Friday, March 30, 2012

Mayflower Genealogy Society accepts autosomal DNA with paper trail as proof of ancestry!

Wow! Knock me over  with a feather. I thought it would never happen. I could always see so many arguments against it. But the Mayflower society has accepted DNA proof of lineage--not on its own, but with accompanying paper trail. I have seen many queries about DNA for the DAR and I always thought it would never be, but now I have to become more open-minded. I have read that a case of autosomal DNA has been accepted for  Bonham (and thus Fuller) descendant  Brownie McKie (source: New Jersey Hunterdon County list on

I find this absolutely fascinating. It may be that DNA will be used to help prove ancestry in many of the lineage societies in the future. The paper trail and the DNA info combined appear to have been used to prove the lineage. Clearly, if the paper trail had been enough, the DNA wouldn't have been brought in to the mix. It looks like DNA alone is not enough, but can add to a paper trail that is not entirely definitive on its own by showing a relationship to a descendant with accepted proof of lineage.

Update April 2016: DAR accepts DNA evidence in applications supported by documentation of the family line. See: Link to DAR and DNA

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So...DNA forums is gone...

DNA forums appears to be gone. It was a great site for those who had tons of questions and wanted to lurk and learn. It had posts on everything from all the Y-DNA haplotypes to comments on the major DNA testing companies. Recently a new website has sprung up. Some topics are covered nicely and hopefully more and more will emerge because we do need that great source of information. The top geneticists and biologists can exchange info and ideas, and those of us who want to expand our family trees and learn what we can about genetics can read and post. The new website is: .

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finding that common ground--literally-- for the DNA connection

Those of us who are pursuing autosomal DNA matching to give us an edge in our paper trail chases find that sometimes it's easy, and most of the time it's very hard, to make that connection with another person's family tree.

It is going to get easier, as more matches appear and their trees start matching up to one another.

In the meantime, while we work hard to extend the trees of the matches beyond what even they even guessed were there ancestors, and while we speculate at what might be that common ancestor, one angle to take is the geographical one.

If I look at a match's tree, I might see two areas where I could follow the lines to connect to a potential ancestor. I can't really ignore any possibilities, because people were mobile, and we may have ancestors from places we don't know they hailed from. But while keeping that in mind, I can extend the trees in the directions most likely to prove fruitful in a geographical sense. And as I do so, I check back to the trees of other matches, and check their chromosome browser results against each other, and see if there might be a location that makes sense, at least for the moment. Then I take a good look at my tree, and, keeping it all in mind, I begin to see at least where the possible match might be.

Family Tree Maker is very helpful for this exercise, because I can click on "places," choose a location, such as Somerset, New Jersey, and have all the ancestors, or ancestors of matches, I have listed to date show up in a list. I can then investigate via the census to see just how close they may have lived to one another, and then I can further check for marriages and land exchanges to see which families were linked to others. 

Just one way to make a little, or a lot, if you are lucky, of progress.

Happy hunting!