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Welcome, Palatine Descendants
How DNA Testing can Help Genealogists
DNA testing is about to provide an unparalleled opportunity to further your research. Descendants of the Palatine emigrants who left Germany in 1708-10 and settled in the far reaches of the British Empire, including the Hudson Valley in New York and beyond, may soon be able to connect with long-lost family members and learn far more about their German roots than they ever thought was possible.
Mission of the Palatine DNA Project
The project encourages participation by all men (and women) who have a direct all-male ancestral line to one of these emigrants. Most of these surnames appear in the index of The Palatine Families of New York 1710 by Henry Z. Jones, Jr., or two of his other books (More Palatine Families; Westerwald to America), the latter with co-author Annette K. Burgert). If your surname matches, or nearly matches, any on this website or in the list at www.ftdna.com/public/palatinednaproject, and if you believe you descend from a man who left southwestern Germany in the 1708-1710 time frame, or at least in the early part of the 18th century, you are invited to join us. Likewise, if you are from a family that still resides in Germany but saw family members (with surname matches) leave in the 18th century, you are a good candidate for the Palatine Project. The goal is to reunite families that were separated during this migration, whether they came to America, remained in Germany or settled elsewhere in the British Empire.
Please note that there have been about 7 million emigrants from German-speaking areas to America since the beginning of the 18th century. The Palatine Project is somewhat narrowly focussed on those individuals who meet the above description. We do not attempt to cover any and all people who can trace German ancestry.
Not only will participants learn about their connections to Germany but they will also learn about their very deep roots, the path their ancestors took out of Africa many thousands of years ago that led them eventually to Germany. All that is needed to take part in this important new research effort is to order a DNA test if you have not already had one. If you have, instructions for transferring the results and joining the project are explained later.
But do you qualify?
The most important consideration is whether you are a direct descendant. If you are a man, you probably have the same surname as the emigrant Palatine because your line from you is through your father, to his father, to his father, ..., male emigrant. You would then test your Y-DNA. If you are a woman, you have no Y chromosome, so you must find a male relative with the target surname to be tested. If you are not a direct descendant, all is not lost. You must find a relative, no matter how distant, bearing the target surname, who can serve as your proxy for DNA testing.
What is Genetic Genealogy all about?
Reading the news, watching specials on Public Television, seeing the many articles popping up in all the major news magazines … Doesn’t it make you wonder how modern science, and DNA testing in particular, can help solve some of your genealogical puzzles? After spending years rummaging through courthouses, libraries, family papers, cemeteries and the internet, aren’t you ready to use the latest tool to find your roots, once and for all?
How does it work? Scientists mapping the human genome in 2000 found it consisted of about 3 billion pairs of DNA chemicals or "letters," and that those letters were 99.9 percent similar from one person to the next. It's within that 0.1 percent difference that the science of genetic genealogy was born. Just like notations in an old Bible or census records, family history is recorded in our genes. A father's Y chromosome DNA is passed down virtually unchanged to his sons while mothers pass down their mitochondrial DNA to their sons and daughters.
Genetic genealogy is the newest tool available to genealogists. These tests help genealogists verify their paternal ancestry (father's father's father's...) or maternal ancestry (mother's mother's mothers ...) in a quick and easy way. It saves time, prevents mistakes, and provides invaluable data that can be obtained in no other way.
As family genealogists who have done our share of “rummaging,” we decided to make science work for us and all the other Palatine researchers out there who have “holes” in their paper trail or want to extend their research to:
· Direct research into a geographical area and/or a specific timeframe;
· Establish country or region of origin;
· Confirm variant surnames are the same family;
· Learn about our family's pre-surname migration;
· Strengthen weak paper trails;
· Avoid pursuing false connections;
· Eliminate or confirm relationships;
· Focus research towards related families; and, specifically for this project,
· Reunite the families that were separated in the early 1700s as they left their homes in Germany and Switzerland.
Few of us are entirely comfortable with the research we and others before us have done. Virtually all our findings have words like “probably,” “could,” “may,” “perhaps,” and “assuming” liberally scattered throughout. Let’s get to the bottom line. We’ve exhausted all the traditional research tools. It’s time to let a simple, painless DNA test provide the answers. The cost is a few tanksful of gas or probably no more than a research trip to a nearby town. Think about gas, tolls, parking fees, copying costs, meals, possibly an overnight stay – all sometimes yielding little or no new information. Instead, you could simply swab the inside of your cheek a few times in the comfort of your home. Then sit back and wait about six weeks. You will receive a handsome certificate displaying your genetic profile, a series of numbers that are meaningless by themselves. But they hold the key to your paternal ancestry and, when matched against the profiles of others, can yield information that can be obtained in no other way. Those numbers will be compared against the ever-growing database at Family Tree DNA and at other universal databases, and you will likely find other testees whose results match yours, if not immediately then in future years.
For some the results are not surprising because the traditional genealogies have pointed to them all along, but now the proof is indisputable. For others, the results suggest some clear research avenues to pursue. For still others, there may be a nonpaternal event in some distant generation, such as an unknown adoption, and there may be an opportunity to find a heretofore unsuspected genealogy. Or no clear match emerges, in which case the testee can expect a future match as more men are tested.
What can You Expect to Get from this Project?
· A report on the participant's genetic DNA, which is very close (and sometimes identical) to the earliest known ancestor;
· A classification of the participant's "deep" ancestry, which gives insight into the prehistoric origins of your direct paternal ancestors;
· A sense of camaraderie with all who participate in the Palatine Project, which is particularly strong for those who share a genetic ancestry but is also uniquely meaningful because of the shared history and geography of the Palatine movement;
· A stimulus to family research and sharing of information;
· A wider sense of identity and relationship, as we begin to realize how much we are a World Family;
· A chance to compare your genetic ancestry with those having similar and different surname spellings;
· Genetic matches that do not share your common surname.
DNA information is to be used in conjunction with historical and traditional research. DNA results do not often “prove” a relationship, but can be very helpful in guiding research. If a DNA profile does not match traditional genealogy, a hypothesized relationship may be incorrect. At other times DNA results may point to an unknown adoption in the family, or some other so-called non-paternity event.
Your Comments and Suggestions are Welcome!
Family Tree DNA websites:
Henry Z. Jones, Jr., The Palatine Families of New York 1710, Universal City, California 1985
Henry Z. Jones, Jr., More Palatine Families, Picton Press, Rockport, Maine 1991
Philip Otterness, Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York, Cornell University Press, 2006
And more… Suggestions available from Project Administrator
World Families Network:
International Society of Genetic Genealogy:
The Obligatory Fine Print: Disclaimer, Conditions and Agreement
The Palatine DNA Project and its project administrators have no commercial affiliation with any profit-making organization and receive no compensation for services or expenses involved with the project. This website is maintained for posting DNA results and pedigrees of participants who choose to make their information available.
Although the Palatine Project offers discounts at FTDNA, that by no means suggests a business partnership or other relationship between the Project and the Laboratory. All funds are payable only and directly to the Laboratory. The Palatine Project will not be the recipient or steward of any DNA samples and has no responsibility for their care, handling or return to participant, nor duty to act on behalf of a Participant in mediation of any dispute between the Participant and the Laboratory.
While a match between two participants may suggest that they share a common male ancestor, it will not identify the specific ancestor and there is no guarantee that every participant will match anyone in this project or in any public database.
By participating in the project, the participant agrees to all conditions of the Project.