Blaine Bettinger, a.k.a. "Dr. DNA", a.k.a. "The Genetic Genealogist", is the host of the 35th Carnival of Genealogy, whose topic is, "Do You Have a Family Mystery That Might Be Solved by DNA?"
Nineteen bloggers submitted 21 posts with their questions regarding their families' ancestral mysteries--from finding Native American heritage to questioning how far we want to go, ethically, in uncovering family secrets--and Blaine answered each and every one.
In my husband's family, we have created the Midkiff Family DNA Project to determine whether all the Midkiffs found in North America have a common ancestor. Many of the various Midkiff family lines have "brickwalled" in the early 19th and late 18th centuries, including my husband's line, which "stops" with his earliest known ancestor, Franklin Preston MIDKIFF (c. 1800 - c. 1839) of Lincoln Co. (now Moore Co.), Tennessee. By testing various Midkiff men using the Y-DNA test, we now know of two other Midkiff lines that connect to Franklin, proving a common ancestor who lived sometime between 1700 - 1800, probably in Virginia. The two other lines are "brickwalled" at David MIDKIFF (c. 1769 - 1840s) and John MIDKIFF (b. c. 1740), both of Pittsylvania Co., Virgina. Our Family DNA Project is also in communication with the Metcalfe Family DNA Project, as we believe that "Midkiff" is an alternate spelling of that name.
If you are interested in learning more about DNA as it relates to genealogy, I suggest becoming a frequent reader of Blaine's blog, The Genetic Genealogist. He has a free e-book that can be downloaded here, which is called 10 DNA Testing Myths Busted, and Other Favorite Posts. It is available in .pdf format (read with Adobe Reader, a free program most of us have on our computers). He also recommends great books for those interested in learning more. There are five beginner books and 10 more scientific ones on his list, and I plan on reading every one! Currently, I'm reading The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes. It's a fascinating read involving many of my favorite mysteries that I used to love to watch on Nova, Unsolved Mysteries, and the like: Was Anna Anderson really the daughter of Czar Nicholas II? Are the Polynesians descendants of Asians or South Americans?
Another must-read blog for those interested in genetics is Megan's RootsWorld by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. Megan, a professional genealogist, coined the term "genetealogy" and has written, among many books, Trace Your Roots with DNA. Her expertise in both genealogy and genetics is often featured in magazines, newspapers, and television shows, including the Hallmark Channel's New Morning, where we see how Megan returned a photo album found in the trash to its rightful owner, halfway around the world!
I have been lucky that twice in the past year I've had an opportunity to hear experts speak on this topic locally: first, Ugo Perego from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation spoke at the North Stake Family History Center's Family History Conference in March; and then Bernie Middleton, a fellow member of EWGS, made an excellent presentation, "DNA in Genealogical Reseach" at our April general meeting. The study of DNA as it relates to family history is not going to go away. It is a useful, fascinating tool that can aid us in our research, and it behooves us to educate ourselves on this topic.