Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The neologism "genetealogy" combines "genetics" with "genealogy" and refers to the use of DNA to help prove (or disprove) lines of descent. So far, I've become involved in using yDNA (the Y chromosome is passed from father to son intact except for rare mutations) and mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from mother to child - both men and women have their mother's mtDNA; only women can pass it on). My mtDNA has been completely sequenced and shows that my maternal branch of the human family tree is one labeled H4a1. So far, this appears to be a fairly small twig; my close matches have family backgrounds which seem to be English or Scottish (or Scots-Irish) which agrees with my maternal paper trail. The Y chromosome is many times larger than mitochondria, consequently much more expensive to sequence completely (although prices are declining rapidly). I have had enough of my Y sequenced to place me in the paternal haplogroup I1, and further into that twig denoted as "I1(T2)". My closest match is with my second cousin Ben Bradberry (no surprise!), but Ben and I also have very close matches with men named Whitehead, Buie, Foster, Wasdin, Powichrowski, Stryzowski, and others. One expert has suggested that a thousand years ago (more or less), our common "nth" greatgrandfather was a Viking or Norman, some of whose descendants settled in England and Scotland while others went to Poland and Lithuania. I have started a yDNA project to help sort out the various Bradberry and Bradbury family lines. You can check it out at www.familytreedna.com/BRADBERRY_BRADBURY_DNA/.

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