Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ancestral DNA and African-American Research

Part IV – My Experiences + Resources

My Foray into Ancestral DNA Testing

I’ll admit that when I first decided to get into Ancestral DNA that I only researched yDNA and mtDNA and I probably didn’t do enough research on that - only doing enough to get a general understanding. I totally failed to do research on companies. My driving force was price. As noted by Emily Aulicino, DNA-Genealem’s Genetic Genealogy, most companies are accurate with determining Haplotype but don’t do or offer further testing to determine Haplogroup. As noted the companies that don’t do further testing guess at Haplogroup and are often times wrong. So, you can probably determine what happened.

I’m sure you are wondering how I knew that initial testing may be inaccurate because when I received my results I didn’t think anything of the Haplogroup determinations. Based on the history of slavery and oral history handed down from my family, I really had no reason to suspect that the Haplogroup determinations may be inaccurate.

First, I asked questions on AfriGeneas’ African American DNA Research Forum and on Genealogywise’s Genetic Genealogy and DNA and Family Research forums. I was lead to Blaine Bettinger’s, The Genetic Genealogist, very well written document entitled “I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?” As a result, I learned about all these databases that I could input dad’s yDNA results and mom’s mtDNA results into for comparison, which is how I learned that those initial Haplogroup determinations may be suspect.

So, I then found myself doing what I should have done initially, researching the heck out of the subject matter as well as companies. I continue to learn more and more everyday about this area of genealogy.

After doing additional research, I decided to retest through Family Tree DNA. My initial testing was through Ancestry. Please note that this is not an endorsement of one company or a put down of the other.

Wrapping it Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini series on Ancestral DNA. If there is a question I didn’t answer, please feel free to contact me and I will try to assist if in no other way trying to direct you to those that are better equipped to answer the question.


The following is a list of resources, websites, blogs and groups that I’ve used in researching this fascinating subject matter. You can also go to the testing companies websites. Most have a wealth of information to help  you understand the process


About.com – DNA Family Trees
International Society of Genetic Genealogy
ISOGG mtDNA Testing Comparison Chart
ISOGG Ethnic Origins DNA Testing Company Comparison


The Genetic Genealogist
DNA – Genealem’s Genetic Genealogy


Afrigeneas DNA Research Forum
Genealogywise Genetic Genealogy
Genealogywise DNA and Family Research

Yahoo Groups

DNA - Newbie


  1. Mavis, An interesting post. I'm just curious as you don't say. Did you get a different haplogroup assignment from FTDNA? Did you go for the full-sequence test in the end? Which haplogroup are you?

  2. Debbie, I've gotten my dad's yDNA Haplotype results back, after which I added the subclade testing. I'm still waiting on the results of the subclade testing but Family Tree DNA website is showing E2b1. Ancestry called it I1. mtDNA results I'm still waiting on. I retested on myself and ordered the full sequence (it was a great deal at the sale price). Unfortunately, I think a lot of others took advantage of the full sequence mtDNA sale, so I'm still waiting on the mtDNA results. When I did mom, Ancestry identified mtDNA as Haplogroup M. One of my cousins (descendant of great aunt) tested through National Geographic and came back L3e1a. Also, all the databases I inputed mom's results matched up with L3e1a.

  3. Today I was presented the "Ancestor Approved" award from Lori at Genealogy & Me.

    I am passing this award on to you!

    You can pick up your award at:




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