I'm the website coordinator for Bastrop County in Texas. As a researcher I too have to rely on whatever information I can find online for my families. I have several where I've hit a brick wall and just can't go up the tree anymore. One line is my Tiner's who moved from Baker/Early County, Ga to Bastrop County, TX. The earlies record we had was William Tyner who purchased land in Baker Co, GA in 1848. The only proof of his name was a delayed deed made in 1899 when the sister bought the brother's shares and the original deed where their father bought the land had to be made for the transaction. This family hid or was in a black hole during the 1850/60/70 census.
Along comes the DNA Project. One of the descendants of a brother that stayed in GA tested his DNA. Another participant in Ohio tested his DNA because he was stuck in 1805 in Ohio. The main Tyner line was from Nicholas Tyner b. 1650 and moved to VA. Well, a surprise to all of us was the Ohio line matched our GA line. Then another tested that has documented proof of his line up to Nicholas. The GA cousin and the new Ohio cousin matched this new test. So we now know we are from Nicholas I and just have to find where in the tree we belong.
In addition there was family stores that the daughter of Nicholas I, Sarah, was the mistress of John Harris. She had 3 children with the last names of Tyner. Well here comes DNA testing and it proved the story correct. Some of those with the Tyner name are really Harris', though related to the Tyner's through Sarah.
This sold me on the DNA tool. So, because I'm stuck on my husband's Owen line I ordered a test for him. His great grandfather was found in TN in 1870, age 13 born in Alabama, living with William Bond. I can't find him before that and he was raised by William Bond. I did find William Bond in Franklin Co, AL in 1860 but no George Owen. There are no Owen's in Franklin Co, AL in 1860.
I got the results back on Dec 29, 2006 and found there are 4 branches that match old George. Again, just need to connect the dots and find his direct line.
Even if you have solid paper proof of your line, you could be a "control", meaning that anyone matching your DNA would know they belong to your line somewhere. This is as important as trying to match another line. Plus you might be surprised.
If you order a test, join a surname project first to get the discount price. Also, you can order the test and get an invoice so you don't have to return it right away.
I actually bought one for another person because they couldn't afford it and I wanted to know who his line matched. It wasn't my line but it did eliminate a line I no longer had to search for.
You can also give to the surname's general fund to help others get a DNA test.
It's private and not given to law enforcement or health companies. It's strictly for genealogy purposes.
I don't own stock in the company or anything. I just am so excited about this new tool. So get those Great Uncle, Great Grandfather's, husband's, father's, brother's or son's cheeks scraped before it's too late. Females can do it too but for different reasons. See the webpage for further information and good luck.
From the FAQ's section of the FamilyTreeDNA page:
What do I get when I am tested?
2. Depending on the test, a four to five page report included with the certificate
3. Maternal Match or mtDNA test results includes a migration map
4. Native American tests includes maps:
5. FTDNATiP - Time Predictor to the Most Recent Common Ancestor: