PARKER Family DNA Project

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).


What do I learn about my genealogy from a DNA test?
The value of DNA testing for genealogy lies in the comparison of DNA from different individuals. The DNA from your line will be compared with the DNA from other PARKERs in our project (and other surnames as well). When a DNA match is found to another PARKER we have a high degree of confidence that the two lines are descended from a common ancestor. Each individual may have information that the other did not possess. You may match someone who has their ancestry documented several generations further back than you. The DNA test will not tell you who your ancestor was, or when or where he lived.
Who does the testing?
We have chosen Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) as our testing company.
The laboratory that performs the test is at the University of Arizona.
How much does it cost?
We are getting a discount for a group project, $99 for the 12 marker test; $124 for the 25 marker test, $149 for the 37 marker test, $248 for the 67 marker test.
How do I choose which test to use?
The greater the number of markers, the more definitive the test becomes. As more people are tested, it becomes more likely that DNA matches based on a small number of markers will be found. Many of these matches may be to individuals with other surnames. While these matches may be very useful in special circumstances, there are now many cases of a perfect match on the 12 marker test, that match only 20 of 25 markers when the test was expanded to 25 markers. Unless other evidence can be found, it is very unlikely that two individuals who match 20/25 are related. We are encouraging use of the 25 or 37 marker test. Once a sample is submitted, you can order upgrades or addtional tests without submitting another sample.
How do I get a DNA sample?
The kit from FTDNA contains a swab that you use to wipe the inside of the cheek. It is less painful than brushing your teeth.
Go to this site, DorseyDNA to see photos of Bob Dorsey collecting his DNA for the Dorsey surname project.
Who can participate in this project?
The DNA sample must be from a male whose surname is PARKER.

Why only males, and what if I have no male PARKERS in my line?

The test analyzes DNA from the y-chromosome, the factor that determines whether a child is male or female. The y-chromosome is passed from father to son without change for generations. Daughters get an x-chromosome from their father. We have added a chart and explanation of how the Y chromosome determines the sex of a child and why it is used for surname studies. If your PARKER ancestor was female and she had brothers or uncles with the PARKER surname, try to locate a living male PARKER from those relatives and encourage him to participate in the project.
Can women have their DNA tested for genealogy research?
Yes. Mitochondrial DNA, abbreviated mtDNA, is passed from the mother to all of her children, male and female. Children get NO mtDNA from their father. mtDNA is used to follow the direct maternal line. One of the problems with mtDNA for genealogy is that we have lost the surnames of many of our female ancestors. Most people cannot trace their maternal lines as far back as their paternal lines.
What about the privacy of my DNA test results?
Family Tree DNA has a very rigid policy to insure the result of a DNA test will only be released on the authorization of the individual tested. You can read this policy on their webpage. We will adhere strictly to that policy in our surname project.
How can I participate in this project?
Click here.     Complete the form, then click on join. This generates an automated email to Greg and I, and we will reply to you within a day or two.

More questions? Send me a message dwest3atutk.edu (replace at with @ ),  I will try to answer, or find a real expert for you.


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