Facts & Genes from Family Tree DNA
February 27, 2003 Volume 2, Issue 2
In This Issue
In the News: Family Tree DNA Announces the Haplogroup Database
New at Family tree DNA: Education Resources
Share Your Knowledge: Speakers needed
Understanding Your Genetic History: Haplogroups
Understanding Your Results:
Uncovering Adoption or an Extra Marital Event
Recruiting Participants: Where are they?
Organizing your DNA Project: Establishing Lines
Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy
Managing a Surname Project: The Web Site
Spot Light: Matte Surname Project
In last month's issue of Facts & Genes, the Public/Private setting was
covered. This setting only applies to members of a Surname Project. The
default setting is Private, and each participant has the option to be set
as Public. If you are a member of a Surname Project, your setting is
Private, until you change your setting to Public. If you haven't made a
decision yet regarding your setting, click on the link below to go to last
month's article about the Public/Private setting.
We at Family Tree DNA would like to thank everyone for his or her
suggestions, comments, and submissions. Your input is appreciated. Send
your comments, suggestions, tips, questions, and tell us about your
Surname Project to: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com. We hope you enjoy this
In the News: Family Tree DNA announces the Haplogroup Database
Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce a new database called Haplogroup.
The Haplogroup database will assist you in exploring your deep ancestral
It provides information about your deep ancestral paternal lineage, based
on the Y chromosome. An individual's Y chromosome signature is compared
to an extensive database from many studies conducted by Dr. Michael Hammer
and his colleagues. Your Haplogroup is estimated based on the Haplogroup
of the matches found.
To access the Haplogroup database, a new selection called Haplogroup
appears on your Personal Page. Your Personal Page at FamilyTreeDNA.com is
where you view your results, and search the databases available from
Family Tree DNA. To access your Personal Page, you log into
FamilyTreeDNA.com with your kit number and password.
The Haplogroup selection on your Personal Page will show the Haplogroup
and the country of those whom you most closely match. A close match for
this purpose can be from 1-4 mutations. The country represents the ethnic
origin information supplied by Dr. Hammer's research. Note that this is
different information than what you'll find in the REO database, which is
supplied by Family Tree DNA's customers and Dr. Hammer's dataset.
Dr. Hammer's independent study contains results for either 12 or 25 Marker
Y chromosome tests for each participant, and their test results from a SNP
(Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) test on the Y chromosome. The SNP test
determines the participant's Haplogroup. The Y chromosome test is based
on testing Short Tandem Repeats, or STR Markers.
Family Tree DNA can perform a test for Haplogroup determination utilizing
specific SNP Markers. The Y-DNA SNP test will determine if the estimated
Haplogroup is your Haplogroup. As an example, if your estimated
Haplogroup is R1b, a test could be ordered to confirm if you are indeed an
R1b or not, but in case you are not, you would have to perform additional
test(s) to find your Haplogroup. That is why we only recommend the test to
those who really want (we mean... very badly) want to know his haplogroup.
In conjunction with the new Haplogroup database, Family Tree DNA will be
utilizing the standard terminology for Haplogroups presented by the Y
Chromosome Consortium. This new standard terminology is defined in detail
in the article below in this newsletter called:
Understanding Your Genetic History: Haplogroups
Identification of your Y-chromosome Haplogroup can provide an interesting
glimpse into the deep ancestry of your paternal line. With this new
Haplogroup database and the possibility of the Y-DNA SNP test, Family Tree
DNA continues set the standard in genealogical and anthropological genetic
New at Family Tree DNA: Education Resources
Family Tree DNA has added two educational resources to the web site, which
are described below.
Genealogy by Genetics video
The Genealogy by Genetics video is now available to be seen on-line at the
Family Tree DNA web site. The video can then be played on your computer.
The Genealogy by Genetics video is a series of interviews with several
Family Tree DNA customers, and is an excellent educational tool to learn
more about Genetic Genealogy. It is recommended that those interested in
starting a Surname Project view the video. Through the interviews on the
video, you will learn how others have utilized DNA testing for Genealogy,
and what they discovered.
The video is presented in two versions: a dial-up version for those who
are connected through a 56k modem, or a broadband version for those with
faster DSL or Cable connection. The video is in 4 parts, due to the file
size. If you do not have a viewer on your computer, there are links on the
web page to get a free viewer.
To see the Genealogy by Genetics video:
Once you have seen it, if you would like a copy on a VCR tape to show at
family reunions, Genealogical Societies, Family History Centers and Family
Association gatherings, you can order one at no charge at the following
Group administrators can copy the video for their participants and
potential participants. For those who are interested in starting a
surname project, and do not have a 56k modem or broadband access, use the
link above to order a copy of the video.
Books We Recommend
A new page on the Family Tree DNA web site has a list of recommended books
for those who would like to learn more about genetics and Genetic
Genealogy. Each book has a label that shows whether the book is for
beginners, intermediate, advanced, or all levels.
The web site page is:
Share Your Knowledge: Speakers needed
In response to requests from our customers, we are establishing a list of
those interested in speaking to groups about Genetic Genealogy. If you
have a talent for speaking to groups, and are an experienced Surname
Project Group Administrator with a strong knowledge of the subject matter,
we would like to put you on our list of Speakers. When we are contacted
for a speaker in your geographic area, we will supply your name and email
to the requesting party, so that they can contact you directly. The
groups needing a speaker could range from a family reunion, to a senior
citizens group. The Speaker and the group would work out any details,
such as the topics for the speech, and remuneration, if any.
To add yourself to our Speakers List, send an email to the
editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com with your name, the geographic area you are
willing to travel, and any other relevant information.
A speaker is currently needed in Alabama in August for a Family Reunion.
Contact the editor if you are interested in this speaking engagement.
Understanding Your Genetic History: Haplogroups
There have seen at least seven (7) systems in use in the scientific
community for defining and naming Haplogroups. These various systems,
which assigned different names to Haplogroups, often led to confusion.
Depending on which system was utilized in the literature you read,
Haplogroups had different names and definitions. To solve this problem,
the Y Chromosome Consortium developed a new system to name Haplogroups and
The new naming system developed by the Y Chromosome Consortium was
designed to easily accommodate expansion, as new Haplogroups are
discovered. This new system identifies and names the current known Y
Haplogroups that have been discovered.
A Haplogroup is defined as all the male descendants of the single person
who first showed a SNP mutation. A SNP mutation identifies a group who
had a common ancestor far back in time, since SNP's rarely mutate. Each
member of a Haplogroup would have the same SNP mutation as the common
ancestor. These mutations are extremely rare, and identify a group of
people over a period of tens of thousands of years.
The Y Chromosome Consortium has defined 18 major Haplogroups, called A
through R, using capital letters. Each of these major Haplogroups, which
are also called clades, can have subgroups, which are called subclades.
The 18 major groups at the top level, A through R, represent the major
divisions of human diversity based on SNPs on the Y chromosome.
Subgroups have a numeric name, which follows the Haplogroup name. For
example, Haplogroup E has 3 subgroups, called E1, E2, and E3. There is
also a subgroup E*, which are those that belong to Haplogroup E, but do
not belong to one of the 3 defined subgroups, E1, E2, or E3.
If a subgroup has subgroups, they would be labeled with a lower case
alphabetic character, such as E3a or E3b.
The new Haplogroup database at FamilyTreeDNA.com utilizes this new naming
system developed by the Y Chromosome Consortium. On your search results
page for Haplogroup, you will see the Haplogroup of those who match or are
a close match to your Y chromosome test result. Depending on your
Haplogroup search results, you will see Haplogroups such as I, J2, I1b,
R1b. All Family Tree DNA explanations and terminology will utilize the
emerging standard defined in the Y Chromosome Consortium paper.
The Y Chromosome Consortium scientific paper, which describes the
Haplogroup naming system, can be found at the link below:
For a single page graphic representation of the Y Chromosome Haplogroup
tree, please see:
Understanding Your Results: Uncovering Adoption or an Extra Marital Event
A previously unknown adoption or extra marital event could be uncovered
with DNA testing. As a Surname Group Administrator, you would have the
responsibility of communicating with the participant. The discovery may
be a complete surprise to the participant.
Often, a participant who discovers an adoption or extra marital event will
be interested in further DNA testing to uncover the generation where the
event occurred. Once the generation is established, further research can
focus on uncovering clues and additional information.
To identify the generation to establish the time frame of the event, the
following method can be utilized. First, for the participant who does not
match, make a list of all the generations between the documented common
ancestor of the participants, and the participant who does not match. The
generations are given alphabetic labels, and the birth year of the husband
is shown in the example below:
A about 1690 Had 4 sons
B about 1722
In our example, 4 documented direct descent males from the 4 sons of A did
the 25 Marker Y Chromosome test. Two of the participants match 25/25 and
one of the participants match 24/25. The fourth participant is not a
match. The participant who did not match rechecked his research, and is
now interested in uncovering the generation for the event that introduced
a different Y chromosome to his family tree. The participant who did not
match is "K" in the above chart.
The chart above is the direct descent tree for participant K, the
participant who did not match the descendents of other sons of A.
The following approach will identify the generation where the adoption or
extra marital event occurred. The first step is to find a descendent
from F who is from a different son of F than the son in K's direct line of
descent. If F did not have other sons, or there are no direct descent
males today from any of the sons, either go up to E or down to G, looking
for a direct descent male from a different son.
Let's assume, for our example, that there is a direct descent male for a
different son of F. This person tests, and their result matches the other
3 participants, who are descendents of A. This result confirms that the
adoption or extra marital event did not occur with the birth of F, and
occurred in a subsequent generation.
The next step would be to test a descendent of a different son of I.
The methodology of the approach is to take the list of generations to be
tested, and find the middle, and test a descendent of a different son. If
you have a match to the descendents of A, the event occurred after the
father of the son you selected. If the test results are not a match to A,
then the event occurred with the father or before. Whether you are going
up or down the chart, at each step you find the middle of the remaining
section of the chart, and test a descendent from a different son.
To find where the adoption or extra marital event occurred, in each step
you find the middle of the number of generations. In the first step,
generation F was selected, because it is mid point between A and K. For
the next step, we want to find the midpoint between F and K, which would
be Generation I. A direct descent male from a different son of I would
The results for the different son of I also matched the initial
participants who are descendents of A. Therefore, the adoption or
extramarital event occurred with the son of I from which K descended or
with J or the birth of K. The next step would be to test a direct descent
male from a different son of J. The results from this participant match
K, which identifies the event occurring with the birth of J.
Once the event is identified where the adoption or extra marital event
occurred, further research may uncover additional information. Let's look
at another example. In this example, the same approach is used, and the
result identifies the event as occurring with H. Further research
reminded the participant that H is not in the 1880 census entry for the
family, and he always assumed that the birth date he had for H was just
off a few years. After careful study of all the census entries in the
town, he discovers a boy with the same first name as H, living with a
family down the street, with their surname. This family has 9 children.
A possible theory is that H was taken in by the participant's family and
assumed their surname. Further research, and finding a direct descent
male from the original family for H to test, confirmed that a non-formal
adoption had occurred.
DNA testing can be utilized to identify the generation where an adoption
or extra marital event occurred. Further research may uncover additional
Recruiting Participants: Where are they?
A situation may occur where you need to find a direct descent male to test
for a specific family tree or Line. For example, you have tested two
immigrants Lines, and can not find a male for the third immigrant. In
another situation, for your Surname Project, you are still looking for a
male for one of the Lines.
If you are looking for potential participants in the US, you might want to
see the distribution of the surname in the 1920 census on a map. Visit
At this site, enter the surname, and a map will appear which is color
coded by state to reflect the number of households with that surname in
the 1920 census. The legend for the map shows the quantity range of the
surname reflected by each color. The legend varies by surname, so be sure
to look at the numerical range. States that are dark brown have the
highest concentration of the surname. States that are a very pale yellow
have no households with that surname.
If you type in Jones, you would find out that all 50 states had Jones
households, with the largest concentration in 7 states. For the surname
Matte, they are concentrated in one state, and 10 states did not have any
Matte households. The surname Greenspan is also concentrated in one
state. Some surnames even have patterns on the map that correlate to the
initial state where the immigrants arrived, as well as the migration path.
The distribution of the surname in the 1920 census may help you with your
research, looking for lost branches, and may indicate states where you are
more likely to find today those with your surname.
Another site on the Internet provides maps of the frequency of surnames in
the US Census for the years 1850, 1880, 1920 and 1990. The database only
contains the top 50,000 names, so less frequent names are not covered. It
may be possible to see a migration of the surname with these maps. The
web site is:
If you are unable to find a direct descent male participant for a Line in
the US, the Line may have descendents in another country. If your
ancestors came from Ireland or the UK, there may be descendents in Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa. You may also discover other
Lines of your surname in these countries.
For Canada, the whole country is in an online phone book that is easy to
For Australia, the online phone book is much more difficult to use. For
each search, you must select a state, and either the major city or
outlying areas. Therefore, to search the whole country, and make a list
of all those with your surname, you will have to do two searches for each
of their 8 states. This takes a small investment of time, but may yield
surprising results. The web site is:
New Zealand has a more user-friendly online phone book, where one search
covers the whole country. If your surname can also be a first name, you
will get those in your results also.
The South Africa online phone book also searches the whole country, if you
select South Africa for the region in the Region selection window. The
web site is:
In you are looking for your surname in the UK, or you have Ireland
ancestors where a branch might have migrated to the UK, there are several
online phonebooks. For the British Telecom site, go to BT.com, and click
on directory inquiries in the menu on the right. This online telephone
book requires a location of the first few letters of the postal code.
Click on the map on the lower left for help with locations.
Another online phonebook for the UK is: 192.com. This phone book also has
the location restriction on the search. The 192.com directory database is
licensed from British Telecom. In addition, 192.com has the UK 2001
Electoral Roll, and the Directors Reports online. The Electoral Roll is a
very important resource for the UK, where about 38% of the population has
unlisted phone numbers, and therefore can not be found in a traditional
online phonebook. For example, there are 17 million residential and
business phone listings, and 44 million people on the Electoral Roll. The
Electoral Roll is the registered voters, so there may be more than one
person per household registered.
You need to register to use 192.com, and you will receive 5 free searches
a month. In addition, you can earn free search credits.
For those who are concentrating a search in the UK for their surname, the
UK Electoral Roll is available on CD from various vendors. Most of these
products will allow a search on surname, and a location is not needed. If
it is important to find participants in the UK for your surname, the CD is
easy to search and does not need a location specified. To review the
products available, search the Internet on "UK Electoral Roll".
Recruiting participants is an ongoing process. If one method is not
providing the desired results or participants, try another method. As you
continue your efforts to find participants, focus on benefits.
Family Tree DNA does not endorse or sponsor any of these products or
sites, and provides the information only to assist those interested in
Genetic Genealogy in contacting others with their surname.
Organizing your Surname Project: Establishing Lines
A critical component of managing your Surname Project is to identify the
Lines, or family trees, of your surname. One approach is to label or
identify these lines by the most distant documented ancestor, called the
progenitor. It may also help the visitors to your web site, if you show
the most distant identified ancestor in your chart of results, as well as
When you start your Surname Project, you, if you are male, or a direct
descent male relative in your tree, would be the first to test. You would
also want to validate your result by testing another direct descent male
in a distant branch of your tree, or Line. As you start recruiting
participants, you would want one or two participants from each Line. By
having participants identify their most distant documented ancestor, you
are also making sure that you are not having participants test when their
Line has already tested.
Some Surname Projects request only the most distant documented ancestor to
identify a Line, and other Surname Project request the participants' tree,
so that other potential participants can see where their shorter trees
Identifying the Lines for your surname is an important organizational
step. This step not only helps the Group Administrator focus recruiting
efforts, and avoids unnecessary testing, it also helps participants to
understand where they fit in the big picture. A potential participant
would be representing their Line, and this would be an important
contribution to the family history research of their surname.
In addition to labeling a Line with the most distant ancestor and his
dates, including the location will help more clearly identify the Line.
Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy
In each issue of the Newsletter, we look at what Genetic Genealogy will do
for your Family History research. This article is a continuation of the
topic, with situations, called "Case Studies", followed by a
recommendation. The objective of the case studies is to present different
situations you may encounter in your family history research, and how DNA
testing can be applied.
The only knowledge I have about a female line is the wife's first name,
Elizabeth, which showed up on the 1850 census record. Was she the mother
of all the children listed for the family, or was the husband married
several times and this is the only name that shows up in the census
records? There are 9 children listed in the census, 4 boys, and 5 girls.
You can determine whether Elizabeth was the mother of all the children
using mtDNA testing. You would want to test a direct female descendent of
one of the older daughters, and a direct female descendent of one of the
younger daughters. It would be preferable to test a descendent of the
oldest daughter and youngest daughter. If the results match, the
daughters had the same mother, or a different mother who was a sister to
Elizabeth. If the results do not match, then there were clearly different
mothers, indicating that the husband was married more than once. It may
be beneficial to your research to know that the husband was married more
than once, and to know which daughters came from which wife.
mtDNA testing can be also be utilized to test a hypothesis about whether a
specific woman is the maternal ancestor of two different lines of descent.
Managing a Surname Project: The web site
For a Surname Project, a web site is a vehicle to use to find potential
participants, and to communicate about your project to both participants
and potential participants. You do not need any previous experience or
education to build a web site. Building a web site can be accomplished by
following a few simple steps.
The first step to having a web site is to select a place where your web
site will reside, which is called hosted. There are several sites on the
Internet where your site can be hosted at no charge. Some of these sites,
because they are no charge, also display advertising on your pages. There
are also sites without advertising, with very low monthly rates, such as
$5.95 per month.
Many hosting sites will provide tools to use to build your site, often
called site building tools. These tools could even include a template
that you just fill in.
Once you select where you want your web site to be hosted, the next step
is to design your site. After you design your site, you use the tools at
the hosting site to define what images and text you want on a web page.
The design step for your web site is the most critical step. Below are
important factors to keep in mind when designing your Web site.
Know your audience
Before you write one word, think about your audience, the potential
participants and participants. Identify what is important to this
audience, and the information they will want to find at your site.
Map out your site on paper.
Before you create your web site with a site building tool, map out your
site on paper. Decide how many pages your web site will have, and what
topics will be covered on each page. You can even sketch a rough layout
of each page, including identifying any graphics you would like to
Focus on your site's content
You may want to write the text for your site in a word processor prior to
using the site builder.
Impress with content, not graphics
Keep the bells and whistles (big graphics, sound files and plug-ins) to a
minimum. Despite what you may have heard, on the Web content is king.
Unnecessary frills on a Web site take a long time for some users to
download and can be annoying and time-consuming for those with busy
Put your contact information on every page
Remember to put contact information, or a link to this information, on
every page of your site.
Make sure that users can, on every page, easily understand and navigate
their way throughout your entire site. You need to make sure that your
users can always go back a page or return to the first page of your site
from any point.
Avoid using frames
They are not accessible with all Web browsers and can make navigating your
site impossible for some users.
Streamline download time
The download time for any of your Web pages should be no longer than you
can hold your breath. If a page takes more than thirty seconds to
download, your potential participants will start clicking away from your
site. If your site is slow to load, reduce the graphics content.
Large graphics on a black background with red lettering may look great,
but it is much harder to read than simple black lettering on a white
background with small graphics. Keep you message direct, easy to read, and
easy to remember.
Spot Light: Matte Surname Project
The Matte Surname Project started with testing 25 markers for two
participants who represent two branches of a Matte Line. This Matte Line
had been document back to Charles Matte, who was born about 1610. Charles
Matte had four (4) sons. One son was Nicolas, who was born Dec 4 1636 in
Rouen, Normandy, France. Nicolas left France sometime before 1666 as he
was listed as a resident of Quebec in the first Quebec Census. The other
sons of Charles were Laurent, Alexis and Leonard. Only three sons had
descendants. One son, Leonard, died of injuries from fighting the
Iroquois in 1698.
The two participants for the first step of the Matte Surname Project were
a descendent of the son Nicolas, and a descendent of the son Alexis.
The results for these two participants are a 24/25 match, which validates
their documented research to 1610.
The next step of the Matte Surname Project is to find a direct descent
male from the third son, Laurent, before proceeding to testing other
In the Next Issue
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Facts & Genes. Please feel free to
contact the editor with your comments, feedback, questions to be
addressed, as well as suggestions for future articles. If you would like
your Surname Project featured in our Spotlight column in a future issue,
please send an email telling us about your project. If you are a Project
Manager and can help others with tips or suggestions, please contact the
We encourage the circulation of "Facts & Genes" by newsletters and lists
providing that you credit the author, include our copyright information
(Copyright 2003, Family Tree DNA), and cite "Facts & Genes"
(http://www.familytreeDNA.com/facts_genes.asp) as the source.