Using DNA to Solve Your Genealogical Mysteries

Path of mtDNA and Y-DNA

When I was a budding genealogist decades ago, my grandfather Hoskins drew a chart for me showing our male line descent from his great grandfather, William Hoskins (1796-1870), Kentucky-born pioneer settler in Bureau County, Illinois. From that point until four years ago, I steadily researched this family, found William’s ancestors back to the English immigrant, Thomas Hodginson/Hoskinson (1680-after 1743), traced many lines from Thomas’s seven sons, and even established a point of origin and ancestry into the Tudor period for this family in Preston, Lancashire, England.

My genealogical confidence in this line was shattered four years ago when I decided to “go scientific” and have my Y-DNA tested. Having received my results at the 67 marker level, I asked Hugh Hoskins – a man who had contacted me years before to trace his line – if he had had his Y-DNA tested and identified. He had. Since he and I were “on paper” (documented) 5th cousins, three times removed., we should have matched. We didn’t! About a week later, Hugh contacted me to let me know that a certain Ron Hoskins had matched him. Ron was “on paper” closer related to me than to Hugh. So, I knew the genealogical problem was not Hugh’s, but mine.

A bit alarmed, I contacted my 1st cousin Andy Hoskins. He tested, weeks passed and (happily) he and I were an exact match through all 67 markers: meaning our male ascent was assured as far as our mutual grandfather. But, “Cousins” Hugh’s and Ron’s not matching Andy and me had to be pursued. The problem was clearly Andy’s and mine – but how far back was the “problem”?

Interested in learning what unfolded next, and the surprising twists and turns this DNA-genealogical odyssey has taken?  If so, come hear my presentation in the daylong seminar - Using DNA to Solve Your Genealogical Mysteries – sponsored by the California Genealogical Society, Nile Hall, Preservation Park, 668 Thirteenth Street, Oakland, CA 94612 on April 27, 2013,  9:00AM-3:30PM. (Pre-registration required. events@californiaancestors.org. 510-663-1358 )

About Tony Hoskins

Anthony Hoskins has for the past 12 years managed the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library, also serving as Sonoma County Archivist and as a Sonoma County Historical Records Commissioner. He holds a B.A in history from the University of Iowa and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. Tony has served on the boards of the Sonoma County Historical Society, the Sonoma County Genealogical Society, and the Sonoma County Museum. Previously, he was for eleven years the Genealogical Services Librarian at Chicago’s Newberry Library where he taught genealogical research for ten years and lectured widely throughout the Midwest. Contributor of the genealogical charting section in the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, 2003), he has also written a book and numerous articles published in American and British genealogical journals. He is best known for his “Mary Boleyn’s Carey Children: offspring of King Henry VIII?” (London, 1997).
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