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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2007-01 > 1169400959

From: Ruth Aylett <>
Subject: Re: [Ess] Family History Research - by DNA
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 17:35:59 +0000
In-Reply-To: <>

>> Definitely - my 7th cousin in America joined a DNA project (Y
>> chromosome for male descendants of the Farr & Farey families) & proved
>> he was related to some medieval landowners from around 1400.
> As in the above statement, could someone please explain how they obtained
> the DNA of a medieval landowner cicra 1400. Surely permission would have to be
> obtained to exhume the body. Or am I missing a vital point.

I suspect that 'proved' may have been too strong a term. If one person can
'prove' by documentary means descent from a landowner of the 1400s - not
completely impossible, but not all that likely either - and others of the
same surname have the same YDna, then this is strong evidence that the same
person was also the ancestor of these other individuals.

> If I recall correctly, I now sit back and wait to be proved wrong, almost
> every DNA project originates from the USA tracing their rellies back to
> goodness
> knows when.

I only have a small set of samples in my Aylett project so far, but none of
them are from the US. (Though I'd be happy to get some US samples of

> Where are all these DNA samples coming from especially as in the
> UK, most people refuse to accept the advantages to be gained by the use of
> ID cards. If these are an intrusion to privacy, then surely submitting to DNA
> sampling is giving almost worldwide availability of your details.

Privacy is certainly an issue, but the companies involved are well aware of
this and identify individuals publicly by sample number and not by name.
Given that YDna is not unique (or it wouldn't be useful) the sample itself
cannot identify an individual. This is the opposite of the UK ID cards idea.

Ruth Aylett Professor of Computer Science
Mathematics and Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK Tel: 44-131-451-4189 Fax: 44-131-451-3327 "Life is beautiful"

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