DNA proof, the new game in town

Autosomal DNA testing is the new world for genealogists.  I won’t try to explain it here, but it has moved into the realm of being reasonably affordable — typically about $100 per spit test.  Unlike Y-DNA testing that is good only for straight-line paternal ancestry, and unlike mtDNA testing that is good only for straight-line maternal ancestry, autosomal DNA testing shows close and distant relationships between two people.

After another HUFFORD descendant told me that he’d had his spit tested, I decided to step into the world of DNA testing.  For one hundred dollars and a small cup of spit, I would have the chance to learn if my 2nd cousin once-removed really is my 2nd cousin once removed.

Our connection is through Elizabeth HUFFORD (1851-1929) and her husband George HOOKER (1844-1921).  About four weeks after I put my spit in the mail, the DNA analysis showed that the relationship was for real: An eight cM segment on chromosome seven said, “Yes, you’re related.”

Still, that alone did not say whether the DNA segment came from Elizabeth Hufford or from her husband.

If you walk into the world of DNA genealogy, you’ll find that there is a learning curve: The more you fiddle with it, the more you learn. After some fiddling (that I won’t explain here), I found three others who also have that same eight cM segment on chromosome seven. They have strong Brethren and Anabaptist connections, but they have no knowledge of being HUFFORD descendants.

It may be that the gene that we five carry — while it proves that I descend from Elizabeth Hufford — may in fact be from another common ancestor above Elizabeth, other than straight back her Hufford line.

If you have not walked into the world of autosomal DNA testing, I recommend it.  It goes hand-in-hand with standard documentary genealogical research.  With DNA, you can prove what the documents say is so.

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