GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2008-06 > 1213526191
From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] How could we tell?
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2008 06:36:31 -0400
The age of individuals varies, and the NPEs in my projects occurred in the 18th,
19th, and 20th centuries. The difference here, I think, is not in the age of
the test subjects, but in the documentation available.
Your NPE's are documented, as is the custom in European churches and civil
governments. I'm dealing with southern U.S. families where records were scant
to begin with and greatly destroyed during the Civil War. The families in your
project are, by definition, in a limited geographic region of the Old World. My
families were immigrants to the New World, who ranged from Massachusetts to
Florida to Missouri by 1820, with scant records in their wake.
It appears our "New World NPE rate" may be comparable to your "Old World NPE
rate" experienced during times of unrest or stress. NPE rates and the factors
affecting them would make an interesting topic for a doctoral dissertation in
> -----Original Message-----
> From: On Behalf Of Beth Long
> Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2008 5:53 AM
> Subject: Re: [DNA] How could we tell?
> Hi Diana,
> I am curious what the age range of your test subjects is.
> As I mentioned in another post, I try to stick with the
> oldest surviving male of the line if I can. Back in those
> days, there was no "assisted reproductive technology" (sperm
> donors, etc.), and casual relationships not as common. Most
> of my test subjects are in their seventies or eighties (we
> even had two who were 90+).
> Not to say there were no illegitimate births in the village
> (there were, at 2% to 10% of the total, depending on whether
> it was a high-stress time period due to war, famine, or
> epidemics). But these are known illegitimacies which were
> documented as such. So there is no misleading paper trail
> (just a blank in the "father" column in the birth record).