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January 14, 2013

DNA and Native American Heritage

I'm a recognized Metis in Canada. I have my official Metis card. But I have always wanted confirmation of my Native American heritage through DNA testing.

Now perhaps it is just me but for the life of me I cannot figure out on Family Tree DNA how to do this! I have my brother's Y-DNA testing done and have the Family Finder upgrade. I have my mtDNA done. I've been willing to pay for whatever upgrade or test I need. But what one?

I wrote to one of the partners in Family Tree DNA a week ago to ask for assistance. No response. I should add that I'm linked to him on Facebook and I've seen him online several times since I sent my message. I'm sure he's a busy guy but c'mon - a week goes by and he doesn't answer a customer and someone he's linked to on Facebook as a friend?

So on the weekend I posted on the Family Tree DNA Facebook page, and asked for advice.  Again my post was met with silence. No official response at all.  Thankfully one person responded and gave me advice and a contact name of someone not involved with FamilyTreeDNA who might be able to help. I plan to follow that up as soon as I figure out how to download my raw data from FTDNA site!

In the meantime Roberta Estes was recommended as the person to consult. She responded to me with a link to her blog post called Proving Native American Ancestry Using DNA According to Roberta I need to order an upgrade to test at D9S919. Her article went on to explain exactly how to order this upgrade on FTDNA. I am so impressed! That's the kind of help I like - a clear explanation and set of instructions that are easily followed.

So I've ordered the upgrade on my brother's DNA and on mine. We'll see what happens!

But I must add that I'm very disappointed in Family Tree DNA's lack of response to a customer. It's not only bad customer relations, it's bad marketing! I want to spend money with them and they are not bothering to help me do so.

Thank goodness for the willingness and kindness of strangers who jump in and try to help! 


Katherine said...

Hi Lorine,
Just wanted to share that while my son does indeed have Native American DNA, (his father is mtDNA haplogroup C) his D9S919 marker came back negative. Only 30% of people with NA DNA are estimated to have that marker. So even if it comes back negative, don't give up! You can read my NA DNA search story here:
Best wishes,

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Hi Katherine - thanks for your comment - what a great blog post you have written!

I am going to bookmark it so I can refer to it as I take my steps to try to confirm my Native American heritage.

Mariann Regan said...

Yes, the kindness of strangers! But it's mainly luck when you can find WHICH strangers. Good that you got your answer. I've had the experience that when I ask someone a question they should know the answer to, and they don't know, that's when they fall silent. They're embarrassed.

Alf said...

Hi, just came across this site whilst looking at information on native american genes. I have also done both my ydna and mtdna through familytreedna (funnily enough they never responded one of my emails).
I am haplogroup A (most likely A2 according to james licks mtdna website) due to mutations. It was been amazing to find some of my origins and my identity. I have also ordered the D9S919 upgrade to find it out whether I do possess this. I am doubtful, but you never know, as about 80% of my families line carries native american dna. I am actually like you, a metis, which translated into Spanish is mestizo. It is unfortunate that in the side of the world I come from people are ashamed to belong to native american roots, especially after so much Spanish colonization. But I am not, and living so far away from home has made me more interested in finding out my ancestry and to be proud of it. Good luck!