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DNA and Family History

I've been "doing a lot of reading". :eek:

I know that DNA use for Family History research does not produce names, places, dates and whatever, but I find the possibilities for seeing clusters of the same family lines etc. quite fascinating. And there is also the small chance that someone else is doing the same thing, and we end up with close matches - which in turn help us all along the paper trail. I'm quite happy with the 'security' of the data, and the anonymity. The more the merrier (and the better chances) so I'm preparing to step up and get my lucky numbers.

Does any kind reader here know of any DNA projects (geographic or one-name studies) which are being done in the UK - and in particular for the Cambridgeshire or East Anglia regions.


it has been discussed a few times in the past. I would like to do one as a matter of interest. Someone who is related to my grandmother said they had done their DNA and found african genes and thought it was in our family because a member was born in Bermuda but her father was from Kent and mother from Ireland. However the surname was Spain so perhaps there is some Moorish blood there. If I did my DNA and still got the same african gene that would be interesting.
Hello Joyce:

Many thanks for the note.

I've not an academic, nor a scientist, so anything I say cannot be "used in evidence against me." :D

I am a 'reader' though. I've been beating a path to the Library, and the books I have found very useful are : "Trace your Roots with DNA" (Smolenyak and Turner), "The Journey of Man" (Wells), and "The Seven Daughters of Eve" (Sykes). There are many more - these I found easy enough to digest ... and I ended up buying Trace your Roots with DNA - quite inexpensive.

There are also many Internet resources. One of the early places I found had some short animated type videos which were for the 'everyperson" and a good basis. I'm not 'plugging that site" but I do think it it worth looking at the animated videos http://www.smgf.org/pages/animations.jspx.

Anyway, with all that said and done, you probably already know that most people male or female will show some DNA statistics which will point to Africa - either the "Y-Adam" or the "mt-Eve". Of course, as you have clearly stated it, with a relatively recent possibility of connections via either a Bermudan or Spanish/Moorish link, you may well be connected much more recently. You have also probably read or seen enough to know that male paternal lines will be evident via Y DNA "markers", whereas female maternal ancestry will be seen via mt-DNA results. But as I said, I'm a total novice who hasn't completed the first semester of DNA 101 :p so look elsewhere for any explanations.

Finally, there are places where "someone who is related" can get more information about their results - such as http://www.ysearch.org/ or others. But again, that's what I have read and researched. I'm still waiting for my results.

I'm pretty sure, though, that allowing for 4 generations per 100 years (40 per 1000) you and I are related - even if we have to go back 1600 generations. (Whatever that is in 'cousins'). :eek:



I know we all have common ancestors but I understand from the Big Bang Theory that there are certain indicators that will point to particular areas your ancestors lived in for a lenghth of time. My relative had a particularily strong reading for having an African Ancestor. Presumably not the trace of common ethiopian ancestors. Given that she was in USA she could have had some slave ancestry in her family line which came from ancestors we do not have in common. If however my particular DNA had the same strong black African reading then there is obviously a common Ancestor we need to find.
You're absolutely right about your possible more recent ancestors, and I think that this is the beauty of DNA for Family History. I have seen at these various websites, and read elsewhere, about how unexpected family lines have turned up only a few generations back.

I find it all very exciting. Where present family historians are benefiting from the 'reach' and speed of the Internet for research (and I started family history research before the Internet was available to mere mortals), in a decade or so, it will be DNA which will be pushing paper research along so rapidly (and with DNA, there will be a scientific basis and not family anecdotes, dim memories, and hopeful connections.)

All the better, I say !
The most fascinating DNA discovery was an african tribe who said they were descended from a tribe of Israel and for centuries people have thought it pure fantasy till they tested the DNA of the african tribe and discovered there was indeed DNA links to Israel.

You wonder how many legends will prove true. Like people who claim their descendants are from the Spanish Amarda.

My husband's family have a particular problem called ducheyne's contracture which is when certain fingers curl in due to the ligaments shortening. This is said to be particularily prevalent in people of Viking descent.

Haven't found any vikings yet.
I have quite a lot of experience using DNA for genealogy, and have found that the best laboratory for testing is FTDNA. They are in the US, but process many samples from other countries as well. If you would like to discuss my use of both Y-DNA and mtDNA, please contact me directly by email. My address should appear somewhere on this site.
Men inherit their fathers Y chromosome and their mothers MT DNA X chromosome but dont pass it on.

I have met a 6th cousin on our paternal line. So we should have the same Y DNA. The furthers I have got on my paternal line is a Thomas Titshall, Titsell born about 1670 iN Suffolk who wed a Bridget. My mums line is back to a Mary Huntley born about 1765 in Sussex. I have my mums MT DNA but wont pass it on.
Hello again:

Thanks for the note, Ms Fox.

I'm still (not so) patiently waiting for my Y-DNA and MtDNA results.

Because I have a 'non-paternity' event at G GF level, chasing my surname in a project will not get me too far, unless the father was also of the same family name although not necessarily of the same family. It happens. But that would be too easy. :) (Why is it called "non-paternity" - sounds to me like it should be called 'other-paternity' or 'surprise-paternity'.) Mothers have babies and fathers have maybes. LOL

I'm leaning towards starting a DNA project which will cater to a geographical area of (example only) 25 miles radius from Fulbourn in Cambs. According to National Geographic and Spencer Wells (The Genographic Project) the average distance of spouse's birthplaces 1800 - 1900 was about 7 miles in 1800, 8 miles in 1850, 19 miles in 1875 and around 22 miles in 1900. I assume that non-spouses didn't travel any further (unless they were the coachman I suppose).

My thinking is : If I do select a circle around Fulbourn Cambs UK of about 20 miles or so (where my GGF grew up), not only should it be helpful to my own cause, but anyone who joins having had ancestors from that area should also find connections given the static nature of the population.

Am I right about this, or is a geographical project a waste of effort?


I'm still (not so) patiently waiting for my Y-DNA and MtDNA results.

Because I have a 'non-paternity' event at G GF level, chasing my surname in a project will not get me too far, unless the father was also of the same family name although not necessarily of the same family. It happens. But that would be too easy. :) (Why is it called "non-paternity" - sounds to me like it should be called 'other-paternity' or 'surprise-paternity'.) Mothers have babies and fathers have maybes. ....


I thought I'd give an update on my DNA results "for the record" here. I've done about as much as I can with Y-DNA and autosomal (family finder).

My (Y) Haplogroup is R1b1a2a1a1b3c (Z49+ Z142+ L562+ L2+) at 111 markers. I have also tested many other SNPs (negative results). I have no Y111 matches (but not too many take that level of test.) At 67 markers, of the 8 decent matches, 3 are PALMER, one is BARTON, one is McBROOM, 2 are WILSON, and one is PARKER. I mention the surnames here because I have an NPE at G GF level, so 'who knows' what my paternal line is back past the 1830s. BARTON is the closest match, but having 3 PALMER names makes me wonder.

I do have 5 'family finder' "4th Cousins", but none have so far answered my emails, and I have about 60+ "5th-Distant Cousins". I hope I will hear from the '4th cousins' - why would you take a test and then not answer? Hmm?

Anyway, just a follow-up here for the record. :)

PS Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is a fantastic organization to deal with, and cheek swabs are quick and easy.
All this is slightly scary as my initials are DNA.:eek: But in 1950 my parents could not have know the future use of those letters! :D

!! Funny.

I'm not a scientifically minded person, but I am enthralled by the advances and what DNA is able to tell us. Of course, a 'genealogical DNA test' such as I have had done does not give the 'confidential' information such as could/would be used to determine susceptibility to disease etc. And even for family history purposes, we need a lot more people taking tests to build a database useful worldwide. Although my 'Atlantic Modal' YDNA Haplogroup is about as common as you can get, we still need lots more folks to test. As for my mother's side (mtDNA passed along the maternal lineage) my result is one of only 6 in the 'Genbank' (global) files. Not that her ancestry is 'extremely' rare, as much as few people from the region of East Europe into the East Med and into Egypt have taken the tests.

I just view it in the sense that everyone now who takes a test is making it so much easier for future generations - a contribution to science as it were. :)