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Information about DNA, about the testing company we are using, and how to join the Renshaw Y-DNA project
1. How does DNA testing help genealogical research?
Y-DNA testing confirms paternal lineage and common ancestry on the male line. Y-DNA is generally passed unchanged from father to son through the generations.
2. Who can do DNA testing in the Renshaw Y-DNA project?
Any male surnamed Renshaw or a similar name who knows that he descends from a direct line of Renshaws or a similar surname is welcome to test as part of the Renshaw project. Y-DNA is transmitted from father to son, so women do not carry it.
2. Which DNA testing company is the Renshaw project using?
We are using Family Tree DNA for our Renshaw project. The company's home page is www.ftdna.com .
3. How does a test volunteer sign up for the Renshaw Y-DNA project?
To join the Renshaw DNA project, go to
4. Which test is best to start with?
We recommend starting with at least the 25 marker test called Y-DNA25. Later, if the situation warrants, volunteers may wish to upgrade to 37 or 67 markers.
5. What does the test consist of and what will the test kit look like?
Men who sign up for the project receive a test kit in the mail. The test procedure consists of rubbing a small brush on the inside of the cheek. For a photo of the test kit go to http://www.ftdna.com/kit.html
6. Is there money available to help with the cost of the test?
Payment is on a sliding scale depending on the situation. Many volunteers have paid their own way, some have had part of the expense defrayed by other family members, and some have requested partial or full scholarships from the Renshaw DNA Project, which have been granted. Decisions are made on a case by case basis depending on need – the need of the volunteer to have part or all of his expenses paid and the need of the project for a volunteer in a particular line. The project especially needs English volunteers and we are prepared to be quite generous with scholarship money to attract them. Use the Contacts link to find the email addresses of the project administrators for more information on financial assistance.
7. What else is needed from project volunteers or the researchers of their lines?
If you join the Renshaw Y-DNA Project, we ask that you be willing to share your Renshaw research and to exchange information with other Renshaws or their sponsors within the project. Y-DNA testing for genealogical purposes has only been available for a few years. Our Renshaw project is five years old and we are very enthusiastic about the results. Sharing genealogical information helps find the Most Recent Common Ancestors (MRCA) for the various lines.
8. Is there a brief explanation of the concept of Y-DNA testing?
The following paragraphs are quoted from the FTDNA tutorial:
"The Y chromosome is transmitted from father to sons. Scientists have identified a small portion, which is passed virtually unchanged. Testing of this portion of the Y chromosome provides information about the direct male line, which is the father, his father, and so forth back in time. The locations tested on the Y chromosome are called markers. Occasionally a mutation occurs at one of the markers in the Y chromosome. A mutation is simply a small change…..
Each marker has a name, such as DYS# 391, DYS #439 or GATA H4. The scientists classify these markers as Short Tandem Repeat (STR) Markers. The proteins at these marker locations are short repeats. The result for a marker is a count of the number of repeats at the location.
The result received for a Y DNA test is a string of numbers, which represent the repeats found for each marker... If two people are identical in all markers except they are off at one marker by 1 point, the genetic distance is 1. If they are off at 2 different markers by 1 point on each marker, then the genetic distance of those two samples is 2. If they are off by 2 points at one maker and 1 point on a second marker, then the genetic distance is 3.
Some markers have shown themselves to be more volatile then others and the population geneticists have created a model to account for these ‘aberrations’. For markers that fall into this category, despite the fact that two people could be separated by 2 (or 3) mutations, the scientific assumption is that the change took place in a single generation (between a father and a son) and therefore it is treated as a single step, despite the fact that more then one ‘point’ separates two samples."
We classify DYS 464a-d and CDYa-b as following this model.