Sunday, December 16, 2007

Searching For 224C Differences On Haplogroup K

When I last dipped my toe into the fascinating hobby of genealogy the Internet was the new kid on the block, the latest research tool which would make searching for those long-lost relatives a piece of cake. To a large extent, it delivered on its promises : the message-boards and surname sites which are now an integral part of the web allowed me to contact Beanlands in Australia and Ushers in Canada. Returning to the fray after a couple of years I discover that science has moved things on. Whereas, in the past the essential tools of those searching for their family history were a large sheet of paper, a pencil, a rubber and a good deal of spare time, now the requirements are slightly more sophisticated and centre on DNA sequence analysis. It would seem that these days, if you want to know who your great uncle Fred gave birth to, you stick a needle in your arm and smear some blood on a microscope plate (Dave Hornby, if you are reading this, be aware that I hold you largely to blame).

So my search for the real father of my wife's Aunty Mary must now take on the guise of a scientific expedition. I need to exhume the grave of the dear departed lady, get hold of some of her DNA and determine whether or not it contains any of the typical Berry DNA markers. As far as I can make out from the Berry DNA Blog (indeed, such a thing exists) I need to look for "haplogroup K with CRS differences in HVR1 at 093C, 224C, 249C, 311C and 519C and in HVR2 at 73G, 195C, 263G, 309.1C, 315.1C, 497T, 524.1C and 524.2A". Questioning my wife about where her late Aunty Mary was buried or whether - by any strange chance - she might still have one of her old hair brushes has resulted in nothing but odd looks and those whispered telephone conversations with her cousin Carrie which normally involve the phrase "he's gone funny again".

I know she died about 25 years ago and the home she had been confined to for most of her life was somewhere near Chesterfield. I assume that there must be records of where they buried the residents - all that is needed is good, old-fashioned research ..... and a decent spade ..... and a dark moonless night.

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