Everyone is related. The term “related” or “relationship” is used within the context of a “recent” relationship – i.e. within approximately the last 1,000 years. This is the period of interest to most genealogists. Research before that time is made more difficult due to the lack of family surnames and the absence of records.
DNA evidence is a series of numbers. If two people have matching numbers, they may be related. The more numbers that match, the more likely they are to be related. (These numbers are called “markers” or “alleles”. A marker is the position on the DNA chromosome where the change took place, and the allele is the count of the number of molecules at that position.)
DNA changes very slowly and randomly, but the change is passed on to the descendants of the person who experienced it. The odds of a marker changing again or returning to a previous value is unlikely, making it a unique identifier of a family branch.
A “haploGROUP” is a designation given to a large group of people descended from one common, ancient ancestor. This type of mutation is called a “SNP” (pronounced snip) and each of them is believed to have occurred only once in human history. People possessing the same group of SNPs are descendants of the same branch of the human family tree. In other words, they belong to the same haplogroup. (See Wikipedia’s definition of haplogroup and McDonald’s world haplogroup frequency map.)
The haplogroup is the genetic genealogist’s starting point, but something is needed to differentiate more recent branches of the family, something which changes more often than the SNP. This faster-moving (faster mutating) part of the chromosome is the STR (Single Tandem Repeat). The STR signature of a haploGROUP is the signature of the ancient ancestor who experienced it. The test results for each participant in the DNA Project are their own unique DNA signature. That person’s signature is called a “haploTYPE“. Variations of the haplotypes from the ancient haplogroup signature identify more recent branches of that ancient ancestor’s descendants.
DNA isn’t used alone – it must be combined with traditional research to pinpoint the possible relationships. Accurate pedigree information of the participants may be the most important information which allows us to combine the DNA data from different lines to come up with useful DNA signatures and to then identify and isolate the spurious mutations which occurred more recently and which might otherwise confuse the analysis.
- Cloud DNA Home.
- Why DNA - Ways in which DNA can help genealogical research.
- Goals - The reasons we're using this tool and what we expect from it.
- Guidelines - The procedures used and how to participate.
- FAQ - Answers to the most common questions about the use of DNA in genealogy.
- DNA Basics - A brief introduction to DNA and how it is used in genealogy.
- The DNA Lab - Information about the testing service that performs our DNA tests.
- The DNA Test - How the DNA sample is taken and what is done with it.
- We need You - Why we need you to join the Project.
- Project Rules - The simple requirements for successful participation.
- Registration - The Registration Form.
- Submit Pedigree - Submit your Pedigree Information.
- What to expect from your Y-DNA test:
- Cloud DNA Project Results:
- Interesting and informative web sites.
- FTDNA Site Map - A useful guide to our testing company's web site.
- * Anyone descended from a Cloud family can join the Project.
- Participation is not restricted to Cloud Family Association members.
- * The Y-STR CLOUD Surname Project can only use data from men who are a descendant through the male-only line of a CLOUD male ancestor.
- Your pedigree is required to facilitate comparison and analysis of your data.
- See "Project Rules" for eligibility.