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Guy Etchells
15-04-2016, 6:55 AM
I have taken the liberty of starting this thread with a post from a different thread as I feel it is worth considering own its own merits.


I worry that I may get back results that show 25 years of paper research on my paternal side was a complete waste of time 'cos my father wasn't my real biological father :lol: Or my maternal grandfather wasn't really my biological grandfather.....it could throw a few spanners in the works couldn't it?

what do you do if you do find out that a close paternal ancestor wasn't really related after all?

In answer to Michelle I would say in perhaps 50 or 100 years this might be a real problem but not at present.
Why do I say that, simply because DNA research has not developed enough to be sure of such assumptions?

Of course it is not as straightforward as that as even today very close relationships can be disproved by DNA with relative certainty, if samples are available. But if we jump back from parents and grand-parents to great grand-parents and beyond the chance of DNA proving or disproving a lineage is very slim simply because samples of the root personís DNA are not available.

Yes, assumptions and theories may be made but the lack of historic DNA samples rules out the likelihood of proof one way or another.

Even the arguably most famous DNA study (Richard III skeleton) is not without problems.
The Y-DNA does not match and the mitochondrial DNA was matched to two living relatives of his eldest sister Anne of York.
However that is not proof as there is no historic DNA of Anne of York therefore there is always an element of doubt even if that is only small.

What would have been claimed if one of Anne of Yorkís descendants had been a chimera and the other mitochondrial DNA had been passed through the subsequent lineage?
The claim that the body found in Leicester would have been completely discredited.
DNA does not provide the certainties that some credit it with.
That does not mean it is bogus but means that the people who make use of DNA must understand what it has recorded in the same way as people must understand what written records have recorded.

In the case of the general population as we go back into history there are far more possibilities of error and until DNA databases grow to contain significant numbers of samples little proof can be found.

Cheers
Guy

Wilkes_ml
15-04-2016, 7:54 AM
Thanks Guy! I'm finding these DNA discussions very interesting, but still confusing....and I'm a scientist so I feel sorry for the general community without a scientific background as it can seem very overwhelming.

Personally, I've finally succumbed to curiosity and sent off my DNA for autosomal testing. I'm testing my approach to DNA testing scientifically by posing specific questions that I want answers to and basing success on the degree that those specific questions are answered.

Off course, results are subject to change as the data pool of people who have been tested increases (I hope).

Many people seem to be saying that autosomal DNA testing is a waste of money. I can understand that assumption if just based on the "ethnicity" report, which I have no real interest in. I should be about 80% English and 20% Scottish going by my research back to my 64 5x great grandparents and 128 6x great grandparents. That is assuming that there has not been any paternity fraud events during that time (which of course there probably was at sometime!).

But I'm more interested in the Ancestry "family circles" initially. I would have thougt that if enough different people were matched in a "family circle" including those that share DNA with another but not yourself, then this could at least "prove" to a degree of certainty that your whole line from that common ancestor is biologically correct.

I still have a lot to learn about the subject, and intend to do as much reading of the scientific data as possible.

Once I have my results back and I've tested how useful the DNA testing was to myself, based on what I specifically want to find out from it, I'll start a new thread and hopefully give some insight into it's limitations.

benny1982
18-04-2016, 9:30 PM
It does make you wonder how many non paternal events took place in our ancestors. Was infidelity back then as common as today, or were spouses too well watched by their husbands, the neighbours, relatives etc to have a fling with the flame haired milkman, lolol. Of course such things did happen, I cannot say how often, and you wonder if on the small chance that DNA will show that your fave 2xgreat grandfather was not a blood ancestor after all. I think you just have to go with the 99.9% certainty that he was a blood ancestor. But as said, DNA wears away the further back the said ancestor is, if not on the paternal or maternal line, they have tried out this recombinant DNA testing but I think after about 4 or 5 generations the DNA disappears.

Say for instance, my 4xgreat grandfather James Smith. He is my dads mums mums dads mums dad. He was born c1790 as he died in 1849 aged 59 and was not born in county of residence in 1841. I think the autosomal link has well and truly worn away to his non paternal line living descendents.

Kiltpin
02-05-2016, 10:42 AM
Quote Originally Posted by Wilkes_ml View Post
I worry that I may get back results that show 25 years of paper research on my paternal side was a complete waste of time 'cos my father wasn't my real biological father Or my maternal grandfather wasn't really my biological grandfather.....it could throw a few spanners in the works couldn't it?

what do you do if you do find out that a close paternal ancestor wasn't really related after all?

Before we can answer that question, I think, we must first work out what type of genealogist we are. It is probably fair to say that most of us start out as historical genealogists. That is to say, we find a person and then gather, through whatever means, all the data about them.
Name; Birth; Baptism; Marriage; Child; Child; Child; Death; Buried. If we are lucky there will be residences and trade and employment.

Many of us will stop there. Often it will be forced upon us. When we get to the very edge of living memory and then to the edge of accurate records, there will be fewer and fewer "pegs to hang our hats on".

But, But, BUT - Is that a life? Is that a person? To my mind not. In the great scheme of things, it would matter not if they had been born a couple of years earlier, died a couple of years later, produced not one child, but rather four children.

Historical data is good - it gives us a framework (a box if you like), into which we can put a person, but it does not tell us anything about the person. Were they generous, gregarious and gentle, or were they a total misery who brought despair to all who knew them.

Many of us have moved on from the pure historical genealogy to something I don't have a name for. But what ever it is called, it gives a far greater insight to the person rather than the events of their life.

As for DNA, it might very well, eventually, be a good aid to historical genealogy, but will never tell us anything about the person themselves.

It is my opinion that DNA, as far as genealogy is concerned, does more harm than it does good.

There is no genetic marker for love. My son is my son; his son is my grandson and no DNA, or lack of it, will ever change that.

Regards

Kiltpin

Wilkes_ml
02-05-2016, 11:06 AM
Historical data is good - it gives us a framework (a box if you like), into which we can put a person, but it does not tell us anything about the person. Were they generous, gregarious and gentle, or were they a total misery who brought despair to all who knew them.

Kiltpin

I agree, which is why my favourite research is trawling through newspapers to hunt out the interesting stories that show what sort of people our ancestors were. Were they loyal farm servants who worked for the same farmer for over 40 years, and whose father won contests for his best flowers in the village... or like his brother who commited the most atrocious act that I could imagine.

However I see DNA as stepping stone or a tool to help connect to other possible unknown relatives who may be able to add more interest.

I was sent American Civil war pension records for my bigamous great something uncle that described his character so much that it made me wonder whatever made his first wife take him back after 30 years absence! They came from descendents from his 2nd "wife" who I discovered by chance. I may discover more intersting information from new contacts made through DNA matches.

DNA testing may help me discover what happened to my great greatgrandmother who deserted her husband and children in the 1860s - where did she go? Did she join her bigamous brother in America. Did she have more children? It won't tell me why she left. It won't tell me if she was unhappy in her marriage, but may give clues to whether she was in another relationship, and whether her elder daughters went with her and maybe give some insight into the family dynamics.

Kind of off topic a bit!

Guy Etchells
02-05-2016, 2:56 PM
You are basically describing the difference between genealogy and family history.
Genealogy gives us the pedigree of the family; family history puts the meat on the bones of that pedigree.

Many family historians embrace local history and social history to discover the influences of the locality neighbours etc., on our ancestors and indeed the influence or ancestors had on their environment.
That is also why family historians explore the extended family including the families of spouses and indeed adopted or fostered children.
All have an influence on the history of the family.

But what of DNA in some ways it bridges the differences between genealogy and family history in that some DNA markers do influence if not the character of a person certainly the way others view that person.

For example DNA influences hair colouring and throughout history red haired people have been viewed in a different light to blonde people, as have racial features.
It therefore stands to reason that if a person experiences reactions from people in a close environment to them they in turn will develop their own particular reaction to that treatment.
Some people will retreat from such influences and become timid or compliant to survive, others will simply cope with what life throws at them and others will feed off the adversity and use it to strengthen them.
Everyone is different and sometimes one little influence can make all the difference

Thatís what makes family history so interesting it is also one of the joys of family history the only limits are the limits you set yourself.

Cheers
Guy

Break2015
20-02-2017, 12:17 PM
I apologize for the rather late response but been busy.


In answer to Michelle I would say in perhaps 50 or 100 years this might be a real problem but not at present.

DNA will never serve as a real problem. Want to know why? The vast majority of people testing their DNA are those that don't know much about their actual ancestry.

So all it becomes is a case of the blind leading the blind.

Now I've haunted DNA forums for years. I've done all the major DNA tests over a decade time frame. Mostly just to see what the hype is all about. I should have just spent the money on buying birth certificates, etc.


But let's start.

The ignorance of most of the posters on DNA forums regarding ancestral [and I am not talking ancient, a couple hundred years] population movements, for example, is in a way alarming. The ones claiming I ancestry with rather S or E surnames would really make you laugh. And even if you point out the possibility of why X ancestry is getting rather H, N, and Z ethnicity [or even "DNA relatives"] it is like talking to a wall.

I have yet to get over a guy with genetic ethnicity that an't quite what he is claiming. Sure the genetic ethnicity is widely junk but if you're claiming Y and getting mostly B, F and G there may just be a problem. Forget the fact his family tree is admittedly littered with illegitimacy & populations of B, F & G ethnicity happened to have settled alongside his Y claims.


But let's use ancestry.com for example regarding DNA and genealogy.

Those lovely green leaves, many trees with inaccurate information or lacking proof, & now DNA circles. If 7 out of 10 people in a DNA circle have erroneously constructed trees how would you prove it? Forget the fact so many people just copy & paste trees on ancestry.com without looking to see if it has a leg to stand on. But it's a pain in the arse now getting "knowledgeable" people to correct their wrongly constructed family idea. Add DNA to "back" their claims and you'll never get them to do such.

Or let's say the trees differ from one another like a mouse & elephant would? Who is right, who is wrong? Do you flip a coin?



Why do I say that, simply because DNA research has not developed enough to be sure of such assumptions?

Of course, it is not as straightforward as that as even today very close relationships can be disproved by DNA with relative certainty, if samples are available. But if we jump back from parents and grand-parents to great grand-parents and beyond the chance of DNA proving or disproving a lineage is very slim simply because samples of the root personís DNA are not available.

Yes, assumptions and theories may be made but the lack of historic DNA samples rules out the likelihood of proof one way or another.

Indeed. There was some chap on a DNA forum that said to prove things we should start digging up graveyards. A good idea. It would, after all, be a good way to prove one way or the other.

Or not.

How many graveyards, after all, have been disturbed over the years? Decades? Centuries even?

Where I live due to the construction of a major highway they actually dug up and moved an entire graveyard years ago. Or so they say. There's a very small fraction still present if you know where to go running alongside the highway.

Now, this was a settlers' graveyard. Old. It'd be a perfect thing for locals wanting to prove they're descended from so and so. But thing is, in the shuffle due to the need to move quickly [got to go, go, go cause this highway an't waiting for no one] just how accurately where the coffins placed in their new location? Most of the gravestones, given the age and lack of care/abandonment, had worn quite badly after all. I am not 100% sure if they even had the old church records seeing as the church had gone to pot & the graveyard essentially abandoned decades prior. So someone digging up N's grave might just get C's bones.



In the case of the general population as we go back into history there are far more possibilities of error and until DNA databases grow to contain significant numbers of samples little proof can be found.

Cheers
Guy

It likely won't happen.

There was a chap on a DNA forum utterly confused why his Asiatic bubby would never get his DNA tested. It was quite simple. The chap has been raised on familial claims that may just go back to their perceived time immemorial.

What is DNA going to "prove" in relation to that? It would just get him a lot of people with familial knowledge that isn't so detailed and/or a lot of people who are adopted trying to find their family.


But that's the thing. People from old families, who have remained rooted relatively in the same spot, aren't going to see the point of getting their DNA tested. Proving you're really your 3rd great-grandfather's descendant is going to do what exactly for the here & now?

Unfortunately, by and large, it is those people of the old deeply rooted families that would really untangle the DNA game for others. Particularly colonists, and other such migrants, who are the vast majority of clientele to any DNA site.

Having North American ancestry I have dozens upon dozens of such migrants/colonists. Find a European or British relative from old rooted families? I'd have better luck looking for flying cows.

rooted69
22-06-2018, 9:23 AM
I find that with a DNA test, its like a satnav, you still need to have some common sense to get the best out of it and to do more than one to compare how accurate it is. my son is now doing one which is great, so I can see the change between his and mine.... as long as i don't get a nasty shock lmao. I'm waiting for my second one at the moment. Other close family members also a good resource of information. I did find out a couple of weeks ago, that one of my oldest friends and their family of about 40+ years are actually my cousins. we never knew. after some digging, we found out how. so DNA test are great but common sense is needed. after all that..