I Have My Genealogy ~ Why Do I Need DNA For Anything? & Simplistic Questions, We Need Those The Most

I’m not laughing or amused at simple questions, I am here to answer questions. I might only have 14 years of reading DNA and genetics for genealogy and anthropology, and I might only go back about 35 years working in journalism and digging up people and stories, and I might have only followed my grandmother around dusty county records rooms going back about 60 years – but I have picked up a few hints and helps and I share them.

There is a beginner’s information hole in what answers I have found online for DNA for genealogy and anthropology. To read about the basics of this, and these, haplo, harpo, and hup yours groups you often have to sift through countless expert scientific reports. I wanted to help fill this need by writing about the basics for all of us learning and relearning.

I am past senior, cancer survivor, and every good idea I ever had was usually a day late and a dollar short. For all these years of emails and message board posts and mailing lists and surname projects and learning the haplogroups of multiple lines of my own and helping others to learn why they want theirs and sort of what they mean – I bet I have written out the haplogroup 101 info email – what – hundreds and hundreds of times – did I hit a thousand? More? I quit saving emails because AOL wanted to charge for storage a few years ago.

All these years I have been sharing the links to the great companies, and the great bloggers, and the great genealogy and DNA websites by email and in Facebook groups, letting folks know this or that link goes to a place to keep up with the good news. But I also needed one place, with one simple answer for several important questions, and now when I am emailed, I send the link to one of my 101 basics pages. I really can’t answer the emails like I used to, and so my pages are just my sharing, in a new way. I might be young at blogging but that is the only thing I am young at.

I am not in competition with any of the great bloggers for DNA for genealogy and anthropology – I need their help. I need their blessing, and I pray I am good enough to promote.

(For more about each of the DNA tests y au and mt see the contents on the right with several info pages. And for the short answer the au-DNA is the test that almost all the companies test and is a general over all, all of you – test. And the y-DNA test has very few companies which are offering the test and it is only the male gene and only males can test and it is the male’s father’s father’s father’s father’s etc etc single gender y – guy thing test and result.

I am asked by some why they would want y-DNA for genealogy to be added to their au-DNA testing. They have extensively researched and thoroughly documented lines with traditional genealogy research with primary and secondary documentation. A work of research any of us would be proud of and with also the usual dead end lines.

I first ask, how many adoptions do you have in your tree? How many non-paternity events even? How many people are known to be reared by one family member or neighbor, while being the child of another? How many changed their name?

In my personal lines, I have a cousin who discovered John Prince being taken to court about 200 years ago and sued for support for his two children by Mrs Mark Rymer. Uncle Sherman Kidd changed his surname to Winton and our cousin Ernest Evan Thompson changed his name to Ernest Thompson Seton.

But it took y-DNA to prove that David Lewis 1695-1779, Hanover and Albemarle, is not kin to the Lewis’ of Warner Hall; or that the Money family of Surry County North Carolina are not related to the Money family of Cecil County, Maryland. Have you a dead end line – y-DNA combined with au-DNA might help.

1Copy of 01a Copy of cherie known dna haplogroups

Some of these haplogroups have been proven by a combination of au-DNA verifying I match the other person who tests as I should match them. Meaning, we might have a lot of genetic relatives but we should not assume how we are related to any match, we need to prove it. If our cousin is also a man and if one of my surname line families, then his y-DNA will give me the y-DNA of my male ancestors. Seeing that our ancestors are made up of many if not most early haplogroups makes the genetic ancestry more personal – besides being used to verify family groups and if our research is correct in identifying our patriarch of an ancestral family.

It took glorious – handsome y-DNA to learn about and follow back through time to our  Lancashire Kidd’s y-DNA – Haplogroup R1a  – There is not a soul in recent paternal matches, but a wonderfully intriguing match for the past in a community called Giggleswick and Craven – near Yorkshire. There lived a number of people of the surname Kidd and also the surname Leeming with distant but matching y-DNA and matching terminal SNP (Whoa! Science? y-DNA 202 ‘single nucleotide polymorphisms’). In the community of Giggleswick and Craven I might not ever find ‘the man’ but I have the family, if not exactly which one of them. This is only possible with y-DNA that will reach back in time.

I tell everyone, if you know your haplogroup and have 5$ you can buy a starbucks. But. there is really more value. If you travel to a home place of your family and it turns out to be the wrong family, then to be able to prove who are the correct ancestors is worth everything.

How to? My paternal grandmother’s father’s y-dna line is known through a male cousin. I researched back in time to find a male Stripling that would be the same male line as my great grandfather. To make sure there was not any non-paternity event between him and me – we compared our autosomal DNA and then also I learn his y-dna. In this case we both tested with 23andme. They have a bargain for the basics where you are given your autosomal matches but also your unrefined “guess?” haplogroup(s) are also given. Oops here is the science that sidelines the fun.

For this cousin and me, we match, in shared genes, in au-DNA, the equivalent of 3rd cousins, and we are, by paper, 3rd cousins. Then his presumed y-DNA haplogroup is added to my ancestor’s genetic history.

Also testing with Family Tree DNA I search through my autosomal test results matches, called the Family Finder test with ftDNA, for males of my surnames. Some I could verify that we were related to each other through a specific line and then we can learn their y-DNA also. If they learned about shared ancestors through their y-dna studies hopefully you can learn through their research. And beyond surname projects and matching paternal family groups, all the haplogroups are having more and more information written about them all the time.

cherie fan chart dna best names

When anyone asks me why they can’t always rely on an au-DNA test to prove a relationship between themselves and a cousin who might be 3rd cousin or farther, I answer, it might work, but it also might miss a cousin at that distance. This au-DNA chart shows the progression back in time for our near ancestors and every generation we miss more and more matches. No one can guarantee two cousins who test will match each other with enough genes to show after a few generations back – many will be missed. After a few generations the accuracy and consistency fades rapidly. This is why I stress everyone should test the elders of the family – you will see farther back in time.

See in the blogs: ‘The Trinity Of DNA Testing’ in the list on the right for more info about each test. Kissin’ Cousins gives more about finding y-DNA relatives to test. And also ‘The Perils Of Admixture There Is More To DNA Than A Pie Chart’ and ‘Haplogroups Are Not Ethnic, Clan… are two other answers for specific questions.

I like to learn about my ancestor’s haplogroups by thinking of them just as men – a mutation is a guy – my ancestor – me in antiquity.

So starting from ages and eons and a long time ago there is Papa CF and he had sons Papa Jr C and Papa Jr F

Papa Jr C had sons…

And Papa Jr F had sons….

1 Copy of 1 Copy 2a of Copy 1 of tree base haplo f

Over simplified but what helped me to leave the insecurities of the science behind. There in the middle is daddy/ancestor/haplogroup F he lived a seriously long time ago. There are countless men/SNPs(genes) in-between each of these generations but it gives the idea. In this last generation there are descendants of F’s sons H and G – they are just not shown. I do show the son IJK in fact IJK had son I and I-M170 (SNP) had sons I1 and I2 and then the son K leads to descendants R and his sons R1a and R1b

You are going to follow the sons into the future – to yourself as a man with your haplogroup and through proving your male cousins are related, as they should be, you can learn about many of your ancestors’ haplogroups, prove their family groups through matching other participants, learn about ancestors in recent history, and also learn about the genetic ancestry of their anthropology – from this single line of wonderful handsome y-DNA named as a haplogroup.

1 Copy of tree ancestry

This is another view of the family view of a tree from ancestry.com. here you see father/ancestor/haplogroup F and you see a couple of generations of his ancestors and and couple generations of descendants. There are countless SNPs in-between and this is only to give an idea of a way to look at this.

There is a male patriarch and his ‘name’ is a ‘haplogroup’ – he is your ancestor – you can find his genetic identity, with a weird letter/number name through your relatives and yourself, and learn all about many haplogroups through all your ancestors.

jacob r1b tree

This chart above and with the one below follow from a man and his haplogroup back in time. NO this cannot be used – there are countless “men” SNPs in-between each of these generations – this is just to give the idea of how to think about your haplogroup/ancestor

p ydna ancestor tree

What is your haplogroup? What are your haplogroups?

I am offering 101 plus info and stories and hope if you have any questions you will let me know.

If I don’t have the answers, someone I know will, and if you need the answers in the simplest terms – come check my blog, I will be trying to make the ABCs very easy.

What test? – more about y-DNA


Haplogroups? – more about ancestors with funny names


More of the greats of DNA for genealogy links:

Maciamo Hay’s – Eupedia


Spender Wells’ and Razib Khan’s – Insitome

their You Tube channel


Roberta Estes’ – DNA Explained


Dick Eastman’s – Eastman’s Online Genealogy


Rebecca Canada’s – Haplogroup


My project on Family Tree DNA will take you to all ftDNA Projects – see the tab at the top



7 thoughts on “I Have My Genealogy ~ Why Do I Need DNA For Anything? & Simplistic Questions, We Need Those The Most

  1. It is a small world. I am through son John Prince and Virginia Berry through Thomasine Prince and Col John Earle. Years ago I had an email with some of the supposed original stories of our cousin making the finding. Apparently ‘our’ cousin had been a member of one of the societies which was for colonial ministers descendants, and when this was discovered about Prince – his membership status as an ancestor minister was halted and the lady was asked to leave her membership? I do not have a clue if this is true or not. In Family Finder on ftDNA, I match about two dozen people with the surname Prince in their ancestral surnames – but I also match a male Prince – so exciting – but !!! he has NOT tested his y-DNA – oh!


  2. I am descended through son John and his wife Sarah (as far as I know her name was Sarah), and their son Henry Berry Prince. I also am descended from Col. John Earle and his second wife Rebecca Wood. Their daughter Lydia Maverick Earle married William Berry Prince, son of Henry Berry Prince. Lots of connections between the Princes, Woods, and Berrys. Jack Prince who you match on FTDNA is my father. Millard Alfred Prince is my uncle, and Jennifer Prince Kepner is my first cousin.

    Liked by 1 person

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