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The families today in North America by the name of BRICKER, BRUEGGER, BRUCKER, BRUECKER, and other variations largely descend from different German-speaking immigrants who began to arrive here in the early 1700s from Switzerland, Germany, Alsace, Austria, and Norway. There are also clear indications that the immigrant ancestors of most familes living in the U.S. and Canada today with the last name of BRICKER originally used one of the various Bruegger, Brucker, or Bruecker surnames while in Europe, changing to an anglicized version of the name after having arrived on this side of the Atlantic. As a result, various families with different though similar last names may actually share the same early European roots, with common ancestors coming from the same villages.
The purpose of the this DNA Project is to discover, by comparing our genealogical and genetic data:
Some of us know who our ancestors were by having created or inherited family trees on paper, sometimes stretching back as far as the 1500s. Others among us are aware of our roots going back only as far as our parents or grandparents. By taking advantage of recently-affordable technology, however, we can now help clarify our roots by having scientists read the genetic record that half of us carry within us, in our Y-chromosome DNA.
It's commonly known that male children are born with an X chromosome that they inherit from their mother, and a Y chromosome that they inherit from their father. What is less known is that, just like a last name, an exact or nearly exact copy of the Y chromosome is passed on, generation after generation from father to son, for many hundreds of years. In that way, it's very likely that a male living today may have the same or barely changed "genetic signature", that a direct ancestor had some 500 years ago, just as long as there were no adoptions or extramarital births somewhere along his direct family line that could have disconnected that genetic heritage.
Further, if two living men born both with the same last name are found by DNA comparison to have the same or closely similar genetic signature, in effect they've just been proven to have common ancestors somewhere back in time. That is because both men have inherited through the generations the same or barely changed genetic signature that their last common ancestor had. This is true even though the men may come from different branches of a family tree that separated centuries ago.
However, two other men who also share the same last name may have totally different genetic signatures. This may be due to an adoption or extramarital birth at some point in the family line, or it could be a result instead of the simple fact that when most people in Europe first started to use surnames, some 700 to 750 years ago, often families with no blood relationship at all coincidentally chose the very same last name, such as Bruecker or Bruegger.
Whatever the reason, the overall purpose of the Bricker / Bruegger / Brucker and variants DNA Project is to try to identify the different genetic signatures that characterize as many of the various families with these last names in the United States and Canada today as possible. Then we will be in a position to start building genetic family trees that can be compared with the information on paper of our families' histories that many of us already have.
An important thing to note: the results of a single person's DNA test, viewed in isolation, can tell very little, especially about who his specific ancestors were. Comparing his genetic signature to the genetic signatures of others, always with an eye to where the genealogical paper trail may be leading, is absolutely necessary. DNA testing is a supplement to, not a substitute for, traditional genealogy.
Even for those who have what they feel is complete family history information on paper, DNA information can still confirm, supplement, or at times even disprove the family trees or oral traditions of who our ancestors were, or where they came from, that may have been handed down to us. By discovering others whose genetic signatures you share, you may find yourself with access to new family information on paper that you had no idea even existed.
At last count, over 1000 different surnames now have their own genetic genealogy projects up and running on the Internet.
The DNA sample needed for the analysis is obtained when a person painlessly rubs a sample of DNA-containing cells from inside his own cheek onto a small brush (no needles or blood sample necessary!), and then sends it to Family Tree DNA, the lab our Project uses to have the DNA samples analyzed.
See also the MSNBC online article which shows the reporter, Alan Boyle, explaining how he took a sample of his own DNA.
A critical objective of this Project will always be to maintain both the privacy of anyone who participates, and the confidentiality of his test results:
First, the type of non-coding DNA (sometimes known as "junk DNA") tested for genealogical purposes is able to tell us nothing about any inherited medical conditions a participant may or may not have. And Family Tree DNA, the company doing the testing, is not set up to do medical tests of that part of the DNA that might provide such information.
Second, the Y-chromosome tested by Family Tree DNA, one out of forty-six that all men have, is not the same as those tested to determine paternity, which are the forty-four other than the X-chromosome inherited from the men's mothers. Although the Family Tree DNA test that Project participants take cannot specifically determine whether one male is the father of another, the results could conceivably be used to show that one male's genetic signature is so different from another's that they could not be related, as a son would be to his biological father. However, this kind of misuse of test results is made more difficult by Family Tree DNA's policy of not releasing anyone's DNA information to someone else unless the company has first obtained a signed release form from the individual whose DNA it is.
Third, as any DNA sample a participant submits will be used to determine his genetic signature, the results cannot be used to identify who he is, as Family Tree DNA is not in the business of doing the kind of forensic testing typical of police investigations. Someone's genetic signature alone cannot reveal his personal identity, as there are no doubt thousands of Brickers, Brueggers, Brueckers, Briggers, Bruggers, Bruckers, and Bruckharts sharing the same ancestor who also share the same genetic signature at the level of detail that Family Tree DNA tests for. In any event, the name of no living person but that of the Coordinator of the Bricker Surname DNA Project will be posted on the Project webpage or anywhere else online; there, each participant's test results will be identified by a coded ID number known only to him and the Coordinator. It is up to each participant in the project to determine how to share his test results with others, if at all.
Another important point is that while only men with the Brucker, Bruegger, Bricker, Bruecker, Brugger, Brigger, Brickhart, or similar last names may directly contribute a sample of their Y-chromosome for use in this DNA project, your help is also very much needed if you are married to man with such a last name, or have a living brother, son, father, or paternal grandfather, uncle, or male first cousin whose father had one of these last names. Please pass on this email message to him, and encourage his participation if the Project goals interest you.
This project has not been launched by scientific researchers who've been granted money from a foundation to cover all costs, but rather by Brickers themselves interested in their family origins and wishing to join with other Brickers also interested. As a result, the cost of each participant's DNA lab analysis is paid for by each participant himself, or whomever decides to sponsor it.
Family Tree DNA's regular cost for this test, for anyone who submits his DNA sample outside of a surname DNA project such as ours, is $149 for the 12-marker test and $199 for the 25-marker test. The greater the number of markers that are analyzed, the more exact the comparison can later be made between the Y-chromosomes of different men. But also, the greater amount of lab work that's required, which explains the greater expense of a test of 25 markers.
However, Family Tree DNA offers the two tests at a discount price for those participating in a surname DNA project such as ours: the 12-marker test at a price of $99, and the 25-marker test for $169.
Close male members of a family, such as fathers and sons or brothers, are likely to have the same genetic signature, and so only one Y-chromosome testing may be needed to cover all of them. If they join with other family members such as mothers, sisters, or daughters in splitting the cost of one test, the price can be brought down further. For example, the 12-marker test would be just under $34 per person if 3 family members split the cost.
We are suggesting that those Brickers wanting to participate in the Project, but not having a family tree or pedigree chart which links them directly to their immigrant Bricker ancestor, start with the $99 12-marker test. On the other hand, those who feel they have a reliable paper trail linking them to their immigrant Bricker ancestor can opt for either the 25-marker or 37-marker test from the start. Once we have more than a few people participating in the project, to begin allowing us to sort out who is in which Bricker lineage, then those who started out with 12-marker tests can up-grade to the 25-marker or 37-marker test to permit a higher resolution comparison of participants who initially have matching or nearly matching genetic signatures. The up-grade costs $90 to 25 markers, and $149 to 37 markers.
The more individuals who participate in this project, the more comparisons can be made of our DNA results, and the more useful the information will be to all of us.
The project coordinator receives no payment, commission, or discount from Family Tree DNA or any other party. Testing fees are paid directly by Project participants to Family Tree DNA.
Wikipedia explanation of "Genetic Genealogy"
"DNA Testing - In Our Blood - Newsweek
"DNA Testing Helps Find Family Roots" - Wall Street Journal
"What's in a Name? Genealogy, DNA Can Tell You" - Courier-Post
"Missing Link" - Wall Street Journal
Ysearch - Y-DNA public database
Ybase:: genealogy by numbers
Y-STR Haplotype Reference Database
Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation Database
Surnames and the Y Chromosome
In the name of the father: surnames and genetics
GENEALOGY-DNA-L Mailing List
For Extra Credit Only - Online Genetics Textbook
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