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From: "LBoswell" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] DNA information needed
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 19:32:38 -0400
References: <c7f.2acedaff.37224577@aol.com>
In-Reply-To: <c7f.2acedaff.37224577@aol.com>

My sense of stumbling in the dark was from the point of view of
genealogist's knowledge of DNA as a tool as compared to the knowledge of say
someone expertly trained and versed in the subject in the sciences. Hard
to move on this list without offending someone, unintentionally or
otherwise. Don't read a lot into that phrase. It's also probably how
today's efforts in DNA-Genealogy are going to look to a future researcher.
I suspect we're going to have many more such tools on offer, poached from
other disciplines and the sciences.

My sense was that some work had been done already in the area of DNA and
genealogy,, looking at samples drawn from larger populations, patterns of
migration, surname concentrations and DNA typing, trying to employ some of
the predictive power of statistical analysis (I thought akin to polling
approach). Have you references where statistical analysis has been tried
(DNA-genealogy) or is this your sense of it? The statistical analysis side
of things is of great interest to me, beyond just its possible use as a tool
in analyzing DNA results over a larger population.

One thing about having access to a search engine like Ancestry is that you
can apply filters to narrow a sample down, and then apply different
approaches to it, correlational approach more useful maybe. . I've even
come across some rough attempts predicting the odds of finding uniqueness in
given name-middle name as patterned within and across families in a given
area. Seemed something useful there, it actually seemed to hold up well in
predictive ability. Some of this wouldn't give you any hard evidence, but
maybe expand the comfort level enough to pursue something using traditional

long day, hope some of the above is coherent. And inoffensive (but I'm not
troll-shy, so no worries).


----- Original Message -----
From: <>
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Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 6:28 PM
Subject: Re: [APG] DNA information needed


Helen Leary demonstrated quite clearly almost eight years ago how to
integrate documentary and DNA evidence, with no further theory or
background than
was available at that early date:

Helen F. M. Leary. “Sally Heming’s Children: Genealogical Analysis of the
Evidence.” National Genealogical
Society Quarterly 89 (Sep 2001):165-207. The article masterfully
illustrates the integration of documentary and genetic evidence.

Since there is seldom enough documentary data to subject it to statistical
analysis, a statistical model would be of scant help in integrating DNA
evidence into an overall evaluation of genealogical evidence.. Whatever
numerical confidence levels we can apply to DNA data through statistical
must necessarily be incorporated into the non-quantitative assessment of our
other data.

I agree that published case studies have not yet exhausted the potential
for applying DNA data to genealogical problems, but that is far from
in the dark.
Donn Devine, CG, CGL
Administrator -- Devine, Baldwin and J2Plus Y-DNA Studies
Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Devine Surname DNA Study:_
Baldwin Surname DNA Study:_
Y-Haplogroup J2Plus Study:_

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are
service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under
license by board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name
registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office


In a message dated 4/23/2009 5:31:37 AM Eastern Daylight Time,

I think this is an area that does need more theoretical or background work,
maybe involving a mix of experts to establish how DNA testing can be
employed as a tool in genealogical research. There are statistical models
that could be employed, similar to those used to establish the error margin
in polling results, for example. Right now we're largely stumbling around
the dark when it comes to really understanding the potential offered by

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