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DNA and Genealogy

DNA Helps unscramble the puzzles of ancestry
By Stephen Magagnini (Sacramento BEE-STAFF WRITER Sunday Aug 03, 2003
Almost from the time he was old enough to read the "whites only" signs on department stores in Montgomery, Ala., Ulysses Moore has been on a quest.
Where did I come from? he wondered.
He knnew he was more than just a "colored" child of the segregated South, that his legacy extended beyond the slave ships that brought 12 million Africans across the Atlantic. Was he descended from Shaka Zulu or the great Mandinka warriors, or the builders of the ancient world's greatest library in Egypt?
In his teens, Moore began collecting African art and reading every-thing he could on Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana - the West African nations that exported most of the slaves.
But his mocha skin isn't as dark as most West Africans, and his nose, hips, face and shoulders aren't as broad. "A lot of people from Africa would tell me I looked a lot like East African people." said Moore, a49yrs.
"Ethiopians would come up to me and start speaking Amharic, one of the main languages."
Mystified, Moore took a different tack. Two months ago, he sent in a sample of his DNA to African Ancestry, one of a half dozen firms nation wide that test DNA commercially to help people learn more about where they came from.
Moore, who works for the U.S. Army in San Francisco teaching soldiers to use lasers, is among the thousands of Americans who are roots bunting with the help of DNA testing. They include folks trying to leam if they're part American Indian, and European Americans hoping to leam whether they're descendants of Vikings, Celts - or in one case, heir to the Portuguese throne.
Genealogy is now America's second largest hobby behind gardening, and DNA testing is genealogy's hottest new tool. Best known for its use in criminal eases and medical research, DNA is rewriting human history by tracing the migration of peoples tens of thousands of years ago. It's also rewriting personal histories by proving, or disproving, a person's direct lineage - in some cases shaving years off old-fashioned roots searches using the family tree.
The brave new world of DNA rootsquests barely three years old sometimes, produces surprising results. One adoptee from Berkeley learned she shared a common ancestor with the outlaw Jesse James. A Catholic priest in New Mexico discovered his DNA matches that of most Jews, indicating his ancestors probably fled the Spanish Inquisition. And a Jewish schoolteacher from Oakland learned at least one of her forebears came out of China.
Others have learned, to their dismay, that they're not sons or daughters of the American Revolution, at least not genetically. Somewhere along the line, there was an adoption or indiscretion.

Bruce Jackson, a Boston University Geneticist Currently DNA testing can tell you only whether your genetic pattern matches some of the more than 100,000 people, dead and alive, whose gene patterns have been analyzed and logged by scientists in laboratories worldwide. If there's a match, that means you share a common ancestor somewhere along your mother's or father's direct line - as in your father's father's father, for example. The analysis doesn't tell you when - it could be any time in the last 15,000 years - and it doesn't account for the thousands of people in between who also are your ancestors. What you get are some genetic leads that are part of a much larger puzzle that must be pieced together the old-fashioned way; through census records, birth and death certificates, family Bibles, letters and oral histories.
The longing to know our origins is ingrained in the American psyche, according to Bruce Jackson, a Boston University geneticist who specializes in African American roots.
"To be tied to something is the most important component of our Americanism. We came from someplace else and used what we brought with us to build this great nation,"
Jackson said.
"Like Maya Angelou says, 'No one can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at this present place.'"
For Jackson and thousands of other African Americans, genealogy is more than a hobby: It's nothing less than a healing quest for identity. Jackson compares his anguish to that of some adoptees who have no clue about their biological roots. "My history goes back thousands of years in Africa, but most of it has been blotted out," he said. "What holidays did my ancestors celebrate? What were their marriage customs? Their politics? Their names? What were the great things they did, and the things that aren't so great?"
Jackson has gone to West Africa to collect the DNA of bout 2,000 Africans. He offers roots testing to African Americans and Caribbean blacks free of charge through his nonprofit African American Roots Project.
"If African Americans can link ourselves to our nations of origin, we will be more invested in the fate of Africa and could have a tremendous impact on its future," he said.
Jackson traced his mother's DNA to the British Isles, and suspects one of his ancestors was an indentured servant from Ireland who perhaps married a freedman. Jackson said the testing confirms his family's oral history, about a white matriarch in Virginia in the early 1800s.
But so far, Jackson hasn't been able to narrow his father's roots to a tribe in Africa; the database isn't yet large enough. Another African American geneticist, Rick Kittles of Howard University, says he has a larger database - the DNA of, 10,000 Africans from 82 different tribes and ethnic groups - and claims his firm, African Ancestry, can link about 85 per- cent of African Americans with at least some of their ancestors.
One customer was Moore, the San Francisco laser weapons trainer, who in May sent African Ancestry $349 and a swab containing DNA scraped from the inside of his cheek.
Virtually every human cell has DNA, which includes a full set of genetic instructions that determine traits such as eye color, blood type and height.
There are two main types of DNA roots tests, which can cost anywhere from $160 to upwards of $500. Women can trace their direct maternal lineage by testing their mitochondriai DNA, about 16,500 pairs of genetic information that pass down unchanged from mother to daughter to granddaughter. Geneticists can analyze a small section of mitochondrial DNA to find patterns based on ethnicity.
Men have mitochondrial DNA from their mothers, too. They can't pass it down, but can use it to trace their maternal roots.

Men also have the option of tracing their father's line through-the Y chromosome, the male sex determinant passed from father to son.
Moore decided to trace his mother's lineage, which was more likely to stretch back to Africa than his dad's; According to experts, nearly a third of African Americans have a European male ancestor, often the result of couplings, forced or otherwise, between white master and their slaves.
A few weeks ago, Moore got the results; He's a perfect match with the Turkana people in East Africa.
In his collection of African art, he has masks from Mali, spears from South Africa, pottery from Algeria and Morocco - but nothing from the Turkana, who, he said, raise cattle, sheep and camels in northwestern Kenya.
"I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, because for me, anyplace Africa would have been a good place," said Moore.
Donald Black, a retired police officer who is now an investigator with the Santa Clara County public guardian's office, had his DNA tested and learned he was descended from the Yoruba of Nigeriaon his dad's side.
"When I opened the envelope and started to read, I almost cried because it gave me a sense of wholeness," said Black, a63yrs. "It tells me we didn't start here, my folks weren't always slaves, they didn't always have to step off the sidewalk and say, 'Yes sir, no sir.' In Mali, Greeks and Romans sent their sons to study at the feet of black scholars. ... folks like me."
Black plans to visit the Yoruba, known historically as fierce warriors, craftsman and scholars, as soon as he can. "I've got to," he said. "Everybody has to go from whence they came."

For those looking for their American Indian roots. Trace Genetics of Davis, CA. has assembled the largest collection of American Indian DNA - about 4,000 samples. The founders, UC Davis graduates Jason Eshleman and Ripan Malhi, say they can tell you whether you're linked to one of five broad American Indian groups.
They may even be able to tell you if you're Navajo, Chippewa, Choctaw, Seminole or Cherokee, since members of those and other larger tribes are in the database.
But individual tribes who hope to use DNA testing to determine membership will be disappointed, Eshleman said.
"Tribes weren't isolated, they've inter-married. Without knowing who your neighbors are genetically you can't tell if you're different from them,"

The existing database of DNA samples, while far from complete, is full of surprises. Andi Jones, a 36-year-old Berkeley anthropologist who was adopted as an infant, had her DNA tested by Trace Genetics and learned she shared a maternal ancestor with the outlaw Jesse James, whose DNA had been tested to prove he hadn't faked his death in 1882.
Alanya Snyder, a Jewish middle school teacher in Oakland, had her DNA tested as a wedding present and discovered she matches people from central Asia.
The news thrilled Snyder's mother Carel Bertram, a San Francisco State professor with a lifelong love of Turkic art and culture. Bertram suspects she and Snyder are descendants of the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking group that converted to Judaism about A.D. 750 and later was conquered by the Kiev Rus, or early Russians.
"Maybe there was this wonderful, Turkic-speaking Jewish woman," she mused. "It's so enriching, something added to my life that I had not expected."
The rise of DNA roots testing has generated some unusual request. "One woman wanted to prove she was related to the queen of Portugal and had concocted a plan to break into the royal tomb and get a tooth," Malhi said. "We try to get those people off the phone as quickly as possible."
Perhaps the fastest-growing segment of the DNA roots market are folks with the same last name who wonder if they're related.
Jim Rader of Rancho Cordova, for example compiled a database of 30,000 Raders, Roders and Rotters. Only four of those agreed to DNA testing, but one was a perfect match. Rader believes they're both descended from Casper Rotter. who left Europe for Philadelphia in 1750.
Despite the nuggets unearthed by DNA roots hunters, people must be careful not to read too much into the results, said Stanford law and genetics professor Hank Greely. While a person may match 78 percent of the Yruba in the existing database, he may be a closer match with another tribe whose DNA hasn't yet been tested.
So far, most DNA roots quest, rather than clarifying a person's background, tend to blur lines of race and ethnicity.
"Most of us are generally the result of some sort of mixing of peoples, so in effect this science is starting to debunk the idea of pure anything," said Bennett Greenspan, who in the year 2000 started Click on Redball for More Info.<--- DNA, the largest commercial roots-testing firm in the country.
Geneticists now believe they can trace all modern humans to a man and woman who lived in southern Africa about 130,000 years ago, Eshleman said.
"There's a mother and a father of us all - everyone on Earth can trace their maternal or paternal lineage to them, and their offspring gradually populated the World. We're so closely related that there's no good reason to split up the human race into all these categories."
The Bee's Stephen Magagnini can be reached at
(916) 321-1072 or Click on Redball for More Info.<---

 DNA - Testing
Click on Thumbnail to goto Web Site!  Web Site: Click on Redball for More Info.<--- Family Tree DNA
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If you want your project to be listed in one not found on this list, send me the information and I would be happy to post it. If you don't find the name your are looking for alphabetically. There are some large scale projects that have many different surnames being tested.
Here is the key to the labs:
     BYU: Brigham Young University (special project)
     FTDNA: Family Tree DNA
     GTDNA: GeneTree DNA
     KUL: Katholieke Univ. Leuven, Belgium
     OA: Oxford Ancestors
     UCL: Univ. College of London
     UL: Univ. of Leicester
     RG: Relative Genetics
     TC: Trinity College, Dublin

Source & Reference:
Rootswebb Genealogy DNA Click on Redball for More Info.<---
Google DNA Primer Book Click on Redball for More Info.<---
Cindy's List Genealogy - DNA Click on Redball for More Info.<--- - Dick Eastman Gen. DNA Click on Redball for More Info.<---

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Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.! - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  These records are part of the "Genealogy Computer Package" *** PC-PROFILE *** Volume - II. Sarratt/Sarrett/Surratt Family Profile© Compiled and self Published in Oct. 31, 1989 by Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. with the assistance of my late mother Click on Redball for More Info. Mrs. M. Lucille (WILSON) SARRETT (1917-1987) These 1989 "Work-Books" were compiled by listing the various families, born, married, died, and a history of that family branch. In 1996 I started "Up-Loading" this material on the now called SFA© Series...prs
Would like to exchange any information on these SARRATT / SARRETT / SURRATT Families, contact me at:

Click on Mailbox to send me a E-Mail! Paul R. Sarrett, Jr., President of SFA©
Text - Copyright © 1996-2012 Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.
Created: Dec. 01, 1996; Aug 15, 2003;  May 01, 2009;  May 30, 2012;