McDONOUGH — Terry Barton knows his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. He was in McDonough over the weekend telling members of the Genealogical Society of Henry and Clayton Counties, Inc., how they can achieve the same knowledge.
Barton is co-founder and president of WorldFamilies.net, an agency which targets the genetic genealogy community. Members of groups like the Genealogical Society of Henry and Clayton Counties, Inc., use DNA to enhance their genealogical research.
“If you know nothing of your ancestors, get a DNA test,” Barton urged dozens of genealogical enthusiasts meeting in the educational wing of the First Baptist Church of McDonough on Saturday. He said potential researchers should first focus on traditional paper trails, including family Bibles, census records, birth and death certificates, along with military and court records, and family lore. He also said research efforts are enhanced by enlisting the help of like-minded family members, and sharing results.
The DNA tests range from $100 to $300 and are obtained by cheek swabs. Once ordered, follow directions with a cheek swab and put the test in the mail, Barton said.
“You’ll get the results of everyone with your DNA, and that’s pretty cool,” he said.
Through his DNA research, Barton has been able to trace the family line of his dad back to 1678, and his family back to Lancaster, England.
Barton cautioned those seeking their ancestors, the last names of females in searches may be missing because of the manner in which records were kept in years past. He cited an example of how the first name of a woman would be referenced by saying simply “the wife of Joe Doe.”
The eighth-generation Texan has lived in Georgia since 1973. He is an engineer with a master’s degree in business.
Barton explained there are two basic tests being used to help genealogists. One is the surname DNA (yDNA), which looks at the DNA that a man inherits from his father’s (paternal) side. The other is the Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) for males and females, that examines the DNA that either a man or woman inherits from the mother’s side. The mtDNA also can be used to determine ethnicity.
The genealogists were told Saturday that many who liked to claim various ethnic ancestors easily would learn if they are really the spawns of native Americans, as many Georgians claim.
Another website that may be of interest to genealogical enthusiasts is www.familytreedna.com.