[List] Third brother (Joseph) confirmed through yDNA!

michael@newsummer.com michael at newsummer.com
Sat May 26 17:04:53 PDT 2007

List member Mary Cooley's husband, Mike, has had the first results of his
test come back. (They're still waiting on the results for markers 26-37).
His ancestor Joseph, my ancestor Edward and Don's ancestor James are so
close that given the common surname and the genealogical record, they had to
have been brothers.

I know that some of you are confused by yDNA and how it can prove anything.
But look at the table I've put up at
http://www.ancestraldata.com/ahnentafel/256/ydna.html which includes an
example of yDNA -not- of our line. You'll see immediately there's a very big
difference. Just at a glance, we know that our John Cooley was not related
Daniell Cooley of Maryland (died 1729). (You may also want to look at
additional results at the Cooley DNA Project at
http://www.nhn.ou.edu/~parker/Genealogy/DNA/DNAResultsCooley.htm .)

I've been trying to come up with a simple analogy for DNA and why it helps
genealogists. Perhaps it was Spencer Wells who presented the soup analogy:

Imagine that you've boiled a large pot of potatoes to later use as a base for
soup. Once done, you pour it into 4 separate containers to freeze for a
later date. (Since those containers came out of the same pot, you could call
them brothers.) Later, you grab one of these potato soup brothers, put it on
the stove and decide to add onion to it. You save the leftovers for another
day, putting it into the freezer. A few days later, you grab another
container, add carrots to it and again freeze the leftovers. You now have in
the freezer two bother potato soup bases and two of their nephews, one with
carrots and another with onions. The next day you've decided you liked the
carrot and potato so well that you boil that up and add some corn. You've
now got a fourth generation soup having only one characteristic in common
with the others--potato.

You can see that if you repeat that process, adding ingredients with each
successive generation, and vary those ingredients with each line, you'll end
up with a complex family of soups. They're all related by virtue of the
potato but those batches with onion are descended only from the first onion

Of course, they didn't find an onion in my DNA. But the idea is similar.
There's a "marker" at position 21 in my Y chromosome that is different from
that same position in Don's and Mike's yDNA. (See the table I referred to
above.) That difference came about by a so-called mutation, either with me,
my dad, his dad or perhaps all the way back to Edward. Although it's true
that any one mutation can occur in any line, neither Mike nor Don has it.

Remember, of course, "mutations" are not the radioactive mutant monsters we
saw in the movies during the 1950s. These chemical changes simply create the
variety among the human race, even though at times the consequences can be
unwelcomed. (A friend gave birth to a son 2 years ago who had acquired a
very rare single mutation at a very rare spot in his DNA, causing cancer. A
specific chemical simply miscopied as another chemical. He's fine now, by
the way.)

I hope I've not gone on too much and I certainly hope I haven't caused any
further confusion but there's two or three of us on the list who'd be happy
to answer questions. And we're always looking for test volunteers. (Remember,
we're talking about the Y chromosome which is what makes a man male. Women
do not have one. It's passed only from father to son.)


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