Yates & Hirschman, “DNA Haplotyping and Diversity”

ABSTRACT: Emerging only in the last four to five years, anthropogenealogy combines genealogy and surname studies with DNA analysis and population genetics. Described here is a method for determining the geopolitical connections and deep history of an individual’s lineage. An overview of genetics-and-genealogy begins with Skorecki et al. seminal publication on the chromosomes of Jewish priests. In 2000, N. Brent Kennedy became the first person to investigate his full ancestry through DNA haplotyping. There are two main approaches. One determines the father’s lineage by testing DNA material on relevant sites of the Y-chromosome. The other uses a certain region of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA to assemble the mutations characteristic of different female lineages. Matches for any given Y chromosomal haplotype can be found in the Y-STR Haplotype Reference Database. Mitochondrial mutations are reported in a similar concordance using the Cambridge Reference Sequence. Two brief case studies illustrate the steps researchers can take to explore either of these lines. In most regions of the world, males passed surnames as well as property, titles, and socio-economic class. Hence, male haplotyping can be a valuable tool for determining historical relationships. MtDNA haplotyping derives its interest from the fact that it is often the mother who instils values of culture, religion and education. Combining DNA analysis with the study of Scottish history — particularly records of medieval and early modern guilds and cemeteries of Aberdeen and Glasgow — the authors have used male haplotyping to suggest that many of Scotland’s founding lineages from the Norman period were likely Jewish families from the Continent. In summary, DNA haplotyping opens a new avenue to exploring race and ethnicity in history. In genealogy, it offers a way of overcoming brick walls and supplementing mute records. By revealing the interrelatedness of all human diversity around the world, anthropogenealogy can also be a potent force for promoting tolerance and peace.