Us and Them: Direct and indirect ancestry

There are two patterns of DNA inheritance. The first works through the DNA that we inherit from just one parent, the second deals with the DNA which is inherited from both. The first traces a direct line through generations of individual ancestors while the second attempts to amalgamate the different inputs from both sides. The difficulty here is that at each generation back the number of ancestors doubles and very soon it becomes impossible to tell which ancestor gave you which piece of your DNA. The information is fragmented and muddled and requires statistical treatments for which arbitrary categories must be defined, - for example East Asian, Southern European or even Jewish the last of which is, of course, a primarily religious classification. An example is ethnicity testing, which is fraught with ethical difficulties as well as being highly inaccurate.

  • A close family or a crowd. Which means more?

At Oxford Ancestors we believe the evocative wonder of DNA is best appreciated through tracking the simple, direct lines back through the generations of women and men, individual ancestors who have overcome life's challenges and survived to pass on the gift of life.