DNA Ancestry Test – Surname Projects and Your DNA Ancestry Test

Did you know you could enter the results of your DNA Ancestry search into huge databases that can be accessed by other genealogists? There are thousands of genealogists who are looking for matches to their own DNA ancestry test results, one of them which might be your cousin! One of the large types genealogical databases where you can find matches to your DNA are surname projects. In this article I'm going to explain how participating in a surname project can help you to maximize the genealogical worth of your DNA ancestry test.

Adding Your DNA Ancestry Test Results to a Surname Project

Adding your DNA ancestry test results to a surname project is an excellent way to connect with other researchers with whom you may have ancestors in common. Surname projects are basically genetic genealogy undertakings designed to trace male lineage through the examination and analysis of the results from Y-Chromosome DNA ancestry tests of males from a single surname. As surnames are passed down through the generations from father to son, so is DNA from the Y-chromosome, which alters very little with each generation. Genealogists with the same surname can use the results of a DNA ancestry test that analyzes the Y-chromosome to find out if they share a common ancestor with anyone else involved in the project.

Different Surnames and Matching DNA Ancestry Test Results

The chances of people who have the same surname having matching DNA ancestry test results are a bit higher than for those who have different surnames. As such the chances of finding a relative or ancestor in a surname project database are relatively higher. It is possible for people with different surnames to have matching DNA ancestry test results, however if this happens don't jump to the immediate conclusion that an illegitimate child is involved. Though that may be true, other factors may contribute to such a situation arising; a surname change due to adoption, a man taking his wife's name (this is a common practice in Germany), the misspelling of a surname, or a straight forward name change are just some of the things that could be the reason.

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How the Analysis of a DNA Ancestry Test Works in a Surname Project

The results of a Y-chromosome DNA ancestry test compares the values of what are known as Y-chromosome markers between two people's DNA. Depending on how many markers are tested (there are thousands) the results can be checked against someone else's results, and can indicate whether two people share a recent common ancestor or not. The accuracy of the DNA ancestry test results depends on the number of markers taken, and the number of matches the two DNA's have at those markers. If a particular number of matches occur at a corresponding number of markers, the range of generations until their most recent common ancestor can be determined.

An example would be if two men were tested using 37 markers, and matched on all 37, the probability of them sharing a common relative within the last 5 generations is about 50%. This increases in probability the further back in time you go, for these two men the probability of sharing an ancestor up to 17 generations back would increase to 90%. Further comparisons with each of their DNA ancestry test results may even reveal a familial relationship.

The beauty of joining a surname project is that, not only do you have access to other people's DNA profiles, but you help them by sharing the results of your DNA ancestry test.

Your DNA ancestry test results will be added to the project grid which makes comparing each other's DNA marker values extremely easy. Another bonus is that besides documenting the earliest ancestor of your surname, haplotypes are also added, enabling you to follow the correct branch of your family.

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Usually you can contact the other participants through an intermediary which is generally the project administrator. This is done simply to ensure the privacy of everyone involved, but once contact is made you can share even more detailed information regarding your DNA ancestry test results.

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