Now With 300% More Larkin!

I wrote about the brick wall on my Larkin line a few months ago in a post titled “Sometimes the Wall Wins”, because I lost that round.  My 2-great grandmother, Bessie, eloped at age 16 and already a few months gone. That marriage record and a name on her son’s baptismal and death certificates are the only paper evidence I have that her husband, John T. Larkin, ever existed.  Aside from my great grandfather, of course.

I had my father do a Y-37 test at Family Tree DNA a while back. None of his matches at the 12- or 25-marker levels were Larkins, and his one match at the 37-marker level had a genetic distance of 4, meaning that he isn’t closely related. The one saving grace was that the 37-marker match was also a Larkin, giving me reason to believe that our surname does reflect our lineage. Overall, though, the results were disappointing.

So, I did what any normal person would do: I sulked for a while, then ordered an upgrade as soon as the next good sale rolled around. And what a sale! A friend passed along a great coupon for the Big Y test, and FTDNA threw in the Y-111 upgrade for free. I got the Y-111 results today, only 18 days after the order was placed.

No matches at the 111-marker level, but at the 67-marker level, there are five … and four of them are Larkins!


None of them is close enough to shed light on my mysterious John T., of course. Even so, I’m feeling optimistic.  I have much more confidence that he really was a Larkin, and he can’t hide forever.




12 thoughts on “Now With 300% More Larkin!”

  1. I thought that the 111 was a ‘better’ test than the 67, I thought that whatever you got at 67 would also be on the 111 with even better results on the 111… since you are testing more… I don’t understand why they didn’t show up in the 111…
    I have the same problem as you, my gggrandfather only exists on the marriage record for his sons… no census, no nothing that I can find.. my gggrandmother doesn’t show up either except the 1880 Census with the 4th son age 19… strange isn’t it. I had my dna (female) my brother, an a cousin. My brother and the cousin (Male) are a great match… so I know I have the right family… but after years and years I still have the brick wall.

    1. Higher levels of STR testing (e.g., Y-67 vs Y-111) are useful when you have too many matches and want to narrow down which ones are more closely related. They don’t usually find new matches that you didn’t already have at the lower levels. Finding three more Larkins at Y-67 than at Y-37 is the exception more than the rule.

      1. thednageek said “No matches at the 111-marker level, but at the 67-marker level, there are five … and four of them are Larkins!” Those 4 or 5 matches were there all along. They do not show in the 37 point test because of the GD’s shown in your 37 readout on FTDNA. The 67 point test is 30 additional markers other than the original 37 . In the 37 point database on FTDNA ,raise the “Distance” to the levels shown in the 67 [4,5,6 and 7] and your matches will show.

        1. How do you raise the distance? The maximum I am allowed to select for a 37-marker test is “4 Steps”.

  2. First box “The Entire Database”,second box”Markers ” 37,third box “Distance” . On my test “Distance ” can be selected up to 10 steps.

    1. The maximum Distance available for a Y-37 test is 4. You only get a greater distance as an option once you test at a higher level.

  3. You are correct and I apologize. It has been so long since I upgraded from 37 I had forgotten the 4 step limit. As you jogged my memory I remember the frustration in that .

    1. No need to apologize. I had to log into my husband’s account (which is still at Y-37) to see the limitation. From my father’s account (Y-111), I can increase the distance beyond 4 even when I select the 37-marker level for him.

  4. Trying to get a cousin or a great-uncle to do a Y test to figure out my great-grandfather’s unknown father. If someone does agree to do it, I’m guessing it’s better to send them the Y-111 test?

  5. Great story. I have a similar brick wall — there were 10 Thomas O’Connor’s in New Orleans around 1900, with several born within a few years of 1870. There is no paper trail linking “my” Thomas O’Connor to his parent names, although DNA testing is leading me over and over to one set of grandparents, at least. (Nicknames must have kept all the relatives straight who were named Thomas!) Compounding all this, his daughter died young, and his wife re-married and separated herself from the family, so no family lore has been passed down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.