confirm. Thank you.

    • Hi Suzanne,

      The Y chromosome, which only men inherit from their fathers, is primarily used for ancestry purposes to trace the paternal line (father’s father’s father’s father etc). The health information at 23andMe relies on all of your chromosomes, which come equally from your mother and father, so there is no need to test a male relative. There is always the possibility that a genetic marker on the Y chromosome is found to be linked to a health condition or trait, but in this case the association would not impact you, as only the DNA you inherit contributes to your health and traits (along with non-genetic factors).

  • Eve Doody

    I have no idea who my Father is/was …but I have in the paternal haplogroup a list of males … do I take it this is my Father’s side of the family ???

    • Hi Eve,

      If you are sharing with other members of 23andMe, their paternal haplogroups will appear on the right hand side of that page. We also list haplogroups of some famous men, so you will see those as well. So those do not necessarily represent your father’s side, they are simply examples of other people’s paternal haplogroups.

      If you have a brother that had the same father as you, his test will provide information about your shared father’s paternal haplogroup, which you can then set as your own.

      Note that all of the other features on 23andMe use DNA information from both your mother and your father. For example, Relative Finder and Ancestry Finder can tell you about ancestry and genetic relatives from both sides of your family. If you have more questions, please visit 23andMe Customer Care! https://customercare.23andme.com/

  • Christina

    I am a female who would like to find out my father’s heritage, however he is diseased. My father was also adopted so I cannot use his father. I have a half brother, who shares the same father with me but he had a different mother. What can I expect from the DNA results if my half brother takes the test? Will I be able to determine what my heritage is on my father’s side?

    • Hi Christina,

      If your half-brother shares the same father with you, then his test results will be able to tell you about your father’s direct paternal line (i.e. father’s father’s fathers etc line). Note that all of the other features on 23andMe use all of your DNA, which comes from both your mother and father, and so can tell you something about both of them. For example, Relative Finder and Ancestry Finder identify people with whom you share identical segments of DNA; since these segments can come from either your father or your mother, your matches will thus represent ancestry and genealogical relatives through both parents. Hope this helps. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to visit 23andMe Customer Care: https://customercare.23andme.com/

  • Nancy

    I have heard that this fall 23andme will have a DNA test for women that will be able to trace her paternal line. Is this true? I have no paternal members to be tested.

    • Hi Nancy,

      As the paternal line is passed through the Y chromosome from father to son, there is no way to trace this through a woman’s DNA.

      A related feature that was recently added is the ability for women to set their paternal line if they have a paternal relative tested and linked through 23andMe. Note that you don’t necessarily need your father to be tested; a brother (with the same father) and male relatives that share your father’s direct paternal ancestry such as a paternal uncle, grandfather, or cousin also work for this purpose. You can see information about this and other frequently asked questions here.

  • Nannie

    I am wanting to get my DNA done but I am not sure if I will get the answer that I am looking for. I am a female wanting to find out my mother’s side, but what I want isn’t a direct female line. The family line is my mother>grandmother>great grandfather>great great grandmother> great great great grandmother> great great great great grandmother. Will I be able to find out my 4th great grandmothers lineage even though my great grandfather passed on the DNA?

  • Christine

    Will my father’s mother’s father’s mother ethnicity show up a paternal ancestry test? Is there any test to show that?

    [ My Reasons: My great grandfather was adopted, but my great grandparent’s adoptive parents knew the birth parents. My great grandfather told my grandmother that he was Romani Gypsy and Hungarian (born in Hungary). So I always believed I was part Hungarian. However in Romani culture, they never inbred with non-Romani. (And surprisingly only have South Asian and Middle Eastern blood — not Romanian or any other European roots despite their long nomadic history in Eastern Europe)There seems to now be confusion in the family tree who was my great-grandfather’s actual mother, two women being connected to him as a his birth mother in the Family Tree (neither being the name of the adoptive mother). I would guess that if my great grandfather was indeed part Hungarian, than he was the result of an infidelity and that’s why he was given up. But he could of just been saying that he was *nationally* Hungarian and not “half Hungarian” like it was originally interpreted as and was actually 100% Romani. The paper trails can’t give this information, so I wanted to get a DNA test to see if my great-grandfather was 100% Romani or if there really was some Hungarian. No other relatives have Romani or Hungarian blood so we’d immediately know the truth of this story, if a DNA test can pick up whatever the ethnic traces of my father’s mother’s father’s mother is ]

  • Jane

    I don’t have any male relatives on my paternal side to have tested. However my brother was cremated and I was given a lock of his hair, can DNA testing be done with this lock of hair?

    • Hi Jane,

      23andMe does not offer DNA analysis on hair, unfortunately. There may be other companies that do but we cannot provide any specific recommendations.

  • Carolyn Johnson

    All of the males in my father’s generation are deceased. My brother (same father & mother) – for a variety of reasons – does not want to be tested. If my brother’s son – my nephew – was tested, would that give me my father’s paternal line ? Thank You for whatever advice you can offer.

    • ScottH

      Carolyn, The short answer is yes.

  • carol

    My dad is dead, and I have no idea about any other male relatives in my family such as brothers and uncles. Can I use my sons DNA to find my linage though mitochondrial dna, thus finding my dads lineage?

    • ScottH

      No that wouldn’t work. Your son would learn about his Paternal Haplogroup but not your paternal line. While without a male relative on your paternal line you cannot learn about your paternal haplogroup, you can still learn a lot about the paternal side of your ancestry. Because we do autosomal testing, you will get DNA Relative matches from all sides of your family.

      • annieem

        Okaye, I have a question then. Since I don’t know for certain, ‘who’ my biological Father was, and if I should be able to have my brother tested (he’s certainly my mother’s child, ‘Mother’s baby, Father’s maybe’), then would the testing tell me if we are full siblings or half sibling? Do I have to report that my brother is taking the test or would it show up automatically that we are related? And would it still make the connection to me even though the tests were done months apart?

        • ScottH

          You will be able to tell if you are full or half siblings. As long as both of you choose to “see close relatives.” which is an option that you have to select and that you are opted in for DNA relatives your brother will show up in your DNA Relative matches. It doesn’t matter if you took the tests months apart, and no you don’t have to report that your brother took the test. Hope this helps.

  • Ensatina

    My dad is dead, so is there any advantage to getting both my brother and my half brother tested? Or do I just need one? Is there an advantage to my brother over my half brother for any reason? (I’m assuming yes, as I’d find out more about my mom’s side…).

    • ScottH

      It would be better to have your full brother tested, especially if your half brother and you do not share the same father. Having your full brother tested will allow you to see your paternal haplogroup and your paternal line more clearly.

  • Can a woman’s autosomal DNA tell us anything about her male ancestry?

    • ScottH

      Yes, although you won’t be able to learn your paternal line. The autosomes – chromosomes 1 to 22 – and the X chromosome are inherited from all sides of your family tree and therefore capture about both your maternal and paternal ancestry. 23andMe’s Ancestry Composition will break down that ancestry by geographic origin — your percentage of European or African or Asian ancestry. In addition matches found through DNA Relatives come from all parts of your family tree. Together this can give you insight to father’s and mother’s side of the family.

  • Nancy McGinty

    Can male first cousins who share a paternal grandfather have differences in their haplogroups? One is Q1a3 and the other is Q-p36.2.

    • ScottH

      The important thing to look at here, to see if two names refer to the same lineage, is the set of mutations (M242, p36.2, M346). Both of these men have the p36.2 mutation, so there is not an indication of a different haplogroup.

  • SAA

    I just want to make sure I’m correct before I purchase a kit for someone–I (female) have already received my report, but (of course) would like more of the story. My father passed away some time ago and he was an only child. My paternal grandparents have passed away as well. However, I have a half-brother (we share the same father). I would be able to get the paternal information from him, right? Otherwise, the next closest relative would be a great-uncle (and this would be much more difficult).

    • ScottH

      Yes you would be able to learn about your paternal line from your half brother, if you share the same father.

  • Penny

    I have a question I hope someone will be able to answer..My father is dead, I have no contact with his family; If my half-sister (mom’s child) gets tested, can we assume that the differences between her results and mine would belong to our fathers?

    • Neb-Maat-Re

      I realise this is an old question but I’m responding anyway. You would need to test your mother. There could be DNA your mother passed to you that she did not pass to your half-sister. You could not assume that anyone who matched you but did not match your half-sister was related to your father. The only certainty would be if someone matched you and not your mother then they would be related to your father.

  • Ms_Jones

    Hello, I recently found out that the man who raised me is not my father. My biological father has passed away, and a son that he fathered has also passed away. I DID manage to track down a cousin of HIS – ie, his father’s brother’s son. Would I be able to use this DNA sample? As a backup, could I even go as far as using HIS son’s DNA? Thank you.

    • ScottH

      His father’s brother’s son would indeed share the same paternal line as your father.

  • Ms_Jones

    (as a clarification of the above – I managed to track down a cousin of my BIOLOGICAL FATHER – not my half-brother.)

  • Audree

    I am a woman interested in taking the test. I see that I will not see my paternal line. Should I simply ask my brother to take the test instead of me? Would I get more information this way?

    • ScottH

      Audree, If you are interested in learning about your paternal line, then yeah it might make more sense to have your brother tested. You would get both your paternal and maternal line. But if you want more information about yourself — the traits you inherited from your parents, your ancestral composition, health conditions you have, etc. — obviously getting the test yourself makes the most sense.

  • John Abbott

    Does the 23andme test also tell you what percentage of Neanderthal you might have in your genome?

    • ScottH


  • Eileen M

    I must admit I am totally confused about my DNA results. My sister took the test via Ancestry.com. No surprise to us her results indicated 89% British Isles. Mine came out with 23andMe as nearly the opposite, 14.4% British Isles. Is this even possible? Any insight you can give me would be welcome.

    My main reason for doing the test was to, hopefully, connect with Irish roots, specifically attempt to locate my maternal grandfather’s family in Tuam, Galway, Ireland and in fact ordered the test through Ireland Reaching Out. Instead results seem to be about my maternal grandmother’s Jewish roots. (also interesting to me as it proved family lore to be accurate) again, I wonder why my sister’s results did not show this heritage.

    If I want to reach my mother’s father’s ancestors whom in the family should be tested? My deceased mother still has 2 sisters and one brother living. Would my uncle be the best option?

    • Susan Price Davis

      To get his Y line, your uncle would be the best choice I would think, that would give you the Surname information of your mother’s father and beyond.

  • Nicole

    So just to clarify, as a female doing this test, I would get all my lineage info, it just would not be divided into maternal and paternal because you could not distinguish which x came from the mother and which from the father?

    • ScottH

      Nicole, You are correct. You also would not be able to learn your paternal haplogroup.

  • DonnaF

    My brother and I are about to get tested. We are very interested in finding out more about my father’s mother’s ancestry, which on paper seems amazing. Will her ancestry even show up in the testing?

    • ScottH

      Donna, It’s great that your brother is getting tested because that will give you a fuller experience. You’ll be able to share information and see your paternal haplogroup. In answer to your question about your father’s mother, yes you will see that, but it’s not going to be readily apparent. In other words, you will be able to see what comes from your father that you received and your brother received. Your father’s ancestry is a combination of what he got from his father and mother. So in that way you will be able to see her ancestry in your results. But what comes from her might not be easy to identify. If you know enough about your family ancestry and her specific ancestry is distinctive — let’s say she is from Japan and your grandfather was European — you would more easily be able to see her ancestry. That might also be the case if you know that your grandfather was mostly Northern European and your own mother was from Northern European ancestry, but your grandmother’s ancestry is Southern European. That segment would then but much easier to identify.

  • Alice Stanley

    I have a question related to the paternal DNA. We know through our genealogy on my maternal side that we are related to several presidents and presidents wives but this did not show up on our Maternal DNA but we can support this with fact (the connection is through my mothers father and his grandmother back) So when I had my brother tested, low and behold the relationship shows up. I thought that paternal DNA identified the male line back…my brother, his father, his father and so on. And I know that my brother also carries maternal DNA, which would be my mother, her mother, her mother. So I guess my question is, is the connection showing up because my Stanley (male) ancestry has that connection further back than what we know, or is my brother’s DNA test able to pick that up. Am I way off base here?

    • ScottH

      Alice, It’s difficult to answer you question based on what’s in your comment, but I’ll attempt to address a couple of things. First off, both you and your brother will get matches in the DNA Relative feature from both sides of your family. Because men inherit yDNA from their father’s they will had the added ability to see their paternal line — their paternal haplogroup. That also happens to be your paternal haplogroup so you it’s good that your brother has been tested. So why are you getting different matches than your brother? The answer is that although siblings get half their DNA from their mother and half from their father’s, they don’t get exactly the same DNA. In addition because of recombination each generation also gets an different proportion of DNA from their ancestors. When you go back several generations, the DNA signature from a specific relative might be so low that it could show up on one sibling but not the other. Visit our FAQ page for more. If you still aren’t getting your questions answered, you can query our Customer Care team.

      • Alice Stanley

        Thank you Scott for you reply. Sorry I wasn’t clear on my question. I guess I still a little confused due to being a newbie at the DNA side of genealogy. I appreciate your assistance and I believe I understand but still feel the need for further validation of my understanding, so I used the query line..thank you so much!

  • JoyceB

    I don’t know if this question has been asked already…can data from an Ancestry.com DNA test be uploaded to 23andMe for testing? I ask because my Dad, who is in a nursing home, is unable to do a saliva test, and Ancestry offers a cheek swab test, which he can do. I’d love to be able to have it run for the health report, as well as for additional ancestry info. Are there any other options if someone is unable to provide enough saliva for testing? Thanks in advance!

  • 23blog

    Joyce, I’m not totally familiar with Ancestry.com, But the 23andMe allows you to use our Family Tree feature by uploading a GEDCOM file. GEDCOM is a file format used for creating family trees that contains genealogical information about individuals and metadata linking these records together. Most online genealogy services and genealogy desktop software will produce a GEDCOM file on request – look for an option to “Export Tree,” “Download Tree,” or “Export GEDCOM.”

    • JoyceB

      That sounds good, I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

  • brealei

    Hi, I don’t have anybody available to me on my paternal line based on the tree above. Would it work to use my grandfather’s brother? Is there a way to designate him as my grandfather’s brother on this site and get my paternal line information or is that one step too far removed?

    Thanks! Sorry if this has been asked already.. I tried searching but did not find it.

    • 23blog

      If it’s your grandfather on your father’s side, then yes. And you can designate him as such in the Family Tree feature, and in the DNA Relative feature. While that will get you the information on your paternal haplogroup, it won’t automatically populate that information into your profile. We currently do that in father-child relationships, but not for other individuals on the paternal line. For more information go here: https://customercare.23andme.com/entries/21734268

  • The Elf

    OK, here is my dilemma….. I am female and an only child to my birth-father. I was also adopted and am unsure if he is really my father. Can I determine any connection what so ever if I tested me against my fathers fathers brothers son? So essentially my fathers first male cousin through his father (my grand dad), all from the same male line from my great grandfather??? My supposed father is dead and so are his parents. He was an only child so my fathers cousin is my only hope to unraveling this mystery. Its the closest relative I have from that side, if I am related and in fact he WAS my birth-father, I’d like to know. I am running out of options to complete my tree. Can somebody give me any direction? My fathers cousin is willing to test but I don’t know if it will even be worth the effort.

    • ttandme

      Yes of course you would be able to see if you are related. The only thing women are not able to see is their paternal haplogroup. You will still get relative matches on all branches of your family tree.

      • The Elf

        So, if we both did this 23andme DNA test, we would show up as a match if we were related? And if we were related, I could safely assume that the man who I think is my birth-father likely is? Or should I find a less general DNA test and test one on one? And one more question, if my actual birth-father was someone else and he also took this test would it show up as a match? Or again, should I just to a simple paternity test with him since he is still living?

        • 23blog

          Yes. If you both test and opt in to “show close relatives” you will both show up in your DNA Relative matches. The feature also gives an estimate on the relation based on the percentage of shared DNA. So if he is your biological father, and has tested and opted in to show close relatives he will show up in your matches.

  • glorayus

    So, I want to use my brother’s son for my paternal Y chromosome. can I do that?

    • 23blog

      Yes, you can use your brother’s son to figure out your patneral haplogroup.

      • Susan Price Davis

        Also, if you use your brother’s son, that will give them their mother’s mitochondrial haplogroup. Since your brother’s is the same as yours, this might be additional information they might like to have for their kids. If however, your father is still living, doing his would give you your paternal grandmother’s mitochondrial path, adding to your history.

  • Kasandra Hirst

    My mom is an only child from her Mother and Father. When my mom was 10 months old her father left and she hasn’t heard from him since(due to interference). She once hired a private investigator to look for her father but that didn’t have any turn out. I recently just shared the news about 23andme with my Mother which I was going to buy her as a surprise for one of her Christmas gifts BUT from my understanding a woman being an XX, there is no way for her to find anything about her paternal side because she doesn’t have his Y.. Correct? If I am wrong please let me know, I would love to do this for my Mother because I know how bad and how long she has wanted this.

    I am definitely skeptical because I’ve always been told “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” I pray this is an exception *fingers crossed*

  • Kasandra Hirst

    My mom is an only child from her Mother and Father. When my mom was 10 months old her father left and she hasn’t heard from him since(due to interference). She once hired a private investigator to look for her father but that didn’t have any turn out. I recently just shared the news about 23andme with my Mother which I was going to buy her as a surprise for one of her Christmas gifts BUT from my understanding a woman being an XX, there is no way for her to find anything about her paternal side because she doesn’t have his Y.. Correct? If I am wrong please let me know, I would love to do this for my Mother because I know how bad and how long she has wanted this.

    I am definitely skeptical because I’ve always been told “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” I pray this is an exception *fingers crossed*

  • Kasandra Hirst

    My mom is an only child from her Mother and Father. When my mom was 10 months old her father left and she hasn’t heard from him since(due to interference). She once hired a private investigator to look for her father but that didn’t have any turn out. I recently just shared the news about 23andme with my Mother which I was going to buy her as a surprise for one of her Christmas gifts BUT from my understanding a woman being an XX, there is no way for her to find anything about her paternal side because she doesn’t have his Y.. Correct? If I am wrong please let me know, I would love to do this for my Mother because I know how bad and how long she has wanted this.

    I am definitely skeptical because I’ve always been told “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” I pray this is an exception *fingers crossed*

  • marie motroni

    My brother did his DNA with 23 and me so I could see both sides of our DNA. However, his results were different (of course because it adds our father’s side) in a weird way. I have 2.6% French and German and there is none listed for him. Is there a threshold at which they just lump it into the nonspecific category?

  • Meowy FotBot

    I just added my Fathers brother (paternal uncle) on my family tree and connected his account. How long does it take until my paternal line gets updated with the info from his Y ? I saw his shows our Jewish line but mine does not.

  • 23blog

    His results are different also because although you both get 50 percent of your DNA from your father and 50 percent from your mother, it is not the same 50 percent. You can compare Genes and see where you overlap, and where you don’t. This will tell you what segments you share and what you don’t. If one of your parents tested you would also be able to see what came from your mother and what came from your father. To answer your last question, yes we do make nonspecific European, or nonspecific Northern European or Southern European ancestry assignments when the distinctions are not clear enough. You can adjust the estimate from conservative, to standard to speculative to change that.

  • 23blog

    That is not totally accurate. As a woman, you cannot learn about your paternal haplogroup without having your father, or someone else on your paternal line, being tested. But you can learn about other things about your mother’s father. Remember that she inherited 50 percent of her DNA from her mother and 50 percent from her father. You in turn will have inherited about a quarter – this is approximate due to recombination. So your DNA Relative matches come from all branches of your family tree, and so too are the health conditions and traits. Your ancestry composition includes ancestry from your mother’s father. However figuring out what came from him is difficult. That is why people sometimes use additional bits of information that they know to put into context their results. For instances if you have a surname, then look through your DNA Relative matches and see similar surnames. That might focus your search on those matches. In addition, you might know cities where his family is from, and if you see matches that have those cities you might look at that. In addition, if his ancestry is very distinct, that might really stick out in your Ancestry Composition. I’d encourage you to look through our Help section to find out more.

  • allie

    I need some clarification being a female here. I have no known male relatives from my biological fathers side. He has been deceased for over twenty years, and his only known relative was a sister because they were products of a closed adoption. As far as I am aware I am his only child.
    I am curious to know if I can still get any information about his side of the family such as his/my heritage (direct or indirectly) and anything else I can find out?I do have a half brother (different fathers) so that doesn’t help.

  • LeahRocks

    We think there is a chance my Father had a different Father from his siblings. He is deceased. I have an uncle (his brother) still living. If he and I are tested, can it be determined if they had the same Father?

  • Scott23H

    You get half your DNA from your mother and half from your father. The analysis we do for you includes information from both sides of your family. However, because you are a woman and you do not receive a Y chromosome from your father, we cannot determine your paternal haplogroup.
    But haplogroups are one small part of your ancestry analysis. The 23andMe Personal Genome Service provides you with information from all branches of your family tree using your autosomal DNA.

  • Scott23H

    DNA Relatives can determine whether a match is on your mother’s side or your father’s side. But to do that you would have to have one of your parents tested.
    If your relative also shares DNA with your mother, he or she is most likely on your mother’s side of the family. Conversely, if a relative shares DNA with your father, he or she is probably on your dad’s side. This is the case for both male and female relatives, since DNA Relatives is based on your autosomal DNA.

    When you include one or both of your parents and confirm your relationship, DNA Relatives checks each of your matches to see which parent they match. You’ll see this indicated next to each match in your DNA Relatives list. You can filter your matches by which side of the family they’re on.

    In addition by having one or both parent tested you can show Split View, which will indicate the maternal and paternal contributions to your ancestry.

  • Diane

    I have been approached on Ancestry.Ca by someone who says they believe that my great grandfather had two children with another woman prior to meeting and marrying my great grandmother. Both children (both boys) have passed away, one married and had a son (still living). My grandmother is the only child left from the second marriage. Is there any DNA test that will prove that they are or are not related to my family?

  • Mary A Ballerin

    My father and his father are both deceased, dad only had a sister, she never had children. I have a deceased brother who has a son, my nephew – can he be used for my Y chromosome? I have one living male relative on that side, a brother that I don’t speak to, I can’t get his saliva.

    • Scott23H

      Hi Mary,
      Yes you can use a male on your paternal line to learn your own paternal haplogroup. So if your nephew tests you can learn about your paternal line from sharing with him.

  • I have some questions – my friend is trying to use 23andme to find her birth family. She knows who her birth mother is and connected with her half-sister a number of years ago. They both decided to do the 23andme, which confirmed that they are half-siblings (they weren’t sure, and their birth mother passed several years ago and did not give them any information about either of their fathers – they suspect she may not have known who their fathers were).
    Both she and her half-sister have relative matches from their test. Can my friend assume that if a second cousin comes up on her list but NOT on her half-sisters that this person is from her birth father’s family? It looks like my friend’s birth father was first nations but her half-sister is not – all of the cousins she has found that are not shared with her half-sister are first nations.

    • Scott23H

      Yes it would be most likely that your are correct. If the second cousin match is not found among her half sister’s matches than it is likely to be a match on her paternal side. Looking at ancestry composition and how the sisters differ and then how they compare to this second cousin might also give more clues about her father.

  • Rayna

    Will you get a paternal match testing two possible half sisters? Will it link you as a close relative, or will you only get 2 different maternal sides? There are no males on their side except for 2 sons.

    • Scott23H

      You’ll be able to determine if they are half sisters. You can also deduce if they match on the paternal or maternal side by looking at their shared matches. While a woman cannot determine her paternal haplogroup, she will get matches from both her mother’s and father’s side of the family

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