[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] DNA Testing
Richard J Flanagan
rflanagan1 at videotron.ca
Tue Aug 26 13:22:08 PDT 2014
This discussion on DNA testing probably does not emphasize enough
the real advantages of the DNA testing process. While it is true that one
can receive a lot of matches that are of little value, I believe the real
advantage of DNA testing is to provide definitive evidence of family
connections when a paper trail is unclear. In our case we had identified a
series of putative family members from a small village in Volhynia based
entirely on a visit to the archives in Zhytomyr in Ukraine. But linking up
those ancestors to present day individuals was very difficult. In most
cases the families no longer had any collective memory of where they came
from (usually just Russia, and sometimes Volhynia, but nothing more precise
than that). With DNA testing we were able to find the siblings of my wife's
grandmother living in Chicago and Hawaii, identify without any doubt
relatives still living in Manitoba, and perhaps even more amazing finding
members of the family who had been exiled to Kazakhstan and survived.
While paper evidence hinted at all of these connections none of it was
certain and beyond doubt. I would say that DNA testing provided proof
where no other route was available.
We used the new autosomal DNA test from Ancetsry.com, which is
really focussed on identifying relationships up to about the fifth degree,
and which was perfect for our needs. I know that there are other tests out
there and I would suggest reading Genetic Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond
by Emily D. Aulicino. I purchased a Kindle version for Cdn$3.03 and it
provided more information that I can deal with. The older Mitochondrial or
Y- Chromosome tests are considerably less useful in identifying close
relatives and are better suited to identifying distant primordial ancestors
and racial haplotypes - which was not our question at all. We needed to
know if the people we had identified as possible relatives were indeed
Ancestry.com says that it does not ship outside the US but I
arranged for a US relative (putative at the time) to receive the tests and
mail them to me in Canada. Returning them from anywhere in the world to the
US was absolutely no problem. In our case DNA testing was the wonderful
proof that we had found our family members who had been scattered in the
Volhynian exodus around 1905 - 1910 and during the Stalinist Purges in the
From: Ger-Poland-Volhynia [mailto:ger-poland-volhynia-bounces at sggee.org] On
Behalf Of Earl Schultz
Sent: August-26-14 1:56 AM
To: ger-poland-volhynia at sggee.org
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] DNA Testing
Hi Bob, I can certainly understand your comments about DNA testing. It can
be complicated and it can seem to be unproductive because it is impossible
to find the paper to match the many matches you are likely to get. But DNA
is the only way to prove that the paper documents are right. Here are some
I have several distant cousins who have also done DNA tests. Our DNA
matches so the paper documents for us are correct. Without the DNA test we
wouldn't know if someone in our lines was adopted or illegitimate.
I have found a long lost branch of my family when I got a close match with
someone and we also had a common surname. I have pictures of his great,
great grandmother that he doesn't have and he knew nothing about her except
for her name. Lucky him. She was my grandmother's sister who moved to
California and wasn't heard from again.
Even the very distant matches I have dating back 12 or more generations have
told me generally where my Schultz family may have come from in Germany
(because they are distant they are more likely to be close to the origin of
my family). No, I will never get the paper to prove it and surnames
probably were not even used at the time. Also, I discovered that the Halls
and the Diamonds/Dymonds in the UK likely come from my Schultz ancestor,
who's son was a Saxon invader hundreds of years ago.
Also, knowing my haplogroups, I can trace the likely movement of my
ancestors 8,000, 20,000, or even 50,000 years ago. Yes, these were cavemen
but I generally know where they travelled.
Most importantly, Bob, I was like most people who take a DNA test and then
wait for a match to show up. That is not how you use DNA testing. The book
Genetic Genealogy, the Basics and Beyond, was a real eye-opener for me and I
learned that the way to make DNA testing work is to get a group of related
people (1st to 4th cousins for example) to submit their DNA. From the
results you can then figure out what DNA segments our common ancestors had
and then anyone who shares that segment has to be from that common ancestor.
Yes, you may not have the paper documents yet because maybe there is a
missing line in your records but that's when you try to identify where the
missing line is.
It is not always easy but it is getting easier. If you find a Krampetz
family in Germany, a simple y-DNA test will tell you if they are from your
family or not. Otherwise you will never know until you find the paper
document which may never come.
DNA evidence is more reliable than paper documents but I think for most
people it is an issue of not understanding how to use it.
I hope you decide to give it a try. I'm curious if our lines have ever
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:14:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: Krampetz at aol.com
To: ger-poland-volhynia at sggee.org
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] DNA Testing.
Message-ID: <255e0.76cd94c2.412d011e at aol.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Other than narrowing the area(s) ones ancestors were probably from,
and possibly finding someone with close matching DNA markers who MAY
be related. I really don't see much use beyond those 'finds'.
If someone is truly interested in their genealogy, they've already been
searching for matches, and very likely posted their tree they already
have at some site that will be found by other genealogy seekers, and
hopefully both will match what they have.
Should two people's DNA have a match but no ancestors of either match..
DNA analysis keeps announcing ever wider, and ever less expensive
Also, the myriad changes in what you can do with your DNA readout,
and where it's acceptable to post for comparisons on, reads to me as a
ever changing headache to track and keep up with.
I other words, from what I've read so far - there's more frustration in
store than clarification and match-ups..
Is there a simple explanation somewhere where true benefits are to be
had at this time, with the existing tests?
Sign me: Skeptic,
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