Benefit of Y-DNA testing self vs father or grandfather?


I am planning on taking a Y-DNA test. As a male myself, if there is an option to test my father or paternal grandfather instead, would there be any practical benefit? I am not inclined to test more than one of us, due to the cost.

My understanding is that the rate of mutation of Y-DNA is so low that it probably should not make any difference (i.e. we would all get the same results). Adoption or illegitimacy is not a concern here (autosomal tests already confirm the relationship to father and grandfather). I wonder if at higher level testing (e.g. Y-111, Big Y-700) differences may emerge within 1-2 generations?

Harry Vervet

Posted 2020-04-22T02:48:22.890

Reputation: 17 763



Your inclination is correct; there is very little benefit to be gained from testing more than one of you for yDNA (the answer is different for atDNA).

Have any of you already done a atDNA test? If not, I would test your grandfather with Family Tree DNA which will store his DNA in case you want to do an atDNA test on the same sample latrer. For atDNA, it is always best to test the oldest person first as that gives you 'visibility' further up his line. At some point you can add his son and yourself if you wish, to get some visibility of your paternal grandmother's and your mother's line. (I would get the atDNA tests for yourself and your father, if you progress to that, done at Ancestry -- you can transfer data out of ancestry but not into it.)


Posted 2020-04-22T02:48:22.890

Reputation: 6 063

Hi Cole - done autosomal tests for myself (FamilyTreeDNA) and both paternal grandparents (Ancestry), as well as mum and maternal grandmother (also Ancestry). I was planning on adding on a Y-DNA test for myself as they can use the sample I already submitted although that was a few years ago. Would love to be able to do Y-DNA test on my maternal grandfather who had a very rare surname, but unfortunately he died a number of years ago. – Harry Vervet – 2020-04-22T16:20:26.073

@HarryVervet In that case, test your oldest direct line male relative (assuming the cost is the same and/or immaterial) to 'look further back in time'. – ColeValleyGirl – 2020-04-22T16:36:30.827