Meek Family Y-DNA Project

What does a non-match mean?

Almost 80% of the members of the Meek/Meeks project match another member which is fairly high for surname projects. However, some members do not match anyone in the project and some do not have any matches in the entire FTDNA database. Following is a discussion of some reasons for non-matches.

1) There are a lot of people in the world and only a small fraction of them have been DNA tested.

Most people named Meek or Meeks assume that the surname originated in the British Isles. Most DNA testing was originally done in the United States. However, testing is increasing in the British Isles and Europe. As the size of the project increases the likelihood of a match increases.

A person without a match to their surname should set their personal preferences at FTDNA to compare their results to the entire database rather than just the surname project. In addition they should upload their results to the public database at This can be done from the matches tab on their personal page.

2) In a small number of cases a non-match may indicate a break in the male line. This is known as a non-paternity event (NPE). The International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) defines it as “…usually refer to an occurrence in the past. It may have been an adoption of a family member or friend's child, the adoption of a child from the Orphan Train, or an illegitimate birth.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines paternity, in part, as “The quality or condition of being a father”.

For our purposes non-paternity event refers to an event which caused a man’s surname to change and consequently his assumed ancestry. If a person named John Smith becomes John Jones the act of assuming the name Jones is the non-paternity event as the paternity is with the name Smith. Some of the major reasons for a non-paternity event are summarized below.

Reasons for Non-Paternity Events (NPE)
Assimilated into a family and adopts the surname of the host family.
      Taking in of a foundling
      Mother pregnant by another man at the time of marriage
      Infidelity of mother
Illegitimacy-child given mother’s surname or a different surname
Change of identity for legal or illegal reasons
Genealogical errors
      Name changed on immigration

While we all know someone who is adopted, a non-paternity event could have occurred anytime in history and may be unknown to a living person. The farther back in time one goes the less likely there is any official record of the event.

Because Y-DNA is passed down from father to son it naturally follows the surname from the past to the present. Therefore if one does not have a DNA match with his surname it might be the results of a non-paternity event. However, given the small number of people who have had a DNA test, a non-paternity event should not be assumed to be the most likely reason for a non-match.

Matching other surnames

Up to 92% of the members of the Meek project fall into the large haplogroup R1b (R-M269). Without going into a scientific explanation it is possible for two unrelated families to develop similar values on the DNA markers due to something called convergence. Each family randomly mutates to a point where the haplotypes are similar. This is especially true when only the first 12 or 25 markers are used.

Matches with other surnames on 12 or 25 markers usually fall apart as the number of markers is increased. However, these matches should not be totally ignored without a careful examination. It is possible that a non paternity event is involved. It is also possible that a common ancestor might extend back to a time before the use of surnames which can be an interesting exploration while you waiting for a more recent match.

Contact the project administrator for additional information.

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If you have any questions E-mail Chris Meek or Fred Meek