CategoriesGenetic Genealogy

The Year of the DNA

DNA CompositionAs some of you may know, genetic genealogy exploded in 2014. Hundreds of thousands ofpeople have now tested their DNA with the big three testing companies (23andMe, Family Tree DNA, or Ancestry.) I have been interested in tracing my ancestry using DNA since back in 2006 with the first version of National Geographic’s Genographic Project when I swabbed my cheek for the first time (and last, actually, since the other tests were taken differently. )

I’m extremely interested in digging deeper into my DNA origins and my DNA matches, whether it’s using Autosomal DNA or Y-DNA. This year I’m planning to dig deeper and do more than ever before. Advanced analysis is a somewhat difficult thing to get into. There is a lot of information to learn and process along with the requirement of lots of DNA data to work with. I hope to use this new goal as a way to post about my journey and hopefully teach you along the way. People related to me may find it even more interesting.

Unbeknownst to me, one of my paternal cousins took a 23andMe test last year. I learned about this on Christmas Eve and have since hooked up with him on the site. What’s cool about that is that I can now mostly confirm which parts of my DNA come from my paternal grandparents. Though, not all of it, only the sections that we match on specifically since my father and his father may have have received different parts of DNA from my grandparents, which in turn may also be different than what he finally got from his father (my uncle.) Hopefully, other closer cousins start to test.

I’m not sure what my first post will be about, but we’ll see once I start digging. I’ve been recently reading a lot of posts from both Roberta Estes at DNAeXplainedand Kitty Cooper. They do some great posts on the inner workings and complexities of our DNA and matching it with other people. Some of the posts get quite technical, and even if I don’t completely understand it, I love it. I guess that’s the data geek in me.

Here are some of my general goals, in no particular order:

  • Do more advanced analysis on some of my largest matches. Try to find MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor.)
  • Try to prod more cousins (close and distant) to test with one of the companies (preferably not Ancestry, or if they do, to upload their data to GEDMatch.)
  • Try to determine which parts of my DNA come from which ancestors (Chromosome Mapping.)I have a bit of it already.Works together with the last two goals.
  • Possibly get more Y-DNA upgrades with my data on Family Tree DNA to help determine my deeper R1a1a subclade using the Family Tree DNA project, currently it’s estimated to beR1a1a1b1a2b* orYP340-45 (in the Carpathian area of Section 6 on that linked graphic), but I need more of my Y-DNA analyzed to get more information. This one will cost something.
  • Post somewhat consistently about my journey and what I’m learning, even if it’s confusing to me.

Published by Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.