About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.

FamilyTreeDNA and myDNA Team Up for Black Friday Sale – $39 for Family Finder or $59 for Family Finder + Wellness

FamilyTreeDNA just launched a Black Friday sale that offers two great values.

Most people are already familiar with the Family Finder autosomal test, but this is the first time the myDNA Wellness test has been bundled. You’ll recall that myDNA merged with FamilyTreeDNA in January of 2021.

The myDNA Wellness test offers 30 Health and Wellness Insights. Of course, the bundle includes the Family Finder test too.

myDNA Wellness Test

I’m not familiar with the myDNA Wellness test, so I did some digging.

In summary, the myDNA Wellness test provides:

  • myDNA Personalized Wellness Reports
  • DNA Insights for things like Power vs Endurance, Injury Prevention, Stamina, Recovery
  • Nutrition including Caffeine
  • Skin
  • B Vitamins, Bone Health, Heart Health, Iron
  • Sleep Routine
  • DNA-Powered Plans including meals and workouts
  • Key to working with your body for lifelong behaviors
  • An app for your mobile device in addition to reports on your personal page at FamilyTreeDNA. (Note that project administrators cannot view these results.)

You can take a look at the Wellness report information, here.

I have not taken the Wellness test yet, but those who have indicate that it helps them understand their body includes things such as meal planning based on their genetic needs. I would actually order the test for the meal planning feature alone which is tuned to my individual body.

The Health and Wellness product is not focused on telling you something one time, but on helping you live successfully over time.

Upgrades to Health and Wellness for Current Customers

You may be wondering if current customers can upgrade to the myDNA Wellness test.

FamilyTreeDNA is in the process of rolling out the myDNA Wellness upgrade opportunity in stages to groups of their existing customers.

FamilyTreeDNA has run DNA tests on multiple DNA chip versions over many years. Currently, a subset of customers who have tested on the GSAv2 chip that went into production in March of 2019 are eligible for upgrades to the myDNA Wellness test. Not everyone on that chip version is eligible quite yet but will be soon.

Customers who tested on earlier chip versions or transferred their DNA file from another company that uses a different chip would need to re-swab and will be able to see when they are eligible on their account at FamilyTreeDNA.

You can sign on to your account, here, to determine if you are eligible to upgrade.

If you are eligible now, you’ll see the myDNA Wellness Membership section if you scroll down beneath the Genealogy DNA products. It’s just below the Additional Tests and Tools. If you don’t see this section, you’re not currently eligible.

If you click on the myDNA Wellness link, you’ll see that the myDNA upgrade is on sale for $39.

If you’re not eligible just yet, you will be soon. I’ll be ordering a Wellness test as soon as I’m eligible.

Family Finder and More

The Family Finder test without the Wellness product is only $39 which is an amazing value. It has never been priced this low before. What a great time to stock up.

Testing your relatives will help your genealogy and theirs as well. It’s more than just a one-time test though.

You can link tests of people you match to your tree which allows FamilyTreeDNA to automatically assign your common matches to either your maternal or paternal side.

That’s the first question genealogists want to know. Does someone match me maternally, paternally, or on both sides.

Taking a DNA test, uploading a tree and linking matches to their proper place in your tree is the key to having those 4627 people you see above identified as maternal or paternal for me. I didn’t have to lift a finger. My Family Finder test plus linking matches in my tree allowed FamilyTreeDNA to do it for me.

The more relatives you link on your tree, the more matches FamilyTreeDNA can bucket maternally or paternally for you. So, order DNA tests for aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone!

Order Holiday Gifts Now

I always ask my relatives what they’d like to know when I order their DNA tests. That way they have something to look forward to when the results come back, and I have more tools to answer those questions. My relatives love hearing about what we’ve discovered together and how it relates to them.

We’ve pushed through some brick walls that I thought would never fall – and they wouldn’t have if my relatives hadn’t agreed to DNA test.

The easiest purchase this year is a DNA test for family members. No lines and no worries. More, importantly, it’s a lifelong gift that keeps on giving.


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You Can Help Keep This Blog Free

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

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Black Friday Starts Now – MyHeritage DNA Only $39!

MyHeritage has dropped the price of DNA tests to $39 for their Black Friday Sale.

I’ve never previously seen DNA kits prices this low. You can purchase, here.

DNA Plus More

The great thing about DNA at MyHeritage is that you receive emails like this one I received yesterday telling me that my DNA match, Fred, is my 4th cousin once removed!

Note that Fred is just one of 88 of my DNA matches that have Theories of Family Relativity, showing how I may be related to that match. That’s an incredible benefit.

Sure enough, when I click on “View Theory,” I see that Fred and I share ancestors Francoise Lafaille and Marguerite de Forest.

Click to enlarge image

MyHeritage can provide Theories to their customers when the customer has BOTH taken a DNA test AND uploaded or created a tree. I’ve provided some tips on how you can receive more Theories of Family Relativity, here.

If you haven’t yet tested your DNA at MyHeritage, there has never been a better time. You can click here to order tests for yourself and other family members. Free shipping on two or more kits, too.


Follow DNAexplain on Facebook, here or follow me on Twitter, here.

Share the Love!

You’re always welcome to forward articles or links to friends and share on social media.

If you haven’t already subscribed (it’s free,) you can receive an email whenever I publish by clicking the “follow” button on the main blog page, here.

You Can Help Keep This Blog Free

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Uploads

Genealogy Products and Services

My Book

Genealogy Books

Genealogy Research

Swedish Death Cleaning: It’s Actually a Good Thing – 52 Ancestors #344

I know. I know. That name sounds awful and morbid. But trust me on this one – it’s really not. At least, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Additionally, this topic is timely right now, because the holidays are coming soon.

In a nutshell, Swedish Death Cleaning is a gift to whoever would otherwise have to undertake that task after you’ve departed to visit with the ancestors.

My mother did this for me, although I WAS NOT NEARLY APPRECIATIVE ENOUGH at the time. She had an estate sale after my step-father died, sold most of the contents of the farmhouse, and moved to an apartment in town.

Of course, she took with her the things she truly loved – which is the entire point. Paring down to what’s really important and not holding on to things “just because.”

It’s a departure from my old habits and a new way of thinking about your things.

Unless you’ve recently deep-cleaned, or moved, I guarantee if you open any closet or cupboard door in your house that you’ll find all kinds of stuff in the back or on the shelves or even on hangers that you don’t need, don’t actually want and may not even remember that you have.


I need to apologize to my Mom right here and now for not helping her with this task. She had my step-brother and his wife and family next door, and my other brother and family an hour away. I thought everything was covered.

I was a 6-hour drive one way. Had she asked me to come and help, I would have gladly done so. In retrospect, I should simply have volunteered or showed up to assist.

Now that I’m doing this myself, I realize that even just keeping her company as she went through every box in that house would have been oh-so-welcome companionship. And now I think of the questions I would have liked to ask, and the conversations we might have had. The stories she would have told me.

Now, she’s gone and I can never hear her voice again.

But…I didn’t know or realize at the time.

When the time came to pack up Mom’s things – it was difficult enough. I can’t imagine having to deal with that entire farmhouse full.

The Process?

Of course, cleaning of this type can be difficult simply because there are so many decisions to make.

And it can be difficult because of unexpected emotions.

In my case, I’ve kind of been living my life backward as I sort through boxes. I have found so many unexpected bittersweet things.

My mother’s flatware. This made me smile. Now it’s integrated it into my own silverware drawer. I smile every day when I see these and think of her and the meals we shared at home.

A gift I made for my Mom when I was about 10 or so. I used her sewing machine, the little black Singer Featherweight that I still have. My Dad bought the machine for her before his death. I even hand-sewed the seam together on the bear’s shoulder. This was on her bed every day of her life.

I didn’t realize this bear was stored where it was, so it was a bit of a surprise when I discovered it. So bittersweet. Mom’s gone of course. What the heck do I do with this? I’m not about to pitch it. There’s no one to give it to.

Ok, in this case, it’s going on the guest room bed for now. Someday, someone else will just have to deal with it.

Anyone know what these things are? My head hurts just thinking about them.

When my Mom passed away, I brought her bedroom set home. I couldn’t go through everything at the time, but I have now. That’s where I found these gems.

Somewhere there’s a picture of Mom with pink rollers in her hair, using these roller pick or pin things. She would haunt me forever if I published that – so maybe it’s better than I have not yet reached that cleaning depth yet.

Dad’s flag from his coffin. This brought me up short. It also reminded me that I need to find the flag box I purchased and put it together so it can be displayed properly.

The first quilt pattern book I ever purchased. I bought the fabric to make a similar quilt for charity – then purchased my own quilt at the auction because my child loved it. Of course, then I needed to make the other child a quilt too – and one for our bed as well. I found that quilt too in this process.

Before this book, my quilts were all “scrap” with one of the church women providing a pattern. Or all of the patches were squares of the same size, traced using a cardboard template.

I’m gifting this book to someone. Maybe they will learn to love to quilt too. Trust me, I know this pattern by heart now.

I’ve found boxes and boxes of pictures too.

My daughter and I are waving goodbye to my parents when they first came up to visit after we bought that house. This made me sad, because in its companion photo, we were all standing together and hugging and now my daughter and I are the only two left.

Dad, being a farmer, had to plan carefully to be gone for more than a few hours. This was only the second time he had ever left the state of Indiana.

Dad and his three-legged rescue cat – Frosty – both napping. This was an after-lunch routine and they were inseparable. The photo hanging over the bed hangs in my house today, and the bed, purchased for my Mom by her parents for her 16th birthday is in my guest room.

My bracelet from the hospital when I was born. I don’t think I had ever seen this bracelet before either. I also found my footprints inked by the hospital when I was born.

I made this doll quilt for my daughter when she was maybe 6 or 7.

No one in the family wants this doll, cradle or the little quilt. With my daughter’s permission, I gifted it to a little girl who loves it!

And the pets. We miss our furry family members so much.

But yee-gads – look at that awful wallpaper.

My daughter and I had a good laugh over that.

And then, there was this.

The last birthday card my mother sent me.

Yea, that one was really tough.

The Up Side

  • First, I’ve found photos I either didn’t know I had or had forgotten about. In some cases that was because I had not gone through my mother’s things completely.
  • Second, I found wonderfully uplifting letters from so many people. For example, my great-aunt sent me an encouraging card that said, “I’m so very proud of you. You said you would do it, and you did! Congratulations.” (Hint – if you’re going to save something, write the date on it.)
  • Third, I found information that I didn’t realize was important the first time I reviewed it. For example, I discounted a photo of a couple several years ago because they were not my direct ancestors. I’ve since discovered that one of the people in the photo was my ancestor’s sibling – and I don’t have a photo of the ancestor. That sibling is probably as close as I’ll ever get. I took the opportunity to scan the photo, upload it to the couple in my genealogy trees, and share with others.
  • Fourth, I’ve found so much that I can now gift to someone else. I’m not specifically talking about heirlooms here, but information for my genealogy cousins and buddies. I’ve sent so many boxes off. In some cases, I’m returning something to the proper people. I’ve returned letters with signatures that people sent me 20 or 30 years ago – and their grandchildren or great-grandchildren now get to enjoy the letters along with their signature. I’ve donated to historical societies. I’ve sent research documents that I no longer need to other people researching the family or area. I should get a discount at both the post office and UPS.😊
  • Fifth, I’ve decided to gift many things now instead of waiting until later. That way, I can enjoy seeing the person or people using or wearing or just enjoying the gift. If I’m not actually using it, and they can begin enjoying it now – that’s a win for everyone.
  • Sixth, I’m going to do my family members one more favor – and this is a big one. I’m going to scan and organize the photos. I already purged a great many. Before you cringe, let me explain that really, no one needs 10 shots of the same thing or pictures with people whose heads are not in the photo. (That was my mother’s specialty.) Or pictures of places we can no longer identify.

So yes, I threw lots of pictures away. I had also printed second copies of many rolls of film for my Mom, then I inherited her set, so I didn’t need both.

I’ve started the digitizing process, albeit slowly. I’ll be doing this as I can over the next several months.

Swedish Death Cleaning is Satisfying and Freeing

Truthfully, I hate cleaning. It feels like such a waste of time because it never stays done. Not only that, but I’d much rather be doing something else, like genealogy, or quilting, or writing blog articles. Pretty much anything BUT cleaning.

However, this has been different.

Yes, I’ve had quite a few good cries. But for every one of those, I’ve SAVED my daughter from one.

For every difficult thing I find and have to deal with, I’ve saved her from the same.

I’ve also found some wonderful memories.

I’m enjoying the process of gifting. And I know the people involved – like my Mom for instance – would be pleased to see her things used and loved anew.

I’m sharing love with so many people in various ways. Kind of like Johnny Appleseed, but different.

I feel so much freer with fewer things – and it makes cleaning easier too.

I’m hopeful that maybe, just maybe, one of the people who’ve received research documents will be able to make a big breakthrough that I missed.

That would be the ultimate gift.

The holidays are coming.

Is there something in your possession that someone in your life would like to start loving now?

Consider Swedish Death Cleaning and spread the love!


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Help Out, Please

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Uploads

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A Strategy for Using MyHeritage’s Brand New DNA Match Labels

MyHeritage just introduced Labels, a new, free, organizational tool for DNA matches.

Labels provide customers with the ability to organize their matches in various ways. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Labels for a few days now, and I’ve developed an organizational strategy that just might work for you.

First, let’s take a look at Labels and the new match look and feel as well.

Introducing Labels

When you sign on and click on DNA Matches, you’ll see a new pop-up box that points to the little box to the left and says, “Label your DNA Matches.”

Yes, that little toolbar at the left is new too. I like that the most used functions are now the most evident and quite handy.

Let’s see how this works.

I clicked on the little square box and voila, a popup appeared that says “Manage Labels.”

Since I don’t have any labels available yet, I need to define one. Click on “Create new label.”

30 Available Labels

You can see that you have a choice of 30 selections for Label colors. I decided to experiment by creating a Label called Maternal Match. Hint – Don’t do this just yet, read through the rest of this article first because this is NOT the best strategy – even though Maternal Match seems like an intuitive Label name.

Assigning Labels

After I created the Label, I want to Label my mother as a maternal match. I select the Label I want and then click on “Apply.”

You’ll be able to see up to 7 Labels for any one person, with a little + sign for additional Labels not shown.

Your first instinct is to create a maternal and a paternal side Label – but hold on. Don’t do anything just yet. We’ll talk strategy in just a minute. You “only” have 30 labels to work with, and I think I’ve devised a way to make the best use of all 30 labels.

Favorites and Notes

MyHeritage has also implemented the star that indicates a favorite of some sort. It’s your choice what “favorite” means to you.

The note icon has been moved to the left too where you see it first thing. If you’ve recorded a note, the conversation balloon will be purple. Otherwise, it’s empty. I record notes for each match as I work on them so I know which ones still haven’t been reviewed.

Now, let’s talk about a strategy for how to use Labels effectively.

Label Strategy

My first thought was that I’d immediately create a maternal and a paternal Label. That’s the first thing a genealogist wants to know about each match, right? However, if I were to take that approach, I would effectively waste two of my 30 labels, so let’s look at a different strategy that achieves the same goal – and more.

Let’s compare “sides” versus “couples.”

A “side” would be maternal or paternal. Each “side” actually points to a pair of grandparents, so my maternal side actually means that I’ve identified descent of our matching DNA through my maternal grandparents. My paternal side means that I’ve identified descent through my paternal grandparents.

I’ve yet to determine our common ancestor.

Without additional information, I don’t know which of the two grandparents on that particular side I match someone through. I could also carry segments of DNA from both of those grandparents’ sides. What I do know is that my side of the match descends from that grandparent couple.

Every person has 32 ancestor pairs up to and including the great-great-great-grandparent level, if you count each parent as one. That’s two more than the 30 Labels available. Hmmm…

However, if you don’t include each parent individually, and just include the couples, beginning with grandparents, you have exactly 30.

It just so happens that you also have 30 Labels to work with.

Now you see why using one Label each for the maternal side and the paternal side is a waste of a perfectly good Label. If you assign all maternal side matches to your maternal grandparents, and your paternal side matches to your paternal grandparents, you have exactly enough Labels to Label each of the 30 couples through your fifth generation.

Half Siblings

If an ancestor was married more than once and you share DNA with someone who descends from that ancestor and a different spouse, that match is automatically pushed back to the earlier generation.

For example, I know that my great-grandfather, Curtis Lore, #6 above, had children with a wife before being married to my great-mother, Nora Kirsch. If I match one of the descendants of the children of his first marriage, I know immediately that match gets labeled with couple #13, the parents of Curtis Lore. How do I know this? Because the person I match is not related to Nora Kirsch, so our match MUST BE through Curt’s side of the tree.

Half relationships are wonderful because they serve to push the genetic match back one more generation.

Couple Matches

Of course, if I match someone descended through Curt Lore AND Nora Kirsch, then I need to look at Shared DNA Matches and/or triangulate each segment with other people to determine which matching segments descend from Curt’s parents and which segments descend from Nora’s parents.

Needless to say, a person I match may well need multiple Labels, because it’s certainly quite possible for me to match someone on multiple segments, some of which descend through Curt and some of which descend through Nora.

In fact, my second cousin Patty and I match through Curt and Nora on 9 individual segments. Three of those segments descend from the Lore side and the rest either descend from Nora’s side or are indeterminate at this point.

Every individual segment has its own genetic history.

Of course, if you only match someone on one segment, then you’ll (likely) only assign that match to the female or the male of the couple, assuming there is no crossover in the segment where the DNA of both couples combined to make a longer segment.

I wrote the article, Triangulation in Action at MyHeritage, here.

Editing a Label

You saw that I created the Label titled Maternal Match. However, based on my Label strategy – a maternal match shifts back one generation to my maternal grandparents, so need to change Label #1 to read, “Maternal Match – John Ferverda & Edith Lore.”

In order to edit a Label title, click on the box of anyone.

You’ll see the “Manage labels” box pop up.

If you mouse over the Label you wish to edit, you’ll see the pencil and trash can appear.


To edit the Label, click on the pencil.

You can change the text or the Label colors. You are only shown colors that are available, meaning not yet assigned to other Labels.

You have up to 100 text characters available, so you can do things like add middle names or even birth and death years when you have multiple ancestors with the same names. Not that that ever happens, of course!😊

Be sure to “Save” when finished.

Using the Labels

Referring to that second cousin match with Patty as an example – let’s take a quick look at how I can use those 9 different segment matches.

I know for sure that 2 matches are Acadian, so from Curtis Lore’s father’s side.

I know that one match is from Joseph Hill and Nabby Hall, Curt’s mother Rachel Hill’s parents.

Cousin Patty could receive several Labels.

At this point, I need to go back to the main DNA match page and view Patty’s profile to be able to add Labels. I have it on good authority that MyHeritage plans to add the Label function from multiple locations, such as Shared DNA Matches. I hope this new functionality appears soon, because I’d like to Label all of my matches to my mother in one fell swoop. (We genealogists are passionate, always wanting “just one more thing,” aren’t we!)

I selected Patty and added these Labels for her, reflecting the genesis and source of each of the segments I can identify based on Shared DNA Matches, Theories of Family Relativity, triangulation, and segment painting.

The Label Filter

Now that I’ve added Labels to matches, I can use the new Label Filter.

By clicking on the Filter button, the Filter options appear, including “Labels.” I simply select which Label or Labels I want to use.

Please note that selecting multiple filters uses the “or” functionality. This means that if I select Antoine Lore and Rachel Hill, the yellow Label, and Joseph Hill and Nabby Hall, the pink Label, the filter will return any match who has a Label for EITHER Antoine/Rachel OR Joseph/Nabby. Either Label qualifies.

This filter is not the intersection, meaning the AND functionality. The filtered match does NOT have to have both Antoine/Rachel (yellow) AND Joseph/Nabby (pink).

I can also include the star for “favorites” in my label filter selection.


Looking at my match list, I’ve worked on all of my close matches, so I know immediately which set of grandparents each match can be assigned to.

Click on any image to enlarge

On my match list, I match three of these four people on my father’s side, so they will be Labeled with my paternal grandparents, William George Estes and Ollie Bolton.

Our common ancestors are Lazarus Estes and Elizabeth Vannoy, so I’ve selected to Label these three matches with Lazarus/Elizabeth as well. However, if Robert did not descend from Lazarus, but from his brother, for example, then Robert would not have been Labeled with Lazarus/Elizabeth, but with Lazarus’s parents whose Label I have not yet created.

By selecting multiple people and one or more Labels, I can Label multiple matches with multiple Labels at the same time. I can also remove multiple Labels from multiple people too.

Try Labels Out!

Think about your label strategy. What works for you?

If you haven’t yet tested your DNA at MyHeritage, you can order a DNA test, here.

If you have tested your autosomal DNA at another company, you can upload your DNA file to MyHeritage for free, by clicking here.

Need instructions for how to download your DNA file from other companies, and upload to MyHeritage? I’ve written step-by-step instructions for each company, here.

Have fun and let me know what kind of label strategy works for you!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Uploads

Genealogy Products and Services

My Book

Genealogy Books

Genealogy Research

DNA for Native American Genealogy – Hot Off the Press!

Drum roll please…my new book, DNA for Native American Genealogy, was just released today, published by Genealogical.com.

I’m so excited! I expected publication around the holidays. What a pleasant surprise.

This 190-page book has been a labor of love, almost a year in the making. There’s a lot.

  • Vendor Tools – The book incorporates information about how to make the best use of the autosomal DNA tools offered by all 4 of the major testing vendors; FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, Ancestry, and 23andMe.
  • Chromosome Painting – I’ve detailed how to use DNAPainter to identify which ancestor(s) your Native heritage descends from by painting your population/ethnicity segments provided by FamilyTreeDNA and 23andMe.
  • Y and Mitochondrial DNA – I’ve described how and when to utilize the important Y and mitochondrial DNA tests, for you and other family members.
  • Maps – Everyone wants to know about ancient DNA. I’ve included ancient DNA information complete with maps of ancient DNA sites by major Native haplogroups, gathered from many academic papers, as well as mapped contemporary DNA locations.
  • Haplogroups – Locations in the Americas, by haplogroup, where individual haplogroups and subgroups are found. Some haplogroups are regional in nature. If you happen to have one of these haplogroups, that’s a BIG HINT about where your ancestor lived.
  • Tribes – Want to know, by tribe, which haplogroups have been identified? Got you covered there too.
  • Checklist – I’ve provided a checklist type of roadmap for you to follow, along with an extensive glossary.
  • Questions – I’ve answered lots of frequently asked questions. For example – what about joining a tribe? I’ve explained how tribes work in the US and Canada, complete with links for relevant forms and further information.

But wait, there’s more…

New Revelations!!!

There is scientific evidence suggesting that two haplogroups not previously identified as Native are actually found in very low frequencies in the Native population. Not only do I describe these haplogroups, but I provide their locations on a map.

I hope other people will test and come forward with similar results in these same haplogroups to further solidify this finding.

It’s important to understand the criteria required for including these haplogroups as (potentially) Native. In general, they:

  • Must be found multiple times outside of a family group
  • Must be unexplained by any other scenario
  • Must be well-documented both genetically as well as using traditional genealogical records
  • Must be otherwise absent in the surrounding populations

This part of the research for the book was absolutely fascinating to me.


Here’s the book description at Genealogical.com:

DNA for Native American Genealogy is the first book to offer detailed information and advice specifically aimed at family historians interested in fleshing out their Native American family tree through DNA testing.

Figuring out how to incorporate DNA testing into your Native American genealogy research can be difficult and daunting. What types of DNA tests are available, and which vendors offer them? What other tools are available? How is Native American DNA determined or recognized in your DNA? What information about your Native American ancestors can DNA testing uncover? This book addresses those questions and much more.

Included are step-by-step instructions, with illustrations, on how to use DNA testing at the four major DNA testing companies to further your genealogy and confirm or identify your Native American ancestors. Among the many other topics covered are the following:

    • Tribes in the United States and First Nations in Canada
    • Ethnicity
    • Chromosome painting
    • Population Genetics and how ethnicity is assigned
    • Genetic groups and communities
    • Y DNA paternal direct line male testing for you and your family members
    • Mitochondrial DNA maternal direct line testing for you and your family members
    • Autosomal DNA matching and ethnicity comparisons
    • Creating a DNA pedigree chart
    • Native American haplogroups, by region and tribe
    • Ancient and contemporary Native American DNA

Special features include numerous charts and maps; a roadmap and checklist giving you clear instructions on how to proceed; and a glossary to help you decipher the technical language associated with DNA testing.

Purchase the Book and Participate

I’ve included answers to questions that I’ve received repeatedly for many years about Native American heritage and DNA. Why Native DNA might show in your DNA, why it might not – along with alternate ways to seek that information.

You can order DNA for Native American Genealogy, here.

For customers in Canada and outside the US, you can use the Amazon link, here, to reduce the high shipping/customs costs.

I hope you’ll use the information in the book to determine the appropriate tests for your situation and fully utilize the tools available to genealogists today to either confirm those family rumors, put them to rest – or maybe discover a previously unknown Native ancestor.

Please feel free to share this article with anyone who might be interested.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Uploads

Genealogy Products and Services

My Book

Genealogy Books

Genealogy Research

Honoring Veterans – A HUGE Thank You

A few weeks ago, Jessica, a lady in a quilting Facebook group I’m a member of asked for assistance with providing quilts to honor veterans on Veteran’s Day. I wanted to help, so I finished a rescue top and sent it off to Jessica. It was the best I could do on short notice.

Our Special Veteran

I tell you what – a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Jessica is on the right, is presenting the quilt to one unsuspecting Mrs. Moore, a Navy veteran who served as a barber.

Jessica says, “she loved it.” I can see clearly see that she did – which is exactly WHY I quilt and donate. What an amazing, joyful, picture.

Here’s the rest of the presentation series of photos.

Initially, Mrs. Moore doesn’t know that she’s receiving a quilt. She does know that Jessica is honoring other students who are veterans with quilts – but not the instructors too. I’m suspecting here that her colleagues holding the quilt are in on the surprise.

There are 4 students who are veterans and 3 instructors as well.

Mrs. Moore has papers in her hand, so Jessica obviously caught her mid-something.

Thank you, Mrs. Moore, and all the other deserving veterans today. I wish we could make a quilt for each and every one of you!


Speaking of deserving, I want to say a word about Jessica too.

In addition to coordinating the construction and presentation of quilts to 7 veterans today, Jessica is, herself, in barber school. She’s young, and spunky, a military wife and Mom, works, AND is in school to boot. That white jacket is her barber smock.

So, for any of the rest of us who think young people don’t care, or that we don’t have time to get things done – let’s think again and look to Jessica and Mrs.Moore for inspiration. Every one of us can do something to make life better for someone else.

Thank you, Jessica, for your caring heart and making time for the 7 veterans who received quilts today thanks to your efforts! You go, girl!!! (PS – I love your pink hair. I want purple.)

How to Join a Project at FamilyTreeDNA – And Why You Want To

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how to join projects lately, and I think I know why.

Right now, FamilyTreeDNA is having a pre-holiday sale. All tests are on sale – the Family Finder autosomal test for $59, here, and the mitochondrial full sequence DNA test for your matrilineal line for $139, here. However, of particular significance is that the Y DNA tests are heavily discounted which is what’s driving the questions about joining projects.

The Y-37 is $79 and the Big Y-700, the most refined Y-DNA test, is only $379, here.

Why the Y DNA Test?

Y DNA tests facilitate men matching other men on their direct paternal line, which is generally the surname line. In other words, Estes men can be expected to match other Estes men, and so forth, unless an adoption or unknown parentage is involved. In that case, the man can expect to match his biological surname line.

The even better news is that the Big Y-700 test is refined to the level that WITHIN surname lines, testers can often differentiate and are able to tell where a specific mutation occurred in their genealogy.

You can see matches with either the 37 or 111 marker Y DNA test, but this level of detail is ONLY available with the Big Y-700 test.

A picture is worth 1000 words.

Here’s the view of the Estes portion of the Y DNA Block Tree, viewed from the account of one of my male Estes cousins who took the Big Y-700 test.

  • You can see that if a male takes the Big Y-700 test and receives the haplogroup of R-BY154784, we know he’s in the line of John born 1732, son of Moses Estes. This can be especially important for the man in the project with a Wilbur surname. It connects him with his Estes paternal lineage. For other Estes men, it tells them which son of Moses was their paternal ancestor.
  • If a man tests and receives R-ZS3700, upstream of R-BY154784, then we know he’s in the line of Moses Estes born 1711, son of Abraham, the Virginia immigrant.
  • If a tester receives haplogroup R-BY490, we know he descends from the Silvester Estes line, but NOT from the Moses line, or he would be R-ZS3700.
  • If a tester receives R-BY482 but not R-BY490, we know he is from the line of Robert Estes born in 1555, in Kent, but not in the American Estes line who all carry R-BY490 or more granular downstream haplogroups.

This is why people are ordering the Big Y-700 tests and want to join projects.

How do you know if a surname project exists for your surname of interest?

Does a Surname Project Exist for Me?

To see if a surname project exists for your surname of interest, click here, then scroll a little way down until you see the surname search box.

I typed Vannoy, my great-grandmother’s birth surname, and the following projects are shown.

Click any image to enlarge

You can see that the administrators for three projects have included Vannoy in their project names-of-interest, which is why the projects appear on the Vannoy search list.

Hurray! There is a Vannoy surname project with 66 members.

Ok, excuse me while I cheat for a minute. How many of these 66 people do I match on my Family Finder test?

Using the Advanced Matches tool on my main page, selecting Family Finder and the Vannoy project, I match 11 of those 66 people in the Vannoy project. How fun is that!?!

Ok, done cheating and back to the surname search results.

In the FamilyTreeDNA database, a total of 22 people have the surname of Vannoy, spelled exactly this way. Of the 11 people I match in the project, 7 have a surname of Vannoy or a derivative.

So, yes, there is a Vannoy project AND there are people with the Vannoy surname who have tested – and – as it turns out, I match several of the project members.

If you haven’t yet tested at FamilyTreeDNA, you can click here to check to see if there are surname projects of interest to you and to order a test.

If you’ve already tested or transferred your results, how do you join a project at FamilyTreeDNA?

How Do Customers Join Projects at FamilyTreeDNA?

Joining projects is easy and very beneficial. You can collaborate with other testers and you can use the Advanced Tools to see who else in the project you match as well.

Joining Projects

Family Tree DNA provides three types of projects for their customers to join. All projects are free to join and are run by volunteer project administrators, people who have a specific interest in the topic at hand and are generally quite glad to be of assistance. Projects are great ways to find people you match and others interested in a common topic.

There are three primary kinds of DNA projects:

  • Surname projects – like Estes
  • Haplogroup projects – like R-L21 for my cousin’s Y DNA or J-mtDNA for my own mitochondrial DNA haplogroup. Both Y and mitochondrial DNA projects exist for haplogroups and subgroups.
  • Geographic projects – really anything else that isn’t a surname or a haplogroup, like Cumberland Gap, American Indian or Scottish DNA

Sign on to your account. Begin by clicking on Group Projects at the top of your personal page.

You can join an unlimited number of projects, but you want to make sure projects you join are relevant to your genealogy, your research and/or your haplogroup.

If you click on “Join a Project,” you’ll see a number of projects where the volunteer administrators have listed your surname as a surname of interest to that project.

First, of course, you must have tested at or transferred your (autosomal) results to Family Tree DNA and you must have taken the type of test relevant to the project at hand.

For example, if you have taken the Family Finder autosomal test and not taken any other tests, you can’t join a Y DNA-only project because you have not tested your Y chromosome. (Women don’t have a Y chromosome.)

Some surname projects are for males only who have tested their Y DNA and carry that surname or are related on the direct paternal line. Like the Wilbur gentleman in the Estes Y-DNA Block Tree example. This is why surname projects are often called Y DNA projects.

Surname projects fall into three categories, based on the goals of the project:

  • Y DNA, meaning only males with that surname can join.
  • People who have a mitochondrial connection to the surname can join as well.
  • Anyone who is descended from any ancestor with that surname can join.

In the Estes surname project, I welcome anyone with an Estes ancestor.

The Project List

When you click on “Join a Project,” you’ll see the list of projects that are “Recommended Projects.” This means that the administrator has added your surname as one of interest. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should join all those projects, but that you might want to evaluate each project for appropriateness.

Let’s take a quick look.

  • The Cumberland Gap mtDNA project isn’t relevant, because my Estes line is my paternal line and my mitochondrial DNA is my matrilineal line – so no cigar on this one, at least not for me.
  • The Cumberland Gap Y DNA project isn’t relevant for me, because I’m a female and don’t have a Y chromosome, although my family is from the Cumberland Gap area. However, my male Estes cousins can join.
  • The Estes surname project welcomes anyone descended from an Estes by any spelling.
  • Estis Jewish Ukraine – Nope doesn’t pertain to me or my Estes line.
  • The I-L161 (Isles) project is a Y DNA haplogroup project, so does not apply to me as I have no Y chromosome.
  • The Jester project listed Estes as a variant spelling.
  • I would need to read about the rest of the projects.

Note that only the first 10 project are shown in the list and there may be more.


Obviously, there are probably other projects of interest that can’t be sensed by your surname.

For example, I’d like to know about the Bolton project – my grandmother’s surname, so I entered Bolton in the search box.

Click the project name to read more about each project.

Once you’ve determined that a project is for you, click the orange “Join” button to join. Don’t worry, you can unjoin easily if you make a mistake. Some projects have a “request to join” feature to be sure the pairing is a good fit.


Can’t find your surname or want to see what else is available? Try an alternate name spelling or scroll down to the Browse Group Projects section.

There are so many great possibilities.

Projects fall into multiple browse categories:

  • Surname
  • Y DNA Geographical
  • MtDNA Geographical
  • Dual (Y DNA and mtDNA Geographical)
  • MtDNA Lineage
  • Y-DNA Haplogroup
  • MtDNA Haplogroup

There’s so much of interest.

If I know a topic name, I can search here to see if an administrator has entered that as a keyword.

I searched for Acadian and found 6 options to evaluate.

Now all I have to do is click on the project link and then on the orange Join button to become a member.

Check Your Sharing Option

One quick housekeeping item as a project member is to check to be sure that your results can be shared on the project page, if that’s what you want.

At the top of your page, under “Manage Group Projects,” click on “Project Preferences.”

You can view the administrators of each project and manage permissions for each administrator individually.

Scroll down just a bit more and you’ll see the group project profile.

If you’d like for your DNA results to be included in the public project page results, be sure sharing is set to “on.” Your name is never shown publicly, except to your matches on your match page. In projects, only a surname and earliest known ancestor is shown. Here’s the Vannoy Y DNA page as an example.

Sharing in genealogy benefits everyone and encourages other people to test.

What About You?

Have you joined the projects that would be a good fit for you? Check out your surnames and topics of interest, here.

You can always transfer your autosomal DNA from other vendors and join projects today with no waiting.

If you transfer an autosomal kit from another vendor (instructions here,) you can order a Y DNA or mitochondrial upgrade and FamilyTreeDNA will send you a swab kit. That way all of your test results can be utilized together for added benefit.



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Genealogy Research

WikiTree Challenge Reveal – Spoiler Alert: Brick Walls Falling

I have to tell you – this was just so doggone much fun!

I was a guest of the WikiTree Challenge, a community sourcing and discovery event. The WikiTree volunteer researchers were just amazing.

I already had a tree on WikiTree, which is a combination of my “own” tree and the same ancestors that other people share on WikiTree. WikiTree is a “one big tree” genealogy site. If you take a look at my tree, then scroll down, you’ll see three categories of Research, Tools, and Contacts available to everyone

This screenshot is just an example – there are lots more features and tools available.

And before you say it out loud, yes, I know about the errors and misinformation on “one big tree sites” and how FRUSTRATING it is to find erroneous information and either have no ability to fix it, or it’s almost impossible.

I’ve found WikiTree to be different.

Eight Reasons Why I Like WikiTree

Let me explain for a brief minute how WikiTree works and why I like it.

  1. WikiTree is entirely free, all-volunteer, and encourages cooperation and collaboration between and among genealogists.
  2. You can upload your GEDCOM file and connect your ancestors, or you can simply enter yourself and your ancestors until you connect with an ancestor that already exists in WikiTree. In my case, that would have been my grandparents. WikiTree has many profiles of ancestors, so that process shouldn’t take long unless you have a family from an under-represented region of the world.
  3. WikiTree has volunteer moderators who are experienced and assist if issues arise. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you think something is in error for your ancestor. You leave a comment on that ancestor’s profile card, but the profile manager doesn’t respond. You’d like to have the questionable data evaluated, so you have the option to ask for assistance from one of the moderators.
  4. WikiTree has a GtoG (Genealogist to Genealogist) Forum where you can ask, or answer questions.
  5. You can post questions, comments and in many cases, edit the profiles to provide additional information.
  6. The research comments remain in the thread of the ancestor, including links to other resources.
  7. Descendants can post their Y and mitochondrial DNA information if they descent appropriately to be relevant to that ancestor – along with autosomal information so you can see if you match.
  8. WikiTree is free and doesn’t replace any other resource. In other words, you still need to test your DNA elsewhere, and you need those data and document subscriptions for research resources. You record the findings and documents from all the sites in one location in WikiTree for each ancestor.

WikiTree is Fun

As we genealogists all know, there are trees and various sources of data in many, many individual places, much of it online. However, there’s still a huge amount that isn’t online, hidden in musty courthouse basements, and/or resides in researchers’ file folders.

WikiTree is a central location where all of those various resources and hints can be sifted through and gathered together – and it’s available for everyone free and without a subscription. I think of it as my wiki genealogy repository. Otherwise, my ancestor’s data is scattered in many locations – and held in many trees online – none of which I can influence except my own. I can and do contribute on WikiTree.

Unlike some subscription services, researchers can have an ongoing dialogue about, let’s say, whether Abraham Estes’s wife, Barbara’s birth surname was Brock – or not.

Her surname has (erroneously) been reported as Brock since the 1980s when a NOVEL was written using Abraham and Barbara as characters and ascribed Brock as her surname. Literally, almost every tree on the subscription sites shows Barbara’s surname as Brock, but there is not one single shred of evidence that it was. Even the author later said he was sorry he had done that and had no idea people would latch on to that as gospel. After all, it was a novel. But they did.

You can take a look at Barbara’s profile here and the comments and documentation as well. In essence, WikiTree is your opportunity, aside from your own tree wherever you place it, to be sure there is at least one public location where your ancestor’s information is provided and compiled correctly – and that the discussion of why is preserved.

When I’m researching, I appreciate that I can see the back and forth dialogue. WikiTree assures that exchanges remain respectful.

My Challenge Week

My WikiTree challenge week ran from 10-13 to 10-20. In advance, I reviewed my ancestors and commented where I thought there were questions or issues. Yes, I was hoping for help, especially with certain particularly thorny ancestors.

It was all I could do to behave and not peek during the week. I can’t even express how excited I was.

I didn’t have any specific expectations, in part because I’ve been a genealogist for so long. But of course, I was hoping for some brick wall breakthroughs!

Finally, the big reveal day arrived!

You can watch the reveal here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwhxZmQ34VI

You can also see a summary of the highlights, here.

Given that challenges are a community event, WikiTree has made it fun by awarding points to researchers for various things. Scoring is explained here.

In addition to the WikiTree community, my blog followers who weren’t able to get on the WikiTree team at the last minute contributed as well by sending me hints and info. Thank you so very much. I love you folks!

Mindy Silva, the Challenge coordinator, began by creating a fan chart that showed where I had brick walls available to fall.

In fact, several of these walls did fall, leading to additional generations being added to that line as well.

I was gobsmacked.

In particular, the Henry Hill line out of Vermont has proven very confusing and the German Drechsel line is daunting.

I’m extremely grateful for the many Dutch records and how well they are preserved. This facilitated moving back several generations on two lines, here and here. Additionally, it was also discovered that one Piers de Jong changed his name in 1811. As if Dutch records and surnames aren’t difficult enough!

For Dorothy Edmiston, we have more information, but I still need to be convinced. My sticking point is that our only data source is a will in 1749 that refers to a Dorothy Edmiston as a daughter – but we know that our Dorothy was married to Thomas McSpadden in the mid-1730s. This is not a criticism, but in fact leads me to my next point.

It’s All Hints

I’ve heard it and even said it. One big trees are frustrating because there can be so much misinformation. The same is true for individual shared trees, too, of course, and they multiply like ants. In most cases, you can’t do anything about it, but you actually can at WikiTree.

Treat everything as a hint.

That’s my rule of thumb: It’s all hints!

Try to prove or disprove everything. You may well find that the proof is actually in the profile, or in the links to other resources. Remember to share your actual findings in the person’s profile so someone else doesn’t have to replow the field you just plowed.

Post your comments. Read the threads. There’s gold there. Even if you disprove something, it’s wonderful to know why it arose in the first place. In one case, someone finally found the original source of a family story and why a specific piece of information was given.

But There’s More

Sometimes I think we focus too much on breakthroughs and not enough of documenting what’s available. I try to do this in my 52 ancestor stories, but adding the resources in WikiTree and making sure they are accurate is important too.

More than 3100 edits of my ancestors’ profiles were completed during the challenge week.

In addition to everything else, lots, and I mean a LOT of cleanup and housekeeping took place.

For example, look how nice this profile page for my great-grandmother, Ellenore (Nora) Kirsch (Lore) looks now thanks to Cheryl Hess Smith’s hard work. I am so very glad to see the information from the articles I’ve written about my ancestors being integrated into these profiles. They asked and I gave permission for information from any of my articles to be used.

Trust me, Nora’s profile looked nothing like this before.

Are We Related?

Who are these people who spent so much time on my ancestors’ profiles? Am I related to them? Is that why they expended the effort? I expected the answer to be yes.

Just for fun, I decided to see if I am related to each person who worked on the challenge.

It’s easy to tell if or how you are related to someone on WikiTree.

Go to their profile, then under their profile information, select “Relationship to Me.”

If you don’t see these options, the profile owner may have opted to keep this type of information private.

If you want to see how you are related to me, click here for my profile. If we are related, tell me how and through which ancestor, along with your profile ID in the comments. Who knows, the WikiTree Challenge volunteers may have been working on your ancestor too!

For each of the team members who worked on my branches this week, I checked to see if and how we are related. The results are shown below, with birth surnames shown in parenthesis.

As I viewed the profile for each person, I was dumbstruck at the number of cumulative contributions by these volunteers. Are you ready for this – these 35 people have contributed well over 1.5 million times – and growing every single day.

Relationship to Me

Let me explain how this works.

Jayme Arrington was the MVP this week, meaning she made the highest number of contributions that received points. Thank you, Jayme.

Jayme and I are 12th cousins once removed and I’ve provided the relationship link so you can take a look if you wish. Yes, each step needs to be proven for both people.

  • Jayme Arrington – MVP – 12C1

Relationship link

54K contributions

Jayne is an amazing contributor! We are related through our Connecticut Puritan line that extends back to England.

  • Dieter Lewerenz – no relationship

23K contributions

Top bounty hunter – congratulations!

  • Cheryl Hess Smith – 11C1R

Relationship link

91K contributions

Look at that – 91 thousand. Wow. Just wow.

  • Margreet Beers

25K contributions

Margreet is Dutch and I bet you can guess who did some of that work on my Dutch lines!

  • Greg Lavoie – 9C through Abraham Dugas

Relationship link

35K contributions

We share Acadian ancestors. There’s an old saying that if you are related to one Acadian, you are related to all Acadians!

  • Donna (Tucker) Baumann – 10C1R – through Katherine Duxford

Relationship link

51K contributions

Donna and I share Puritan ancestors.

  • Kathy Rabenstein – not related

83K contributions

Kathy made 151 edits to my ancestors and added 22 of their relatives. I would have gone down some rabbit hole never to be seen again!

  • Ann Browning – not related

5K contributions

Ann created a new ancestor for me. I’m grateful to be among her contributions.

  • Rosalie Martin Neve – 12C

Relationship link

29K contributions

Our Bowling line is from Lancashire. It’s fun to find connections. Given that she’s a WikiTreer, I’d bet she has seen my Bowling articles that include Charnock Richard, where our ancestors lived.

  • Chris M. Ferraiolo – 7C2R

Relationship link

15K contributions

Chris and I are related through my difficult Hill line which intersects with the Drew and Downes line. Look at this.

Chris and I share 70 common ancestors on multiple unrelated lines. (Hint – he has Acadian ancestry too)

Isn’t this WikiTree feature cool!

  • Kathy J. Nava (Urbach) – 19c2R

Relationship link

2K contributions

If these lineages are correct for both of us, we connect in the royal lineages of England. I’m not convinced my side of this lineage is accurate, but I need to research my Rice line more anyway and this provides motivation.

  • Maddy Hardman

131K contributions

OK, I’m just blown away by the sheer number of Maddy’s contributions. She must help other people all day and night. Does she ever sleep?

  • Paul J. Gierszewski – no relationship

47K contributions

Paul created 9 relatives and made 83 edits. Paul, along with several other WikiTree volunteers works on Source-A-Thon‘s too, where the goals is to – you guessed it – add sources to unsourced information on trees.

  • Lucy A. Selvaggio-Diaz – 15C1R

Relationship link

46K contributions

Lucy edited 16 profiles and added several relatives.

  • Jennifer Robins – 10C1R through Katherine Duxford

Relationship link

52K contributions

Ah, look, this means that Donna, Jennifer, and me are all three related through the same ancestor.

  • Karen J. Lowe – 10C through Mercy Prence

Relationship link

185K contributions

Our common ancestor, Mercy Prence was the granddaughter of Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim minister.

I can’t even imagine 185K contributions. My cousin is AWESOME!

  • Melanie McComb (Doherty) – no relationship

2K contributions

Melanie created two ancestors for me!

  • S. Johnston (Ellingson) – 15C

Relationship link

4K contributions

Ok, I really do have to get busy researching my Rice line to see if I can figure out if Thomas Rice is the son of Edward Rice and Mary Elizabeth Claiborne Harris. Group 4 of the Rice DNA Project is the line of my Thomas – more research is definately needed.

  • Laura A. DeSpain, Challenge team captain – 11C1R

Relationship link

40K contributions

Another Puritan lineage connecting through the Hill, Hall, Richardson lines out of Connecticut.

Thanks, Laura for being my team captain!

  • Elaine Weatherall – 17C2R

Relationship link

5K contributions

Our common ancestor relies upon being connected to Francis Pafat via an illegitimate birth. I wonder if there’s a way to prove or disprove this. Hmmm…

  • Michelle R. Enke – no relation

26K contributions

Michelle added two relatives and made several edits.

  • Mindy Silva, hostess of the WikiTree Challenge events – 11C1R

Relationship link

91K contributions

I think that one of my ancestral links, Jotham Brown’s father, is incorrect on WikiTree so I’ve added my article about Jotham that shows his early connection in New Jersey. Y DNA connects him with that line too. Unfortunately, that means that Mindy and I probably aren’t related.☹

  • Joan E. Whitaker (Williams) – no relation

122K contributions

Joan added a relative and cleaned up several profiles.

  • Nancy L. Wilson (Cox) – 16C

Relationship link

14K contributions

Our common ancestor, Reynold West, is a member of the Magna Carta WikiTree Project. Do you have any Magna Carta sureties as ancestors?

  • Ellen Smith – 7C through Mehitable Wood

Relationship link

119K contributions

Our common ancestor, Mehitable Wood, has several people listed who are descendants and provide their autosomal test information. I need to check and see if I match with Ellen or anyone else who descends from Mehitable.

I love the ability to add the different types of DNA tests for each ancestor. I use WikiTree often to check for both Y and mitochondrial DNA descendants. If everyone tests their autosomal and mitochondrial DNA, and males test their Y DNA at FamilyTreeDNA, this would eventually allow nearly every ancestor to have their Y and mitochondrial DNA information associated with their profile.

  • Tommy T. Buch – no relation

13K contributions

Tommy has worked on many WikiTree challenges. Often, people who have been the lucky recipients say thank you on the profile of the various volunteers – and Tommy has several.

  • Yann Le Ny – no relation

1K contributions

It looks like Yann just joined WikiTree in the spring of 2021 and has already made more than 1000 contributions. Welcome and thank you!

  • G. Price – 9C through Thomas Durham

Relationship link

2K contributions

I am really impressed that she has provided for her “Digitial Afterlife,” something we all need to do. I need to take this same action, and so do you. Take a look at what she did, here, by scrolling down.

Stephen Tomaszewicz – no relationship


Stephen worked on cleaning up several Dodson profiles, even though they aren’t his family lines.

I was startled to discover that most people were contributing on lines that aren’t their own. Just from the kindness of their hearts.

David A. Lambert – 9C

Relationship link

200+ contributions

David is the Chief Genealogist at American Ancestors of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, so it’s only fitting that we connect via my Hill/Mitchell/Andrews line. I would wager a guess that I can count on the information for our common ancestors, Joane and John Andrews, being accurate.

Eileen Robinson (Bellamy) – no relation

1K contributions

I wish we were related. I find Eileen’s bio very inspiring. Additionally, in 10 days or so since I originally wrote this article, Elieen has gone from crossing the 1000 submission threshold to 1905. Hats off to Eileen!

Janet Wild (Langridge) – no relationship

74K contributions

In addition to working on my challenge, Janet has participated in other challenges including being the captain, has been a project team lead and a one-name-study coordinator. I didn’t realize that WikiTree had one name studies. I need to go and check this out!

Karen L. Stewart – 10C

Relationship link

8K contributions

WikiTree has different privacy levels. Karen has set her privacy level to “Private with Public Biography and Family Tree.” You can read about the various levels and what they mean, here.

Jelena Eckstädt – no relation

74K contributions

When I saw Jelena’s German name, I thought sure that we were related. Alas, no, but I was still the beneficiary of her German expertise.

Anon Sharkey (Cormack)

44K contributions

Anon may want to remain anonymous, but with almost 45K contributions, Anon is clearly making a huge difference.

Thank You One and All

I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for working on my ancestors during my WikiTree Challenge week.

If I worked on 10 items a day, for a year, I wouldn’t have been able to get this done. It’s not just time. I was the beneficiary of the expertise and determination of these amazing volunteers.

Truly, the holiday season came early for me this year!

Thank you one and all.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Uploads

Genealogy Products and Services


Genealogy Research

A Wink and a Nod From My Ancestors: Flyin’ Over the Old Home Place – 52 Ancestors #343

Have you ever been busy doing something to discover that one of your ancestors just gave you a really, REALLY unexpected, completely out-of-the-blue wink and a nod?

Of course, immediately you think that’s entirely silly.

I mean, that’s not possible. Right?

Yet, there you are…and whatever it was just happened.

An Unplanned Detour

I knew I was flying to a particular destination. I’ve flown there before. No big deal.

But this time, nothing seemed to go right. Flights that used to exist evaporated into thin air. Inexplicably, the flights that did exist were full – at least the day I needed to fly.

I could get a lovely, direct, flight into a city about 90 minutes distant from my destination. That was very confusing because normally it’s THAT city whose flights are typically full.


I couldn’t get there via the path one would normally travel, but I could get there, so I booked the flight.


You know the butterflies you get in your stomach when you head off for a huge life change? Even if you know it’s the right path?

A wedding maybe?


Moving away from anyone or anything familiar?

New job?

Career shift?


Any major life move.

Sometimes the butterflies start hatching a few days in advance and by the time you’re on the way, you have an entire kaleidoscope in residence.

Everyone’s coping methodology is different.

Some people get insomnia.





On this particular flight, I chose distraction because those butterflies were out of control.

I couldn’t concentrate enough to read, so I opted to watch an in-flight movie.

Except…I didn’t like either movie I started to watch, and by that time, If I had started to watch a different movie, the flight would have ended before the movie.

I flipped to the plane’s flight-tracker, and that’s when it happened.

Where Am I?

My window shade was closed. It was dark in the cabin. Most people were either watching something or sleeping.

I didn’t really think much about how to get from point A, my departure location, to point B.

However, I noticed on the flight tracker that the airplane was generally over a part of the country that seemed like it would pass near where my ancestors lived in Virginia and Tennessee, near the Cumberland Gap.

I enlarged the map to view the plane’s path.

Wow, it’s traveling east of Knoxville, near Claiborne County, Tennessee.

The map had an upper limit to how large one can make the map, and only the cities and larger towns were shown. Trust me, not one of my ancestors is from any place even resembling “large.” Not even medium.

I pulled my shade up, not that I expected to see anything that I would even remotely recognize from 30,000 feet in the air.

I was in for quite a surprise.

Goin’ Home

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve driven those ribbon-looking roads home.

Where is home?

Home is where my ancestors lived. Where my Dad was born, and so were his parents and their kin for generations. Home was where I went to find them. When I first began that journey, I only knew one word – Tazewell. A town in Tennessee. According to my Mom, that’s where my Dad was from. I knew nothing else. Nothing about his parents or siblings. Nothing about his grandparents.

Nothing. Not one thing.

That was in 1978.

Oh my, what a long way we’ve come – me and my ancestors. I’ve been pushed, guided, and cajoled. I’ve had many fortuitous “accidents” and met the most amazing people. I found family I had no idea existed, and I’m very close to many of those cousins today.

I cherish those mesmerizing, life-changing trips where a dear cousin took me to stand where my ancestors stood, lived, and yes, were buried.

Uncle George was the first, and he’s been gone for almost 25 years now. We climbed in the cattle grate of his pickup truck for the trip up the mountainside in Estes Holler where our ancestors homesteaded.

After several years, the people you met decades ago have passed over, and the younger generation isn’t necessarily interested. Furthermore, you’ve found the ancestors who lived in that region and pushed the brick wall further back to a time before they settled there. In this case, back into Virginia and North Carolina.

Said another way that genealogists will understand, there just doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason to return again – especially if it’s a long distance with no one left.

I haven’t been back to the Cumberland Gap area in more than a decade.

That is, until today.

The Window

I looked out and saw the first of the mountain ridges rising in the distance, like pleats in the fabric of earth, or maybe ripples in the sea of time.

Are those the linear ridges that comprise the Cumberland Mountains, forming a 100-mile group of NE to SW ridges within the Appalachian Range that includes the Cumberland Gap?

Why yes, yes, I believe it is.

We can see these same ridges on this 1795 map that the early settlers would have used. We can see the Kentucky road and the Indian boundary line, just to the left of the road where the red color begins. That Indian boundary line ran right through my ancestor’s land.

A few other steep, treacherous, but passable gaps occur between the ridges, but not many.

Click images to enlarge

I looked back at the plane’s path on the screen which was currently east of Knoxville and yes, sure enough, those mountains out the window are the beginning of the Cumberland Range of the Appalachian Mountains.

My family was from all over, down there.

Each individual ancestor’s journey eventually coalesced in Estes Holler, along Little Sycamore Road which follows Little Sycamore Creek, of course. To get there, you have to follow the valleys, along the Ol’ Kentucky Road, south out of Tazewell, then turn north again when you reach the crossroads called Springdale. You’ll know you’re there when you see the school, the gas station that serves pizza by the slice, and the church. Estes Holler is up yonder a bit.

It’s about 7 miles from Tazewell, unless you’re a crow, then it’s maybe 3. Of course, you could take the unpaved two-tracks across the ridges, but that’s not recommended unless you know where you’re going and what you’re doing.

If I was right, then out my window I was seeing Barbourville, where my Vannoy ancestor, John Vannoy’s son, Francis Vannoy (1746-1822) – Daniel Vannoy’s brother and Elijah Vannoy’s uncle resided. For years, we had no idea quite how Francis Vannoy was related to my ancestor, Elijah Vannoy who lived not terribly far away along Mulberry Creek in Claiborne County, the part that would one day split off to form Hancock County.

Francis Vannoy lived about 60 miles distant in Barbourville, Kentucky, over rough mountain trails. Regardless, we knew the families retained close ties because they intermarried. The Vannoy family, along with the McNiels and several others lived on what would eventually be called Back Valley Road. Back Valley, which is also called Rebel Holler in some places, and is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers, follows a holler just below the state line between Virginia and Tennessee.

Pineville and Middlesboro, Kentucky should be visible out the window soon.

When my grandfather, William George Estes, moved back to Appalachia after tenant farming in Indiana, he eventually settled on the highest part of Black Mountain in Harlan County, just 60 miles but almost two hours east of Pineville on hopelessly winding roads with deadly switchbacks. His grandson would die a tragic death on those roads one day.

My grandfather didn’t drive, although I have no idea why not. He rode a horse initially, and then rode as a passenger with others. Cars were scarce in the 19-teens and 1920s when he moved back.

By the 1950s, he would catch a ride down to Pineville, Kentucky, then take the bus through Middlesboro, Kentucky, across Cumberland Gap, and through Tazewell, Tennessee.

Today, there’s a tunnel, but back then, the only road went across Cumberland Gap. You can take a look here, although the road is abandoned today, and hear some of the country music of the hills too. Of course, the earliest pioneers walked the path along the Wilderness Road, which you can view here in a lovely, short historical documentary.

The bus or some kindhearted soul would drop my grandfather south of Tazewell at Springdale where he would catch a ride with someone headed down Little Sycamore Road to Estes Holler. No ride – no problem – he would walk.

His parents and family lived in Estes Holler, as had three previous generations. However, my grandmother, Ollie Bolton’s parents, and family lived on up Little Sycamore into Hancock County, on Wallen Ridge, along the Powell River where the only way across the range is across the river and through Mulberry Gap.

Michael McDowell settled Slanting Miserly and lived near William Herrell, James Lee Claxton, and Joseph Bolton when Joseph arrived from Giles County, Virginia in the 1840s. By that time, those other families had been established for 30 or 40 years – some longer.

Lazarus Dodson, a Revolutionary War veteran, lived close to Middlesboro, on the Tennessee side, just beneath the actual Cumberland Gap.

Civil War soldiers camped in his field, marked on a military map, which is how we located his original land. Lazarus Dodson’s land was sold to David Cottrell, and this map shows the location of the homestead.

In addition to the Dodson homeplace, you can see the corresponding roads today.

Lazarus Dodson Jr.’s wife was Elizabeth Campbell. Her parents, John Campbell and Jenny Dobkins, and grandparents, Jacob Dobkins and Dorcas Johnson lived on the Powell River, near where the river bends back on itself near the Hancock County border. Of course, there’s a family cemetery, as there is in many locations.

It’s difficult to see from this perspective, but I know my ancestors are all down there within view.

John Campbell who married Jacob Dobkins’ daughter lived right above Liberty Baptist Church. In fact, Liberty was built on what had once been his land.

Before the Campbell boys moved to Claiborne County, the Campbell family and the Dodsons lived at the old Warrior Path crossing on the Holston River near Rogersville where the TVA plant is located today, near Dru Hanes Road. Jacob Dobkins lived about 8 miles away, up to Bull’s Gap, near the Hawkins/Hamblen County line.

About 1795, two of Jacob’s daughters married Campbell brothers. About 1801, all three of those families, along with Lazarus Dodson and his family, moved to Claiborne County. Their son, Lazarus Dodson Jr. married Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of John Campbell and Jenny Dobkins.

Generation after generation of closely allied families were born in these hills.

The Crumley family migrated with the Brown family from Frederick County, Virginia to Greene County, Tennessee about 1797, settling on what is now Crumley Road near Greeneville.

Two decades later, William Crumley moved on from Greeneville to Blackwater Creek on the border between what is now Hancock County, Tennessee, and Lee County, Virginia, along with his adult son William, who had married Lydia Brown. The younger William’s daughter, Phebe Crumley would one day marry Joel Vannoy in Hancock County, Tennessee and they would move down Little Sycamore to Vannoy Holler, named after Joel, right across the ridge from Estes Holler.

You know where this is headed, right?

Indeed, Lazarus Estes, son of Rutha Dodson and John Y. Estes went courtin’ across the ridge and married Elizabeth Vannoy in 1867.

Rutha and John’s marriage was rudely interrupted by the Civil War, and never really recovered. She lived out her life in Estes Holler, but he walked on to Texas, establishing a new branch of the family there.

You know, I always wondered how Rutha Dodson, daughter of Lazarus Dodson and Elizabeth Campbell who lived plumb up to Cumberland Gap met John Y. Estes.

John Y. Estes lived in Estes Holler after his parents settled there when they arrived from Halifax County, Virginia, following his father’s service in the War of 1812. I figured it out when we realized Rutha’s mother died young and she was being raised by her grandparents, John Campbell and Jenny Dobkins who owned land right near Estes Holler, where Liberty Baptist Church is today.

You can’t marry who you don’t see – so two people have to be close enough to court.

Another branch of the family, the Reverend Nicholas Speaks and his wife, Sarah Faires left Washington County Virginia near Glade Springs about 1820 to found the Speaks Methodist Church in Lee County, Virginia.

The church is only 6 or 7 miles as the crow flies from Mulberry Gap. Of course, it’s 18 or 20 miles as the horse travels, through Mulberry Gap and then fording the Powell River at a low place – assuming there is a low place to be found.

Nicholas’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Speaks, married Samuel Claxton who fought for the North during the Civil War and died soon after. They lived on the Tennessee side of the Powell River.

Getting to church was not for the fainthearted.

Many of these families lived along or near the Powell River.

James Lee Claxton and his wife Sarah Cook left Russell County, Virginia near Honaker on the Clinch River around 1800 and settled on Claxton Bend near Slanting Misery on the Powell River where Michael McDowell tried to plow land that was more vertical than horizontal.

Samuel Muncy and Anne Workman followed the advancing Virginia frontier too and settled in Lee County, near the Powell River that formed the border with Claiborne County, Tennessee.

The Muncy men served in the forts in Russell County, Virginia during the Revolutionary War.

Agnes Muncy married Fairwick Claxton about 1814 in the part of Claiborne County that would become Hancock in the 1840s. They too lived on the Powell River on Claxton Bend, near what is today Camp Jubilee where they are buried on the old homeplace.

Elizabeth Vannoy’s grandparents, Joel Vannoy and Lois McNiel settled in Claborne County, the part that became Hancock, after leaving Wilkes County, North Carolina about 1812 or so. They weren’t the only people from Wilkes that settled among those valleys and mountain ridges along the Powell River. William Harrell, sometimes spelled Harrold in Wilkes County, and Michael McDowell, a Revolutionary War veteran came too, along with their families. The Hickerson line married into those families in Wilkes County, as did the Shepherd and Rash lines.

Wilkes County was located across the actual mountain range itself, not along its ridges or valleys. There was no easy way to get from Wilkes County, North Carolina to Claiborne County, Tennessee. Look at those majestic, and tall, mountains!

These hearty ancestors settled in this rugged terrain, between the ridges, in the hollers, near the tops of mountains, and along the cleanest part of the streams where their families would, hopefully, be safe.

Many families arrived in eastern Tennessee shortly after the Revolutionary War, and some, like Jacob Dobkins, even before. Countless more found their way to the westward frontier when the floodgates opened after the War of 1812.

Perhaps they were joining family members who had already staked a claim and built a small cabin.

Regardless of who they were, how they arrived, or when, over a span of a hundred years or so, 42 of my ancestors lived, loved, and made their lives in these rugged mountains. They came to love them and called them home. Eventually, those ancestors gave life to my father who passed that love of the mountains on to me.

Just looking at them, from the valley floors or from 30,000 feet in the air brings me peace.

I am a product of these hardscrabble survivors. Some of them didn’t even have houses, at least not at first – living in structures created from animal hides before they built small one-room cabins for their large families. Kitchens and bathrooms were both outside. They fetched and carried water from a stream.

Some were Native people who were none too happy to see the new settlers.

Many risked everything, either to fight to defend their land, this fledgling nation and to make the trek to settle the dangerous frontier.

Women plowed, farmed, and performed the work normally done by both men and women. Sometimes only when the menfolk were gone, but all too often that stretched into forever because their husbands never returned.

Today, I saw all of this in the span of a few minutes. Kind of like the panorama of my ancestors’ lives passing before my eyes.

More than two centuries of my ancestors’ blood and DNA waters the land below. Journeys that took months of hard work in muddy ruts, and cost some of them their very lives, slipped beneath my plane window in just a few minutes.

What would my ancestors have thought?


This unexpected birds-eye survey of my ancestors’ lives provided me with an amazing perspective.

I was able to appreciate their journey in a way they never could.

Observing their lives pass before my eyes spoke to my soul and buoyed my spirits.

I felt like my ancestors – all of them, as far as the eye could see – were cheering and waving me on to my future. Of course, that’s the future for the parts of them that I carry in me, too. By virtue of that, they accompany me.

I’m doing my small part to look to the horizon once again. Carrying on the wanderlust tradition.

I must be brave. Compared to what they faced, and survived, this is nothing. I can always fly home, or back to visit. I can text in an instant to someone who lives distantly.

They couldn’t even rely on letters to arrive. No notification if someone passed away. Women didn’t know if their husbands died in war, or hunting, or not. Were they a widow? Would they, could they, should they, remarry?

No modern medicine either. Childbirth was inherently risky, as was any infected cut. Appendicitis? You’re toast. Dig the grave.

My ancestors unquestionably understood fear – for themselves and their family members. It was part of their daily diet.

Yet, it didn’t stop them. They pressed on and persisted. That’s a good thing for me!

A Wink and a Nod

My unexpected, unplanned Appalachian tour that consumed maybe all of 30 minutes was indeed a wink and a nod from those ancestors. Quieted those butterflies right down.

I had my own personal cheering squad.

Silently wishing me well.

I heard them in my heart as I gazed down at their homelands. I can see the line of ancestors, their path extending back into Virginia, and beyond in the misty distance.

Frontiers have never been easy, but I see the horizon just over that next mountain. Just like they did.

Thanks Ancestors. I needed you today!



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Sitting Bull’s Hair Confirms Relationship With Great-Grandson

Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, known as the legendary Lakota warrior and leader, Sitting Bull, was born about 1831 and was killed in 1890. You’ll probably remember him for his victory over Custer and his troops in 1876 at the Battle of Little Big Horn, known as the Battle of Greasy Grass to the Native people and as Custer’s Last Stand colloquially.

By Orlando Scott Goff – Heritage Auctions, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27530348

Pictured here, Sitting Bull was photographed in 1881.

After Sitting Bull’s murder, his scalp lock, a braided length of hair used to hold his feather in place was cut from his body as a souvenir of the grizzly event. In 1896, the scalp lock along with his leggings were donated to and held by the Smithsonian Museum for more than a century before being returned to his family in 2007. Sitting Bull’s great-grandson, Ernie LaPointe, now in his 70s, along with his three sisters are Sitting Bull’s closest living relatives.

The family needed to unquestionably prove a familial connection to be allowed to make decisions about Sitting Bull’s gravesite and remains. Genetic analysis was employed to augment traditional genealogical records. According to Ernie, “over the years, many people have tried to question the relationship that I and my sisters have to Sitting Bull.”

After the return of Sitting Bull’s scalp lock to Ernie LaPointe, Professor Eske Willerslev, one of the pioneers in ancient DNA, contacted Ernie and offered to assist the family by analyzing the hair sample.

By Von Bern – Sitting Bull family portrait, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49894969

Original text from the back of the above image:

“4 generations of Sitting Bull: Sitting Bull, two wives, their daughter, her daughter, her baby” “Copy from Mrs. Edward M. Johnson collection Spiritwood, N. Dak.” Sitting Bull and family 1882 at Ft Randall rear L-R Good Feather Woman (sister), Walks Looking (daughter) front L-R Her Holy Door (mother), Sitting Bull, Many Horses (daughter) with her son, Courting a Woman

LaPointe and his sisters descend from Sitting Bull through their mother, through one of Sitting Bull’s three daughters, so neither Y nor mitochondrial DNA were options to prove that they were the great-grandchildren of Sitting Bull. Generally, neither Y nor mitochondrial DNA establish exact recent relationships, but confirm or disprove lineage relationships.

DNA From Sitting Bull’s Hair

In 2007, obtaining autosomal DNA from hair was virtually impossible, even from contemporary hair, let alone hair that’s more than a century old. However, today, the technology involved has improved. Additionally, it’s also possible that some of the DNA from Sitting Bull’s skin or skin flakes were held within the scalp lock itself.

The fact that the hair had been treated with arsenic for preservation while in the possession of the Smithsonian made DNA analysis even more difficult. Unlike traditional contemporary DNA tests, a full autosomal sequence was not able to be obtained. Small fragments of autosomal DNA from the braid were able to be pieced together well enough to compare to Ernie LaPointe and other Lakota people, showing that Ernie and his family match Sitting Bull’s hair more closely than other Lakota.

The academic paper published by Willerslev, with other researchers and authors including LaPointe provides the following abstract:

Only a small portion of the braid was utilized for the analysis. The rest was burned in a spiritual ceremony. You can read the scientific paper, here.

This analysis of Sitting Bull’s hair opens the door for the remains in the two potential burial sites to be evaluated to see if they match the DNA retrieved from the scalp lock – enabling the family to rebury Sitting Bull in a location of their choice.

You can read additional coverage, here, here, here, and here.

Establishing a Relationship

Sitting Bull’s DNA is considered ancient DNA because it’s not contemporary, and it was degraded. But the definition of ancient needs to be put in context.

Sitting Bull’s “ancient DNA” is not the same thing as “ancient DNA” from thousands of years ago. In part, because we know positively that the DNA from thousands of years ago will not match anyone genealogically today – although it may match people at a population level (or by chance) with small fragments of DNA. We know the identity of Sitting Bull, who, on the other hand, would be expected to match close family members and other more distantly related members of the tribe.

Ernie and his sisters are great-grandchildren of Sitting Bull, so they would be expected to share about 887 cM of DNA in total, ranging from 485 cM to 1486 cM.

In an endogamous population, one could be expected to share even more total DNA, but that additional DNA would likely be in smaller fragments, not contiguous segments.

Great-Grandchildren Matches

For example, two great-grandchildren match their great-grandmother on 902 cM and 751 cM of DNA, respectively, with a longest contiguous block of 130 cM and 72 cM.

Another pair matches a great-grandfather at 1051 cM and 970 cM, with longest blocks of 220 cM and 141 cM.

A person would be expected to share about 12.5% of their autosomal DNA with a given great-grandparent. I wrote about how much we can expect to inherit, on average, from any ancestor, here.

In terms of the types of DNA matches that we are used to for genealogy, a great-grandparent would be one of our closest matches. Other relationships that could share about the same amount of DNA include a great-aunt/uncle/niece or nephew, a half-aunt/uncle/niece or nephew, a first cousin, half first cousin, first cousin once removed, or a great-grandchild.

Courtesy of DNAPainter

Since Sitting Bull’s DNA was extracted from hair, and we know unquestionably where that hair had been since 1896 when it was donated to the Smithsonian, we can eliminate some of those relationships. Furthermore, the genetic analysis supports the genealogical records.

What About Hair, DNA, and Your Genealogy?

I’m sure you’re wondering how this applies to you and your genealogy.

Like so many other people, I have a hair WITH a follicle belonging to my father and letters written by my paternal grandfather in envelopes that I hope he licked to seal. I tried several years ago, at different times, unsuccessfully. to have both of their DNA extracted to use for genealogy. Not only were the endeavors unsuccessful, but those attempts were also VERY expensive.


I know how desperately we want to utilize those items for our genealogy, but the technology still is not ripe yet. Not then and not now. At least, not for regular consumers.

Remember that this extraction took a very specialized ancient DNA lab and many highly skilled individuals. It also took a total of 14 years. The DNA obtained was highly fragmented and had to be reassembled, with lots of pieces still missing. Then it had to be compared to currently living individuals. The ancient DNA autosomal file, like other autosomal forensic files, would NOT pass quality control at any of the DNA processing companies today, where the required QA pass rate is in the ballpark of 98%.

This type of ancient DNA extraction has only been successfully done using autosomal DNA once before, in 2015 on the remains of someone who died in 1916. While Y and mitochondrial DNA has been used to rule out, or *not* rule out direct patrilineal or matrilineal relationships in other burials, highly degraded autosomal DNA is much more difficult to utilize to establish relationships. The relationships must be close in nature so that enough of the genome can be reconstructed to infer a close familial relationship

I realize that more than one company has entered this space over the past several years, and you might also notice that they have either exited said space or are have not achieved any measure of reproducible success. Do NOT chance a valuable irreplaceable sample to any company just yet. This type of processing is not a standard offering – but ongoing research opens the door for more improvement in the future. I still have my fingers crossed.

If you are interested in preserving your items, such as hair, teeth, hairbrushes, electric razors, etc. for future analysis, be sure to keep them in paper, preferably acid-free (archival) paper, NOT plastic, and in a relatively temperature-controlled environment. By that, I mean NOT in the attic and NOT in a humid basement. Someplace in the house, comfortable for regular humans, and not sealed in a ziplock baggie. Don’t touch or handle them either.

Test Older Relatives NOW!

If you can test your oldest relatives, do it now. Grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts/uncles. All of your oldest family members. Don’t wait.

FamilyTreeDNA performs the test you order and is the only DNA testing company that archives the DNA sample for 25 years. The remaining DNA is available to order upgrades or new products as technology advances.

That’s exactly how and why some younger people have great-grandparent DNA available for matching today, even if their great-grandparents have walked on to the other side and joined Sitting Bull.



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