Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2000-11 > 0974478037

From: "Orin R. Wells" <>
Subject: [DNA] Intrepretation of the data and its relevance to Genealogy
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 08:20:37 -0800

I have not yet browsed through all the earlier messages posted to this
list, so please forgive me if this has already been addressed.

After looking at the two reports for which links have been posted to the
list, I am having trouble trying to understand the near term benefits of
this information.

I can see the cute diagram has a use for those who want to see which
European "clan" they might have descended from, but this is clearly of
little value for the type of genealogical research most of us are trying to
accomplish. That is how does, for example, a James Wells now living in
Fresno, California connect or not connect to one of the dozens of
Wells/Welles families known from early colonial days and how do they relate
or not to each other? Further, who were the specific ancestors at each
node down his branch of the tree? You see, he can only identify his
gg-grandfather and there are at least 10 generations "missing" even if he
can identify himself as a descendant of , say, Thomas Wells of Ipswich, MA,
the question is how do we identify the others in this branch of his tree?

The codes that were provided to the two participants are not at all clear
to me. The bottom of the forms show 40 10 character codes related to the
testing. But, Ann Turner mentioned some numeric sequences related to her
report that are not evident on this chart she uploaded. What are these and
how do they relate?

Here is the REAL necessary objective of DNA research IMHO. Someone please
tell me it is something we can accomplish or tell me why it will not work
for us.

We genealogists are trying to trace the ancestry and prove connections. In
reading some of the material posted by folks on this site and on referenced
sites it appears to me that the focus is currently primarly on taking one
or more known descendants of a particular line and identifying the DNA
markers they have in common. Finding this, it can be said that they are
descended from a common male ancestor (in the case of the Y-DNA analysis).
Given they have continued a male descendancy, it can be so determined if
the markers match up.

What we REALLY need to do is identify THE ancestor who passed this
combination down. My original belief was that each link in the chain of
ancestry probably causes some minor alteration to the DNA that is passed
along. Is this not correct? Or are we up the proverbial creek because the
changes are too infrequent to get this level of precision?

However, if this is the case, then careful study should reveal more detail
than I am seeing here in the examples.

To simplify, if I can identify an ancestor of a line, identify two sons of
this man, two sons each of these men and at least two descendants of each
of these, can I not then possibly veify the small changes each contributed?
Is this or is this not correct? If correct, then I think it would be
necessary to analyze more than the 11 or 12 locus points currently being

I have a great deal of confidence we can gain a lot of ground using DNA
research, but I am confused right now as to the state of current technology
and knowledge. The Wells Family Research Association is about to embark on
a very ambitious DNA project which is only possible because of extensive
coordinated knowledge of current descendants from many different Wells
families. This is the one-name study that has made me wish I were born
with a much less common name. If I am only going to be able to tell
researchers, after the dust settles, that the best I can do is tell them
which Wells line they are connected to, I am afraid a lot of folks will be

Our goal is to eventually figure out what families in England these Wells
families are related to and resolve some centuries old questions. I hope
we are setting out on a quest that has a chance for a successful outcome.

Orin R. Wells
Wells Family Research Association
P. O. Box 5427
Kent, Washington 98064-5427
Subscribe to the "Wells-L" list on RootsWeb

This thread: