Our project is among the earliest Surname DNA projects, having been in existence since 2001.
Many of us have questions about our family history, common ancestors, and the origins of our surnames. Was each surname from the same geographical location, maybe a county or city in England, Scotland, or elsewhere? Genealogists have examined other surnames spelled much like their own or that sounded the same in efforts to find ancestors. Genealogy has traditionally used oral history and documentation as a means of identifying family members and their ancestors. Researchers have primarily used documents and records to track generations of families by establishing pedigrees and lines of descent. In genealogy research, the surname is frequently a usable tool to trace descent from one generation to another generation. As early as 2850 BC, the Chinese found the use of surnames was practical to identify families and to prevent the intermarriage of close relatives. There were always questions regarding skin, hair color and other physical characteristics and people recognized there must be something in their families that passed these similarities or differences down through successive generations.
Names were frequently misspelled because individuals could not read or write, and clerks spelled the surnames and gave the families names as they saw them. Ancestors decided to add letters like a, s, l and e to their names; others simply dropped letters out of their family names; while still others took completely new names when they migrated. Records were lost by fire, war and other disasters. Genealogy can be a very frustrating, challenging and time consuming endeavor. Traditional investigative methods do not always find that elusive ancestor. "Brick Walls" are what the genealogist frequently call the dead ends, where all attempts to find an ancestor failed.
Today, there is a new investigative tool called genetic genealogy. This is the branch of knowledge arising out of the study of genes first identified in 1909 for identification of inherited physical characteristics. Later, it was found that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was contained in chromosomes and acted as a carrier of genetic information. Since 1940, the chemical nature of DNA has become a science revealing more and more of the mysteries that make up the human body. It now has become a science that permits the identification of individuals by the use of DNA.
Mitochondrial DNA has been demonstrated to be a useful way of tracing maternal relatives. It was successfully used in identifying the daughters and Czarina in the Anastasia case in Russia. It was also used in Argentina in the investigation of murder and kidnapping where children had to be identified.
More recently, the use of the Y-chromosome has been used in family reconstruction, and Y chromosome haplotypes have been used in male descent lines to establish common markers for inclusion or exclusion from a family paternal lines. Haplotypes are a set of markers on the Y chromosome.
1. To establish Y chromosome Ancestral Haplotypes for each of the surnames included in this project.
2. To set up charts of the Y Chromosome DNA, including each DNA sample that has been submitted by the participants.
3. To establish if there are common ancestors for each of the surnames.
4. To determine the commonality, if any, between the participating surnames.
5. To determine any commonality in the origins of the surnames, using the first ancestral place of origin from each pedigree for each sample.
6. To provide a genetic signature (Ancestral Haplotype) for as many early immigrant colonial ancestors, as possible.
7. To place participants Y-DNA test results in the web pages for this project and an ancestral migration pattern for each under their coded designation.
8. To merge traditional and genetic genealogies, and to show DNA changes in lineages.