Over probably the last ten years there have been various attempts to get people interested in cooperating with DNA testing in order to use that technology to see what it can add to the Genealogical story. Timothy Flora has recently offered the following thoughts regarding why any of us might want to pursue that route to add to the knowledge base. I will try and uncover some more information on this area of research and add more to this page as we proceed.
Why Have Your DNA Tested?
Timothy Flora (Descendant of Thomas Flora – 1720 to North America)
For hundreds of years, genealogists have depended on records to prove ancestry. In the last few years a whole new set of records has become available to researchers. These new records are not found in written sources, but in our cells. Our DNA is encoded with each of our origins.
Every one of us receive our DNA from our mother and our father, half from each. There are portions of our genotype that only have one source. For males, we receive a Y chromosome strictly from our fathers. All of us receive mitochondrial DNA strictly from our mothers. (Most of our DNA is in our chromosomes in the nucleus of our cells. Other structures in our cells that act as energy factories are called mitochondria, and that is where the DNA from our mothers is found.)
So how does this help us in our genealogical quests? Obviously DNA does not record names or birthdays. One thing it can do is tell us our ethnic origins. It can tell us if we had an Asian or Amerindian ancestor. An interesting example of how this can answer questions about our origins is the solution to the questions raised by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947. He posited that the Polynesian islands could have been settled by South Americans and set out in a balsa wood raft from South America to prove it could be done. And even though he proved it could be done, recent genetic profiling of Polynesian populations prove that their origins are Malaysian, not South American.
In my own case, I am descended from Thomas Flora, who came to America in 1720. Since he is my direct paternal ancestor, we share an identical Y chromosome, which belongs to a type with origins in Scandinavia. So our paternal ancestors were Vikings (Normans). Because the etymology of the name Fleuri etc in England points to the Normans, it is likely that our mutual ancestor came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. John Flory is listed in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. Should I encounter a direct male descendent of that John Flory and we compared Y chromosomes, we would know if we we kin. By characterizing the Y chromosome DNA of known descendents of all the various Flory etc lines, we might discover that some of us are more closely related than we thought.
In this same vein, the January 1, 2005 issue of the F/F/F Newsletter contained the following article:
Flora – Flory DNA Project
Kay Metsker has established a DNA Website. This resulted from her frustration of having the same family lore as most of us F.F.F. researchers but not able to clear up the mysteries and connect loose ends. Having established this Website, she invites anyone interested to take the DNA test. The more that enter in this test, the better and more complete will be the results.
This project is to include the following surnames: Flora, Florey, Flori, Flory and associated spellings. The material for this program was developed by the University of Arizona and is made available through “The Family Tree DNA” program. The project goals are to identify and confirm family lines.
The objectives of a Surname project are primarily to:
– Identify others who are related
– Prove or disprove theories regarding ancestors
– Determine a location for further research
– Validate existing research
Many may not be familiar with what can be accomplished genealogically with DNA testing. Most of us relate DNA testing to paternity determination or solving crimes. Genealogically, they allow you to identify your ethnic and geographic origins, both recent and far distant on your direct male descending line.
The Family Tree DNA’s primary test attempts to determine if two people thought to be unrelated actually have a common ancestor. The specific purpose is to help recreate lost family links. It is not for paternity, alimony or any other legal purposes. These DNA tests will provide you a probability that you and another person, who have an exact match, will have a Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA). With the 12 marker test there is a 50 percent probability that the MRCA was within the last fourteen and one half generations. With the 25 marker test there is a 50 percent probability that the MRCA was within the last seven generations.
[I will leave out the part regarding prices and process as I am sure that both have changed greatly since 2005]
The Website address for Kay’s F.F.F. DNA project is
http://www.familytreedna.com/public/florydnalines [still active as of this date, Feb. 2013]
This sounds like a worthy project that could help make strides in solving some of the genealogical questions which exist.
I am attempting to get an update from Kay regarding what the current status of this project is and perhaps what the results for her have been up to now. Once I get something from her, I will update this page.
And another article from the Newsletter in April 2007:
The Observer, a British daily newspaper on the world wide web recently included an article describing how Gene Study is throwing a new light on our nation’s (England’s) history and our personal ancestry… The British Daily Editor, Robin McKie, describes a scientific revolution that is taking place in the study of our ancient past. Once the preserve of academics who analyzed prehistoric stones and crumbling parchment, the subject has now been transformed by the study of our genes by scientists who are using the blood of the living to determine the actions of men and women centuries ago.
In the process a mass of fascinating information about our predecessors has been revealed, from the physical appearance of Britain’s first Stone Age settlers to the impact that invading Romans, Saxons and Normans had on our bloodlines. DNA analysis turns out to be an immensely useful tool, as Dr. Jim Wilson, the Edinburgh scientist whose company EthnoAncestry puts it: “Genetics is going to be the best thing that happened to archaeology since the trowel.”
Sir Walter Bodmer has found rich concentrations of genes of the British Isles in Cornwall, Devon, Scotland and Ireland. One version of the gene MCD1 which often confers red hair upon its owners and explains those ancient Roman and Greek reports of widespread ginger locks among early Britons. Red hair was common until invasions by non-redheads, like the Anglo-Saxons, that pushed these settlers to Britain’s outer edges. Hence, the red-haired Scots and Irish we see today.
Kay Flory Metsker has and is a strong proponent of DNA testing among the various F.F.F. Family lines. She continues to encourage each of the various family lines to pool money and have one member (hopefully the oldest male) for each branch tested. Pointing out this may help us find new relatives and answer some of those questions that have haunted us for years.
There is a fairly new DNA testing Site called “Family Link” as follows:
We’d like to add that our offering of DNA tests is proving to be a huge success. A large number of FamilyLink users have already purchased the DNA tests and are on their way to making new discoveries and connections.
Already tested before?
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DNA testing is one of the most exciting technologies available for genealogy today, and we are pleased to offer our users the best DNA tests at the very best prices. Don’t miss this opportunity. Check out your options at the new DNA testing service on FamilyLink, and review our detailed DNA FAQ.