Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
In 2010-2018 Iserved in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

"To DNA or Not to DNA?", that is the question!

I have been quite busy over the past while, with my usual family and genealogical pursuits. But one thing different has been looking at DNA studies undertaken by my Buchanan cousin Darlene.

As a result I would offer this unsolicited advice for your consideration:

1. Don't spend money on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) studies. Darlene discovered that she is of Haplotype H, like 40-50% of people of modern western European descent. mtDNA changes so slowly that you are talking in terms of tens of thousands of years. It seems to be mostly useful for mapping ancient population movement. Interesting perhaps, but not genealogy as such.

2. FamilyFinder/Autosomal is most useful if you don't know your immediate relatives. e.g. adopted children
If you already know your relatives, it may not have much value.

3. Y-DNA follows the paternal/surname line and changes relatively quickly. The 12-marker test may identify the general area of origin at best. It is most beneficial at the 67-marker level, which is specific enough that often allows the connecting of actual families, which is what we want. The hope is that we will be able to prove a genetic match to a family that has documentation that goes back many generations earlier than our own. In the case of my Buchanans we are still working on that, but hope to make further progress this summer.


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