Saturday, January 17, 2015

Debbie Does DNA: Part 1- GO FISH!

I will admit that the whole DNA in genealogy thing has entirely baffled me.  In October 2012, I asked my grandfather to be tested.  He did the swab, we did the 37-marker YDNA test, and we sent it in and I got notes about matches.  I continue to get notes about matches.  I write to the people I match with using a stupid email that plays Go Fish.  “Hi! Our DNA says we match. Do you have any Williams?” 

The responses have ranged from, “I’m sorry.  I don’t find your Grampa in my GEDCOM file so we aren’t related,” (someone really very unfamiliar with what being "related" actually means...) to “We are likely related way far back.  Good luck with your research!”  And the most common?  Never, ever hear back from them.  One told me to send a GEDCOM file on CD and he would add me to his database.  It was a mass email sent to hundreds of people.  With no information at all about him or how he is a Conner. Or not.

I knew I wouldn’t have anything hugely exciting like flashing semaphore signs leading me back more generations, but I also didn’t expect to be so completely lost with the whole thing.  So today is the day I start to figure this crap out.

I downloaded the IHave the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? Ebook that FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) has on their site.  Based on this document, the first thing I really should do is to determine Grampa’s “Haplogroup.”  FTDNA provides this for me!  Here is our haplogroup:

Your Predicted Haplogroup: R-L21

What does this mean?  Well, FTDNA helps with that, too.  “The R-L21 lineage began in West Asia. It is the descendant of the major R-M343 lineage. R-L21 spread to Europe and is one of the most common branches of R-P25 there.”

Funny thing is that when I first looked at this page, I wrote down our Haplogroup and it was R-M269 then.  It’s changed.  Why?  Because more research is done all the time.  As more mutations and commonalities are found, it appears they further define.  So don’t go memorizing R-L21, as that part isn’t important in the grand scheme.

Here is the migration map from FTDNA of our Rs, though, which is more general and vague so likely won’t change:

So what I’ve learned so far is that R-L21 (formerly known as R-M269) is our number and that it likely began in West Asia.  Grampa lives in Washington..  I decided to add in the FamilyFinder test today.  So that will begin soon.

Not much of a help so far, but I will move us further along in the next episode of Debbie Does DNA…

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