Posted By:John Lancaster
Subject:Re: Lancaster in Maine--DNA Test Needed
Post Date:August 23, 2011 at 22:08:06
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Forum:Lancaster Family Genealogy Forum
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Iím afraid I donít have the expertise to tell you precisely how to determine whether Augustine Bearse was Hungarian or whether his wife was American Indian or English. If you have the required DNA samples, I think itís possible to resolve those issues through DNA testing, but Iím not qualified to give such specific advice. You may need to consult one of the testing labs about this. Iíve had personal experience with three kinds of tests, Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Autosomal, about which I can make general comments.

A Y-DNA test can be given only to males because only males have a Y-chromosome. Every male receives from his biological father a copy of the fatherís Y-chromosome, so this test is used to check descent in the male line. Genetic information comes from the father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, etc., right on back to pre-history. My Y-DNA values are theoretically identical to those of my 10th great-grandfather who lived in the 1700s, and so on back. Augustine Bearseís Y-DNA values will be the same as those of his biological father, grandfather, etc.

A mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test can be given to either males or females, but the results provide information only about the female line. Thatís because mitochondrial DNA is passed to children of both sexes by the mother only. Fathers donít pass on their mtDNA to their children. This test provides genetic information from the mother, the motherís mother, the motherís motherís mother, etc., right on back to pre-history. Neither the father and his ancestors nor the motherís fatherís ancestors affect a childís mitochondrial DNA.

The new autosomal DNA test, as I mentioned in a previous post, can be given to anyone. It doesnít matter about such things as race, sex, or haplogroup. Family Tree DNA, which offers one of these called the Family Finder, recommends this test highly, and I think it has great potential. It should be increasingly useful as more people take it. Iíve had this test, and now if my cousins, aunts, and uncles surnamed Lancaster, Sanders, Cobb, Cothern, Harrell, Wilcox, Daniel, Regan, Johnson, Meeks, Taylor, Smith, Futch, McGee, etc., also take the test, it should show we are closely related and estimate whether each of the other participants is my third, fourth, second, fifth, or distant cousin. If I already have that knowledge, then the Family Finder doesnít add much, but if I donít know that ďso-and-soĒ is kin to me, I might find it interesting that he is. Maybe thatís why they call it the Family Finder.

As for testing cost, there is a way of sharing it. The Lancaster Surname Project has a general testing fund into which two or more persons can contribute. Contributions can be designated for a certain family or a particular test, etc. For example, one person can order a test, pay part of the cost, and arrange for one or more other family members to send in the remainder to the General Fund, from which the remaining cost for the test is paid to the lab. Particular arrangements can be worked out with the project administrator. I can help, if you like.