DNA Can it help me with my Genealogical Research?

DNA can it help me find my family?

I am still trying to figure out Archibald’s parents, siblings and Mary’s parents and siblings. I have bits and pieces of information.  Duncan D. MacDonald a researcher in Canada thinks that Mary is the sister of Angus who married Jeanette, not Jeanette’s sister.  I think based on my Aunt Nellie’s charts and the marriage record of Mary and Archie that she is Jeanette’s sister.  We will see?

yDNA and mtDNA with the autosomal in the middle

yDNA and mtDNA with the autosomal in the middle

I am particularly interested in the male line of the surname for this blog regarding the various spellings of MacDonald/MacDonell/McDonald/McDonell etc.

Meanwhile I have been reading:  Beginner’s Guide to Genetic Genealogy by Kelly Wheaton.  It is free and online.  It is short lessons with links to explore.  I am reading it and will probably reread it till it sinks in.  She has done a good job.


Recently I have started to read the book: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, by Blaine T. Bettinger. It is very good. It costs $29.95 but maybe you can find a good deal online.

In 2013 I had taken an DNA test through 23&Me.


I uploaded that test to Family TreeDNA.  I then took the mtDNA test (on sale) at Family Tree DNA: https://www.familytreedna.com/  All those results are in.

My cousin on the MacDonald side kindly agreed to take the autosomal test at Family Tree.   He did the test and I am its administrator.  Comparing our results we are very close as cousins. He also agreed to take the yDNA test 67 Markers. This is up the male direct line from son to father to his father’s father and on up. See the chart above.

Another family member, my sibling, agreed to take the yDNA test (67 markers) and autosomal (Family Finder) tests. He is the last of the McD’s in my line so this is very important.

Both my sibling and my cousin are Haplogroup I-M253.  I am glad they are in the same Haplogroup that was good news.


I had them join the Clan Donald DNA project at Family Tree DNA. You will see a Join at the top of their website leading back to Family Tree DNA.


You will find them under the Search tab at the Clan Donald DNA website, then click all and you can find them in the listings by using this code below.

Sibling is Clan Donald code &BXMKY

Cousin is Clan Donald code &PZMDL

Recently I had the above sibling and cousin sign up for another project at Family Tree DNA, the Project – I1-S4795, I may have to upgrade them from 67 to 111.

I1-S4795 is one of two sub-branches of I1-CTS6364 branch and parallel to I1-L22 (Norse) sub-branch. No surprise it is massively represented among people of Scandinavian origin and Norsemen descendants in England, Scotland, Ireland and other European countries which Vikings and Varganians colonised or just visited (lets call it that way with all due respect to our ancestors).

In summary, I am at 23&Me (autosomal), Family Tree (autosomal – Family Finder) and also mtDNA.

I did an autosomal test with Ancestry.  My understanding is that this increases my chances of finding cousins.  Ancestry is said to have the largest database and I am curious if my old New England roots show up.

Lately, a couple of interesting developments have taken place. One of the DNA matches on Ancestry has added a line that might be my Archibald McDonell’s family. I was also contacted by someone on with Family Tree DNA matches and she referred to the Glenaladale MacDonald’s of PEI.  I am currently studying these leads to see where they will lead.  Very interesting.  I guess you just have to be willing to wait.

Family Tree DNA has a page on their website where they answer shipping questions for DNA test kits. The cost is an addition $9.95 stand USPS. There are other questions they answer as well.  So my Canadian cousins please let’s get you tested.


Meanwhile I need to study up and figure out how this all works. If you wish to contact me use this email: bjmcdonell@gmail.com

Updated November 26, 2016 8:04 am.

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