Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why do y-DNA? Why FTDNA? And why now?

It's approaching the end of the year, and the end of the reduced prices at Family Tree DNA. If you ever wanted to do DNA work, now is the time to do it.

So why do y-DNA work? I'll post more in the future, but the short answer is that you can match up your male lineage to the correct early ancestors. This happens because your y-DNA is inherited from your father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father... Note that only males have y-DNA. Also there are some rates of change, mutations, at certain loci. So, over centuries, some markers (loci) change spontaneously. The number of changes is a statistical way of determining how recently you were related to a common ancestor.

First, you need to do the y-DNA test. If you're a Taylor, you are going to need to do 67--the current maximum--number of markers. Why? Because there are so many Taylors. (And associated surnames like Tyler, Tailor, Cameron, and so on.) Thus, having a 12 marker match with another Taylor means very little. Having a 67 marker match means a lot!

So your second step is to do the whole thing, 67 markers. If you are a female tracing your Taylor line, you need to have a male Taylor relative submit the sample. In my case... [drum roll] my Great Uncle Olin Taylor!

Then you need to submit your pedigree, your family tree male line, going back to the earliest Taylor (or related surname) that you have. The form Leigh Taylor is requesting includes dates of birth, marriage and death, locations, and names of wives. Leigh is also interested in your having some documentation, which we will discuss later.

The final step is to wait for a match. This may happen the day the results come in, or it could be much longer.

Why ftdna? Because Family Tree DNA has the largest database. The lab work is excellent and the results will be compared with the largest database. This means your chances of a match are much greater.


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