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D.N.A Research within the Settled Gypsy Traveller Community

During our recent project we have managed to test the D.N.A of four of our local settled Gypsy Traveller community: for this we have used as we already have family trees on their website, which we have worked on over many years. We have been able to access the D.N.A. matches that link in with our Family Trees. Ancestry often has special offers on the cost of their D.N.A testing so we waited for these to come along first. Ancestry has a large data base of over six million users around the world and focuses on genetic links in order to help build family trees that give an insight into the ethnicity and migratory journeys ancestors may have taken thousands of years ago and more recently. Ancestry D.N.A testing covers Single Autosomal, Autosomal DNA cousin matching and Biogeographical ancestry analysis.

The four community members whom we tested have family trees which include names such as Cooper, Ayres, Lamb, Doe, James, Pidgley, Smith, Sherred, Sheen and many others well known within the Gypsy Traveller Community. We choose these particularly four people as they didn’t appear to be closely related at the beginning of the project.

All four people tested had a known history of ancestors living within the New Forest as part of the recognised settled Gypsy Traveller Community.

This Ethnicity Information was taken from the results from

Once we had received our D.N.A test results from Ancestry the first thing that we noticed is that all four D.N.A tests were D.N.A Matches with each other, but as yet we have not found all the links within our trees and this will be part of our ongoing research.

We decided to compare the Ethnicity of the D.N.A tests between the four Gypsy Traveller community members and took the information from Ancestry and entered it into a bar graph using Excel. We were extremely disappointed to find after lots of setting up of the bar chart and meticulous entering of figures that the results to all four tests were identical, although we know that one community member has two Grandparents who are not from the community. We decided the best course of action was to upload the Ethnicity results as we are not from the Settled Gypsy Traveller Community or from this area, once again the results were identical and we can find no explanation as to why this would be the case.

We then downloaded the RAW Data and uploaded it onto GEDmatch which is a third party free of cost website used  for the analysis and comparison of raw autosomal DNA data, which has been processed by genetic genealogy testing companies such as Ancestry and My Heritage. This enabled us to not only compare our D.N.A samples with against each other, but also  against further possible cousin connections whom are not on Ancestry, as well as run our data against thousands of other users that had uploaded their DNA from around the world. Using GEDmatch we have been able to compare autosomal, X chromosome and Y chromosome results and also to do further analysis using the One-to-One DNA Comparison and the X One-to-One DNA Comparison tools.

One of the first areas of research we carried out using GEDmatch was to see if any of the four community members had parents that were related to each other. Our findings were:-

We were not surprised with these results as it is well understood that this community have stuck together over many generations and have married within their own community.

When we looked at the community members D.N.A for Ethnicity results again: this time using GEDmatch we found the following:-

Results for D.N.A/HD

Results for D.N.A/PC

Results for D.N.A/MS

Results for D.N.A/JR

These results showed significant differences in Ethnicity between the four individuals from the community, however all showed Asia which would be correct as Romany Gypsy Travellers are believed to have originally migrated from the northern Indian sub-continent around 1500. This Eurogenes K13 Admixture Test which we able to carry out through GEDmatch also shows a much higher percentage of Asian Ethnicity in all four DNA samples which is what we were originally expecting to find.

X-DNA Comparison Matrix

Value shown is cM total of matching segments over minimum threshold.

The above test which we were able to carry out using GEDmatch clearly confirms that all four community members who have given a DNA sample all share X-DNA matches.

The above charts are the generated results of a test carried out in GEDmatch in order to show the estimated number of generations between the DNA matches for the four individuals; unfortunately we still haven’t managed to find all the links to connect up their family trees as yet.

Value shown is cM total of matching segments over minimum threshold.

The results above show the Autosomal DNA comparison between the four community members and has been carried out using the free service with GEDmatch.

Using D.N.A samples has enabled us to confirm links as well as find many new links for our ongoing work with this Communities GED files (Family Trees), we have also been able to get to know many new people from all over the world who are looking for information regarding a possible link to the Gypsy Traveller community and who have found matches with our D.N.A samples. We also have a few people that unfortunately have unknown close relatives or have been adopted that are finding the information we hold helpful in the search for their family members.

If you would like to compare your RAW D.N.A Data with our samples in GEDmatch the Kit details are as follows:-


Here are some useful links to help you get started on your own D.N.A research:-

My Heritage
Learn about DNA
About Adoption and DNA

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