DAR is Expanding its Work with DNA for Genealogical Research

Written by: Sharon Withers, Registrar General
April 13, 2016

In recent years, DNA has become widely recognized as a powerful genealogical tool—a molecular hammer than can smash brick walls. It can have the same utility as a historic document or vital record and can be especially helpful in eliminating false information.  You can learn more about DNA research and genealogy from a recent DAR Library Genealogy 101 lecture which can be viewed online here: http://www.dar.org/library/online-library-lectures

Beginning in 2014, DAR began accepting Y-DNA as supporting evidence in membership applications. You can learn more about this process here: www.dar.org/dna.  At the time the DNA policy was implemented, we began a partnership with Family Tree DNA (FTNDA) to offer discounted Y-DNA tests to DAR members and their families. We are excited to again be working with Family Tree DNA on another DNA project…and this one is groundbreaking!

As part of this partnership, DAR staff genealogists manage a group of DNA results from DAR members and their relatives on the Family Tree DNA website. Our DNA group can be found under the Surname Project and is called “NSDAR” https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/nsdar/about. We want to invite YOU to submit your DNA results to our DNA group. All types of DNA are accepted and welcomed; feel free to submit Y-DNA, mitochondrial (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA tests.

The power of DNA is limited only by the number of test subjects; more participants in a DNA groups equals a better chance of finding lineage connections between its members.  A “connection” is when two individuals share a common piece (segment) of DNA. The more DNA segments two individuals share, the more closely they are related.  Finding these matches can be very helpful in your family history research. They can break down a brick wall, help a prospective DAR member find a connection to a patriot, eliminate false information in your genealogical research and even substantiate family stories and lore!

As our DNA group grows and even more technology becomes available, we believe that in partnership with Family Tree DNA, we will be able to combine DNA results with our verified lineages to gain a clearer understanding of the utility of all types of DNA as part of the application process.  The future of DNA in genealogical research is endless!

If you have not yet had your DNA tested, we encourage you and your relatives to do so. You can purchase tests directly from the Family Tree DNA website. We are thrilled to tell you that Family Tree DNA has now offered DAR members  discounted rates for ALL of their DNA tests! To gain access to the reduced rates, purchase your tests here: https://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=NSDAR.   These rates are only available to you and your family members.  Be a DNA pioneer—join the NSDAR DNA Group!

If you have already had DNA testing performed by Family Tree DNA, it is free and easy to add your results to the NSDAR group. Visit https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/nsdar/about and click the “Join” button on the top right. If you have done your DNA testing through a different provider, you can also add your results to the NSDAR group for a small fee. You can learn more about this process of transferring your DNA here: https://www.familytreedna.com/AutosomalTransfer.

When you begin the process of adding your results to the NSDAR DNA group, there will be a number of fields to fill out about your personal family history. You will also select privacy settings which control how much information is shared with the other group members. We encourage you to fill out as much of this information as possible to maximize the usefulness of this project. The more information we have, the more the project will be able to show us in the future.

We hope you will consider joining the NSDAR DNA group and help preserve your family’s genetic history for future generations. Adding your results to the group can bring about positive results in your family research. Imagine being able to find that elusive ancestor, the one that seems to be in the witness protection program.  Imagine being able to target your research to a specific group of people with a very common surname, separating “your” Smiths from the “other” Smiths. These things have the possibility of happening through our NSDAR DNA group---but they won’t happen without YOUR DNA results!

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