Middlebrook DNA Project
The use of DNA in Family History ResearchResearching family history through traditional methods, using the wealth of records that have been preserved from the past, can usually get us so far back in time. But problems are often encountered along the way – missing records, ambiguous results etc. – that can lead to a brick-wall. We might ‘suspect’ we are related to another family with the same surname but we are unable to prove the link.
DNA testing offers a modern technique for helping to bridge that gap.
Just as a surname is passed down from father to son, so is a single copy of his Y-chromosome. This remains (largely) unchanged from generation to generation, which means that testing the DNA of a man’s Y-chromosome can be a very powerful tool in establishing or refuting close relationships between different families of the same name.
Progress made in USA in identifying different branches of the family – most of which are known or presumed to have migrated there from England.
More recently, the project is being extended to incoroporate Middlebrooks from further afield. The first test results submitted by an Englishman (myself), suggest that I have a Middlebrook ancestor in common with the main line in America. Clearly, this common ancestor must date back, at least, to the 16th century.
It would be great to get more English Middlebrooks involved in this project, so that we can get a much better picture of how closely each different branch is related.
How to get involvedUnfortunately DNA testing is not particularly cheap. But it is possible to get some level of discount if you are part of a recognised surname project.
How many markers to test?
The Y-DNA tests currently offered by FamilyTreeDNA are as follows:
The 12 marker test is fairly limited. In general, this will clearly show where people are not related, but a close match would be difficult to interpret without more data.
THe 25 or 37 marker tests are much more useful for identifying close matches, and establishing how closely different families might be related. I would recommend the 37 marker test for greater detail and reduced uncertainty.
THe 67 marker test is very detailed, and although interesting, would probably only be necessary for looking at very close relationships. In fact, of the extra 30 markers, my own results were only different at one location compared to a Middlebrook in America, despite being separated by at least 10 generations. So these extra markers will not always be worth the extra cost in such circumstances.
If you do not want to go straight for a detailed test, it is possible to upgrade at a later date without supplying another sample ...