DNA - A Description of Available Testing : Keith MacGregor
The first test most people elect to do is influenced by the Ancestry.com advertisements on television for $59-79. This is the ethnicity test, also known as the Autosomal test, which measures all your ancestors for the last five generations against population groups around the world. Similar Autosomal testing is offered by Family Tree DNA and My Heritage DNA, both of whom expand upon what you can do with this data. What it gives you is the names and addresses of others you may be related to, so if you like corresponding, it’s good for finding numerous cousins with whom you can compare genealogies. A majority of our Clan Gregor inquiries are looking for their grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., to fill in the family tree, and this is one way to go about that task. On Family Tree DNA the Autosomal test is called Family Finder - $59 when on sale.
This test does not provide the Y-DNA (male) data which is used to construct the Surname Projects on Family Tree DNA. *To see our MacGregor Project, go to www.ftdna.com/public/MacGregor
Once you’ve done your Y-DNA you can see your place in the MacGregor Surname Project and which sept you are closest to in the clan. We recommend the Family Tree DNA Y-37 or Y-67 Y-DNA test ($269). Our various septs and aliases are color-coded. This test provides your haplotype (the male population you belong to) which helps define your deeper MacGregor identity.
Females can also test their haplotype, but the results for mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) are considerably different from the male DNA due to slower mutation rates and different migration patterns for females throughout history. The test for your mother’s mother’s mothers, etc. line is the mtDNA (Mitochondrial) at $169 with Family Tree. While it is revealing in many ways, bear in mind that the Surname Projects, and surnames in general are based on the male line. If you are a female looking for your MacGregor connection, you will need to find a male relation who is in the direct male line for MacGregor.
The tests described above have been useful for many years, but more recently the use of SNP’s (single mutations which can be dated) has widely become the "gold standard". "Snips" are single genetic markers which occur in all our cells, some faster, some slower, throughout time. The science of dating the SNPs allows access to whole new view of your identity - ancient origins and the paths of your ancestors’ migrations, including dates, going all the way back to genetic Adam and Eve. Family Tree has also created the Block Tree, a worldwide genetic chart which shows your mutations down to your nearest kin who have done the Big Y 700 test ($359). With this data you can also go to http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html to view an interactive map which shows where your genes have been over the millennia - in color! Also note that both males and females can see their individual results by using the SNP Tracker site above.
OF NOTE: As current members of CGS, Susie McGregor’s male MacGregor cousin appears a few lines away from my own on the Big Y Tree, demonstrating not only that our families are related but also when and where our MacGregor ancestors split from our common ancestor some 600 years ago. If you are interested in this level of knowledge, and want a true learning experience, I’d recommend Big Y 700 with Family Tree DNA.
Editor’s Note: It would be nice to have step by step instructions for common types of research such as ‘Am I descended from a MacGregor?’ and ‘Where in Scotland would I have found some Medieval ancestors?’. However, for now we can just suggest these 3 steps to get started for the MacGregor Project.
1) Order and submit an appropriate DNA test with FamilyTree.
2) Join the MacGregor DNA Project group on FamilyTree.
3) Send an email to Keith MacGregor and/or Richard McGregor to let them know about you and include your kit number.