Harden / Hardin / Harding yDNA Project

By Bill Hardin


Oran Hardin and Terry Parks initiated the yDNA testing project as another tool in our common search for our ancestors.  Terry invited me to help with the project shortly after the inception.  Several companies offer DNA testing.  Terry & Oran selected “Family Tree DNA” as the company to administer the program.  “Family Tree DNA” was a logical choice since it does 90% of the Genealogical testing conducted in the US.  The actual testing is done at the Arizona Research Labs under the direction of Dr. Michael Hammer.  Anyone wishing to participate can order a kit by clicking on “Join This Group” at the web site:




or you can contact:


Family Tree DNA - Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.
World Headquarters

1919 North Loop West, Suite 110 Houston, Texas 77008, USA
Phone: (713) 868-1438 | Fax: (832) 201-7147


Or you can contact Terry or me:


Terry Parks                                          Bill Hardin

7049 Balcom Ave.                              112 Fites Creek Road

Reseda, CA 91335-4806                    Mount Holly, NC 28120

(818) 342-1141                                   (704) 822-5960

paroman@flash.net                           whardin@carolina.rr.com


Once ordered, the company sends a test kit.  DNA samples are collected by rubbing the inside of the cheek with a hard cotton swab and sealing the tip of the swab in a vial with chemical preservatives.  The samples are mailed to the company for processing and the results are reported after several weeks.  There are several tests available.  The test that HHH is sponsoring is an yDNA test.  yDNA is passed from father to son and would thus follow the Harden/in/ing Pedigree.  There is also an mtDNA test.  The mtDNA is passed from mother to daughter and thus would not follow the surname line.  Additionally, the company offers other tests, which you can read about on the web site above.  The company offers three yDNA tests: a 12 marker test for $99, a 25 marker test for $169, and a 37 marker test for $219.  You can order testing of the lower number of markers and then “upgrade” for only slightly more that ordering the larger number of markers in the beginning.  While this may seem expensive at first glance, it may offer more information for less money than many of the conventional research tools.  I would encourage all of you to have the 37 marker test done as it yields significantly more definitive results.


The yDNA markers that have been chosen for research are known to mutate at a rate and degree of certainty so as to yield Genealogical value.  There are some markers that are common to all human life and which do not mutate.  Measuring those markers would only tell us that we are human.  There are other markers that mutate rapidly.  Those markers might be of value for determining paternity or health issues but are of almost no value in genealogy.  The weakness in this research method is that the mutation can only be expressed as a level of certainty and not an exact number of generations per mutation.  However, when this tool is combined with traditional genealogical methods, our knowledge of our heritage is expanded.  As we record more and more yDNA values from other Harden-in-ing descendants, this knowledge will expand exponentially.  We have just begun but already we have established connections that we did not even suspect before.  There are five participants that share the same yDNA:  Oran Hardin, Travis Hardin, Kirvin Hardin, Bryan Hardin, and Bill Hardin (me).  Before the yDNA testing, I knew that the brothers Kirvin and Bryan were my second cousins.  I suspected a connection with Travis because of geographical proximity and naming patterns.  Travis and I have yet to establish the connection, but now we are certain that there is one.  None of us had any idea of a connection with Oran.  In simple terms, because we share these same 37 markers, there is a 95% chance that any of the five of us share a common ancestor within 7 generations.  You can see by the pedigree chart that be have gotten back about that far with traditional research.  In addition there are five other participants who represent at least four other Harden-in-ing lines who are waiting on you to have a test done to establish a connection.  If you have yDNA and money, please order the test kit.  I also encourage each of you to donate to the surname project general fund via one of the contacts above so that we can collect and process yDNA kits for our cousins who have not been as blessed financially as some of the rest of us.  If you need financial help to have a test done, please contact Terry or me and we will arrange kits as funds become available.  For those of you who might be worried that you could never understand the results of these tests – FTDNA, Terry and I provide multiple reports, graphs and pedigree charts that will make the results understandable.



Genetics & Genealogy - An Introduction

With Y-DNA Case Study Examples


Copyright ® 2001-2003 Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.

All Rights Reserved

Reprinted by permission of the author

For additional information - http://www.kerchner.com/dna-info.htm

What Is DNA?


DNA is short for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. DNA is a double-stranded helical molecule found in the cells of all organisms. DNA contains the biological, genetic instructions to build an organism which is passed down from parent to child, but it also controls the day-to-day function of all cells as well. A gene is a specific section of the long, double-stranded helical molecule of DNA which contains specific instructions for some specific function. Thousands of genes make up a chromosome and 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs define the human genome. The complete human genome contains billions of instructions and bits of information. The focus of this lecture is to learn how to use certain specific types of DNA information which is passed down from parent to child over generations to aide in solving genealogical puzzles.


Basic biology and genetics tells us that the 23rd chromosome pair, in the human genome, is the chromosome set that determines gender. Males have both an "X" and a "Y" in their 23rd chromosome pair and are thus “XY”, but females carry two X’s or an "XX" for their 23rd chromosome pair. The unfertilized human egg cell always has a single X chromosome obtained randomly from one of the mother’s two X chromosomes when the egg cell is produced. The human egg will become a female embryo if the male sperm that initially reaches the egg cell carries an X-chromosome. The egg will become a male embryo if the male sperm that initially reaches the egg cell carries a Y-chromosome. The male embryo thus gets its Y chromosome from the father who in turn got it from his father. Thus you can see the Y-chromosome is passed down from generation to generation only through the male line. In order to better understand how we arrived at this point, we need to reach for the next level.


The complete set of DNA instructions for making an organism is called its genome. Found in every nucleus of a person’s many cells, the human genome consists of tightly coiled threads of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and associated protein molecules, organized into structures called chromosomes. In humans, as in other higher organisms, a DNA molecule consists of two strands that wrap around each other to resemble a twisted ladder whose sides, made of sugar and phosphate molecules are connected by rungs of nitrogen--containing chemicals called bases. Each strand is a linear arrangement of repeating similar units called nucleotides, which are each composed of one sugar, one phosphate, and a nitrogenous base. Four different bases are present in DNA: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).  See Figure 1 on the next page.  The particular order of the bases arranged along the sugar- phosphate backbone is called the DNA sequence. These sequences specify the exact genetic instructions required to create a particular organism with its own unique traits.


The two DNA strands are held together by weak bonds between the bases on each strand, forming base pairs (bp). The human genome contains over 3 billion base pairs (bp). The complete detailed and verified mapping of the entire human genome is expected to be completed in 2003.


These three billion base pairs (bp) in the human genome are organized into 23 distinct, physically separate microscopic units or packets called chromosomes. All genes are arranged linearly along the chromosomes. The nucleus of most human cells contains 2 sets of chromosomes. Each parent provides one set. Each set has 23 single chromosomes; 22 autosomes and an X or Y gender chromosome. A normal female will have a pair of X-chromosomes in this 23rd chromosome set; a normal male’s 23rd chromosome set will have an X and Y chromosome.


Types of DNA


Autosomal DNA (atDNA) –  Nuclear DNA information which makes up our individual genetic identity which is the random combination of all genetic information passed down to us from all our blood-line ancestors and is contained in the nuclear DNA consisting of the merged set of chromosomes found in the nucleus of cells. We get this randomly assorted merged set of chromosomes from our mother and father. Autosomal DNA is what is used for the typical paternity test.


Y Chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) - Nuclear DNA information which is found in the Y Chromosome which only exists in males. The Y Chromosome is passed along from male to male via a sperm cell which contained the Y Chromosome of the father. The sperm cell having a Y Chromosome determines that the child will be male. Thus only males have the Y chromosome and only males can pass along the Y chromosome from father to sons.


Figure 1 - Pictorial Example of Nuclear DNA Structure

Credit: University of California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,

and the Department of Energy. (Edited slightly by me for use in this report.)


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) - Non-nuclear DNA which is a small DNA molecule contained in the Mitochondria (mtDNA) organelles which are located inside the cells of all of a mother’s children, both male and female. The Mitochondria organelles are not in the nucleus of the cell but are outside the nucleus. Thus mtDNA is not nuclear DNA and is found inside the Mitochondria organelles located inside the cell but outside the nucleus of the cell.  We get our Mitochondria only via the egg cell of our mother. Thus only females can pass on MtDNA to their offspring.


Types of DNA of Most Interest to Genealogists?


A) Y Chromosome (Nuclear) or Y-DNA
All men and only men have a Y chromosome. This biological fact allows us to trace back in time a direct, largely unchanged genetic line of inheritance from father to son.


Every person, male or female has 22 matching pairs of chromosome -- one inherited from each parent -- but the 23rd pair is different. This unmatched pair, known as the X and Y gender chromosomes, determines whether we are male (XY) or female (XX). A mother always provides a single X chromosome in her egg. Inherit an X from your father and you will be a female, receive a copy of his Y and you will be male. And so the Y chromosome travels from father to son with each successive generation of males.


The second thing that makes the Y chromosome unique is that the information carried on Y-chromosomes is inherited largely intact over time. Unlike other chromosomes, the genetic material on the Y chromosome is not mixed with each new generation. The reason is that when cells divide in preparation to make sperm and egg, all 23-chromosome pair’s line up to exchange random bits and pieces of DNA with their matching partner before separating. All the chromosomes do this exchange of genetic material save the mismatched XY pair. The Y is much shorter and very little of its genetic information is broken up in an exchange of DNA with the X chromosome. The information carried on the Y chromosome travels from father to son as a nearly exact copy of itself.


Occasionally, during the DNA copying process small changes or mutations occur, and it is these mutational differences that allow us to distinguish the Y chromosome of an individual from his ancestor's. Thus an actual genetic record of the male line going back through time exists -- as clear a marker of paternal heritage as a father's family name.


A tangible timekeeper of history, the Y chromosome allows us to trace human evolution, track migration patterns and relatedness in groups of people, and answer paternity questions going back generations. As we pull apart the Y chromosome, we begin to unravel some fascinating stories about our own origins.


B) Mitochondria or mtDNA


Mitochondria--The energy component in all cells in the human body is passed from mothers to all their children through the union of the mother’s egg and the male’s sperm. Mitochondria organelles are located outside of the cell’s nucleus and have their own DNA. The mtDNA molecule is much shorter than the nuclear DNA. It is only about 16,500 base pair in length and it is arranged in a small circle like a donut. Compare that to nuclear DNA which is about 3.2 billion base pair in length and is arranged in a long spiraled and coiled thread like structure. The typically basic mtDNA test yields a standardized result of 400 base pairs that are compared to the Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS).  The results of the test, which will include the Hyper Variable Section #1 of the control area of the mtDNA, will yield a few base pairs that differ from the standard Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS).  Since the standard was created around a western European woman, the more changes one has from the standard the farther back in time one’s mtDNA would have split from the base of the genetic tree.  For example most Africans have 7 or 9 differences while most Europeans have a few or perhaps 5 of this polymorphism from the Cambridge Reference Sequence (CRS).  One’s maternal ancient Haplogroup is determined from the basic mtDNA test. Advanced, refined, or so called mtDNA Plus tests also test a second region of the mtDNA called Hyper Variable Section #2.  The additional data from the second Section when combined with the first section results allows greater differentiation between individual’s maternal line and reduces the time to your most recent common maternal ancestor when you have an exact match between two people for both HVS1 and HVS2.


The Anthropologists have broken down human mtDNA into about 30 distinct groups called Haplogoups, with many sub groups assigned to each group. 


If you match someone on the mtDNA side you will know that you and they share a common female ancestor, but the time to the MRCA is typically several thousand years ago, and certainly not less then many hundreds of year’s group.  FTDNA, the company I use for testing, also offers a refined/enhanced mtDNA Plus test that examines the HVS2 section of the Mitochondria to reduce the time predictions to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) in the female direct line.


How Can DNA Analysis Help Genealogists?

Genetic comparisons can determine if a person is or is not genetically closely related to another person. But we should be aware that there are limitations using current Y-DNA or mtDNA testing. One can determine that two people are related but one cannot determine the degree of the blood relationship. In addition to the typical paternity tests that most people are familiar with for use with the most recent generation, these are some of the basic DNA tests that are available and useful to the family genealogist for investigating genealogical relationships in earlier generations on the Pedigree Chart - .


The Y-Chromosome DNA Test (Y-DNA)

The Y-chromosome, in the nuclear DNA of every living male, is virtually identical to that of his father, his paternal grandfather, etc., and is carried by male cousins of any degree of relationship that share the same male ancestor. It creates a clear set of genetic markers, known as a haplotype that distinguishes one male-to-male lineage from another. See this website for an example of using Y-DNA for genealogy: “http://www.kerchner.com/kerchdna.htm”.

The Y-chromosome Test Can Help Determine:

1.     Whether specific individual men share a common male ancestor.

2.     If a set of men with the same or similar surname are directly related through a common ancestor.

3.     How many different common male ancestors any given group shares.

4.     To which broad haplogroup each individual male belongs.

5.       An analysis of the mutations in the Y-chromosome can also be used to estimate the degree of separation between individual males in terms of number of generations since the separation occurred. Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) is another way of expressing this separation. There is currently a debate over the 'natural' rate of mutation over time. A mutation can occur at any time. Natural mutations have been postulated to be occurring on average about once per 500 generations per marker. But some family surname Y-DNA studies are observing average mutation rates of about twice that rate, i.e., once per 250 generations per marker. Also it is now acknowledged that some Y-DNA DYS markers mutate at a higher average rate than other Y-DNA DYS markers.


The Mitochondria DNA Test (mtDNA)

The mtDNA test looks at the DNA of the mitochondria, a special part of all-human cells, which is passed on, female-to-child, and inherited down the female line. It is generally used to study long-term population developments such as human migrations. It is a favorite genetic tool of Anthropologists. The Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) test can reveal detail about the distant origins of maternal ancestors and could be used to link individuals via the female line. The mtDNA test will also determine your maternal Haplogroup and the area of the world where that direct female ancestor is thought to have lived.  However, for genealogical purposes, even if you are tested with the enhanced/refined or so-called mtDNA Plus test, it not as precise in resolution of time to Most Recent Common Ancestor as the male Y-DNA test, and since the female line birth/maiden names quickly get lost in history, the mtDNA test is thus generally not as useful for genealogical purposes as the Y-DNA test.  But it can be used to confirm scientifically that two people share a common female direct maternal line ancestor if one is suspected via traditional genealogical research.  MtDNA has been extensively studied for over 20 years and is used quite extensively for anthropological studies. Interesting migration maps have been created to show the spread of different female lines throughout the world.

The BioGeographical Ancestry (BGA) DNA Test (atDNA)

The BioGeographical (BGA) Ancestry Test marketed under the trade name of DNAPrint is the latest DNA test available for the use of the genealogist. It examines Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) found in the autosomal chromosome pairs (atDNA) inherited from the father and mother, who in turn got them from their mothers and fathers, and so on back into time. Certain marker allele values occur at higher frequency in one population group as compared to another population group. By determining which AIM allele value results one has at about 71 marker locations in one’s autosomal chromosomes and then running those marker data results through DNAPrint’s proprietary computer algorithm, DNAPrint provides you with a report of your population group genetic mixture expressed as percentages divided by this company into 4 major population groups identified by DNAPrint: Indo-European, East Asian, Native American, and Sub-Saharan African. The sum of these four percentage allocations to each population group of course must add up to 100%. One could test out as 100,0,0,0 or 0,0,0,100, or 79,21,0,0, or 80,10,5,5, etc. One could be found to be genetically placed all in one group, or alternatively mostly in one group and with some minority percentage of one or more of the other groups, or with some content from all four groups. Which ever group result shows more than 50% content is called the dominant population group. While the test claims it can allocate your genetic material origin to various population groups, the test cannot differentiate between whether the markers are from recent (in a genealogical time frame) or from ancient times. Thus the BGA test results cannot be used in a vacuum and must be used in conjunction with other genealogical evidence when used for genealogical purposes.  For example, a genealogist could use this test to help prove or disprove a rumor or family legend which is alleged to have occurred in your genealogically recent family tree that a grandparent, great-grandparent, or gg-grandparent was of a different population group then the dominant population group of one’s family tree.  This BGA test can also be used to detect minority admixture markers in one’s genome derived from ancient sources, and thus also can be used for anthropological projects. See this website for an example of using the BGA test:   “http://www.kerchner.com/pa-gerdna.htm”.





Figure 2 - Y-DNA Paternal Line and mtDNA Maternal Line Inheritance Charts

Shows How the Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA) and Mitochondria (mtDNA) Are Inherited


Return to HHH yDNA Project