Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2001-01 > 0980363430

From: "Orin R. Wells" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Using the mtDNA Concordance???
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 11:10:30 -0800
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

At 10:39 AM 1/24/01 -0500, Al Bell wrote:
>>Note to Alan Savin and Orin Wells: This is the kind of thing
>>I had in mind when I wondered if what happens will be
>>genealogy or some other discipline. How say you now? <g>

Let me cite an example of why I think there is value in the current
technology and promise for near term improvement and why I think it is, and
will become even more so, a valid genealogical tool and therefore the
results can be constured as genealogy.

On of the reasons that the DNA testing is not able to do a more precise job
of identifying specific ancestors is that the organizations have not had
sufficient samples to REALLY figure out what can and can not be used to
accomplish this objective. Assuming I am not unaware of some major study
which is quite possible. In most studies they have not had a broad sample
of identifiable related individuals to work with in the studies. In the
cases that have been cited here there were under 100 individuals who were
not necesarrily closely related. The testing facilities used were more
focused on earning the fees than in research and whatever revelations were
pretty much confined to "you are apparently descended from a common
ancestor". While interesting and certainly may have answered some
questions, it does not do much to further genealogical research.

As some of you are aware, the Wells Family Research Association is working
on a special study under the BYU Molecular Genealogy Project. I will not
comment on what the primary project of the BYU research is. You can read
this on their website. But I would like to comment on what I think may be
the result of our study.

Over the years I have established a database of some 6,000 researchers of
various Wells families. We know that there were at least 20 separate and
apparently unrelated Wells founders of American families in the Colonies
from as early as 1620. Others came later and they continue to migrate even
today. Many of these families have been well researched and we have family
trees from the earliest immigrants down to present descendants. In some
cases these families have been traced back to their roots in England into
the 1500s. Many of these families got their names from different sources.
Some lived by the Well in a village, some corrupted from other spellings
such as Welles, Wyllys, Wills, Wales Wels, Welz etc.

There are similar groups in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Since we have such a wide base of researchers who each have extended
families we have an opportuntiy to bring to the table/research study
samples from possibly thousands of focused descendants. My personal goal
is 1,000 participants. I am sure we can easily achieve this. I do not
know if it will exceed this but there is a lot of interest.

What I feel confident we will be able to do is identify markers that are
specific to the "major" Wells lines and will be able at the outset to
identify these specific families and determine if there is any relationship
between any of them. If this is found we already have success in that some
will lead us to the right English records and possibly English families
where we will get the benefit of the cross research from both sides of the
"pond" to add to the knowedge fo both groups.

Of even more import is that there are many researchers in the US and
elsewhere who are absolutely stuck at some point in the 1800s or 1700s. It
appears as though their ancestor was somehow dropped by a passing alien
space ship. If we can match their family members up with known trees we
give them a place to extend their research in focused direction without the
shotgun approach of wondering where to look next. These are the ones who
will benefit most at the start.

As we get deeper into the research we will be able to match the DNA up from
descendants of various branches of the families and I am hoping the
research in the BYU primary project will yield the tools to narrow the
identification of specific ancestors in a given tree. This will greatly
assist in both identifying likely specific ancestors for some researchers,
but to also dispell some errors that currently exist. There are some
situations where various researchers are in total disagreement on certain
ancestors. I hope by careful analysis we will be able to resolve some of

The results won't be perfect, but there will be usable results. Some of the
participants will receive no help while others will gain new insights into
their ancestry. These results are specficially focused on application to
genealogical research. As such, yes I believe it is another tool for

Orin R. Wells
Wells Family Research Association
P. O. Box 5427
Kent, Washington 98064-5427
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