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What do markers REALLY tell you?

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  • What do markers REALLY tell you?

    I'm new to this and understand the concept of markers/mutations. My problem understanding is what do markers really tell you? You all seem so knowlegeable about this.

  • #2
    They are "junk" in that in themselves most do not reveal anything. But the more markers you have in common with another person, the more closely you are related.

    All or nearly all of your markers have to be identical if there is any hope of matching family trees with another person.

    This whole field of study was not originally intended for family history research. It was for population studies. So what the smart people (I'm not one of them) are doing is really a pioneering effort, like the first people to put internal combustion engines into carriages.

    Some researchers do not care about finding living people to whom they are related, and only care about the populations from which they are descended. And vice-versa.

    Jim

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    • #3
      Junk in our trunk...

      Originally posted by Jim Honeychuck
      They are "junk" in that in themselves most do not reveal anything. But the more markers you have in common with another person, the more closely you are related.

      All or nearly all of your markers have to be identical if there is any hope of matching family trees with another person.

      This whole field of study was not originally intended for family history research. It was for population studies. So what the smart people (I'm not one of them) are doing is really a pioneering effort, like the first people to put internal combustion engines into carriages.

      Some researchers do not care about finding living people to whom they are related, and only care about the populations from which they are descended. And vice-versa.

      Jim
      I think I've given up on trying to find living people whom I'm related to and moved my interest into population movements/settlements-cultures. The realm of genealogy is a mystery in of itself trying to find all the data that may or may not exist of relatives.

      I see genealogy as detective work, and lots of it, if you have a family like mine who did a lousy job tracking and recording their family history. At times it can be rewarding when you finally get that one record that gets you a few steps ahead. At other times it's quite frustrating with no data for years.

      I see population genetics as being research done by nerdy scientists requiring to be locked up in a room in front of the computer for days taking a stabbing guess at migration patterns, and time/place of SNP events. I guess I'm more of a nerd than a gumshoe.

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      • #4
        Really good success story discussed here....

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        • #5
          I started my McHale project (my mother's maternal grandparents) to see if we could match up McHale families from County Mayo Ireland. McHales are fairly centralized in that the vast majority were from County Mayo. Many who emigrated to the US settled in pockets: northeast Pennsylvania near the coal mines (Scranton and Wilkes Barre area), Cleveland, etc. We are really just getting started but have had some encouraging results and some surprises.

          We have found a few families that look, so far, to be connected. One family lived next to my ancestors in the early to mid 1800s in a small townland in Co. Mayo, but we had no paper trail. The results so far point to a relationship - we are waiting for some last test results. Also, 2 families we were not familiar with also look to belong to this group.

          One of our questions was if all McHales were connected, because it was a small localized clan as Irish clans go. Also, we are curious about Scottish McHales vs Irish McHales. The belief is they are all connected, but this should show if that is the case or not. There also is a tradition that a Welsh Howell family came to Mayo with the Normans and Gaelicized their name to McHale. Did they? Perhaps we will find out. Those of us who are McHales have always wondered. The "Irish" McHales are thought to be descended from the Sept of the Clan Ceile (Keale) who owned property in Mayo at the time of Cromwell but lost it at that time. In fact, the Sept of the Clan Ceile owned the townland where my McHale ancestors lived.

          We have one result that we are checking via additional testing that was a surprise. A McHale matched, at least on the first 12 markers, the Niall of the Nine Hostages modal. McHales were not connected to the Ui Niells that I have ever heard of...so this will be interesting to pursue.



          Anyway, this is the kind of thing that genetics call help to explore. And it is fun!
          Last edited by kaybee930; 20 December 2006, 02:18 AM.

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