Posts Tagged ‘DNA’

Join the HILLENBRAND Family Group With Your Y-DNA Test at FTDNA

Well I took the plunge and started a DNA Family Group at Family Tree DNA, and I welcome all of you HILLENBRANDs out there to join us.

Last weekend I read on that FTDNA is having a summer SALE and it is on until the end of the week, so I clicked on an order button on the DNA Testing Kits website and placed my order for a 67 marker Y-DNA test.

Then as no one had yet started a group with my surname I volunteered to become the administrator of the new group.

If you are a male HILLENBRAND anywhere you can also join the group for no additional cost other than the cost of your test kit, which is a bargain at the regular price and now a real good deal at the sale price.

If you are a female HILLENBRAND you will need to have a brother, father, uncle, cousin or nephew with the HILLENBRAND surname submit the DNA cheek swab sample at FTDNA.  I will report here on the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog from time to time as we have further developments.

This should be a lot of fun because in the past few years I have had contacts from other HILLENBRANDs all over the U.S. And though we have not found any direct connections, it seems most of them come generally from Southern Germany.  Perhaps now through DNA testing we will be able to discover if we have a genetic connection and approximately how far back we might have a common ancestor.

The process is very easy.  Just order your Y-DNA test kit and then do let me know when you join.  When it comes to Y-DNA  testing, a male can find out his father’s paternal line of the family. This is because only men have the Y-chromosome. The testing on this short chromosome is the Y STR test. This is helpful in discovering the past since this is passed down from father to son.

The STR is a segment of the DNA in the Y chromosome in the region that is considered Junk. The letters STR stand for short tandem repeats. The number of times a segment repeats itself is called the allele. This number is distinctive within a population which leads to surname lineage.

There are over 100 different markers in the Y-DNA chromosome, but the typical one tested is the 10-67 STR marker. This identifies the haplotype that the sample belongs to.

Here is the link again to order the DNA kit at the sale price:  DNA Testing Kits

Palatine DNA Project Update

The Palatine DNA Research Project now has a website and a very good explanation of the project and goals.

From just a smidgen of info on the site, here are some partial descriptions of what will hope to be discovered.

What can You Expect to Get from this Project?
* A report on the participant’s genetic DNA.
* A classification of the participant’s “deep” ancestry, which gives insight into prehistoric origins.
* A sense of camaraderie with all who participate.
* A stimulus to family research and sharing of information.
* A wider sense of identity and relationship.
* A chance to compare your genetic ancestry with those having similar and different surname spellings.
* Genetic matches that do not share your common surname.

Please visit the website for an in depth discussion of this project.

Read our previous posting on this subject here:

Post your questions and comments below.



Wife of Google co-founder wants to test DNA of 98 per cent of the World!

Early spitters received a beanie.

“Genealogy is a global phenomenon and ultimately we’re looking at the worldwide stage.” Anne Wojcicki Co-founder of biotech company 23andme, is the wife of the billionaire co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin.

“We’d like to reach 98pc of the world, that is our goal,” says Wojcicki 33, and her 47-year-old business partner Linda Avey reckon their service represents the future of social networking.

In the same way that the likes of MySpace, Facebook, You Tube and Flickr allow users to share information in the shape of videos, photos or instant messaging. Wojcicki and Avey can see a time where people worldwide will share and compare their genetic details.

It only costs a thousand bucks to have the DNA test through 23andme, but the founders expect the price to drop soon. Google, the company, did make a preliminary investment in the startup company, along with some other investors, however Google is keeping “Hands Off” the operations of 23andme.

Anne Wojcicki did say that she would like to hire her husband Sergey. “We’re doing our best to poach him. We’ve even offered to double his salary to two dollars, but so far we have not been successful in luring him away from Google.”

Read all about it in the “Telegraph.”

Please leave your comments below!



Palatine DNA Project Announced

A brand new website announces a brand new project to attempt to connect relatives of a very old immigrant group.

Family Tree DNA is a well known genetic testing company and they have just announced that there will be a mass effort to collect DNA samples and analyze them to provide test results to show relationships to the 1710 Palatine German migration groups that were split up and sent to various English colonies.

Henry Z. Jones (Hank) has presented an enormous amount of genealogical evidence through his famous books on The Palatine Germans of New York, as well as his work on the group of Palatines that were sent to Ireland, with some of those later also coming to America.

Doris Wheeler, Palatine DNA Project administrator, is the contact person for the Palatine DNA Project and her contact information may be found on the website at:

A full explanation of how the testing will be done and the comparisons are made are quite well defined on the website. Upstate New York is heavily populated by descendants of this some 847 family groups that came to the Hudson River Valley in 1710.

Quoted in part from a public announcement on a mail list: “Not only can participants learn about their connections to Germany but they will also learn about their very deep roots, the path their ancestors took out of Africa many thousands of years ago that led them eventually to Germany.”

If any of you readers wish to participate in this study please check the website out fully as there are a lot of questions and answers presented to help you understand this project.

Please direct all of your personal questions to Doris Wheeler, and as always your comments are very welcome here on this Blog by clicking on the word “comments” at the bottom of this Upstate New York Genealogy Blog message and posting your thoughts.

Suppose those HILLENBRAND Families left any DNA in Markelsheim?


My grandfather was a German immigrant to America in 1885.
He was the only son of an only son.

OK, I can see some of you rolling your eyes and muttering,

“Oh brother, this ranks right up there with ‘Hey, let me show you a few pictures of my grandchildren’…”

Well I’m going to spare you all of the juicy details, and here is why I want to use this as an example.

I have been avoiding the issue of the use of DNA testing for normal genealogical research.

I was chatting with some well known professional genealogists one day recently and the subject came up. When asked for my thoughts on the use of DNA in genealogy, my comment was something like, ”Well I do not want to take all of this hard earned and documented research that I have been doing for forty years and mess it all up with the FACTS!”

Realizing the absurdity of that statement and also noticing that there is now a very large elephant in the living room, and it isn’t going to go away, I decided to look into it a little further.

All of this scientific mumbo jumbo makes my hair hurt, and so I’m going to try to make this easy on you readers. As I understand it there are only two methods commonly used to build a huge database of genetic relationships. The (Y-DNA) is usually the first one explored, and genealogists should be quite familiar with this form of lineage discovery. Y-DNA is used to show exact or very similar markers in paternal ancestry. That is, a male can prove his father, fathers father, grandfathers father, and on and on. This is for just the male direct line ancestry. In order for a female to check her Y-DNA ancestors, she would have to submit samples for testing from a brother, father or uncle, etc.

Now everyone, male or female, can test for the Mitochondrial (mtDNA) female ancestral line. This would be for their mother, her mother, her grandmother, her great grandmother, etc. That is of the maternal direct line only. Some genealogists refer to this as the “Umbilical Line.” So what about everyone in between? Either of these two types of DNA testing will NOT prove relationships to all of the aunts and uncles, cousins, etc, in between. Look at a normal pedigree chart that you are all familiar with. The father’s paternal line is on the top and the mother’s maternal line is on the bottom, well that is ALL that can be proven at this time through these standard genealogical DNA tests.

The tests would show that those relatives in between the two direct line ancestors might have similar markers showing people that MIGHT have some common ancestry somewhere in past history.

For what it is worth, science has now shown that all modern Europeans, descend from one of seven original females, sort of prehistoric clan mothers, and also that we ALL came from Africa originally. That seemed so hard for me to grasp until I look at the three doggies we have; a Shih Tzu, a Pomeranian mix, and an English Springer Spaniel, and science also tells us that every single dog and all breeds descend directly from WOLVES!

So what does this have to do with Gramp mentioned in the start of this rant? Seems he would be an excellent candidate to explore doesn’t it? Gramp was born in 1862 in the small village of Markelsheim in Southern Germany. His father died when he was but three years old and he was raised by his step-dad. Grampa Jacob was an only son, and his father Leonhard, born in 1825 was also an only son. It appears from the church records that I was able to locate at LDS in Salt Lake City on this family, that Leonhard’s father, Johann Georg Franz Anton HILLENBRAND (1798-1826,) did have two brothers.

So here is what I have always been satisfied with. I had NO other HILLENBRAND named direct relatives in America other than my Dad’s brothers and their male descendants. Well now maybe, and maybe not. With DNA we might be able to find out right?

These people stayed in one tiny little area of Wuerttemburg for a couple of hundred years. I have no idea at all if any of the descendants of my 2nd great grand uncles ever came to America or not, nor even if they had any male issue. I just have never worked on it.

There are plenty of other families that spell the name exactly the same as we do, and scads of variety spellings, such as HILDENBRAND, HILDENBRANDT, HILLABRAND, and on and on. For what it is worth every single church record that I was able to translate spelled the name EXACTLY as we do now, back to as far as Caspar HILLENBRAND, a baker of Markelsheim, born about 1760. There is another family of HILLENBRANDs in the Syracuse area that spell their name the same way, but they are from Baden, and I have never found any connection. There is a famous family spelled the same way in Indiana, that is well known in the business world, and you see their name on tractor trailer loads of Bates Caskets. I call these the ‘rich’ ones.

Gramp came to America alone at about age 21, on the ship, Rhaetia, through the Castle Garden immigration center in Battery Park, Manhattan, about the time that the Statue of Liberty would have been having her crown installed.

I have heard one of the authors, of “Trace Your Roots with DNA,” Megan Smolenyak, speak a couple of times, and she has a way to make it all sound a little easier to understand. Megan is now the Chief Genealogist at Ancestry and a constant lecturer on this subject. If you are interested you can purchase her book by clicking on the banner at the bottom of this Blog, or if you want to look into this DNA testing program yourself you can check it out by also clicking the banner below. Megan explains that this type of testing is painless and is not the type that you might have seen on “CSI” or “Cold Case Files.” You will not have to give blood, or pull out your hair, or have a tooth extracted to get at the juicy pulp. Megan also says that these tests will not be used for criminal investigation, and they do not code for genetic traits.

The testing kit will arrive and all you do is swab the inside of your cheek with a sort of Q-tip gadget, seal it in the container provided and mail it in to Ancestry. You will be notified in a couple or few weeks of the results, and then the fun begins to compare it to others in the database. The more testing that gets done, the better the database results will be, for ever more.

Ancestry will guard your privacy and allow persons that match to correspond anonymously until such time that both parties are comfortable and elect to share names, addresses, emails, etc.

So we will probably pursue this further and get tested, at least through the Y-DNA method for now, and see if we can come up with any matches. There are plenty of other companies that do this same type of testing but we have settled on Ancestry.

Why not look into it and see if it is something that you would be interested in? I suspect that this is going to revolutionize the world of genealogical research, and if not be proof positive, will certainly pull you off routes of investigation that are totally wrong.

Sounds like fun.

Dick Hillenbrand – Upstate New York Genealogy –

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