18 November 2011

Pitts Project DNA Success Story

DNA testing for the use of genealogy has produced many success stories over the years.  Genealogy research will always have a dead-end where DNA testing can give you matches with cousins when the connection is current to hundreds or thousands of years old, depending upon the test taken.  Many of these stories can be seen under Success Stories for the ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) website.  Many stories have not been printed anywhere.  David has three such stories on the Pitts website, but the one below is the most current.

In the past I have posted some of the success stories for my projects and have found that others recognize the names, so more cousins were located and more genealogy shared.  If you would like your DNA Success story posted here, email me.

The particular story is a result of testing Family Tree DNA's Family Finder test, an autosomal test which gives the testers matches anywhere in their lineages back to 5-6 generations, and allows you to compare shared segments on each of our 22 pairs of chromosomes. There are exceptions that give matches farther back. For example, if an ancestor married his or her cousin, the descendants would inherit more autosomal DNA from that couple than from others in their lineage.  For this reason, a predicted match of a 3-4 cousin could be a 6-7 cousin or so in reality.  The Family Finder test can also help adoptees find more recent cousins who may know more than they about their lineage.

Family Tree DNA has many of their tests and upgrades to tests on sale now through the end of December so take advantage of the most accurate tool a genealogist has.  See the post prior to this one for details of the sale.

Family Finder DNA Success Story for Group 1 of the Pitts DNA Project 

We had long suspected that Mary Lenora Pitts was a daughter of Pitman Pitts (b. 1784 VA) and Mary C. Andrews Pitts. This was, in part, due to the 1860 census showing Mary Lenora and another girl (possibly granddaughters) living with Mary C. Andrews Pitts. We had tried for several years to figure out a way to test this hypothesis using mtDNA by testing the descendants of Mary Lenora Pitts to a living person who was in a direct female line. But the other two daughters of Mary C. did not produce viable direct female lines.

The autosomal Family Finder test, however, made testing this hypothesis easy since the lines could be mixtures of males and females.

I matched Nancy (the descendant of Mary Lenora) on chromosome 3 and my sister Imogene matched her on a slightly larger segment in the same area on chromosome 3 (both with the Affymetrix and Illumina chips). My 3rd cousin once removed (Sue, verified by both Family Finder and Y-dna with her brother at 67 markers exact) matched Nancy on Chromosome 5 with the Affymetrix chip but not with the Illumina chip. My 1st cousin once removed, Celestine, however, did not match Nancy with the Affymetrix chip, but did match her on chromosome 16 with the Illumina chip. So all four of us that tested matched Nancy. We are fourth cousins with our most recent common ancestors being Pitman Pitts and Mary C. Andrews Pitts.

David Pitts
Pitts DNA Project co-administrator

Emily Aulicino, 18 Nov 2011

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