My paternal grandfather's name was not permitted to be on the birth register of my father. How does one find Unknown Unknown? through time and place? Thru DNA tests? through a GEDmatch? I think I've tried them all.

My autosomal DNA TEST shows a definite Jewish (Ashkenazi) dna from Lithuania now called Belarus. This person was very likely in Karlsruhe or Frankfurt in March 1907. My grandmother Anna's family seems not to have been rich enough to travel long distances as a general rule. An inference I made after meeting the three Bermans two years ago is that my and my son's keen interests in the arts comes from that Jewish family line. Other than that I don't know anything about him.

I am female and my father had no living male relatives except for his father. I had two sons and both had the same test taken.

As for a GEDmatch, I'm at a point where I've run it and received results. Now I must write people short letters to get further information.

  • 2
    It really depends on the details. Where, when, do you know anything at all about your grandfather? If you are male, then Y-DNA testing may be most helpful. What exactly have you tried?
    – Harry V.
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 20:15
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    How far did you get with DNA/Gedmatch?
    – Jonny Perl
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 22:05
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    What means - not permitted? It was hide for some reason? If we talk not about orphanage, maybe some records are still accessible? Could you please describe your situation more precisely?
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 6:56
  • The archivist said that someone (could be his family, her family, my grandmother or her mate) did not want his name listed in the data on the birth register. Gm Anna left her child with her gm who was about 70 then so she could get to the US tp build a new life. Then her Gm brought him to the US after she found someone to marry. That man gave both of them a new last name and American citizenship. However, it's not clear where the man's place of Birth was. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 20:18
  • Even though you have been a user of this site for over a year I would like to encourage you to take the Tour to learn about its focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


Generally, yes, when you are stuck with "paper" investigation, the only chance to get additional data is to pass DNA test and find matched persons. The only thing worth to be mentioned that DNA tests are very new technology and are not mature. The main problem is the size of database. I think that FTDNA's (the company #1 in DNA testing) database is not greater than 1000000 persons. Ancestry and 23andMe must be almost the same size. The chances that your relatives passed DNA test is small. But the time goes and the database grows. So someday your relative will get into database and you will see it. Also the algorithms of matching are not 100% reliable. They give as false-positive results, as false-negative too.

  • Yes, I have taken an autosomal DNA test at ftdna. I found some of his relatives, but there's a gap between them and my father. The two older ones have died now. The man had a resemblance to my father. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 20:11

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