Welcome to the DNA Project

Welcome to the blog for the Gleason/Gleeson DNA Project. This will serve to provide regular updates on the status of the DNA Project and as a repository for stories, and general genealogical information that will advance the study of the Gleason/Gleeson surname.

The DNA project has been run by Judy Gleason Claassen since 2008 and recruitment to the project has increased progressively over the years. Maurice Gleeson joined Judy as co-administrator early in 2015. Our goals are to identify and distinguish the different Gleason/Gleeson lineages revealed by the Y-DNA tests and to assist those interested in finding their genealogical relationships with other members. By using DNA to identify people who are close genetic cousins to each other, these people can then collaborate, share genealogical information, and thus help each other to break down the Brick Walls in their own particular family tree research. When sufficient members join, it will hopefully be possible to determine the origins of the Gleason/Gleeson surname and its many variants, as well as their evolution over time. It will even be possible to build a "Mutation History Tree" based on DNA mutations which will give a crude estimate of when the different branches of the Gleeson Family Tree branched off from each other.

The project is open to anyone with a suspected Gleeson ancestor, especially anyone whose surname is Gleason/Gleeson or one of its many possible variants, including any of the following names … Glasson, Gleason, Gleeson, Glezen, Glisson, Glysson, Leason, Leeson, Leson, O'Glasain, O'Gliasain, etc

All three major types of DNA are accepted by the project, whether it is Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, or autosomal DNA (e.g. Family Finder). However, the primary focus of the project is the Gleeson surname and its inheritance along the direct male line (your father’s father’s father’s line). Hence Y-DNA is of particular importance. A Y-DNA-37 test is the minimum recommended for reliable allocation to a particular genetic family and all members are encouraged to purchase (or upgrade to) at least this 37-marker test.  Click on the following links to find instructions on how to Join the Project or Upgrade your Test.

Project Resources

We have a range of resources available to help you get the most out of the project. In fact, the project is spread across 2 websites, this blog, and a Facebook group.

General Info
You can view general information about the project, its goals, and some background information on both the FTDNA website and the WFN website. FTDNA stands for FamilyTreeDNA and WFN stands for World Families network. In the early days of DNA testing, only the WFN website was available and the FTDNA website came later. We have maintained both websites as each have features that the other does not, and therefore both are useful.
  • FTDNA Project Home Page - if you ever forget the weblink, you can easily access the project by simply googling “Gleason FTDNA” 
  • WFN Project Home Page
  • Overview - some relevant details re project logistics
  • Background - this gives a brief description of the history of the project
  • Goals - a brief summary of the specific goals of the project
  • News - the latest project news and activities/events of relevance to the project
  • Project Statistics - this includes the total number of members to date & the tests that have been taken by group members
  • Email the Administrators - you will find our email addresses here

Patriarchs, Pedigrees & Profiles
We encourage all project participants to include a pedigree of their Gleason/Gleeson ancestral line to facilitate collaboration between project members. This is posted on the WFN Patriarchs Page if they have been tested for Y-DNA, and on the complementary Patriarchs & Matriarchs Page if they have not been tested for Y-DNA.

We also encourage all members with Irish Gleeson ancestry to post detailed information about their Most Distant Known Ancestor (MDKA) on their Gleason/Gleeson line. This is referred to as the MDKA Profile and instructions for putting this together can be found here. This is particularly useful for the Irish lineages because paper records run out for many of the Irish families in the early 1800s. Having this information in a central place means that you won't have to keep emailing the same information with each new close match - you can simply refer them to your MDKA Profile instead.

DNA Results
There are several ways to view the DNA results of the project:
  • DNA Results (FTDNA) - you can view Classic or Colorised versions of the results. The latter identifies mutations within the group and is the most useful.
  • DNA Results (WFN) - these differ from the FTDNA results above in two main ways: 1) they include the "G-numbers" for each participant (your own project-specific ID numbers); 2) they also include the Modal Haplotype for each major Haplogroup subclade relevant to the project
  • Interpreting Results - this page gives a brief description of the results. Further information will be added as blog posts from time to time.

Collaborating with other Researchers
There are several ways in which the project fosters collaboration between participants.
  • Send your match an email - just click on the email icon beside any of your matches names
  • Gleeson Genealogy Forum Facebook group - an excellent place to collaborate and share information with your fellow Gleason researchers

Educational Resources
This blog - regular updates on the project will be posted here
YouTube videos - several videos have been created, some of which are directly relevant to this DNA Project. They include the following:
  • Genetic Genealogy - what DNA can do for you ... an introduction to the 3 types of DNA test (presented at the Clare Roots Society 2015)
  • How Y-DNA can help your One Name Study ... a detailed look at how Y-DNA is used in surname studies to group people into clusters with the same (or very similar) genetic signature and how so doing can help identify closely-related individuals, facilitate collaborative research, and help elucidate the origin of a particular surname (presented at the Ontario Genealogical Society 2015)
  • Building a Family Tree with SNPs, STRs, & Named People ... an introduction to how we can use mutations in Y-DNA markers to build a Mutation History Tree and how such an exercise gives us an overview of what the Family Tree of Gleeson Lineage II might look like if we were able to trace it back to the origins of the surname (presented at Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2015)
  • Combining SNPs, STRs, & Genealogy to build a Surname Origins Tree ... this is a more in-depth look at Mutation History Trees using Gleeson Lineage II as an example (presented at 11th FTDNA Annual Conference)

Any questions?

If you have specific questions about the Gleason/Gleeson DNA Project, please post them below in the Comments section, or in the Gleeson Genealogy Forum Facebook group, or simply email either of us (our email addresses are on the Project Home Pages, on both FTDNA and WFN websites). We will answer all questions either individually or devote a separate blog post to each one (so that everyone can benefit from the answer).

Maurice Gleeson
Judy Gleason Claassen
27 Feb 2015

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