Welcome to the
BLAND FAMILY DNA PROJECT

 

The Bland surname in perspective

Two principal Bland families came to this country from England prior to the American Revolution.  Detailed information on these early Bland families is available in the Family Lines section of this website.  While we have designated these two families the "Original" American Bland families, before and after the American Colonial period others with no blood connection to these two families may have made their way to America.  These “unrelated” Blands had also adopted our surname somewhere back in time, and may even prove to be from an “older” lineage than those we label as the “Original” American Blands.  The important thing is that we are all Blands, and every line deserves our attention.

Although a wealth of documented evidence concerning the genealogy of all those with the Bland name remains to be found, traditional genealogical research may never find all the connections between the various Bland families.  In addition, there are undoubtedly links that have been made over the years that are not correct, whether “related” or “unrelated.”  However, the availability of "Y-chromosome testing," generally referred to as “DNA analysis,” now provides an exciting new way to determine and verify direct male-to-male lineage!  This is the basis for the Bland Heritage Foundation’s DNA Project.

 

The Bland Heritage Foundation’s (BHF) DNA Project

          The Foundation's Board of Directors has determined that DNA analysis is a viable method for genealogical research and is consistent with the Foundation’s objectives.  The Foundation has chosen the Houston (TX) based, Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd., doing business as Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), as the laboratory-of-choice for the BHF DNA Project.  FTDNA is one of the most prominent research firms in the field, limiting DNA testing and analysis strictly for genealogical purposes.  Their staff is highly respected.

    The BHF Board of Directors has appointed as its DNA Project Coordinator, Terese Bland Bueker.  She will handle the data management, consultation with participants, communication through the Bland List, and the DNA Project department of the Foundation's website.  Additionally, she will serve as BHF's liaison officer with the FTDNA labs, with the title, Bland Group Administrator.  Email Terese or write her at 28423 Woodson's Lake Drive, Spring TX 77386.

 

 

ALL Surnamed “Bland” are asked to participate

(including variant spellings such as, Blan, Blann, Blande, etc.)

           Blands worldwide, are encouraged to participate in the DNA Project.  However, because females do not have the necessary Y-chromosome, they can only participate through a male blood Bland relative (father, grandfather, brother, uncle, or male cousin).

          If given a choice, it is best to test the oldest living blood-related Bland male in your immediate family (father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc.).  These results contain fewer mutations than each succeeding generation.

 

The DNA Project may help answer many questions

  • How many different male ancestors are associated with the Bland surname?

  • How are your Bland ancestors related to other families with the Bland surname?

  • How are the various Bland family lines related?

  • Are all Bland families from an ancestral country related or are there many unrelated families with the name Bland within that country?

  • If related, how are Blands from America related to Blands worldwide?

  • Which Bland researchers should be collaborating because they share a common ancestor?

          DNA analysis can also be used to estimate the “Most Recent Common Ancestor” (MRCA) in terms of the number of generations which have elapsed since two participants shared the same ancestor.  The MRCA is the shared ancestor of two or more people who represents their closest (and therefore, most recent) link; for instance, the MRCA of a pair of second cousins is their mutual great-grandfather or great-grandmother.  There are 3 generations separating these cousins from their MRCA.  DNA Analysis will give you a statistical probability as to when this separation occurred.

     If your Bland research has hit a “stone wall,” DNA analysis could be the breakthrough for which you have been looking to push your Bland genealogical research back generations -- by finding connections to other Bland Family Lines.  If you have a gap in your research, DNA analysis may identify other researchers of the same line, researchers who might have the information you need to connect your line.  This aspect alone, can save you significant time by avoiding searches for connections that don't exist.

 

Genetic Genealogy Background and Technology

          Getting started with DNA testing for genealogy is not any more difficult than searching the various records you have learned about as you have pursued your family history research.  A science background is not necessary.

          There are two types of DNA tests available for genealogy: Y DNA Tests and mtDNA Tests.  The Y DNA test is more suitable for testing the male (surname) line, in a historical time frame because the Y chromosome typically follows surnames.

          The Y DNA tests are only available for males, since this test involves testing a small portion of the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son.  Males have both an X and a Y chromosome.  They receive the X chromosome from their mother, and the Y chromosome from their father.  Females have two X chromosomes, one each from their father and mother.

          Testing Y DNA provides information about the direct male line, which would be the father, his father, his father, and so forth, back in time.  Scientists have discovered that a small portion of the Y chromosome is passed from father to son, virtually unchanged.  Therefore, if a father and son are tested, their results would usually match.  If two cousins are tested, who have the same grandfather, their results would match or be a close match.  By comparing the result from a Y DNA test of two males, you can determine if they are related and approximately when their common ancestor occurred.

          The locations tested on the Y chromosome for the Y DNA test are called Markers.  (Each location is labeled with a number, i.e. DYS #393, DYS #390, DYS #19, etc.)  In the lab, the technician will count the number of repeats of the basic building blocks of DNA at each marker.  As you look at the spreadsheet at the “Test Results,” site on this website, the number you find under each Marker is the number of repeats found at that particular marker for that Participant.  (All the Blands seem to have 13 repeats at Marker #DYS393, for instance.)  Notice that we said father and son results would USUALLY match.  That is because mutations can crop up at any time--meaning the repeat count can change up or down by 1, (rarely more than 1).  So, there could, theoretically, be a mutation between a father and son.  That is why we urge you to select the oldest living male as the test subject.  His DNA would be a closer match to the generations before.

           Currently (April 1, 2006), FTDNA provides 4 levels of Y DNA tests from which to choose (priced as shown, including pricing to upgrade the level of a previously submitted test to higher level results):
 

INITIAL TESTS:

Y-DNA12...................$   99

Y-DNA25...................$ 159

Y-DNA37...................$ 189

Y-DNA59...................$ 269

UPGRADES:

Y-Refine 12 to 25.....$   49

Y-Refine 12 to 37.....$   99

Y-Refine 12 to 59.....$ 189

Y-Refine 25 to 37.....$   49

Y-Refine 25 to 59.....$ 148

Y-Refine 37 to 59.....$   99

           The 25 Marker test includes the Markers that are tested in the 12 Marker test.  The 37 Marker test includes the Markers tested in the 25 Marker test.  If a person starts with the 12 Marker test, they can later upgrade to either the 25 Marker test or the 37 Marker tests.  The 25 Marker test can also be upgraded to 37 Markers.

          Selecting the number of Markers to test is primarily a budget consideration.  More Markers provide more information.  More Markers will also provide more accuracy in the estimated time frame for the common ancestor.  In addition, more Markers will eliminate matches that aren't relevant in a genealogy time frame.  The 12 Marker test is best at proving that two males do not have a common ancestor in a genealogical time frame.  For all other situations, the 25 Marker or 37 Marker test is recommended.  The additional information from the 37 Marker test far exceeds the incremental cost.  When the budget is available, select the 37 Marker test.  In most cases, those who start with the 12 Marker test or 25 Marker test typically upgrade later.  You can save on your cost of testing by selecting the 37 Marker test initially.

        Although DNA testing for genealogical purposes is a highly technical process, you do not have to take time to become an expert in DNA analysis.  You are not in this alone.  The Bland DNA Project Coordinator will be available to help shed some light on just what your results actually mean.  Remember, this is new technology and the Bland DNA Project is in its infancy.  However, you'll have the assistance of both our DNA Coordinator and the Family Tree DNA staff.  E-mail communication between the Coordinator and the Participants, as a whole, is on-going and very informative.  As the project continues, the results of the DNA tests will be posted in the Test Results section, while a better understanding of those results will be posted in the Interpretation and Discussion section of this website.

        Those who want to investigate the technical aspects of DNA testing in greater detail are invited to visit the in-depth tutorial provided by John Blair of the Blair Genealogy Society.  Clicking DNA 101 will open a new browser window to take you to the Blair Society website.

 

Participation is as simple as 1, 2, 3!

1.   COMPLETE the Application and the Pedigree Chart forms on-line.  The "DNA Test Kit" will then be mailed directly to you from FTDNA.

2.   COLLECT the DNA sample using the DNA Test Kit.  Upon receipt of the DNA Test Kit, the Participant will provide a mouth swab sample to be analyzed by the lab.  This sampling technique is painless and only involves the use of a swab to collect a small amount of cells from the inside of a Participant's cheek.  The Participant can self-administer the test in the privacy and comfort of his own home.  Complete instructions are enclosed in the Kit for collecting the sample and returning the Kit with the collected DNA samples and fee.

3.   RETURN the Kit, along with the appropriate lab fees (see above pricing), directly to FTDNA.  Payment can be made by check or credit card.

 

Confidentiality of Results and Release Forms

          All samples and identifying information received by FTDNA are assigned an identification number.  This ID number will be the only identifying information anyone sees, other than the Project Coordinator, who will also know the name of the Participant and the test results.

 

IMPORTANT

This DNA test gives only a distinctive "signature" for lineage
and CAN NOT identify an individual, so there is no risk of
the results being used for personal identity.

 

          The FTDNA's Optional Release Form is enclosed with the Testing Kit.  This form is optional and permits FTDNA to share your identity with others who closely match your results.  To view FTDNA's policy on confidentiality in a new browser window, click Privacy.

          The Results Release Form is to be completed after you receive your results.  Your signed release allows BHF to publicize your results with the elements of your personal identification that you chooseFor more information, click on privacy of results.

 

Sharing Results

          The primary objective of the BHF DNA Project is to assist Bland-family members in determining their ancestry and relationship to others named Bland.  After your test results are returned, they will be posted on the BHF website -- identified only by an ID Number.  You will then have the opportunity to compare your DNA test results with that of other Participants.

         You, the Participant, will be encouraged, but not required, to associate the results of your test, identified only by a number, to your identity by releasing identification elements of your choice, as selected on the BHF Release Form, and in this way furthering Bland genealogical understanding.  The BHF Project Coordinator will be the only officer to administer the BHF Release Form.  The Release Form must be executed in written form and  returned to the BHF Project Coordinator in order for your test results to be associated with your name or contact information.

            As noted earlier, FTDNA also includes a release form with the DNA Test kit.  This is not to be confused with the BHF Results Release Form.  The FTDNA release form, if signed by the Participant, would allow his name to be shared with other Participants in the FTDNA database who prove to be a "Relevant Match" with his test results.  As indicated in the optional Release Form, a "Relevant Match" is one of the following, depending on the number of test markers the Participant orders.  If a "12-marker" test is ordered, an exact match of all 12 markers with another person would qualify as a "Relevant Match".  Likewise, if a "25-marker" test is ordered, 23 to 25 of the 25 markers would represent a "Relevant Match".  And, if a 37-marker test, 33 to 37 of the 37 markers must match.

           Typically, the first results (the 12-marker test results) will be available in 6 to 8 weeks after the FTDNA receives the samples.  The results will be sent to the Participant by e-mail and/or postal mail.  Should his test reveal "Relevant Matches", as described above, Family Tree DNA will notify the matching Participants, provided the Participant has signed the optional release form.

A NOTE OF CAUTION

FTDNA will compare the Participant’s DNA to their entire database, not just to the Bland database.

When receiving results, particularly from lower marker tests,
be cautious about matches outside the Bland surname.

  While these matches may well represent bonifide cousins,
the connections may have been made well prior to recorded genealogical records,
hence it does not
warrant spending a lot of time trying to match them up with recorded genealogy.

The greatest value is to obtain 37-marker results and stay within the Bland surname group results.

            At the same time you are notified about your test results, the results are also sent to the BHF DNA Project Coordinator, who will then post those results on this website.  

          As a Participant in the Project, at a minimum you agree to allow your results to be posted with an ID# and BHF Family Line code (or the oldest known ancestor).  The Foundation highly encourages your permission to display your name and contact information.

  

          We hope that you are as excited about the possibilities of this new technology as we are.  Please take the time to review our test results to date in the Test Results and the Interpretation and Discussion Sections. . .

. . . then join us!

Mr. Bland,
The Bland Heritage Foundation

Wants Your DNA!

 


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