FamilyTreeDNA.com, THE lab to use for NC Family History Work

There are three major labs to choose from for your genetic genealogy work.  They are FTDNA.com, Ancestry.com, and 23andme.com   If you are following best research practices in your family history work the correct selection, in my opinion, is FTDNA.com (FamilyTreeDNA.com).  If your surname is JORDAN and your family tracks back to North Carolina then frugality is most likely a trait you possess. The cost of a Family Finder test is $20 cheaper at FTDNA than at Ancestry.com.  23andme is more concerned about specialized medical information passed down than genealogical information.  It also was created by folks connected to GOOGLE.  It was fined by the Federal Gov’t a few years back and I simply don’t feel safe using it.  But it is more than just money.  It is the quality  and test availability too.   So even if money was no object I would start with FTDNA as the lab to use for your genetic genealogy work.

Genealogical testing can’t be rationalized away no matter how much of a papertrail you have or even if you have reason based on paperwork that you have a genetic relationship based on a different line of Jordans DNA testing.

DNA will bring you information you cannot get from paperwork. It comes directly from your ancestors. It is a requirement of any historian or researcher to gather all possible records and information from all available sources and only afterwards can a researcher draw conclusions based on the weight of all information.

Until you can properly answer the question “WHAT JG JORDAN you belong?” your family history will be deficient and considering the DNA cluster now gathered your work will also have to be considered unverified and unreliable. WHY?

Because DNA is how we ESTABLISH what actual FAMILY TREE your line/branch belongs and too many published Jordan genealogies have it wrong. Until you take the time and make the effort to establish and confirm your work, you are at best in the mystery lot and at worst actually making a claim that has been proven via DNA to be false. Anyone who cares about their Jordan Family History needs to realize DNA is a good thing and will help them do their best work!

WHY use FTDNA.com? The first reason is obvious – it is the only lab where the Ymarker information can be identified. Ancestry and 23andme ONLY use autosomal tests. The difference between the tests can be easily illustrated by using two puzzles – DOMINOES and ZIGSAW Puzzles.

 

Y MARKER TESTS. THINK DOMINOES 

A Ymarker test is like setting dominos up on their ends. Your branch represents a single domino. When it comes to DNA testing scientists compare the information between two or more testers. And Ymarker test must be no less than 37 markers. It produces matches and each match is distanced by how many markers the two being compared DO NOT SHARE. In other words, if the genetic distance column shows a 0 or 1, the dominoes are so close to one another, they COULD touch. I used to liken it to a tree and the two kits would be along the same branch, which is true. BUT there is an element that is perplexing to early JORDAN families (and most likely other settlement families, the families who arrived on the North American Continent long before boundaries created states and countries). These trees are HUGE. And the branches and offshoots are many. So even though you may find your test is along the same branch there is still the possibility of missing parts of that same branch that prevent each of you from being able to click your branches together or in the case of dominoes, you know your domino and the match with a 0 or 1 line up in the same line but the actual distance may require each of you locating the missing parts/families of Jordans who are missing from the database in order to unlock the line and allow all on your branch to touch.

When I submitted my Matthew Jordan kit. There were no 0 or 1 matches. I have many, many 2 matches. These families belong to the same tree but along a different branch that touches mine at some generation. In order to fully understand it all, we need all JORDANS of NC or families of JORDANS who pushed from NC in the 1700s or 1800s to please submit their kits to establish their branches.

The land was being settled by people from various countries and the folks brought here were not necessarily from the countries who were financing the venture. The surname Jordan can be found in virtually every European Country. The spelling may be different – JORDON, JOURDAN, JOURDAIN, JURDEN, JORDAN,…There are only fragments of paper left if at all, but the Ymarker information has been passed down from father to son for tens of thousands of years.  Doing the Y37 or greater test will allow us the information to properly see the classic records with refined eyes, have a greater understanding of the different spellings and pronunciations of the JORDAN surname, hurdle where paper records are missing, and gain a firmer grasp and understanding of our unique branch and JG Jordan Tree we belong.

However, even though the reach of the test is long, remember the dominos. In order to reach back each father to son from your own tracking backward would require someone with their unique DNA submitted for each generation node in the database. Where there are missing branches there are gaps of missing dominos. These breaks create a hole and the inability to track back or properly attach some generation of your JORDANS to the 0-1 match(es). Just as classic genealogists have faced brick walls when it comes to deficiencies in the paper trail, so the genetic genealogists face holes or gaps where there are missing branches in the databases. It is essential for each JORDAN family to understand the need to establish and confirm their branch! This doesn’t mean that every generation for every line must submit a kit. But it does mean that there must be a Ymarker test for your unique branch at the very least to CONFIRM that your branch attaches to whoever established your branch. I hope that makes sense.

You cannot find any Ymarker information via any Autosomal tests, regardless of which lab you used. If an autosomal test was done via Ancestry or 23andme, you can only learn autosomal information. Ancestry does not include the Y or X chromosomes in their test and autosomal tests do not communicate with Ymarker tests.  The Y marker information travels one communication highway and the autosomal information travels along a different communication highway.

 

FAMILY FINDER TESTS. THINK ZIGSAW PUZZLES

 

Autosomal tests are like huge zigsaw puzzles. When one submits a Family Finder test (aka Family Finder test), it is like a net being cast to collect pieces of a puzzle. For Ancestry.com the reach is 1-4 generations from the tester. For FTDNA the reach is 5-7 generations. For NC and early VA, SC, and FL Jordan work, that reach is critical. Many of the Jordans have been here over 250 years! So if you are JORDAN researcher FTDNA offers you the best choice and value. If money is no option you could choose to do family finder tests at both FTDNA and Ancestry. With Ancestry.com the main benefit is actually connecting to folks who are researching the same branches and having lots of paper records to use to construct or evaluate a pedigree chart. It is my own opinion but I believe FTDNA.com offers more privacy protections than Ancestry.com.  A warning: If you think you can save some money by doing the Ancestry.com and then moving it to FTDNA.com it is not just the reach you will lose, you will also never be able to upgrade that kit through FTDNA.  And since Ancestry only offers the autosomal test there is no avenue to upgrade it there either.  I believe it IS helpful though if you are simply connecting lines of a family to a branch, especially if you are a girl or a younger male who didn’t realize the importance of using FTDNA.com or the necessity of including the Ymarker test, it would be quite beneficial to move the raw data from Ancestry to FTDNA.com.  If you are like me, you will moving the raw data will open multiple windows to confirm various branches within your pedigree work, and reach researchers who are actually working your same branches and in your same geographic region and chronological window.

There is another basic research principle/practice in play though. Just as you can’t extrapolate results from some other Jordan’s tests because an old published genealogy claims there is a connection, you have to work within one lab in order to ANCHOR your Ymarker kit. And you can’t anchor it via Ancestry or 23andme because they don’t have Ymarker tests! For the kit done by a BOY in your family (the older the better) to establish which JG Family Tree you are, you also need to include the Family Finder test. The Family Finder test allows you to properly PLOT your various families including the JORDAN BRANCH along its migration path.

I admit some researchers who submitted kits via FTDNA still don’t fully understand this critical step. Some who are participating in FTDNA’s JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT still only have half of the information they need to properly anchor their JORDAN branch!

Remember FTDNA’s lab and result are NOT on the same platform as the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT. The Projects were developed to aid researchers. Some are dynamic, some are not. The Jordan Surname Project is NOT an active research project like my NC1700sJordans Project. It is a separate repository.  Not all who submit kits join the Jordan Surname Project. Consider it like a vertical file submitted to a library for your branch. The Project results page will only show a kit number, the earliest ancestor you claim, and your marker information. Your  Ymarker kit results page will show the names assigned to each kit by the kit owner, the genetic distance between the match, and you will know if the match has anchored their kit, a “FF” will appear after the contact icon and the tip icon.  I have attached the first page for our JORDAN kit so you can see for yourself.   I continue to be baffled at the number of people who submitted DNA and yet did not anchor their kit. This page clearly exemplifies the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT is not an active research project but a repository.

There are two benefits to joining FTDNA’s JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT. First, you get a discount on the Ymarker tests. A Y37 or 67 is the basic starting point. The Y37 test costs $169 or $149 if you join the JORDAN PROJECT. Also after your test results populate if you are a participant in the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT you have the opportunity to see all who have tested who are in your same JG unique JORDAN FAMILY TREE. The lab has cut off benchmarks and even though you may belong to the same tree if your branch is too far from someone else, you may never learn of that kit’s existence if not for the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT and both kit owners allowing their branch to be included in the project.  You also will receive notification via the email you have attached to your kit(s) and be able to participate in FTDNA’s Annual Dec. Sale.  ** Keep in mind, it is ultimately up to Janet Burkes who is allowed to join or stay in HER project. She is the administrator of the JORDAN SURNAME. And there is an ever growing block of NC Jordans whom she does not allow in her project.

So one of the reality’s is just because you join a project doesn’t mean everyone else with your surname is participating in FTDNA’s surname project whether it is the JORDAN surname or others. And there are some surnames for early NC families where there are no projects. However there is an absolutely wonderful project called NORTH CAROLINA EARLY PROJECT run by Mark Rasco which can also be used to order your initial kit and receive the same discount.

FTDNA’s annual sale in December is a wonderful opportunity for families who are working with very early settlement families!  I urge every researcher to make the most of the wonderful discounts during this window. HOWEVER, because both Ymarker and Family Finder tests are necessary to properly anchor and glean the information needed and because the eldest living male carrying the JORDAN surname is the best candidate please don’t wait for December and miss the opportunity to submit your best candidate’s DNA. I have suffered this loss in two branches. Go ahead and order the Family finder test immediately and then in DEC upgrade the kit to include the Y37 or 67 test. You will have plenty of time to work that puzzle.

BUT I already submitted a kit through ANCESTRY!

If you are reading this and you already have submitted any kits through Ancestry.com. I urge you to move your Ancestry raw data to FTDNA. It only costs $19. Why do this? There is a variety of reasons:

1 – to keep your research on track and follow proper research protocols.

2- to be able to isolate the information for the 1-4th generations along actual chromosomes and actual centimorgans and location assignments. Ancestry doesn’t allow this. You get vague reference information such as how many total centimorgans you match. AT FTDNA you also have X chromosome information. And when the raw data is moved from Ancestry FTDNA allows you to use the X chromosome filter in your work. That is HUGE.

3 – FTDNA has provided a Pedigree Chart builder to your onsite tool kit. Ancestry’s pedigree builder is the foundation of its site. One inserts a pedigree and when there is a match, Ancestry’s site compares pedigree work submitted by each match – if one includes a pedigree for their kit on Ancestry, that is.

4 – You will also be able to see the MY ORIGINS maps. You may find the maps very different from what Ancestry.com says.  FTDNA provides specific ethnic information (haplo assignments) per Ymarker tests AND provides a separate My Origins map for the autosomal Family Finder test.  There are even mapping tools to use on FTDNA.

5 – FTDNA uses DNA is the foundation.  It is still up to each person to upload a pedigree (ged.com) but with FTDNA’s site you have an email to communicate with the match, unless their privacy settings prevent it.  And you can send attachments to each other and as much information as you like.  With Ancestry’s site, their onsite message system has a limit of 5000 characters and they don’t allow adding/sending attachments which hampers communication.  The FTDNA Family Tree feature/tool is relatively new and there are some glitches at times.  But it allows you to actually peel off and paste matches into your pedigree work.  After you do this the site will calculate the relationship and by using this feature it sets in motion phasing. Phasing allows you to evaluate matches based on which side of your immediate family the relationship will be found.  A tiny pink or blue icon will appear on your Family Finder match pages.  It is FTDNA’s way of helping you work your matches.  Ancestry offers neither.

You can actually confirm your pedigree work via FTDNA’s pedigree feature. On Ancestry you will find multiple self uploaded icons to represent DNA work and sadly many of these are used outside the range of their test.  And when asked, many will tell you they have NOT established or confirmed a single surname in their pedigree work.

WARNING #2:  You cannot upgrade an ANCESTRY transferred raw data.  If you order a kit through FTDNA you can upgrade your kit and order other tests without having to pay for  a new swab kit and shipping.  If you transfer Ancestry raw data you will not be able to simply upgrade to include the Ymarker test.  You will have to purchase a swab kit.  With Ancestry’s test a person spits into a tiny vial.  With FTDNA a person swabs the inside of each cheek 30-40 times with something that looks like a cotton swab with pinked edges.

Remember triangulation is an important step to DNA family history work.  And this often times means connecting with folks who are 4th, 5th, 6st, 7th cousins.  Ancestry’s site allows incorrect genealogy work to continue to stay afloat. If the same people chose the same pedigrees and then do the DNA tests and come back as matches via Ancestry they can all claim their pedigree work is valid.  However, to really do genetic genealogy one needs to isolate each surname in their pedigree work and confirm each generation node. This is simply not possible via Ancestry.com at this time.  It is possible via FTDNA however.  This means you not only will gain the ability to establish and confirm your pedigree, you will gain the ability to work with researchers across your other surnames who can help you learn the Ymarker surname tree for those families and connect correctly with all of your families!

FTDNA’s FAMILY TREE is a new pedigree builder feature and it is still being fine tuned but even now it allows phasing. That is the ability for the lab to help you identify which side of your pedigree (father’s side or mother’s side) your matches fall. Ancestry offers only the IN COMMON filter which FTNDA has always provided.  FTDNA offers the most filters. AND they have the CHROMOSOME SLIDE and you can adjust it down to a 1 centimorgan to see from 1 shared centimorgan where and how much on every chromosome.  FTDNA is geared for folks to do their own work.  Ancestry offers very little onsite tools and advertises on their site for professional genealogists.

It has been seven years now since I began my work focusing on my JORDANs who have called North Carolina home since the mid 1700s.  Our family has lived in North Carolina before the railroads made travel to the region so easy, before Raleigh was chosen as the State Capital, and before our Nation formed.  Both the Civil War and the Revolutionary War marched across the land of the Ol’ North State!

One working any surname with a branch that tracks back to North Carolina almost 250 years ago could assume there would be an easy way to connect raw paper records with historical accounts and easily plot a migration ribbon.

The reality is there were too many Jordans who resided in NC and in close proximity to one another during the 1700s. Raw records have been misinterpreted by classic researchers for over 100 years.  And the lack of complete record sets prevent a classic genealogist the ability to correctly plot each Jordan family. And finally the fact that so many Jordans named their children the same names has confused the efforts of good honest researchers to clearly define relationships from one generation to the next.

Doing genealogy work involves plotting individuals along their life’s path.

There is a jumble of Jordan genealogies published it is still easy to incorrectly connect to the wrong line/branch for a JG Jordan Tree.  In order to avoid this a researcher must use both DNA and paper trails. It is not an OR situation. When it comes to DNA tests they need to start with one kit submitted by a male carrying the Jordan surname and that kit needs to include both the Y37 or greater test AND FTDNA’s Family Finder test!  The Family Finder test will give you the proper information to plot your family and create a true migration ribbon for your branch of Jordans.

A pedigree chart represents one’s family’s geographic plot points of information for each person in it.One point is for WHERE a person is born, another is WHERE a person dies. There may be other points for residency between their birth and death. These points can create migration ribbons.  Migration ribbons are different from branches on a tree. Ymarker information gives us TREE, BRANCH, LINE.  Migration ribbons gives us LOCATIONS for people.  IF kits only contain Ymarker information there is not enough information to create migration ribbons. The information is there in the DNA but it requires the Family Finder test. The Family Finder test will incorporate the bride’s plot points and her own family’s path. This can help us avoid cousins being confused or father and sons being confused where the 1700s and some in the 1800s are concerned. For many early NC families including the JORDANS there may not be much migration at all or zigzaging ribbons from NC to another state and then back to Carolina.  There may be plot points in Canada or along the Delta before there were points in NC.  It all depends on the tester’s family.  And the work is far from complete.

GENEALOGY work whether Genetic or Classic will only equal the degree of cooperation and participation achieved.

Each Jordan needs to realize by participating, ordering the Y37 or greater test AND the Family Finder test and completing their kit, they can help advance their own family history and help others along the way.  North Carolinian Jordans who have stayed in the same location for over 250 years deserves to be properly remembered!  So far they have not.  The NC1700sJordans Project’s second goal is to set the record straight and allow the proper recognition for all JORDANS no matter what JG Tree they belong!

The way FTDNA is designed researchers can use the onsite tools available to easily isolate conflicts, locate missing branches, and resolve the conflicts.  But time is running out to do our best work.  DNA from 70+ generation- boys and girls who were born with the Jordan surname is needed so we can properly identify the JG tree, the branch/lines, and the migration ribbons for all.

Because there is a jumble of Jordan genealogies published it is still easy to incorrectly connect to the wrong line/branch for a JG Jordan Tree or even connect your family to the wrong JG JORDAN TREE. Choosing the right lab will help researchers get the information they need to do their best work.  Each lab houses their own database. There is no central DNA database.  It is up to the researchers to understand the particulars so they can make the best choice.  I hope I have helped folks understand the particulars well enough to see why FTDNA is the best lab to use for anyone who is working NC Jordans!