Cousins with theRight Stuff!
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Homeplace of Aud and Mamie Buttram Pendergraft, Ottawa County, OK
Erected 1914. Pastel drawing by Mamie's niece, Elaine Boswell Laue.
In June of 2001, while doing family research at the Clayton Library in Houston, TX, I chanced to see a notice on their bulletin board regarding a speaker who would soon present a program on "The Seven Daughters of Eve," by Bryan Sykes. Dr. Sykes was a professor of genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University, and had collected mitochondrial DNA samples from women throughout the world, which were used to verify biological relationships among females, and also to trace ancient migratory patterns of females. I could not attend the meeting, so I came home and ordered a copy of the book.
It became immediately apparent that this new method of genealogical research, using biology, could answer some of the mysteries that have plagued previous historians who have studied our female ancestors. Further investigation revealed that there is also a similarly unique part of DNA for males, called the y-chromosome. These two types of DNA pass virtually unchanged from one generation to the next. A man's y-chromosome is a replication of his father's, his paternal grandfather's, paternal great grandfather's, etc. A person's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a replication of his or her mother's, maternal grandmother's, maternal great grandmother's, etc. Women do not have a Y-chromosome, so they can't have a y-DNA test done, but the mtDNA test can be taken by males and females. Males carry their mother's mtDNA; however, a man cannot pass on his mother's mtDNA, and his children get theirs from their own mother.
I had begun a diligent study of family history for myself and my husband in 1980, using traditional research methods, and during this time period had reached the point where the "paper trail" that is available for many of our early ancestors had run out. Courthouses had burned, given and/or maiden names of females were frequently omitted on early documents, and some families were simply too poor to leave much documentary evidence. Since the use of this technology holds so much promise for breaking through "brick walls," I have begun collecting DNA samples from as many qualified family members as could be located. There are several commercial companies that specialize in DNA testing for genealogical purposes, and I have chosen FamilyTreeDNA. A more complete explanation of the science of DNA can be found at the website of FamilyTreeDNA, at: DNA Tutorial.
One can see that only certain people qualify to trace a particular lineage. They must descend in an unbroken line of the same gender. It is with the utmost gratitude that I acknowledge those cousins who were pleased to be carrying the "right stuff" that enabled them to become a participant in a particular DNA study, and who gladly stepped forward to register the DNA of our earliest known ancestors. This study was possible only because of their interest in family history and their personal contribution. In order to preserve privacy, I will not reveal the names of any of the participants in this study. However, the participants are free to divulge their results to whomever they choose.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to my husband, Wallace W. Souder, Ph.D., who has taken me on genealogy trips for many years, and who constructed this website. This report contains lineages of both my husband and me. Wallie's families represented here are Bergman(n), Fruth, McShane, Rice, Souder, Boll, McDonald, Morton, and Wood. My families are Buttram, Dawson, Fine, Lawson, Lewis, McCorkle, Payne, Pendergraft, Rose, Short, Spurlock, Strain, Vanpool, Warren, Williams, Basham, Blackwell, Eaker, Hatler, Kendrick, Mashburn, Mills, Murr, Pendergrass, and Wright. If you are interested in participating in any of the studies, click on "Y-chromosome DNA Analyses" and "Mitochondrial DNA Analyses" below to see how to go about it.
Isn't it wonderful that God made the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA? I like to think He had 21st century genealogists in mind!
Y-Chromosome DNA Analyses
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Last Updated on 12/29/2007
By Wallace W. Souder