Why did we choose the testing service Family Tree DNA? The primary reasons were it’s reputation, affiliation with top notch scientists, highly effective marketing, and pricing. Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, a leading expert in genetic research, heads up the university’s laboratory and advises FTDNA. In a very short time FTDNA has attracted over 5,500 surname projects and over 164,000 participants. With size come additional benefits beyond pricing. Their research on marker mutation rates, thanks to Dr. Hammer and the large database, has greatly improved estimated time lines and probabilities relating to the likelihood of a common ancestor.

Naturally the Bryson family has no financial stake in this project, we are merely using FamilyTree to provide a service.

What about privacy, the thought of having my DNA tested troubles me? Your privacy is assured because the testing facility at the University of Arizona will not have access to your name. Only your unique number will accompany your sample kit to the testing facility. The computer-generated number is the only information about you that the testing facility will see. Once your test has been completed, the results will be entered in a secure non-web-based database, and the lab will inform FamilyTree of any matches between two coded numbers.

Remember too, this is not a genetic fingerprint, it is a group of markers which you share, like a surname, with your male relatives who have common ancestors. You will not be tested for diseases or genetic defects.

As you will notice on our results page, we only display results in relation to Bryson ancestors. As a group we have decided not to reveal participants identities, although for the reason mentioned above, many surname projects do. See the FTDNA website for more information.

Who can take part? Only males have Y-chromosomes, so to take part you need to be a male Bryson, or find a male Bryson from your line to have tested.

What does it cost and which test should I take?

Surname Project Pricing –

12 marker Y-chromosome DNA test is $99 + postage.

37 marker Y-chromosome DNA test is $149 + postage.

Beginning in 2004, Family Tree DNA began offering a test for an additional 12 markers, bringing the total to 37. A perfect match at this level would mean that there is a 50% probability that a common ancestor was within 4 generations .

In general we recommend a 37 marker test to verify a line. However, the “budget” 12 marker test is enough to simply determine if a genetic connection exists. This test makes sense if you sponsor a test for another line to determine if you are indeed related, or if your line has been tested and you simply want to rule out adoption in your direct line.  It also makes sense if you have hit a brick wall and simply want to see if you are connected to other lines.  Even if you don’t match right away, as more Brysons are tested you may later. Then, if you wish, you can upgrade your test to a 37 marker test (the lab will simply re-test your sample for the extra markers).

Can I help? If you are a woman you can certainly find a male from your line to sponsor and you can help spread the word among your family about the project. An uncle who might not care about genealogy per se, might be very interested to learn if his ancestors were Vikings.

Can I find out more? To learn more about the science, DNA 101 explains the science and has lots of useful information and links. The Family Tree DNA website also has plenty of information.


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