Friday, 13 February 2015

DNA, Family Trees and collateral branches

A change from the Do-Over topics – having had my DNA tested several years ago, it has always been my intention to write about genetic genealogy and how the results of DNA testing were helping me (or not!) with my own family history.  There are several very informative bloggers who write about the “wider picture” of using DNA for genealogy, so my concentration was going to be just about my own personal experiences.  Since I have now started this blog for my family history, there seems little point in having a separate DNA blog, so I shall be including the DNA-related posts here.

Genetic genealogy should not be seen as a separate discipline from traditional genealogical research – the two methods go hand in hand.  DNA testing can identify that there is a common ancestry between two people but it is only through the traditional research techniques that the shared ancestors can then be identified. 

Fundamentally important to the process of identifying the DNA connections is having a pedigree available for one’s DNA matches to view and compare against their own family information.  I do have a public tree on Ancestry, based on the research carried out by my parents, but I thought it might be useful to have a tree on here as well.   This is just a small image of the tree, as I have also created a separate page of the blog (see tabs above) with a larger image on. 

The tree is based on the “horizontal style”, as advocated in the post on the "Analytic Genealogy" blog at http://analyticgenealogy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/genetic-genealogy-needs-horizontal.html .  Although I haven't yet started to work through the records to confirm the research that my parents carried out, I do believe it is fairly reliable – more likely to be missing additional supporting records, than to contain incorrect connections.  As my “Do-Over” proceeds, it will involve checking my parents’ research, and I will update the tree as necessary.  Hopefully, that will also enable me to fill in many of the blanks on the tree - laying the pedigree out like this seems to show up the “unknown ancestors” much more effectively than the usual trees produced by the family tree programs.

Of course, for DNA matching purposes, what one really needs is a tree that shows, not just all of one’s ancestors, but also all of the other descendants of those ancestors – right down to the various “living cousin” levels of one’s DNA matches. Otherwise a descendant of those collateral branches might easily miss their connection to me, just because they haven’t researched far enough back to arrive at our common ancestor.

I have been working on a pedigree that might meet this need – it is currently on my web page at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/im.griffiths/parryfamilyhistory/personaldnatree.htm , as I still need to work out how to add that much styling information to a page on blogger.

And, as might be expected, it has even more gaps in it than the tree here does!

No comments:

Post a Comment