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DNA PROJECT OBJECTIVES FOR THE SURNAMES:

            EVERETT, EVERITT, EVERED, EVERARD, EVERETTE, EVATT

 

 The Everett Generations Newsletter, and its co-editor, Craig A. Everett, were instrumental in organizing the first steps of this Project in 2002 to begin collecting DNA samples and recruiting volunteers. The Project has worked closely from the beginning with the FamilyTreeDNA program in Houston, Texas. The processing of the DNA and laboratory work is conducted at the University of Arizona. The primary goal has been to help family researchers establish and document direct biological ties to the many identified Everett-related surnames. While the initial goals were to focus on these family lines in the United States, the Project quickly became an international one gaining enthusiastic volunteers from England, Australia and Canada.

Project Objectives

1.      To compare the similarities and/or differences between the major Everett ancestry lines in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia

2.      To identify the DNA profiles of the earliest Everett family lines in New England and the South from the 17th and 18th centuries

3.      To use the DNA profiles to link Everett family lines in the US with both present and historic family lines in England and potentially other European origins.

As family researchers, we have all heard the stories of three or more Everett brothers who came from Great Britain together to settle in America as early as the 1600's. While there has been very little definitive evidence to support this assumption, these stories nevertheless appear in many published Everett family histories. Now scientific techniques used in genetic and evolutionary biology can help us answer not only this core research issue about our origins in the U.S., but also many other genealogical questions. It has become clear over the past couple of years that the cutting edge of family history and genealogical research is moving from the libraries and courthouses to biological laboratories. As DNA identification has become more efficient and affordable, family researchers are beginning to use this method to track intergenerational ties and to answer questions that historical documents have left unanswered.

Using the unique DNA "signature" from the male's Y chromosome, it is possible to determine biological links between any family line over multiple generations. The DNA in each of the Y chromosomes is passed, essentially unchanged, from grandfathers to fathers to sons over each generation. By comparing the sequence of values that define each individual's DNA profile, we can determine not only whether two or more individuals are descended from a common male ancestor, but we can also estimate the approximate time frame in which the individuals may be related. The fact that these DNA "signatures" remain unchanged and are transmitted from male to male provides definitive biological evidence about our present family lines as well as early links to other family groups and distant geographical locations.

For example, if you have been corresponding with another Everett who was doing family research several states away and you wondered if the two of you were descended from the same common ancestor several generations earlier, the comparison of each of your DNA patterns would tell you if you were biologically related. If the DNA data showed that you were not related, you could compare your DNA profile with the others in our Project and perhaps find a link to another family line. You could even compare your DNA profile with the growing FamilyTreeDNA database to find potential links with other surnames.

As of October, 2006 we have 64 DNA Profiles. These profiles represent surnames that include Everett, Everitt, Everette, Evered, Everard, and Evatt. The data has already established a number of family lines that can be traced back to the 1600s and early 1700s in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. We have also identified a number of other family lines from throughout the United States that have yet to be linked to the earliest arriving families. (See our state pages of earliest arrivals on this website.)

 In our own family line we had identified a link to the family of Nathaniel Everett who arrived in eastern North Carolina by about 1700. We had met and corresponded with a number of other researchers who had identified their link to this same family. The documents used to do this were not always definitive but by tracking the migrations of the various family members we were perhaps 75% sure that we were all from the same family. One of our earliest DNA volunteers had also tracked his ancestry from a different branch of the same Nathaniel Everett family. His branch of the family had remained in eastern North Carolina, while our line had migrated to eastern Georgia and eventually into Mississippi. When he and I compared our DNA patterns early in our Project a clear link was confirmed. Since that early discovery we have found four other DNA volunteers from this same line.

The Project becomes even more exciting when the DNA profiles link a US family line with one of earlier origins in Europe. In our own family line, we found a DNA volunteer (an Evered) who has lived in Australia for many years, but whose family line has its origins in Suffolk, England. Our DNA profiles are so similar that we have begun a separate international research project to attempt to track the early origins of Nathanielís ancestors back to, perhaps, Suffolk, UK.   

The DNA data has answered many questions, but it has also created a number of surprises and puzzling findings. As a result, we have another research group attempting to differentiate two (and possibly three) early Richard Everetts who arrived from the UK to Massachusetts and Long Island, New York. Another group of researchers from our DNA Project, who have found 6 closely related profiles, but no clearly documented links or common early ancestor, is working to sort out several Midwestern Everett families.

We hope many of you will consider volunteering. Remember, to participate you must be a direct male descendent of one of the Everett surnames. If you are a female Everett researcher, you can identify a brother, cousin, uncle or other male to participate, even if they are not interested in your family research. As a female researcher you can contribute financially to scholarships that we have been able to use for Everett volunteers who could not afford the test. (There are also DNA tests that can trace maternal family lines, but they are not as helpful is specific genealogy research.) The test is simple and confidential.

How Does the Test Work?
Collecting the DNA sample is simple and painless. It is completed by mail and involves only two steps:

1)      Swabbing the inside of your mouth with a swab that is provided in the mailer you will receive;2)      Placing the swab in a vial provided in the mailer and returning this in the mail.

 

Participants are asked to sign a release so that their results may be shared with the Project Administrator, who organizes and publishes the data. The program that we are using for this project, FamilyTreeDNA, is the pioneer program in the use of genetics in genealogy: www.familytreedna.com You can click on this link to read more information at their website. Your DNA and profile are handled confidentially and are immediately coded upon receipt. The sample is sent to the nationally recognized laboratory for processing at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The FamilyTreeDNA program provides each volunteer with your own webpage for the EVERETT DNA PROJECT. You will be notified by email with your results, usually in about 5 to 6 weeks. In addition, you will receive a certificate in the mail identifying your DNA profile and you will receive a code number and password to access your own personal website. On this site you can discover other information about the typologies of your DNA profile and even read about its earliest geographic origins. If you wish you can receive, at no charge, the monthly e-newsletter. You will also be able to compare your profile with all of the others in our Project and use a built-in calculator to estimate the time differences to the most recent common ancestors between your profile and any other profile. If you wish, you may upload your data to the FamilyTreeDNA's unique resource, YSearch, whereby you can compare your DNA profile with all of the others in their database that now includes over 5000 surname projects and 13,000 specific surnames. The cost to process and analyze each sample, as part of our Everett Project, is only $99 plus $2 shipping. Other family groups who have already begun this process have found that many family reunion associations have volunteered to pay the cost for one or two representatives from their family line to participate in the research.

Privacy and Confidentiality.

Craig has spoken to a number of genealogy groups and family reunions about the DNA Project. He is often asked if volunteersí DNA information can be used in any way to compromise oneís privacy. The answer is no! As indicated above, the actual samples are coded upon receipt and the laboratory that process the actual DNA  only has the kit numbers identified.

In addition, if you are a fan of the popular criminal investigation television shows (CSI) you know that DNA is often used in the pursuit of collecting evidence in criminal matters. These forensic DNA profiles are much more complicated than the ones that we use for genealogy. The forensic markers are taken from the other 22  chromosomes rather than just from the Y chromosomes. They are also identified in pairs, representing the one inherited from the mother and the one inherited from the father. In other words, these markers used forensically are entirely different from the ones used for genealogy and what they represent is much more complex than the profiles that we analyze.

It is important that all of our Everett DNA samples be identified by the laboratory properly so the results can be coordinated effectively. To order a kit, or if you would like more information about participating, please contact Craig A. Everett, Project Administrator, everett5@mindspring.com