Author Topic: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results  (Read 48959 times)

Offline JaneyCanuck

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #135 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 17:51 GMT (UK) »
I'm not going to read a 14-page thread right now, so I will not be commenting on anyone else's opinion. ;)

I am an enthusiast for the use of DNA for genealogy purposes, and I am a reasonably knowledgeable amateur at present. This is entirely a result of the enormously helpful project administrators and members at Family Tree DNA.

I have had male family members from both my parents' families do Y-DNA tests - at present, to 67 markers with a couple of SNPs, in both cases. Coincidentally, the main blockage in my family history research is in one parent's surname line, so Y-DNA was, fortunately, the way to go. The other was just out of interest at the same time.

In the latter case, I have had no meaningful matches at all. This confirms (well, supports) my suspicion that my grx2 grandfather born c1820, who appears to have been the only son of an only son of an only son (that last one born c1735), was in fact the last male in his line in the village in question. He went forth and multiplied mightily, 10 kids with two wives. Through my notes in a census record at Ancestry, I met another male-line descendant of that grx2 grandfather. When I uploaded my relation's Y-DNA markers from FTDNA to Ancestry (when Ancestry still offered that test), I got a 100% match. Lo and behold, it was that cousin, who had tested there. So we have proof of "legitimate" descent from 1820 on, anyway -- always good for a family history researcher to know! ;)

In the other case, a surprising and fun outcome.

My gr-grandfather had a sister, an actress. We had never heard of her. We had never heard of any of his family. After he came to Canada with wife and kids c1910, he never spoke of them. About a decade ago, I embarked on this family history lark, and my first discovery was that he did not exist, before his second marriage at age 30. His one tale had always been that his uncommon surname came from the black sheep younger brother of a peer, on the wrong side of the blanket. It became apparent that the name had been assumed in adulthood. Through the wonders of search engines and my dogged dexterity with them, a set of unimpeachable coincidences in time and space emerged (a person who matched his details precisely who disappeared from the records c1875 when his wife died, with the gr-grfather finally found springing from nowhere in the 1881 census ... living with the mother and daughter of the man who had disapppeared a few years before). Thus I discovered who he "really" was, i.e. his official surname. His sister, the actress, had been given the fake surname as a middle name at birth. He and she, but not their older siblings, adopted it as their surname.

So the Y-DNA testing was intended to find whether there was any truth to his tale about his name, or he really was a "Smith" (his official surname was nearly as common as Smith). There are too few people with the uncommon fake surname, and I have not got up the gumption yet to approach the current peer for his spit, although I've been introduced to him via email. I don't think there's a connection ... although the unmarried younger brother of the peer in question did die at Alma a few weeks before the birth of the actress sister, and the official parents appear to have been estranged around that time ...

I expected I might find a match in the "Smith" surname project, and that the match would likely be descended from a person who emigrated from Cornwall to the US in the mid-1800s in connection with mining -- since most testers at FTDNA are in the US. This would confirm the surname I should be researching, and provide the US member with an answer to the question of their origin.

Not a sausage. Not a single remote match among the hundreds in that project. This seemed highly unlikely, if the real surname in my family was "Smith". But FTDNA did give me one excellent match, one that is very probably within the reach of parish records. With an entirely different surname. But -- it belonged to an elderly man whose grandfather had emigrated from Cornwall to the US in the mid-1800s in connection with mining. From a family long resident about 10 miles from where my gr-grfather was born.
 
So the possibilities are: that family's surname got switched somewhere, my family's surname got switched somewhere, or our connection predates the adoption of standardized surnames. The switch could have been intentional, as in my gr-grfather's case later on, or could result from a "non-paternal event" where a child took its mother's surname or was given the surname of a husband who was not its father.

and I have to break here for length, with apologies to anyone whose eyes have glazed over ...
HILL, HOARE, BOND, SIBLY, Cornwall (Devon); DENNIS, PAGE, WHITBREAD, Essex; BARNARD, CASTLE, PONTON, Wiltshire; SANKEY, HORNE, YOUNG, Kent; COWDELL, Bermondsey; COOPER, SMITH, FALLOWELL, WILLEY, Notts; CAMPION, CARTER, CRADDOCK, KENNY, Northants; LITTLER, CORNER, Leicestershire; RUSHLAND, Lincolnshire; MORRISON, Ireland; COLLINS, ?; ... MONCK?

Offline JaneyCanuck

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #136 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 17:51 GMT (UK) »
My problem is that I can trace only to a marriage c1820 where the groom's name was more or less "John Smith". I can't possibly trace "John Smith" by any traditional method. He married in Cornwall stating a home parish in Devon where there is no trace of him. He died before 1835 when his wife remarried so is in no census, to get personal details. I can't be sure that he was the father of his two baptised children. (The other son did not reproduce, and my line, only my gr-grfather and his actress sister had surviving children and modern descendants -- I found hers in the US via South Africa, and before that Canada, where I have only just discovered her grave, to my utter amazement after all these years ... after earlier discovering that her husband, too, had assumed a fake surname ...). And I can't be sure that "John Smith's" son is the father of my gr-grfather with the fake surname.

And the extra fun part is that the surname of the Y-DNA match is the surname of the woman who married "John Smith" c1820 -- which of course doesn't count for Y-DNA. (Both their children had the YDNA-match surname as a middle name. I had assumed it came from her. But who knows? Maybe it was the surname of their real father!) As far as I can tell, she is the only never-baptised daughter of a man in Cornwall, apparently not related to the Y-DNA match line, who had two pre-marriage children (bastardy bonds) and numerous kids by each of two wives, one of whom had a pre-marriage child (no father named) around the time his wife drowned ...

So I am doing autosomal testing of myself and of the male rellie on that side, to see whether anything else useful can be added to the mix. And trying to find male descendants of my female ancestor's father, the one with the same surname as the Y-DNA match, to try to triangulate something.



It's fun! That is my main point. ;) I have learned something entirely new, through a lot of intellectual effort, a lot of practice and a lot of help. My knowledge of genetics, up to three years ago, amounted to my little sister's science teacher telling her that the answer to us four brown-eyed children having blue-eyed parents was "the milkman". I have acquired a love of history and a curiosity about science (at least this limited aspect of it), in which I had little interest in school many years ago (and, as a girl, was not encouraged to have), through all this genealogy stuff.

But to get to the point -- Ancestry's ethnicity testing.

Utter bunk. Abject nonsense. A way to separate innocent people from their money.

I also have absolutely no confidence in Ancestry's privacy protection. I do not give Ancestry my real name or personal details under any circumstances. I certainly recommend that anyone doing DNA testing at Ancestry use a pseudonym, and strip their account of any identifying details. (Hard to do if you keep a tree there, of course. I would use an entirely separate account for DNA purposes.) That is what I do at FTDNA, in fact.

For the same price or a little more, a person can get some real DNA testing done that might actually be useful for genealogical purposes or just for interest, and be provided with genuine matches among other users, and get help in understanding it all in various projects (surname, haplogroup, geographical).

The side on which I have no matches is in a subclade of I-M223 in the Y haplogroup tree, by SNP testing so far. The people working on that haplogroup are fanatically devoted to building that tree through the discoveries in individuals' DNA, and this will be useful in tracing its geographical origins. Of course, that provides info only about a person's direct male line, and not the families of all the women who married into it. There's something just unfair about how men pass on both their surnames and the only really useful DNA, and that only to their sons!

But that is real science, not the nonsense Ancestry is peddling. Their product is analogous to websites that tell you the origin of your surname and sell you coats of arms, in my opinion.

Autosomal DNA results can be very difficult to make anything of and I am not looking forward to that learning curve, but I'm going to give it a go. I might try 23andMe for more detailed analysis. But Ancestry? Never. Not on your nelly.
HILL, HOARE, BOND, SIBLY, Cornwall (Devon); DENNIS, PAGE, WHITBREAD, Essex; BARNARD, CASTLE, PONTON, Wiltshire; SANKEY, HORNE, YOUNG, Kent; COWDELL, Bermondsey; COOPER, SMITH, FALLOWELL, WILLEY, Notts; CAMPION, CARTER, CRADDOCK, KENNY, Northants; LITTLER, CORNER, Leicestershire; RUSHLAND, Lincolnshire; MORRISON, Ireland; COLLINS, ?; ... MONCK?

Offline Al in Vane

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #137 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 18:21 GMT (UK) »
The rumour in our one-name studies was that we came from a Germanic source or more probably from Scandinavia as the name is quite common in those countries.
I had my DNA done by Oxford Ancestors and with the results and evidence of where my earliest known ancestors came from in England it confirmed that we were of Danish Viking origin and of the Wodan tribe with a geographical distribution of West Eurasia.
I was happy with the results as they gave a good indication, together with the evidence I had acrued, of when my ancestors first came to this country to settle.

Incidentally that was a few years ago and I have had no follow up from anyone selling coats of arms or anything............


Offline david64

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #138 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 18:24 GMT (UK) »
My father and maternal aunt have taken the autosomal test (FTDNA).

My father's turned out as all Western Euro., with a few strands coming out in Finland. I was lucky enough to find one relative via this test. We are related via a family who lived in Montgomeryshire in the mid-late-1700s. The majority of his ancestry is in Montgomeryshire and the Shropshire border. I have many lines back to the 1700s, 1600s and earlier.

My aunt's turned out as:

62% British Isles
3% Eastern Euro
13% South Asian
3% Centeral Asian
6% Asia Minor
5% Eastern Middle East
8% Ashkenazi Jewish

My aunt's grandmother was born in what is now the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Both her parents were Armenian, with Armenian surnames. I have some considerable details of her father's ancestry, which is half Armenian, with lines back to c. 1620; and half British. I have no idea what may lie in the ancestry of her mother, which I have not been able to trace.

The British % is very close to what I think it actually is, but the rest I am not so sure about. The others are not so sure about. The test gives 13% South Asian (Indian), which would mean my grandmother would be 26% Indian, but she was Siberian-white. That would also mean her mother was 52% Indian. She did have some pigmentation, but it was the sort that you might fin among light-skin Spaniards. There is also much less Armenian than I would expect to find. The occurrence of Jewish is interesting. I thought this may be an error, but one of my close matches is an Lithuanian Jew. I believe there to be some inaccuracy with the results, but they are interesting and I imagine there will be some changes when the science is more developed.

I tested this maternal line with a 3rd cousin and we came out as a match.


Offline jettejjane

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #139 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 18:29 GMT (UK) »
Wow Janey. That's some comment! Must admit didn't read it all-sorry.

Still watching with interest. Still think it's not for me. Won't help my research. I will do it "my way"'
Jane
Redman, Jupp, Brockhurst of West Sussex
Moore County Down. Redman of Posey, Indiana, USA Emigrated 1820

Offline LindsaySiam

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #140 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 18:35 GMT (UK) »
I was an early 'joiner' of one of the Scottish Surname DNA projects about ten years ago hoping to overcome my brickwall. To date, there haven't been any matches for my family which I guess is telling in itself  :) but hundreds of wonderful results for others in the project. It is very exciting to see the picture being built and amazing the connections that have been made that would not otherwise have been.
MORRISON - Dunbartonshire, Stirlingshire
STIRLING - Stirlingshire
LINDSAY - Perthshire
MELDRUM - Fife, Angus
GIBSON - Lanarkshire
HEWITT - Wigtownshire, Lanarkshire
MEIKLE - Dunbartonshire

All census information Crown Copyright

Offline JaneyCanuck

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #141 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 18:55 GMT (UK) »
I do go on. ;)

The thing is, many people have very vague ideas of what DNA testing can and can't do. My experience shows a case when it is useful to consider doing it, and what might come out of it.

I should have mentioned that I was hugely, enormously, almost unbelievably lucky to get the match I did with the Cornwall line.

A woman in the US had her dad's Y-DNA tested, largely because of family rumours that he was not his father's son, and was in fact the son of his sick father's doctor. The match with my line - from the same little bit of Cornwall - almost certainly disproved the rumour for her. (The doctor in Arizona was highly unlikely to have come from the same place - and in fact a test of her father's nephew then proved their relationship anyway.) But she is also a family history buff from before the internet even, so the match confirmed her real paternal line for her and validated her existing research, and gave her something more to chew on in that regard.

The DNA results do not tell us who our common ancestor was, or where or when he lived. They tell us we almost certainly have one, and then it is back to the paper records to try to find it. If we can get more people with the surname from the same vicinity to test, I may be able to narrow my searches. (Others in the US with the surname are involved, but they appear to stem from a Devon line that, if related at all, join up only a very long time ago.)

Knowing what you are looking for, before testing, and knowing what any particular test can and can't tell you, and then what to do with the results, is important. A lot of suspicion about the testing does stem from a lack of understanding.

And Ancestry's "ethnicity" thing actually contributes to that lack of understanding, by offering information (if it is indeed information) that does nothing whatsoever to further the research of actual genealogists.


PS - I would adopt everything Davidft said at reply # 91.
HILL, HOARE, BOND, SIBLY, Cornwall (Devon); DENNIS, PAGE, WHITBREAD, Essex; BARNARD, CASTLE, PONTON, Wiltshire; SANKEY, HORNE, YOUNG, Kent; COWDELL, Bermondsey; COOPER, SMITH, FALLOWELL, WILLEY, Notts; CAMPION, CARTER, CRADDOCK, KENNY, Northants; LITTLER, CORNER, Leicestershire; RUSHLAND, Lincolnshire; MORRISON, Ireland; COLLINS, ?; ... MONCK?

Offline heddwch

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #142 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 19:04 GMT (UK) »
Yes I am interested on using DNA results.
I have not done this but  would like to.
I am adopted and have found my birth mother and sister, but unable to trace my father as I was the result of an affair and my father was already married.
I have been unsuccessful in my search for my father so would undertake DNA ethnicity results.
Kindest regards
Heddwch
Maeer - Devon and Glamorgan
David - Cardiff Pontypridd
Astley -Merthyr Tydfil
Newland- Hampshire
Jones -Treherbert Rhondda
McCarthy - Cork & Cardiff

Offline JaneyCanuck

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Re: The Times wants your views: DNA ethnicity results
« Reply #143 on: Wednesday 03 February 16 19:12 GMT (UK) »
All of my ancestors so far discovered, have been from within fifty miles of where I live today and, as a real local, with a paper trail as well as a DNA test, I feel that my DNA could be extremely useful for those looking to find where their ancestors came from in England.

Glynn, that is the nail on the head, for all the people in the US and other former colonies who cannot get behind their immigrant ancestor - some in the 1500s, some as recently as the 1800s. In my own case (see above) I had hoped that my rellie's Y-DNA might help some in the giant surname project for that name at FTDNA find that their roots were in Cornwall (the great emigrators!). Unfortunately, it turns out that the name is not likely my family's after all. ;)

You might look to see whether there is a project for your surname at Family Tree DNA. In some cases, if it seems that there could be a connection with people in that project, project members will even pay for Y-DNA testing to see whether you might be the missing link!

Otherwise, you could be altruistic and get a basic 37-marker test done - and of course, it might mean you finding far-flung cousins too.
HILL, HOARE, BOND, SIBLY, Cornwall (Devon); DENNIS, PAGE, WHITBREAD, Essex; BARNARD, CASTLE, PONTON, Wiltshire; SANKEY, HORNE, YOUNG, Kent; COWDELL, Bermondsey; COOPER, SMITH, FALLOWELL, WILLEY, Notts; CAMPION, CARTER, CRADDOCK, KENNY, Northants; LITTLER, CORNER, Leicestershire; RUSHLAND, Lincolnshire; MORRISON, Ireland; COLLINS, ?; ... MONCK?