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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - February/March 2003
Y Chromosome DNA

When Suzanne Johnston got on the E-MAIL with her news that only a little swab in the cheek would be fine to see if your match (and not in the Zoo) could be found, using 12 markers, it occurred that we have but one man (and his male descendants) left in our Johnston line who could have his DNA checked. He was as delighted to do this test as I was that he would do it!

Guess what?  He had an exact match!  Not only that, we have decided that almost anyone from the vicinity of Annandale will also have an exact match, if this is true.  His "exact match" can go back on his family to 1720, and we can go back to 1761.

The two families are apparently unrelated.  It could, of course be 14 generations back.  Counting 25 years as a generation, that would be (if my math is right) the year 1652  This is well within the realm of the written word; so now, what do we do?  We find the ancestor in common of these two men. Apparently, he lived between 1620 and 1720.  So he should be living in Scotland or England, probably.  Next, we find the immigrant or immigrant cousins who come to America, probably landing at Philadelphia.

The wonderful article by Donn Devine, a noted genealogist, in the N.G.S. Quarterly this time, tells three ways we can really make use of this DNA test.

Suzanne and her family, supposedly descending from the Caskieben Johnstons, have run into problems, she writes, since their DNA didn't match the supposedly Caskieben Johnstons.

I, on the other hand, had always suspected that our Johnstons did not come from Annandale.  Now it seems I was wrong, again!

The information is on the Internet about how to take these Y Chromosome DNA tests.  You have to be a male by the surname of Johnston, if you are tracing Johnstons, because yours is not very different from the most remote male ancestor, and the same for many generations back, as a rule.

Selfishly, I would like to see more Clan Johnston/e members and men with the surname Johnston, join this study.  For 12 markers, the cost is $99., for 25 markers, $299.  Then, you must get one who knows all about this sort of thing to interpret your results.  They come back in the form of numbers (DYS numbers, allele numbers, and MRCA's - Most Recent Common Ancestor.)

Beverly Shuler, Genealogist Clan Johnston/e in America

Return to Feb/Mar 2003 Index


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