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Bittick DNA Project

DNA Results

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I'd like to tell you a little about genealogical DNA testing, and I'll try not to bore you with too many details.  If you want to know more just click on the links provided at the end, or contact me (Johnny Bittick) at the e-mail address below.

Forensic DNA testing has been around for some time, used primarily by law enforcement agencies.  It is an expensive process, putting it out of reach of most genealogical researchers.  DNA testing for genealogical purposes is a relatively new tool and differs from forensic tests in that it uses only the Y-chromosome, which keeps the cost down to an affordable level.

The Y-chromosome is passed from father to son unchanged, except for a mutation about every 500 generations.  Testing the Y-chromosome provides us with a genetic fingerprint consisting of 12 or 25 numbers.  By comparing this fingerprint to others with the same surname we can determine if they are related, and approximately how many generations back is their common ancestor.  Primary objectives of most Surname Projects is to prove or disprove theories regarding ancestors, solve brick walls, determine a location for further research, or validate existing research.

The reason we, the Bittick genealogists, want to do DNA testing is that we have researched our ancestors back to the mid-to-late 1700s in seven different lines, but can't find documentation to link the lines together (called the Most Recent Common Ancestor).  Neither can we find evidence as to when that ancestor, or ancestors, migrated to the United States.  We selected Family Tree DNA as the company to do the testing.  They did the first Surname Project in the world outside academic institutions about four years ago.  In July 2003 they shipped their 10,000th kit!

The lines we have traced so far include John Bittick (surname later changed to Biddix) born around 1748; Francis, b.1759, Samuel, b. 1755-1774, John R., b. 1781, Robert, b. 1788; Samuel F., b. 1790; Jonathan, b. 1796; Willis Henry, b. 1817.  Although Samuel's line has not been tested, DNA testing has established that the other lines are related.  We have now proceeded to the next step, which is to test a related family.  Two different, but distantly related Biddick families in Cornwall, England, have been tested.  A third Biddick family in Cornwall, England has also been tested.  However results indicate that these three Biddick families are not closely related to the American Bittick lines tested.  [Detailed results of the testing]

The testing procedure is simple and painless.  You receive a kit in the mail, with instructions.  You do a cheek swab, put it in the enclosed container, and mail it back in the preaddressed envelope.  That's all there is to it.  It takes about 4-6 weeks to get the results.  The 12 marker test, which establishes whether or not you are related, costs $99.  The 25 marker upgrade, which is done from the same sample, costs an additional $90.  The objective of the upgrade is to reduce the time frame of the common ancestor between the matching participants.  If you are reasonably sure that you are related, you can opt for the 25 marker test  at the beginning and save some money.  The 25 marker test costs $169 plus $2 S/H, so you save about $20 over ordering the 12 marker test and then upgrading to 25 markers.  Family Tree DNA is now offering a 37 marker upgrade, which will further reduce the time frame of the common ancestor. The cost to upgrade the 25 marker test to 37 markers is $59.

This DNA testing procedure will not tell you anything about your health or predisposition for certain diseases.  It cannot be used to identify you; all related family members will have the same results.  It will not indicate your exact country of origin.  However, it will tell us whether the different Bittick/Biddix lines are related.  It will also tell you whether your Bittick ancestors were related to the lines already tested.

If you'd like to participate or have other questions, please contact Johnny M. Bittick at:  



Contribute to the Bittick DNA Project:


Bittick Project Page on Family Tree DNA web site:

If you want to know more about the company, Family Tree DNA, and the testing, you can check their web site at:

 For a more general discussion of Genealogical DNA testing:  

Are You My Cousin? By Richard Rubin, AARP Magazine, November & December 2008 --

 DNA Testing for Genealogical Purposes: A Basic Introduction:

 Genetic Genealogy, Part II: DNA Inheritance:

DNA Testing: Why Markers Matter:

"Putting the Gene Back in Genealogy":,12543,567794,00.html

 How DNA Breakthroughs Are Revolutionizing Roots Research:

DNA and Family Trees, by Beau Sharbrough:

Using DNA to Unravel Man's Ancient Origins


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