Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-06 > 1118874028

From: "Peter A. Kincaid" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Heresy!
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 19:20:28 -0300
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

Fair enough. However, in essence what you are saying (in that
the numbers are wrong as they are American biased) is that the
Campbell testees to date are likely not Campbells. This is your
ball game, good luck with it.

Best wishes!


At 05:30 PM 15/06/2005, you wrote:
>First let me state that it's my position (and I believe Clan Campbell's)
>that the origins of the earliest Clan Chiefs are shrouded in mystery. I
>don't think that the Clan has taken a definitive position one way or another.
>Peter essentially asks "how can that be when DNA data indicates a strong
>tendency toward R1b?"
>Well, in my opinion the ... (here it comes) ... the DNA evidence is
>wrong! Or more precisely, our interpretation of the DNA evidence is
>specious. Now before everyone gets wound up, let me explain.
>First, I believe that the many surname Group Administrators tend to over
>analyze their data. For instance, the Campbell project -- which at 76
>results returned has become a sizeable project -- has the following breakdown.
>55 samples (72%) cannot trace their oldest proven ancestor beyond the USA
>10 samples (13%) have a proven line to Scotland
>5 samples (7%) have a proven line to Ireland
>6 samples (8%) have a line traceable to Canada
>Clearly this sample size is biased towards the USA and not necessarily
>representative of the lines that existed a thousand years ago. In
>addition, I believe that many of the studies based on YSEARCH.ORG data
>base are probably biased in the same manner. I suspect that the vast
>majority of FTDNA participants live in the US.
>Second, the samples in most studies are not independent. For example I
>believe that 4 of my 6 Canadian samples (which have a documented common
>ancestor) were collected because a single researcher reached out to his
>known cousins.
>With all due respect to some of my fellow researchers -- while publishing
>DNA signatures of Somerled and Colla Uais is fun, we have to take this
>information with a grain of salt. In most cases the written record of
>these individuals is suspect at best.
>I also have to admit that I am as guilty as the next fellow. Based upon
>some of the Campbell Project's "ancient" lines I have publicly speculated
>about the DNA signature of Sir Colin "Iogantach" Campbell of Lochawe who
>died in 1412. Such assertions are fun but not scientific fact. In most
>cases the supporting analysis has not been published nor has the analysis
>stood up to a juried peer review.
>I only mention this because I believe that many of us take this analysis
>too seriously. I am frequently accosted by distraught Campbell study
>participants who think that because of a match with another surname that
>they aren't Campbells or get overly excited about a high resolution
>match. In the end, we must remember that DNA analysis is a statistical
>technique that is subject to uncertainty.
>Which brings me to my final point. There's an old saying in statistics --
>"If you torture the numbers enough, they will tell you whatever you want
>to hear!". Sometimes I feel that list members are making sweeping
>generalizations based upon very small data sets. I guess my heart goes
>out to the numbers, because I can hear them screaming.
>Search the US Census Collection. Over 140 million records added in the
>last 12 months. Largest online collection in the world. Learn more:

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