23 May 2016

DAR Guidelines For Use of DNA in Applications For Membership

During the last panel discussion of Dear Myrtle's ESM QuickLessons Study Group there was mention of DNA and the DAR acceptance of using it in applications for membership.

I am totally clueless when it comes to DNA.  While for some genealogists it is a passion and has become their niche in the professional world, for others - not so much.  I think I have most of the basics down and have done tests for mtdna and autosomal, but that is as far as I have gone.

I felt bad, not being able to describe succinctly, DAR's position on the subject. So to redeem myself, here are the guidelines that DAR has in place for use of DNA in applications for membership straight from their public website :

Due to the 150-200 year time frame (approximately 6-8 generations) at which the most recent common ancestor can be statistically identified, DNA evidence can, in most cases, only be used as proof of the link from the Revolutionary War ancestor to his son.

Because the study of DNA for genealogy purposes is based on the interpretation of test results within the confines of the available traditional genealogy sources, DNA is considered to be indirect evidence of lineage. As with any other type of indirect evidence, DNA will only be considered as proof of lineage when direct evidence is not available. DNA evidence must also be supported by sufficient indirect evidence to conclusively identify the most recent common ancestor. An explanation detailing the efforts undertaken to locate direct evidence of the relationship must be included as part of the DNA submission. This explanation must also describe the indirect evidence that was located to support the identification of the most recent common ancestor.

Because Y-DNA is passed only through the male line, it’s important to note that only lineages that descend through the unbroken male line can be used as part of this process. The use of any DNA (including Y-DNA) for genealogical purpose requires the comparison of test results from multiple individuals representing multiple lineages. In order for this comparison process to work within the confines of current DAR standards for proof of lineage, at least two individuals must be tested: one to prove the new male line of descent from the patriot through which the applicant descends and one who descends through a male line of descent that has been previously established by the DAR through traditional, direct genealogical evidence. This process cannot currently be used as proof for recent generations (ie: the applicant’s father, grandfather or great-grandfather) or to establish a new patriot ancestor for whom no previous lineage as been established for comparison.

All submissions of DNA evidence must include DNA test results for at least two males that meet very specific criteria. The first male to be tested must be a close relative of the applicant who descends through the same unbroken male line from the Revolutionary War patriot. This male must share the applicant’s maiden name or her mother’s maiden name. Potential candidates for a lineage through the applicant’s maiden name could include her brother, father, father’s brother, paternal grandfather, and paternal grandfather’s brother; or for a lineage through the mother’s maiden name, her mother’s father, her mother’s brother, her mother’s brother’s son, etc.

The second male tested must be a descendant of the same Revolutionary War ancestor through a different, unbroken male lineage that has been previously proven on a DAR application or supplemental (ie: the father, brother or nephew (brother’s son) of a DAR member). The previously verified DAR application to which this second test subject connects must meet current DAR standards for proof of dates, places and relationships. If the previously verified application is deficient in any of these standards, additional documentation may be required.

Because the foundation of the use of Y-DNA as proof for lineage on a DAR application is the currently available statistical analysis of such test results, the DAR will only accept Y-DNA results that meet specific criteria for both the nature of the test and the results of the test. The DAR will only accept lineages for which a specific set of 37 markers have been tested and for which the results show an exact match between the two tested males on all 37 of those markers. In addition, the outlined lineages from both tested individuals must demonstrate that the most recent common ancestor was born within 150-200 years of the births of the tested individuals.

In addition to the DNA test results and supporting indirect evidence that meet the previously outlined criteria, the applicant must also submit the documentation to establish the complete lineage from herself to the patriot. All relationships, apart from the one link for which DNA is being submitted as proof, must be proven through direct evidence. No other analyses may be submitted as proof for any other relationship on the application form.  The applicant must then provide direct evidence of her relationship with the tested male in her lineage.

The applicant must also provide direct evidence of the relationship between the second tested male and the member for whom the other lineage from the Revolutionary War patriot has been previously verified. If the previously verified lineage does not meet current DAR standards for proof of dates, places or relationships, the applicant must submit the documentation required to fulfill those requirements.

In order to justify the statistical analysis concerning the relationships between these individuals, and to identify the most recent common ancestor, the dates (exact or estimated) and places of birth of both sons of the patriot must be documented using acceptable sources.

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