Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago - the Barton DNA Project was in its very beginning stages.  We just missed being the surname group with "free tests" who were working with the same lab as us, but we had still negotiated a very attractive rate - $85.  We didn't know how many markers we would get tested.  (the answers I recall were "more than 12", "at least 15", "probably more than 15" ...)  We were working on a "batch" basis, with the Lead Administrator, Leo Barton, responsible for gathering all of the names, addresses, pedigrees and money.  (I was the assistant)  And - we were going to have blood drawn.  At the annual meeting of the Barton Historical Society that August, I presented information about the DNA Project.  There was a lot of interest.  We had two nurses available and took blood samples from about 18 men.  Ironically, I received a call some weeks later telling me that the lab needed additional samples from a number of us and they wanted our mailing addresses - as they were going to mail us swabs to collect our samples.  I never got a clear answer about what had happened - but there was no more discussion about blood samples after that. 

By the time the dust had settled on 2001, we had 52 men in our first project "batch" and we were waiting for our results.  We had also started gathering men for the second "Batch" - that group would eventually number 42 more men.  We waited and waited - finally getting the results for Batch 1 in July, 2002 - and we had results for 23 markers! 

Today, our project includes 280 men, 20 genetic families (We call them "Lineages") who have at least two Barton men matching, and about 50 Barton men who do not (yet) have a match within the Barton project.  We are (finally) getting a number of men from the British Isles to test and continue to find more Barton families who have not yet been tested.  Our goal continues to be to understand how all Barton families everywhere are (or are not) related.

I chuckle when I recall in 2002 thinking that when we have "100 men" - we'll have most of the answers.  And, thinking in 2003 that when we have "100 markers" that we'll have the answers we seek.  Well - in 2011, we now have men testing at 111 markers and almost 3 times 100 men - and I accept that we still have a good ways to go.

Now, I wonder what folks will say in "100 years" as they look back at us and the beginnings of genetic genealogy.  Most likely, they will laugh at how little information we had to work with.  I hope they marvel at how well we did with what we had to work with.  And - I figure they'll be very grateful for the work we did in tabulating the families, their genealogies and dna relationships.  No matter how they summarize these beginnings, it's been a privilege to be a part of this fabulous new world of genetic genealogy.  I know I won't be around in 90 more years to observe our 100th anniversary, but I sure intend to be here in 10 years to consider what things are like in 2021 and to recall 2001 and 2011.  


Ten Years Ago

Right on, Terry. Ten years ago I still was stumbling around libraries, archives, and microfilm looking for my own roots. It wasn't until I attended a 2004 genealogy conference in Ireland that I became aware of DNA possibilities--and I almost skipped the lecture that explained it! Of course, I am still stumbling around trying to make sense of about 20 separate lineages in my Byrne (and variations)project, but with all the recent SNP discoveries, that pinprick light at the end of the tunnel is fast growing larger.