Volume 6, Issue 3
July 27, 2007
The World's Only Newsletter Dedicated to Genetic Genealogy
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In This Issue
Welcome to this issue of Facts & Genes, the only publication devoted to Genetic Genealogy. Facts & Genes provides a variety of information about utilizing Genetic Genealogy testing for your genealogy, and keeps you informed about the latest advancements in the field.
Regardless of your background, everyone can learn about Genetic Genealogy and be able to use this new tool. A science background is not required. Facts & Genes covers information for everyone, regardless of your level of experience with Genetic Genealogy, whether you are just beginning to learn about this new tool for genealogy research, to those who have been managing a Surname Project for some time. If you are just starting to learn about Genetic Genealogy, you will probably encounter articles that are difficult to understand. As with learning any new subject matter, it will take a little time. You can save these articles for the future, or download them later from our web site, where all issues of the newsletter are available.
We appreciate your feedback about our newsletter. Please note that the email address to contact the Editor has changed to: EditorFG@FamilyTreeDNA.com
At any time, if you have any questions, or need any help, contact our customer support. The following link provides several selections. Using this link, you can direct your question to the appropriate person, which will result in a quicker response.
Please use the link below instead of replying to this newsletter.
Family Tree DNA provides a wide variety of educational resources to help you apply Genetic Genealogy to your family history research. In addition, email and telephone consultation is available. To begin your education, past issues of the newsletter are available at our web site. Click on the link below:
If you change your email address, be sure to change your address for the newsletter. For customers, to change your Email address, go to your Personal Page. Click Update Contact Information. Change your email address, and click the box to the left of Facts & Genes Subscription, if it does not already have a check mark. For those that subscribe to the newsletter and are not customers, to change your email address contact: Editor@familytreedna.com
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We hope you enjoy this issue.
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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announcements
Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce milestones achieved and new features.
1. The following milestones have been achieved:
Family Tree DNA now has over 100,000 records in our database of Y-DNA results. We also have over 4,100 Surname Projects, which include over 64,000 surnames. Our mtDNA database has over 50,000 results.
Passing 100,000 Y-DNA results is an exciting result for the genetic genealogy community, and our database continues to grow more quickly every day.
2. 4th International Conference on Genetic Genealogy
for Family Tree DNA Group Administrators
Houston Marriott West Loop by the Galleria
October 20-21, 2007
This year's International Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Group Administrators will be held in Houston, Texas, at the Houston Marriott West Loop by the Galleria.
The two day conference will feature leading experts in the field making presentations on a variety of topics related to the use of DNA testing for family history and deep ancestral origins.
The International Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Group Administrators is open to genealogists from all over the world who currently manage Group Projects at Family Tree DNA and want to learn more about DNA testing for genealogy and anthropology.
If you are a Family Tree DNA Group Project Administrator, this conference is an excellent opportunity to increase your knowledge and network with other Group Administrators. If you are thinking of starting a Group Project, now is the time to start your project so that you are eligible to attend the conference.
Mark your calendar for the dates of the conference. The conference program and registration are now available online at our homepage.
3. New Web Site
Family Tree DNA is pleased to unveil our new web site, which significantly improves the customer experience and provides more ease of use. This major project involved implementing a new architecture, which will enable us to offer more features in the future.
4. Filtered Matching for mtDNA
Family Tree DNA is implementing filtered matching for mtDNA. When you click mtDNA Matches on your Personal Page, the search algorithm will now filter your matches based on Haplogroup, then by HVR-1 profile, and then by HVR-1 & HVR-2 profile, if you have tested both of these Hypervariable Regions. For example, if you are Haplogroup H and match the CRS (Cambridge Reference Sequence) you currently have a lot of matches, including matches to Haplogroup U who are also CRS. Filtered matching will not include these Haplogroup U matches.
In addition, if you are Haplogroup H and have taken a subclade test, matching will now filter out those who have taken a subclade test and don't match your subclade. Therefore, if you are Haplogroup H sub clade H4, you will only see matches to that subclade, and those who haven't yet taken the H subclade test. You wouldn't see on your match page those that have taken a H subclade test, and are in a different subclade, such as H3.
If you haven't taken the H subclade test, and are Haplogroup H, taking the H subclade test will further refine your matches.
As a result of filtered matches, you will have less mtDNA matches, and your resulting matches will be of much higher quality. This works quite well because Family Tree DNA SNP tests all mtDNA samples and can therefore eliminate evolutionary convergence with mtDNA samples.
5. First paper from the Genographic Project published.
Family Tree DNA is proud to announce that the first paper resulting from data collected through the Genographic Project has been published at the PLOS GENETICS.
The title of the paper is: "The Genographic Project Public Participation Mitochondrial DNA Database" and can be found at http://genetics.plosjournals.org
and at the Family Tree DNA library of papers as well: http://www.familytreedna.com/pdf/Geno_mtDNA.pdf
The paper resulted from the collaboration of the Genographic Project Scientific team, Family Tree DNA Genomics Research Center, and the IBM Data Analytics Research Group.
Starting a Surname Project
If you are thinking of starting a Surname Project, now is the time to get started. Our educational resources, combined with our email and telephone consultation, help you each step of the way. Feeling confused or overwhelmed will quickly pass, and be replaced with the excitement of new discoveries.
Anyone with experience with family history research can start a Surname Project. We supply the tools and guidance so your Surname Project is successful.
There are just two steps to take to become a Group Administrator of a Surname Project:
1. Find out if a Surname Project exists for your surname. Click on the link below to search our database of Surname Projects:http://www.familytreeDNA.com/surname.aspx
2. If a Surname Project has not been established for your surname, then use the email contact below to establish a Surname Project, or to discuss establishing a Surname Project:leahwt@familytreeDNA.com for Leah Wark
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In the News: The Genomics Center
The Genomics Research Center is processing the Advanced Tests. To order an Advanced Test, on your Personal Page, click "Upgrades and Refinements" and then click "Advanced Orders."
A wide variety of Advanced Tests are available. Each issue of Facts & Genes highlights an Advanced Test. This month we will highlight the Kittler test, in the section below titled "Genetic Genealogy: Advanced Tests."
The Genomics Research Center is a state of the art facility. Samples are stored in a computerized compound store at -20C.
If you're interested you can have a look at the website of the manufacturer:http://www.remp.com/index.asp?cms=24
This store can automatically pick DNA templates for PCR processing and it makes sure that the correct sample is always picked, because each tube has a bar code.
Orders are collected in "virtual plates" for one PCR analysis method each. Once a plate is nearly full, the order is submitted to the REMP store and we run a full plate with 95 samples at once.
This REMP store was previously used only for compound management in the pharmaceutical industry. Our lab is the first one to use this technology in DNA analysis.
If you do not have a DNA sample at Houston, the first time you order an Advanced Test a small amount of your sample will be drawn and shipped from the University of Arizona to Houston. There is a nominal fee of $9.50USD for this transfer. This fee is shown on the page where you confirm your order.
Our state of the art laboratory includes an ABI 3730 sequencer and the latest technology and robotics for extraction, liquid handling, and storage to insure fast and accurate operations.
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Educational Resources: Events & Publications
If you would like to learn more about Genetic Genealogy, we invite you to attend the events listed below. Please see the relevant web sites for registration information.
August 15-18, 2007
Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference
Fort Wayne, Indianahttp://www.fgsconference.org
Visit us at our display!
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Genetic Genealogy: Oldest Known Ancestors
For those that have taken a Y-DNA or mtDNA test, you can enter information about your oldest direct line male and/or direct line female ancestor. To enter this information, go to your Personal Page, and click "User Preferences".
Move down the page, until you see the section "Displaying the Most Distant Known Ancestor". Enter your information in the box shown. The information about the most distant ancestor is an optional display on the project web site.
In addition, if you can identify the location of the Most Distant Ancestor, a map can be created on the project web site. To add you ancestor to the map, you must enter the latitude and longitude for the ancestor, in decimal format. A link is provided that will determine the latitude and longitude for a location provided. To access this tool, click on "click here" at the end of the sentence: "To find a location in the decimal format click here.", which is right above the boxes where you enter the data.
Adding your ancestor(s) to the map for the project is very important.
Your Group Administrator can select an option on the Family Project Website Page, to display the map of the location of most distant ancestors at the project web site. If you are a Group Administrator, go to your Group Administrator Page. Then click on Family Project Web site. This page is used to set up and maintain your web site. Move down the page, below the boxes, where you will see:
Display Ancestor's (Alleles) Map:
Display Ancestor's (mtDNA) Map:
Click on the box to the right of the first line, so that a check mark appears, to display the Y-DNA most distant ancestor map. Click on the box to the right of the second line, so that a check mark appears, to display the mtDNA most distant ancestor map.
The Group Administrator can also view, at any time, a map of the most distant ancestor, or a map of participants location, by going to the Group Administrator Page, and clicking "View Member Distribution Map".
Providing the most distant ancestor maps on the project web site is an excellent tool to help participants. These maps will show the location of the most distant ancestors of the participants, and clusters of results may provide clues for further research. Group Administrators are encouraged to add the most distant ancestor maps to their web site hosted by Family Tree DNA.
Those that have tested are encouraged to add your most distant ancestor information today!
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Y DNA: The Role of Surnames
The surname is an important component of analyzing Y DNA results, and sets the outer boundary for the time frame of a match.
Surnames were adopted in different countries at different times. For a long time, people were just known by their first name. As society became more complex, a system was needed to distinguish one person reliably and unambiguously from the next person.
A surname is typically a hereditary name borne by members of a single family and handed down from father to son. Thus, surnames contrast with given names, which identify individuals within the same family. It is characteristic of surnames that all members of a particular family normally have the same surname.
A surname therefore follows with the Y DNA result, which makes the testing of Y DNA a very powerful tool.
On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas.
Surnames were adopted in different areas at different times. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed from the 12th century forward. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England or France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. In some places, the process started earlier, and in some places the process continued into the 19th century. Overall, the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, and by the 15th century they did.
The process of adopting a surname was spread over time, and these surnames continued to evolve until the 1900's when spelling was standardized.
Surname variants occurred during the evolution of the surname. There was no guide to the spellings of names, and those who recorded events, such as the clergy and registrars, attempted to reproduce phonetically the sounds they heard. The great majority of the population were illiterate and had no notion that any one spelling of their name was more 'correct' than any other.
Prior to the time surnames were adopted, men with the same Y DNA result were spread out over a geographic area due to migrations. In addition, invasions and wars often dispersed a Y DNA result significantly.
Many men had the same Y DNA result when surnames were adopted. It is currently impossible to predict how many men had the same Y chromosome DNA result at this time. Some Y DNA results were dying out, and others were abundant. Therefore, men with the same Y chromosome DNA result adopted different surnames. If there was a large population of the Y DNA result, such as with the haplogroup R1b, many different surnames would have been adopted for this Y DNA result.
As the database of Y DNA results at Family Tree DNA grows, almost everyone will eventually have Y DNA matches with other surnames. The primary reason for these matches is that multiple men with the same Y DNA result adopted different surnames during the time period when surnames were adopted. These men could have been in the same village, or in the same county, or perhaps migration had taken them to different countries.
In addition, two men with different surnames may have a matching Y DNA result due to convergence. Convergence is where you start with two different Y DNA results, in the past, and the results mutate over time, to where they match or are a close match today. The higher the population of a Y DNA result, the more opportunity there is for convergence to occur. Since Haplogroup R1b is the largest population group in Europe, matches with other surnames are very common. These matches are due to the large population of this Haplogroup that existed when surnames were adopted. Many different surnames were adopted, and convergence has occurred over time.
If we go back far enough in time, we are all related. The surname is used to establish a boundary for determining whether two people are related. If you match some one with a different surname, you are most likely related prior to the adoption of surnames.
In some cases, you could be related after the adoption of surnames, due to one of the following events occurring:
1. informal adoption, such as a widow remarries, and the children take the new surname
3. illegitimate male child who takes the mother's surname
4. adoption of a new surname, such as by preference or for inheritance
5. a pregnant woman marries a man with a different surname than the child she is carrying
Even though these events have occurred in the past, they were not the norm.
Pursuing a match with another surname should not be considered until both participants upgrade to 67 Markers to determine if the match still holds.
At this point, if the match still holds at 67 markers, a decision can be made as to whether to pursue the match with another surname. To avoid wasting time, there should be some evidence that one of the events above occurred. In making this decision, the place to start is to evaluate the evidence. Were the ancestors in the same location, at the same time? Was there a marriage by a widow who had children? Is there a use of alias in any records? Is there any evidence to support a match with another surname?
In most cases, there isn't any evidence to support pursuing the match.
A Surname Project is a very valuable tool for family history research. The surname establishes the time period for determining if two people are related. Surname Projects can provide tremendous benefit for those who are researching their family history. DNA testing has a wide range of applications, from additional information to use in conjunction with the paper records for interpretation, to clues to find the ancestral homeland.
In addition, as a long term goal, a Surname Project can determine the number of points of origin of the surname. The Surname Project would combine DNA results with the techniques used to research surnames, and identify the ancestral location(s) or area(s) where the surname was adopted.
As you research your family tree, eventually you have to stop, because the written records end, or are sporadic. This could be the result of the destruction of records, such as due to a court house fire. Or, this could be the result of reaching the time period prior to consistent written records. For example, the time period before the adoption of Parish registers. Often your family tree will stop before you reach the start of Parish registers, because there is insufficient documentation to make a connection.
When your family tree ends, often there is still a long period of time between then and the adoption of surnames. For example, if your tree ends in the late 1700's due to insufficient documentation, there is still 400 to 500 years between then and the adoption of surnames, depending on your ancestral country.
DNA testing can fill this 500 year gap. Imagine a situation years from now, where every family tree with your surname has tested. The data would then be available to determine whether your surname had a single or multiple points of origin. Combining this information with surname mapping, frequency distribution studies, and research in Medieval records would most likely enable the Surname Project to identify a geographic area as the ancestral homeland.
Our surname is a very important part of us, and DNA testing tells us about this surname. For example, did one man take on the surname, and all the descendents today are related, except for a few trees which are descendents of an informal adoption, and descendents of an illegitimate birth?
With DNA testing, we might also discover previously unknown variants. This could be very helpful for research, especially when records can't be found, and later it is discovered that the records are actually there, but recorded with a previously unknown variant.
Surname dictionaries have been published and identify the origin for many surnames. The authors of these books used the tools available at the time. Never before have these experts or authors had the powerful tool of DNA testing available. There are many discoveries to be made with DNA testing. Most likely, DNA testing will prove that some long held beliefs about the origins of various surnames are incorrect.
By participating in a Y DNA Project, or sponsoring a participant if you are female, you are making a significant contribution to the knowledge about your surname. Even when your tree ends, you can still discover information about your origin.
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The mtDNA test is available in 3 versions. These tests are called:
mtDNA Full Sequence
The test called mtDNA provides a result for the region of mtDNA called HVR1, or Hyper Variable Region 1. The test called mtDNA Plus tests two regions of mtDNA, the regions called HVR1 and HVR2.
If you want to find mtDNA matches in a genealogical time frame, select the mtDNA Plus test.
The mtDNA Full Sequence test provides a result for the complete mtDNA molecule, and is primarily recommended for the following situations:
- where two people's mtDNA Plus result is an exact match, and the customers seek to investigate the time frame of the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)
- no other mtDNA test will ever need to be taken, since the complete molecule is tested
- allow customers to be able to follow the scientific literature published in the future
- allow the customer to find out everything available about their mtDNA
- for those interested, to more accurately establish the actual mutation rate of mtDNA
If you have taken the mtDNA test, and want to reduce the time frame for the common ancestor for your matches, you can upgrade your test to the mtDNA Plus test. Upgrading to the mtDNA Plus test is also recommended for all results who match the reference standard, called CRS, or Cambridge Reference Standard.
To upgrade your mtDNA test, on your Personal Page, click on "Upgrades and Refinements" .
Our mtDNA tests return a result for the section tested and your Haplogroup, which is also known as Daughter of Eve, or Clan mother. Your Haplogroup is determined by testing 20 locations in the coding region.
If you click on the link below, you can see the Haplogroup composition of Family Tree DNA's database of mtDNA results which have been SNP tested.http://www.familytreeDNA.com/mtpie.html
As you can see on the pie chart, Haplogroup H is the largest portion of the database.
Haplogroup H comprises about 40% of the mtDNA in Europe. If your mtDNA Haplogroup is H, an additional test, the Haplogroup H sub-clade test, is available, which will tell you more information. To learn about what you can discover with the Haplogroup H sub-clade test, do the following. On your mtDNA Results Page, click on the link "see link" in the paragraph labeled Additional Information on Deeper Ancestry, to the right of your results. The resulting page will tell you about the different Haplogroup H sub-clades. You can also reach the page about Haplogroup H sub-clades, by clicking on the link below:http://www.familytreeDNA.com/hclade2.html
If you are Haplogroup H, you can find out your sub-clade. On your mtDNA results page, to order, click on "Click Here to Order", which is right below the paragraph labeled Additional Information on Deeper Ancestry.
Anyone with an understanding of family history research can utilize DNA testing. It isn't necessary to have a scientific background. The few scientific terms you will encounter will be explained.
You can discover information about your direct maternal line with an mtDNA test. This would be your mother, her mother, and so forth back in time. Both men and women inherit mtDNA. Only women pass on mtDNA.
To order a mtDNA test, you can order as part of a Surname Project, or as an individual. To order as an individual, click on the link below:http://www.familytreeDNA.com/products.html
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Genetic Genealogy: Advanced Tests
This month's featured Advanced Test is the Kittler test.
The Kittler test is for marker DYS 385a/b. In our standard tests, the results for this marker are reported from low to high, such as 11, 14. The Kittler test will enable you to find out the actual order for these markers. The actual order for 11, 14 could be 11, 14 or 14, 11.
This test may be useful if you have a match with a participant where you differ on the markers and want to see the actual order. Also, for Haplogroup R1b, the actual order of results will be 11, 14, and for Haplogroup R1a the actual order of the results will be 14, 11.
To order an Advanced Test, on your Personal Page, click "Upgrades and Refinements" and then click "Advanced Orders." Go down the page until you find the Kittler Test.
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Recruiting Participants: Donations
Raising donations will help your Surname Project test key males who are unable to participate. In addition, funding tests for males in your ancestral country may help find a match, which may benefit multiple family trees.
If you have your Surname Project web site hosted at Family Tree DNA, it is easy to add the Donation feature to your project. Go to your Group Administrator Page, then click on the link in the right column, labeled "Family Project Website". This link will take you to the page where you maintain your web site.
On this web site maintenance page, two items from the bottom, you will see the selections "Display General Fund Donation Link" and "Display General Fund Donation Text". You want to click the first box, which will show the donation link on the left on you web site. Clicking the second box is optional. This box will display the history of donations on your web site, and may not be appropriate for your project.
Once you click one or two boxes, click "Submit" at the bottom of the page to update your web site. You have now set up a General Fund for your project, and the link appears on your web site that people can click to make donations. Our donation system accepts donations in any currency, via credit card or PayPal. US Dollar checks are also accepted. When a person makes a donation, they must enter at the top of the form the project for which the donation applies. Memorial donations can also be made.
To make a donation, you would send people to your project web site, and ask them to click the link in the lower left titled "Contribute to the Surname General Fund". You could also send them the following link:http://www.familytreeDNA.com/contribution.html
Using the Family Tree DNA General Fund system is usually preferable over collecting donations yourself as the Group Administrator. First, our system accepts any currency. Second, most people will feel more comfortable donating to a General Fund held by an organization.
You will probably want to mention the General Fund on your web site, and encourage people to make a donation of any size.
The Group Administrator can see the balance and transactions of the General Fund on their Group Administrator Page, by clicking "General Fund Status". The page that comes up about the General Fund also supplies directions on how to use the General Fund to pay part of or all of the cost of a test for a participant.
Periodically, a Group Administrator will want to remind contacts about the General Fund, and encourage donations. Often there are key males whose participation is needed, and they are not able to participate. Multiple small donations can quickly add up to subsidize or pay for a test.
In addition, for those who want to find matches in their ancestral country, raising donations to test males in this country is the fastest approach to finding a match.
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Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy
In each issue of the Newsletter, we present a situation which you may encounter as you utilize Genetic Genealogy testing for your family history research, followed by our recommendation.
I am Y DNA Haplogroup R1b1, and I have a 33/37 match with another surname. My paper trail goes to 1760 in a county adjoining his paper trail, which ends in 1825. Research does not show any other connection between the families. The 4 markers that differ are fast moving.
Should further research be pursued?
Most likely, the 33/37 match is due to a relationship in the distant past, before the adoption of surnames. Participants who are Y DNA Haplogroup R1b, will have many matches with other surnames, even exact matches, which are a result of a common ancestor prior to the adoption of surnames.
In most cases, it is only a matter of time before you have a match with your surname. You time may be better spent looking for others to test with your surname.
If you are intent on pursing the match, it is recommended that you first upgrade to 67 markers, before investing time in looking for a paper connection.
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We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Facts & Genes. Please feel free to contact the editor with your comments, feedback, questions to be addressed, as well as suggestions for future articles. If you are a Group Administrator and can help others with tips or suggestions, please contact: editorFG@FamilyTreeDNA.com for Dexter
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