GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-06 > 1055481180
From: "Nancy Custer" <>
Subject: RE: [DNA] Newbie Discouragement
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 22:13:00 -0700
DNA testing for genealogy is a very new technique and you are wise to
educate yourself about it before trying to recruit other family members.
There is indeed a learning curve but if you persevere, you will figure
There are several different ways to use DNA testing for genealogy. Some
are more well established than others. The list has been discussing one
of the newer entries in the field, the DNAPrint test which purports to
predict the ethnic origins of ones ancestors. While it is interesting,
its results are unlikely to solve many genealogical mysteries. I doubt
if that is where you would want to begin your adventures in DNA:) Though
in six months or a year, you may surprise yourself.
The most useful and reliable application of DNA testing to genealogy, in
my opinion, is the Y chromosome test. That test is best used to test a
hypothesis that two or more individuals share a common ancestor and of
estimating how far back in time that ancestor lived. Supplemented by
traditional genealogical records, this information can be used to define
and identify branches of families that have spread apart and lost
contact and thereby support or disprove the identity of a suspected
On a larger scale there a growing number of surname studies designed to
determine whether families with the same or similar surnames are of
common or independent origin. (You can find a list of those studies at
http://www.duerinck.com/surname.html. Combining the results of these
studies with traditional genealogical information, researchers hope to
hone in on geographical areas from which their families may have
arisen--thereby giving themselves new areas in which to explore
You will read about people agonizing over haplogroups and haplotypes
with Y chromosome results but, again, these are not the most revealing
parts of your results.
There are a number of sites where you can learn more about Y chromosome
testing. A good place to start is with John Blair's DNA 101 site at
http://blairgenealogy.com/dna/dna101.html You might also be interested
in reading about how our family used DNA to solve an old mystery at
http://www.contexo.info/DorseyDNA/Harvey%20Kelley.htm. I also have
links from there to pages about the biology of DNA testing.
A third type of DNA testing for genealogy involves the testing of
mitochondrial DNA which may throw some light on your maternal ancestral
line. To understand the ins and outs of mitochondrial DNA testing, I
would suggest that you read the book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan
Sykes (easily ordered from Amazon.) This type of test can give you an
idea of the very ancient origin of your maternal line ancestors. With
some effort, it can also be used in the same way as the Y chromosome
test to define and verify lines of descent.
I would also suggest that you carefully study the websites of the two
major providers of DNA testing in the US (I am assuming you are in the
www.familytreedna.com and www.relativegenetics.com. Family Tree DNA
offers a lot of information about the various tests and will send you a
free video about DNA testing as well.
When you think you know enough to be dangerous:) start asking questions
on the list. Don't worry if you think the question is dumb or that the
list is too advanced for it. There are undoubtedly a lot of new list
members who will be saying, "YES!" when they read your question. And
there a lot of knowledgeable people who will kindly answer your
questions. Maybe we just entertain ourselves with the quibbling when
nobody asks questions:)
Most importantly, before you begin your study, try to define some
specific questions that you hope to find answers for with DNA testing.
As you learn more, you will be able to see which questions will lend
themselves to DNA and which will not. Never start any project without a
well defined question and a hypothesis to test. The list can help you
with those too.
I hope this gives you some hope. Remember when you learned to ride a
bicycle or to type or to juggle or to play an instrument how hopeless it
felt. Then remember how great it felt when you mastered the skill and
how easy it seemed thereafter.
Good luck and enjoy,
From: K Haddad [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 9:18 PM
Subject: [DNA] Newbie Discouragement
I have been trying to organize DNA testing for my family. While doing
so, I subscribed to this site. Perhaps it is too much of a good thing,
but it has really discouraged me.
a. I was gone 1-1/2 days, and when I returned tonight there were 125
messages in my mailbox and 99% were from genealogy-DNA. If I'm gone a
week, there's no way my mailbox will be able to handle all those
b. I do not understand most of what everyone is talking about, so it is
nearly a waste of time for me to read your messages.
I've almost come to the conclusion that it would be a waste of a lot of
time trying to contact others of my family name on the internet (I've
already spent probably 100 hours doing this) if it is so complicated
there are constant questions and comments and people not sure they agree
with each other.
Do you Yahoo!?
Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).
To join Ancestry.com and access our 1.2 billion online genealogy
records, go to:
|RE: [DNA] Newbie Discouragement by "Nancy Custer" <>|