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 R.R. MacDonald, 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 R.R. MacDonald is Clan Donald code &BXMKY

Cousin Len MacDonald 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 or do the Big Y which is not cheap.

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).

As of the end of December 2016, I had my sibling test his mtDNA tested and I am happy to report that we are of the same female mtDNA Haplogroup H3k1a

In summary, I, Bonnie, have tested at the following 3 companies:

  • 23&Me (autosomal),
  • Family Tree (autosomal – Family Finder) and also mtDNA. – H3k1a
  • Ancestry.com DNA which is also autosomal.

I have trees at all three companies – small ones. My Heritage is still with 23&Me with the trees. I have one at Family Tree DNA and there is one at Ancestry.com but it is private and not real developed.  I am pondering expanding it.  Just ask if you want to see it.

DNA Happenings:

Lately, a couple of interesting developments have taken place with DNA at Ancestry.com. One of the DNA matches on Ancestry has added a line that might be my Archibald McDonell’s family. He has also placed Alexander John MacDonell and Ellen McPherson on his tree but not connected them yet to Archie who married their daughter Mary.

I was also contacted by someone on Family Tree DNA with matches and she referred to the Glenaladale MacDonald’s of PEI.

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 February 11, 2017

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