Welcome to the Blackstone/Blakeston DNA Study
A person's DNA results are part of his/her legacy to future generations. The purpose of this site is to bring together as many holders of the surname together as possible, who share an interest in using scientific means to search out the origin of their ancestors.
This includes ALL variations of the Blackstone name:
ie: de Blaykeston, Blackston, Blackeston, Blackiston, Blackistone, Blacksten, Blakiston, Blakston, Blakestone, Blaxton, Brackstone / Braxton, Plaxton & Blayston.
I think that there are three chief concerns that people have with respects to DNA testing:
1. How can my DNA help me with my genealogy if I don't have my ancestor's DNA to compare?
2. Can my DNA be used against me or my family? (e.g. can it be used by insurance companies and others?), and
3. What's the cost? (especially important for those on a fixed income)
I hope the following addresses some of these concerns. I would like to address the second point first by discussing what DNA studies do not do:
They "tell you nothing definitive about your medical history or your skin colour, and ...can't provide a racial identification as 'race' is a social construct.....Although some people are concerned that their DNA data could be misused by a laboratory in some unspecified way, there is ...no danger that this will happen as laboratories are bound by strict confidentiality rules" (61) Or as Seal (2005) puts it, "results are not medically informative and will not provide a unique personal identification such as the police would use fort the detection of a crime" (63).
Family history has many aspects but at it's core is the identification of ancestors. Having identified potential ancestors there are two tasks. One, eliminating possible contenders. Two, finding proof that possible contenders are in fact our ancestors. The latter has traditionally been evidenced by a 'paper trail'; documentary evidence, preferably from original sources. Documentary evidence in the form of birth certificates, wills etc. These are only as truthful as the person reporting the information. "Rarely is actual 'proof' forthcoming. Thus, the task involved in constructing a pedigree which stands up to scrutiny, is to take all possible steps to eliminate a candidate from further consideration before accepting that he or she can be added to the top of the line", (64) There is increasing evidence that documents are often, sometimes deliberately misleading. Estimates of 'non-paternity' events, the recorded father not being the genetic father, vary widely from 5-30% (64).We have an advantage that early genealogists did not have. DNA tests are a new weapon in our armoury which may "enhance the research process of compiling evidence ... 'test' the accuracy of a pedigree" (64).
Why conduct a DNA Study?
DNA studies are a means, "by which we can prioritize research and corroborate findings". "It can identify men who are likely to share a common historical ancestor, a process which creates a new genealogical category: 'genetic families'. In focusing research it may improve accuracy of findings and save time and money (61).
Objectives of this Study Include:
1) Identification of others who are related and possibly degree of kinship.2) Proving or disproving theories or Myths regarding ancestors.
2) Solving brick walls in research.
3) Determining locations for further research.5) Validation of existing research.'
"I am sometimes asked how can I know my ancestors DNA as I can't ask my ancestor for a test ?" The answer is that our ancestors DNA is within us, a part of our own DNA. We can confirm an ancestors DNA by utilizing a process called Triangulation. Based on paper research we can identify two of more lines of descent from different sons of a shared ancestor. By testing an individual from each line DNA can confirm their descent from this ancestor. And hence the ancestors DNA. - the next step is to expand the base of the triangle outwards, and the apex backwards, and pursue the objectives outlined above.
THE TESTS being conducted on the family lines are y-chromosome tests [y-chromosomes are only passed down through the male line which is very helpful in tracing surnames]. In other words, your y-chromosome came from your father and his from his father and so on. Hence the reason for asking male holders of the surname. Buccal swabs from the TEST KITS are taken and sent to FamilyTreeDNA. Individuals with the same genetic code and with similar numbers of repetition of this code at specific marker loci are believed to be related and to descend from a common ancestor. The tests cannot tell you who your precise ancestor might be, but they will tell you that your DNA clusters with a group of other individuals and that this cluster of individuals likely descend from a common ancestor at some point in the past. The test results are reported in terms of the cluster your DNA fits with. However, the tests do tell you who you are NOT related to.
THE LAB I have chosen is Family Tree DNA in Houston, TX it came highly recommended by other surname Project Group Administrators. I'm very happy with the results to-date. recruitment remains slow but results have fulfilled all the projects goals. see discussion.
When ordering a test be sure to request it is as part of the BLACKSTONE DNA GROUP by doing so you will ensure groups rates.
When ordering you should see a drop down list for "Type of Test". There are a whole range of DNA packages to choose from. For the purposes of the "Blackstone DNA Study", you want one of the Y-DNA Tests.
Be sure to fill out the 'release' form and include it when you mail in your DNA samples. This gives me permission to share your results here on our web page with the other Blackstone DNA researchers. I am Christopher Atkinson; the Group Administrator. By clicking the link below, you can reach me any time.
Sharing the cost amongst family members eg. siblings will make it more manageable. And results are equally valid for them. For women to find out re their maiden name origins they need to get a male relation to take part.
DNA TESTING FUND:
At the present we have 33 DNA contributors. I do what I can to publicise the project, the more people are tested, the more chances we have of finding a match with heretofore unknown ancestors. Non-bearers of the name can help in several ways:
Females can help by encouraging male kin to test, everyone can help by encouraging others to test and finally FTDNA have enable the setting up a fund to pay for kin to test. The following is a link to a form for this purpose www.familytreedna.com/contribution.html . The following is a copy of a recent Email re this:
"To Blackstone group manager,
Many of you have contacted me requesting more details about the Surname
Project General Fund. Here it is: The General Fund was created as a tool
to be administered by Family Tree DNA, so that it is not a burden to the
a) Family Tree DNA collects/disburses the money and keeps a log under the
General Fund link in the GAP
b) The Group Administrator tells FTDNA to which kit we should apply funds.
c) We have created a self-explanatory page to be used by those who want to
make a contribution to their family DNA project:
For A more In-Depth Exploration of Gene-Studies see:
Both examples of established, comprehensive and well put together sites.
Further DNA related links include:
(the above site has some interesting links re anthropological/geographical studies)
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids