Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sinclair DNA Participation, Getting More from Your DNA

On our website, you'll see me mention again and again that DNA is just a string of numbers. On our recent DNA training session, the least interesting page in the show notes was the one that showed the DNA results. There was almost nothing to say about the string of 111 markers.

DNA gets interesting when you can compare it to other data; and there's a lot out there with which to compare.

 - Burial methods
 - Pottery techniques
 - Burial artefacts
 - Other artifacts
 - Roman
 - Greek
 - etc.

 - Artefacts
 - Tombstones
 - Land transfers
 - Monastic beneficence
 - Shipping records
 - Business records
 - Burgh records
 - Guild records
 - Maps
 - Chargers
 - Cartularies
 - Wills

Recent: (1600s onwards)
 - Business papers
 - Birth/Death
 - Marriage
 - Wills
 - Diaries
 - Letters
 - Newspapers
 - Books
 - War records
 - Slave records
 - Land records
 - Tax records
 - Indentures

Finding resources for your search for more Sinclair DNA data

More and more, I find myself going to Google books to type in particular phrases which interest me, and then finding amazing, old out-of-print books which pop up in the search results.

Another often overlooked resource is academic papers, which have been written by medieval experts. One of my favorite experts is K.S.B. Keats-Rohan. Quite by accident, I found a paper which she wrote entitled Doomsday Book and the Malets: Patrimony and the Private Histories of Public Lives. This has been an extraordinary resource, pointing to a "super family" which was living in Normandy before the use of surnames or place-names.

A book by K.S.B. Keats- Rohan entitled Doomsday Decendents a Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066 to 1166. My copy of this book already has tattered pages. Another place to look is in the work of other family experts. Having an SNP match with the Vance / de Vaux family, I ran into a wonderful paper by J David Vance entitled Notes on the Norman de Vaux. With a little digging, you might find papers or books written about the other surnames you match in your DNA matches.

Working your way back further in time, it's wonderful to find overview books such as that by Peter Brown. His book, The Rise of Western Christendom, Second Edition, has been a great resource to help me understand the wider context of what was going on in western Europe before the middle ages.

I have many such books. Another which helped me a great deal was The History of the Goths by Herwig Wolfram.
When I was still working in the 1700s on my genealogy, I found a book by David Hackett Fischer. The title, Albion's Seed, Four British Folkways in America. This book is simply extraordinary. He takes a totally different approach to understanding the broader migration patterns of America's early settlers.

Working in that same time frame for my own genealogy, I ran into the records of Landon Carter. The Sinkler / St. Clair family of Northern Virginia had business dealings with Landon Carter. I ordered the book Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom with great excitement, hoping for any knowledge I could glean. While nothing stood out which directly connected my ancestor with Landon Carter, I did learn a great deal about life during this time period.

One of my favorite obscure books regarding 18th century history is by Eric J Graham. His book, A Maritime History of Scotland, 1652-1790, was incredibly useful for me; especially considering that my ancestor traveled toNorth America on a ship in 1698.

For obsessive Sinclair DNA participants

If you truly want to become as obsessive as I am, you must look for all sorts of obscure books. One of my favorites is a two volume set by Jacob M price. This set entitled France and the Chesapeake, a History of the French Tobacco Monopoly 1674 to 1791, and its Relationship to the British and American Tobacco Trades, paints a tremendously detailed picture of what was going on between France, England, Scotland, and Virginia during the time my ancestor lived there. Alexander Sinkler became an important tobacco grower in Overwharton Parish, Prince William County, Virginia. So you can imagine, being as obsessive as I am, that I have dug into at least 15 different books on tobacco trade in the Chesapeake, France, Scotland, and England. And I'm digging into other resources as well.

About a year ago, using Google books, I found an old book which mentions a great tobacco company being formed in Glasgow to treat tobacco to Virginia, the Caribbean Islands, Barbados, New England, St. Christopher's, Montserrat, and other colonies in America. This reference mentions a tremendous number of names who had later business dealings with my ancestor, Alexander Sinkler.

When I'm doing research on a subject, I always look for their source material and go get them myself. First, it confirms that the researcher quoted the source correctly. Also, it gives me more resources for further study.

Here are just a few examples - - PDF of K.S.B. Keats-Rohan's paper. Look at the sources for her work. - Loyd's great book, The Origins of Some Anglo-Norman Families

Happy hunting!

Steve St. Clair
St Clair Research - the Sinclair DNA Study

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