Thursday, January 10, 2008

DNA Surname Studies

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak of RootsTelevision has a fun video on whether she married her cousin, and the value of DNA surname studies.

At the end she says to find out if there is a DNA surname study for your surname already, go to Google or another search engine and type in: YourSurname DNA Genealogy. She says the surname study should be the #1 hit.

When I do that, my blog is the #1 hit. I realized I shouldn't be too surprised. Possibly if there was a surname study it would be ranked higher. Someday I may find out. I could only find one of my great grandparents' surnames with a current study - sort of. Feinstein. However, my ancestor changed his surname to Feinstein, so I'm not related to any Feinstein who isn't descended from my great-great-grandfather, and that's pretty limiting. Ironically, the Feinsteins in the surname study are also 'New Feinsteins'. They're really Talalays, who changed their name to Feinstein in Philadelphia. The study is headed by Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe.

After realizing the only surname study even tangentially related to my tree was started by a blogger who I've been reading for several months, who I may not be related to at all, I next wondered how many families changed their name to Feinstein when coming to America. What the proportion of "New" Feinstein families were to "Old" Feinstein families, what it would mean if there were more "New" ones, and how far back did a surname have to go for it to be 'old' in my mind.



Hi, John,

Google alerts are great. I advise all researchers to set up Google alerts for their names.

That's how I found your mention of FEINSTEIN and Tracing the Tribe. What do you know about your "New Feinsteins" ? Place of origin?

Best wishes
Schelly Talalay Dardashti

Anonymous said...

I have google alerts on my own name, and several surnames. They are very useful. I do both Web alerts, and News alerts.

On the Alerts for my Newmark surname I entered; Newmark -Craigslist. This gets me every news story with the surname Newmark, except for the ones about Craig Newmark's website. He's not related, that I know of, but that 'minus' feature can be useful to filter the wheat from the chaff.