Genetic Genealogy started becoming know back in 1994 publicly. Today genetic genealogy is a tool for investigators, historians, scientist, anthropologist and genealogist. While many records have been lost or destroyed during the Civil War and fires afterwards, African American have not had their records available until around 1860. African American were not recorded in census, will (unless a free person of color) or in land records (See the Freeman Land Records). DNA might be the last piece of information available to locate ancestors. Note: DNA testing cannot answer all the questions and maybe none at all depending on the research efforts of genealogist.
Understand all test are not equal, given the algorithms used by each testing company and the methodology employed. In early 2000, two companies began offering DNA testing to genealogist: Family Tree DNA <www.familytreedna.com>, based in Houston, Texas, and led by Bennett Greenspan, Max Blankfeld and Jim Warren; and Oxford Ancestors >www.oxfordancestors.com>, based in in Oxfordshire, England, and created by Bryan Sykes of the Sykes surname study. Both companies launched by offering Y-DNA and mtDNA testing to genealogist. depending on the database held by the company providing the test result. 23 and Me, Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA have strong and growing databases of testors. raw data is tested and analyzed with the raw data of others testers to predict relationships matches within their database. You my see different results from one company to another. GEDCOm which we will be in another blog is a valid place to load your raw data to get more matches and analyzes.
As the databases’s grow with each company, so does the power of genetic genealogy with one exception. There needs to be a lot more testing of African American and comparison of DNA testing in Africa, Caribbean, India and South America. The National Health Institute in Washington is doing just that today, but it will be sometime before and results can be release that would be meaningful in I identifying tribal communities and ancestors.
Know that you know what Genetic Genealogy is and what it is not, our next blog will be about What is DNA? We will also explore in future blogs other areas such as the differences in the types of test available, the differences in a Genealogical Family Tree and Genetic Family Tree, what it means to you as an African American, video conferences lated to African American Genealogy.