Open Letter to Prospective Participant

Perhaps you are a male Beatty (Beaty, Baty, etc.) and you get a phone call, or an email, or a letter from someone about your family history and DNA testing. Or, perhaps you have a Beatty in your family tree and someone asks you to contribute financially to the costs of DNA tests. Why should you participate?

That 'someone' who contacted you is probably a relative, perhaps a distant relative you didn't even know existed. He or she is trying to learn the roots of your family lineage. Many of us would like to know where our families came from, and when. But, even if you are not particularly interested, there is a good chance that some of your children, or grandchildren, or great-grandchildren (or those of your brothers and/or sisters) will be interested. In other words, there are many people in your extended family, now and in the future, who consider family history research an important venture.

Unfortunately, traditional research usually reveals only part of a family's history. After going back 4 or 5 or 6 generations, the trail begins to turn cold. Public records become scarce or are lost to fire and other disasters. Memories of people having personal knowledge of a family's history fade with time, and eventually those folks pass away; and the history is lost. 

Now, there is a new tool in genealogy which offers major benefits to tracing a lineage's ancestry.  This is the laboratory analysis of the Y-chromosome of selected male descendants of a lineage. In a nutshell, here is why this analysis is useful.

Laboratory analysis of a Y-chromosome yields a set of numbers which are unique within the family line of the subject. (This 'set of numbers' is called a haplotype.) The Y-chromosome occurs only in the cells of males; it does not occur in females.  About 95% of the time, the Y-chromosome is passed down unchanged from father to son. So, if you compared the laboratory results of two brothers, their sets of numbers, or haplotypes, would likely be identical.  But, comparing the results of one brother with those of his neighbor with another surname would show their haplotypes to be very different. There might also be differences between one of the brothers and another male with the same surname but from a different lineage. 

The value of these Y-chromosome tests is in the normal changes which occur over time.  They allow us to compare haplotypes among seemingly unrelated Beatty lineages to discover that some share a common ancestor 10 or 20 generations back. Those discoveries then permit members of related lineages to compare notes, share information, and pursue joint research. Without the Y-chromosome testing, such joint research would not be possible.  Over 400 Beatty lineages have been documented world wide.  Knowing which may be related to which others would be impossible without the help of Y-chromosome testing.

One of the good things about Y-chromosome testing is that only two or three males in a family lineage need be tested.  Only enough tests to confirm a representative haplotype for that lineage is needed. Often, two tests from two distant cousins is sufficient.

Another good thing is that obtaining the sample is quick and painless. It involves swabbing the inside of the cheek with a special brush. 

Still another good thing is that there is nothing personally identifying nor medically revealing about one's haplotype. By itself it is meaningless. It's value comes from comparing it with the haplotypes of others.

One drawback to the testing is the cost. A 25-marker test costs about $125.00.  For many prospective participants, this cost is prohibitive; for others it is not significant.  However, because the results of the test benefits many family members, it is only fair that the cost of the test be shared among several family members. Sharing the cost make it far more manageable for all involved.

So, we hope you will agree to cooperate with the person who contacted you. You will make a lot of present and future Beattys very happy.

Les Beaty, Beatty DNA Project Coordinator
Earl Beaty, Beatty DNA Project Administrator