Why DNA testing?Extensive research has been done on the Nickens family throughout much of the United States. Although there are certainly other records that may be uncovered in some locations concerning this family, in many areas records have probably revealed all that is going to be revealed. But there are still several unanswered questions about family relationships in those areas, especially when we get to pre-1800. In combination with what is known from traditional genealogical research, DNA testing has the potential to answer some of those questions, clarifying relationships of Nickens before 1800. How does it work?While each son gets DNA from both mother and father, each son also inherits an exact copy of part of his father’s DNA, the Y-chromosome. This copy is passed down unchanged except for when occasional mutations, or minor changes in the copy occurs, usually only in one son, as it is passed on. The subsequent sons and grandsons of the individual who received the mutation than have a slightly different DNA pattern than descendants of other sons. DNA analysis has now reached the point where it is possible to read those patterns (known as markers) for each individual male. By comparing the patterns among people with the same surname, family lines can be distinguished. Mutations are rare, so this can be a valuable tool to identify different family lines. Once there are a certain number of tests from different lines, the DNA results can place present individuals within those different family lines.