Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1267531683

From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Naming Family Finder Projects
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 07:08:03 -0500
References: <COL116-W5387DE281E0C9C33C8C13FE43B0@phx.gbl><>
In-Reply-To: <>

The problem with having regional or ethnic autosomal DNA (atDNA) projects is
trying to decide where you divide them up. You couldn't even make a project
suitable for me, one person, because I'm a composite of numerous national and
ethnic groups, not to mention several haplogroups, who haven't had a common
ancestor in thousands of years. If you look at just me and my first cousins,
who are certainly closely related, we're literally all over the map because my
parents' siblings married into seven different nationalities. What project(s)
would you put us in? European? What is the point of having a group that large?
Who could manage such a project?

You may be able to find ethnically "pure" individuals living in remote areas,
like New Guinea, but in a nation of immigrants like the U.S., we're going to be
related in an intricate *mesh* of interconnecting lines, not in discreet groups.
Except for a few ethnic groups who keep themselves socially very separate, you
aren't going to be able to pigeon hole most of us.

You hit the nail on the head when you said there already are geographic and
ethic projects based on Y-DNA and mtDNA testing. As you know, the reason that
testing is so effective is that the patrilineal and matrilineal lines are *not*
intermeshed with your other lines. The answer to determining your origins in
genealogical time is finding and testing patrilineal descendants of the males in
your pedigree and matrilineal descendants of the females in your pedigree,
however far back you deem it meaningful, which, in terms of your genetic
endowment, isn't very far. (At ten generations, you have 1024 ancestors, 512
male and 512 female. How meaningful is the contribution of any one of them to
who you are?)

I can think of only one logical kind of atDNA group to create, and that would be
a haplogroup. Studying the inheritance of a single SNP mutation would
definitely make sense as you could clearly define the boundaries of the group.
atDNA haplogroup projects based on single SNPs would be very little different
from Y-DNA haplogroup projects based on a single SNP (e.g., L21+), except that
atDNA haplogroups would be open to both males and females.

Obviously, having atDNA haplogroups would mean we would each join many such
groups, but if the study of autosomal SNPs is going to be manageable, we cannot
be lumping tens of thousands of people, much less hundreds of thousands of
people, into a handful of regional projects.

Beyond that, the Family Finder / Relative Finder is, IMO, the way to find your
cousins because, except for full siblings, we all have a different suite of
cousins, so as far as I'm concerned, there's no point in lumping me in a larger
group where I would not be closely related to the majority of people in it. I
know I'm "European," I don't need to be put in a group to confirm it.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: On Behalf Of Tim Janzen
> Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2010 3:02 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Naming Family Finder Projects
> Dear Nelda, Rebekah, and others,
> I think that as Family Finder comes online that it
> makes sense to
> put our emphasis at first on starting projects based on geographical
> boundaries and ethnic background. I think it would be
> reasonable for every
> country to have a Family Finder project devoted to it
> although it might not
> be practical to have one that covers the entire U. S. There
> are already
> many geographic and ethnic projects found at
> Hopefully the
> administrators of
> those projects will be willing to help organize Family Finder
> projects for
> their geographic region and/or ethnic group. Ideally, there
> would be teams
> of genealogists who would have specialties in specific
> geographic regions
> and/or ethnic groups who would work together on the Family
> Finder projects
> for the region or ethnic group. People could join as many
> Family Finder
> projects as they have ethnic backgrounds and/or countries of
> geographic
> origin. Countries could be broken down into smaller units as
> need be. For
> the U. S., these would be some reasonable projects:
> 1. African American ancestry
> 2. Native American ancestry
> 3. Jewish ancestry
> 4. Mennonite ancestry (already underway)
> 5. Quaker ancestry
> 6. Scotch-Irish ancestry
> 7. Puritan ancestry
> Having projects for specific states, particularly some
> of those that
> were settled the earliest such as Virginia would also make sense. The
> ancestor (or ancestral couple) specific projects can develop
> as the Family
> Finder database grows. I hope that FTDNA strongly promotes
> the concept of
> having people upload a gedcom file of their ancestry at the
> same time that
> they do a Family Finder DNA test. This would help
> tremendously and would
> help avoid the problem we have with 23andMe where so little
> genealogical
> data is available for the people who are matches in Relative Finder.
> Sincerely,
> Tim Janzen
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [mailto:] On Behalf Of
> Nelda Percival
> Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 11:02 PM
> To: DNA list
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Naming Family Finder Projects
> Hi,
> How do you pick your couple?
> 1. Just put the names in a hat and pull out a pair?
> 2. Pick the lineage with the most genealogy documentation?
> 3. Pick the one you need the most help on?
> Or could you pick like your parents and then name your
> ancestry to the 5th
> generation?
> Nelda
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