Monday, January 10, 2011

DNA Testing as a Genealogy Tool

 by Jack Goins

Hi everyone, its snowing here on the Holston River in Rogersville. I'm sure all of you joined the Melungeon Historical Society to advance your knowledge  of the Melungeons.  Many of you have spent countless hours, days and years documenting your families. In May 1996 Dr. Virginia DeMarce, who was past president of the National Genealogy Association wrote;  By carefully tracing a specific family along a specific migration route, we will know the origins of each individual Melungeon family. We will know the origins of the Melungeons. Since this was written DNA has arrived as a great genealogy tool. Combining DNA test with your Genealogy, either confirms it, or sets you on a new path. If you decide to use DNA be aware that  FTDNA will search the data base for someone you match and notify both you and the ones you match. This is how we find kinfolks we didn't know existed. We have added Melungeon_Families to our DNA projects for related families and families of interest. 

These core families migrated to Tennessee and southwest Virginia from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Some who started this migration from the Pamunkey River area lived to own land on Newman Ridge, this migration journey was over 50 years. From Louisa and Hanover County to the Flat River 1750 to1767, then to Indian lands 1767 along the New River, then to Fort Blackmore 1800-1804 Some left Stony Creek to Blackwater in 1801. The reason I list these places is because they always left a few behind. We need to locate people with these core names who would volunteer for a DNA test, especially in Louisa and Hanover County, Virginia. Finding  matches in this area could lead to a new discovery.       

DNA testing has also discovered some unique markers such as D9S919 autosomal marker, a value of 19 might be native . About the time this  was introduced as a possible Native Marker, FTDNA agreed to test for this marker.  From my source; It's a really unusual marker because it's a single location, so to speak, but it has multiple repeats, so it's also an STR marker.  You get the value of 17 from one parent and the value of 19 from another parent. If your  parents were alive, it would be easy to see who contributed which one. Lets assume they are and your father's test does not have this unique 19.  This most likely eliminates your paternal line because your father's autosomal test looks at all his ancestors. My advice is don't take the test expecting to determine the ancestor it came from because there is no way to tell.

This message is not intended to promote DNA tests but to show the part it could play in the search for our ancestors. We are hoping by the end of 2011 we will know more about our ancestors as this research continues. 

We now have a new MHS blog and would appreciate family stories from you for the blog, or just to share.  

Happy hunting. Jack

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