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Colchester Camilla

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About us

The Colchester Camilla Project is a new Y-DNA and mtDNA geographical project for everyone with a direct paternal or maternal ancestral line originating in or around the English town of Colchester in the county of Essex and is aiming to show a genetic link with the DNA taken from human remains of people who lived in or around Colchester during the Romano-British period (43AD to 410AD). Participants can order either a Y-DNA (Y-chromosome) test to find out about their direct paternal line (your father, your father's father, your father's father's father, etc) or an mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) test to learn about their direct maternal line (your mother, your mother's mother, your mother's mother's mother, etc). The only requirement for joining the project is that participants must have a documented paper trail to the Essex area on the direct paternal line for the Y-DNA test or on the direct maternal line for the mtDNA test. Please join us on our journey of ancient genetic discovery.

For certain surnames FREE DNA TESTS are available which are sponsored by the relevant surname projects. To see details of the current sponsorship offers please visit our news page.

If you are not familiar with the basic principles of DNA testing it is recommended that you read this introductory article to understand how it works. A more in-depth article, entitled "A Practical Guide to DNA Testing", appears in the October 2009 issue of Family History Monthly.

This project also provides an opportunity for those who are the last in their direct paternal or maternal line to test and store their DNA for future research. Family Tree DNA is the only company which provides archival storage of your DNA sample for 25 years so that you or your descendants can take advantage of future developments in the field of genetic genealogy and order new tests as they become available. The project also provides an opportunity for those wishing to learn more about their deep ancestry.

It will eventually be possible to build up a picture of the genetic composition of the people of the Colchester area and to discover more about their ancestral origins. Colchester claims to be where British civilisation began. It is where the Roman invaders came to take the surrender of eleven British tribal chiefs in the year 43AD. Before that date the Trinovantes, the richest and most powerful tribe in Britain was settled. Here too, the largest and most heavily defended settlement in Britain, was situated. It was here that the Belgic people had come and had taken control of the indigenous British people that ruled the south eastern parts of Britain. After the death of their chief, Cunobelin, probably the most powerful of all British chieftains, the Romans were given the opportunity to invade. The Trinovantes were subdued and governed by the Romans and their descendants would undoubtedly have been amongst those whom archaeeologists have discovered buried in graveyards mainly to the south of the Roman town (or colonia).  Will this be reflected by DNA analysis? Did the Romans leave a genetic legacy in Colchester? Were the Romans buried in the same cemeteries as the British people? Hundreds of skeletons have been uncovered and some DNA testing has been done. It is hoped that the project will eventually provide answers to some of these questions. The value of the project will grow over time as more people join and more results are available for comparison.

The DNA test itself is a simple cheek swab which is done in the comfort of your own home. It does not reveal any personal information. The cheaper 12-marker test can provide an introduction to DNA testing and will give you a haplogroup designation, but for meaningful comparisons it is normally necessary to upgrade to the higher resolution 37-marker test. People often have many matches with other surnames at 12 or even 25 markers, especially within the more common haplogroups such as haplogroup R1b1b. 

For further information about DNA testing read the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and tutorials on the Family Tree DNA website. There is also a useful Wikipedia article on the genealogical DNA test.

If you have already had your DNA tested with Family Tree DNA as part of a surname project, a haplogroup project or another geographical project you are welcome to join this project too. There is no extra charge for joining multiple projects and there is no limit on the number of projects which you can join. If you have already tested with the Genographic Project you can also join this project at no extra charge. Simply log in to your Genographic Project page, go to the section "What else can I do with my results", click on "Learn more" and follow the instructions.