Surnames, DNA, and Family History


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For more information about genetic ancestry testing:

Chromosomes are found in the cell nucleus. Each nucleus contains 23 paired chromosomes. One of these pairs the sex chromosomes is composed of two X chromosomes for females or an X and a Y chromosome for males. The other 22 paired chromosomes are known as autosomes.

AncestryDNA® Matches

DNA can provide information in different ways to help you identify your related family members and ancestors, depending on which part of the DNA molecule is used. Typically, four types of DNA are used to discover more about your ancestry:. Autosomal DNA includes all the chromosomes excluding the sex chromosomes. Autosomal DNA can help identify ancestors within the last 5—7 generations.

You are also guaranteed to only share DNA with 2nd cousins or closer. The Y chromosome one of the two paired sex chromosomes is only carried by men and is passed from father to son. By comparing the Y chromosome of two males, you can determine whether they share a common patrilineal ancestor. By comparing the X chromosome of two individuals, you may identify a common ancestor if that segment comes from an ancestor in your direct X path.

Family Tree DNA

Mitochondria are passed from a woman to all her children, regardless of whether they are male or female. By comparing the mitochondrial DNA of two individuals, you can determine whether they share a common matrilineal ancestor. Haplogroups are groupings of DNA similarities that reflect ancient migration patterns before genealogical records were created. YDNA haplogroups match with modern usage of surnames and can be helpful in solving problems on your surname line.

What sort of DNA tests are there for family historians?

Your family tree is what has been documented over time through family history records and often reflects relationships, some of which may not be biological. Your genetic tree consists of the relatives with whom you share DNA, which you mutually inherited from common ancestors within the last five to seven generations.

Beyond five to seven generations, you may not share DNA with all your ancestors according to your family tree. Therefore, not all of your family tree ancestors will be revealed in your genetic tree from your DNA results. DNA is inherited randomly, which means the DNA segments you inherited from your ancestors may be different than the DNA your relative inherited from the same ancestors.

You are only guaranteed to share DNA with a second cousin or closer. Yes, DNA can be used to solve family history problems. However, testing your DNA is just one step in a larger process.

DNA for your ancestry - how to use DNA in family history - Next steps - Family Tree

You will likely need a combination of DNA and traditional research to identify family history connections. DNA test results may reveal unexpected information about your family history, such as adoptions, unexpected paternity, etc.


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Meanwhile, most testing continued to be done at the University of Arizona lab. The demand for additional test types led Greenspan and Blankfeld to move all testing to their own testing lab in Houston, Texas under the Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. Family Tree DNA offer their group administrators the chance to tour the lab while attending the annual group administrators' conference.

See the following reviews:. This included their renaming Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. It is Gene by Gene, Ltd. Family Tree DNA offers Y-STR testing of the Y-chromosome for identification of the ethnic and geographic origin of the patrilineal line , the line which is usually associated with the transmission of surnames. Also, it is used to affirm or disprove a genealogical connection on the patrilineal line. Results identify the ethnic and geographical origin of the matrilineal line. The test looks at around , single-nucleotide polymorphisms SNPs across the 22 autosomal chromosomes.

Close relations have large shared segments of DNA.

More distant relations have smaller segments of shared DNA. For DNA volunteers : click on your surname or spelling variant in the list below to download a pdf file viewable in Adobe Acrobat Reader containing a network showing how your Y chromosome type fits into your surname group.


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For this you will need your 'S' number, which was supplied to you when we returned your individual results in ; each node in the networks is labelled with the 'S' numbers of participants. For some surnames, a study participant has volunteered to act as a coordinator to facilitate contact between DNA donors - the coordinator will only know the contact details of those participants who contact them wishing to contact other study participants and not the details of all those carrying the surname in the study.

Coordinator contact details are shown on the relevant pdf. Student complaints procedure. The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Adrian Building. Personal tools Web Editor Log in. Search Site only in current section.

Advanced Search…. Search Site. This project was carried out by Turi King as her doctoral research project.

It’s easier than ever to trace your ancestry, using online church records to DNA kits

She carried out her project in the lab of Professor Mark Jobling. King and Mark A. Summary of the project What did we do? We analysed the Y chromosomes of men carrying 40 British surnames including spelling variants We included in the study was a 'control' group of men carrying different surnames We classed the Y chromosomes into haplogroups, and also determined Y-STR haplotypes using 17 Y-STRs Surnames groups were compared to controls and to each other, ranking surnames by their frequency in the population We also compared our data with information on surnames from the work of Brian McEvoy and Dan Bradley Which surnames did we study?

Surnames, DNA, and Family History Surnames, DNA, and Family History
Surnames, DNA, and Family History Surnames, DNA, and Family History
Surnames, DNA, and Family History Surnames, DNA, and Family History
Surnames, DNA, and Family History Surnames, DNA, and Family History
Surnames, DNA, and Family History Surnames, DNA, and Family History

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