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Combining SNPs, STRs, & Genealogy to build a Surname Origins Tree

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Published on Nov 24, 2015

This presentation was given at the 11th Annual FTDNA Conference in Houston (Nov 15th 2015). The SNP tsunami has landed us with a huge array of new DNA markers and as we learn where to place them on the evolutionary tree, we move closer and closer to modern times. Soon we will be able to connect the human evolutionary Y-haplotree with actual genealogies that bring us up to the present day. This presentation looks at how it has been possible to construct Mutation History Trees (cladograms) for the Gleeson Lineage II subgroup based on 1) STR testing, 2) Big Y testing, and 3) a combination of the two, which allow existing Gleeson pedigrees to be hung on the terminal branches. It also explores how close we are to building a "Surname Origins Tree” (a combined Family / Mutation History Tree) for this particular subgroup and what hurdles and challenges remain to be overcome. This general approach can be utilised and adapted by anyone running a surname project.

Maurice Gleeson, a psychiatrist and pharmaceutical physician by day and a genetic genealogist by night, is administrator for the Gleason/Gleeson, Spearin, Farrell, Irish Caribbean DNA and WW1 Missing Legacy projects. He has organized "Genetic Genealogy Ireland" in Dublin and "Who Do You Think You Are" in the UK since 2012, as well as given talks all over Ireland and internationally. His YouTube videos on genetic genealogy are very popular and he was recently awarded Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015 by SurnameDNA Journal.

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