Volume 6, Issue 2
April 17, 2007

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.

Our newsletter covers information for everyone, regardless of your level of experience with Genetic Genealogy; whether you are just beginning to learn about this new tool for genealogical research, or have been managing a Surname Project for some time.

We appreciate your feedback about our newsletter. Please note that the email address to contact the Editor has changed to: EditorFG@FamilyTreeDNA.com

You will benefit from belonging to a Surname Project. At Family Tree DNA, you can belong to multiple projects, so in addition to a Surname Project, you can also belong to a Geographic Project and/or a Haplogroup Project. If you belong to multiple projects, you can toggle which project is being searched for the Y-DNA Matches selection on your Personal Page. Just change the selected project to the right of the word Groups in the header below your name.

To search to see if a Surname Project exists for your surname:

To join a project, click the blue Join button on your Personal Page.

At any time, if you have any questions, or need any help, contact our customer support. The following link provides several selections. Using this link, you can direct your question to the appropriate person, which will result in a quicker response.

Please use the link below instead of replying to this newsletter.


Family Tree DNA provides a wide variety of educational resources to help you apply Genetic Genealogy to your family history research. In addition, email and telephone consultation is available. To begin your education, past issues of the newsletter are available at our web site. Click on the link below:


If you change your email address, be sure to change your address for the newsletter. To change your email address, go to your Personal Page. Click Update Contact Information. Change your email address, and click the box to the right of "Facts & Genes Subscription."

Send your comments, suggestions, tips, and feedback to:
Dexter Montgomery
We hope you enjoy this issue.

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If you have fellow genealogists, friends, family members, or participants in a Surname Project who you think would enjoy receiving our monthly newsletter, send them the link below to register for a free subscription:


Past Issues
If you missed any of the past issues, they can be found online at FamilyTreeDNA.com. Click on the link below for the past issues of Facts & Genes:



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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 94,000 records in our database of Y-DNA results. We are also approaching 4,000 Surname Projects, which include over 61,000 surnames. Our mtDNA database has over 46,000 results.

2. You can now subscribe to our newsletter Facts & Genes on your Update Contact Information Page. Simply click the box to the right of the words "Subscribe to Facts & Genes". You can then change your email address on this page, and your newsletter subscription will also be automatically updated.


Starting a Surname Project

If you are thinking of starting a Surname Project, now is the time to get started. Our educational resources, combined with our email and telephone consultation, help you each step of the way. Feeling confused or overwhelmed will quickly pass and be replaced with the excitement of new discoveries.

Anyone with experience with family history research can start a Surname Project. We supply the tools and guidance so your Surname Project is successful.

There are just two steps to take to become a Group Administrator of a Surname Project:

1. Find out if a Surname Project exists for your surname. Click on the link below to search our database of Surname Projects:


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:
Leah Wark

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In the News: The Genomics Center

The new Genomics Research Center at Houston is now fully operational, and all DNA-Fingerprint samples requested to be transferred prior to January 19, 2007, have been transferred to Houston. Prior results from DNA-Fingerprint customers will be displayed on Family Tree DNA web site within the next few weeks.

The Genomics Research Center is processing the Advanced Tests. To order an Advanced Test, on your Personal Page, click "Order Tests" and then click "Advanced Orders."

A wide variety of Advanced Tests are available. Each issue of Facts & Genes will highlight an Advanced Test in the section titled "Genetic Genealogy: Advanced Tests." This month we will highlight CCR5, an autosomal test that may have conveyed a genetic 'benefit' against the plague in Europe 600 years ago.

If you do not have a DNA sample at Houston, the first time you order an Advanced Test a small amount of your sample will be drawn and shipped from the University of Arizona and moved to Houston. There is a nominal fee of $9.50USD for this transfer. This fee is shown on the page where you confirm your order.

Our state of the art laboratory includes an ABI 3730 sequencer and the latest technology and robotics for extraction, liquid handling, and storage to insure fast and accurate operations.

Family Tree DNA's Genomics Research Center in Houston is under the direction of Thomas Krahn.

The Genomics Research Center will pursue research objectives to develop new tests to benefit the Genetic Genealogy community.

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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.

April 26-29, 2007
9th New England Regional and Genealogical Conference
Connecticut Convention Center and Hartford Marriott Downtown
Hartford, Connecticut

May 5-6, 2007
Celebration of Celts
Meadowgreens Golf Club and Resort
Ghent, New York

May 6, 2007
Time: 1:30 pm
Topic: The Role of DNA in Advancing Genealogical Research
Presenter: Bennett Greenspan
Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington Meeting
B'nai Israel, Stearman Auditorium
Rockville, Maryland

May 16-19, 2007
National Genealogical Society (NGS)Annual Conference
Greater Richmond Convention Center and Richmond Marriott Hotel
Richmond, Virginia

June 8-10
Time: 11 am, June 9, 2007
Topic: Using DNA in Your Genealogical Research
Presenter: Bennett Greenspan
Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree
Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center
Burbank, California

June 10, 2007
Time: 3 pm
Topic: Jewish Genealogy and DNA Testing
Presenter: Bennett Greenspan
Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV)
Temple Adat Elohim
Thousand Oaks, California

Educational Articles

Starting a DNA Project,
A Step-by-Step Guide
Family Chronicle Magazine
March/April 2007 Issue
Available at news stands

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Genetic Genealogy: Projects

For those who took a Y-DNA test, and a Surname Project did not exist for your surname at the time, we suggest that you periodically check to see if a Surname Project has been established. Joining this project should increase the benefit you receive from your Y-DNA test.

To find out if a Surname Project exists for your surname, click the blue Join button on your Personal Page, and enter the surname in the search box. If a project is now set up, you can follow the directions to join the Surname Project.

To search for a Surname Project without logging into your Personal Page click on the link below:

For those that took a Y-DNA test and do not belong to a Surname Project, perhaps because one did not exist for your surname when you ordered your test or joined from the Genographic Project, be sure to check every month or so to see if a project has been created. There are many benefits to be gained from joining a Surname Project.

Most Surname Project members set their search criteria to search within the project. Therefore, if you aren't a member of the project, you wouldn't find these matches when you click the Y-DNA Matches selection on your Personal Page. To see these matches, you must join the Surname Project.

Each Surname Project has a Group Administrator who is a volunteer who provides members with assistance in understanding their results, determines how their results fit with the other results for the surname, and provides assistance in determining a direction for further research.

You will benefit from belonging to a Surname Project. At Family Tree DNA, you can belong to multiple projects, so in addition to a Surname Project, you can also belong to a Geographic Project and/or a Haplogroup Project. If you belong to multiple projects, you can toggle which project is being searched for the Y-DNA Matches section of your Personal Page. Just change the project to the right of the word Groups in the header below your name.

Some Y-DNA Projects welcome females who have taken a mtDNA test.

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Y DNA: Marker Selection

From a genealogical perspective, useful markers are those which can change, but which do not change too often.

By selecting a mix of markers that change slowly and therefore are relatively stable, as well as more rapidly-changing markers, Family Tree DNA is providing the best selection of markers for genealogical purposes. Multi-copy markers are a very important component of the marker mix.

On the Group Administrators' Y-DNA Results Page, fast moving markers are shown in red in the heading. These markers are:

DYS 385a, b
DYS 439
DYS 458
DYS 449
DYS 464a, b, c, d
DYS 456
DYS 576
DYS 570
CDYa, b

You will notice on the above list, that several of the fast moving markers are multi-copy markers, which are very valuable, since they change more rapidly.

A multi-copy marker is one where several copies of the marker exist on the Y chromosome. The name of a multi-copy marker includes small letters, such as a or b, following the marker DYS name.

When selecting the markers for our various tests, Family Tree DNA included 1 or 2 multi-copy markers in each panel, corresponding to the four Y-DNA tests available. The 12 marker Y DNA test has 1 multi-copy marker. The upgrade to 25 markers adds 2 multi-copy markers, and the upgrades to 37 markers and then to 67 markers each include 2 more multi-copy markers. Inclusion of these multi-copy markers is important based on both scientific attributes of the marker as well as the genealogical implications.

Test Multi-Copy Markers
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12 Marker 385a, 385b
25 Marker Upgrade 459a, 459b and 464a, 464b, 464c, 464d
37 Marker Upgrade YCA II a, YCA II b and CDY a, CDY b
67 Marker Upgrade 395S1a, 395S1b and 413a, 413b

For markers to have value to genealogical research, they must be stable, but not so stable that they can't differentiate lineage, and also change, but not change so quickly that closely related persons don't match. A well-formed panel includes a range of markers which change more rapidly and markers which change less rapidly.

Multi-copy markers tend to change more rapidly. Markers which change more rapidly are valuable to genealogical applications of DNA testing, to differentiate lines or branches, or identify persons who are not related. Rapidly changing markers are valuable in differentiating unrelated individuals using a small number of markers.

Marker DYS464 is a rapidly changing Y chromosome marker and a multi-copy marker. It most often has four copies, which are labeled: DYS464a, DYS464b, DYS464c, DYS464d. Marker DYS464 is also known to occur more than four times. Additional copies of DYS464 are called: DYS464e, DYS464f, and so forth. When more than four copies of DYS464 are found in a DNA sample, the results for all the copies are provided by Family Tree DNA.

When testing a random sample of 679 males for DYS464, scientists have found that the result 15,15,17,17 occurred in 10.6% of those tested, 15,15,16,17 occurred in 7.5% of the samples, and all the other results occurred less than 5% of the time, with over half these results only occurring once. This illustrates that marker DYS464 is valuable in differentiating unrelated persons.

The results for a multi-copy marker are reported in ascending order. For example, here are some results for DYS464:
11 11 14 16
12 14 15 16

Since the results are reported in ascending order for multi-copy markers, this must be taken into account when comparing the results of the markers between individuals. For example, consider the following results:

Example 1: 15 15 17 17
Example 2: 13 13 15 17

At a glance, you may see 3 differences, but there are really only 2. To correctly interpret the results for this multi-copy marker, the results that match are not counted as differences. The 15 in the first example above matches a 15 in the second example, so the 15 is not counted as a difference, even though the two 15's do not line up in the display of the results. A 17 from the first example matches the 17 in the second example. The two 13's in the second example do not have a match in the first example, so in comparing these two results, we find 2 differences.

Since multi-copy markers change more rapidly, these markers are an excellent tool to identify branches or lines, or to identify persons who are not related in a genealogical time frame.

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Genetic Genealogy: Advanced Tests

If you have been thinking of exploring the new Advanced Tests now offered by Family Tree DNA, the CCR5 test may be a place to start.

CCR5 is a gene on Chromosome 3. Some people have a major deletion within this gene on one or both chromosomes. If your test result is "normal, normal", this means that neither of your copies of CCR5 has the deletion.

The deletion is believed to be associated with plague immunity. The deletion is found in up to 20% of Europeans, and is rare in Africans and Asians. The deletion in CCR5 is widely dispersed throughout Northern Europe and in those of European descent.

This test is an opportunity for those who want to discover whether they have the deletion of one or both copies of CCR5, and is available to both males and females.

To order the CCR5 test, log into your Personal Page. Click Order Tests to the right of the blue Join button, and then click on Advanced Orders and select the CCR5 test, which is about half way down the list of advanced tests available.

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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

My Y-DNA result is predicted as Haplogroup R1b1. I don't have any matches with my surname.

I have one 31/37 match with another surname.

The most distant known ancestors are:
1729 Middlesex/Caroline County Virginia
1701 Alstonefield, Staffordshire, England

There is no known connection between the two families. Is this a possible genealogical match or a random match?


This is a random match. Random matches for Haplogroup R1b are common, due to the large population of this haplogroup.

First, consider the genetic distance of 6. This is too distant to be considered related, even with the same surname, except in rare cases where you find another participant in the tree to bridge the gap. The link below provides our guidelines, which assume the same surname or variant.


Secondly, the surname is a critical element. The surname establishes the boundary of the relationship as since the adoption of surnames. The surname rules out those relationships that are prior to the adoption of surnames. Surnames were adopted in different countries at different times. For England, "The major period of the formation of English heredity surnames was 1250-1450" (Hey, David, Family Names and Family History, Hambledon & London, London, 2000 ISBN 1-85285-255-0).

At the time of the adoption of surnames, many men had the same or a close Y-DNA result in the ancestral country. These men were probably spread out geographically, as a result of migrations over time. They also most likely adopted different surnames. Therefore, their descendents could be a Y-DNA match today. These men would have different surnames, and be related PRIOR to the adoption of surnames.

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Family Tree DNA in the News

An independent producer for TV shows is in the process of doing some research for a story on lay folks using DNA to discover family members. That producer was quite taken with an article that appeared in the New York Times that outlined the fervor and great lengths some people will take to discover lost family or what in fact their actual heritage is. The producer is interested in talking to people who are about to set out on a research mission and folks who have interesting stories from past experiences. To give you some example, the producer has talked to people who have employed all sorts of creative methods to entice would be family members to submit to a test (flowers sent, dinners bought, cross country/continental travel, etc., etc.). If any of this resonates to you and you would be interested in sharing your story please contact Family Tree DNA at support@familytreedna.com.

A documentary company is doing research into a new series where they find individuals who have a common ancestor with a famous figure whose DNA has already been recorded (Marie Antoinette, for example). They are seeking people who have already been tested and found to share a common ancestor with a famous figure.
If this describes you please contact Family Tree DNA at support@familytreedna.com.

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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, questions to be addressed, as well as suggestions for future articles. If you are a Group Administrator and can help others with tips or suggestions, please contact: editorFG@FamilyTreeDNA.com

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