GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-04 > 1239556517
From: Itzhak Epstein <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Fwd: New Matches Found for your DNA Test Results
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 13:15:17 -0400
I am struck by how much of this thread assumes that all of us work with the
same surnaming and mating patterns and with similar availability or lack
thereof of conventional genealogical resources. Likewise -- let's not
assume that all of us reside in the US, or at least elsewhere in the English
At 01:42 AM 4/12/2009, John C. wrote:
> interested in my Roots not just surnames and what of all my maternal
> ancestors? Perhaps Genealogy needs a feminist movement :-) I like the
> tradition of names including the maternal maiden name.
You have a point there. Just when genealogy gets itself adjusted to the
idea that a descendancy report should include all descendants, not just
the male lines, along comes Y DNA to stir up a whole new burst of
genealogy in which females effectively don't exist. In this context,
we fall into the habit of using terms like "related" and "common ancestor"
to refer implicitly to male lines only. Of course, the opposite trend
has cropped up in mtDNA studies to use such terms implicitly to refer to
female lines only, but Y discussion seems to take up most of the air time
on this list at any rate.
Then again, the reality is plain. Surnames are the 600-pound gorillas
of genealogy. The index at the back of any book is alphabetized first
by surname. The Latin tradition of compounding the father's and
mother's surnames doesn't really change things, since it carries only
one generation, and only the father's surname is passed along to the
following generation. The huge importance of surnames is, in fact,
why genetic genealogy has taken off, and why Y dominates the
discussion. It is easy to set up surname-based DNA studies and
actually learn something of genealogical value. This is a very
exciting time for genealogy all around.
More to the point, a contemporary with Y DNA very similar to yours is
not your ancestor and is no closer to your roots than you are. If he
has a different surname, the chances are you'll never know (much less
be able to document) exactly how he is related to you. Unless the one
whose surname is "not ancestral" has a brick wall at exactly the
generation when the name switched, the suspicion that the name may
indeed have changed somehow will be more of a hindrance than a help.
Also, consider that your "genetic cousin" may also carry a non-ancestral
surname. This is why it pays to have surname-based DNA projects --
if you have a whole flock of near-matches, all with the same (other)
surname, you can feel some confidence that they do indeed form a clan
and that the one who is especially close to you genetically may be a
signpost to your connection with the clan.
> I have my mtDNA results now but am still at a loss as how to proceed
> that information. Any suggestions?
Look for exact matches. What else?
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Itzhak Epstein New York, NY
|Re: [DNA] Fwd: New Matches Found for your DNA Test Results by Itzhak Epstein <>|