I have run into a fascinating set of problems and wonder if anyone in the forum can offer advice on what I can do next.
Problem 1. My surname is Day, but it is clear I do not belong to any of the groups of Days within the FTDNA DAY surname project. Not by a long way. There probably hasn't been a common ancestor with any of them within the lifetime of surnames.
Problem 2. My family tree, which is getting to be fairly broad (just not deep in a straight line) shows almost nobody ever staying in the same place. Migration is frequent and long-distance. This makes it hard to base anything on geography, except in such a broad sense as to be useless.
Problem 3. Using the most elaborate, sophisticated and long-winded naming convention out there, I'm considered I1d-L22-ultraNorse2. (Try saying that after a few beers.) I can find only a few people who fit into such a category and have so far failed to make contact with any of them.
Problem 4. FTDNA shows a few close-ish matches (within the lifetime of surnames). The dominant surnames are McNeil, McInnes, McIntyre, McWhannell and Gillespie. This would seem a good place to start, as it means I can find best matches and then scour only a few hundred family trees to see which black sheep of the family defected over to England at the right time.
Trying to break out conventionally is proving impossible, so trying to break in from the other side would seem the only way it's going to be possible, but this isn't exactly the sort of stuff taught in genealogy groups and I've no idea how to start in any way likely to produce results. The gap between my family tree and whichever one I should connect to is likely to be no more than a couple of generations, given how far back I can get (mid 1500s) and that TMRCA calculators start giving me good odds of a common ancestor with the best matches so far at this distance.
So, has anyone else tried working backwards? If so, what's been the experience? Is it, as I fear, a horrible amount of data crunching, or are there techniques for making it less agonizing?