Boy! I thought I had it easy when I started my little genealogy project! I had an old suitcase full of photos and 14 pages of family group sheets going back to 1610 on my Dad's Wait side of the family. Seemed like an excellent place to start! So I signed up for Ancestry.com and within the first few days, I hit my first brick wall thanks to my newly found cousin Christa.
The first 100 years and four generations of family tree information I had was wrong. BAM!
Apparently, the early tree was based on a book called The Colonial Genealogist by Rev Emmett Moore Waits written in 1970. He wrote a whole report on the Waits Family of Virginia that traced our roots back to Brinkworth England. Unfortunately, there were two John Waits from the same area in Virginia. I guess it's always been fishy and the dates and ages of those involved haven't matched up, but there wasn't any proof of the contrary until now.
Enter, DNA Testing!
Christa pointed me towards a Waite family website run by Sue Waite-Langley. She, along with Amanda Dickens and Ginger Jamison, have done extensive research on the Waite family and have known for about ten years that our tree is wrong. And as hard as they've tried to get the information out there, the bad information just keeps getting passed along from family to family. Now that genealogical DNA testing is available, they have organized a DNA Study in order to sort out the twisted roots of the Wait(e)(s) family trees.
Here are their findings the first time around. About 60 people have been tested and they have already separated out SEVEN different lines. According to Amanda, our line fits in with what they call The Southern Line (which I never would have guessed!). If you look at the chart, you'll see that within that line, there are already 3 different sub-groups within that Line! What a mess!
They're asking for men in our family to participate in the study so we can help get everything sorted out. It costs under $200, which is cheap when you stop to think that it costs about $1 to make one photocopy at the Historical Society. Then there's the gas or airfare to get additional records. I pay $20 a month for Ancestry.com alone, so that runs well over $200/year. And what if you're on the wrong track altogether? Then you have to start all over again. DNA testing is like taking the bypass. It's PROOF.
I'm not working right now, so I have the time, energy, brains, intuition, and most importantly the PASSION to organize all of this. The thing I don't have is the money. Truthfully, even the Ancestry.com membership really cuts into our living expenses. But maybe if we all chipped in, we would be able to sponsor a family member or two? Thoughts?
Why does it matter? My personal feelings are that our ancestors matter. They were flesh and blood people like us who worked hard to raise their families. They endured hardships and migrated across the ocean to give their children better lives. And to think that all of these years, the "credit" has been given to a random stranger. I believe that they should be honored for their love and sacrifice. They should not be forgotten. Not only that, but think how cool it would be to link up with long lost relatives! Who knows if they have photos, letters, or family bibles that were passed down through their families! Where in England is our family from, anyway?!
So, Why now? The thing about genealogical DNA testing is that it runs through the male genes. Father to son, father to son, etc. Once a line has daughtered out, that's it! The trail is cold. Let me give you a few examples in our immediate family.
Grandpa Fred & Ray & (no kids)
Grandpa Fred & Roy Sr & Roy Jr & Brian & his son Ian
Grandpa Fred & Roy Sr & Bill
Grandpa Fred & Vernie & Vern
Grandpa Fred & Gladys (daughter)
Grandpa Fred & Mose & Ronnie (who has a daughter)
Grandpa Fred & Freddie & (no kids)
Grandpa Fred & Viola (daughter)
Grandpa Fred & Harriet (daughter)
Grandpa Fred & Elvie (daughter)
Grandpa Fred & Edith (daughter)
Grandpa Fred & Donald & Don & Steve (who both have daughters)
Does that paint a picture? So Grandpa Fred's daughters and their kids are already out. My sister and her kids are out. Anyone who descends from a female Wait is out! There may be more in our line, but these are the examples that I came up with right off the top of my head. It sure feels like our options are quickly becoming limited... sorry guys... ;-)
The DNA testing itself is EASY. They just send you a kit with a cheek swab. You stick it in your mouth, put it in a bag, and ship it back. No blood involved. It's also not used for medical testing or anything like that. Strictly genealogical. Then we just forward the results to Sue Waite-Langley and she adds it to her database!
Please let me know if there is anyone qualified who would like to participate in the study and how they fit into the family. I'll organize the fund drive for testing, so if you want to contribute to this let me know. My hope is that we get at least one family member into the study so we can share the information with our family and future generations. This sure will add a twist to the reunion next year!
Here are a few links that summarize my long long email. =) Thanks for hanging in there (if you are, still in fact, still here). lol! I hope to hear from you soon!
List of existing Waite family lines, click "John Waite & Anne Deloss" under the Southern Line header for ours: http://www.waitegenealogy.org/fgs.htm
Website explaining how the DNA study works: http://www.waitegenealogy.org/dna.htm
Results of DNA study so far: http://www.waitegenealogy.org/results.htm
Link to study on Familytree.com explaining fees and tests: http://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=Waite/Wait