Welcome to the Dan Smith DNA project! The objective of this research project is to use DNA and genealogical records to determine the biological mother of Dan Smith, who was born on 5 February 1857 in Virginia and died on 9 January 1923 in Dalton, Whitfield, Georgia. Dan Smith married twice: first to Emma Cobb on 18 October 1874 in Dalton, Whitfield, Georgia, and then to Mary Famber on 21 December 1890, also in Dalton. DNA evidence supports the father of Dan Smith was Jaquelin Marshall Meredith, an Episcopalian reverend who lived in Fauquier and Stafford County, Virginia, in the 1850s.
We are looking for descendants of Dan Smith who are willing to share their DNA results to help us in our search for Dan Smith’s mother. We are also open to any information you may have on Dan Smith through sources or family stories. Below is a preliminary tree of all the children and some of the grandchildren of Dan Smith. If you see one of your ancestors in the following tree, you may be able to help us with our project!
If you descend from Dan Smith and would like to help us with our project, there are a few things you can do:
- If you have already had DNA testing through Ancestry, then you can follow these steps to add us as a viewer to your DNA. As a viewer, we won’t be able to make any changes to your DNA account, but will only be able to view your matches to make our needed analyses.
- From any page on Ancestry, click the DNA tab and select Your DNA Results Summary.
- On your DNA homepage, click Settings in the top-right corner.
- On the DNA Settings page, scroll down to the Sharing Preferences section and click Change beside DNA Ethnicity and Matches.
- If you’ve never shared your results with the person you’re inviting to view your test, click Add a person and go to the next step. If you’ve shared your results with them before, click their role and change it to Viewer. After changing their role, enter your password and click Assign Role. Skip the rest of the steps below. You’ll receive an email when the person accepts their role as a viewer.
- Enter their email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), select Viewer, and click Send Invitation. Whether you enter their email address or username, the invitation will be sent by email.
- When your invitation is accepted, you’ll receive an email letting you know.
2. If you have your DNA results on GEDmatch, you can e-mail your kit number to email@example.com.
3. If you have not done your DNA, but would like to, you can purchase an Ancestry DNA kit here.
4. If you’d like to see if you’re eligible for us to purchase an Ancestry DNA kit for you, you can e-mail us how you descend from Dan Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
5. If you’re not interested in sharing DNA with us, but have genealogical information you’d like to share, e-mail us anytime at email@example.com.
How does it Work?
Autosomal DNA can only help identify ancestors up to 6-8 generations back. When reviewing a DNA match, the testing website will report the amount of DNA shared with a match, but the specific relationship can only be discovered through analyzing pedigrees. Placing matches in genetic networks and tracking the surnames and locations that appear in different pedigrees can help pinpoint a common ancestor between a test taker and a DNA match. This process can help prove family relationships and lead to hypotheses for missing ancestors.
To find a genetic cluster that would point to Dan Smith’s mother, more DNA needs to be collected for descendants of him. Collecting more DNA of the descendants of Dan Smith will increase the likelihood that his mother’s DNA will be represented in the analysis. The term for this in genetic genealogy is DNA coverage. For example, if the objective of a project was to prove a test-taker’s mother, and only the test-taker’s DNA had been collected, then 50% of the DNA of the research subject (the test-taker’s mother) would be covered in the analysis. In this case, Dan Smith is the great-grandfather of four of the current test-takers, and the great-great-grandfather of an additional test-taker. That means an estimate of only 14.69% of Dan Smith’s DNA could appear in this analysis.
To increase the coverage of Dan’s genome, best practices would be to collect DNA from multiple descendants of each of his children. This would ensure that the analysis was not limited to DNA only passed through one child. Keep in mind that if DNA matches increase the DNA coverage of a research subject by more than 5%, it is highly suggested to collect that DNA. To learn more about DNA coverage you can read Paul Woodbury’s article “Covering Your Bases: Introduction to Autosomal DNA Coverage“.
Progress of the Project
So far, two reports of the project have been written. We currently have access to DNA for 5 descendants of Dan Smith, covering 14.69% of Dan’s DNA. To review what we know, both with documentary and genetic genealogy, you can read the completed reports here:
Dan Smith Phase 1 – Privatized Report 3 September 2021
Dan Smith Phase 2 – Privatized Report 14 June 2022
For any questions on the project, you can e-mail Allison Kotter at firstname.lastname@example.org or Diana Elder at email@example.com.