Recent studies on human DNA indicate that a single family tree unites all humanity. The roots of this tree lie more than 60,000 years in the past. As the tree’s branches multiply, they record the history of how different groups of humans explored and populated our planet.
From a simple mouth swab, enough cells can be obtained to identify key genetic markers within your DNA. By comparing these markers with genetic information taken from others, it is possible to connect family members to a common ancestor – even where no paper trail exists.
The Y chromosome (Y-DNA) provides a powerful tool for discovering ancestral male lineages because, unlike other chromosomes, this DNA molecule is passed down directly from father to son. Only males inherit the Y chromosome, therefore surname analysis can only be performed on male DNA. Females who would like to check their direct paternal line can have a male relative with the Ro(a)ch(e) surname order a Y-DNA test.
Occasionally when a Y chromosome is passed on, its DNA code undergoes a very small alteration (mutation). Most are completely harmless and so are passed on to succeeding generations. Over time, additional alterations can occur. In this way, separate male lineages become different from one another.
The aim of this project is to identify connections between family groups with the surname and allow further exploration of the family histories. By comparing the Y chromosome from different families, it is possible to judge how closely they are related. If their DNA markers are very similar, we can say that they share a common male ancestor in the recent past. The more differences in their DNA markers, the more generations have passed since their last common ancestor.
This DNA project has been very successful in revealing the connections between present day Ro(a)ch(e) families and their ancestral histories from 1200 AD onwards.