By Schelly Talalay Dardashti
MyHeritage.com – US Genealogy Advisor
Genetic genealogy is perhaps the most exciting new tool for family history research. It can prove or disprove family relationships, determine a time frame when two people shared a common ancestor, provide genetic matches and clues to ancestral origins.
While paper records may be inaccurate through accident or purpose – throughout history – blood doesn’t lie. If two men match genetically, they are related, and what needs to then be determined is when their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) lived.
Genetic genealogy technology can:
- Provide information when there is no paper trail.
- Confirm or disprove a relationship or story.
- Cut across history/geography lines.
- Results may point to better traditional methodology/resources by pinpointing geography or other details
What is important, however, is to understand how this new industry came about, and what it can and cannot do.
FamilyTreeDNA.com was founded by CEO/founder Bennett Greenspan in Houston, Texas in April 2000. He had discovered two branches of his mother’s family, one known in the US, the other a possible relation in Argentina. While he suspected the connection – because of the rare name – there was no paper trail of documents for the Argentine family. He convinced Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona to conduct a pilot project,
Bennett’s group included sets of identical twins; his own father, brother and sons, Bennett’s son, and other individuals, as well as males from those two branches of his mother’s family. As he suspected, the Y-DNA tests of the two branches matched, as did those of the identical twins with each other, and those of his father, brother and the next generation (albeit with small natural mutations). (more…)