31 December 2008

DNA Success Stories

Success, a relevant term, is defined as an achievement, an accomplishment, a triumph, or a victory. It is measured by some as a great progress and by others as tiny steps. Regardless, it is in the “eye of the beholder.”

In Genetic Genealogy success takes many forms. It can mean finding the ancestors beyond our current brick wall; finding new cousins and persons related to us who can help with the research; finding birth parents or, at least, the biological surname; or determining who isn’t related so we can focus on others branches of the surname.

DNA success has resulted from testing the all male (Ydna) and the all female (mtDNA) lines. Although it is easier to test and research the male lineage, when success is found with the female lines it is huge. Many success stories for both types of tests have been submitted to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy and may be viewed at by clicking on the link SUCCESS STORIES on the left at the website: http://www.isogg.org/

Below are a few examples sent to me recently. Each of the submitters feels their DNA testing has some level of success:

After twenty-five years of genealogical research at the libraries in Georgia, Georgia Archives, National Archives (Atlanta Branch), South Carolina Archives, North Carolina Archives, Library of Virginia and three trips to the UK and Ireland, I gave up on my Smith surname! However, you know genealogist's never really give up, so I resolved to use DNA as a last resort to discover the ancestry of my maiden name, SMITH. All of my other lines were easy to trace for many generations, but SMITH was impossible.

The next step was to find a living male SMITH in my line to test for me. I am an only child, my father is deceased, I do not have Smith uncles, and there are no male Smith first cousins. Finally, I found a Smith second cousin who agreed to test for me. I paid for a 12 marker test, but those results were insignificant. I upgraded to 25 and found to my surprise that I was not really connected to Smith's. An upgrade to 37 and finally 67 markers indicate that my surname is probably Dulin or Doolin.

I wanted to be sure that I had not discovered some recent NPE (Non-parental event) among just my Smith great, great, grandparents. Thus, I searched and found another Smith second cousin and finally convinced him to encourage a male Smith in his direct line to test. He tested at 67 markers and his Y-DNA indicate Dulin/Doolin as well.

Ah-Ha! How exciting! We must be Dulin's. A name change or a NPE must have occurred in the mid to late 1700's in the US or Ireland.

I searched for Dulin's in George and according to census records, I found several Dulin families living near my Smiths in the early 1800's. That is where I am in my research now. I can't prove any connection to those Dulin's. I know my Smith's are Irish because all my other ancestors in that area of Georgia are from Ireland. One of my trips took me through Doolin, Ireland a few years ago. I wish I had known this then.

Without Y-DNA, I never would have this. I wish I could prove this with a paper trail and maybe someday I will find the common ancestor that ties my Smiths and the Dulin/Dooln lines together, but for now, DNA has proved I am a Dulin/Doolin.

--Charlotte Smith Winsness


DNA testing has proved some of my theories about the TULEY surname.

1. Phonics matters. Tuley and Tooley are related, but Tuley and Talley are not related.

2. The Indiana Tuley's and the Virginia Tuley's are related, even though the documentation no longer exists, if it ever did.

Now I know only to focus on Tuley and Tooley spellings and their variants.

--Glenn Tuley


My family has been in the Americas since the 1600’s while others were already here. I consider my self the original “Melting Pot” Scottish, Irish, Dutch, French and Native American.

I started the DNA search because I wanted to see if my Grandmother was indeed Cherokee as she had said. She had told us that her mother had papers and that when her mother died in 1894, she went to Missouri to live with her relatives. Her aunt made her burn her papers in a wood stove. I thought they were just embarrassed; however, after reviewing the trouble Native Americans went through in the mid to later 1800’s I guess she destroyed them for self-preservation. Anyway, I had a direct line from me back through my mother 6 generations to Jane (Jennie) Williams Tally (Her mother appears to have been a Hays so this will follow the Hays Family). I completed my mtDNA; alas, I discovered the unique properties of the mtDNA it went 6,500 years back to Alpine Europe with a haplogroup of J1a. Only one other person, in the whole data base matches me. Not quite what I had expected, but those Europeans were creative.

I found out you have to trace the right ancestor for the results you want. That probably would be John Tally Sr.’s first wife (a Native American probably from the Chickasaw Tribe). Of course there were three boys and no daughters so with out knowing her family and sisters, there is no way to trace her mtDNA.

Though I did not get the mtDNA results I had expected, the research did help me to find relatives 3 more generations back and a lot of wonderful relatives out there in the cyber space who are pursuing the same things, and sharing their information!

I again, am a Corbin, comes from the Latin “Corbi” meaning Raven. It is an old name, several different coats-of- arms from many countries. We were always told we came from Peter Corbin, of Pickens County, SC we had been having trouble making the jump from my Great-Great Grandfather William Riley Corbin to Peter. (We thought it was Peter’s Son David, but we were not sure.). When I joined the surname project for the Corbin’s I connected, again, with wonderful, unknown relatives who helped me clarify this data. I ended up testing my Ydna and, yes it goes back to Peter. Each cousin is from a different son of Peter yet we all match. Haplogroup: R1b1b2a1b4

No one else matched; we only appear to match to each other. We now know for a fact as far back as Peter. This provided the data to all my cousins who descend from James Franklin Corbin. The research also created other avenues to travel (i.e., William Riley Corbin’s wife “Rosanna Barnett” goes all the way back and proven to Jamestown Colony.) We now know she also goes back to Pocahontas. This is my father’s side. The Bunch Family on my mother’s side always said they also went back to Pocahontas, and the Book “Parks/Bunch the Trail West” by Alice Crandall also says this. On a side note, it appears that my male Tally line is also from haplogroup R1b.

--Johnny Corbin

DNA testing proved a family rumor true for me. It was rumored that my paternal grandmother had an affair with a man called Lambert, which may have led to my father's birth. My father, however, was given the last name Johnson, after his purported father. I recently got tested and was found to match a Lambert in the pool! I have since found my father's true siblings (though they are not interested in knowing us), and the names of my paternal grandparents.

--Ed Johnson


This story started in Feb. 2005. I submitted a DNA sample from a male WILLIAMS. At that time there were 120 members in that Project. April 2005 a 12/12 match with a WILLIAMS sample in Tennessee. And we had an R1a Haplogroup estimated which was rare in the WILLIAMS Project.

By Sept. 2007 our little group had grown to five members. One was the son of the first DNA match, another was a known cousin of his. But none is a closer match to "my" (or "our") sample than the first one which was 34/37. My paper trail is still stuck in Kentucky, and his is in Tennessee, reaching toward North Carolina.

My county in Kentucky and his county in Tennessee are pretty close together. It is possible that someone 'crossed over', but I have no clue when nor who.

There are some close matches with other surnames, but I see nothing conclusive. One is in England, not the U.S.A.

--Kay Chestnut

Many thanks to the contributors. Their kindness in sharing their DNA adventures may help others understand the usefulness of DNA testing for genealogy. If anyone finds a connection to the families mentioned, I would be happy to forward a message from you to the contributor. (I do not give out emails without permission.)

To submit any DNA success story, please email me directly at Aulicino@hevanet.com
I will be featuring these stories from time to time.

©Aulicino, 22 Dec 2008

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