Genealogy Wise

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The Collinsworth/Collingsworth DNA Project has a new Co-Administrator!

I am so happy to announce a new co-admin who understands DNA, can read the results and answer questions!. Here is a section of the introductory email he sent today to the group members. I think you will agree that Erik will be a wonderful asset to our DNA project!

My name is Erik Maher and I volunteered to join the project as a co-admin. You are probably wondering what the surname Maher has to do with Collinsworth, and I will explain shortly.

First I would like to let you all know that if you have any genetic genealogy questions or need advice such as which SNP to test next to narrow down your haplo group, just send me an email:


Sherry set up this email account specifically for this surname project, and any emails sent to this address will go both to her and to me (straight to my phone). I will respond as quickly as possible. I must admit that I'm stronger in genetics that in traditional paper-trail genealogy, but I will do my best to help either way.

My first foray into genetic genealogy was in 2005, when National Geographic introduced the first Genographic test to look at human origins. Looking back, that first test was laughable – only 12 markers on the Y side and only HVR1 on the mitochondrial side. It is amazing to see how far we've come since then. The second version, Geno 2.0, tests for about 500,000 markers, providing deep resolution on the Y side, the mt side, and autosomally.

Shortly after I took the first Geno test, I joined my surname project (Maher) and started doing traditional genealogy. My father and I went back as far as we could, to ancestors in Co. Clare and Co. Meath, Ireland, and then nothing much happened for several years.

Then, one day, I opened a mysterious email from an anonymous person suggesting that I test for something called DF21. At the time, I knew nothing about SNPs, and I said to myself, what is this DF21? What does it have to do with me? Curious to find out more, I ordered the test and the result came back positive. That mysterious email sparked my interest in learning more about Irish history and trying to find out why the so-called "matches" in my list of 37 and 67-marker matches had such seemingly-random surnames.

Increasingly, the line between deep ancestry and genealogy is blurring. Several new SNPs are discovered each week, not just at FTDNA, but in labs worldwide (see SNPs are now as important, if not more important, than STRs, and we are increasingly finding SNPs that originated in the genealogical time frame. Robert Casey explains this in great detail here.

Erik's email continued but I am sure you can see that this gentleman is quite knowledgeable and experienced. I, for one, feel very blessed that he joined our DNA project and seeing that we needed someone who could make some sense out of it all, volunteered his time!

If you haven't joined the DNA project yet, please consider doing it now or in the near future.

Collinsworth/Collingsworth DNA Project

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