Sunday, October 28, 2012

ANCESTRY DNA


DNA

Have you had your DNA tested? I am participating in the Ancestry DNA project  (http://dna.ancestry.com) and highly recommend it.  For those of you unfamiliar with this, earlier this year Ancestry.com members were offered, by invitation only, the chance to have their DNA tested.  Now Ancestry.com is offering the test to nonmembers as well. The price is quite reasonable compared to other companies I investigated.

Once you notify Ancestry that you want your DNA tested and pay the required fee, you are mailed a plastic vial.  In this vial you place a saliva specimen and then you mail it away in the envelope provided. A few weeks later Ancestry will send you an e-mail with your results.  The results consist of a pie chart showing your ethnicity, along with an explanation of how to interpret the results. But, best of all, you are given possible cousin matches for other Ancestry members who have had their DNA tested.  If the people have online trees, you are able to view them to see where they are similar to yours. If you don’t have an online tree, don’t worry. You can e-mail the person and exchange information that way.  I scan my pedigree charts and/or family group sheets and forward them on for their review.

My potential cousin list consisted of several people who are possible 4th through 6th cousins and numerous people who are potential 5th through 8th cousins.  As more people get tested, Ancestry adds the results to its database and, if you match someone, they are added to your list.  This is a great incentive to stay a member!


I have been going down my list of matches methodically checking the surnames and residences of people on online trees.  When I find a person who has ancestors who resided in the same counties as mine or if they have the same surnames (especially unique names), I e-mail the tree owner with a summary of my family tree.  I have not yet uploaded my tree.  If my matches don’t have online trees, I e-mail them and give them a brief summary of the places my ancestors resided and some of the surnames.

Some of the hits are positively stunning. For instance:
  • One person has Turners born in Perry County, Tennessee. My 2nd great grandmother’s maiden name was Turner. She lived in Perry County too.
  • One match has several Magruders who lived in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Julie Magruder was my 3rd great grandmother. She and her family lived in Prince George’s County. This same person has a Beall who died in Prince George’s County. My 6th great grandmother was Sarah Beall. She lived in Prince George’s County. I’m pretty sure this person is a cousin.
  • One person has a Pritchard in Wales. My 2nd great grandmother’s name was Pritchard, and she lived in Wales.  This may be where we connect.
  • One hit had numerous ancestors from Lincolnshire, England. Many of my lines go back to Lincolnshire.  My Taylor line originated in Lincolnshire. This person has a Taylor also.
  • One person has Prathers and Spriggs in Prince George’s, Maryland. I have Prathers and Spriggs there too.
  • One person has a Spalding in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. My Spaulding line populated Chelmsford.


Other results are harder to assess. For example:
  • A few people have ancestors in Perry County, Tennessee, where my Brashear, Turner, Horner and Russell lines lived, but their surnames are different. It is entirely possible that these are just names I have yet to discover and hang on the tree.
  • Quite a few people have ancestors from Windham, Connecticut, but not my surnames. My surnames there are Barber, Dewey, Gaylord, Munt, Phelps and Randall. Other people have ancestors from Tolland, Connecticut, where I have my Pearl and Scripture lines.
  • Several folks have ancestors in Henrico, Virginia, where I too have ancestors.  My surnames there are Allen, Burton, Cooper, Hatcher, Landon and Stovall.
  • One lady has ancestors from Sherburne, Chenango, New York, as do I. Our surnames don’t match, but it is interesting since Sherburne is not that big a town.

There are other people who have trees posted online but they are very unpopulated so it is hard to really know where the hits lie. Every Ancestry match won't be a cousin, but it is simply amazing how a little test can produce so many on point results. 

All in all, it is great fun. I am finding new cousins and meeting many others. It’s a small world.  Give DNA a try!


ILLUSTRATIONS BY:

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Trees & Leaves, 2004.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1565 Spot Illustrations and Motifs, 2007.

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