Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More on My Gene Pool

To clarify, I'm testing my Y-DNA. It will trace my most direct parental ancestor. Later I will test my mtDNA, which will trace the ethnoancestry of my most direct maternal ancestor. Family lore has that branch of the family as the descendents of a great Delaware Indian chief. mtDNA would not exactly show this, but it would show if I have markers shared by Native Americans.

I'm sort of in luck there. While my dad's family doesn't have the best records, both sides of his family come from The Bahamas, which has pretty good records and an active cultural community in the islands and across the US where they've ended up. I suppose one could say there's a small Bahamian Diaspora, white and black, that ended up in Florida, Georgia and other southeastern states. My surname is somewhat common in the Bahamas while rare in most of the US outside of Florida, and strangely, the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My mother's family has kept excellent records, however.

Through records, I've traced my most direct parental ancestor, assuming the records at are right, to a man named Thomas born 1829 or 1828 in the Bahamas.

The DNA test will not tell me if Thomas is indeed my most direct parental ancestor, but it will tell me where his genes originated (likely in Africa, somewhere.) The DNA also goes into a database and can be uploaded into several other databases, and it can locate another person who can trace direct ancestry back to a person on my line.

I highly recommend this. Another site, Family Tree DNA, is one of the oldest and has many projects going, and a forum that has lots of armchair geneticists tracing themselves and humanity across the globe. It is interesting how genes travel, and it has pulled up some suprises.

I can't wait to get the results back!


Anonymous said...

Sounds fascinating! Keep us posted on what you find out.

By the way, when you say "my most direct parental ancestor," do you mean "paternal ancestor"?

Terry Pinder said...

I mean my fathers father's father's father's father's father's and so on. The test I took only tested my Y-Chromosome. There are also tests that test the X chromosome for mitochondrial DNA, which would only detect your most direct maternal ancestor, or mother's mother's mother's mother's mothers.