Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-03 > 1047058468

Subject: Re: [DNA] MALLINDER/SWALLOW fam histy
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 12:34:28 EST

<< John Swallow wrote: "I am becoming interested in the idea of using DNA
profiles in the context of family history and would also be pleased to hear
from anyone who is knowledgeable on this matter. My first thoughts are that
the required database should be run by and then used by a University. Helps
to avoid misuse.">>

The databases have largely a specialized use in family-tree analysis, such as
a false paternity. For the most part, all you need to start is a well
documented family tree, some test subjects and some cash. I suspect that you
have the first and can get the rest.

I suggest starting with only a few trees before undertaking a complete
surname project. Run tests on subjects from known (early) branches to obtain
reference haplotypes. Once this is done, you can then try to match orphans to
the various trees.

DNA is a very useful tool to genealogists. However, it must be viewed as an
adjunct to the paper trail. It can add to the weight of the evidence when you
get matches and can eliminate possibilities when you get a mismatch.

As someone who has done a family-tree DNA project and who has compared our
experience to those on other sites and this list, I would say the first thing
to consider is your level of experience in conducting scientific, or similar
projects. It appears that those who have some background can design their
projects in a way that they will result in meaningful conclusions with any
lab. Others may need help in interpreting the results and integrating it with
their paper genealogies.

If you need such help and a good written analysis that will get you up and
running quickly, Relative Genetics is far and away the best choice. They even
go to the point of constructing a possible family tree based on the DNA and
paper genealogies. It is not necessarily definitive as they note, but it
illustrates the methodology and is a great learning tool.

Their report and the personal help has been a boon to members of our group,
who largely have non-technical backgrounds and seem to avoid this list, even
though I keep recommending it. Our project coordinator, who spent the most
time discussing matters with Diahan Southard, has only the highest praise for

If, on the other hand, you feel that you can go it alone, you can go with a
service that just provides the basic numbers and some database searches..
They can be cheaper. They give you the haplotypes, haplogroup matches and
some haplogroup information. Hopefully, listers will elaborate on any other
product they offer. However, they don't seem to offer you any conclusions
about your family tree. The companies with this type of product are, FamilyTreeDNA, and possibly Oxford Ancestors. I haven't seen
any post that detailed OA's Y-product, so maybe someone else can help you

Ancestry appears to be defunct. Listers have noted a lot of customer service
problems and failure to provide promised services. There seems to be little
chance of using them in the future, anyway.

FTDNA gets very high praise on customer service. If you know the questions to
ask, you could learn enough to compensate for their basic product. I
personally don't put a lot of weight on haplogroups and haplotype matching.
However, FTDNA does have some good databases according to listers.

I might steer away from Oxford Ancestors because they seem to be heavily
oriented toward "Seven Daughters" mtDNA testing. I would wonder if I could
get help on a tree, even if I asked. However, there are too few posts about
their service to really draw firm conclusions.

Bob Stafford

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