By now nearly every site visitor will have heard of using one’s DNA in family history research, a pursuit widely referred to as ‘genetic genealogy’. Much of our family history is embedded in the DNA that’s been passed down to us from many ancestors, and we can unlock some of that history by comparing the patterns in our DNA to those in others’ DNA.
While the ‘ethnic percentages’ provided by the major companies remain uncertain and subject to change with time, when DNA is used to identify who one’s cousins are and what Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA haplogroups one belongs to, it provides a clear ‘record’ to help inform documentary research. Using DNA along with documentary research increases confidence in our findings and leads to new discoveries.
Begun in 2004 as part of this surname study, the Bowes and Bowe surnames DNA project has expanded to include many more interesting surnames, since:
- They are close by spelling and/or sound and often too rare to have their own surname DNA project, and
- It’s become clear that entirely different surnames that sound similar to Bowes and Bowe sometimes share the same spelling variants.
The best way to know what spelling variants survive for your surname, to help guide your documentary research, is to locate them using Y DNA matching. The DNA project is now somewhat cumbersomely called the ‘Bowes, Bowe, Related and Similar Surnames DNA Project’. Its main pages are hosted at Family Tree DNA and include the project’s:
- Y DNA Results Classic
- Y DNA Results Colorized (to show mutational differences within subgroups)
- Y DNA Results Map (showing the earliest known location on the participants’ patrilineal lines)
- Y DNA Results SNP (showing the level of advanced SNP mutation testing done by our participants)
You can pursue genetic genealogy one or both of these ways:
- As a ‘fishing trip’ if you’re just curious what the DNA will reveal
- As a focused means to help answer a specific question about family relationships
What you hope to learn will determine what kind of kit you order. You can review these sections to help you decide which kit is right for you.
- DNA > Types of DNA Explained
- DNA > Which Kit to Order
FTDNA provides each participant with a personal account where their genetic results are posted along with interpretive tools and an Activity Feed for communicating between project members.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask me or contact Family Tree DNA directly at (713) 868-1438 or by using their online form.