|PARTICIPATING in the SHETLAND Y-DNA PROJECT
Purpose and Benefits of Participation in DNA Project
The primary purpose of the DNA project is to provide an alternative
means, other than history and genealogy, by which persons of
Shetland Islands ancestry can learn more about their personal
ancestry, and the heritage of the Islands as a whole.
Due to problems such as the patronymic naming practice as well as
fragmentary documentary sources, many Shetland descendants
cannot trace their family lines much beyond the early 1800s.
Fortunately, when the paper trail runs into dead ends, DNA evidence
can potentially provide answers to genealogical questions.
Each male inherits his Y chromosome from his biological father and
so on back through the mists of time. Therefore the Y - DNA
signature of a male will be the same (or nearly so) as that carried by
his ancestor in the male line at the time the Vikings landed in
Shetland. If two males, say an Anderson and a Peterson have an
identical (or nearly so) pattern of scores on a 25 marker DNA test
(e.g., a 23 of 25 marker match), then they have a common ancestor.
That individual may have lived in 1800 or 800 - however, this finding
would provide both parties the opportunity to share notes and see if
they can learn of their connection. In essence the DNA results will
be used to supplement, not replace, the traditional genealogical
research. The DNA results can be used in conjunction with the vast
genealogical data available for the Shetland Islands on the website of
Tony Gott (see link next page).
It will also be possible in many cases, thanks to considerable
published research papers and world wide on-line databases, to learn
whether one's Y - DNA came from a Norse Viking source, or was
derived from an Anglo - Saxon or Celtic ancestor. Definitive
answers on this question will vary from surname to surname and
family to family. In the case of the author's uncle, his Y - DNA
carries the distinctive Norse Viking "signature" (pattern of scores)
characteristic of Western Norway.
*** Please note: the Project Administrator obtains no commercial
benefits from this Project - it is strictly a "labour of love" and a
tribute to his grandfather, Gilbert Williamson.
David K. Faux
How to Join the Project
First, it is key that an individual participant's male ancestor with the
same surname was born in the Shetland Islands prior to 1800. Second,
since we are only testing the Y chromosome, it is essential to have a
male in the family tested. If you are a male with the surname
Anderson and your great grandfather Anderson came from the
Shetland Islands, then you would be an ideal candidate to test. If you
are a female and your maternal great grandfather Mowat came from
the Islands, then you will have to find a male with the surname Mowat
from among, for example, your second cousins with the surname
Mowat to provide the DNA sample.
Those who decide to participate should contact the Project
Administrator (e-mail below), providing a brief overview of their link
to the Islands. The Administrator will then send a "Join
Authorization", e-mailed from the DNA testing company chosen to do
the lab work for this project. After you fill in the requested
information and e-mail it back to them, they in turn will send the test
kit (a mouth swab, and consent form).
The firm chosen to do this work is Family Tree DNA (website listed on
the next page). The Administrator has been in frequent contact with
various executives in this company (affiliated with the University of
Arizona) over the years, and they offer the most comprehensive
testing and most attentive customer service. They offer 12, 25, and 37
marker tests (the latter at a lower cost that what a well known UK
firm charges for 10 markers), and at discounted rates for this Project.
The price for the 12 marker test is $99, for the 25 marker test $169,
and for the full 37 markers $229 USD. A minimum of 25 markers is
recommended as it permits a better chance at finding non - random
matches, however the 12 markers could be "upgraded" to 25 or 37
later if needed.
The results are sent to the participant and the Administrator via an
e-mail giving a link to the participants webpage on the Family Tree
DNA site. Results are typically available about 5 to 6 weeks after the
test kit arrives at the lab. At that point the Administrator will contact
the participant to assist in interpreting the results in light of the goals
of the project. The Administrator will offer a tentative hypothesis as
the the origin of the family (where they may have resided in 700 AD).
As new evidence becomes available, revisions, if required, will be