Volume 5, Issue 2
August 08, 2006

The World's Only Newsletter Dedicated to Genetic Genealogy

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In This Issue

Editor's Corner

Welcome to this issue of Facts & Genes.

DNA testing is the most powerful tool to ever become available to genealogists. For those who are new to DNA testing for family history, it can seem overwhelming and technical. Genetic Genealogy is not any more complicated than learning about the various records available that may contain information about your ancestors.

The easiest way to learn is to take a DNA test. If you want information about your direct female line, which is your mother, her mother, and so forth back in time, you would order an mtDNA test. If you want more information about your direct male line, you must be male, or find a male in your family tree such as your brother or father to participate. For the male, the direct male line would be his father, his father's father, and on up the tree. The male would order a Y DNA test.

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. To change your email address, go to the link below.


This link is also provided at the end of each newsletter.

Send your comments, suggestions, tips, and feedback to: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com. We hope you enjoy this issue.

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Past Issues
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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announces a 67 Marker Y DNA Test

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce the availability of 67 Markers for Y DNA testing. These additional markers set a new industry standard of product offerings for Genetic Genealogy.

We recently announced the 59 marker Y DNA test, and the lab was able to add an additional 8 markers, to expand the total markers available to 67.

These additional 30 markers beyond 37 markers will provide more information. This information may be helpful in a variety of situations, including determining the time to the common ancestor, identifying branches of a family tree, or resolving matches with other surnames.

These additional markers were carefully chosen to provide the optimum mix of marker stability and mutation.

All orders for 59 markers have been automatically changed to the 67 marker test, at no additional charge.

A 12 Marker test can be upgraded to either 25 or 37 or 67 Markers. A 25 Marker test can be upgraded to 37 Markers or 67 Markers. A 37 Marker test can be upgraded to 67 Markers. Since testing at Family Tree DNA includes 25 years of sample storage at no additional charge, upgrade orders do not require that a new test kit is sent. The sample storage is especially beneficial for your older relatives, so that they can participate in future advances in the field of Genetic Genealogy.

These new 30 markers for our Y DNA test will provide additional resolution and especially benefit individuals within our popular Surname Projects. The additional markers may indicate the branches of family trees, and will reduce the time frame of the common ancestor.

For those who are a 12/12 or 25/25 or 37/37 match with another surname, an upgrade to 67 markers is recommended before pursuing the match.

Pricing for the 67 Marker test and the upgrades to 67 markers is available at our web site. If you belong to a Surname Project, or have had a test done at Family Tree DNA, log into your Personal Page and click order tests to see the pricing.

For those who have not had a test at Family Tree DNA, to order a 67 Marker Y DNA test, either order through a Surname Project for Project Pricing or click on the link below:


Family Tree DNA has set a new industry landmark for Genetic Genealogy with the launching of the 67 Marker Y DNA test.

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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announces 3rd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy

3rd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy
for Family Tree DNA Group Administrators
Houston, TX
November 3-4, 2006

This year's International Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Group Administrators will be held in Houston, Texas.

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 Conference on Genetic Genealogy for Group Administrators is open to genealogists from all over the world who currently manage Surname Projects at Family Tree DNA and want to learn more about DNA testing for Genealogy and Anthropology.

If you are a Surname 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 Surname Project, now is the time to start your project so that you can attend the conference.

Online registration and the conference program are now available. Click on the link below to register or to learn more. Seating is limited, so be sure to register soon.


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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announces Agreement to Acquire DNA-FingerPrint of Germany

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce the signing of a Letter of Agreement with DNA-FingerPrint of Germany, to acquire and merge DNA-FingerPrint with Family Tree DNA.

This agreement will result in the establishment of a state of the art lab in Houston, adjacent to Family Tree DNA headquarters, as well as collaborative efforts to develop new tests to benefit the genetic genealogy community.

Thomas Krahn, the principal of DNA-Fingerprint will be at Family Tree DNA’s Houston’s headquarters in early August 2006. There he will assist in organizing the state-of-the-art laboratory, with the aim of pursuing research and development of new tests, as well as processing the tests that DNA-Fingerprint currently offers. All DNA-Fingerprint tests will be available to Family Tree DNA customers once the lab is fully operational, which is scheduled for September 15, 2006.

“Following our pioneering of the use of DNA for genealogy six years ago, this will be looked upon as a new milestone for the entire genealogical community, and we are very happy to have Thomas Krahn join the Family Tree DNA team” said Bennett Greenspan, Family Tree DNA’s President and Founder. “In addition to that, DNAFingerprint’s knowledge of the German market will open new opportunities for surname project administrators to access participants in the German speaking countries in Europe.”

Thomas Krahn, the scientific head of DNA-Fingerprint added: “We see a big future for new developments in DNA analysis to answer genealogical questions. Our new technologies will make it possible to resolve previously inconclusive genealogies even outside of the direct male or female lines. All the new technologies, like linked X-STR testing or sequencing of larger chromosomal regions will only make sense if they are accessible to a huge international customer base, which Family Tree DNA already has.”

The new laboratory in Houston will allow multi-parallel processing with modern equipment including, among others, new ABI 3730 sequencer, a state of the art robot platform and customer DNA library to preserve samples in an automated storage freezer system.

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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 73,000 records in our database of Y-DNA results. We also have over 3,300 Surname Projects, which include over 52,000 surnames. Our mtDNA database has over 30,000 results.

2. Y DNA Results Chart with Mutation Colorization

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce a new second version of the Y DNA chart of results for Group Administrators. This chart is available when the sub-grouping feature is used. For each sub-group, this new feature analyzes the results, and colors the mutations from the modal value for a marker, showing with shading the degree of variation from the modal, either up or down. (The modal value is the most frequent value for a marker.)

To utilize this new feature, implement sub-groups for your project. To implement sub-groups, on your Group Administrator Page, click on the menu selection "Member Subgrouping".

The new mutation colorization chart does not fix the columns, so the DYS numbers, kit numbers, and names are not constantly visible. Therefore, if you need these columns fixed, use the Classic chart of Y DNA results.

The colorization system was inspired by Jason Clary who devised a scheme to make observations of the differences between samples easy and efficient. He graciously supplied Family Tree DNA his colorization code which was modified in house to support our sub grouping system.

Family Tree DNA thanks Jason for the time he spent pioneering this system for the benefit of our group administrators and project members.

To utilize the new mutation colorization Y DNA chart:

* You must use the Family Tree DNA sub-grouping system to turn on Colorization.

Instructions for using the sub-grouping system can be found here:

* Individuals cannot be in more than one sub-group.

* The system will automatically define and color the background of markers that appear as mutations from the modal, or most common, set of marker values for that sub-group.

* A blue background means that the marker value is lower (-) than the modal while a red background means the value is higher (+) than the modal.

* The darker the color, the greater the genetic distance between an individual and the modal (most common) marker value for the group.

* Hold your mouse over a colorized marker to display the distance from the modal value.

* There is a sigma symbol above each of your subgroups. The calculated the sub-groups minimum, mode, median, mean and maximum value for each sub-group. Click on the link for each to see a definition of these terms.

* Members who are not in a sub-group will appear at the bottom of the page display and will not be colored.

* NULL marker values (primarily DYS 439) remain in dark blue & bold font and are not colorized.

3. FTDNATiP - Family Tree DNA Time Predictor

The Family Tree DNA Time Predictor has been enhanced. You can now select the number of generations to be displayed: every generation, 2 generations, or 4 generations. The default is every 4 generations.

The FTDNATiP™ results are based on the mutation rate study presented during the 1st International Conference on Genetic Genealogy, on Oct. 30, 2004. The probabilities take into consideration the mutation rates for each individual marker being compared.

FTDNATiP™ is an extremely powerful tool to help you analyze and evaluate matches. FTDNATiP™ is the world's first program that incorporates specific mutation rates that have been proven to differ across markers, which greatly increases the power and precision of estimates of Time to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA).

The FTDNATiP™ calculations take into account the specific mutation rates of the first 37 markers, and until mutation rates are determined through study for the final 30 markers, the FTDNATiP™ calculator will use an average mutation rate for that last panel.

4. mtDNA Results Tutorial

If you have taken an mtDNA test, be sure to read the new comprehensive mtDNA Tutorial, which should answer all your questions. The Tutorial will also interest those thinking of taking an mtDNA test. Click on the link below:



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:


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:
leahw@familytreeDNA.com for Leah Wark

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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 30 - September 2, 2006
The Federation of Genealogical Societies
and New England Historic Genealogical Society Conference
Boston, Massachusetts
Stop by and visit the Family Tree DNA display.

November 3-4, 2006
3rd International Conference on Genetic Genealogy
Houston, TX
Open to: Family Tree DNA Group Administrators
Click the link below for online registration and the conference program

Educational Articles

Taking A Y DNA Test: What Can You Expect?
Family Chronicle Magazine
March/April 2006 Issue
Available at news stands

The Surnames Meates and Mates and DNA Testing
Genealogical Society of Ireland Journal
Vol 6 No 3
Available from the Society

How a DNA Project Produced Discoveries
Journal of One-Name Studies
Guild of One-Name Studies
London, England
April-June 2006 Issue (Part II)
January-March 2006 Issue (Part I)
Available from the Society

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Educational Resources: Forums

The Family Tree DNA Forums now have over 11,000 postings and are an excellent tool for education and to get your questions answered. If you haven't visited the Forums before, click on the link below:


All the Forums are open to customers and the public, except the Group Administrator Forum.

Be sure to check the FAQ page if you are not familiar with the Forum.


If you place your cursor over a thread title, the beginning of the posting will appear, which can help you decide which postings to click to read.

You can also set up a private Forum for your Surname Project. This is an excellent tool for participants in your project. To set up a private Forum, contact:

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Genetic Genealogy: Certificate of Results

Testing at Family Tree DNA includes a certificate which shows your results. A certificate is provided for every DNA test except for upgrades.

The certificate provided is the documentation of the DNA result, and is suitable for framing.

The chart below shows whether you receive a certificate:

Test Certificate
12 Marker Y DNA Test Yes
25 Marker Y DNA Test Yes
37 Marker Y DNA Test Yes
67 Marker Y DNA Test Yes
25 Marker Y DNA Upgrade Not included-optional
37 Marker Y DNA Upgrade Not included-optional
67 Marker Y DNA Upgrade Not included-optional
Y DNA Haplogroup Test Yes
Y DNA Deep Haplogroup Test Yes

mtDNA Test Yes
mtDNA Plus Test Yes
mtDNA H subclade Test Yes
mtDNA Full Sequence Yes
mtDNA Plus Upgrade Not included-optional

Additional certificates and certificates for upgrades can be ordered for a small charge. To order a certificate, click on "Order Certificates" on your Personal Page.

If you order a 12 Marker test and later upgrade to a 25 Marker test, you only get a certificate for the initial 12 Marker test. To get a certificate for the 25 Marker test, simply click on "order certificates." The same applies if you order an mtDNA test and later upgrade to mtDNA Plus. You only received a certificate for the mtDNA test, and you can order your certificate for the mtDNA Plus test.

You may also want to order certificates and give them to members of your family when the DNA results of the person tested applies to the family members. For example, your father tested, and perhaps you would like certificates for your siblings, since your father's results also apply to them.

All the tests at Family Tree DNA include a certificate except the Y DNA upgrades and mtDNA Plus upgrade.

The easiest way to learn about Genetic Genealogy is to take a DNA test. You can get started today. For a guide to select a test, consult the following article:

Genetic Genealogy: Getting Started

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Genetic Genealogy: Success Story

The Burgess Surname Project is pleased to announce the following success story:

87 members and growing.

The Y DNA result for the family of Achilles Burgess of Wake Co., NC, match those of Thomas Burgess of Elbert Co., GA; the latter may be the same individual as Achilles's son, Thomas. In any case, they definitely have a common male ancestor.

Two samples from the family of William Burgess of Middlesex Co., MA, match two other Burgess lines: William Burgess of Hartford Co., CT, and Ralph Burgess of Cheshire Co., England. This links together three different lines not previously known to be connected. William of Hartford may well be descended from William of Middlesex.

A descendant of Armstead Burgess, son of Keziah of Bedford Co., VA, has matched at 25 markers with multiple samples from a Hale family descended from Nicholas Hale of Lancaster Co., VA, the ancestor of most of the Bedford Co. Hales. Although further research must be done on these lines, this strongly suggests that Armstead's father was a Hale (we know he probably wasn't a Burgess).

An African-American descendant of John Burgess of Henry Co., VA, has matched with a participant from the main line of this family; he's believed to be descended from a servant in the household of one of the existing member's Burgess progenitors.

We simultaneously received results from two descendants of William Burgess Jr. and Jane Pigg of Pittsylvania Co., VA, matching that family with William of Bedford Co. This is the ninth and final branch of the combined families of William of Bedford and William of King George to be linked genetically with this family group.

We're making great strides in linking together previously unconnected Burgess family groups.

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Y DNA: Validating Your Family Tree

An important step in utilizing Y DNA testing for your family tree is to validate the Y DNA result. Validation is accomplished by testing a distant direct line male in the family tree.

When only one person has tested for a family tree, you have not determined the result for the progenitor of the family tree. It is possible that the participant's result represents the progenitor's result or that a mutation could have occurred in the participant's branch of the tree.

The progenitor of the family tree is the most distant identified direct male ancestor for the family tree.

Determining the ancestral result for the family tree is important. The results for different family trees are then compared to determine how closely the trees are related. Using the ancestral result for the comparison eliminates from consideration mutations that occurred since the progenitor of the family tree.

Family trees that span multiple centuries or that have a multitude of branches can benefit from validating the major branches. This step can also identify mistaken connections.

The distance between the two participants determines the point to which the family tree is validated. The common direct male line ancestor between the two participants is the point at which the tree is validated, and the ancestral result is determined for this person.

Example Tree


Grandson 1-1
Great-Grandson 1-1-1
Grandson 1-2
Great-Grandson 1-2-1

Grandson 2-1
Great-Grandson 2-1-1
Grandson 2-2
Great-Grandson 2-2-1

Grandson 3-1
Great-Grandson 3-1-1
Grandson 3-2
Great-Grandson 3-2-1

If you are Great-Grandson 1-2-1, and to validate your tree you test your Uncle, Grandson 1-1, your Most Recent Common Ancestor(MRCA) is Son-1. You are therefore only validating your tree to Son-1, and not to the progenitor. To validate the tree to the progenitor, the second participant should descend from a different son of the progenitor.

In some cases, the progenitor may only have one son, or it has been impossible to identify other sons. In this case, the best validation prospect will only validate the tree to the one son.

The validation step is important to identify the ancestral result for the family tree. On occasion a mutation may be identified. For example, a descendent of Son-1 tests, as does a descendent of Son-3. Their result is a 36/37 match. In this case, the ancestral result cannot yet be determined. If the progenitor had more than 2 sons who have direct line male descendents today, then testing a descendent of the third son will identify the ancestral result. This participant should match one of the participants for the marker with the mutation.

If the progenitor did not have any other sons, or there are no direct male descendents of their other sons living today, it is often possible to determine the ancestral result for the 36/37 match by analyzing the ancestral result for other family trees who are a match or close match to the participants.

For our example, let's assume that on the marker that did not match one descendent had a 29 and the other participant for the family tree had a 30. Was the ancestral result a 29 or a 30?

If the Surname Project has tested multiple family trees for the surname and has ancestral results which match or are a close match, these results can indicate the result for the progenitor of the surname. For example, all the other trees have a 30 for the marker. This "indicates" that the 29 in our example was a result of a mutation in that branch. When using this approach, it is important to have solid documentary evidence, otherwise a mistaken connection wouldn't be identified.

In our example, if another family tree had a 29, and all the other trees had a 30, and in your tree there is a 29 and a 30, there are two possible situations:

- a mistaken connection
- a parallel mutation

Mistaken connections can easily occur when there is insufficient document evidence or multiple persons with the same name in an area.

Parallel mutations are rare, but do occur. A parallel mutation is when the same mutation occurs randomly in two different men. Before concluding that a parallel mutation occurred, it is very important to re-check the documentation as well as to test others to determine the generation in which the mutation occurred.

Validating a family tree and the major branches for a tree that spans multiple centuries or has many branches will often uncover mistaken connections. This is one of the benefits of DNA testing for genealogy.

Mutation resolution is a valuable step that provides further confirmation for the genealogy research. When a mutation is found, additional testing is used to identify the generation where the mutation occurred. One approach is to first cut the time frame in half. Find a direct male who comes off the tree half way between the common ancestor of the two participants where there is a mutation. By testing a male who comes off on a branch half way between the common ancestor and a participant, you are determining if the mutation occurred before or after where this branch connects. This approach narrows down the time span, and can be applied again, until the mutation is resolved by identifying the generation where the mutation occurred.

Validating your family tree and using mutation resolution are important steps to further confirm your genealogy research, to identify any mistaken connections, as well as to determine the ancestral result for the family tree.

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Recruiting Participants: Fund Raising

Family Tree DNA provides an important tool for Surname Projects: the General Fund.

The General Fund is a terrific tool for others to contribute to the cost of testing, so that the Surname Project can sponsor all or a portion of the cost of a DNA test for those who cannot afford to participate. Often tests for key participants are sponsored. Anyone can contribute to the General Fund, which is administered by the Group Administrator. The funds are contributed directly to Family Tree DNA. Upon receipt, these funds are posted to the Surname Project's General Fund.

Donations are made directly to Family Tree DNA for the Surname Project General Fund by credit card (any currency), check (US dollar only), or Pay Pal (to info@familytreeDNA.com, and specify XYZ Surname General Fund).

Using the General Fund feature at FamilyTreeDNA enables you to accept donations in any currency. In addition, using the Fund eliminates any doubt in people's minds about how their donation will be utilized. The General Fund can only be used to purchase tests at Family Tree DNA.

Contributions can be made "in memory of" or "in honor of" a specific person. On the page where you can make a donation, you can enter a person's name.

The Group Administrator has a selection on the Group Administrator Page called General Fund. Clicking on this selection will show all the transactions for the General Fund for the Surname Project. The transactions shown will be funds received by Family Tree DNA for the Surname Project General Fund and fund expenditures.

The General Fund provides an opportunity for Group Administrators to raise sponsorship funds in any currency by the sponsors using the credit card payment feature to handle the currency conversion. In addition, sponsors may feel more comfortable making their sponsorship contribution directly to Family Tree DNA. This feature could increase the sponsorship funds raised.

Group Administrators can also put a link on their web site for Donations to the General Fund if their web site is built by the Web Builder Tool. To display the General Fund link on your web site, go to your Group Administrator Page and click "Family Project Website Setup." Check the box towards the bottom of your Web Builder Page labeled "Display General Fund Donation Link?"

To make a contribution to the General Fund of any Surname Project, click on the link below:


This link can be included in emails to potential sponsors.

Group Administrators want to inform participants and persons interested in the genealogy of the surname about the General Fund. Even small donations can add up to cover the cost of testing a critical participant.

You would also want to periodically solicit donations.

The General Fund is an excellent tool to encourage several members of a family tree to contribute towards testing a participant for their tree. Since multiple email addresses can be entered for a test kit, all those who sponsor the participant can share the DNA experience and the discoveries which will occur.

You can send the link below to encourage donations or place a General Fund Donation Link on your Family Tree DNA web site page.


When composing a letter or email to solicit sponsorship funds, be sure that your approach is low key and that you stress the benefits. Sponsors will also be interested in being able to share the DNA experience.

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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.

Case Study
I've had the 37 marker Y DNA test through a Surname Project for my surname. I don't have any matches with my surname. Is there anything further I can do?

I have a brick wall with my great great grandparents who left Ireland for the USA in the early 1800s. They only said that they were born in Ireland in the various censuses. Their death certificates didn't give parents.


It is only a matter of time before you will have a match. If you want to speed up the process, the first step is to learn more about your surname in Ireland to see if a geographic area is indicated.

One approach is to look at the distribution of the surname in Ireland in the mid-1800's by using a database based on Griffiths Valuation.

Click on the link below, and enter your surname in the search box.


The search results will tell you the number of households with that surname for each county.

Depending on your surname, you could find the majority of the surname in one county, or two heavy concentrations, or perhaps the surname is spread out in low levels in several counties.

Let's assume you find two concentrations of your surname, in distant counties. One approach would be to recruit participants in Ireland today who are living in each of these counties. Perhaps you will find a match to those in one county. This provides a clue as to the county in which you should search parish registers for the marriage of your great grandparents.

You can further refine your search by also searching on your grandmother's surname. Perhaps both these surnames are only found in one county. Then, invite persons in Ireland to participate who reside in that county. Since this is important to your research, you may want to sponsor the test kit.

To find persons and their address in Ireland today, use the online phone book:

After getting a DNA match in Ireland you can prioritize the parish registers to search by extracting the Griffiths Valuation data for both surnames for the identified county or area and then determining which parishes have both surnames present.

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Next Issue

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Facts & Genes. Please feel free to contact the editor with your comments, feedback, and 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: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com

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