Friday, September 4, 2009

Results for 67 markers

I've just received my DNA results for a total of 67 markers.

If you click the above image, your browser should normally display the table in a more readable manner.

Click the ysearch banner to visit the Y-DNA database of some 76 thousand records created by the Family Tree DNA company. You can find my record by entering my user identifier, RJ6XS, or by typing my surname, Skyvington. My data at that website also includes a pedigree chart showing my paternal line back to my earliest fully-identified ancestor: George Skivington [1670-1711] of Belchalwell (Dorset).

My haplogroup is designated now as


This corresponds to test results of

L21+ M222- M37- P66-

In the database of some 76 thousand records, there's nobody with exactly the same marker values as me. From a probability viewpoint, this is hardly surprising. By limiting the number of matched markers and the so-called genetic difference between my marker values and those of my "genetic cousins" in the database, I have to relax considerably the matching constraints before homing in on individuals whose DNA looks a bit like mine. Tested individuals whom I encounter in this way generally have English-sounding surnames, but they're all still quite remote from me in terms of marker values. That's to say, they don't seem to be in the vicinity of hypothetical relatives, with a surname not too far removed from Skyvington, who sailed from France to England at the time of William the Conqueror.

Talking about this latter gentleman, it so happens that I've just discovered that he's apparently a genetic ancestor. The chart on the left (which can be expanded, by clicking, into a readable form) indicates how I descend from the Conqueror through my paternal grandmother named Cathline Pickering [1889-1964]. It goes without saying that this otherwise interesting item of genealogical news has no bearing whatsoever on my DNA-based research into Skyvington ancestry. My grandparents met up out in the Australian bush, far away from the English environments of their respective ancestors. And there's no reason whatsoever to imagine that the latter folk might have been linked together either socially or geographically, let alone genetically.

Funnily, this anecdote concerning my discovery of a link to the Conqueror illustrates perfectly what might be termed the futility or vanity of DNA-based genealogical research. On the one hand, I'm justly happy (to use a silly adjective) to know that I'm a member of such-and-such a paternal haplogroup. On the other hand, however, I've suddenly discovered an authentic paper trail to an illustrious ancestor whose Y chromosomes are totally "foreign" with respect to mine.

My conclusion: Old-fashioned family-history paper trails are surely more profoundly interesting than all this otherwise-exciting DNA stuff. The paper trails involve real human individuals, whereas our Y chromosomes involve little more than chemistry, in a terribly limited genealogical context: that of a strictly paternal line.

A wag in France once asked: "When weekend bike-riders get together, what do they talk about?" The answer: "Bikes." This observation might be paraphrased in our genealogical domain. Question: "When various chromosomes get together, what do they communicate about?" Answer: "Genes." Fair enough. Genes are indeed an enthralling and fabulous topic of conversation.


  1. This website is being hugely updated. Please be patient.

  2. Salut -

    Ouiah, il y a des <> necissaire a obtenir pour la saiche? connaisance? de soi.

    What up Skiffingtons (sp). I'm the Prendergast-Skiffington side of the tree.