Graham Taylor is the leader of the Family History Group who meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 1:30pm.
At the September meeting of the group Alison kindly gave us a talk about DNA which was discovered in the 1860s by a Swiss scientist who first isolated it but it was many years before its structure was discovered.
Deoxyribonucleic acid is an extremely long molecule that is the main component of chromosomes and is the material that transfers genetic characteristics in all life forms. It is constructed of two nucleotide strands coiled around each other in a ladderlike arrangement with the sidepieces composed of alternating phosphate and deoxyribose units and the rungs composed of adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. It is the chemical that is present in the cells of all living things and controls the structure and purpose of each cell and carries genetic information during reproduction. Every one of us inherits 50% of our genes from each parent and so can be used to find even fairly distant cousins.
Several members of the group have done a DNA test on Ancestry and we looked at Liz's results as an example and it was stated that it really works best when matching up to 3rd cousins (i.e. sharing a great x3 grandparent). For me, most of that generation were born between 1830 and 1840. It struck me that DNA could be of use in attempting to find families which disappeared in the Victorian and Edwardian eras – they may not have all been killed in a plague but they may have emigrated to say the USA or Australia – and a DNA test could be very useful in finding lost cousins descended from such emigrants (and cousins abroad are usually very interested in tracing their roots back to the homeland).
It was pointed out that DNA testing for family history purposes is entertainment not science, nevertheless members have made some useful connections. Both Alison and Anne mentioned the identical Dahm triplets whose results had shown them to be non-identical.
After the meeting one member mentioned to me that they had experienced fantastic service from familysearch who had gone as far as calling her back from Utah to resolve a problem she was having.
Many thanks once again to those who helped in the kitchen and to our librarian Jill, and of course to Alison.
A reminder that there will be no meeting in October and normal service will be resumed on 22nd November.