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

image from:


Donald McNamara said...

Dear Susan:
I am stuck on my linkage back to the Howland's. The question seems to be which Howland we are related to. Where we run into the question is Samuel Howland of Scituate Rhode Island. The whole issue in my case has to do with the parentage of Caleb Howland of Clarendon, VT son of Samuel. They have been a couple of papers and theories written on this. As I understand it the Mayflower Society through 5 generations of John Howland find no son Samuel attributed to Josiah Howland and Yetmercy Shove. However they do note that some secondary sources do, assign a son Samuel to these parents. However as noted on page 41 and 42 of the Mayflower book John Howland of the Mayflower the NYGBR 42:405 and Howland Gen (1885) add children Elizabeth, John, Samuel and Patience with no birth dates. The society has accepted members through a purported son Samuel based on NEHGR 130:301 article

Susan said...

I am not familiar with just how the Mayflower Society uses DNA information in conjunction with a paper trail. I do think it is exciting that it has happened. The names you mention are very interesting to me. Have you seen the rootsweb post regarding "parentage of Caleb Howland"? The genealogy described there is very complicated. I would be interested in knowing what the family tree looks like in the final analysis. Perhaps DNA testing will help with that, if enough descendants test.

Susan Skilton said...

Addendum: Naturally you should check with the Howland paternal testing projects. They may have already resolved this question, and if not, checking with the project directors should help you clarify what next steps you could take regarding DNA testing and comparison to the results already in a database.