ISOGG Newsletter
Vol. 3 No. 1 Jan 2010

From the Director - Autosomal DNA: The New Revolution - Part 1
     Autosomal DNA is your DNA in the non-sex determining chromosomesthat recombine (mix) which you receive from both parents.  Commercial autosomal DNA testing first debuted ten years ago but was used primarily
for providing percentages of your ethnic pie chart, just as its being used for on "Lopez Tonight" (see "DNA in the Mainstream"). 
     So while autosomal DNA testing has been around for years, there has not been a genealogical use for it until now.  Personal genome company, 23andMe began beta testing a new product called "Relative Finder" last October which searches for matching SNPs in a genealogically relevant time frame.  Several relatives and myself tested and have had varying degrees of genealogical success.  I have one cousin whom I refer to as "Mr. Silver Platter DNA" because so far, he's had three successful matches with distant cousins.  In other words, one DNA test can reveal matches to many lines so its like having your genealogy served to you on a silver platter.  Notice that I emphasized "like" because of course, there's a catch. The catch is that everyone inherits differing amounts of autosomal DNA from their ancestors and with each successive generation the given DNA becomes more and more diluted until it might no longer be detected.  But there are successes to be had; like Gary Corbett's Bartels success story below.
     Another personal genome company, deCODEme doesn't have a product that searches for matching DNA segments among their database, but does allow you to compare your results with others at varying thresholds.  deCODEme
has a special offer right now for 23andMe customers which ends February 1, 2010 to upload your results to deCODEme at no charge.  Only 'Complete Edition' or 'Full Edition' customers that have access to their raw data download are able to take advantage of deCODEme's offer.

-Katherine Borges
ISOGG Director

DNA in the Mainstream
Rapper Snoop Dogg and basketball's Charles Barkley DNA tested for "Lopez Tonight"
Comedian George Lopez's TBS show, "Lopez Tonight" appears to have added DNA testing
of celebrity guests as a semi-regular feature of the show.  Snoop Dogg's autosomal DNA results:

0% East Asian

23% Native American

6% European

71% Sub-Saharan African

Charles Barkley's DNA results:

0% East Asian

14% Native American

11% European

75% Sub-Saharan African

Autosomal DNA mixes differently in everybody.  Siblings can have completely different percentages. So while George Lopez had fun playing up the DNA results showing Charles Barkley as "blacker" than Snoop Dogg, there is still the possibility that if Snoop's siblings were tested, they could come back with a higher percentage of Sub-Saharan African DNA than Barkley has.

DNA Success Stories

Barttels/Bartels/Bathels Autosomal DNA Success Story
By Gary Corbett    
     My maternal grandfather was named Lewis Earnest Bartels, and he was born in McClure, Illinois-Alexander County.  His parents were William Lewis Barttals m. Sarah Cummins.My grandpa moved to Texas after WW1,where he met and married my granny.  My grandpa was the only person in his family that lived to be old. Therefore, we don't know much about some of his background, and have been left with family tales that may or may not have a factual basis.
     Family lore says that William Lewis Barttals came from Germany, and that he was a stowaway on a ship. He had a cousin that had already come here, and the cousin lived in New York.  They allegedly sent William to Illinois, where he was a silica miner.  He died there, of black lung, when my grandpa was young.
     My personal opinion is that William was likely born in Illinois,  and that his PARENTS were the immigrants.  However, I don't yet know which is the truth.  I have found William and his family on a Union County, Illinois census, and it states that he was born in Illinois, and that both parents were born in Germany.  His stated place of birth may or may not be true-just don't know for sure, at this point.
     I have been unable to determine who William's parents were.  Adding to the problem, is that we have a known case of surname spelling change, as my grandpa liked the standard form of Bartels, so he just started using that.  There are around a dozen forms of this name, all coming from the same root, so having any idea what variations to check on has been a problem.

This is where it gets interesting.

     Using 23andMe's Relative Finder, I've got a match with a man with a German surname.  He was amazed when he looked at my list of surnames, because he saw the name Bartels there.  This is interesting news, because we share a large chunk of a chromosome, that is perfectly identical, over millions of base-pairs.  This match is fortunate to know just who his German immigrant ancestors were.  One of his ancestor grannies came from Goettingen, Germany, which is just south of Hannover.  She came to New York after her husband died, and she died there in 1857.  Her maiden name was Luise Barthels!!  She married a man named Wigand in Germany, and my new match is descended from them.
     So what it looks like to me, is that Luise Barthels Wigand was VERY likely to have been the cousin that was already in New York, in my family story.  I think that it is likely that William Lewis Barttals' father was the immigrant, and he was likely 1st cousins with Luise Barthels Wigand.  And Germans wouldn't pronounce the "h" in Barthels.  The names would sound the same, and are essentially the same surname.
     This line is still a work-in-progress, but this is the very best clue I've ever had in researching my maternal grandpa's German roots.  I now have a few new contacts to work with, and more surnames and a place in Germany, as well.

All thanks to this new field of genetic genealogy!!

For more DNA success stories or to submit yours, visit:

DNA In The News
DNA in the News

Most Modern European Males Descend from Farmers Who Migrated from the Near East - Science Daily - 21 Jan 2010
Streep, Colbert set for PBS genealogy show - - 1 Jan 2010
DNA analysed from early European - BBC News - 1 Jan 2010

For more articles:


Translation Help Needed
ISOGG member, Richard Hill has created a page on his website, DNA Testing Adviser, that he would like to have translated into other languages.  He already has someone doing translations into Spanish and Portuguese but he still needs volunteers for other languages.  Please contact him if you can translate it into another language. (you can contact him through the link on his website).

For other ways to volunteer for ISOGG, see:

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