SURNAME DNA PROJECT
How can DNA help in Genealogy
- There are many Gatter surname lines in the United
States that we cannot connect to each other through the use of
conventional documentary civil or church records.
- Many Gatters living outside of Europe do not
know where their ancestry came from. Was it Germany, Austria or
Great Britain? And even if this is finally established, from which
of the many German, Austrian or British Gatter lines did these
- In Europe itself DNA-testing could help to document
whether or not, the different Gatter lines descend from a common
ancestor, and how many generations back this person lived. Since
church records in many areas only start after the 30-years war
around 1650 this seems quite promising and maybe the only way
to get certainty.
- DNA-testing could also give us last evidence
if British Gatters and Continental European Gatters (e.g. from
Germany and Austria) are related, or if the common name is just
a linguistic coincidence.
does it work?
From elementary genetics we learn that the 23rd chromosome is the "sex"
determining chromosome. Males have both an "X" and a "Y" 23rd chromosome.
Females do not carry such a "Y", but have two "X" instead for their 23rd
chromosome. The human egg becomes a female embryo if the male sperm carries
an X-chromosome and a male embryo when the sperm has a Y-chromosome. Thus
the Y-chromosome is passed down from generation to generation only through
the male line. You might want to read an article about the Y-chromosome.
Several recent projects have reported on the use of the Y chromosome
to trace and analyze surnames. Reuters issued a news release in early
2000 entitled, "Gene test helps scientist trace family names". In the
article, Bryan Sykes of Oxford University was able to demonstrate, using
DNA test results from a random sampling of 250 men with the Sykes surname,
that they came from a common ancestor. Another fairly famous case involves
the question as to whether or not President
Thomas Jefferson fathered any slave children by Sally Hemings. The
results clearly showed that one of her sons had a Jefferson Y chromosome,
either from Thomas or one of his near relatives. A third study involves
Jewish men who are kohanim, a Hebrew word literally meaning "priests".
During the time of the First and Second Temples and up until the latter's
destruction in 70 AD, the kohanim were responsible for performing elaborate
rituals of animal sacrifices and grain offerings. Based on a study of
306 Jewish men in Israel, Canada and England, the researchers discovered
that the 106 Jews who had identified themselves as kohanim shared genetic
markers in their Y-chromosomes that members of the general Jewish population
|DNA testing will not help in genealogy if the family
name was at one point passed on by a woman (e.g. if she had a child
born out of wedlock). The child might have inherited this family's
name, but not its "Y" chromoseme, but the one of its biological father.
DNA testing will also not help if there was an unknown case of adoption
down the line, or if one ancestor was the product of infidelity or
rape. Again, he might have carried the family name, but he did not
carry the family's "Y" chromosome.
The proof that DNA testing in privately funded family genealogy works
and is not only a utopian dream, is the "Mumma
Surname DNA Project" which has inspired this Gatter project.
There are several laboratories carrying out such test. From the experience
of the Mumma
Surname DNA Project the Family Tree DNA, Inc. proved to be
the most reliable and cheapest choice.
Extracting DNA is very easy. No blood is needed. Special cotton
scrapers are used to rub the inside tissue of the mouth, more or
less like a little tooth brush. This does not hurt.
To the right you see a "DNA extraction kit" as we use
it for our Gatter DNA research. The test kit consists of two cheek
scrapers and two collection tubes---designed for a single persons
use. Each tube contains a fluid designed to arrest bacteria growth,
so you can scrape your cheek and return your kit in any type of
weather (hot or cold). The freshness of your sample will remain
intact for months.
If you sign up to participate in the Gatter DNA project such a
DNA extraction kit will be sent to you by mail along with a short
manual on how to use it.
DNA Extraction Kit used for the Gatter Project
If you have any further questions about the Gatter DNA project, please
direct them to: <contact>
|To safeguard our (I also took part) privacy no
DNA information will be published (in the book or on the internet)
mentioning the names of participants. In the evaluation report all
participants will be presented with code numbers that cannot be traced
back to the participant. This code number is mentioned together with
the Gatter line they come from.
If you want to participate in the Gatter DNA testing then sign
to main page
Gatter Archive 2000-2008
Any distribution and use of material displayed on the Gatter History Archive
other than for personal purposes will be prosecuted