You may be able to learn something about the Y-chromosome DNA of your paternal line even before you get test results back from the lab on yourself or an immediate male relative. There are at least two avenues for exploration before you (or a near male ancestor) submit a sample of your saliva to the lab. One source of information is shown below. Another will be posted soon.
You can go to the home page for Family Tree DNA. This is the lab with the largest database of tested gentlemen. When you arrive at the FTDNA home page, follow these steps:
1. Enter the surname of interest in the “Search Your Last Name” box in the upper right part of the page.
2. 2. Click in the most appropriate link(s) under “PROJECTS” on the left side of the page.
3. 3. Click on the “Website” in the upper left of the page.
4. 4. Click on the results link. This will probably be part of a banner across the top of the page but it may be in the left column or elsewhere depending on the “creativity” of the designer of the website. Hopefully this will lead to a Excel-like table that will include a column for “Most Distant Ancestor” or “Paternal Ancestor Name” as in the abbreviated table below. Click on the graphic to see the full chart.
If information about the earliest ancestor is not included, look for an email address for the project administrator or a “Contact Us” link. As the administrator if any of the participants descend from an ancestor who originates from the ancestral home of your line. (Example: “Do any of the FISHERs in your project originate from Syleham, Suffolk, England?”)
5. 5. Also look on the first project page to see if pedigree lines of participants have been posted or linked.
If you are fortunate enough to find an obvious match to your documented ancestral line, at a minimum you should be able to find a general haplogroup for your line. You may also discover some typical marker values for your ancestral line. Interpret this information with care because some of the actual marker values of men who descend from the same common ancestor will vary somewhat over the generations. You may also find some genealogical information as a bonus. You may also find a knowledgeable project coordinator who can be helpful to you.
Part 2 of this series will be posted soon.