Y DNA Project
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About us


April 5, 2015

Welcome to the new format project webpage!

You can now post pictures under Photos, and post comments, questions to other project members under Activity Feed. For privacy reasons, these are viewable only to project members. You can still e-mail me directly if you have a specific question that you want answered.

Please keep the comments and questions germane to genetics and genealogy. Please do not post comments on potentially inflammatory topics, i.e. politics, climate change, etc.

Elby Davis
Davis/Davies/David DNA Project
Group Administrator volunteer

Jul 31, 2023

FTDNA announces two new product features:

Y-DNA haplogroups for Family Finder Customers

Globetrekker for Big Y 

Feb 16, 2023

FTDNA announces three new product features: 

Group Time Tree - The Big Y-700 test with the recent Discover feature additions (including the age estimates and the Time Tree) has added more details than ever before to the ever-growing Y-DNA haplotree. FamilyTreeDNA leveraged these new features and Group Project data to provide the new Group Time Tree. There are two ways for users to access their Group Time Tree. Through your Group Project’s website and through the Discover page.

The new FTDNA TIP report allows you to see estimated dates from a shared ancestor based on Y-STRs. With this information we provide an even more accurate Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor.

Muliti-kit Management - FTDNA added a new section to Account Settings where you can enter contact details about the person who is managing the account if it’s not the same person who submitted the DNA sample.

When contacting Customer Support about an account, they can only provide information about it or allow purchases of Add Ons and Upgrades if they can verify the person they are communicating with is either the tester, a deceased tester’s beneficiary, or the manager of the account. Make sure to fill this information out if you are managing an account for another person.

Sep 1, 2021

The myOrigins Chromosome Painter feature was released today.

Jul 1, 2021 


Family Finder Updates 

The new Family Finder Matches page includes improvements to our matching algorithm, predicted relationship ranges, and X-chromosome matching. The new design allows you to better navigate your matches, and we’ve added more options for sorting, filtering, and searching your match list, including ways to find matches with shared Family Trees. 

Y-DNA Updates 

The new Y-DNA Matches page provides the ability to easily view a breakdown of the number of matches per marker level as well as your matches’ earliest known paternal ancestor’s countries of origin. The new design allows you to better navigate your match list and includes more ways to sort, filter, and search your matches. 

New Help Center 

We’ve released a brand new learning center that will be referred to as the Help Center. We’ve also added links throughout the platform and your reports that will take you directly to Help Center pages that are specific to the report or page you are viewing. The goal of the new Help Center is to help you find answers to your questions faster. The full migration of the Learning Center to the new Help Center will complete in the 3rd quarter of the year. 

Website Performance & Usability 

We’ve improved match load times and have also made big improvements to the website’s usability. These usability updates include tons of new tooltips throughout the platform and direct links to specific Help Center topics throughout the platform. 

New Feature Coming Soon — Chromosome Painter 

Later in July, we’ll be releasing the new Chromosome Painter feature for Family Finder!  The Chromosome Painter is another way to explore your myOrigins results. It paints segments of your genome with colors that represent the populations in your results. The Chromosome Painter goes beyond telling you your percentages by revealing from where each DNA segment in your ancestry originates. 


January 7, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that FamilyTreeDNA and our parent company, Gene by Gene, have merged with myDNA, a leading genomics company that is revolutionizing the field of pharmacogenomics.

June 5, 2020

myOrigins 3.0 
We have nearly tripled the number of populations in Family Finder's myOrigins report!  We will release a white paper in the coming months that will include the science behind the new myOrigins, but here is a little information about the new populations. 

New Populations 

The new myOrigins includes 90 reference populations sourced from 8,053 individual samples. 

These populations break down as follows: 

33 from Asia and Oceania 

27 from Europe and the Middle East 

21 from Africa and the Americas 


Testers will be updated in waves. 

Big Y STR Results 
Thanks to the improvement in our Big Y STR technology and quality thresholds, reanalyzing current Big Y data is allowing us to provide additional STR values at no charge. SNP results will not be affected by this update.   

This reanalysis will go as follows: 

Big Y-700 customers should have received additional STR calls in Panels 6 and 7 over the last few weeks. 

Big Y-500 customers will receive additional STR calls in Panels 6 and 7 in the next few days. 

Once all customers have been updated, STR calls in Panels 6 and 7 for all customers will be refined based on improvements to our quality control thresholds. 

It’s important to note:  

For Big Y-700 testers, up until now, if there was a call at a location in the 500 but not in the 700, we preserved the 500 call. With the update to the STR calling process, Big Y-700 testers will only have those STRs called in the 700, which may mean some no-calls at positions that previously had values.  

While Big Y-500 customers will receive some additional STR values, the only way to guarantee that a tester receives the full 700 STRs is to upgrade to Big Y-700. 


January 13, 2020

You may have noticed that after the Holiday Sale ended, Y-DNA and mtDNA testing did not return to their pre-sale price points. That's not a mistake. We've slashed regular prices to try to reach as many people as possible and encourage testing at the highest level possible.  

While we no longer giving discounts on Y-DNA when joining a project, the current pricing is significantly lower than those rates were. Over the next year, we will be working on ways to recommend appropriate projects for testers and encourage them to join surname, geographic, and haplogroup projects.  

Since the prices are discounted so deeply, we have discontinued selling Y-25 and Y-67, and we've made mtPlus (HVR1 and HVR2) available only through projects. The upgrades from Y-25 and Y-67 are still available, and if you have taken a Y-12, Y-25, or Y-37, you can still upgrade to Y-67. 

We are excited about the lower prices and hope you are too! 


March 24, 2019

On March 23rd & 24th, 2019, I attended the FamilyTreeDNA  14th International Conference on Genetic Genealogy in . The conference is limited to group administrators, who pay the conference fee and pay their own way to get there.This was my 11th trip to the conference.

The hot topic this year was law enforcement access to genealogical databases. The serial killer was apprehended by searching a public database (GEDMATCH) and then building a family tree from the matches to find a possible suspect. FTDNA will allow law enforcement to register and look for matches for violent crimes such as murder and rape . Searches for non-violent crimes will not be allowed. Recently FTDNA enhanced your privacy settings so that you could opt out of allowing law enforcement to search your results. The default for the is to opt in. Bennett Greenspan said that the benefit to society outweighs individual privacy concerns. Dr. Amy McGuire, a biomedical ethicist from said that in a recent survey they did that 91% of respondents agree. For European Union members the default is opt out due to GDPR rules. John Shimp of the Houston FBI also spoke on how they are utilizing this technique. 

In other presentations, James Irvine reviewed the May 2018 European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Kenyatta Berry, TV host for Genealogy Roadshow (PBS) shared her own personal story. Dr Rob Spencer showed his tools he used to review thousands of kits with at the Y-111 level at once. They can be used to detect large scale patterns to explain “convergence”, illuminate ancient, feudal, and colonial expansions, pick apart Scottish clans, identify American immigrant families,allow accurate relative clade dating, let us see the onset of surnames, andrreveal the power law distribution of lineages. Dr Michael Hammer again brought us up to date on our understanding of the European gene pool. Dr. Doron Behar introduced a new video that will accompany customer’s mtDNA results that will increase customer satisfaction. Dr Connie Bormans explained how FTDNA’s lab functions. Dr Caleb Davis said that the BIG Y-700 test has 50% new high quality SNPs.Roberta Estes showed how she used Y and mtDNA to solve genealogical puzzles. Dr Paul Maier explained the subject of population genetics. Megan Peters and Chris Pace talked about enhancements to FTDNA products in the works. Family Tree 2.0 enhancements include: inferred haplogroup to unlinked tree relatives, enhanced suggested matches to link, introduce ability to have more than one family tree to a single account, family tree sharing with other FTDNA members. Updates to Family Finder are under consideration based on user feedback. 

Jan 24, 2019

We are excited to announce the introduction of Big Y-700, a substantial upgrade to our Big Y-500 product. Along with the addition of 200 STRs, we have made significant updates across the board. The new Big Y Block Tree Matching Tool is a new visualization tool for your Big Y matches called the Block Tree, which makes it easier to understand how the paternal lineages of you and your matches relate to each other. Please note, that more than five steps of matching will be displayed on the Block Tree. To read more about the new Y Big Block Tree, visit the Learning Center. 

May 24, 2018

On May 24th, 2018, our free, public genetic-genealogy databases, ysearch.org and mitosearch.org, will no longer be accessible as a result of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

May 25, 2018

New Account Settings options for Privacy & Sharing, Project Preferences, and Email Notifications take effect to meet the high standard for data privacy introduced by the new European data protection law known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) .

Here are the choices for the Project Preferences tab when you select Manage Personal Information under the Your Account / Profile section of your MyFTDNA web page:

 Minimum  ( not recommended) is the default access level and the most limited. This access level permits theGroup Administrator to access project administration tools that allow him or her to view certain results in relation to how you match other project members;however, this access level does not allow the Group Administrator to visit your myFTDNA pages. Therefore, this access level is not satisfactory for the Group Administrator to advise you as a member of the project.

Limited Access  (recommended) permits the Group Administrator or co-administrator to visit and view certain information on your myFTDNA pages inorder to assist with kit management and to better facilitate project research.This level of access provides the Group Administrator view only access which is sufficient to advise you provided you have entered you earliest known paternal ancestor on the GENEALOGY tab.

Advanced allows the Group Administrator to fully manage a project member’s kit and function on their behalf. This includes ordering products and modifying information with the exceptions of the primary email address and project preferences for other Group Projects. The Group Administrator does not need this level of access, provided you have entered you earliest known paternal ancestor on the GENEALOGY tab.

November 12, 2017

On November 11th &12th, 2017, I attended the FamilyTree 13th International Conference on Genetic Genealogy in . The conference is limited to group administrators, who pay the conference fee and pay their own way to get there. This was my 10th trip to the conference.  

Caleb Davis completed a study that found that Big Y results could be used to accurately predict Y results. Look for FTDNA to offer a combined Y-111/ Big Y test in the future. Peter Sjoland from the reviewed how to use mtDNA results. Matt Dexter, an adoptee, spoke on how he used tests to find his biological parents. Local weathercaster Frank Billingsley, also an adoptee,presented his new book Swabbed and Found,about how he used tests to find his biological parents. Jim Bartlett explained the specific steps you should use to have success with atDNA.  Roberta Estes reviewed atDNA tools at FTDNA and how to use them, and also reviewed a case in her own family tree. Judy Russell gave a presentation on how she used tests to confirm her family line in . Michael Davilla of FTDNA mentioned numerous improvements are underway to user interfaces. Janine Cloud of FTDNA reviewed some of the group administrator guidelines. Dr. Michael Hammer shared his top ten genomic developments.


Big Y changes

Human Genome 38

We’ve updated from hg19 tohg38. This is a more accurate representation of the human genome and is themost recent version referenced by the human genome community.

Some of the advantages of hg38 are:

Better mapping of NGS data tothe proper location

Consideration of alternativehaplotypes across the genome

Terminal SNP Guide

We've added a terminal SNPGuide that allows you to view and filter the branches closest to the tester'sterminal branch on the haplotree.

BIG Y Browser

We’re giving you the abilityto view your SNP data from Big Y. This will allow you to personally assess allSNP call positions that are being evaluated for matching purposes. This datawill be continuously updated.



Members may have receivedan email about the update of the mitochondrial database from Build 14 to Build17, which is the most recent phylogenetic build for mtDNA. This update has beenin the works for several months while the scientific team tested andverified the programming and results. We were able to release it this week, sosome of you may have seen a change to your mtDNA haplogroup.

To give you an idea of the scope of this project, Build 14 was based on theanalysis of 8,216 modern mitogenomes, while Build 17 was designed using 24,275mtDNA sequences - almost three times as much information! Build 17 increased to5437 nodes from 3550 in Build 14, an increase of 1887 haplogroups. Obviously,the update provides a much finer resolution in terms of haplogroup assignment.

In a very few cases haplogroups may have reverted to a higher branch on thetree. Usually, this is because in Build 14, some of the branches of the treewere predicted, not confirmed. The additional sequences added between Build 14and Build 17 did not provide supporting data to justify their existence, sothese branches have been removed.

This update is the perfect time for those testers who have only tested mtDNAHVR1 or mtDNA Plus (HVR1 and 2) to upgrade to the Full Mitochondrial Sequence().
For the nextweek, upgrades from mtDNA to and from mtDNA Plus to are only $99! Only with thewill testers get the full benefit of the new build.


Customerscan now transfer23andMe© V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2 files in addition to the23andMe© V3 and AncestryDNA™ V1 files that Family Tree DNA accepted previously. MyHeritage andGenographic transfers will be supported in the coming weeks.

FamilyTree DNA still does not accept 23andMe©processed prior to November 2010. A Family Finder test will need to bepurchased.

23andMe©V3 and AncestryDNA™ V1 now receive a full list of matches and the ability touse the Matrix feature FOR FREE. For only $19, the customer can unlock the ChromosomeBrowser, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins.

23andMe©V4 and AncestryDNA™ V2receive all but the most speculative matches (6th toremote cousins), also for free. After transferring, if the customer wants toreceive speculative matches,they will have to submit a sample and have a FamilyFinder run at the reduced price of $59. 

Matchesshould take somewhere between one and 24 hours to appear, depending on thevolume of tests in the autosomal pipeline.

myOriginsupdate will be released in the coming weeks. Until then transfers will includeonly broad populations.

Additionally,all previously transferred files that have not been unlocked will receive theirmatches and have access to the Matrix feature for free as long as the releaseform is signed. These kits will be also be able to unlock the other FamilyFinder features for $19. If the transfer was on a kit with another productwhere the release form has already been signed, then the matches will appearwith no further action necessary.

TheAutosomal Transfer webpage has been enhanced to include a new image and a FAQsection. The FAQ section is displayed towards the bottom of the page.

Ifa customer tries to transfer the same autosomal file a second time, a messagewill be displayed that the file is a duplicate and will list the kit number ofthe original kit.

Themain Autosomal Transfer topic in the Learning Center has been updated. This topiccontains the most recent information and now includes all transfer subtopics onthe same page. Additional FAQ information will be added to this topic as neededin the future.

On November 12th & 13th, 2016, I attended the FamilyTree DNA 12th International Conference on GeneticGenealogy in Houston. The conference is limited to group administrators, whopay the conference fee and pay their own way to get there. This was my 9th trip to the conference.

Dr.Michael Hammer gave a recap of published research on ancient European origins.The European Continent has been witness to many episodes of human migration,some of which have spanned over thousands of years. The most up-to-dateresearch into these ancient migrations on the European Continent suggests thatthere were three major groups of people that have had a lasting effect onpresent day peoples of European descent: Hunter-Gatherers, Early Farmers, andMetal Age Invaders. At the conclusion of his presentation, Bennett Greenspanannounced a new feature will appear for anyone who has taken the Family Findertest. A new tab is present called Ancient European Origins.

BillGriffeth, co-host of CNBC’s ClosingBell cable show,discussed his new book ‘Stranger In My Genes’. Bill, a longtime genealogy buff, took aDNA test that had an unexpected outcomewhich shook his sense of identity.

JanineCloud reviewed FTDNA’s privacy policy. No personal information should be givenout other than what shows up on the project results page without prior consentfrom the project member. If you have paid for another person’s test, noupgrades should be made without prior consent from the project member. Projectmembers must actively select to have results on the project results pageviewable to non-members.

ConnieBormans, head of the lab, explained that delayed results are usually the resultof poor test samples which fail quality controls. In those cases, a second testis required. Upgrade results are checked against previous results. The FamilyFinder test is highly automated and must have a success rate of greater than97% to pass. Gender is checked to prevent gross errors. Unused sample vialslast 10 years. Tests using hair, teeth, envelopes etc are economicallyunfeasible and likely to fail. Tests for multiple products are run with only aday or two delay.

BennettGreenspan and Meagan Peters demonstrated how to use the parental matching linkfeature in FamilyTree. Family Finder will use any linked results up to 3generations to categorize your matches as either paternal, maternal, or both,and the linked individual does not need to acknowledge the relationship. Youwill no longer be able to mark relationships beyond 3 generations. Please lookin the Learning Center if you need help with this feature.

MichaelSagar explained that there are now 23,767 Y DNA SNPs,6,728 haplogroup labels, with 3,192 terminal nodes. There are 77 SNP packpanels available, with 35 more in design. Individual SNPs can still bepurchased.

BarbaraRae-Venter related how a cold case was solved by using autosomal DNA analysisto reveal kidnap victim Lisa Jensen’s real identity.

Dr. DoronBehar spoke of his study on Levites who migrated from Spain to the town of Horowitz nearPrague and took that name. Work is in progress for a BIG Y browser, and TMRCA estimatorpossibly sometime in 2017.

Besidesthe aforementioned Ancient European Origins, parental matching, and Big Yenhancements, Elliot Greenspan said that autosomal transfers now occurimmediately. More populations are being added to Population Finder. Autosomaltransfers from 23andme V4 and Ancestry V2 should be available soon. The processthat performs Y STR matching wasrewritten to improve performance.



As you may have read insome of the genetic genealogy community blogs, we’ve made some adjustments toFamily Finder’s matching thresholds, changes that the genetic genealogy communityhas requested for several years.

After months of researchand testing, we’re implementing those changes as soon as the quality assuranceprocess is complete, which should be within the next few days.

Until now the amount ofshared DNA required for two people to show as amatch was a minimum of 20 total centiMorgans of shared DNA with a minimum longest block of atleast 7.69 cM for 99% of testers,  5.5 cM for the other one percent.

With the adjustment, if two people share a segment of 9 cM or more, they willshow as a match regardless of the number of total shared cM. However, ifthere’s not a block that’s 9 cM or greater, the minimum of 20 shared cM withalongest block of 7.69 cM applies.

We also slightly alteredother proprietary portions of the matching algorithm that will, to a smalldegree, affect block sizes and total shared centiMorgans. These changes shouldhave only marginal effects, if any, on relationships, generally in the distantto remote ranges.

There’s a separateproprietary formula that is also applied to those with Ashkenazi heritage, butyou can, of course, expect to have more new matches than those not of Ashkenaziheritage.

The entire existingdatabase has been rerun using the new matching criteria, and all new matcheshave been calculated with the new thresholds.

Please keep in mind thischange will not affect close matches, only distant and speculative ones. Somematches will fall off, others will be added. Most people will likely have a netgain of matches.

Your myOrigins results maychange slightly with the rerun, but wehave not updated or changed myOrigins yet. We’ll let you knowwhen that happens



 On November 14th&15th,2015, I attended the Family Tree DNA 11thInternationalConference on Genetic Genealogy in Houston. The conference is limited to groupadministrators, who pay the conference fee and pay their own way to get there.This was my 8th trip to the conference.

The overall impression Icame away with was that FTDNA has hired a lot of new people in the pastyear.Response times for calls and e-mails to Customer Service have been reducedgreatly. News tools (unspecified) are under development. Technology upgradesare being made at considerable expense.

Peter Sjoland of the SwedishSociety for Genetic Genealogy presented a case study analysis of the medievalBure family. He also presented a chart that shows that haplogroup L1301migrated westward and haplogroup L1302 migrated eastward. Due to increasedmarketing in Sweden by FTDNA, several hundred Swedes weretested this summer.

Razib Khan predicted thateven though whole genome sequencing will be commonplace by the year 2025, therewill still be a place for SNP testing. That is because whole genome sequencingis more expensive, contains information that is not informative or can’t beinterpreted, and takes a long time to analyze even on powerfulcomputers.MyOrigins 2.0 will include new population clusters: Balkan, , NorthAmerindian, South Amerindian,Papuan, Sardinian, Siberian.

Migel Vilar, Science Managerfor the National Geographic’s Genographic project, explained that the Geno 2.0Next Generation test  contains ~17,000 YDNA SNPS, 3,500 mtDNA SNPS, and 750,00 autosomal and Xchromosome SNPs. It was rolled out in August, 2015 for $149 and is transferableto FTDNA.

Dr. Michael Hammer – Fromstudies of 160 ancient DNA samples which included western hunter gatherers,early Europeanfarmers, and ancient north Eurasians the following conclusions have beenreached -The frequency of haplogroup I, Europe's Mesolithicpaternal marker, was strongly affected by incoming farmers in the earlyNeolithic—made a comeback inthe Middle Neolithic—only to be partially replacedagain during the Metal Ages.Haplogroup G2a, Europe’s Neolithic marker, had avery different fate: it’s predominance in the Neolithic contrasts sharply withit’s near absence in the subsequent ancient DNA recordand it’s limited distribution today in the southern Europe and the easternMediterranean In contrast, the predominant haplogroup in western Europe today,R1b, made a late entrance– nearly absent from the ancient DNA recorduntil the Bronze age when it swept into central Europe with the entry ofAsian/Eastern European steppe invaders. While it is clear that thepost-Neolithic arrival of steppe invaders across much of Europe led to majorupheavals during the Early Bronze Age— this was a period that saw theintroduction of metal weapons and a new social organization across most ofthecontinent.

Maurice Gleeson presented acase study on combining SNPs, STRs, and genealogy to build a surname originstree (Gleason/Gleeson). This involved the use of a diagram called a FluxusCladogram.I’d recommend this technique for experts only.

James Irvine using theScotch-Irish Irwin project as a case study illustrated a number of lessons hehas learned.

Roberta Estes talked aboutthe results of asking everyone in her Crumley Y DNA project to take the autosomal DNA test, even though the Y DNA lines were already known. A NPEevent was discovered as well as the identity of the earliest maternal ancestor.



FTDNA has changed the DEFAULT privacy settings for NEW MEMBERS to show test results toproject members only. 


We have exciting news formembers of haplogroup R1b!  We're offering the opportunity to purchase thebeta release of our new R1b Backbone Panel for only $79!

This panel was created with the assistance of Mike Walsh, the administrator ofone of our haplogroup R projects. The panel includes 140 SNPs representing theupper portion of the R1b branch of the Y-
DNA haplotree. There are 80 new SNPs beingadded to the R1b portion of the haplotree that are also on this panel!

The R1b Backbone Panel is not meant to provide your terminal SNP.  Withover 1,000 SNPs on the R1b branch the R1b Backbone Panel will help you identifywhich branch of the R1b haplogroup you belong to!
Order now to take part in our moneyback guarantee. If you test and do not come back positive forany SNPs included on the R1b Backbone Panel, we'll give you a full refund!




First fine-scale geneticmap of the British Isles

An international team, ledby researchers from the University of Oxford, UCL (University College London) and theMurdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia, used DNA samples collected from more than2,000 people to create the first fine-scale genetic map of any country in theworld.

Theirfindings, published in Nature, show that prior to the mass migrations of the20th century there was a striking pattern of rich but subtle genetic variationacross the UK, with distinct groups of geneticallysimilar individuals clustered together geographically.

By comparing thisinformationwith DNA samples from over 6,000 Europeans,the team was also able to identify clear traces of the population movementsinto the UK over the past 10,000 years.Theirwork confirmed, and in many cases shed further light on, known historicalmigration patterns.

Key findings

There was not a single"Celtic" genetic group. In fact the Celtic parts of the (Scotland, , and ) are among the most different from each othergenetically. For example, the Cornish are much more similar genetically toother English groups than they are to the Welsh or the Scots.

 There are separategenetic groups in Cornwall and , with a division almost exactly along the modern countyboundary.

 The majority ofeastern, central and southern is made up of a single, relatively homogeneous,genetic group with a significant DNA contribution from Anglo-Saxonmigrations (10-40% of total ancestry). This settles a historical controversy inshowing that the Anglo-Saxons intermarried with, rather than replaced, theexisting populations.

The population in Orkneyemerged as the most genetically distinct, with 25% of DNA coming from Norwegian ancestors.This shows clearly that the Norse Viking invasion (9thcentury) did not simplyreplace the indigenous Orkney population.

The Welsh appear moresimilar to the earliest settlers of after the last ice age than do otherpeoplein the UK.

 There is no obviousgenetic signature of the Danish Vikings, who controlled large partsof("The Danelaw") from the 9th century.

 There is geneticevidence of the effect of the Landsker line --the boundary betweenEnglish-speaking people in south-west Pembrokeshire (sometimes knownas"Little England beyond ") and the Welsh speakers in the rest of Wales,which persisted for almost amillennium.

 The analyses suggestthere was a substantial migration across the channel after the originalpost-ice-age settlers, but before Roman times. DNA from these migrants spread across England, , and ,but had little impact in .

 Many of the geneticclusters show similar locations to the tribal groupings and kingdoms around endof the 6th century, after the settlement of the Anglo-Saxons, suggesting thesetribes and kingdoms may have maintained a regional identity formany centuries.


On October 11th&12th, 2014, I attended the Family Tree DNA 10th International Conference onGenetic Genealogy in  Houston. The conference is limited to groupadministrators, who pay the conference fee and pay their ownway to get there.This was my 7th trip to the conference.

Keynote speaker was Dr.Spencer Wells, who gave the presentation "Consumer Genomics The 30,000foot View ". 

Dr. Michael Hammar spoke ofthe Ancient North Eurasian peoples, whose genetic trace has beenwasfound amongthe hunter-gatherers and farmer haplogroups of .

SeniorDirector of Product Michael Gugel shared at the conference, for the first timeever, people that have taken an AncestryDNA™ or 23andMe© (V3) testcantransferinto the FTDNA databases for free by visiting https://www.familytreedna.com/AutosomalTransfer and following the instructionstouploadtheir raw data file. Within an hour or two, we provide a previewofwhat’swaiting if they transfer by showing the top 20 matches along withanestimateof the total number of matches in the FTDNA database.Fullfunctionality can beunlocked by either paying $39 or recruiting fourotherpeople to upload, thusunlocking the rest of the matches.


FTDNA has added a new feature FAMILY TREE, similar to what Ancestry.comoffers.  You can now build your family tree with the option provided toshare with your matches. You can still use 3rd party software to import aGEDCOM if you prefer.


See RECOMMENDED RESOURCES above forvideotaped presentations from the 2014 InternationalGeneticGenealogy Conference


On , Ancestry.com will be discontinuingthe following products: MyFamily, MyCanvas, Genealogy.com, Mundia and the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.


On November 9th& 10th, 2013, I attended the Family Tree DNA 9th International Conference onGenetic Genealogy in Houston. Theconference islimited to group administrators, who paythe conference fee and pay their own way to get there. This was my 6thtrip to the conference.

The big news was the BIG Y test. It tests nearly 25,000 known SNPs, placing youdeep on the haplotree. There is 10 Million base-pair coverage - more than anyother Y-
DNA test on the market.

You mayfind SNPs that may be completely unique to you. It will explore your deeppaternal ancestry, help the community uncover new, undiscovered SNPs, and allowyou to use your newly discovered SNPs to help grow the haplotree

Thefather of all men is 340,000 years old

ColinBarras in New Scientist

AlbertPerry carried a secret in his DNA: a Ychromosome so distinctive that it reveals new information about the origin ofour species. It shows that the last common male ancestor down the paternal lineof our species is over twice as old as we thought.

Onepossible explanation is that hundreds of thousands of years ago, modern andarchaic humans in central Africa interbred,adding to known examples ofinterbreeding – with Neanderthals in the MiddleEast, and with the enigmaticDenisovans somewhere in southeast Asia.

Perry,recently deceased, was an African-American who lived in South Carolina. A fewyears ago, one of his female relatives submitted a sample of his DNA to acompany called FamilyTreeDNA for genealogical analysis.

Geneticistscan use such samples to work out how we are related to one another. Hundreds ofthousands of people have now had their DNA tested.The data from these tests had shown that all men gained their Y chromosome froma common male ancestor. This genetic "Adam"lived between 60,000 and140,000 years ago.

Allmen except Perry, that is. When FamilyTree DNA'stechnicians tried to place Perry on the Y-chromosome family tree,they justcouldn't. His Y chromosome was like no other so far analysed.

 Deeper roots

MichaelHammer,  a geneticist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, heard aboutPerry's unusual Y chromosome and did some further testing. His team's researchrevealed something extraordinary: Perry did not descend from the genetic Adam.In fact, his Ychromosome was so distinct that his male lineage probablyseparated from all others about 338,000 years ago.

"TheY-chromosome tree is much older than we thought," says Chris Tyler-Smithat the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, who was not involved inthe study. He says further work will be needed to confirm exactly how mucholder.

"It'sa cool discovery," says Jon Wilkins of the Ronin Institute in Montclair,New Jersey. "We geneticists have been looking at Y chromosomes about aslong as we've been looking at anything. Changing where the root of theY-chromosome tree is at this  point is extremely surprising."

Diggingdeeper, Hammer's team examined an African database of nearly 6000 Y chromosomesand found similarities between Perry's and those in samples taken from 11 men,all living in one village in Cameroon.This may indicate where in Africa Perry'sancestors hailed from.

Older than humanity

Thefirst anatomically modern human fossils date back only 195,000 years, soPerry's Y chromosome lineage split from the rest of humanity long before ourspecies appeared.

Whatare the implications? One possibility is that Perry's Y chromosome may havebeen inherited from an archaic human population that has since gone extinct. Ifthat's the case, then sometime within the last 195,000 years, anatomicallymodern humans interbred with an ancient African human.

Thereis some supporting evidence for this scenario. In 2011, researchers examinedhuman fossils from a Nigerians it ecalled Iwo Eleru. The fossils showed astrange mix of ancient and modern features, which also suggested interbreedingbetween modern and archaic humans."The Cameroon village with an unusualgenetic signature is right on the border with Nigeria, and Iwo Eleru is not toofar away," says Hammer.

ChrisStringer at the Natural History Museum,London, was involved in the Iwo Eleruanalysis, and says the new Y chromosome result highlights the need for moregenetic data from modern-day sub-Saharan Africans. "The oldest knownfossil humans in both West Africa at Iwo Eleruand Central Africa at Ishango [inDemocratic Republic of the Congo] show unexpectedly archaic features, so itcertainly looks like we have a more complex scenario for the evolution ofmodern humans in Africa."

November 12, 2012

On November 10th & 11th, 2012, I attended the Family Tree 8th International Conference onGenetic Genealogy in Houston

Dr. Spencer Wells, via Skypefrom Florence, Italy, announced the National Geographic’sGeno 2.0 test. This new GenoChip test examines 150,000 markers, approximately12,000 Y-DNA SNPs,3,200 mtDNA SNPs, and 130,000autosomal and X-chromosome SNPs from across the entire human genome to provideunprecedented ancestry-relevant information, including ancient hominidancestry. SNPs identified with Neanderthals, Denisovans, Chimps, Aboriginals,Paleo-Eskimos are included. The cost is $199. Currently the test is onlyavailable through National Geographic, but FTDNA hopes to receive approval tooffer and integrate the test into its product offerings sometime next year.

Dr. Doron Behar spoke of a“Copernican”effort to reassess the human mitochondrial tree from its root.Currently, we used the rCRS, a randomly developed reference sequence. Thispresents a host of long term problems. What is proposed is switching to aReconstructed Sapiens Reference Sequence (RSRS) based on a human mtDNAphylogeny root. To facilitate data transition, the website www.mtdnacommunity.org was established and is committedto the support of the “Copernican”reassessment of the human mtDNA phylogeny andto the establishment of computational tools meant to facilitate phylogeneticanalysis and comparison of complete mtDNA sequences. The website allows an easytransition from an rCRS toan RSRS based nomenclature, automatically labelshaplogroups, performs a phylogeny based quality check, identifies privatesubstitutions, and compares new sequences with previously stored mitogenomes tosuggest the labeling of additional haplogroups.

Dr. Michael Hammer, withThomas Krahnand and Bonnie Schrack, spoke of very recently discoveredindividual(s) who have aY-DNA lineage that predates any currently known lineage, movingthe TMRCA for Y-DNA Adam from 60 –120 kya to 140 – 237 kya. This is older than theoldest known fossil of modernhumans, introducing the possibility of archaic DNA introgression.

Because there have been somany Y-DNAmarkers found in the past year, the current Y-DNA haplogroup nomenclature will be goingaway. For example, instead of R1B1A2, only your endpoint marker will be used –M269.

Elliot Greenspan, the FTDNA ITdirector, spoke of system changes for next year.  They include: displayingmicro alleles (partials)and palindromes, a revamped MyFTDNA webpage, FamilyTreeviewer which will show your whole GEDCOM, not just your direct line, upgradedpopulation finder databases, changes to the FamilyFinder chromosome browser andfiltering options, chromosome painting, and phasing.  

Judy Russell, JD, theLegalGenealogist, spoke of regulatory concerns including informed consent,privacy rights, access to data, and truth in advertising.

Dr. Tyrone Powers showed howto use the Irish, Scottish,Welsh and English ‘Origenes’ websites to use thesurnames of the people with whom one shares a common male ancestor as revealedby the Y-DNA test to pinpoint where precisely one’sdirect male ancestor lived when he first picked his surname many yearsago.  Surnames can still be found concentrated in the areas where theyfirst arose, so if you review where the surnames are plotted, you can determinea genetic homeland.



 On November 5th & 6th, 2011, I attended the Family Tree DNA 7thInternational Conference onGenetic Genealogy in Houston. The conference is limited to group administrators, whopay the conference fee and pay their own way to getthere. This was my 4thtrip to the conference.

I found presentations byMichael Hammer and David Pike to be the most interesting to me.

Michael Hammer,Phd, spoke about how in just the past year the finding ofNeanderthalDNA(1-4%) in non-Aftrican humans, and archaic Denisovan DNA in central Asians(upto 8% inMelanesians) is causing anthropogists to revise the evolutionary chart from astrict replacement theory to one of inter-breeding, evolutionary changes andeventually replacement.

For those of you who havetaken the FamilyFinder test, David Pike spoke about tools he has developed forphasing autosomal DNA.  Phasing is the process of determining which half of eachbase pair tested came from which parent. FTDNA is evaluating autosomal DNA analysis tools to be provided in thefuture. Look for David Pike’s Tools at  www.isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_tools

Available utilities forprocessing unzipped autosomal files from Family Tree DNA and/or 23andMe:

·        Search for Runs of Homozygosity (ROHs)

·        Search for Heterozygous Sequences

·        Search for Shared DNAStrands in TwoRaw Data Files

·        Inspect a Shared DNA Strand in TwoRaw Data Files

·        Inspect Shared DNA Strands in a Trio of Raw DataFiles

·        Search for DiscordantSNPs in Parent-ChildRaw Data Files

·        Search for DiscordantSNPs when givendata for child and both parents

·        Search for Differently Reported SNPs

·        Phase a Child whengiven data forchild and both parents

·        Phase Siblings withData from OneParent

·        Phase Siblings with Datafrom BothParents

For a deep example ofautosomal DNA phasing, see Phasing theChromosomes of a FamilyGroup When One Parent is Missing by Whit Athey, Journal of Genetic Genealogy, Vol 6 Num 1,Fall 2010.

Other presentations:

FTDNA announced Archives.comas a strategic partner. Archives.com offers the major databases available atAncestry at a much reduced price.
Bruce Walsh, PhD, gave a presentation that reviewed genetic testing basics. Heemphasized that with FamilyFinder autosomal testing, we should be concentratingon matches where the largest matching block is at least 10 cM. Matches belowthat size may be false positives identical by state (IBS) rather thanIdenticalby descent (IBD). Here again are the average block sizes for eachgeneration:
Gen 1         44.06 cM
Gen 2         19.15 cM
Gen 3         12.30 cM
Gen 4          9.07 cM
Gen 5          7.19 cM
Gen 6          5.95 cM
Gen 7          5.08 cM

Dr. Spencer Wells, NationalGeographic Explorer-in-Residence and Genographic Project Director said thatphase 1 of the project is winding down. Expect several important papers to bereleased in the coming months. He also said that they still have not had muchsuccess getting DNA samples from Native American tribes in the US.

Thomas Krahn,Phd spoke aboutadditional SNPs they have found on the Y chromosome.

Stephen Morse, Phdwalked us through his One-Step Webpages at WWW.STEVEMORSE.ORGOn his website he has built powerful searches immigration and census recordsplus much much more.

Elliott Greenspan, directorof Information Technology at FTDNA,announced there will be a new release ofyour MyFTDNA webpages made available in the near future. It will have newsection landing pages, profile pages, advance matching (powersearch), and aninteractive tour. FTDNA is processing 2.33 petabytes of data. There are1,125,899,906,842,624bytes in 1 petabyte.

PeterHrechdakian spoke about the Armenian DNA project,and the surprizing haplogroup diversity of Armenians. During the Armeniangenocide, an estimated 1.5 million of 2 million Armenians were killed.

PerBiggins, administrator of the Colla DNA projectspoke of the many families related to the three powerful Colla brothers wholived in 4th century Ireland.

JessicaRoberts, JD, spoke about the attempts to use of genetic testing to proverelation in immigration cases.

RichardHill spoke of his personal story as an adoptee in using genetic testing to findhis birth parents. He has a website, www.dna-testing-adviser.com whichdescribes the basics of DNA testingwith additional advice for adoptees. 


Anatomicallymodern humans interbred with more archaic hominin forms even before theymigrated out of , a UA-led team of researchers has found.

It is now widely acceptedthat anatomically modern humans of the species Homosapiens originated in and eventuallyspread throughout the world. Ancient DNA recovered from fossil Neanderthalbones suggests they interbred with more archaic hominin forms once they hadleft their evolutionary cradle for the cooler climates of Eurasia, but whetherthey exchanged genetic material with other, now extinct archaichomininvarieties in remained unclear.

In a paper published in theProceedings of the National Academyof Sciences, or PNAS, ateam led by MichaelHammer, an associate professor and research scientist withthe UA's ArizonaResearch Labs, provides evidence that anatomically modern humans were not so uniquethat they remained separate.

"We found evidence forhybridization between modern humans and archaic forms in Africa. It looks like our lineage hasalways exchanged genes with their more morphologically divergedneighbors," said Hammer, who also holds appointments in the UA'sdepartment of ecology and evolutionary biology, the school of anthropology,the  BIO5 Institute and the Arizona CancerInstitute.

The team reports thatcontemporary African populations contain a small proportion of geneticmaterial broughtin by an archaic population that split from the ancestors of anatomicallymodern humans about 700,000 years ago.

Hammer added that recentadvances in molecular biology have made it possible to extract DNA from fossils tens of thousands ofyears old and compare it to that of modern counterparts.

However, "We don't havefossil DNA from to compare with ours," hesaid. "Neanderthals lived in colder climates, but the climate in moretropical areas make it very toughfor DNA to survive that long, so recoveringusable samples from fossil specimens is extremely difficult if notimpossible."

"Our work is differentfrom the research that led to the breakthroughs in Neanderthal genetics,"he explained. "We couldn'tlook directly for ancient DNA that is 40,000 years old and make adirect comparison."

To get past this hindrance,Hammer's team followed a computational and statistical approach.

"Instead, we looked at DNA from modern humans belonging toAfrican populations and searched for unusual regions in the genome."

Because nobody knows the DNA sequences of those now extinctarchaic forms, Hammer's team first had to figure out what features of modern DNA might represent fragments that werebrought in from archaic forms.

"What we do know isthat the sequences of those forms, even the Neanderthals, are not thatdifferent from modern humans," he said."They have certaincharacteristics that make them different from modern DNA."

The researchers usedsimulations to predict what ancient DNA sequences would look like had theysurvived within the DNA of our own cells.

"You could say wesimulated interbreeding and exchange of genetic material insilico," Hammersaid. "We can simulate a model of hybridization between anatomicallymodern humans and some archaic form. In that sense, we simulate history sothat we can see what we would expect the patternto look like if it didoccur."

According to Hammer, thefirst signs of anatomically modern features appeared about 200,000 years ago.Non-modern varieties of Homo are thought to have emerged about 300,000 yearsearlier and have survived until asrecently as 30,000 years ago or even later.

First, the team sequencedvast regions of human genomes from samples taken from six different populationsliving in today and tried to matchup their sequences with what they expectedthose sequences to look like in archaic forms. The researchers focused onnon-coding regions of the genome,stretches of DNA that do not contain genes,whichserve as the blueprints for proteins.

"Then we asked ourselveswhat does the general pattern of variation look like in the DNA that we sequenced in those Africanpopulations,and we started to look at regions that looked unusual," Hammersaid."We discovered three different genetic regions fit the criteria forbeing archaic DNA still present in the genomes of sub-Saharan Africans.Interestingly,this signature was strongest in populations from central ."

The scientists appliedseveral criteria to tag a DNA sequence as archaic. For example, if a DNA sequence differed radically from theones found  in a modern population, it was likely to be ancient in origin.Another telltale sign is how far it extends  along a chromosome. If anunusual piece is found to stretch a long portion of a chromosome, it is an indicationof being brought into the population relatively recently.

"We are talking aboutsomething that happened between 20,000and 60,000 years ago – not that long agoin the scheme of things," Hammer said. "If interbreeding occurs, it'sgoing to bring in a whole chromosome,and over time, recombination events willchop the chromosome down to smaller  pieces. And those pieces will now befound as short, unusual fragments. By looking at how longthey are we can get anestimate of how far back the interbreeding event happened."

Hammer said that even thoughthe archaic DNA sequences account for only two or three percent of what isfound in modern humans, that doesn't mean the interbreeding wasn't moreextensive.

"It could be that thisrepresents what's left of a more extensive archaic genetic content today. Manyof the sequences we looked for would be expected to be lost overtime. Unlessthey provide a distinct evolutionary advantage, there is nothing keeping themin the population and they drift out."

In a next step, Hammer'steam wants to look for ancient DNA regions that conferred some selective advantage to theanatomically modern humans once they acquired them.

"We think there wereprobably thousands of interbreeding events," Hammer said."It happenedrelatively extensively and regularly."

"Anatomically modernhumans were not so unique that they remained separate," headded."They have always exchanged genes with their more morphologicallydiverged neighbors. This is quite common in nature,and it turns out we're notso unusual after all."

The paper, Genetic Evidencefor Archaic Admixture in Africa, was co-authored by August Woerner from theUA's ARL Division of Biotechnology, FernandoMendez from the UA's department of ecology and evolutionary biology, JosephWatkins from the  UA's Mathematics Department and Jeffrey Wall from theInstitute for Human Genetics at the University of California San Francisco.


As of , DNA Heritage has ceased its operations. DNA Heritage is transferring theirexisting customers' results to Family Tree DNA. 

Y-DNA Conversion customers may choose abasic Y-DNA Conversion of DNA Heritage results that  will allow them toview their results in a new account and join group projects. This is the Y-DNA Conversion. The Y-DNA Conversion is FREE. Database matching is at the Y-DNA25 level and haplogroup predictiondoes not include SNP Assurance.

After customers completethe Y-DNA Conversion, they may order upgrades at adiscounted price.



We are excited toannounce the launch of our new Y-DNA111 test!

This test includes a panelof 111 Y chromosome Short Tandem Repeat (STR) markers.* With 44 additionalmarkers, Y-DNA111 is the highest resolution Y-DNA test offered by any company in theworld.

The Y-DNA111 test is recommended for customerswho already have close matches at the 67 marker level and are looking totighten the calculation for the time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (tMRCA).**Due to the specialized nature of this test and in order to evaluate thepotential benefit of this type of upgrade, we ask that customers with Y-DNA12, 25, or 37 results upgrade to 67markers first before considering the 111 marker test.

With that in mind, this newtest is now available as an upgrade for customers with existing Y-DNA67 results and also as a standalonetest for individuals looking to prove a close relationship on the directpaternal line:

Y Refine 67 to111(upgrade)      $129

YDNA111                               $339

FTDNA will be retestingeveryone who has purchased the Family Finder product with the Illiumina OmniExpress chip. This new platform will allow FTDNA better opportunities forupgrades in the future.

October 30 & 31, 2010, I attended the Family Tree
DNA 6th InternationalConference onGenetic Genealogy in Houston. The conference is limited to group administrators, whopaid their own way to get there. The conference also marked the 10thanniversary of Family Tree DNA as a company.

While topic presenters Michael Hammer, Doron Behar, and Thomas Krahn did speakto traditional Y-
DNA and mtDNA topics (which I will not address here), the realexcitement of the conference was the new autosomal DNA testing product FamilyFinder, andthe future promise of full genome testing.

Bruce Walsh, PhD, gave a presentation on the science behind autosomaltesting.The autosomal signal is rapidly lost for each succeeding generation. Iftwo individuals share a common ancestor k generations back, then the chancethey share the same allele from that ancestor is (1/2)
For k = 1, this is 50%
For k = 2, this is 12.5%
For k = 3, this is 3.1%
For k = 4, this is 0.78%
For k = 5, this is 0.19%
For k = 6, this is 0.05%
For k = 7, this is 0.01%
Therefore, autosomal testing will only confidently capture relationships up tothe 3rd generation. Relationships in the 4th – 20th generation may also becaptured, but may be beyond the period from which the paper trail may be foundto explain the relationship, and no prediction can be made as to whereintherange the relationship occurred.
The cutoff for the average size of a block of shared
DNA for 3 generations is 10cM. Here arethe average block sizes for each generation:
Gen 1         44.06 cM
Gen 2         19.15 cM
Gen 3         12.30 cM
Gen 4          9.07 cM
Gen 5          7.19 cM
Gen 6          5.95 cM
Gen 7          5.08 cM
The current Affymetrix chip FTDNA uses for autosomal testing tests for500,000SNPs. Chips with the ability to testing 2 million SNPs may beavailablein 2 –3 years.
Bennett Greenspan, founder of FTDNA, shared his own results fromFamilyFinder.Full genome testing is available now for about $50,000 from othervendors.

The 1000 Genomes Project is the first project to sequence the genomes of alarge number of people, to provide a comprehensive resource on human geneticvariation. Data from the 1000 Genomes Project will be made available quickly tothe worldwide scientific community through freely accessible public databases.

The Archon X Prize for Genomics, announced in 2006, is a $10 million prize isto be awarded to the first team that can build a device and use it to sequence100 human genomes within 10 days or less, with an accuracy of no more than oneerror in every 100,000 bases sequenced, with sequences accurately covering atleast 98% of the genome, and at a recurring cost of no more than $10,000 (US)per genome.

Charmaine Royal, PhD, spoke about the increasing public interestindirect-to-consumer (
DTC) genetic ancestry testing which has been accompanied by growingconcern about issues ranging from the personal and societal implications of thetesting to the scientific validity of ancestry inference. She was lead authorof the following paper: "Genetic Ancestry Testing Challenges Identified byAmerican Society of Human Genetics Task Force.", American Society of HumanGenetics, .

Matt Kaplan & Taylor Edwards presented the following findings from thisreport: Because the science of ancestry determination has limitations, greaterefforts are needed on the part of both industry and academia to make the limitationsof ancestry estimation clearer to consumers, the scientific community, and thepublic at large. In turn, the public has the responsibility to avail themselvesof information regarding ancestry testing andstrive tobetter understand theimplications and limitations of theseassessments.Additional research isrequired to further understand the extent towhich the accuracy of geneticancestry estimation is influenced by the individuals represented in existingdatabases, geographical patterns of human diversity, marker selection andstatistical methods. The complex consequences of ancestry estimation forpeople, families, and populations need to be assessed and guidelines should bedeveloped to facilitate explanation and/or counseling about ancestry estimationin research,
DTC and health care settings. Scientists inferring genetic ancestryshould consult or collaborate with scholars who have  expertise in thehistorical, sociopolitical and culturalcontexts needed to  inform theprocesses and outcomes of their research and commercial efforts. Mechanisms forgreater accountability of the DTC ancestry testing industry  should be explored.

Katherine Borges, president of the International Society of GeneticGenealogists(ISOGG), spoke about the mission of ISOGG which is to advocate forand educate about the use of genetics as a tool for genealogical research, andpromote a supportive network for genetic genealogists. Membership is free. Formore information about this organization go to their website:

May 7, 2010

Neanderthals and Humans share DNA On page 710 of this week's issue of Science,an international team of researchers presents their first detailed analysis ofthe draft sequence of the Neandertal genome, which now includes more than 3billion nucleotides collected from the bones of three female Neandertals wholived in Croatia more than 38,000 years ago. By comparing this compositeNeandertal genome with the complete genomes of five living humans fromdifferent parts ofthe world, the researchers found that both Europeans andAsians share 1% to 4% of their nuclear DNA with Neandertals. But Africans donot. This suggests that early modern humans interbred with Neandertals aftermoderns left , but before they spread into Asia and Europe. In a separate paper (p. 723), theteam describes and successfully tests a new method for filling in gaps in therough draft of the genome. Ann Gibbons Science : Vol. 328. no. 5979, pp. 680 -684

April 20, 2010

FTDNA Announces FamilyFinder While the Y-DNA matches men with a specific paternal line, and the mtDNA findspotential relatives only along the maternal line, Family Finder can look forclose relationships along all ancestral lines.You may now match to male andfemale cousins from any of your family lines within about five generations. Thescience uses linked blocks of DNA across the 22 autosomal chromosomes and matches thembetween two people. Our bioinformatics team has worked extensively to developthe calculations to determine the closeness of the relationship. Thepossibilities to find matches abound: Aunts & Uncles, Parents andGrandparents Half siblings and1st cousins 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins Possibly5th cousins. Although that will require some digging! When you take the FamilyFinder test, your results are compared against our Family Finder database. Youwill be able to: sort your matches by degree of relationship view their namesand e-mail address for immediate communication download your raw data FamilyFinder test is priced at $289, and can be ordered from the menu on the leftside of the personal page.

Who Do You Think You Are? begins at 8/7c on NBC. Share a heartwarmingjourney through family history with Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, LisaKudrow, Matthew Broderick,Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee as theydiscover the stories oftheir ancestors. Who Do You Think You Are? will alsohelp people everywhere better understand how to discover their own family stories.

The new PBS series
Faces of with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieresnationally Wednesdays, February 10 - from on PBS. What made? What makes us?These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series Faces of Americawith Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Building on the success of his  series AfricanAmerican Lives (called by the New York Times "the most exciting andstirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a longtime,") and African American Lives 2, Harvard scholar Henry LouisGates, Jr. again turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explorethe family histories of 12 renowned Americans. The compelling family stories of12 celebrities, including poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedianStephen Colbert, writer Junot Diaz, writer Louise Erdrich,writer MalcolmGladwell, actress Eva Longoria, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Dr.Mehmet Oz, former monarch of Jordan Queen Noor, actress Meryl Streep andOlympic gold medalist and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, will demonstrate therichness of family history. 

Watch The Human Family Tree on National Geographic Channel Sunday,August 30th /pt . On a single day on a single street, with the
DNA of just a couple of hundred randompeople, National Geographic Channel sets out to trace the ancestral footstepsof all humanity. Narrated by Kevin Bacon, The Human Family Tree travels to oneof the most diverse corners of the world --Queens, N.Y. -- to demonstrate howwe all  share common ancestors who embarked on very different journeys.Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our ancientorigin back to the cradle of humanity . What did our collective journey looklike, and where did it take your specific ancestors? At what point in our pastdid we first cross paths with the supposed strangers living in ourneighborhood? Now, in The Human Family Tree, the people of this quintessentialAmerican melting pot find out that their connections go much deeper than acommon ZIP code.

March 14 & 15, 2009, I attended the Family Tree
DNA 5th International Conference onGenetic Genealogy for Group Administrators in Houston. The conference was limited to about200 group administrators, who paid their own way to get there. The conferencehad been rescheduled from September 2008 because of hurricane Ike.

Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld of FTDNA recently traveledto participate in the 2009 Who Do You Think You Are? conference. Who DoYou Think You Are? is a British genealogy documentary series that has aired onthe
BBC since 2004. In each episode, acelebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree. Bennett and Maxannounced they will be aggressively going after the U.K. DNA testing market. That would be greatif we can start getting some more matches from across the pond. Also, there maybe an American version of the show that will start airing at a date to bedeterminedon NBC. Check you local listings.

Dr. Spencer Wells, National Geographic Explorer-in-ResidenceandGenographicProject Director gave a quick review of the Genographic Project.He expects they will actually end
DNA sampling of indigenous peoples in2010, as the project reaches its conclusion. Dr. Wells felt that climate changewas the main determination for the ancient migration out of Africa. At times in the past, the Saharanregion of has had enough moisture to support humans and support the migrationout of . Be on the lookout in August, 2009 for a major ‘tentpole’ presentationspecial on the National Geographic channel by Dr. Wells.

Ricki Wells spoke on the impact of the Genetic Information NondiscriminationAct passed in May 2008. This doesn’t impact FTDNA per se, as Y chromosometesting does not have medical implications, but there are a number of productson the market such as 23andMe, Navigenics, and deCODEme that will tell you ifyou carry the markers for certain medical conditions.

Katherine Hope Borges, director of the ISOGG – International Society of GeneticGenealogy said that this should concern us, as legislators are under increasingpressure to regulate the direct-to-consumer genetic testing market which maylimit our freedom to obtain
DNA for genealogy purposes in the future.

FTDNA will be changing the way it counts short tandem repeats (STRs) in threecases. Your current value for
DYS441 will increase by +1, DYS442 will increase by +5, andY-GATA-H4 will increase by +1. The reason for this change is the application ofstandards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) whichdiffer from when the markers were first discovered and published. This willreduce some of the differences in existence between FTDNA and other testingcompanies. No date has been set for when this will happen. If you’ve copiedyour test results elsewhere please note to make the change when it happens.
Dr. Michael Hammer of the presented the latest phylogenic tree of Y-chromosomehaplogroups.An ever larger number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) arebeing discovered and placed on the tree, allowing deeper subclade analysis ofthe haplogroups.

FTDNA lowered Group discount price for Y-
DNA37 - 37 marker test from $189to$149,and the Y-DNA67 - 67 marker test from $269 to$248.

2008 Y-Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree released. FTDNA may haveupdatedyourhaplogroup with current standard nomenclature.

GENOGRAPHIC NEWS: EARLY HUMANPOPULATIONS EVOLVED SEPARATELY FOR 100,000 YEARS() —A team of Genographicresearchers and their collaborators have published the most extensive survey todate of African mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA). Over 600 complete mtDNA genomes from indigenouspopulations across the continent were analyzed by the scientists, led by DoronBehar, Genographic Associate Researcher, based at , , and Saharon Rosset of and. Analyses of the extensive data presented in this study provide surprisinginsights into the early demographic history of human populations before theymoved out of , illustrating that these early human populations were smalland isolated from each other for many tens of thousands of years. MtDNA,inherited down the maternal line, was used to discover the age of the famous'mitochondrial Eve' in 1987. This work has since been extended to showunequivocally that the most recent common female ancestor of everyone alivetoday was an African woman who lived in the past 200,000 years. Paleontologyprovides corroborating evidence that our species originated on this continentapproximately 200,000 years ago. The migrations after 60,000 years ago that ledmodern humans on their epic journeys to populate the world have been theprimary focus of anthropological genetic research, butrelatively little isknown about the demographic history of our species over the previous140,000years in . The current study returns the focus to and in doing sorefines our understanding of early modern Homo sapiens history. Doron Behar,, ,said: "We see strong evidence of ancient population splits beginning asearly as 150,000 years ago, probably giving rise to separate populations localizedto Eastern and . It was only around 40,000 years ago that they became part of asingle pan-African population, reunited after as much as 100,000 yearsapart." Recent paleo climatological data suggests that went through aseries of massive droughts between 135,000-90,000 years ago. It is possiblethat this climatological shift contributed to the population splits. What issurprising is  the length of time the populations were separate - as muchas half of our entire history as a species. Saharon Rosset, and , said:"The analysis of such a massive dataset presents statistical andcomputational challenges as well as great opportunities for discovery of theevents that shaped our history and genetic landscape. For example, we cansee evidence of a population expansion period starting around70,000 years ago,perhaps leading to the out of dispersal shortly afterward." The timing ofthese events coincides with the onset ofthe Late Stone Age in , a change inmaterial culture that many archaeologists believe heralds the beginning offully modern human behavior,including abstract thought and complex spokenlanguage. Previous studies have shown that while human populations had beenquite small prior to the Late Stone Age, perhaps numbering fewer than 2,000around 70,000 years ago, the expansion after this time led to the occupation ofmany previously uninhabited areas,including the world beyond Africa. Dr.Spencer Wells, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Director of theGenographic Project, said: “This new study released todayillustrates theextraordinary power of genetics to reveal insights into some ofthe key eventsin our species' history. Tiny bands ofearly humans, forced apartby harshenvironmental conditions, coming back fromthe brink to reunite andpopulate theworld. Truly an epic drama, written inour DNA.” Paleontologist Meave Leakey,Genographic Advisory Board member,National Geographic Explorer in Residence andResearch Professor, Stony BrookUniversity, added: "Who would have thoughtthat as recently as 70,000 years ago, extremes of climate had  reduced ourpopulation to such small numbers that we were on the very edge ofextinction." To see the entire article go to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic

November 6, 2007 A couple of important announcements: First, Pat Griffith is retiring fromactive stewardship of the Davis/Davies/David surname project.
Pat has been the Project Group Administrator since its inception 5 years ago.Itwill be hard to replace her experience, leadership and dedication. I hope youwill join me in thanking Pat for all she has done. I will be taking her place.Pat will stay on temporarily as co-administrator until I find a backup for whenI am on vacation or ill. If you are interested, please let me know.Secondly,FTDNA has given the project Group Administrators the capability tooffer member subgrouping by color. If you are interested in this, please sendme an e-mail. Include in your e-mail which kit numbers you would like to bepart of your subgroup.

On October 20th and 21st 2007, I attended FTDNA's 4th conference on GeneticGenealogy in Houston. Among the topics presented were:
Roberta Estes gave a presentation on the lost colony of . One hundred fifteensettlers were left on in 1587 while the ship returned to for supplies. In 1590,when the ship returned, the settlement was gone. Roberta's project is to solvethe mystery of the missing colony. She will be looking for
DNA traces of the Europeans among theNative Americans of the area. David Soria, a research fellow with the NationalGeographic Society's Genographic Project, showed some slides from a recent tripto gather DNA from indigenous people in .
John Butler, from the
DNA measurements group of the National Institute of Standards andTechnology (NIST), said that standards exist for only a handful of the markersthat FTDNA offers. So when the government catches up on issuing standards, beaware that FTDNA may be making some adjustments to existing counts. Also take notethat competing testing labs may not be using the same standard, so please takethis into account when comparing results from tests outside FTDNA.