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DNA testing FAQ

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DNA 101

What is it?  DNA testing is a new and exciting tool for genealogists.  It enables people to get an idea of how closely they are related to those of the same last name.  The Ramsey/Ramsay DNA Project focuses on testing males of the last name Ramsey or Ramsay.  The results are compiled together with the results from other Ramsey/Ramsay males and we get an idea of who is related to whom, and ultimately we can link different lines together.  But to do that, the project needs lots of people to participate.

Curious? Anyone with the last name of Ramsay or Ramsey may request a free heritage evaluation prior to investing in a DNA test. With over 8,000 Ramsay Pedigree files in the sortable, private Ramsey/Ramsay data base, it may be possible to link your heritage file with Ramsey/Ramsay families already DNA tested. Not only will this help speed up your research, but it may save you the cost of the DNA test. If you are not currently a member of Clan Ramsay, you can find the membership application on our web site. Once we receive your application and pedigree chart, we will check to see if you have any “cousins” in our data base.

How do I participate?  Family Tree DNA sends out simple kits which involve rubbing the inside of the cheek of a male Ramsay with a small paper scraper which is then discharged into a small tube. Two such tubes are sent to the lab, where 37, 67 or even up to 111 positions on the Y chromosome are assessed according to the choice of the participant. The DNA fingerprint obtained can be compared to others in the Ramsey/Ramsay DNA Project, or to others of any surname held in the Family Tree DNA database. Confidentiality is an issue taken seriously, and your Family Tree DNA data is treated according to your wishes, both within the Family Tree DNA system and amongst Clan Ramsay and DNA project members. So far, many participants prefer to be fairly open, in order to gain the greatest advantage from exchanging information with others in the project. Visit Family Tree DNA for more information.

Want to learn more? We highly recommend Megan Smolenyak's book, Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Your DNA to Complete Your Family Tree.  She is considered one of the foremost experts in using DNA for genealogical research.  Also, click on the link on the left for DNA 101.

Greetings RAMSEY-DNA members,

My husband's RAMSEY line ended in 1826 in SC with no supporting documentation or clues beyond that date. He submitted a 67 marker Y-DNA kit about 4 years ago. Since then, we have had several close matches, including one exact match at 37 markers. While all of the matches help add to the reams of information we have collected, none of them explained what we knew to be true about his family's origins.

This month, we received a notice that he had a close match to a RAMSEY in York County, SC. This was exciting news for us; we have been looking at the York County SC Ramsey's since 1999 for a variety of reasons. Now we have a solid match and one that makes sense given the information we have collected. While there is still much work to be done, we are thrilled to finally have a specific location to research and we welcome the challenge of trying to find how our family fits into the York County SC line.

Without strong DNA evidence to help focus our research, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to identify the correct RAMSEY line with any certainty!

Brenda Ramsey

Research Lead, Ramsey-Ramsay DNA Project