1. Verify descendency among Southern Morrows, originally from Virginia and North & South Carolina, using Y-chromosome DNA testing. This was originally conceived as a project tracing descendants of David Morrow, who settled in Lower Norfolk, VA in 1651. His family was most famously traced in Worth Ray's Tennesee Cousins. There are many known errors in Ray's work, hence this project was an effort to try and verify those lines. Several descendents who thought they were of David's line have now come back completely unrelated. As a result, we clearly have representatives of more than just the David descent line.
2. Create a database of as many Morrow males as possible, in the hope of finding matches among the samples. This should be particularly helpful for those who trace their ancestry back to the west or midwest and do not know where their family came from - though northern and southern colonists didn't typically overlap, families from both areas settled the rest of the country.
How does DNA testing work?
FamilyTreeDNA is the lab for this family. Each participant receives a kit, which contains instructions and materials allowing him to swab his cheek for DNA, preserve it, and return it to FamilyTreeDNA. The lab then analyzes the DNA found on the Y-chromosome. This DNA is passed down (almost) unaltered from father to son. Therefore, those who share a large percentage of "markers" share a male ancestor within a certain number of generations (depending on how many and the type of test).
FamilyTreeDNA has tests for 12, 25, 37 or 67 markers. The 12 marker test can only tell you if you are not related to any other participant - a match of 12 markers is not enough information to say you are related within 1000s of years. The 25-marker test is a good starting point, as a match of 23-25 markers generally indicates a good chance of a common ancestor in the time we can reasonably research (about 400 years). The more markers in common, the more recent the common ancestor is likely to be. We used to recommend starting with 25 markers, but it is now cheaper to test 37 markers than it is to test 25 (the 25 marker test now comes with an mtDNA test, which tests DNA handed down from your all-female line).
You can start with any level of test, and then upgrade later. However, while no additional swabbing is necesssary for an upgrade, the sample must be processed again (which takes several weeks). The added cost of the upgrade is also more than the initial combined price. In our experience, almost all participants that start with the 12-marker test ultimately upgrade to at least 25 markers, so starting with 25 or 37 markers usually saves time and money. If there is a strong chance you are related to one of the lines already tested (particularly Group I, II, or IV), a 37-marker test will be most useful in helping to figure out just where your line falls.
What do the results mean?
The results are expressed in matches. If you do the 25-marker test, for example, you'll find out those with whom you match 23, 24, or 25 markers. You also know, through our website, those lines that you do not match. So in general, the results can tell you several things:
For examples of what one can find, see the successful Rockwell DNA Project, which confirmed that three 17th century Connecticut Rockwells were related, as well as finding out some interesting things about unrelated lines.
Who should participate?
Any Morrow-born males, particularly those that can trace their ancestry to Southern Morrow families, although we also have lines from Pennsylvania, New York and Ireland. Your male line must either be all Morrows (no known illegitimacy or adoption) or you're trying to prove that such a thing did/did not occur. See here for those already tested, and search here to see if we have information on your line.
Are you a Morrow female or grandson? Sponsor your father/brother/cousin. They don't have to do anything except swab their cheek - you'll get all the results.
Tests run $99 (12-marker), $119 (37 marker) or $148 (25-marker + mtDNA) and the costs are currently the responsibility of the participant or sponsor.
If you're not a Morrow male and you can't find one to participate, you can still help:
For more details on results, see this page.
For more information go to FamilyTreeDNA. (They have extensive information on the process of testing and what can be determined from the test.)
To sign up: Use this form. Our group administrator will then send you a link allowing you to join the project.
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