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Arms Driscoll DNA Project
Family Finder aDNA Test Details

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The Admixture DNA Test

See the main DNA page for the test the project uses and how to order a test.

An admixture (or autosomal) DNA test examines your autosomal DNA, across your 22 pairs of non-sex chromosomes. All of your ancestral lines are represented in the admixture test, not just the direct matrilineal line (mtDNA test) or direct patrilineal line in males (Y-DNA test).

Tutorial on autosomal DNA (University of Utah)

Among your matches in an admixture DNA test are genetic cousins with relatively recent shared ancestry. The family history data provided by your matches may give you clues to the geographic origins of your ancestors. The Family Finder (FF) test offered by FTDNA is the appropriate DNA test to take if you want to discover others sharing relatively recent common ancestry across all your ancestral lines and you are looking for clues on your ancestral origins. FF test takers with Driscolls in any direct line of their documented ancestry are encouraged to join the Driscoll aDNA project and contribute any available information on the geographic origins of their Driscoll ancestors.

Like the other major families of southwest Cork, the Driscolls split into several branches, adopting other surnames. (Some other Irish residents also adopted the Driscoll surname.) Even as recently as 1880, records exist that show a family using the Driscoll name on one type of record and an alternate name on another type of record, or even registering two different children using two different family names. Cadogan, Finn, Whooly, and Minihane are among the other surnames of interest.

Autosomal DNA is normally diluted as it gets passed to the next generation, since DNA from the mother competes with the DNA from the father for the opportunity to pass on genetic material. But some genetic material tends to "clump" together and gets passed down to successive generations as blocks.

The autosomal DNA test looks for long blocks. Family Finder considers blocks of 10 centiMorgans or longer as indicative of "conclusive shared ancestry."

Eventually, such a block of genetic material runs out of luck and gets split apart or doesn't get passed on. Therefore, a good test strategy is to have the oldest available generation in the line you are researching take the test. A parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent would be an excellent test subject.

This dilution does not occur with mtDNA or Y-DNA tests.

The Lifespan of an Admixture DNA Test

The six generation pedigree example below shows that if two 4th cousins test there is about a 50% probability they will match and for fifth cousins the chances are only 10%.

Thus, a practical limit to this test would be the detection of fourth cousins sharing common sets of gg-grandparents with you. However, it can be the case that two more closely related people could share surprisingly little DNA and conversely, two more distantly related people share more DNA than might be expected. It depends on what you "win" in the gene lottery and what has been passed down to you. If you can afford to do so, testing siblings and cousins can greatly expand your domain of matches and give you more possibilities to sift through.

Because autosomal genes get recombined and thus diluted with each successive generation, then ideally, when your funds are limited, it is better to test the oldest available generation in your family who is descended from the line you are researching. If you have a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent who is descended from your Driscoll ancestor of interest, devote your limited funds to having that person tested.

Join the Driscoll Project

Once your FF test results are completed and you've joined the DNA project, submit information on your Driscoll ancestral line, referring to census records, land valuation records, birth, marriage and death dates and locations, the names and birthdates of children, etc. to support your information. Label your information with your test kit number. View some of the existing family history data for examples.


This page was last modified: Sunday, 01-Sep-2013 13:11:20 MDT

Susan J. Barretta, Administrator Colin Ferguson, Co-Administrator

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