The Use of DNA Tests in Genealogy Research 

DNA testing is a relatively new tool that is being used in genealogy research. One of its benefits is that, through a managed database, test results of all participants are compared and “close match” results are then submitted to the relevant participants. The participants can then communicate directly to learn more about each other’s known ancestors. There are numerous instances of someone finding a relative who they didn’t know existed. For example, DNA testing has enabled us to locate a previously-unknown Patterson relative in southern USA and we are currently working with him in an attempt to trace our roots back to a common ancestor. If we are successful, this should help in our search for who John Paterson was. More recently, through these tests, we have found a close match with a Hope in New England, with whom we undoubtedly share a common ancestor. Without DNA testing, we would never have established these leads. Since it is very difficult to get solid ancestry information, these and other DNA findings will help us to focus our efforts in more-promising areas.

Another benefit of DNA testing is the ability to join one or more Surname Project Groups. A Surname Project Group studies the different DNA lineages associated with a surname or group of surnames and all known variants. One such Surname Project Group is MacLaren, and, since some Pattersons are said to be descendants of a Patrick MacLaren, it is recommended that Pattersons with DNA test results join the MacLaren Project Group, as well as the Patterson Project Group. The administrators of these Surname Project Groups have several tools that they use to analyze the results and group them into more-closely-related subgroups. For example, we don’t try to get information on all Pattersons who have been tested; we just study a subgroup of Pattersons who would appear to have a common lineage and thus be more closely related to each other.

The most popular DNA tests are Y chromosome (Y-DNA) for paternal ancestry and mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) for maternal ancestry. In our Patterson research, all our testing has been Y-DNA, through an organization called FamilyTreeDNA. Their website can be readily accessed for more information and to apply for a test. We would encourage anyone who has an interest in Patterson genealogy to contact FamilyTreeDNA and sign up for a test. Their website is www.familytreedna.com/  .
Three Pattersons of our known lineage have been tested. Two of these are descendants of John Paterson’s son, Peter and one is a descendant of John’s son, John. As would be expected, the DNA results predict a common ancestor for all these three. It would be helpful to have additional known male descendants of both Peter & John participate in these tests. If you are a known male member of these lineages, especially a descendant of Peter's son Richard (1806-1867) & his wife Jane McRae or of John's son Richard (c1788-1868) & his wife Lucy Patterson, please consider taking the test.

Some years after John Paterson settled in Gaspe, William Patterson also settled there, sometime after 1777,  and built a nice stone house, the first one in the area; his descendants are often referred to as the Stone House Pattersons. Were John & William related? That remains uncertain; the one descendant DNA test done suggested a common ancestor is unlikely but just one test can be inconclusive. DNA tests of other known descendants of William would be needed to better establish whether or not there might be a relationship. If you are a known male descendant of William, through either of his son Benjamin's two sons, William Henry (1817-1902) & his wife Mary Jane Languedoc, or Abraham (1820 -1903) & his wife Caroline Packwood, and would consider taking the test, please contact us.

For anyone who decides to take the test, after you receive your results, it is important that you contact FamilyTreeDNA to authorize them to include your results in their database. That is the only way that comparisons can happen. Also, it would be helpful if you would let us know that you are taking the test. 

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