Yesterday, I was scanning the newest entries on The Hensley Family Website and an article caught my eye. Yep, it was about DNA and I got a few tidbits out of it that I would like to share with you as well as some research that I did on my ancestral line. Before you read this note, please understand that I am NOT a DNA expert. I have read a lot in the few weeks since I volunteered to be the administrator for the Hensley DNA Project, but I have been involved in genealogy research since the early 70s...typewriter, microfilm, transcriptions, bibles, books, libraries by the score...not unlike a number of you I'm sure. Let me see if I can simply describe the DNA connection and it's impact on our genealogical research.
First of all, the DNA testing is done with males using the Y gene. This gene is passed down from father to son hence the term Y-DNA test. For females, the mtDNA gene is passed down from mother to daughter and up until recently, the mothers maiden name was dropped and the husbands was used so tracing their line was through a male member. Simple thus far. There could be a change in the DNA pattern over the generations but it appears to be fairly predictable. This seems to be in the 300 to 400 year range as I understand it. That's about as detailed as I want to go in this particular note. You can go to www.familytreedna.com
and get all the details that you could possibly want. I just wanted to try and simplify the whole technology which can get extremely detailed and complicated. Now to the meat of what I wanted to convey.
I've been trying to get a handle on how many DNA samples we would really need on the Hensley DNA Project to get the maximum benefit of this data as a genealogical tool. I've exchanged ideas with a number of folks on how to approach this project that I volunteered to administer. I've gotten some very good and thoughtful suggestions from them and I appreciate every last one of them.
When I thought about the Y gene being passed down through the paternal line, it was obvious that although many tests would be desirable but would be also the most expensive way. I (we) wanted a way to convince many of the Hensley/Henslee families to contribute to this project. I'm retired and being on a fixed income doesn't allow one to lay out a couple hundred without good reason. I think I have found a good reason for taking the test which is in process now.
I started chasing down my documented ancestors and their descendants to see what my particular DNA test would represent. I used my families descendants, and some of those on Marty Grant's board to identify the males that my DNA represented. I also knew that there were a few lines very early in the Hensley/Henslee that were not documented nor connected to other lines. Point being, my estimate would be low but I went ahead any way. I put the given name's initial on the particular generation to keep count.
Here's the results of my analysis:
1 DNA Test - Individuals represented (my test)
Generation 1 B 1755 +? potential additional lines
Generation 2 BA 1770s +2 potential additional lines
Generation 3 BRRJAJCW 1810s
Generation 4 BHWCJJW 1830s
Generation 5 AHLJCSCAJFAJCJFGRH 1850s
Generation 6 LHAHLAWJRFJWJJJJCTJW 1880s
Generation 7 RCCCCJLW 1910s
Generation 8 GBCGWFRWHTJFCTDTTJFBC 1930s
Generation 9 RJJMJHHFGAABFSMFW 1950s
Generation10 KLSTSSDS 1970s+
After going through the various Hensley/Henslee families, I think the actual numbers could be as much as tripled from what I was able to find. Reason: A lot of the research stopped around 1860 (Marty's board), my research into other branches of my direct line, and the lack of connection with the some of the early ancestoral lines. The Hensley/Henslees were a prolific bunch. Children were assets for those who migrated into this new land of opportunity, and they bred assets.
Summary: My test represents at a minimum of 110 ancestors and descendants
. That's a real bargain! The author of the article that I read, had a representation of 92 of her line. I believe that the other distinct lines will have comparable impact. Does that mean that I think we only need one from each family? Not at all. There's about 4 other branches of my line that I would like to see in order to confirm one way or the other their heritage. Look at the Patriarchs page for my line. http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/h/hensley/pats.html
The RED names are one that I would like to see one of their descendants take the DNA test. The ORANGE one is the one that I would like to confirm whether he's in my line or just a distant connection. The name in GREEN is me.
This has been a fairly long note but I think it's important to all of us who have been struggling to make connections where there's been no traditional paper trail found. I believe that the DNA technology will become an outstanding tool as we search for our beginnings.
My thanks to Barb for posting the article and I hope this analysis is of benefit to you.
Hensley DNA Project Administratorwww.worldfamilies.net/surnames/h/hensley