The first quarter of 2019 is about to conclude.  There are more and more folks who are understanding the need to include genetic genealogy in their family history work.  I have been at this work now for almost a decade.  And I gotta ask 

Are you doing primrose pedigree work? 

 Do you even know what primrose pedigree work is?

Let’s start by defining the term. 

PRIMROSE PEDIGREE  WORK is drawing conclusions based on assumptions without gathering enough or proper raw data to actually be able to correctly draw the conclusion!

Now let’s get everyone on the same page where genealogy work goes by defining the words which apply to this work.

GENEALOGY = the field of study where one tracks a particular family or clan using raw records, oral and written histories. It is tied to the field of History and Anthropology. Genealogy work requires an exhaustive search to obtain the most information possible before drawing any conclusions about any particular person.   Until 1997 there was only one way to approach the work.  Beginning in 1997 and continuing to today there are two parallel approaches which must both be included in one’s work product for any genealogy work to be considered reliable.

CLASSIC GENEALOGY = the original approach (methodology) used by anyone doing genealogy work. The same methodology applied to novices, hobbyists, and professionals.  One must seek out any and all raw records, and oral histories.  Conclusions were to be drawn only after exhaustive searches. No repository was to be ignored. However, classic genealogy work product depended on the whims, desires, efforts and expertise of the researcher. 

GENETIC GENEALOGY = in 1997, science made its way to genealogy work. From 1997 to today a new set of information became available.  Each of us is a walking repository with information inherited from our parents who inherited information from their parents.   Genetic genealogy is sometimes said to be a subfield of genealogy.  This is misleading in my opinion.   The different classification only applies to professionals.  Because we are witnessing a paradigm shift there are some professionals who are more comfortable doing only the classic genealogy work and some clients do not understand

any classic work alone equals incomplete work product. 

Other professional genealogists use the moniker genetic genealogist.  Genetic genealogists understand the methodology of genetic genealogy and understand work product incorporates both classic and genetic information for a client.  At times a genetic genealogist may simply concentrate on genealogical genetic testing.  He or she may help folks navigate submission of DNA kits and interpreting results.  Be aware, a genetic genealogist may work with a third party client. Most of us have watched televised segments involving a genetic genealogist helping law enforcement.   Genetic genealogy is especially important to help solve mysteries in person’s pedigree. 

The field of genealogy requires exhaustive gathering of information so technically any professional who is only producing classic work is NOT following the guidances of their profession.  Any work product produced by a family historian or a professional is not complete unless it includes both classic and genetic genealogy methodologies information.

BASIC RESEARCH PROTOCOLS = scientific methodology (series of steps) deployed to ensure research conclusions are sound/accurate.   

GENEALOGICAL DNA TEST – term used to denote ANY genetic genealogical test.  It is a general term.  There are actually several different distinct genealogical DNA tests which each produce uniquely different genetic genealogical information.  BEWARE, not all companies selling genealogical DNA tests sell ALL genealogical tests. More to follow we go through the different and distinct tests available today.

AUTOSOMAL DNA TEST  = AKA Family Finder test.  Test sold by any genealogical DNA company. The test is the most limited with only 4- 7 generations’ reach of information.  The information is inherited by boys or girls.  So boys and girls can do the test.  But not all information is inherited equally by descendants so choosing the best candidate(s) is necessary to achieve the best information results.  The results are an aggregate meaning the information furnished involves multiple lines and many generation nodes in each tester’s pedigree.  Deciphering exactly what information belongs to which pedigree line is complex.  This makes the autosomal test one of the most complex to evaluate. This test is unable to provide any specific clan/surname information. and and My Heritage sell ONLY this test.  The first two use a spit vial kit; MyHeritage uses a swab test. also sells this test and uses a swab kit. Interesting fact is FTDNA and MyHeritage use the same lab, GenebyGene- the parent company of FTDNA.  A terrific blog exists which explains, in my opinion, why FTDNA is superior.


DNA KIT =  1) refers to the lab generated sample collection box or envelop with either swabs (which look like extra large cotton swabs with pinked edges) to scrape cells from the inside of the tester’s cheeks or a spit vial the tester must fill to a particular level with saliva.  After scrubbing cells from one’s cheeks with the swabs the swabs are placed in provided vials with stabilizing fluid. The sticks of the swabs are perforated to break off.  It he collection box has a spit vial, the vials must not be sealed until completed.   It may be necessary to place the spit vial in a refrigerator until completed. Once completed the spit vial can be snapped shut which releases a blue colored stabilizer. These stabilizers allow the samples to be safe while in transit back to the labs.  2) refers to the assigned unique account generated by the company when a DNA test is ordered since each sample collection box is assigned an unique account.  This account is a key part of the price one pays.  It will be the location where you can view and work your matches.  NOTE: all all accounts/kits have the same on-site tools or features. THIS is an important consideration for determining which lab/company to do one’s genetic genealogy work.    

NOTE:  There are striking differences between companies/labs and their kits. DNA kits use spit vials, the most easily contaminated samples and the most difficult for elders to complete. ( uses the swab kit and carries the full compliment of all genetic genealogical tests. 

If the FTDNA swab kit is done correctly, one can order any of the needed genetic genealogy tests from that single swab kit.

YMARKER TEST= the genetic genealogical test needed to properly establish each surname/clan in one’s family history project.  The test can only be done by boys.   It provides the ability to learn what surname/clan for your ancestors.  Most important the Ymarker test provides critical information passed only to sons from their fathers so the first step of anyone’s genetic genealogy work should be to properly identify the clan/surname your inherited from each of your parents.  The test’s reach is 25-26 generations.  It is a critical test which should be done so Family Finder tests can be properly evaluated.

The Ymarker test is Only available via 

Today we have a 37 markers test, 67 markers test, and 111 markers test.  One can choose to start with a 37 marker test which will provide three distinct panels of information and at any time upgrade to pull their ymarker information out to 67 or to 111 markers.   37 markers will provide the clan/tree.  67/111 markers will help you filter matches along your shared branch. 67 markers upgrade will provide one extra panel, divided into three segments.  111 markers upgrade will provide you with 5 panels. There is also an ultra expensive test called the BIG Y.  See STR vs SNP for more on it.    

NOTE:  Results are contingent on participation. The more kits submitted which include the Ymarker tests for your clan/tree the more information any and all in that particular tree will learn. 

DNA MAPPING =1) using Ymarker tests to confirm relationships at particular generational nodes. Submission of Ymarker tests by men who track back along different sibling lines to a shared generation node.  THIS is an absolute next step should either of your initial DNA kits for your mom’s or dad’s lines produce results bringing to light a different surname/clan than expected. 

DNA mapping is a key step to CONFIRM each or any line in your family history work.  SO it is also a method used by purists to confirm each and every generation node in their pedigree work.  It is possible to establish your line then examine your classic pedigree work and reach back to the earliest settler and track forward along a different son’s line and submit a kit to establish that line.  With two kits you can potentially confirm your line back to that earliest settler with only two kits. You may be able to use autosomal kits to isolate a potential candidate.  Remember the candidate has to be a boy. also allows autosomal raw data to be transferred to their company, creating a new FTDNA “kit/account”. This will move the autosomal raw data but a new swab kit is needed to gain access to the Ymarker information inherited.   Many times a family may have classic work and assume their DNA submission will simply confirm what is on paper.  Most of the time when it comes to early NC lines it is not quite that simple.   There may be a surname switch at some generation node.  Your matches may include more surnames than you expected even if your line has carried a particular surname for the length of your known classic pedigree work.  YMarker tests show paternal relationship along a straight father to son line BUT one must remember that all biological sons at each generation inherit the same Ymarker information from the same biological father. 

BY EXCLUDING YMARKER research a historian or genealogist risks doing PRIMROSE PEDIGREE work!  

Those of us doing family history work today are working in the cyber age.  Much classic work which used to take extensive time, effort, and funds can be quickly constructed today from scratch or even faster by using published genealogies in our work. But this effort can only be considered reference or hypotheses until what is on the page is confirmed using genetic genealogy tools.

 Classic genealogy work followed genealogical guidelines developed by Professional Genealogical Societies.   These guidelines allowed researchers to make assumptions based on little evidence or at times the lack of evidence.  For example, if a man lived in close proximity to an older man who shared the same surname and this younger man named his children similarly to how this elder man named his children then without any other paper records conclusions were made that the two must be related.  Because there are numerous people who carried the same names what we have now are competing pedigrees.  Various folks have laid claim to particular ancestors.  Could be because the researcher wants to join an organization like the DAR or Society of Cincinnati or The Lost Colony Consortium or the Jamestown Society. 

The genetic genealogy brings scientific tools and methodology to ensure your family history work is accurate.  Only the Jamestown Society continues to ignore technological advances in the field of genealogy and allow classic genealogy efforts alone to pass for accurate pedigree work.  This researcher reached out to the Jamestown Society for clarification for why they have not added as a guidance genealogical DNA.  The first thing mentioned by the Jamestown Society’s representative who answered the phone was her connection to Jamestown was via an ALL FEMALE line.  I was very puzzled for why this assertion would matter.  Considering reality that her statement was actually impossible because each of these women had to have fathers and many if not most had brothers, uncles and male cousins at each generation node so the ability to use a combination of ymarker, mitochondrial, and family finder tests to establish and confirm their generation nodes back to Jamestown is definitely possible.   I believe the reason they actually do not include it is because the cost to DNA map back to the 1600s could be very expensive and there may be some who belong to the Jamestown Society whose pedigree work cannot stand up to the scientific toolkit we now have.  Of course this is this researcher’s opinion based ten years experience.  It is also this researcher’s opinion the Jamestown Society decision to not urge folks to establish their lines actually sets up a dangerous outcome for the Society which I believe they have not considered and will regret in time.  Remember we have a finite window to get our best candidates to submit DNA kits so we can potentially reach back to the Lords Proprietors Era.  The research window has already begun to close for some families.  It is distressing to learn the very organization which geo tags the exact location where many if not most early colonial lines have worked for generations to make connections continues to ignore the unique scientific tools our generation can use in our genealogy work.  

This researcher gets requests from folks routinely who wish me to supply the paper trail developed in concert with the nc1700sJordans DNA project so they can apply to the Jamestown Society without them using DNA in their work. This is a violation of basic research protocols.  They are wanting to cut a corner and attempt to use the Jamestown Society’s shortsightedness as a legitimate reason.   One must establish and confirm their lines.  

We should be grateful we have genetic genealogy tools!   Organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution,  Sons of the American Revolution, The Lost Colony Consortium, the Colonial Dames. etc are all staying in step with advances in the field  of genealogy and encouraging testing. So far more soldiers have been found.  Contrary to a false perception, genealogical DNA cannot remove anyone’s history.  It only clarifies and confirms the proper trail of one’s ancestors and enriches the work.    

You cannot DNA map via autosomal only AKA Family Finder tests. and 23andme make many claims on their advertisements.  Neither company can provide you the Ymarker information even if you are submitting a male sample kit.

IN ORDER TO ACCURATELY WORK one’s autosomal DNA test results you first need to identify and establish your CLAN/SURNAME and this takes the Ymarker test.  And only lab/company  to do this work is FTDNA.  And each kit used to established a line should also include an autosomal test.  This anchors that particular surname/clan to a particular location and carrying a particular surname at that time. 

If we all do our work as it should be done, we should be able to locate a boy’s kit to confirm our line at each generation node. 

I have been at this work now for 9 long years and time and again I find folks who submit one or a collection of DNA kits through or do kits via Ancestry and 23andme and then move the raw data to Gedmatch and think they are able to confirm lines in their pedigree. What they don’t understand is each generation node has two parents and autosomal DNA is not simple to evaluate.   These companies ONLY bring autosomal information to light.  They DO ZERO to identify any clan/surname.

SURNAME vs. CLAN – Surname is a legally recognized name.  Classic genealogists had only paper trails to use. Many Classic genealogists followed these legal names only and did not take into account a surname may differ from the unique paternal information passed from biological father to son unless specific documentation was found.  SURNAME Societies have existed since the 1700s (maybe before).  SURNAME DNA PROJECTS  are independent research groups focusing on DNA signatures which correlate to DNA kits’ ymarker tests researchers have submitted while working particular surnames.  For instance, a JORDAN male will submit a kit and order the Ymarker 37 test.  At the time the test is ordered he joins the JORDAN SURNAME PROJECT (if one joins a Project and orders from the Project’s page, there may be a discount for the FTDNA ymarker test).  When his kit produces results he may find his results identify the same DNA markers as other Jordan submitters.  Then again, his results may show he does not match Jordans but matches SEARS, JONES, PERRYS or … So even though his surname, legal recognized name, is JORDAN (and his dad, grandpa, etc) his DNA kit proves at some generation node there was an intersection with a man carrying a different surname. THIS IS VERY COMMON for any COLONIAL line. 

CLAN allows for the DNA signature to take front and center place and allow researchers to re-evaluate the classic work to better isolate and locate the particulars of their unique line and how and why they are matching men who are carrying different surnames.   Because the Ymarker test’s reach is 25/26 generations it could be a surname will belong to an early immigrant ancestor.  Then again, the clan signature will allow you to properly identify specific lines and geographic locations.  Knowing your clan assignment and different surnames and locations will aid you with your autosomal DNA match work.  

STR vs SNP and HAPLOGROUP–  This information can only be extracted from direct paternal test (Ymarker) or  information inherited from one’s mother via a mitochondrial abbreviated MtDNA test! 

STR is defined as Short Tantem Repeat. STR is recent (25-26 generations) information and is most valuable to genealogists who should be using DNA to confirm their pedigree work while working back in time.   

SNP is defined as a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, which is a change in your DNA code at a specific point. SNP information is most valuable to anthropologists (or anyone who is interested in what is called DEEP ANCESTRY work.   It helps to isolate one’s ancient migration ribbon. FTDNA is a partner of National Geographic who is working to DNA map migration of man.  Their focus starts at the polar opposite of genealogy work.  While we work backwards, they start with an African Adam and Eve and are trying to DNA map population clusters to determine who moved where when. 

FTDNA during Ymarker or MtDNA testing will test a panel of SNP to provide each tester with a predicted HAPLOGROUP. 

Haplogroup is an assigned location along  a particular route on either the patrilinear  or matralinear MANKIND migration map.  In simple terms, scientists are mapping migration of people like they have done for various species of animals.  Most have seen migration maps for birds.  Well, National Geographic, the foremost Anthropological Society, has decided to map people starting with the Evolutionary Adam and Eve whom they say started in Africa.  There are scientists (and student scientists) who are traveling around the globe to DNA map paleoindigenous  peoples as well as anchored populations (people who have called specific locations home for centuries of time).  The data collected is run through an algorithm which uses historical data and the results are two distinct maps – one from Adam and the other from Eve.  Anyone interested in learning more about this work should go to (International Society of Genetic Genealogists) to find links and information. 

 If FTDNA’s lab cannot predict a Haplogroup for a kit with confidence that someone can use to join National Geographic’s GENO Project FTDNA has a SNP Assurance Program and they will automatically and for free do a SNP Backbone test to figure out the Haplogroup assignment.    One also has the choice to buy a SNP test to confirm if the prediction is right or to help this work advance.

 If you have only used autosomal DNA to date and if you have not included any Ymarker tests you need to re-evaluate your pedigree and reach out to two men- the eldest living immediate relatives of your dad who carries his surname and the eldest living man who carries your mom’s maiden surname and get them to submit DNA kits through FTDNA to establish each side of your family correctly and anchor each kit by including FTDNA’s Family Finder test. If you have an kit for any boy move it to and then order/upgrade the kit (if the person can do a new swab kit).  

Once you have brought to light and established your lines then you are ready to work any autosomal Family Finder test submitted at any lab.  My recommendation is to move any and all genetic genealogy to   It is not only the best company to order your genetic testing kits but the site offers the best onsite tools to evaluate and work your matches. 

One last thing – this year at RootsTech an Israeli company called MyHeritage announced a couple of features to their company’s website which were supposedly represented as “game changers”.  I have looked at these two features and found that one could actually lead to PRIMROSE pedigree work because their algorithm includes old classic genealogy well as pedigree work done today by folks who have not properly DNA mapped their lines. Many people working early colonial or settlement lines do not take into account endogomy.  Endogomy is the practice of marrying within a closed community.  Many early NC lines have autosomal DNA segments which do not conform to the benchmarks set by companies because they have married generation after generation within a closed community.  It is not uncommon to see where parents at any generation node have the same surname and are cousins.  This happens on both maternal and paternal sides.  SO the lab may claim a predicted relationship but in order to properly understand relationships one must identify the surnames and which generation node particular surnames are verified as accurate.  MyHeritage’s algorithm does not include Ymarker information.  This researcher believes this is a fatal flaw in my opinion. I have worked for ten years now and have seen it over and over and over again. Families who think they know their pedigrees but whose DNA reveals something else. and continue to allow the error filled family trees to go unchecked (it could be so easily corrected if they built in fields for folks to include Ymarker information). DNA provided testers with only the total shared centimorgans.  For anyone working early NC lines this is just insufficient for any conclusions to be drawn.  And even trying to use a Chromosome slide is challenging without actually being able to use the anchored kits, kits which clearly delineate a particular surname or leads involving other surnames.  MyHeritage makes sure their tools offer only theories.  But this researcher believes it would be better to actually put some checks and balances in place instead of giving flawed genealogy wings to be presented in any way as a possible accurate theory without at the very least suggesting/urging folks to be sure to establish and confirm their lines using Ymarker and possibly Mtdna tests in concert with autosomal tests.  

Most all early NC lines are finding that the historical data is lacking as well as lost records AND classic genealogy work has for over a century focused on Jamestown as the earliest settlement and consequently all work product produced ignored the Lost Colony families or any of the earliest settlements which began in the 1560s.  Only our DNA carries the accurate information and it will take cooperation and participation by actual lines who called NC or any of the Colonial states home during or before the 1700s,  folks who do submit kits through FTDNA including their pedigrees/familytrees/gedcoms, and  all of us DNA mapping to properly produce accurate family history work and stay clear of primrose pedigree work!