Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tuesday’s Tips

Who are You Looking for When DNA Testing? 

DNA Testing has become popular in genealogical research and family history. There are three types of DNA test to choose from when you decide to DNA test. Those three tests are YDNA, Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and Autosomal DNA (atDNA). Males have both YDNA, mtDNA, and atDNA. Females have mitochondrial DNA and no YDNA. All three DNA tests are different in what they test. To help you decide which test to take you ask yourself what is it you want to know? What are you trying to prove by DNA testing? Do you want to prove the male surname? Tracing the male lineage has been a great help in identifying the male surname lineage. In some cases, surprising results have been revealed. The YDNA traces the direct paternal line, and only men take this test. The Haplogroup and the migration patterns of the Haplogroup are provided with the test results. If a female wants to trace the male surname line then she would have a brother, uncle, or male cousin with the surname that she is interested in tracing tested.

Do you want to trace the maternal line back many generations? The mitochondrial DNA is passed from the mother to her children; both males and females can take an mtDNA test. All the children from the same mother have her mitochondrial DNA. That is, my sisters and brothers would have the same mtDNA because we have the same mother. Only the female passed down the mtDNA. The maternal line would be your mother to daughter to granddaughter, on and on. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing traces your maternal direct line. The mtDNA test results provide the Haplogroup and migration routes of the maternal line ancestors. The mtDNA test shows the origin of your maternal ancestors.

The autosomal DNA (atDNA) testing is the most popular tests of the three offered by the testing companies. Autosomal DNA is the random combination of all genetic information passed down to us from our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents. Autosomal DNA includes both your maternal and paternal family lines. Autosomal DNA test results give your ethnicity estimates. All three testing companies provide you with a list people who have tested and share common ancestry with you. Autosomal test results provide matches who share a common ancestry in the last five generations; in some cases, six generations. The results show how closely related your matches are to you.

Ethnicity from atDNA is an estimate based on reference populations and testing company’s algorithms which are different with each testing company. Usually, the results from each testing company is different.This is important but not so much for genealogical research purposes. What is important to me is to find genetic cousins, how much atDNA they share with me and our genetic degree of relationship and our genealogical cousin relationship.

Ethnic Makeup from FTDNA testing Company

Matches on the chromosome browser from FTDNA

What has DNA testing done for me? I have put a family story to rest by YDNA testing my brother. Living cousins have been found through DNA testing. The Coon/Kuhn family line has been proven by genealogical research and working with cousins to find a common ancestor. A new-found Meadows cousin was found and we share information and our most recent common ancestor is John Calvin Meadows. That cousin was the first Meadows cousin to contact me when I first tested with FTDNA. Since then, there are other Meadows’ matches and new-found cousins on all three testing companies, and we all share a most recent common ancestor. The Edwards familial lineage is proven with YDNA testing and there are also new found Edwards cousins who autosomal tested. Family connections between families have been confirmed. Family names that were unfamiliar have been proven. Autosomal DNA testing has allowed me to identify cousin relationships. DNA testing has given me thoughts on further research of an ancestral line. Our Lee and Meadows cousins’ stories were that Native American ancestry or Cherokee Indian was their ancestry. That theory was disproved.

The genetic cousin relationship provides supporting evidence of my genealogical research. The degree of relationship is the amount of DNA shared with the cousin. Collaborating with the new-found genetic cousins allows us to share genealogical information, determine how we are related, and find the most recent common ancestor we share.

Genetic genealogy is used in combination with traditional genealogical research. Traditional genealogical research is the use of historical records, and taking those records and using them as documented evidence of our ancestors to infer the relationship between individuals. Genetic genealogy is a means for genealogists and family historians to use in their genealogy toolbox that can be used to supplement and prove their traditional genealogical research information. ■

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