Old paternity test got it wrong :-(

In 1994, for reasons unknown to me, there was a court-arranged paternity test. The test was to determine whether a 20-year-old female was the daughter of a 48-year-old man. The test was done by Roche Labs. The man and the mother of the female had never been married, but the man had believed that he was the father, and he had served in that role. The female called him “dad,” and they had a father/daughter relationship.

Some days after the paternity test, Roche Labs gave the man a piece of paper that said that he was, “excluded as a possible father.” I.e., the lab gave the man a piece of paper saying, “You are not the father of this 20-year-old female.” He was surprised, but he accepted it.

Fast forward 26 years, to 2020. The daughter of that then-20-year-old took an autosomal DNA test, to see what she could see. Likely, as most folks new to the world of autosomal DNA, when her results came in, she did not understand what she was seeing. However, one of her DNA matches saw that the woman absolutely had to be a HUFFORD descendant, and that the two had to be closely related.  And that woman (whom we’ll call “Ann”) sent me an email message late evening on Monday, April 13:

“I’m seeing a close HUFFORD relative. Who is it?”

Ann and I have never met, but we have collaborated for about 20 years. Here’s what Ann was seeing: First, she saw that she and some unknown female share 304 centimorgans of DNA. Second, she saw that the unknown female also has large shares with her (Ann’s) two half first-cousins. Ann’s half first-cousins are first-cousins to each other.

When Ann compared the DNA, here’s what she saw:
We know exactly how Cousin 1 and Cousin 2 fit as HUFFORD descendants. Cousin 1 and Cousin 2 share one set of grandparents. Ann shares one of those grandparents as a grandparent. What Ann saw made clear that ????? descends from her grandfather (a HUFFORD) and his 2nd wife. (Cousin 1 and Cousin 2 descend from the grandfather and his 2nd wife; Ann descends from the grandfather and his 1st wife.)

Ann looked further. She compared the autosomal DNA of ????? chromosome by chromosome to her DNA and to the DNA of Cousin 1 and Cousin 2. Here, Cousin 1 is represented by a purple line; Cousin 2 is represented by a dark orange line; Ann is represented by a golden-colored line. The unknown female is the base on whom all are compared. Any line shown means that the unknown woman also shares there. And one also can see where Cousin 1, Cousin 2, and Ann overlap.
And then there was this, showing the exact segment match between ????? and Cousin 2, from point to point, on the X chromosome:

That shows a large shared segment on the X chromosome between ????? and Cousin 2. The two share 43.67 centimorgans on the X chromosome alone.

I told Ann to go to sleep, and I’d see what I could come up with. The next morning (Tuesday), there was an email from Cousin 1:
“I just wanted to share this with you. It just popped up on my 23andMe.”

It was a screen shot showing his newest match, the unknown female ?????. I said, “I’m already on it. Ann drew my attention to it last night.”

By late Tuesday night, I knew where the unknown female fit: Her mother was that 20-year-old who, back in 1994, was told by Roche Labs that her father was not her father. Surprise! The lab screwed up, badly.

Wednesday, I phoned the Hufford cousin who was given incorrect information in 1994. At the time, I knew nothing about the 1994 paternity test. As with so many, these were all folks who had come into my life only because of my genealogical research, and I did not know his life story. I told him that he has a 22-year-old granddaughter. As I explained, this 74-year-old man said, “No. There was a paternity test in 1994, and it said that I’m not the father of this young woman’s mother.”

I said, “The test was wrong. Your brother’s son (Cousin 1) tested. Your sister’s daughter (Cousin 2) tested. Your half-sister’s daughter (Ann) tested. Your granddaughter shares DNA with all three of them in the amount that your granddaughter would share. Since the DNA says that she is your granddaughter, that means that her mother is your daughter.”

The pain and shock in the man’s voice cannot be described. As we spoke, I could hear him walk in his home to where he could find a file with that old paper from 1994, and he read from it: “You are excluded as a possible father.” For 26 years, he had saved a piece of paper saying that his daughter was not his daughter. And now some 4th cousin twice-removed whom he has never met was telling him, “She’s your daughter. That test was wrong. I don’t know how the lab got it wrong, but she’s your daughter.”

And there were his anguished words again: “Oh, no! Oh, no!” Twenty-six years of a father-daughter relationship taken because of a lab error. 😦

Please help!

To the cousins who have done autosomal DNA testing at ancestry[dot]com, if you’d like to help with this massive HUFFORD genealogical research project that has been going on for over 125 years, please consider allowing me to see the people with whom you share DNA.

It’s easy to do. There’s no risk and no cost to you if you already have tested. Your sharing information with me will help as I sort people and fill in descendants of our ancestor Christian HOFFARTH (1716-1788).

If you’re willing, email me, and I’ll explain how to “share” with me.

Thus far, nine HUFFORD descendants have shared their results with me. The more who share, the more data there is to mine.

Just yesterday, as a result of one of those shares, I was able to find and verify a previously unknown great-granddaughter of Christian: Sarah Hufford, daughter of David (d. 1865 Washington Co., Pennsylvania), who was the son of Christian II. Sarah was born in 1807 in rural Pennsylvania, had 12 children, and died in 1889. The info I turned up included an obit that stated where her body was buried, allowing me to make a findagrave page for her:
Sarah (Hufford) Ryan, 1807-1889

Finding Sarah allowed me not only to find her 12 children and many of their descendants, it also helped me to find the burial location for her father (David Hufford) and a copy of her father’s signature. That info also is now added at findagrave:
David Hufford, d. 9-Oct-1865

I would not have found Sarah if another HUFFORD descendant had not shared his DNA results with me.

If you have done DNA testing at ancestry, you could help with this research project by allowing me to see your DNA matches. I’d really appreciate it! Thank you.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all the other HUFFORD descendants!

Today I have changed the privacy settings on a genealogical database that I’ve been building for over 40 years. It is now set to “public.” Anyone with access to ancestry[dot]com will be able to see whatever is in the database for any person who has died. (Most public libraries in the USA have free access to ancestry[dot]com.)

The database includes all descendants of our immigrant ancestor Christian Hufford that I have been able to find.  Attached to each person in the database are various records used to puzzle thru the giant family-tree puzzle. Many have photos. Many have links to findagrave pages that have even more information. Many show DNA-verified lines; if a person’s last name is in all capital letters, it means that line has been proven with autosomal DNA (in addition to documentary genealogical research).

The database is the result of a wide variety of proofs: autosomal DNA, Y-DNA, death records, birth records, marriage records, divorce records, church records, government vital records, wills, estate settlements, probate records, published obituaries, funeral home records, military records, cemetery records, cemetery digs, gravestones, Social Security records, old photographs, old Bible records, diaries, old letters, city directories, school yearbooks, records from archives in other countries, census records, local histories, land transfer records, tax records, immigration and naturalization records, ships’ passenger lists, bastardy bonds, published genealogies, and more. Some of the records are from Canada, and some are from European countries. For some records, I had to learn bit of other languages. For some records, I traveled a few hundred miles to see original records.

The database has incorporated the work of some extraordinary HUFFORD genealogists. Among them are Abraham Hufford (1836-1920), Franklin Pierce Hoffert (1858-1931), Donald Robert Singleton (1918-1995), Eunice Elmina Newbold (Mrs. Clark, 1918-2016), Shirley Ann Hufford (Mrs. Hegeman, 1929-2013), James William “Jim” Hufferd (1935-2018), Florence Lucille Grove (Mrs. Woods, 1936-1991), Barry Wood, and Hoby Hooker.

As with all published genealogies, this is based on the best available information. Updates will continue as long as my life allows.

This has been a labor of love and obsession for the last 40 years of my life. Today, I put it in public as a gift.

To begin with our immigrant ancestor Christian in the database, go here:
For the overall database, go here:

Merry Christmas!

DNA test to see if you’re a HUFFORD

Autosomal DNA has become something of a “drug” for me, and my favorite DNA company these days is ancestry[dot]com.

For those who believe they are HUFFORD descendants, an autosomal DNA test at ancestry[dot]com  can be a quick way to confirm what you believe, or to have you scratch your head and do some rethinking.

When I search my DNA matches at ancestry to find others who have a HUFFORD in their trees, 72 matches pop. Of those 72, I know how all but six fit as descendants of Christian HOFFART b. 1716. Each of the six unknowns has a different story, and it may be that not all descend from Christian. There are other HUFFORD lines in the USA, and my ancestral connection with some may be other than HUFFORD; my DNA shares with the unknowns are quite small.

But a neat thing about ancestry’s service (if you are a subscriber in addition to just a DNA test taker) is the service they call “ThruLines.” Ancestry’s computer brain compares my DNA to my DNA matches. Then, it looks for matches in trees. Not only does the computer brain look for matches in the public trees displayed by my matches, the computer brain also looks for matches found using private trees. If a match is found, the computer brain will offer up what it finds. For me, the computer brain found 55 DNA matches such that the computer brain was willing to ID us as, for example, 2nd cousins once-removed, or 4th cousins twice-removed, and so forth.

Sometimes ThruLines will show names for the entire line. Sometimes ThruLines will show only male or female. Usually, even when no names are shown, I know and can figure out HUFFORD lines of descent well enough to determine the line and verify it with records.

If you believe that you are a HUFFORD descendant, an autosomal DNA test with ancestry[dot]com can quickly give you verification. If you have questions, give me a shout, and I’ll help as I’m able.

Hufford Y-DNA

R-L44 and R-L48

Those are the two paternal haplogroups that I’ve seen.

Every man got his paternal haplogroup (his Y-haplogroup) from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, and so on. Over many generations, there can be small, modest mutations/variations, but all straight-line male descendants of a man are going to have the same Y-haplogroup — or something pretty darned close to the same.

Folks who do autosomal DNA testing with the company 23andMe get a bonus: They learn their paternal and maternal haplogroups. Whoopie! Only a few days ago did I realize that fact means there is more data to mine. 🙂 I found Y-DNA information for three men who are known paper-trail descendants of Casper Hoffert (1762-1825), son of the immigrant Christian (1716-1788):
One descends from Andrew Hufford (1827-1881), grandson of Casper: R-L44
One descends from Emanual Hufford (1831-1913), grandson of Casper: R-L48
One descends from Henry Hufford (1836-1908), grandson of Casper: R-L48

A fourth man carries the HUFFORD surname and shares plenty of autosomal DNA with those three men and with other identified Hufford descendants; however, I do not know who he is, and he does not respond to my queries. But the fact that he shares autosomal DNA with known Hufford descendants and carries the Hufford surname makes clear that he’s a Hufford descendant. His Y-haplogroup: R-L44

Because of that R-L44 Y-haplogroup, three days ago I sent an email to a man with a last name very different from HUFFORD: “I don’t know who your biologicial father is, but I can tell that your biological paternal grandfather was Clarence Hufford.”

The man was carrying that Hufford Y-DNA, and he shared enough autosomal DNA with two known grandchildren of Clarence Hufford that it was clear he was their first-cousin. That meant that Clarence had to be his grandfather also, and that he had to be the son of one of Clarence’s sons. Within 12 hours, the man had enough information to know which of those sons of Clarence was his biological father. Because there are living people involved, I’ll share no more, other than to say that the newly found Hufford descendant is one to be proud of: Served as a U.S. Marine, and has been a fireman for 25 years. He descends from Casper’s son Michael William Hufford, Sr. (1804-1875).

Thus, we have four known descendants of Casper. Two are R-L44; two are R-L48. And we have another obvious Hufford descendant who is R-L44, but I do not know his descent.

If any straight-line male Hufford descendant has done a Y-DNA test, I’d love to hear from you.

My knowledge of Y-DNA haplogroups is limited. There is information of interest here:
2019 Haplogroup R Tree
That is found at ISOGG’s page on the Y-DNA haplogroup treeic Genealogy. (ISOGG is International Society of Genetic Genealogy.)

This graphic is a screen shot from that page, showing the differences between R-L44 and R-L48: