Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2002-02 > 1014613337

From: "Orin R. Wells" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] okay confused again!
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 21:07:11 -0800
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

At 07:38 PM 2/24/02 -0800, Crystal wrote:

>Okay I'm confused again... lol.. I was under the impression that when you
sent in your DNA that they could tell where your ancestors "originated"
from. Like Europe (tho I don't know how specific, like if they are from
Ireland vs. Scotland, etc.), america, etc.<<

America would probably only happen if you have Native American ancestry.
AND in most cases (unless you are paying more for the testing) they will be
looking at the y-Chromosome DNA which really applies ONLY to your direct
line male ancestry (Surname) or mtDNA which is strictly your direct line
female ancestry (males and females). The latter is not likely to tell you
where your ancestors came from unless again you show up with Native
American Ancestry - at least as far as I understand. You get to show a
connection to one of the "seven daughters of Eve" some 40,000 years ago. A
region is indicated there, but it won't be much help unless you are
matching someone else you suspect to be on your line.

Certain patterns indicate geographical origins because of the mixes found
in them. But even those are offered in percentages so if you happen to hit
a pattern that indicates your ancestor with that pattern represented 80% in
Ireland 12% Germany and 8% Russia, which are you? Does it mean the Irish
group originally came from Germany or vice versa? Does it mean the German
group came from Russia or vice versa? Are the three even related or did
they somehow evolve from some common group out of Greece and just happened
to mutate at the same loci equally? Or are they from three unrelated
origins that just happened to mutate at the same loci equally and possibly
not from the same starting point? It isn't like walking into a casino and
trying to see how they came up with the "97% payback" on the dollar
machines, although you may be about as lucky at getting it right.

But, if you are trying to build an ancestry from the DNA testing without
good genealogy to back it up, you may be playing a form of "craps". The
DNA is not going to give you the answers. It certainly is not going to
identify the specific ancestors for you to even begin to think about
building a family tree. At best it will only give you some hints. In some
rare cases the hints may well take you to some geographical region. But
what exactly does that tell you? That you had a male anecestor who was
"probably" in what is now Pakistan 500 years ago?

>>Then I see a post that says something about not if its more than 5
generations back?<,

That is ONLY for the purposes of the Molecular Genealogy Project at BYU.
And all that means is that they hope the result of their research may yield
some specific patterns that probably involves more than the y-chromosome
and mtDNA which would tell them a specific mix of DNA is likely only to
have been found in St. Louis, MO about 1850 etc. And that it indicates a
certain mix of surnames.

>>I mean I'm already five generations back and we're all still here lol.<<

But for someone who is only two generations back, it may make a difference.
Given the age of the average contributor to the BYU project this could
mean 5 generations is about 1800. It could be the key to where to turn
next if they had no clue before. We will all have to wait to see if they
can pull this off.

>>I'm not really expecting to make a match I just expected to find out my
mothers, mothers, mothers, mother was from xyz (probably).<<

You may actually get that depending on the uniqueness of the mtDNA you
carry. It may say something like your maternal ancestor was 80% likely to
have come from the hills of Turkey 40,000 years ago. Most of us who have
been at this for a while may already be able to say "my paternal ancestors
came from California, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia,
Maryland, YorkshireSomewhere in England" etc. up many of the ancestral
tracks that lead to each of us. But only in rare cases can we take the
genealogy back beyond the mid 1500s. A rare few can do better on some
lines. A larger group think they can.

The whole basis of the work in the DNA area for the surname studies is the
idea that if we can find matching DNA within groups in the surname we may
be able to figure out where a family came from just prior to appearing in
America, Canada or Australia. This is something that blocks many of us
currently. If I can trace my ancestor to the shores of America in the
1600s but not further and I can find a matching "cousin" in the UK who has
been able to trace his family back to some specific parish in England in
the same timeframe we can both match information and start digging around
to see if we can find that common ancestor. We may never succeed, but he
will have given me a more specific place to look. If we add to this
someone from Australia who has traced his ancestor to a different parish a
tad bit earlier than the UK researcher then we all three will be motivated
to look closer at the two parishes and surrounding areas and ask why would
they have moved from one to the other? Where might they have gone in
between the two. Who knows where it will lead until we get the matches?

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